Rough Guide to Arsenal Manager Arsene Wenger's January Transfer History

James McNicholasFeatured ColumnistDecember 27, 2013

Rough Guide to Arsenal Manager Arsene Wenger's January Transfer History

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    If Arsenal are to sustain their challenge for the Premier League title, a few reinforcements would be welcome. The Gunners arguably look light at both centre-forward and centre-back.

    However, any Arsenal fans anticipating a flurry of belated Christmas presents might have to revise their expectations: January is not Arsene Wenger's preferred time to buy. Speaking to Amy Lawrence of The Guardian in November, Wenger said:

    It is always difficult in the middle of the season. If somebody is doing well somewhere the clubs do not necessarily want to sell him. They can wait until the end of the season. Most of the time it [the reason we don't buy] is because we didn't find the right player.

    Wenger's reticence is palpable: he would prefer to do his business in the summer.

    That said, sine the January transfer window was established in the 2002-03 season, Wenger has dipped in to the market several times. In fact, he's twice used the mid-season window to break Arsenal's transfer record.

    Over the next few slides, we analyse Wenger's January transfer activity, pinpointing the years in which he took decisive action. Perhaps therein lies a clue as to the probability of him making a move next month.

2002-03: Arsenal Sign Guillaume Warmuz

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    Arsene Wenger used the inaugural January window to make an emergency signing. It's a decision he'd repeat several times over the coming years: January signings are born as much out of desperation as any kind of long-term planning.

    In 2003, Arsenal were badly in need of goalkeeping cover, so Wenger moved to sign experienced Frenchman Guillaume Warmuz. Warmuz never actually made a senior appearance for Arsenal, and departed in the summer. However, he gave the squad a bit of depth in a position where they were badly looking.

    As Warmuz came in, youngsters David Grondin and David Noble moved in the opposite direction through the Arsenal training ground's revolving doors. Wenger has subsequently developed a habit of allowing young players who are not getting enough games to leave in January if they wish.

2003-04: Jose Antonio Reyes Becomes Arsenal's Record Signing

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    Jose Antonio Reyes is something of an anomalous January signing.

    Arsenal didn't necessarily need him. He wasn't a panic buy, and Arsenal weren't struggling in the Premier League table.

    Reyes was signed purely to boost an already successful squad.

    Although Reyes didn't work out in the long-term, he was an ambitious and exciting signing. Arsenal fans would love to see Arsene Wenger act in a similar manner to add more firepower to their current selection of players.

2004-05: Emmanuel Eboue Acquired from Beveren

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    Emmanuel Eboue had already undergone a relatively successful trial at Arsenal in the summer of 2004. When Arsenal were hit by a defensive crisis in January 2005, Arsene Wenger knew just who to turn to, plucking Eboue from Arsenal's Belgian feeder club Beveren for a fee of just £1 million.

    Eboue went on to prove to be a bargain purchase. Although he occasionally struggled with ill-discipline and poor positioning, he was part of the make-shift back four that saw Arsenal through to the Champions League Final of 2006.

    Had Wenger not moved for Eboue in January, his potential might have been spotted by other clubs and competition for his services could have subsequently increased. Sometimes swooping in January enables a club to pick up an under-the-radar bargain.

2005-06: Arsene Wenger's Busiest January

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    The 2005-06 season saw Arsene Wenger's busiest ever transfer window.

    Arsenal were struggling. It looked as if they might struggle to make the Premier League's top four, and thus miss out on Champions League qualification.

    Wenger responded by making a hat-trick of major signings. Emmanuel Adebayor and Abou Diaby were brought over from Monaco and Auxerre respectively, while Wenger also moved to secure a young English talent, acquiring Theo Walcott from Southampton.

    Although Walcott would not appear until the following season, both Adebayor and Diaby played a crucial role as Arsenal usurped Tottenham to steal fourth place on the final day of the season.

    As well as these three high profile deals, Wenger also made moves for back-up goalkeeper Mart Poom and young Mexican forward Carlos Vela. Such a flurry of activity is unlikely to ever be repeated at Arsenal.

2008-09: Hello Andrey Arshavin

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    In the 2006-07 and 2007-08 seasons, Arsene Wenger kept January activity to a minimum. The most bizarre activity was the departure of Lassana Diarra, just a matter of months after arriving from Chelsea.

    However, in 2009, Wenger embarked on a crusade to bring Russian schemer Andrey Arshavin to England. The deal was eventually completed in early February, just moments before the window slammed shut.

    Arshavin superseded Jose Antonio Reyes as Arsenal's record signing, and his impact was immediate. His four goal haul at Anfield is still fondly remembered by the Arsenal fans.

    However, like Reyes, Arshavin failed in the long-term, and was eventually released at the end of his contract. Perhaps that disappointment will influence Wenger's decision when it comes to making more exorbitant January purchases. 

2012-13: Nacho Monreal, Emergency Signing

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    Between 2009 and 2013, Arsene Wenger was hugely reluctant to use the transfer window.

    However, when Kieran Gibbs was injured within days of the end of the January 2013 window, Wenger was faced with prospect of having to field a player seemingly lacking in both form and fitness: Brazilian Andre Santos.

    It was a possibility Wenger could not countenance, so he moved fast to secure the signature of Malaga's Nacho Monreal. Malaga were in financial difficulty at the time, and Arsenal took advantage for the second time in a year to add Monreal's talents to a squad already containing Santi Cazorla.

    Monreal has gone on to become a reliable deputy for Gibbs. Santos, meanwhile, has now permanently left the club.

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    Given Arsene Wenger's January transfer history, do you think he will dip in to the market next month? Let us know below.