New creative midfielder, Saliba loan and Szoboszlai talks - Arsenal's January transfer window
It's time to take a look at the upcoming January transfer window and what is likely to happen with Arsenal's incomings and outgoings
It's everyone's favourite time of year unless you're a football manager or sporting director. The January transfer window is just under a month away from opening - but what part will Arsenal play in it all?
Mikel Arteta and Edu are leading the Gunners transfer committee with the latter revealing in the summer that "everything related to football" will go through him following the departure of Raul Sanllehi in August.
"It is important to be clear,” Edu said in September.
“What I would like from now is for everything related to football to come through me. All the contacts, if agents want to talk to the player, internally, externally, outside people have to see me – and my name – as the first one to call or connect to.
“Of course we have a lot of people involved but I just want to be clear, people outside Arsenal have to understand who they need to connect to about football.
They secured the signing of Thomas Partey on deadline day in October but couldn't manage to get departures over the line for a number of first team fringe players, including Sokratis and Sead Kolasinac.
However, with the window opening in less than a month and COVID-19 restrictions beginning to ease across Europe, the viability of completing transfers in January is beginning to look possible.
Let's take a look at the potential incomings and outgoings at Arsenal.
Like most clubs Arsenal have been financially effected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Tim Lewis was appointed as non-executive director in the summer and orchestrated a number of cost-cutting measures which saw 55 redundancies take place, along with an entire audit of the club's finances.
It didn't stop the Gunners from spending £45million for Thomas Partey on transfer deadline day while they also launched a bid in the region of £30m for Lyon midfielder Houssem Aouar several weeks before. The finances are certainly there and the Kroenke family are well aware that investment will be needed, especially in the summer, if Arsenal are to progress and get back to playing alongside Europe's elite.
Targets have already been drawn up for the summer and Arsenal are sounding out intermediaries of potential signings as they look to strengthen the squad in multiple positions. Arteta's admission that he needs at least '5 or 6 players' to fit into the 4-3-3 formation he wants to deploy confirms that the club will be active in the next two transfer windows.
The pursuit of Dominik Szoboszlai is no secret and the Red Bull Salzburg starlet remains top of Arsenal's wishlist, although they face stiff competition from clubs across Europe for the Hungarian's signature. He has a £25million clause which is no obstacle for the Gunners, but football.london understands they are also exploring more experienced options to fill the creativity void which has been talked about throughout the season so far.
Szoboszlai's agent Matyas Esterhazy is in regular contact with interested teams and it's understood that Red Bull Leipzig are the favourites to sign the 20-year-old as things stand. The boyhood Real Madrid fan has yet to make his mind up on where he wants to play, but a January exit appears almost certain.
Christian Eriksen has been offered to Arsenal by intermediaries working on behalf of the Danish midfielder. There have been rumours of a swap deal with Granit Xhaka, although football.london understands that it's unlikely Arteta would entertain such an offer for. Eriksen, a former Tottenham player, is liked by both Arteta and Edu with his Premier League experience being seen as a plus, but no formal approach has been made as of yet.
Norwich City midfielder Emi Buendia is another player on Arsenal's shortlist as they look to bolster their creative midfield area with a player who was in the top five Premier League creators last season. The Argentine has the same representatives as former Gunners goalkeeper Emi Martinez and football.london understands while no approach has been made for the 23-year-old yet, he is likely to be the subject of firm interest in January.
Defensive targets are also being looked at for the summer, with RB Leipzi's Ibrahima Konate extensively looked at over the past few months, while there are high hopes for Dinos Mavropanos who will return from his loan spell with Stuttgart at the end of the season.
As first revealed by JoriPress, Shkodran Mustafi wants to leave at the end of the season when his contract expires.
The German international is unlikely to leave in January when he can get a bigger signing on fee in the summer, but has already attracted interest from teams in Germany, Italy and Spain.
William Saliba is expected to return on loan to St Etienne, the club where he joined Arsenal from, after his return to the French side broke down on transfer deadline day.
The £28million signing has not played for the first team this season and Arteta explained the reasoning behind it due to the 19-year-old being in a 'transitional year'.
Greek defender Sokratis was also close to leaving on deadline day and will again assess his options in January, with Napoli showing serious interest in the centre back over the summer.
Sead Kolasinac's move to Bayer Leverkusen broke down on deadline day after he failed to find an agreement with the Bundesliga side, but that transfer could be revisited in January with the Bosnian keen on making a return to Germany