Arsene Wenger is not a fan of the January transfer window.
Maybe he feels there is little value to be found in winter deals, with valuations often inflated as selling clubs push asking prices up in the knowledge that buyers have no choice but to pay the going rate.
He would have been expected to dip back into the market this year, with Premier League betting suggesting that the Gunners face fierce competition in the battle to secure a top-four finish and qualification for the Champions League.
However, looking at Wenger’s dealings in recent years, Gooners shouldn’t be holding their breath despite the crystal clear deficiencies in the squad.
In the last four windows, five players have been acquired on loan or permanent deals, can you name them all?
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Here we go…
Kim Kallstrom – 2014
There was more than a hint of desperation in Arsenal’s only market move 12 months ago, with Wenger leaving it until the last minute to get a player in that few could have predicted would figure on his transfer radar. Kallstrom may have been a midfielder with Champions League experience and more than 100 caps for Sweden but if he was the answer, what was the question? He was not even fully fit when the Gunners took him on a short-term loan from Russian side Spartak Moscow, with a back problem identified during his medical.
It was too late to back out by then, though, and Kallstrom completed a switch which would see him go on to make just four appearances in Premier League and FA Cup competition. But his most notable contribution was his calm penalty in the Cup semi final win over Wigan, for that he will be remembered.
Nacho Monreal – 2013
Not the worst piece of business Arsenal have ever completed, with Monreal having shown himself to be a useful squad player in north London. Whether his contribution to the cause justifies a reported £8.3 million fee paid to Malaga is open to debate, but that is the January window for you. It used to be difficult to see how he gets a game if everyone is fit, with Kieran Gibbs the most logical choice at left-back. But the Spaniard has been excellent recently and looks set for an extended run in the side despite Gibbs’ return to fitness.
Monreal has benefitted from the fact that keeping everyone fit has been something of a problem for Arsenal, with Wenger forced into using the Spain international as a makeshift centre-half at times in an effort to cover the loss of more natural options in that position. His stint at centre back appears to have developed him as a defender.
Thierry Henry – 2012
Henry’s second coming in 2012 helped to raise morale during another window in which Wenger refused to splash the cash. He was able to keep the locals happy with a short-term deal for the club’s record goalscorer, with the flamboyant Frenchman making an emotional return after four-and-a-half years away with Barcelona and MLS side New York Red Bulls.
Henry made only seven appearances during a second stint in England, but was able to enhance his status as an Arsenal legend with goals against Leeds United in the FA Cup and a fairytale last-minute winner in his final Premier League outing against Sunderland.
Thomas Eisfeld – 2012
Wenger likes to buy into potential. Throughout his Arsenal tenure, he has always had at least one eye on the future. Plenty of emphasis has been placed on the production of home-grown talent in a famed academy system, while players of promise have been snapped up on a regular basis from across Europe. Eisfeld was one of them, with the highly-rated playmaker acquired from Borussia Dortmund in 2012.
He was unable to live up to his billing, though, and crossed London last summer to join Fulham after making just two League Cup appearances for the Gunners.
Ryo Miyaichi – 2011
A man still on the books of Arsenal, as difficult as that is to believe. Despite having been with the club for four years, Miyaichi has made only seven appearances under Wenger – with only one of those coming in the Premier League. The Japan international is still only 22 years of age, so has plenty to learn and could ignite at some stage, but the fact that he has spent much of his time out on loan at Feyenoord, Bolton Wanderers, Wigan Athletic and FC Twente – and has hardly set the world alight with any of them – suggests that he may be another to slip into obscurity.
Will this winter window be any different? Of the lot, only Monreal and the short term Henry deal worked out well.