Arsene Wenger has insisted that Arsenal remain unlikely to make any more signings this January unless “something exceptional” emerges in the final days of the transfer window.
That means the Gunners’ attack will be spearheaded by Olivier Giroud and Nicklas Bendtner for the remainder of the campaign, as they continue to fight to win three different competitions.
Whilst the Frenchman has been in superb form in his second season at the club, a reliance on Bendtner as the only genuine back-up option represents some crazy logic from the Arsenal boss.
But based on Wenger’s recent comments, it looks as though that’ll almost certainly be the case, per Jim Van Wijk of the Independent:
I feel a bit guilty always going to a press conference during the transfer market and having nobody to announce, but I don't want to lie.
It (new signings) looks very unlikely. We are 23rd January today and at the moment I must say we are not close to doing anything.
Whilst it is notoriously difficult to conduct business in the January window, managers do see it as an opportunity to refresh and rejuvenate the squad after an arduous festive period.
But on the flip-side, some managers choose not to do any business in a period when top players are scarcely available and fees are inflated.
Wenger certainly falls into that category. He has never really been a fan of doing transfers at this point of the campaign or a fan of the window as a whole, illustrated by his recent comments regarding Manchester United’s deal for Juan Mata, per Sky Sports.
Shouldn’t this year have been an exception, though? When was the last time Arsenal had as good a chance of winning the title as this? They currently sit atop of the Premier League table but have a rampant Manchester City and an ever-improving Chelsea side breathing down their necks.
Investing now wouldn’t be an unnecessary splurge; it’d bolstering the squad in an area where it is abundantly clear the Gunners are a bit short. It'd be preparing and readying the squad for an assault on silverware in the run-in.
Previously in the campaign Wenger could call upon Theo Walcott to play as a striker, but he is out of the side with a long-term injury. Lukas Podolski has returned in recent weeks, and he too has played as a centre-forward from time to time. But the German is certainly not what you would call a natural in that position and is much more comfortable playing from a wide area.
It leaves Giroud, who is undoubtedly Arsenal’s most accomplished striker, under huge pressure to deliver the goals and keep himself in tip-top physical condition. This despite a fixture list which will be crammed with crucial games.
Ideally, Wenger would like to rest Giroud in a couple of contests and rotate his squad to keep players fresh at the end of a long campaign.
But with every game obviously hugely important in both the Champions League and the FA Cup, as well as a Premier League title race which is becoming increasingly tight, when will he get an opportunity?
Should Wenger sign a striker even if it means paying over the odds?
In truth, based on Wenger’s comments, it seems as though he may have made moves to bring in a striker but might not have been able to box them off. Alvaro Morata has been continually linked with the club on a loan deal during the window, but that looks unlikely to happen, per Alex Richards in the Mirror.
It’s difficult to get players in during the January window. It’s even more difficult to get a goalscorer, especially when you’re not willing to pay a little over the odds.
But this season, Wenger should have done everything in his power to get a forward in, on a short- or long-term basis, and given Arsenal a fantastic chance of picking up their first piece of silverware for nine years.