For once, January in the transfer market was a calm one for both Arsenal and the fans.
Getting their business tied up relatively early and making it clear that they were almost certainly done ahead of the stupidity that is deadline day, it meant that fans were free to switch off Sky Sports News as soon as the words ‘the big story is Carlton Cole’ were uttered.
Bringing in a much needed centreback in the form of a 24-year-old Brazilian who was Villarreal’s captain, Arsenal have reinforced with quality and a long-term option rather than a stop-gap to help them bundle along until summer.
As the transfer activities of both Barcelona and Manchester United, both of whom desperately needed centrebacks, showed, getting a quality player for that position was far from an easy task. The Catalan giants, with a transfer ban looming, were only able to purchase a crocked Thomas Vermaelen during the summer, while United have added only Marcos Rojo to their ranks in that position in the last two windows.
A nod to Arsenal’s future was further given with the acquisition of Krystian Bielik, a tall and powerful defensive midfielder who will see his first team opportunities limited this season but is certainly an exciting prospect if the hype around him is to be believed.
It wasn’t all just one-way traffic as three players left the club on loan with only one of them seemingly set for a long-term future with the club.
Lukas Podolski joined Inter Milan where he continues to be substituted in practical every game. Perhaps that will convince those who blame Arsene Wenger for misusing him of the German’s limited ability in a team game. Yes, he can score goals, but as I’ve mentioned elsewhere on this site, he doesn’t score anywhere near enough of them to make up for the shortfalls in all other areas of his game.
Joel Campbell was tied down to a new contract before being shipped off on loan, again. It is clear he has no role to play at Arsenal and the new deal was more about protecting Campbell’s transfer value than any intention from the management to integrate him into the team further.
While he could, of course, develop hugely while in Spain, I doubt many expect to see Joel feature for Arsenal in the future in any meaningful way.
That just leaves Yaya Sanogo.
Hardly rated by many Arsenal fans, the lanky striker who seems to have problems controlling his limbs has been sent to Crystal Palace with the sole purpose of getting Premier League experience to bring back to Arsenal.
His future is at his parent club unlike the other two forwards.
Overall all, even the most hardened WOB must admit that it was a good window for the club.
They addressed the most pressing issue in the squad – the lack of cover at centreback and managed to shift on a few players who wouldn’t have got near the bench once the entire squad is fit, a position we are fast approaching.
Slowly, almost without anyone really noticing, Wenger has assembled a squad that has quality depth in every position and that is something we look at in more, well, depth in the article linked below: