Arsenal FC January Transfer Strategy Outlined by Mikel Arteta

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Arsenal FC have done some business this January transfer window, but it’s all been in the selling category. The North London club have engaged in a good old-fashioned clearout, but they are yet to make any new major additions. 19-year-old Omar Rekik is the only player added thus far. It’s all according to the plan, says manager Mikel Arteta.

Arsenal have terminated the contracts of Mesut Ozil (who joined Fenerbahce) and Sokratis Papastathopoulos, who is now a free agent after failing to make a single appearance this season.

Sead Kolasinac has been sent out on loan to FC Schalke for the rest of the season, and once that spell is over, he’ll become a free agent. Also, William Saliba has been sent out on loan to Nice. This means they’ll have an additional two and a half million GBP to spend in the summer transfer window, now having cut some of their biggest earners from the payroll budget.

According to Spotrac (h/t Football.London), Ozil was the highest earner, at £350,000 per week, while Kolasinac was making £100,000-a-week and Sokratis getting paid £92,000-a-week.

Additionally, the squad was “unmanageable” according to Arteta, who said that 31 players was too many, setting up a situation where there was just too much dead weight on the roster.

“We could not carry on with 31 players in the squad,” Arteta said to his press conference today.

“It is unmanageable. As well when you have to leave some of the foreign players out, it makes it even more difficult. To do it for a few weeks is okay, to do it for months and maintain the health, the ambition and the chemistry is really complicated. So, one of the main objectives was to make some decision of how we are going to offset that.

“We have done it. Just for me, the important thing is everybody feels involved, part, and that they have a chance.”

Arteta then briefly touched upon transitioning to the next phase, the more fun part, of buying. Of course, he wouldn’t name names. Arsenal are said to once again be after Lyon’s Houssem Aouar and Real Madrid’s Martin Odegaard.

“We are in that process right now,” Arteta continued.

“We’ve done the first part [selling players] more or less and now we are focusing on the second phase. Obviously this market and the context makes it really difficult but we are looking at options and we will see what we can do.”

When pressed about potential to specific transfer targets, Arteta just responded with industry standard press conference platitudes, but it’s clear that the Emirates club is looking at midfielders right now.

“We are all very cautious and conscious about what we want to do and how we want to do it, how the market is going to evolve so we need to be careful,” he said.

“We want to process every decision really carefully and then when we are clear about an opportunity, then we will try to do it.”

Currently tenth in the Premier League, Arsenal will next take on Southampton FC in the FA Cup, on Saturday.

Paul M. Banks runs The Sports Bank, partnered with News NowBanks, the author of “No, I Can’t Get You Free Tickets: Lessons Learned From a Life in the Sports Media Industry,” has regularly appeared in WGNSports IllustratedChicago Tribune and SB NationFollow him on Twitter and Instagram.

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