Arsenal Transfer Review: Rounding Up Arsenal's January Transfer Activity
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Arsenal once again opted for prudence over exuberance during the January transfer window, sanctioning just one major signing throughout the entire month.
But while there may only have one big name arriving at the Emirates Stadium, away from the spotlight there were a number of current Gunners who managed to negotiate moves away from the club.
Though they may only be short-term deals in most cases, such exits could nonetheless have an impact on Arsenal’s season as the fixture list begins to congest.
This article reviews all of the Gunners’ transfer activity, identifying each transfer and analysing the effects they may have on the club in the future.
Marouane Chamakh: Out
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Ever since a disappointing debut season with the club, Moroccan forward Chamakh has continually been linked with a move away from the Emirates Stadium.
Such speculation finally materialized this past month, as fellow Londoners West Ham United agreed a six-month loan deal for the 29-year-old.
Having managed just one league goal for Arsenal last season, it’s safe to say that Chamakh hasn’t been a particularly integral part of Arsene Wenger’s plans as of late.
The one thing that could be said about this deal is that it leaves the Gunners slightly understaffed up-front, but a combination of Arsenal’s one-striker system and Theo Walcott’s ascent to form should atone for the loss of a squad player such as Chamakh.
Though the deal does not mention the possibility of making the loan move a permanent transfer at a later date, don’t be surprised to see Chamakh move on elsewhere when he returns to North London in the summer.
Johan Djourou: Out
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Arguably the most high-profile departure of the month, centre-half Johan Djourou signed a loan deal until the end of the current campaign with German side Hannover 96.
As with the Chamakh deal, no details of a future transfer were negotiated, however the Swiss defender has since declared his willingness to make the loan move permanent come the summer.
This move is perhaps a little more surprising, as Djourou has of course captained the Gunners on two occasions this term.
Though he was by no means a key player, the 25-year-old was a solid choice for backup behind the likes of Per Mertesacker, Thomas Vermaelen and Laurent Koscielny. His exit now sees Sebastien Squillaci emerge as the only senior centre-half in reserve in the Gunners' squad, which could prove problematic—especially when one considers the injury record of Vermaelen.
Nonetheless, barring any unexpected injuries or suspensions, the club should be able to cope with the loss of Johan Djourou for the time being.
Chuks Aneke: Out
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19-year-old Chuks Aneke has spent the first half of this season on loan at League One side Crewe Alexandra.
And after a brief return to the Emirates in January, an extended loan deal with Crewe was agreed that will see the England youth international remain at Alexandra Stadium until the end of the season.
Obviously this one will not affect Arsene Wenger’s plans too much at all, as this was clearly not planned to be the teenager’s breakout season with the club.
However the deal does of course present the midfielder with the opportunity to further develop his game in a competitive environment, which could well enable him to make a challenge for a first-team spot for the Gunners in future.
Such an eventuality may still be a few years away though, but at least the Crewe deal is a positive step in the youngster’s fledgling Arsenal career.
Emmanuel Frimpong: Out
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While Aneke may be some years off a regular spot in the Arsenal side, Frimpong is a man who appears much closer to a first-team role.
Now 21, the Ghanaian-born midfielder recently agreed a six-month loan deal with Premier League side Fulham, marking a step up from his loan to Charlton Athletic in the Championship earlier this season.
With the chance to impress on such a bigger platform, this could be the final stage in Frimpong’s development before becoming an important part of Wenger’s squad.
Much like the case of Aneke, loaning out a player who was already out on loan earlier in the season will have little effect on the club in the short term, but could yield great returns when one considers the club's future.
If he can remain injury-free, Frimpong could finally make a name for himself on the pitch rather than off it.
Nacho Monreal: In
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The only Arsenal arrival of the January transfer window was the signing of Nacho Monreal from Malaga on deadline day.
Considered by many to be a rather rushed signing, Monreal’s arrival will nonetheless be hugely beneficial to the club, particularly after Kieran Gibbs' latest injury problem.
The Spanish full-back has represented his country on nine occasions, boasts great technical ability and is as comfortable driving forward as he is tracking back—an asset that appears to be somewhat lacking in the club’s other left-side full-back, Andre Santos.
Though he will be ineligible to feature in European competition for the Gunners, Monreal’s presence in the league could well give the club that extra dimension both in attack and defence.
A typically astute signing from Arsene Wenger, and one that represents good value for money.
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While it may have been a fairly quiet window for the Gunners, they nonetheless managed to strengthen an area of the team that was certainly in need of some sort of attention.
Furthermore the loaning out of young stars such as Aneke and Frimpong could bode very well for the club in the future, and though allowing Djourou and Chamakh to depart could leave them fairly short of backup, Arsenal’s current squad should be able to cope with the physical rigors of the Premier League run-in.
Though there may have been calls for one or two new faces, as we’ve seen time and again in the past—more often than not Arsene Wenger seems to know what he’s doing come the January transfer window.
But what do you think of Arsenal’s January transfer activity?
Comment below with your thoughts on the club’s arrivals and departures, as well as any issues raised in the article itself.