Although indications are that Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger is seeing some success in his pursuit of a few younger players, reports that they are being priced out of competition for several players point to the possibility of a disappointing transfer window for the club unless there is more in the works than is currently thought. According to reports, Wenger is closing in on a deal to bring young Polish player Krystian Bielik to the club, having invited him for a visit to check it out. This, however talented the Legia Warsaw player is, does not represent the kind of move likely to move the needle on this season for the club. There are talks of several other players being looked at as potential additions to the squad, but so far it looks like a cautious spending approach may be keeping them from closing any deals. It is possible that Wenger is a little gun shy about throwing big money at players after the mixed results last year of the record-setting signing of Mesut Ozil.
Arsenal was rumored to have been pursuing the possibility of getting Mats Hummels, defender for Borussia Dortmund, but that signing could potentially cost more than even Ozil’s deal last year. With Manchester United, Real Madrid, and Barcelona also in the mix competing for him, it is unlikely that even if the decision were made to spend that money, Arsenal would be able to land him. Also in the category of possible lost opportunities is Serie A forward Paulo Dybala. Arsenal have reportedly been very interested in acquiring his contract, but the reported £31 million asking price may have stalled that pursuit. At the moment, reports are that Liverpool is getting the upper hand in that chase and may be close to coming to a deal for Dybala.
Wenger may also be interested in bringing Bayern Munich winger Xherdan Shaqiri to the Gunners, but that possibility also is beginning to seem less and less likely. Club manager Pep Guardiola has gone on record saying that Bayern intends to keep Shaqiri with the club, and that he is not on the market as far as he is concerned. If he was allowed to leave, the player’s desire to be guaranteed starting status on any potential club is likely to cause Wenger to balk at the prospect, anyway.
With Bielik the only solid prospect on the horizon, unlikely to make a major impact without further refinement, fan sentiment that Wenger needs to find players sooner rather than later to shore up the squad is growing. With Arsenal seeing the prospect of a top-four spot getting further away rather than closer, pressure will be on to make significant adjustments, particularly on the defensive side, to improve their chances of rallying in the latter part of the season. It may take a sizeable investment, the likes of which Wenger appears reluctant to commit to thus far, to make the kinds of moves which might be necessary. With pressure mounting, however, it is possible that just such a move is in the Arsenal club’s future in order to avoid a disappointing January transfer window.
Commentary By Jim Malone
Image Courtesy of Ronnie Macdonald – Flickr License