So here we are folks. This has to be one of the WORST days of the footballing calendar: January Transfer Deadline Day.
Honestly, it is like how the big retailers love Valentines Day because it fills the void between Christmas and Easter and means that they get to eek out a little more from the consumer, only this time it is the journalists and media that get to try to fill a void between matches, overhype their own channels and probably try to drive as much ad spend as possible as companies fight for eyeballs and clicks.
But from a football fans perspective it should really be viewed as the evil product of a footballing world never quite content with getting everything from us as it is: they always want more.
I also hate it more than the summer window. Because when the summer window closes you still have the whole season ahead and there are still plenty of hopes and dreams about what the season ahead coule possibly deliver. By the time January rocks up you know where your team is at and all that is replaced is fear:
- Fear of missing out on a signing that could help to get you over the line in a title race
- Fear of missing out on a signing that could help you get to the Champions League
- The same fear, but for the Europa League
- The fear of not signing that player who will help you avoid relegation.
See? All fans just go through a fear regardless of what their team is going through. And as Arsenal fans there are so many of us currently spending our time today with the fear that not signing a midfielder – or signing the wrong kind of midfielder – will jeopardise the chances of us winning the league.
But here’s the thing kids: this may not be the ONLY chance we have of winning the league. You must have heard and seen it too; when Arsenal fans talk amongst ourselves we have all been saying for some time “this feels different” and “something is happening here”. The sensible Arsenal fans I listen to, read and watch are saying that this squad is of such an age profile that, providing they can all be kept together (Gabby Martinelli just signed his new contract by the way) then we could be looking at an Arsenal team who have the players to compete at the top for the next three, to five years. So don’t buy this “we need to do this now” nonsense. I don’t believe that in my lifetime Arsenal will NEVER compete at the top again. Two seasons ago I might have done, but even if we don’t win the league (which I think is an outside bet given the games we have to play and the juggernaut in City we are up against), what this season will have done is show me that things can change very quickly in football.
Eight months ago we were licking our wounds having been pipped to the Champions League by the Scum.
Eighteen months ago we were fretting because we hadn’t made any signings.
Just under 28 months ago we were in a spiral under Arteta that none of us thought he’d recover from.
Like I say – a LOT can happen in football.
Perhaps that is a counter argument for what needs to happen today though, I will acknowledge that, to be fair. If in 12 months time we have a horrendous injury list list Liverpool have had at times this season, then maybe we are languishing in sixth, seventh or eighth and it’s all looking a little precarious. So if that is the case, shouldn’t you do everything in your power to make sure that you have the required players at your disposal to get over the line? And if you can’t get the exact player you want, shouldn’t you look at somebody who will at least be a temporary solution?
Let’s not kid ourselves and say that Trossard wasn’t seen as that. We went for Mudryk, didn’t get him because the figures were eye-watering given his relative experience, Chelsea paid it all up, we moved on and found an alternate solution. That is what I think has happened with the Jorginho links and that is what Arsenal will be weighing up this morning. He’s got six months left on his deal, he’s not signing a new one, plus with the arrival of Enzo Fernandez he probably will see even less game time. The rumours came out yesterday after a seeming acceptance from Arsenal that Brighton weren’t moving on Caicedo unless the fee is extortionate and I suspect we’re getting to that stage now. £75million all in is way over the top as it is, so Brighton wanting £80million is just nonsense.
Having said that, unless the terms of the Jorginho deal are extremely favourable to Arsenal, I’m not sure how that deal is anything other than nonsensical to think of. He’s not an athletic midfielder who brings energy to a youthful side, he’s an ageing Chelsea midfielder with whome we’ve had many dealings with over the years and rarely has it ever worked out for us. In fact, I’m trying to think of just one that has (Gallas, Lassana Diarra, Cech, David Luiz was ok at best for a short period of times, Willian was a car crash) and I’m struggling to be honest.
So, is there any instance in which I think the Jorginho deal would work? I guess if the fee is super low, if the contract is super short, if the wages are reasonable, then it might be one to consider. But Chelsea will no doubt be thinking they can get some bucks out of us and I suspect they’ll want £10million or more, which Arsenal should instantly walk away from. Then the player himself will no doubt fancy a decent sized contract. But anything more than 18 months should be dismissed instantly. 18-months would work for us because it basically replaces the Elneny deal, which was a one year deal with a one year option to extend. If he is out until the end of the season then we let Elneny go in the summer and Jorginho becomes the de facto third choice central midfielder in the six when we buy another one in the summer. So if that was the terms – i.e. £5million, 18-month contract, lower wages than what he’s on at the moment, then I’d be ok with it. But nothing more.
But the problem is that this kind of deal just won’t happen and that’s why this just feels like a desperate move we should steer well clear of. But the challenge we’ll see come the evening tonight, is whether we have indeed steered clear, or have we blinked and are therefore moving quickly to bring him in and get a deal that isn’t good for us in any way, shape or form.
Either way, we’ll have clarity on where we’re at come bedtime tonight, I just hope I’m not left questioning the decision making.
Catch you on the other side of this horrendous day in the football calendar.