Is Arsenal’s honeymoon period under new manager Unai Emery over?
After such a great start with 22 games unbeaten, the Gunners have been brought back down to earth with recent back-to-back defeats to Southampton in the Premier League and to rivals Tottenham to exit the Carabao Cup.
A top four spot is now surely the best Arsenal can hope for this season, even if some fans had started getting a little excited about a potential rise up the table to challenge for the title.
This was, most likely, never realistic, even if Emery has done some fine work to improve on the rather weak squad left by his predecessor Arsene Wenger.
Having done some good business in the summer transfer window, with new signings Sokratis Papastathopoulos, Lucas Torreira, Matteo Guendouzi and Bernd Leno all settling pretty well (to varying degrees), Emery could probably do with more investment in his squad this January.
Read on to see our round up of likely ins and outs in the winter transfer window, which is now just days away…
OUT – Mesut Ozil
Despite only recently signing a new contract with Arsenal, Mesut Ozil’s future looks in real doubt going into January.
The German playmaker has fallen out of favour with Emery in recent times and the Independent claim the club could now try offering him back to his old club Real Madrid in an attempt to strike a swap deal for Spanish attacker Isco.
Now, that particular deal in itself seems a tad ambitious, with the report stating Isco would still cost a huge sum, but the prospect of Ozil leaving certainly makes sense at the moment and one imagines there’ll be other options available to him if this one doesn’t work out.
OUT – Aaron Ramsey
Sources in Italy, as translated by the Arsenal Twitter account Arsenic below, suggest Aaron Ramsey is edging closer to a transfer to Inter Milan.
La Repubblica claims that Inter officials have met Aaron’s reps on Wednesday and reached a verbal agreement over his transfer. A salary of around €7m was mentioned. pic.twitter.com/LUPy1X3xjg
— Arsènic™ (@MrArsenicTM) December 21, 2018
It is unclear whether or not this deal would happen in January or at the end of the season when Ramsey’s contract is due to expire.
Either way, it could well be that the Wales international’s lingering doubts over his future mean he features a great deal less in Emery’s side in the second half of the campaign anyway.
IN – Nicolas Pepe
It was recently reported that Arsenal are leading the running for the transfer of Lille winger Nicolas Pepe.
Arsenal leading chase for Nicolas Pepe but lots of competition emerging. L’Equipe this morning suggest Lille will negotiate in January if a club opens bidding at €50m. But owner has previously stated he won’t sell mid season
— Matt Spiro (@mattspiro) December 17, 2018
The Ivory Coast international looks a superb talent after contributing heavily in terms of goals and assists in Ligue 1 this season, looking ready to move to a bigger club and more competitive league.
Pepe could certainly do a job for Arsenal in replacing the likes of Alex Iwobi and Mesut Ozil if he leaves as the Gunners would end up rather short in that attacking midfield area.
IN – Eric Bailly
In a somewhat surprise move, Arsenal could make a raid on their rivals Manchester United this winter as ESPN link them with an interest in Eric Bailly.
The 24-year-old has largely impressed in his time at Old Trafford, despite falling down the pecking order a little this season.
Still, he’d surely have little time playing regularly at Arsenal, and would likely be a major upgrade on the likes of Shkodran Mustafi in what has been a problem position for the club for some time as the likes of Laurent Koscielny and Rob Holding have also had injury problems.
How Arsenal could line up after January…