Pain, loneliness and rejection are just a few of the words that could describe Arsenal’s disastrous January transfer window. Mediocrity, emptiness and delusion are a set of words that can describe Tottenham’s underwhelming transfer window given their clear needs. Both London clubs entered this January with pressing issues that needed to be addressed but left the window with little to show for it.
The January transfer window is the little brother to the summer window, always living in the shadow, wishing for a big groundbreaking transfer to lend it credibility. It can never be as exciting or important as its counterpart for the simple fact that it occurs midseason.
It’s not to say that there aren’t any great January transfers that come to mind, Luis Suárez and Virgil van Dijk are two of the best in recent memory with Bruno Fernandes joining their ranks too. On the flip side, there are high profile transfers that have failed spectacularly with the Alexis Sánchez to Manchester United move being a prime example. Most teams do choose to remain quiet during the window, as it’s an awkward time to make moves given it’s in the middle of the season.
Coming into this January transfer window, both teams needed to make some sort of splash to properly address their middling seasons. Arsenal, despite some positive developments, needed to add some more quality in the attack with some clear targets in mind. Tottenham’s season has been a disappointment with players regressing and the team never truly gelling.
With the window finally over, it’s safe to say that neither club will be pleased with how the window went, with Arsenal being the bigger loser of the two. While Arsenal had the worst of the two club’s windows, Tottenham left the month with a set of underwhelming transfers.
Despite some truly positive developments, it seems that Arsenal will be forever cursed to live in pain. To say this window was a disappointment would be a massive understatement, as the team lost players for nothing and didn’t add anyone of note, while missing out on great talents.
By no means an excellent manager, Mikel Arteta has done a good job this season with player development and giving some sense of stability to the club. Despite the good developments, Arsenal were in dire need of some reinforcements and got nothing, in fact they lost a key player for nothing.
The only place to start would be with the situation regarding Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s weird move to Barcelona. Following his disciplinary issues that resulted in the captaincy being stripped from him, Arsenal had been trying to sell Aubameyang to little success given his massive wages. In the waning days of the transfer window, it seemed that Arsenal had found a partner in Barcelona.
Ultimately a deal couldn’t go through due to Barcelona being unwilling to take on Aubameyang’s immense wage bill, so to get him off the roster, Arsenal had to terminate his contract, allowing him to move. Not only did Arsenal receive nothing for a player, who at one time was seen as one of the world’s best, but they had to eat his contract, negating one of the biggest reasons for his departure.
Had Arsenal been able to find a replacement for Aubameyang, maybe the window would have been salvageable, but the saga surrounding their failed bid for Dušan Vlahović left them without one. One of the most promising talents in the world, Vlahović would have been the perfect player to lead Arsenal’s frontline for the next decade. Vlahović would ultimately reject Arsenal’s better wages for Juventus, leaving Arsenal with only two strikers in Alexandre Lacazette and Eddie Nketiah.
The other moves that Arsenal made were severely underwhelming with two players who will be no more than backups in the near future. Auston Trusty joins from the Colorado Rapids and will join in the summer hasn’t shown himself to be a top defender in the MLS, making it a bizarre move. Matt Turner is the best keeper in the MLS, but is unlikely to displace Aaron Ramsdale which is a shame for such a talented keeper to remain on the bench.
Arsenal’s transfer window seems like it will undercut a lot of the positive developments that the club has made and will leave them out of Europe for yet another season. It also sets up a massive summer that will likely come to define Arsenal’s outlook for the near future.
Tottenham’s season can only be described as a disappointing dumpster fire that will take a while to put it out. With the moves the team made this January, the fire won’t be out anytime soon.
One of the least creative teams in the league, not really manager Antonio Conte’s fault, Tottenham has been middle of the road in scoring. Surprising given the talent they boast on the offensive side of the field, but their midfield for the most part has been awful. Needing a desperate shakeup and spark, it would have been wise for the club to pull off some impressive signings in the window.
Rodrigo Bentancur and Dejan Kulusevski both joined the team from Juventus, as Juve cleared their wage bill for some big moves. While both players help fill in some gaps in the squad, neither are truly game changing talents.
Bentancur had been with Juventus for years and was always thought to be a potentially great player, but he has been nothing more than an average starter on a competitive team. It’s a shame that Kulusevski never worked for Juventus given the player’s obvious talents, but he was never able to build on it given how the Serie A focuses more on technical abilities. With that said, should Kulusevski develop into a star and Bentancur bring stability, this window could turn out to be a success, but for now it’s a disappointment.
The team’s departures are a mixture of good and bad moves with no real players of note to Conte’s system leaving. Bryan Gil’s loan move to Valencia is a great move that will allow him to develop, while Dele Alli’s departure makes sense both financially and tactically for the team. Tanguy Ndombele’s loan move back to Lyon represents the failure of Tottenham’s transfer policy, as they failed to get the best out of a supremely talented player.
While not as disastrous as Arsenal’s window, Tottenham’s window has been a disappointment given how disastrous their season has been. In the future, Tottenham’s moves could be seen as a steal, but for now, their moves have still been done to stop the doubts surrounding the Spurs.
The January window isn’t the most exciting, as most teams prefer to do their business in the summer and avoid the panic buys of the window. Both Arsenal and Tottenham needed to make some moves to quell the growing questions around their teams, but both failed. Ultimately this sets up an incredibly important summer for both clubs where their futures could be decided.
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