Forgive the cynicism, but it’s hard not to think Arsenal’s suits went for Mikel Arteta because, unlike some of the more experienced options, he was happy to take the job without demanding a massive war chest up front. So, while the squad is gossamer thin and injury-struck, it won’t be a surprise if not much is spent next month. Especially since Emery seemingly wasted £72m on Pépé – that experience suggests the board are unlikely to risk £80m on another show pony in Palace’s Wilfried Zaha. Mikel might well be forced to rely on kids instead, hoping Saka, Maitland-Niles, Smith-Rowe, Nelson and Willock will flourish.
I’d be surprised if we didn’t spend heavily: these owners aren’t the types to die wondering. Despite my faith in Wesley we clearly need alternatives up front: he can’t play every second, and an ageing sniffer would be good off the bench. And while we have lots of defensive midfield options, nobody has really convinced. Sadly we’ll also need an answer to the McGinn problem: he’s out for three months.
A strong centre-half to work closely with Nathan Aké would be great – someone like Ben White from Leeds. A striker would also be welcome – Chelsea’s Michy Batshuayi, for example – but the noises coming from the club suggest there won’t be big moves made in January. Instead it sounds like it’ll be more a case of trying to hold on to Aké and Callum Wilson. We’re resigned to losing Ryan Fraser sooner or later.
Above all else we would love Aaron Mooy to stay – he’s still on a season‑long loan from Huddersfield as it stands. Another striker would be good, and we’ve also been linked with Emil Bohinen, a 20-year-old Norwegian winger from Stabæk, who sounds like a real prospect.
The rule at our club is to not expect too much from transfer windows, then you won’t be disappointed. There are areas where we need work: a good right-back to start competing with Phil Bardsley and Matt Lowton, plus a strong and powerful midfielder. But whether we can find either with the money we’re able to pay remains the big question. We’ve learned not to get too excited about transfers, especially in the January window when there’s not a great deal of business done more widely. All that said, if Santa could leave us a couple of late presents, they’d be gratefully accepted.
Frank Lampard dropped hints last week about squad-building: it has to happen. We need a left-back – I’d be happy with Aké returning from Bournemouth – and another striker so Tammy Abraham doesn’t burn out. Olivier Giroud has been written off and Michy Batshuayi isn’t good enough, bar a solid five‑minute cameo every now and then. Another goalscoring midfielder/winger would help, too. It’s great to have so many kids pushing for places, but you still need quality and experience to challenge for trophies. Roman, get your chequebook out.
After being injury-free for most of the season, we’ve been struck down by a huge number of long-term knocks that have thrown into sharp focus the immediate needs for a left-back and a right-back. Nathan Ferguson from West Brom has been mentioned, but I’d expect us to try to pick up an overseas bargain. We lack options on the flanks, too, so another winger may be targeted. And we still, of course, need to add a striker who can score goals – relying on Jordan Ayew for the rest of the season would be another giant gamble. Whether we take a chance and spend big on someone like Fyodor Chalov or look to get Rhian Brewster or Michy Batshuayi on loan remains to be seen.
Ancelotti’s big overhaul will surely wait until the summer, but it’s still the case that we need a proven scorer, another central midfielder and a central defender – the spine of the team has been lacking and the problems weren’t addressed during the close season. Maybe we’ll just see a loan or two in January: Marcel Brands is a reluctant spender.
The first XI is performing like a dream – so it’s about adding depth and options for us. Another winger would be nice: Harvey Barnes and Demarai Gray don’t have enough to carry the workload on their own. And a reliable scorer would be appreciated too – just in case Vardy gets injured.
We’ve already signed Japan midfielder Takumi Minamino from Salzburg, who looked great against us in the Champions League – and scored at Anfield. It’s no secret we’ve been looking for a left-back, brought into focus recently when Robertson picked up an injury. There’s paper talk we’re interested in Mathieu Gonçalves from Toulouse, but he’s young and inexperienced. We might be better off with 19-year-old Sam McCallum, who is at Coventry and also being touted.
We need a centre-half, but I really don’t see it happening. It’d most likely have to be a deal that’s already been earmarked for the summer, but is capable of being moved forward, just as Aymeric Laporte’s was thanks to his release clause. On Laporte, thankfully it sounds as if he’ll be back fit by the end of January, just in time for the Champions League knockouts. But either way, we’re still short after Kompany’s departure.
A good window would involve James Maddison, a player who’d really add the guile and inventiveness we’re lacking. We should have signed him in the summer – he’d cost double now what we would have paid then. Erling Braut Haaland sounds like he’s on his way from Red Bull Salzburg – he should bring variety to our attack as a big, robust and remarkably mobile target man. And swapping Paul Pogba for PSG’s Marco Verratti would be a real lift: he’s the all-round midfielder that we have been after for so long.
What do we need? Just a striker who can score goals – maybe someone like Joselu, who we sold in July and is now a star in La Liga … Our forward line has been under‑strength for years and this hasn’t remotely been addressed in the last two windows, despite us making two record signings. It’s telling that we’re relying on our defenders to carry our goal threat.
David and Richard Holmes
We won’t be spending big. That much we do know, but given that we’ve operated for much of the season with one fit, bona fide centre-back, Ben Godfrey, who spent the festive buildup with his knee in a brace, I wouldn’t be surprised to see a central defender on Daniel Farke/Stuart Webber’s list. Hopefully they will also look to address the physicality, or lack of it, in the centre of the pitch. We ask a lot of our centre-mid pairing but too often they’ve been bullied, so a technician who can also mix it would be my wish. And, of course, everyone needs another scorer ….
We’re in such a strong position for this season that we can afford to try to sign players for the future rather than ones that need to make an instant impact. Backup for George Baldock and Oli Norwood, along with the next Chris Basham, are probably our top priorities.
Ben Meakin @bladespod
A centre-back who can actually win a header would be nice – is that too much to ask? Also a right-back – Cédric is going through the motions ahead of his contract expiring and Yan Valery’s career has gone into reverse gear. If there was time and space I’d also add a central midfielder with a bit of actual bite, rather than just “get booked because you were the wrong side AGAIN” cynicism.
It’ll be interesting to see what type of player-pressies are on Mourinho’s post-Xmas list and how he responds when Daniel Levy refuses to grant his wishes. A recent poll revealed the player Spurs fans most want is Argentinian striker Paulo Dybala, who almost signed in the summer. No denying his qualities but he says he’s content at Juventus and the image-rights issues remain. Adama Traoré of Wolves might be a more realistic and cheaper attacking option and is clearly somebody the manager respects judging from the choreographed rotational fouling he was subjected to at Molineux earlier in the month. Another rumoured Serie A aspiration is centre-back Kalidou Koulibaly of Napoli but he doesn’t match the club’s signings profile (too old and too expensive) – and it’s full-backs we really need. Ricardo Pereira would fit the bill. As for Gareth Bale … think more Marouane Fellaini unless Levy pulls off some crazy swap-plus-cash deal with Eriksen.
Richard Barnes @barnesrichard
The near legendary Brazilian teenage striker João Pedro will arrive with all sorts of lunatic expectations, but another attacking weapon in the continuing absence of Danny Welbeck would be a plus. A big ugly centre-back wouldn’t hurt either.
We need a box-to-box midfielder who might eventually replace Mark Noble. A new reserve keeper, too, for obvious reasons, along with a striker to back up Haller and Antonio. On top of all that, we need a full-back and centre-back to provide competition in defence, and an Adama Traoré-style winger. Oh, and we could do with Diangana returning from his West Brom loan, too.
Nuno likes to have a tight-knit squad but has admitted we need new signings. This is a season when we could establish ourselves, both domestically and in Europe, so, while it’s a notoriously difficult time to sign players, a central defender – Kristoffer Ajer? – a central midfielder – Franck Kessié? – and a winger – Hwang Hee-chan? – are areas that would add depth and quality to our ever-improving squad.