So January was an interesting month, both result wise and transfer wise. We went into the January window with Sanchez unhappy and wanting a move to Bayern. But before that, let’s take a look at our results.
As I mentioned previously, Koscielny and Bellerin were suspended for the Chelsea game. Two of our best defenders, against a Chelsea team that was playing extremely well. We battled toe-to-toe with them throughout the whole match. Unfortunately, Marcos Alonso grabbed a well worked goal in the 86th minute.
Reine-Adelaide scored his first senior goal for Arsenal in the 1-0 win against Norwich in the FA Cup. I’m really pleased with the way he is progressing. One for the future, I’m sure.
The Liverpool fixture was a big game. Klopp had just been sacked following a string of 5 games without defeat and languishing just above mid-table. This was Balde’s last game before he head off to the African Cup of Nations, and he showed us exactly what we’re going to miss. A great 2-0 win for us.
If you paid close attention to the image above, you would have noticed a little certain someone. That’s right. Antoine Griezmann! But i’ll get to all the January in’s and out’s in a bit.
The West Ham game started off terribly – and I feared the worst. Bellerin was sent off for an ugly challenge on the 19th minute. We immediately set ourselves up in a 4-4-1 counter-attacking style, with Griezmann alone up top. Surprisingly, and amazingly, Griezmann scored an absolute worldy. He picked up the ball in his own half and ran at 5 defenders. Twisting and turning through them like a knife through butter. He had one defender left, Jose Fonte. But he had only one thing on his mind, the back of the net. He took on Fonte with ease and slot the ball home. We have a new fan favorite. All of this done on his full debut for the club.
The Winter Window
So as mentioned above, Griezmann is now a Gunner. With players becoming unhappy, and wanting to move to ‘bigger clubs’, I just had to do something. Or else I’d end up becoming Arsene Wenger 2.0.
A statement had to be made. I had to show our players, and more importantly, our fans that I mean to do business. I was not here just to settle for 4th.
Griezmann’s buyout clause was £86m. This deal was to make him one of the most expensive players in the world. And if it helped keep the likes of Ozil and Sanchez at the club, it could be one of the deals of the century.
Buying the likes of Griezmann increases our stature within world football quite dramatically.
I also managed to pick Muniain up on a free from Athletico Bilbao. At 24 years of age, he might be the finished article, but he looks like a good little player. He signed a deal that would see him as a backup on 37k a week. A steal if you ask me. And if it doesn’t work out, we can always make money off a sale of him.
With Iwobi, Paulista and Sanchez all unhappy, I was hoping if we did sell those 3, we’d find replacements with the money generated, and the extra cash the board gave us.
Thankfully, Sanchez wasn’t sold. A bid from Bayern never materialized. If they did bid, I don’t think I could have kept him. He only has a year and a half left on his contract, and having an unhappy star man in the team could drive down the morale of the whole squad.
January came and went and with that, we now have a happy Sanchez. As February 1st rolled round, I quickly got to work on drafting up a new contract for him. Hopefully he will sign a new long-term deal in the coming days.
As you can see above, we sold 3 players in this window, mainly to facilitate the deal of Griezmann. Iwobi was a right pain. Playing terribly and always in a mood. Man United came calling with a deal that could rise to £26m. Was this a mistake? Could I have got more? It’s hard to tell, but I just didn’t need that type of player in my squad. I can’t see him getting into the United team, so it will be interesting to see how much playing time he gets.
Liverpool came in for Paulista with a deal rising to £24m. Paulista hardly played for me this season. Mainly due to injury and the surprisingly good form of Bell. £24m for a player that was way down the pecking order and who had been bought for £11.25m in 14/15 season, I was pretty pleased with it.
Would I of liked these deals to be of done with foreign teams? Absolutely. But I took what I could get, and in the end we have struct a deal with Griezmann. I’m happy.
English Window Roundup
It’s not surprising that we had the biggest deal of the window. Spurs however also bought from Athletico. Carrasco for £26.5m seems like a bargain and I’m sure he will do well for our arch rivals.
6 games await us next month. 3 tough games against Man City, Monaco and Spurs. I’m hoping for some magical stuff from Griezmann, and hopefully Ozil can have a better 2nd half of the season.
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