The Hard Tackle analyses the overall performance of Arsenal in the January transfer window and gives its verdict on their performance.
There was an element of chaos among the Arsenal fanbase on Tuesday morning as the Gunners were about to sign Jorginho from Chelsea. As soon as the news of talks getting into an advanced stage hit the online sphere, some sections had a negative outlook and a minor meltdown.
The meltdown was understandable, considering some recent players arriving from Chelsea have not performed well at the Emirates. There were shades of the Willian deal, which was a total disaster. Yet, the majority are standing behind Edu Gaspar and Mikel Arteta, hoping they are not making the same mistake again.
🗣️ “Has anyone had a better window than Arsenal? I don’t think so.”@SkyKaveh believes Arsenal have had the best transfer window this January. 💰 pic.twitter.com/IuHvs2erY7
— TheAFCnewsroom (@TheAFCnewsroom) February 1, 2023
Jorginho was announced as an Arsenal player late on Tuesday, and the Italian international became their third signing of this window. He joined Leandro Trossard and Jakub Kiwior in Arteta’s squad. And the Gunners now look geared up to fight for the Premier League title.
On paper, the three acquisitions look good. And one look at Arsenal’s bench now makes them look more comfortable than they were earlier in the month. Of course, these players have plenty of time to come good. But Arteta may need them ready to contribute whenever called upon.
The three are preferred choices on the Arsenal bench as things stand. But each of them can start games if needed. Adding quality depth was Arteta’s main objective, and the Gunners fulfilled it despite missing out on at least two top targets.
INS: Leandro Trossard, Jakub Kiwior, Jorginho
OUTS: Marquinhos, Albert Sambi Lokonga, Cedric Soares
MVA (Most Valuable Addition): Jorginho
Jorginho playing at the Emirates in an Arsenal shirt would be a strange sight for many. But that is not the case for Mikel Arteta, who had wanted him in his first summer transfer window. Thomas Partey arrived after Chelsea refused to sell Jorginho then. But the Ghanaian midfielder has come good.
Welcome to The Arsenal, Jorginho 👊 pic.twitter.com/jHXqAUBKKQ
— Arsenal (@Arsenal) January 31, 2023
Partey’s injury history prompted Arsenal to look at a central midfielder in this window. They might have gone without signing one had it not been for Mohamed Elneny’s season-ending injury. The club entering the market late for a midfielder was reminiscent of their efforts to sign Douglas Luiz in the summer, which again occurred due to Elneny’s injury.
In hindsight, Arteta needed someone to handle the No.6 role independently and provide solid backup to Partey. In addition, Jorginho fell out of favour at Chelsea due to a change in the system since the arrival of Graham Potter. With his contract expiring in six months, it made more sense for the Blues to get decent value. And Arsenal readily paid £12 million for the Italian international.
His skills on the ball suit Arteta’s style, and the compactness of the team will favour Jorginho to play his game well. More importantly, the Italian international’s injury record is a marvel in the modern game. He has missed all but five games in his 13-year career, which is stellar by all accounts.
Overall, he will prove an exciting addition to Arteta’s side and immensely help Arsenal in the title run-in. His experience is also valued and will play a crucial role. Moreover, the manager can rely upon him as a different option to Partey in games.
Shrewd Work (A Departure That Is Ideal For All Parties): Albert Sambi Lokonga
In January, there were only three departures at Arsenal: Marquinhos, Albert Sambi Lokonga and Cedric Soares. The Belgian midfielder leaving the club to join Crystal Palace should be a good move for his talents and his future.
Another one joins 😍#CPFC
— Crystal Palace F.C. (@CPFC) January 31, 2023
He showed glimpses of his talents last season but somewhat lost his confidence due to a lack of game time. Moreover, there was no defined role in this team for Arteta to maximise his skills. Lokonga has played primarily in the No.6 role as a cover for Thomas Partey and has not performed well.
Many suggest his style is more suited to reprise the advancing midfielder role currently essayed by Granit Xhaka, and with the Swiss national in the side, game time will be few. Lokonga needed a new environment and time away from Arsenal to build confidence.
At Crystal Palace, Patrick Vieira might have a different outlook on using him. And the coming months will show if he is cut out for the Premier League. But, overall, it is a good move for the 23-year-old Belgian to regain some reputation in the current squad at the Emirates.
The Big Miss (A Player Who Should Have Left): None
Arsenal did not have a vast squad coming into the January transfer window. In fact, Arteta’s primary objective was to improve the numbers and add quality to the squad. Had Cedric Soares not left the club, he might have featured in this section, considering he was the player with the least minutes in this team.
New chapter ⚫️⚪️ Ready to give 100% for this historic club! 💪🏼 #FFC pic.twitter.com/qssXO0CA7q
— Cédric Soares (@OficialCedric) February 1, 2023
Last January, plenty of those had to leave. But this time around, Arteta wanted to bring good players, and he has done the job. Moreover, the arrival of Jorginho and the quality he brings to the team made Arsenal’s decision to send Lokonga on loan easier.
Other than that, no players in the current squad had to leave, as everyone has performed to their best levels so far. There are players like Emile Smith Rowe who are yet to show their talents this term, considering his long injury layoff.
Chelsea will earn the crown of the winners of the January transfer window, not for the quality of players that came in, but for the sheer amount of money spent. The Blues spent over €200 million twice last month, and many will point towards their supremacy in the market.
The Arsenal bench options are looking decent pic.twitter.com/wG1cq5xjJP
— Bhavs (@bhavss14) February 1, 2023
Yet, in hindsight, Arsenal had a better window considering they were objective in their search. Mikel Arteta wanted players that improved the current squad and helped push the team in the title challenge. The primary need was in midfield, and they got in the experienced Jorginho.
The only other two areas that needed reinforcements were the wide attacking zone and at left centre-back. There were some disappointments in this market for the Gunners after missing out on Mykhaylo Mudryk after a significant build-up toward his arrival at the Emirates.
Leandro Trossard became his alternative, and the Belgian has looked sharp so far. He may prove his worth for the Gunners this season and make Arsenal fans forget about Mudryk. Similarly, the shrewd acquisition of Jakub Kiwior is not spoken about enough.
The Polish international is an established defender and will cover for Gabriel Magalhaes whenever needed. He would become helpful in UEFA Europa League this season and late in Premier League fixtures when Arsenal need someone to close the game down.
Overall, the window for Arsenal was a massive hit, and the players will undoubtedly improve the current squad. A good look at the team and their bench strength will show the Gunners are ready to compete with Manchester City in the Premier League title run-in and probably win it.
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