Is there a clearer dichotomy in football than the stark contrast between Arsenal football team and Arsenal fans at the moment?
Currently, it’s a team on the field that is passing test after test, built on a philosophy of ‘cool, calm, composure’ and confidently taking everything one hurdle at a time. Meanwhile, it seems like much of the fanbase has settled into a life of high-strung anxiety and prone to mood swings with bits of mania.
In the last seven days, Arsenal fans have gone from losing Mudryk — and their heads — calling for Edu’s immediate sacking, and doom spiraling into an oblivion of belief the title was lost as there would be no progress made this window; to winning a north London derby, reclaiming their confidence in this being a title challenging year, and seeing the club sign not one but two players in a span of 48 hours.
To take that a step further, Arsenal have been linked with Ivan Fresneda — a quality right back — a potential loan of Real Madrid’s Camavinga — as realistic or unrealistic as that may be — and fans have been told Arsenal fully intend to be in the running for the signature of Declan Rice come summer.
It’s not as though the fear of Arsenal sitting on their hands is unwarranted or even unearned — last January is forgotten by no one. And Arsenal have been known to penny pinch in the past, to the frustrations of many. However, the signing of Leandro Trossard and expected confirmation of Spezia’s Jakub Kiwior stand to prove a point: the club understands the task, knows the stakes, and wants this as badly as the fans do.
It also demonstrates that Arsenal can get deals done quick when push comes to shove, and stands as a reminder of just how much work is done in the background by a full organization, long before it surfaces to the world.
In summary: Arsenal fans can relax a little bit.
Perhaps these things are easier in hindsight, when the dust settles and some depth has been signed, but there was probably an easy way to know that signings would get done in the second half of the window. How? Because Edu, Vinai, Richard Garlick are human beings with jobs they want to keep, just like you and me.
Arsenal are in a title race and the stakes are this high, and everybody is pulling their weight to keep Arsenal punching above theirs — at least their perceived weight. Everyone wants to play their role and be a part of the success, but should this go south and fall short, no one wants to be caught in the crosshairs of blame. From a personal reputation and job maintaining standpoint, signings were inevitable.
After the failure to sign Mudryk, it’s fair to say that all eyes and blame were pointed in their direction. It’s also probably easy to predict that had Arsenal failed to bring in anyone for depth support AND lost the league title, much of the blame would fall at the feet of Arsenal leadership. The easiest solution: get the job done and sign some players.
And they have, and seemingly are looking to continue.
Now, in the minds of many, Trossard and Kiwior don’t stack up to the glamor of a January marquee move for Mykhailo Mudryk. Fair enough, but the thought process behind them is easy to understand and checks out.
Both are very versatile players — a trait Arteta adores — with Trossard supplying depth across the entire attacking front, while Kiwior appears to be the much-needed depth behind Gabriel as a left center back, with the ability to step into the midfield as play defensive midfield in a pinch. At the age of 22, it’s also fair to assume Kiwior is viewed as a player that can be molded and elevated to the point of pushing Gabriel for starting minutes in the future.
Ivan Fresneda, if he is completed, is young right back prospect that has demonstrated a wonderful level of skill in La Liga and possess the ability to thrive in an inverted role, much like the one asked of Arsenal’s fullbacks.
It’s easy to see the picture, it’s easy to follow the process, and the financial outlay to achieve it has been well within Arsenal’s means for a January window. It’s far from and amount that risks taking away from Summer spending plans.
Where Edu and Arsenal go from here will be interesting to watch. There are 10 days left in the window, which could be 10 more deals at this pace! Joking aside, Arsenal have responded to the surprise adversity of losing Mudryk to Chelsea and signed players to solidify the squad for the rest of the year. Yes, another central midfielder to support Thomas Partey feels needed — a loan could be perfect — but the side is feeling closer to complete, at least for the remainder of this campaign.
- Eddie Nketiah
- Gabriel Jesus (TBD on return)
- Gabriel Martinelli
- Bukayo Saka
- Fabio Vieira
- Emile Smith Rowe
- Leandro Trossard
- Reiss Nelson
- Martin Ødegaard
- Granit Xhaka
- Thomas Partey
- Mohamed Elneny
- Albert Sambi Lokonga
- Ben White
- Takehiro Tomiyasu
- William Saliba
- Rob Holding
- Jakob Kiwior (awaiting official confirmation)
- Oleksandr Zinchenko
- Kieran Tierney
- Cedric Soares
- Aaron Ramsdale
- Mat Turner
- Karl Hein
Mix in the element of versatility, giving many players the ability to step into different roles and contribute, plus any other signings Arsenal make, and the state of the squad is in a good place.
Message received Edu. Hopefully fans can return to directing their nervous energy back toward the field of play and a take a leaf from the squad themselves. Cool. Calm. Composed.