by Tim Simon
Both Arsenal and Tottenham fans went into the January window with high hopes that both Arsene Wenger and Andre Villas-Boas would strengthen their squads with some top class players. Both clubs are desperate for Champions League qualification and it is quite likely that one will qualify at the others’ expense. However, things don’t seem to have gone the way the fans wanted and expected. Both clubs only made one major signing during the January window leaving people wondering, is there a lack of ambition in North London or are the squads they currently possess good enough to make the top 4?
Arsenal may have signed a new left back in Nacho Monreal, who is a good left back, experienced at both club level and at international level with Spain. He is also a good friend of Santi Cazorla who should help him settle into the squad quickly but is he enough of a boost to the squad to push them into the Champions League places. Some Arsenal fans would argue he isn’t. They were craving another centre half, a holding midfielder and a striker. The decision not to sign Mohamed Diame who was available for just £5million and to look at Newcastle signing Moussa Sissoko for just £1.8million has left Arsenal fans scratching their heads as to why Wenger didn’t see these opportunities to strengthen an area which has never really seen Alex Song replaced after he was sold to Barcelona in the summer. They also wanted a big name signing, someone like David Villa who has not seen a lot of opportunities to play 90 minutes for Barcelona this season. Wenger must think that what he has in that area is sufficient but with really only one recognised main striker in Olivier Giroud who may be hitting some form but he only has nine league goals this season compared to Robin van Persie’s eighteen. Furthermore, Wenger’s lack of a signature for another centre half after some horrible defensive displays in recent weeks has left fans perplexed. They do have a strong squad but if he had strengthened in these areas it would have a much greater chance to qualify for the top four, which has become a necessity nowadays due to the financial benefits of the competition.
Tottenham have seen the same thing happen to them and can also view the January window as a missed opportunity to push on. They purchased Lewis Holtby at the beginning of the month on a Bosman free transfer which would have seen him join at the end of the season but decided to pay £1.5million to bring him to the club early. He has the ability to link midfield and attack nicely and is a good signing which will strengthen the squad. However, it just doesn’t seem enough, especially when you look at their strike force and you see just one recognised striker at the club currently. Jermain Defoe, who was in great form at the start of the season, has scored just one goal in nine games and the lack of an impact sub off the bench saw them labour to a 1-1 draw with Norwich, only being saved by a wonder goal from Gareth Bale. They have Emmanuel Adebayor, but he is currently at the African Cup of Nations and with Togo qualifying for the Quarter Finals, who knows how long he will be gone for. If they could’ve signed Leandro Damiao they really should have done. The bid they put in of £17million was never really going to be enough to gain his signature on deadline day. Spurs fans see this failed acquisition much like they did the failure to sign Joao Moutinho back in August. Damiao would’ve added another dimension to their attack and surely would have seen them definitely qualify for the Champions League.
Don’t get me wrong, both clubs have extremely talented squads who are capable of getting into the top four, but with it being so competitive this season it would have been a great opportunity to strengthen their squad even further. With Everton and Liverpool in and around the top four also, it is going to be an intriguing battle for the remainder of the season. If either or Tottenham aren’t in the Champions League next season, they may see the January window as a big opportunity missed.
Follow Tim on Twitter https://twitter.com/TimSimon90