What to expect from Arsenal in the January transfer window
- Credit: Archant
With the January transfer window in full swing, Dan Mountney takes a look at the ins and outs that could happen at Arsenal this month.
Before mentioning any names who could move to north London during the window, there are a few important things to note.
Firstly, the club's head of football Raul Sanllehi - the man in charge of transfer business - has openly admitted he's not a fan of the January window and doesn't like to make moves in the winter market.
Secondly, funds to sign players are limited and if anyone was to come in it would likely be on loan. Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta even said: "I'm not expecting big things."
Thirdly, the club's hierarchy are wary of making another January blunder similar to Denis Suarez last season, who played just over 60 minutes of football after arriving from Barcelona.
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With all that said, injuries - especially in defence - could force Arsenal to act in January to add much-needed strength and depth to their squad.
Calum Chambers is out for the rest of the season with an ACL injury and Rob Holding's fitness concerns leave the Gunners with just two fit central defenders.
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And at left-back, a long-term shoulder injury is keeping Kieran Tierney on the sidelines while Sead Kolasinac is having to be nursed through games at the moment, leaving Arteta short of options in that position.
While a full-back hasn't been linked so far, plenty of centre-backs have been mentioned.
Red Bull Leipzig's Dayot Upamecano has been a long-term target for Arsenal and the young Frenchman's name has been mentioned once again in this window.
But, Leipzig's reluctance to sell a key player mid-season and the 21-year-olds hefty £40m to £50m price tag makes a deal this month unlikely, although the Gunners will be concerned about reported interest from Barcelona.
The same goes for Juventus central defender Merih Demiral who has also been mentioned as a target, with availability and cost the main concerns while Manchester City and Leicester City also have an interest in the Turkish international.
The most likely addition in the middle of defence would be Bayern Munich's Jerome Boateng.
The 31-year-old World Cup winner would bring plenty of experience and is available on the cheap, with both a loan move or an £8m permanent signing an option for Arsenal.
There are some reservations though, with Boateng's injury record, defensive mistakes and plugging the gap short-term rather than building for the future all concerns for the Gunners' hierarchy.
Another defensive addition is likely in the form of 17-year-old Brazilian right-back Yan Couto, a player recommended by technical director Edu but certainly one for the future rather than now.
As for further up the pitch, another previous Arsenal target has been linked once again with Atletico Madrid's Thomas Lemar reportedly being considered by the club.
The Frenchman nearly joined the Gunners in £92m deal back in 2017, before moving to the Spanish capital a year later.
Lemar has struggled at Atleti though and the club are happy to let him leave on loan this month. Arsenal are monitoring the situation, but face competition from Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur.
Lille defensive midfielder Boubakary Soumaré has also been linked, but with Granit Xhaka likely to stay in north London and funds limited this month, a move for the 20-year-old will more likely come in the summer.
As for departures, Mikel Arteta has confirmed captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang will stay - although he is yet to sign a new deal - and the club are unlikely to sell anyone this month.
A number of loan exits for youngsters in and around the first-team could take place though, with striker Tyreece John-Jules already completing a temporary switch to League One side Lincoln City for the rest of the season.
Eddie Nketiah is likely to go back out on loan after his Leeds United stay was cut short, with Championship and Premier League clubs interested, while Emile Smith Rowe looks set to spend the rest of the campaign at Huddersfield Town.