After a strong summer on the player transfer market, Arsenal now finds itself pushing for a Champions League place this season, and manager Mikel Arteta has finally begun to assert his tactical influence on the squad.
The Gunners are now firmly in the running for fourth place and they're still in the mix for the Carabao Cup (League Cup), but there are holes in the squad that need to be filled, beginning at forward.
The momentary banishment of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has created a need at striker, with Alexandre Lacazette returning just three goals in his 14 league appearances, although the Frenchman has come on strong since Aubameyang's shelving. And although Gabriel and Ben White have been solid at center back, the club could also use an upgrade over Rob Holding.
Meanwhile, left back Sead Kolasinac is out of contract in the summer and already has clubs interested in his services. The question is whether any of them will shell out money for him in January.
🚨 | Marseille are in talks with Sead Kolasinac about a free transfer from Arsenal in the summer
🔴 Napoli are also said to be interested in signing the defender pic.twitter.com/qWjWDGPNgp
Below is the updated list of Arsenal player transactions during the January 2022 transfer window and the updated squad list:
Arsenal Transfers: January 2022 winter window
|Jan. 8||Ainsley Maitland-Niles||MF||24||AS Roma||- Loan through June 2022
- No permanent transfer option
- $566k fee + bonuses
Arsenal squad 2021-22
Below is the updated Arsenal first-team roster. New additions during the January 2022 window are noted in bold:
Goalkeepers (3): Bernd Leno, Arthur Okonkwo, Aaron Ramsdale
Defenders (10): Cedric, Calum Chambers, Gabriel, Rob Holding, Sead Kolasinac, Pablo Mari, Nuno Tavares, Kieran Tierney, Takehiro Tomiyasu, Ben White
Midfielders (7): Mohamed Elneny, Alberto Lokonga, Martin Odegaard, Thomas Partey, Bukayo Saka, Emile Smith Rowe, Granit Xhaka
Forwards (6): Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Folarin Balogun, Alexandre Lacazette, Gabriel Martinelli, Eddie Nketiah, Nicolas Pepe
The Arsenal projected starting lineup taking into account any squad changes in January:
Arsenal projected starting XI (4-2-3-1, left to right): Ramsdale (GK) — Tierney, Gabriel, White, Tomiyasu — Partey, Xhaka — Smith Rowe, Odegaard, Saka — Lacazette.
Arsenal back-ups: Leno (GK), Okonkwo (GK), Holding (CB), Chambers (CB), Pablo Mari (CB), Kolasinac (LB), Tavares (LB), Cedric (RB), El Neny (CM), Lokonga (CM), Aubameyang (CF), Balogun (CF), Nketiah (CF), Martinelli (LW), Pepe (RW).
(GK = goalkeeper; CB = center back; LB = left back; RB = right back; CM = central midfielder; RM = right midfielder; CF = center forward; LW = left wing; RW = right wing)
Arsenal transfer rumors & news
Here's the latest on the Arsenal transfer front based on reports in England:
Aubameyang's status: Latest updates
Transfer speculation involving Arsenal regularly features Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang's name. The Gabonese international, who is at the Africa Cup of Nations with his country, has been stripped of his captaincy and banished for the time being due to a disciplinary issue, and with his contract expiring in the summer of 2023, now could be the perfect time to secure peak value on a potential transfer.
Aubameyang's situation could line up as an opportunity for goal-challenged Newcastle, which has the ability to spend big, but Arsenal veteran Granit Xhaka predicts that Auba will be "back and better than before" manning the Arsenal frontline.
Arsenal's search for a new forward
The Dusan Vlahovic links are coming up more regularly of late. And according to other reports in England, including the Evening Standard, Arsenal is tracking the progress of Dominic Calvert-Lewin of Everton, who has returned from a broken toe. He has bagged double-digit goal tallies in each of the last two seasons.
Staying with the forwards, Arteta wants to keep Eddie Nketiah, whose contract expires in the summer. But the player is eager for more playing time, and a report from The Athletic states he wants a change of scenery. Same too for Folarin Balogun, with the 20-year-old striker attracting heavy loan interest according to reporter David Ornstein.
Central midfielder market
Rumors began in early December that Georginio Wijnaldum would be open to a January loan move back to the Premier League, with life at PSG not going well. Reports indicated that Arsenal was the frontrunner, but that PSG is not open to letting him leave. Those rumors have ramped up as the window opened, with FourFourTwo stating Arsenal is working on a loan deal to help cover the AFCON departures.
Reported Arsenal target Denis Zakaria has made it clear that he won't be re-signing with Borussia Monchengladbach when his contract is up in the summer. But there are other clubs that are also in the mix for the 25-year-old all-terrain center mid.
Barcelona Dutch midfielder Frenkie De Jong could be the surprise swoop of January for Arsenal, and while there hasn't been any strong links between player and club, it has been talked about in the press, with former Arsenal striker Kevin Campbell endorsing the move. The Dutch midfielder has mentioned a fascination for Arsenal in the past, wishing to emulate Marc Overmars.
On the outgoing front, Ainsley Maitland-Niles has departed, joining up with Jose Mourinho after a loan move to Roma.
Other potential Arsenal reinforcements
Gazzetta dello Sport in Italy has linked Arsenal with Juventus winger Dejan Kulusevski, though Federico Chiesa's ACL injury means he's indispensable for Juventus, and 90min claims the Gunners are among several clubs watching Patrik Schick of Bayer Leverkusen though most of Europe probably has eyes on the Euros breakout star.
Spain's Don Balon has Arsenal making a push for seldom-used Luka Jovic of Real Madrid, but it's tough to see Los Merengues parting ways with their Karim Benzema injury back-up.
Finally, Brighton star Tariq Lamptey is on Arsenal's radar, according to reporter Duncan Castles. The Brighton & Hove Albion right back has played well for his club and he could earn the big move he's been searching for since taking the gamble to join Brighton on a permanent move from Chelsea.