The two stunning signings Arsenal might make in January – and four they most likely won’t

Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now
A look at the players Arsenal could and should sign in the January transfer window - and the deals that will pass them by.

As we head into January, Arsenal have two problems – or three, if you count the five point deficit to Liverpool at the top of the Premier League table. Firstly, they badly need reinforcements, especially up front where their forwards are misfiring and in midfield where injuries have left them short on options, with weariness being a major contributing factor to recent defeats against Fulham and West Ham United. The second problem is that they may not have much money to spend – so what will they do in the new transfer window?

Arsenal signed David Raya on an initial loan because they were skirting close to their maximum spend under the FFP regulations, and while there are always accountancy tricks that clubs can use to stretch their resources and amortise costs over longer periods, the combined £205m they have already spent this season on Declan Rice, Kai Havertz and Jurriën Timber means they have very little room to manoeuvre over the course of the next month.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

So when we hear rumours linking Arsenal with big-ticket players, we have to flavour the rumours with a healthy pinch of salt. If Arsenal are to make a splash in the transfer market, it may require them to sell first, and Mikel Arteta may be forced to sacrifice players like Aaron Ramsdale, Emile Smith Rowe and Eddie Nketiah if we wants to bulk his squad up. So with that in mind, we’re going to look over six of the players most frequently linked with the Gunners over the past month or so and see which are realistic, sensible signings that could help Arsenal to challenge for the Premier League title – and which simply don’t seem likely to happen.

Won’t sign – Douglas Luiz

Arsenal have been linked with a host of midfielders, ranging from establish Premier League stars to highly-touted youngsters, but most will be out of their price range until the summer, and that will almost certainly apply to Aston Villa’s Luiz, whose price tag has been variously reported as being between £80m and £100m. Sufficed to say that if Arsenal had to defer the purchase of Raya, who would cost less than half of the low end of that scale, then Luiz may have to wait.

It won’t help that Villa will have absolutely no interest in selling arguably their most important player as they attempt to mount an unlikely title challenge of their own. Unai Emery’s side are still second in the table and two points up on the Gunners, so there is almost no chance that they allow their best and brightest to leave this winter. Arsenal’s admiration for the Brazilian is genuine and justified, but it’s very unlikely that he goes anywhere just yet.

Won’t sign – Martín Zubimendi

The powerhouse at the heart of an impressive Real Sociedad team, Spain international Zubimendi has come up on the rumour mill several times in recent weeks but things simply don’t seem to be moving in the direction of a winter transfer.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

A technically-gifted midfielder in the mould of Sergio Busquets, he would make a fantastic signing if Arteta wanted to move back to a double pivot in midfield, but that doesn’t seem to be the move he wants to make based on recent selections – when you add in the fact that Sociedad are into the knockouts of the Champions League and battling hard to make the top four in La Liga once more, which has made them understandably leery about the idea of selling their star players, we just can’t see how this gets over the line. Not impossible, but not very likely either.

Could sign – Arthur Vermeeren

Of all the many midfielders Arsenal are said to be interested in, by far the most realistic January signing is the 18-year-old Belgian, a blossoming talent who has been hugely impressive for Royal Antwerp this season and who could provide a good alternative to Rice if the England man misses any match time.

Reports suggest Vermeeren would cost around €20m (£17.3m), which would be much more manageable for Arsenal, especially in a structured deal which pushed some of the payments down the road. A defensive midfielder who makes a ton of turnovers for his team, has a fantastic passing range and is more than comfortable carrying the ball, he’s a huge prospect for the future – we suspect Arsenal might wait until the end of the window to make a move, once they know whether they will be able to spend money or elsewhere, but we can see this happening if Arteta feels they need an extra man in the centre of the park to cover for the injured Thomas Partey and the unfavoured Jorginho.

Won’t sign – Ivan Toney

Brentford are reportedly hanging on for £100m for their star player, and that could be the kind of price range in which Victor Osimhen falls next summer – so unless Arsenal make several big-money sales and decide the need for goals is utterly urgent, we just can’t see Toney moving, at least to the Emirates.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Further complicating matters is the fact that Toney hasn’t been able to play all season thanks to his ban for breaching the FA’s gambling regulations. He will be available for selection again after this weekend's FA Cup third round games, but will need time to reach full match sharpness. Signing Toney as a short-term measure when it isn’t clear whether he’ll be able to get up to speed quickly enough makes very little sense, especially at such a steepling price tag.

Won’t sign – Dominic Solanke

The notion of Arsenal signing the Bournemouth striker is a recent addition to the back pages, but seems staggeringly unlikely from the point of view of both parties – and the mooted £50m transfer should be seen as idle paper chatter rather than a credible rumour.

Both Bournemouth and the 26-year-old Solanke have been on fine form of late, with the former Liverpool and Chelsea striker netting 12 times in 19 games, but the Cherries are still not so far from becoming embroiled in a relegation battle and owner Bill Foley has recently shut down talk of a move, saying “the door is closed and bolted shut.” That seems pretty comprehensive, really. Not going to happen.

Could sign – Santiago Giménez

If Arsenal do manage to sort the finances out in such a way that they can sign a new striker, the 22-year-old Feyenoord forward seems like the most plausible option. It’s been reported that the Dutch side want around €60m (£52m) for him, which is a lot but still makes him much more obtainable than a player like Toney – and while Feyenoord don’t really want to sell mid-season they are already trailing runaway Eredivisie leaders PSV by 10 points and ultimately remain a selling club.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

The Argentine forward has already bagged 20 goals in 20 games and fits the profile of the kind of forward Arteta seems to need – a classical number nine who operates in and around the box and whose movement and finishing make him lethal in front of goal. With Arsenal struggling to hit the back of the net with the consistency they managed last season, Giménez looks like a great fit for the club and his transfer would be much easier to negotiate than most of the alternatives. We don’t necessarily think it’s probable, per se, and Arsenal may very well wait until the summer to sign a striker, but if they do move, this is the most likely direction.

Comment Guidelines

National World encourages reader discussion on our stories. User feedback, insights and back-and-forth exchanges add a rich layer of context to reporting. Please review our Community Guidelines before commenting.