By Sir Hardly Anyone
Four players, as you will well know, have gone – at least for a while. Ainsley Maitland-Niles, Folarin Balogun, Pablo Mari and Sead Kolasinac.
And in return no one has come in. Which sounds pretty odd when put like that.
But then, when we look at the rest of the league, no one much has come in. Indeed so poor is the level of activity that at one time (1215 on 25 January) the Guardian’s “Men’s transfer window” page was only showing transfers involving women. It’s back to its proper page now and to the list above it adds Tyreece John-Jules on loan to Sheffield Wednesday, Karl Hein on loan to Reading, Brooke Norton-Cuffy on loan to Lincoln, Folarin Balogun on loan to Middlesbrough and Harry Clarke on loan to Hibs.
As you will know we lost Thomas Partey (Ghana), Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (Gabon), Nicolas Pepe (Ivory Coast), Mohamed Elneny (Egypt), Omar Rekik (Tunisia) to Fifa’s Africa Cup. And the two players who we could particularly do with given our current shortage are Nicolas Pepe and Mohamed Elneny.
Curiously those two teams play each other today at 4pm UK time, so we will get one of them back which could be helpful – even though Elneny has only started four games this season and Pepe eight.
Mikel Arteta is described in the media as being “desperate” to sign new players, and is quoted as saying, “We are certainly trying. But I don’t know if we are going to be able to do it.”
The big name being talked about at the moment is Arthur Melo (as in talks with Juventus over Brazilian midfielder Arthur Melo, in the Telegraph). Arthur, who has 21 caps for Brazil, is a midfielder who doesn’t score goals. He’s been with Juventus since 2020 when he arrived from Barcelona for a fee of £66 million. But he has only started four games this season which is what makes him fancy a move.
Juventus, previously the big name regular title winners, are currently fifth in the Italian League and 11 points off Inter Milan at the top, and they could do with offloading a few players themselves to beef up their financial position.
We are also apparently “hoping to conclude a deal with USA goalkeeper Matt Turner”, who plays for New England Revolution and would be a backup for Aaron Ramsdale leaving Bernd Leno free to leave.
Other players are talked about regularly, such as Dusan Vlahovic, Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Alexander Isak, and we still have Aubameyang on the books which is a financial problem.
All of which makes the current headline in the Telegraph Mikel Arteta flies to Denver for crucial talks with Arsenal owner Stan Kroenke somewhat striking. There’s hardly any time left in the window, and according to the media all this work has been done following up on players, and yet Mr Arteta has something to say which a) can’t be said on a video call and b) can’t be said to Josh Kroenke who actually is in London and at the club supposedly running the club.
But no, the Telegraph tells us that the club is “facing crunch decisions ahead of the closure of the transfer window.”
Indeed it seems so little has been done that on the agenda for the meeting “is believed to be how much Arsenal are willing to spend on a new striker in the final days of the window after Juventus jumped ahead of the Gunners in the race for Fiorentina star Dusan Vlahovic.”
And suddenly there are problems with Alexander Isak and Calvert-Lewin.
But why? The Telegraph speaks of Arsenal having delayed their decision making allowing others to move in for every player linked with us, which is always the theme in the media. Although when we look closely at the text we note that “Barcelona could move for Alvaro Morata.” “Could move” it says. Again with just a few days left they “could move”.
So actually they portray chaos in other clubs but only Arsenal have “delayed”. And yet we are told, “Arteta watched Colorado Avalanche beat Chicago Blackhawks at a National League hockey game with Kroenke on Monday night”.
Obviously, you can, if you wish, believe it is all a hopeless mess at Arsenal as others get on with the business.
Or maybe the arrangements have been made and the manager went over to see the owner in order to have a cosy get together having not seen each other in a while.
It does depend on whether you buy into the media’s line of Arsenal as a club permanently a-dither while everyone else gets on with it, or not. If so, why? Why is it just Arsenal that are in such a mess?
We shall see, not just by the end of this month, but also by the end of the season. We are two points off fourth with two games in hand, although Tottenham are still lurking.
Everything, as someone once said, is still to play for although we are not told who won the hockey game.