The stakes are high for Arsenal as Arteta decides whether to stick or twist Arsenal

a Rarely is a month so loaded with certainty that it has only one thing for sure Arsenal. When January ends, they will be at the top of the Premier League, with a game in hand against their rivals and the prospect of a huge points lead. They are currently the best team in the division by a certain distance, and when everything is running smoothly the momentum can feel quite self-sustaining.

their method win over TottenhamIt reinforced the view that Mikel Arteta is under little pressure to make changes in the second half of the campaign. The consistency of Arsenal’s performance is remarkable. The results are consecutive and the team is so deep that the mid-term absence of their star striker, Gabriel Jesus, is hardly felt.

The last point is a far cry from May, when Arsenal then lost their grip on a Champions League place Surrender to Tottenham and Newcastle. Injuries have bitten, three inexperienced academy products making up their numbers on the bench at St James’ Park, and they haven’t been able to cope. Arteta’s resources, particularly in defense and up front, look better now, but eyes will continue to be focused on the remaining two weeks of the transfer window. What is required to turn something that is more likely to happen into something that is certain?

The easiest answer is a clean bill of health. If Bukayo Saka, Thomas Partey, Martin Odegaard, Gabriel Martinelli and perhaps the increasingly influential Oleksandr Zinchenko keep himself fit for the next four months, it’s hard to imagine Arsenal not going home. But none of that has been confirmed, and with up to seven Europa League ties expected from early March, Arteta knows it would be best to ask for some help.

Good competition in wide areas should ease some concerns and the same goes for midfield. The return of Emile Smith Rowe from injury, and the hope that his long-standing grievance will be resolved within four months, certainly helps the former but Arsenal remain in the market for reinforcements. They have been frustrated in this transfer window but it becomes an easy pill to swallow when you are ahead of the competition.

Emile Smith Rowe and William Saliba.
Emile Smith Rowe (left) with William Saliba after coming off the bench against Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday is back to fitness again after a thigh injury that plagued him for four years. Photo: David Price/Arsenal FC/Getty Images

Alternatives will be sought for Mykhaylo Mudryk, who Arsenal were confident of relegating from stubborn Shakhtar Donetsk until Chelsea blew them away on terms that the player and the selling club cannot resist. Arsenal have already shown this month that they are willing to walk away from a deal: they were in Joao Felix’s side at a late stage, but pulled out when it became clear he would cost a £9m-plus loan fee from Atletico Madrid. Chelsea showed no such inhibitionthough that could immediately benefit them in limited fashion after the striker became saddled with a three-match suspension.

Arsenal’s restraint, as far as anything can be described in this way in the modern transfer market, speaks to the lessons learned institutionally since Arteta’s arrival. They do not intend to be burned again as they were inside Paid 72 million pounds for Nicholas Pepe. Planning and patience, particularly in holding on to Arteta when others may have picked up knee injuries, has paid off amazingly.

They spent months working on a deal for Mudryk, which was always very expensive given his The fee Manchester United paid for a player of similar age and location in Anthony, and appreciating the stubbornness of Shakhtar, so it was annoying for them to see Chelsea steal. Eventually, Chelsea received enough assurances that Modric would step aside his stated preference to join Arsenal and move to west London if the only offer was in town. It was yet another example of the annoyance Todd Bohle and company have made themselves out of in the market: they have shaken things up to their liking, in the short term at least, but Arsenal are among those who would rather avoid being drawn into a whirlpool. . After all, it is their style of work, not Chelsea’s new system, that brings results.

This is why they are so unlikely to react to the loss of Mudryk by splurging indiscriminately on the next available equivalent. However, Arteta was now left with a bit of a dilemma. Modric was an attractive option due to his age and exciting potential, but how hard can it be to pursue other prospects who don’t jump in so easily? Perhaps Rafinha, an obtainable former Barcelona target, would fit in. Arsenal will kick themselves if the final prize eludes them because the drop from Saka or Martinelli was too extreme; They can also regret making the wrong trades at a time when there is little standing between them and making a near-perfect season.

At least Arsenal can ask themselves such questions. In the recent past, ‘winning in the transfer window’ has become an obsession among some sections of fans, but it’s going to command a second bill this time around. They win the important contest. Victory over Manchester United, who would become unlikely title contenders if they secure three points at the Emirates Stadium on Sunday, will boost an already imposing position significantly. Perhaps Arsenal, for all the nagging concerns about what may or may not lurk in the reserves, will be able to stay their distance as they are.

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