Whether it is financial reasons or just a good fit, some transfers just make sense. While these moves listed below have not occurred just yet, here are four Arsenal transfers during the January transfer window that make sense for the parties involved.
Theo Walcott to Southampton
Walcott actually had a very underrated 2016/17 campaign with the Gunners. He ended the season with 19 goals in 37 total games. This year, however, the occasional England international has only managed four goals and just 47 total Premier League minutes (zero starts). Nevertheless, the winger/forward does have value and can help a team moving up the pitch.
Everton and West Ham are both said to be interested in Walcott. However, it is Walcott’s former team, Southampton, that appears to be the most likely destination for the forward, if in fact he was to move away from the Emirates. The Arsenal number 14 is currently the club’s longest-serving player, but he needs regular time on the pitch if he is to regain his spot back in England national team. Southampton have just received £75 million from Liverpool for Virgil van Dijk, and are thought to have Walcott at the top of their January wish list.
Alexis Sanchez to Bayern Munich
Heavily, and I do mean heavily, linked with Manchester City during the summer, Alexis Sanchez ultimately remained an Arsenal player after the transfer window shut earlier in the season. While manager Arsene Wenger did try to snag Monaco’s Thomas Lemar before the end of the window, which would have then opened the door for Alexis to move to City, both deals fell through the cracks in the final minutes of the transfer period.
Sanchez is apparently still keen on a switch to the blue side of Manchester; however, it does not appear City particularly need the 29-year-old forward. Pep Guardiola’s club is flying high and should collect their first Premier League in four years this season. Paris Saint-Germain and Bayern Munich have also been linked with a move for the Chilean recently as well. PSG’s front three of Neymar, Cavani, and Mbappe is about as good as it gets in European soccer though and there may not be enough room for Sanchez in the Parisian’s starting XI up front.
Bayern, on the other hand, would make sense because both Franck Ribery and Arjen Robben’s contracts expire at the end of the season (much like Sanchez). While it remains to be seen if Bayern will come to Wenger with an offer for Sanchez in January, the Arsenal forward has reportedly disrupted the locker room and the Gunners should probably cut their losses and try to regain some money in a transfer before the player walks away for free in June.
Signing a Versatile Attacking Player
With Alexis Sanchez almost certainly departing the club either in January or June, and perhaps Mesut Özil as well, Arsenal should be proactive in signing someone that can play in the front attacking three. Players such as Leon Bailey, Julian Draxler, Nabil Fekir, or the aforementioned Lemar would all fit in nicely with the Gunners. Wenger would do well to secure the signature of one of these four players in January.
Bailey, a relatively new Arsenal target, is lighting it up with the German club Bayer Leverkusen. The 20-year-old Jamaican is mostly deployed as a left winger and has similar attributes to a young Sanchez. PSG’s Draxler has been on Wenger’s radar for some time now, and a deal for the German would certainly make sense. Although he is normally a winger, the French club have used him in a more central midfield role so far this season.
Fekir would also be an excellent choice because of his versatility. While many people assume he would be the perfect player to replace Özil, should the German leave the club, Fekir can also be utilized in a more forward role as well. The France international, and former teammate to Alexandre Lacazette, currently has 13 goals in 16 league matches with Lyon.
New Contracts for Özil and Wilshere
Plenty of the talk surrounding the January transfer period has been around signing or selling players; however, there are current Arsenal players that need to be re-signed. With Sanchez almost certainly on his way out of the door, Wenger needs to tie down new contracts for Mesut Özil and Jack Wilshere. Both are heading into the final six months of their current contracts, and both are fan-favorites at the Emirates.
Özil, who many assumed would depart alongside Sanchez, is undoubtedly one of the most important players in the team. Re-signing the Germany international would be a major piece of business, and would give the mostly uneasy Gooners a significant boost of moral. The 29-year-old midfielder is reportedly planning a marriage in 2018, and supposedly set to settle down in London with his bride-to-be.
Wilshere, on the other hand, is in the midst of a very impressive season with the Gunners. Remaining fit has been the most important concern for the oft-injured Englishman. Not only is he fit, but Wilshere has also performed exceptionally well when he has been given the chance by Wenger this season.
The 25-year-old midfielder is Arsenal through and through, and certainly deserves a new contract with the club that he has been with for 16 years. Following the club’s 3-2 victory over Crystal Palace on Thursday, Wilshere claimed that he is optimistic of a deal happening soon. “I’m sure [the deal] will get done,” stated the midfielder during the post-match interview. Arsenal fans will hope this is true.
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