Wenger may come up short in January sales hunt
Arsène Wenger's plans for the January transfer window have not been radically altered due to a lack of available strikers for sale. Arsenal’s pursuit of a new striker has been made more difficult this month due to the release clauses of several major targets only applying at the end of the season.
Arsène Wenger has been actively scouting the market for a centre forward during the past year and, despite an inquiry about taking Alvaro Morata on loan from Real Madrid, the expectation is that the striker search will now wait until the summer.
Although the injury to Theo Walcott has limited Wenger’s backup options, he has seldom actually played as a central striker throughout his Arsenal career.
In terms of covering Walcott’s position on the right, Serge Gnabry, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Tomas Rosicky, Santi Cazorla, Aaron Ramsey and Jack Wilshere are all viable options. It all means that, while deeply disappointed to lose Walcott, Wenger does not feel panicked by the situation and his plans for this January transfer window have not been radically altered.
An inquiry was made for Morata but the repeated message from Carlo Ancelotti’s Real Madrid is that no one will be allowed to leave this month. Wenger will explore other short-term deals but the wider narrative is of Arsenal positioning themselves for the summer.
Atlètico Madrid’s Diego Costa and Porto’s Jackson Martinez have been closely watched but it is understood that their release clauses are not automatically activated midseason.
The market for buyers, then, is virtually non-existent this January and the main transfer work is being done ahead of the summer, when Arsenal may well find themselves going head-to-head with Chelsea for a top striker.
Arsenal should, in theory, be better positioned that at any time over the last few years to land their targets and, even if Manchester City or Paris St Germain get involved, will be helped in any bidding war by the release clauses.
Costa’s release clause is €38 million (£31.4 million) and Martinez’s is €40 million (£33 million).