West Bromwich Albion manager Alan Pardew said Arsenal "got probably the response they were expecting" when the north London club made a late and low bid for centre-back Jonny Evans on deadline day of the January transfer window, per James Benge of the London Evening Standard.
Pardew made it clear he had warned potential suitors the Baggies wouldn't be receptive to late bids, particularly if the offers were below the club's £20 million valuation: "It wasn’t for lack of warning to Arsenal and to all the clubs. I've sat here every week saying 'don't make a bid on the last day, because you're not going to get what you want, really'."
Telegraph Football's John Percy revealed the Gunners offered £12 million for the Northern Ireland international on Wednesday. However, Luke Gardener of the Daily Star reported the bid was actually as little as £8 million.
Not wrapping up a deal for Evans meant Arsenal failed to strengthen what has been a dire defence. In fact, the Gunners have conceded 34 goals, the most among the Premier League's top six.
Former Arsenal star Paul Merson was particularly critical during an appearance on Sky Sports (h/t Metro's Louis Sealey): "How they've not bought defenders I do not know. How can you not get Jonny Evans from West Brom?"
Overlooking the defence has put a sour note on an otherwise excellent month of transfer business.
Arsenal did acquire creative forward Henrikh Mkhitaryan as part of the deal to send contract rebel Alexis Sanchez to Manchester United. The Gunners also broke their transfer record to purchase striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang from Borussia Dortmund for £56 million on Wednesday.
Those who question signing attackers amid defensive concerns should remember Arsenal have also scored the second-fewest goals in the top six. Manager Arsene Wenger builds his team to boss possession and create numerous chances.
The bold approach requires marquee talent in forward areas. Wenger needed to refresh his attack after selling Sanchez and letting Theo Walcott join Everton. Both players accounted for 49 goals last season, while target man Olivier Giroud joined Chelsea for £18 million on deadline day, per Goal's Chris Wheatley.
Landing Mkhitaryan and Aubameyang to partner with Alexandre Lacazette, Mesut Ozil and Danny Welbeck at least ensures the Gunners have enough firepower to compete for a top-four finish, the Carabao Cup and the UEFA Europa League.