The January transfer window will soon be upon us and, if we’re lucky, we could have some new players in the team.
History tells us that while Arsene Wenger would rather not participate in the January transfer window, he does make use of it when he has to.
Mohamed Elneny was his most recent January acquisition in 2016. Gabriel signed in 2015, and Nacho Monreal signed in 2013.
As usual, Wenger has been talking up his current squad and his desire to keep them all together, but there are areas that need strengthening.
On top of that, there’s the issue of Alexis Sanchez.
The most realistic scenario is that Arsenal don’t buy or sell anyone.
At best, a player not receiving much time in the first team, such as Theo Walcott or Olivier Giroud, might leave.
However, Arsenal still have a bloated squad, and mid-season is hardly the best time to be performing major surgery on it.
Wenger will feel the same, and will look to restrict his business to just one signing, as has been the case in the past.
It wouldn’t be surprising if the team was exactly the same at the end of January.
But, if Arsenal were to sign one player in January, who would it be?
On the basis that Arsenal accept an offer for Alexis, it would certainly have to be an attacker.
There have been several players mooted as Alexis’ replacement.
Thomas Lemar is the obvious choice, especially as Wenger hinted he would try again for him after failing to do a deal in the summer.
Much will depend on the availability and desire of those players.
Lemar, for example, is unlikely to move mid-season, as Monaco do not want to lose any key players.
Arsenal could also strengthen in other areas, such as the defence.
Virgil van Dijk’s future is under scrutiny again after the summer transfer saga, and could be an option for Arsenal.
The club has also been linked with Burnley’s James Tarkowski.
Midfield is another area in need of attention. Arsenal failed to sign Nice’s Jean-Michael Seri in the summer, but could try again next month.
They probably won’t.
As for departures, there is the possibility of several players leaving.
In the worst case scenario, Arsenal could lose Alexis, Mesut Ozil, Jack Wilshere, Theo Walcott and Olivier Giroud in the same month.
Arsenal could realistically shed one or two players without drastically harming their squad depth, but will want to avoid an exodus.
The World Cup will play a big part, and it wouldn’t be too surprising if Giroud, who’s been very much a sub this year, pushed for a move.
Likewise, Wilshere could also make a move if he’s not getting regular game time however that seems unlikely as he has reiterated his desire to stay at Arsenal at least three times now.
Wenger said he will have to balance the strength of his squad against the needs of his players.
He could have several tricky problems to deal with should certain players decide to leave.
Mathieu Debuchy has also recently admitted that he wants to leave, but given how hard he has been to get rid off so far, he will most likely end up still at the club come the summer.
The smart money, however, is on Arsenal lining up at the start of February almost identically to how they start against Liverpool on Friday night.
Injuries allowing, of course.