Happy Christmas Eve folks. Hope you and family are doing well. For me it’ll be a run, a walk on the beach in Alnmouth (pronounced a little differently than it’s spelt!), then some form of TV watching as I consume yet more beer and rum as well as a few drops of wine at dinner. All in a days work.

Speaking of work, it seems as though the transfer merry-go-round is starting to whirr in to life, as this morning I have seen about eight different players linked to The Arsenal. Tis’ the season to put two and two together it seems, with Arsenal’s absentee Gabriel Jesus enabling journalists to have a go at predicting who we’ll be buying in January to solve our shortage in the attacking positions with our fiesty Brazilian out for an extended period of time.

I had a good debate about it on Twitter with Darren actually, because despite some of the rumours, to me if feels like any transfer dealings won’t happen early. Darren seems to think that the work being done over this December period will bear some fruit early on in the window. I’d love that to be true and of course I like nothing more than being proven wrong with this sort of stuff, but I just have a feeling that there will not be loads of movement early in the window. I certainly think that is the case with the likes of Mudryk, who is the big rumour that seems to have the biggest weight of credibility behind it. But Shaktar will not be coerced in to selling easily, I think. Publicly they have postured that it would take €100million bid to get him. I think that is just talk to appease their fans, because there’s no way anyone is paying that, but if they sold for closer to €65 – €70million I’m sure they’d accept that. The thing about that, however, is that it is a massive amount of money for a player who hasn’t done it in a major league yet. He’s young, fast, seems to know where the goal is, but history is littered with players who know exactly where the goal is and then come to England and suddenly need a sat nav to get the ball in between the posts.

I don’t think Shaktar will accept the rumoured offers of around €50million. It would certainly make their CEO look silly if the price he originally quoted was half. He will therefore want to get his fair price and Arsenal  will no doubt have to negotiate hard. That, to me, suggests that it won’t happen quickly and if a deal is to be done, I get the feeling that it’ll happen later.

Perhaps Arsenal will therefore look at an alternative option instead, which is where I’ve seen one or two links towards Joao Felix in the last 48 hours. On paper that makes sense; a guy who has fallen out of favour at Atletico, a guy who looked very good at Benfica but has perhaps lost his mojo, but somebody who is also supposedly available for loan. If Arsenal did want to move early for somebody, then this is the sort of deal that I suspect could be done quickly because Atletico want him out and if they can offload until the summer and then look to sell in June/July, then that would probably be something they’d be willing to make happen. I’m just not sure about those rumours though. There are a few floating around, but they are one of those rumours that every one of the crappy media websites pick up – you know, the ones where you have so many pop ups you can barely read the article, before you’re asked to sign up for yet more updates – and basically copy what each other has said. But the general consensus seems to be that he’s available if somebody wants to pay an £8million loan fee and the lads wages. The fact that we wouldn’t be tied down to the player if he doesn’t succeed might be attractive, but £8million for half a season, as well as paying his wages, seems a little steep to me. Plus the fact he’s been out of form at Atleti. Seems like a spurious rumour and personally I don’t think I put too much weight in it. Even if it does feel like it makes sense.

The other one I’ve read this morning is that Cody Gakpo is supposedly back on the radar. Again, with that one, I doubt that would be an early deal to be done if it was something Arsenal wanted to pursue. Firstly he’s just bagged goals at the World Cup, which will inflate his price, but secondly he’ll be at a team that isn’t exactly going to roll over and have its belly tickled over the fee. After that World Cup I suspect that PSV will be looking for north of £50million and whilst Gakpo has looked good at times and is versatile enough to play centrally or out wide, if Arsenal are hot on Mudryk at what they think should be around £50million, are they going to turn their attentions so quickly to Gakpo? Especially as there will more than likely be a bidding war for his signature, with United supposedly quite hot on him right now.

I guess the counter-balance to my thinking there is that we wanted to pay £45million+ for Martinez, who then went to United, so we shifted to Zinchenko for £35million pretty quickly. So if Arsenal think they are going to be given the run around from Shaktar, then they could quickly pivot towards Gakpo, but if that happens then again in terms of timing I just think we won’t see anything happen until later on in the window.

There’s still a belief that we’ll move early though and I hope that’s true. But all I’m saying is that I look at the deals we’ve done  in recent history in January. That tells me that there’s a pattern and it feels like it’ll be towards the end of the window:

  • Martin Odegaard on loan on 27th January 2021
  • Mat Ryan signed on 22nd January 2021
  • Cedric was signed on 31st January 2020
  • Pablo Mari signed on 29th January 2020
  • Denis Suarez signed on 31st January 2019
  • Aubameyang signed on 31st January 2018

That’s just six deals i’ve picked in recent years, but I could have gone on like mentioning Mkhitayran, Gabriel Paulista or even Kim Kallstrom as examples of late deals we’ve done. So history suggests it’ll be later in the window and that’s what I’m preparing myself for this January too.

Anyway, I’ve prattled on long enough for one day. Have a great Christmas Eve – whether you celebrate or not – and I’ll catch you all on Boxing Day for a match preview of the West Ham game.

Later’s people.