Transfer Rumours: What Can We Expect from Arsenal in January?

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summer transfer window

By Joe Connolly

It’s the time of year that many football fans refer to as the ‘silly season’ as the transfer window swings open and the biggest teams in European football get the cheque book out and prepare to entice their targets to join the ranks in preparation for a strong second-half to the campaign.

It’s also a time when the rumour mill goes into overdrive with newspapers, gossip columns and fans websites speculating on who will arrive and who will be sold to help balance the books. There’s often little truth in the majority of these opinions published, but it does make for great reading and gives supporters the chance to dream of a big name signing.

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What can we expect from Arsenal in January? Well, there’s certainly no lack of financial clout at the North London club and manager Unai Emery showed during his time in Paris leading PSG that he’s not shy when it comes to splashing the cash and bringing the star names to town. Remember the Neymar drama?

There will be nothing like that at Arsenal, but there is no doubt the Gunners boss will strengthen his squad as he bids to build on a strong start and deliver a top-four Premier League finish and the Champions League qualification that comes with it, as predicted by Pires back in the summer.

Bookmakers seem rather less convinced, however, and the current top-four betting has Arsenal more likely to finish fifth. According to Joe Halliday, Editor at Football Betting Sites “Man City are favourites when checking the latest odds and are currently no better than 1/1500, meaning you won’t be able to get a bet on with most firms, not that you’d want to at those odds. We then have Liverpool at 1/200, Tottenham 1/4, Chelsea 2/7 and Arsenal coming in at 9/4 – meaning you need a big change in personal to fight for a top four spot.”

With Arsenal conceding 23 goals in their first 17 league matches this season the defence seems the most logical place to start but the bulk of rumours doing the rounds at present seem to be linking Emery with forward-thinking, attack-minded support such as Cristian Pavon.

unai emery

The 22-year-old Argentine forward is currently on the books at Boca Juniors where he rates amongst the team’s top performers and most valuable assets. The Cordoba-born player has represented his country at every level from under 17s through to the full squad and even featured in their Olympic squad. For Boca he scored 19 goals in his first 72 starts and it’s believed that should Arsenal pay the going rate to open talks, it’s a deal that could be made without much hassle as Pavon is said to be keen on a move to Europe.

One name near the top of Emery’s Christmas wish list that wouldn’t be as smooth is French-born Ivory Coast international Nicolas Pepe, the 23-year-old winger plying his trade at Lille. He fits the bill for what Arsenal seem to be lacking at the moment – an out and out winger who can take players on, create chances for team mates and chip in with a few goals of his own.

boca juniors

Pepe has been linked to a move to the Emirates in the past and many believe if the deal was going to happen it would’ve done so already. The main stumbling block, as far as we can see, is the fact those currently paying his wages are desperate to cash in on their man and have slapped on a £60m price tag as reported in France:

Hefty, especially as he represents a risk, but getting Pepe would give Emery options on the flanks after spending the first-half of the season playing Danny Welbeck and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang out of position. There’s no doubt both players have done a job where asked, but all concerned would be happier if the club were able to get a more natural winger and creator onto their books.

Big things were expected of winger Alex Iwobi this season, but the promising young Nigerian still hasn’t hit top level and it will be at least another season before he could be considered a regular starter and man that can be fully relied upon by the team. Talented? Very much so. Consistent? Not nearly enough, as of yet.

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There’s no doubt Arsenal have the squad needed to compete for a top-four finish, as we’ve seen already and if they can be as calculated during the winter transfer window as they were during the summer when adding new talent to freshen up the stars already in the dressing room, we’re sure they’ll make a massive improvement on last term.

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