With the January transfer window getting ever closer, Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger took some time and spoke about the club’s scouting and transfer policies. The manager, in an interview with arsenal.com, revealed that the club scouted players throughout the year and that a list was maintained of potential targets.
The manager went on to say that it was a very complicated process to buy a player and that if he wanted to bring in the best it would require several months of work on the part of the club. Thus he asked for patience once the transfer window opens, and said that he would only buy if a player with the right qualities became available.
I always have lists that you readjust because you come in on Monday, someone has seen a player and you have to follow up, watch him again, then watch him again and someone else has to watch him. Then when you come to a conclusion I have to watch him [again]. It takes time so that work never stops.
For example, when we played against Southampton I saw Calum Chambers, saw his qualities, then you check on him again and follow up.
To buy football players is not to go into a supermarket and just say that I want to buy a right back or a centre back. It’s to find the right quality.
If you go out tomorrow you will see that everybody looks for the same positions everywhere. It’s not as simple as it looks.
In January it makes it even more difficult because players are even less available than in June or July. But we will try to be creative and have one or two good ideas.
You have to give us time. We do our job as always. This season we bought five players who are all top quality, so I think we have done really well on the transfer market and we try to repeat that in January. But I can get on a case with a player who has a buy-out clause, you watch him one time and think: ‘oh, that’s really special’, then the next day, the guy has gone to Real Madrid.
Arsenal’s lack of defensive options is well known and constant injuries to key players this season has meant that we have never played at full strength. In January, Wenger absolutely must buy a centre back; something he has assured the AGM that he will do.
It is true that fewer quality players are available during the January transfer window; also the vast majority of such players will be cup-tied and thus ineligible to play for Arsenal in certain competitions. Prices might also be higher because fewer clubs would be willing to let talented personnel leave in the middle of a campaign. However, Wenger is a wily manager and will surely come up with some deal over the course of the window.
Hopefully, he will land a defender that the club could actually benefit from (Ron Vlaar being the most persistent rumour) and the second half of our season will proceed much more smoothly.