The Premier League shelled out a combined £175million last month, making it one of the most expensive January transfer windows of all time, to push the division’s spending during the 2015/16 season to a record-breaking £1.045billion.
Little of that almighty sum, however, can be attributed to Arsenal. Much like the summer transfer window, Arsene Wenger saw fit to bolster his squad with just one addition in the form of FC Basel midfielder Mohamed Elneny.
The Gunners are traditionally rather frugal spenders and Wenger has never been a fan of the winter window, often publicly criticising his existence, so perhaps the limited activity at the Emirates wasn’t too much of a surprise.
But recruitment is now a year-long process at the majority of clubs in world football and although the north Londoners didn’t get up to much last month, they may have laid the blueprint for several deals to take place during the summer.
With that in mind, here are Arsenal’s FIVE January transfer sagas that look set to continue in the coming transfer window…
Arsenal were reported to be one of the front-runners in the race to sign Borussia Dortmund striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang last month, who amassed a whopping 18 goals in 17 Bundesliga appearances during the first half of the season.
The Gabon international, famed for his penetrative pace, trickery and netting prowess, seemed the ideal signing to get the Gunners over the line in this season’s title race and the Black-Yellows’ alleged £42million valuation certainly wasn’t outside of their financial reach.
But the 26-year-old quickly ruled out a January move, telling reporters he was ‘not at Arsenal, not at Barcelona and not on the moon‘, and he eventually stayed put at Westfalenstadion.
But Arsenal still need more options up front and if Aubameyang’s superlative form continues, Europe’s top clubs – including the Gunners – will almost certainly come calling again in the summer.
Another Bundesliga striker who popped up on Arsenal’s radar last month was former Manchester United super-sub Javier Hernandez.
Regular first team football at Bayer Leverkusen has seen the Mexico international flourish this season, bagging 21 goals in 24 appearances across all competitions, and the Gunners, Spurs and Liverpool were all reported as interested in bringing him back to the Premier League.
But the chances of Bayer selling their top scorer after just six months, even amid the temptation of an enormous return of their original £7.3million investment, were always rather slim to say the very least.
But well proven in England, boasting three consecutive campaigns of double figures in the top flight, and now showing his capabilities when given a starring role, Chicarito seems almost destined to return to the Premier League next summer – whether it’s with Arsenal or a divisional rival.
Arsenal have been courting Leicester City defender Ben Chilwell since last summer and reportedly saw a £4million bid rejected during the last few days of the January transfer window.
The left-back is yet to feature in the Premier League for the Foxes but has registered three appearances in cup competitions during 2016 and is allegedly regarded as one of English football’s most exciting youth products.
The Gunners’ need for another left-back was relatively slim last month, with Kieran Gibbs and Nacho Monreal both fully fit and in good form, so they were never going to push the King Power Stadium outfit too hard in negotiations.
But Arsene Wenger’s made a habit of cherry-picking potential England internationals from other clubs so it’s more than likely the north Londoners will return with an improved bid in the summer – especially if Chilwell refuses to extend his Leicester contract past the end of next season.
Many were caught off guard by Arsene Wenger’s swoop for FC Basel midfielder Mohamed Elneny, especially considering there were far more established options within Arsenal’s financial reach last month – including rumoured target Victor Wanyama.
The Kenyan international has proved himself to be one of the Premier League’s most formidable enforcers since signing for Southampton in summer 2013, boasting a simple-yet-effective style of play and imposing physicality that could have a significant effect at a higher level.
But Southampton continually insisted that none of their players would be sold in January, with Ronald Koeman claiming the club were prepared to reject even world-record bids for their stand-out stars, so no Arsenal bid ever materialised.
According to The Telegraph, however, Arsene Wenger is planning a huge midfield recruitment drive for the summer, when Bosman-bound veterans Mikel Arteta, Mathieu Flamini and expected to leave the club, and Wanyama is one of the names on the Gunners gaffer’s shortlist.
Granit Xhaka has quickly emerged as one of the Bundesliga’s rising stars and plenty of top clubs have reportedly took note of his impressive form this term, including the Gunners.
The Switzerland international has been dubbed ‘young Schweinsteiger’ by former manager Ottmar Hitzfeld and boasts a similar kind of deep-lying style, this term averaging 2.3 tackles, 3.1 interceptions, 1.1 successful dribbles and a whopping 81 completed passes per match.
Despite prior reports on the contrary, sporting director Max Eberl ruled out a January move as the winter window drew to a close.
But Gladbach are almost certain to sell at the end of the season unless they can agree an improved contract with the 23-year-old. His current deal includes a £23million release clause for summer 2017, meaning the Bundesliga outfit only have two windows left to secure a higher fee.