Europe erupted during an atypical January transfer window which saw Premier League clubs involved in 208 total transfers worth a whopping £554.4 million. Leave it to me to tell you who among those clubs did the best business last month.
Arsenal supporters have been very patient with their owner and manager despite what you may see or hear on the news and internet. Wenger has managed the club for as long as I’ve been alive, and while it looks like his time at the club is slowly, and painfully, coming to an end he wasn’t about to leave the club he loves in the lurch and simply walk away. Arsenal are far out of the one-horse title race, but winning the Europa League would eliminate the need of a top-4 finish. By no means is winning the Europa League an easy task, especially with the potential opposition that could lie ahead should they prevail against Österund in the round of 32 like many expect them to. Should results pan out the way we expect them to Arsenal could face the likes of Napoli, Atletico Madrid, or even Borussia Dortmund in the round of 16. Speaking of Dortmund, Arsenal managed to poach their star striker, Pierre Emerick-Aubameyang, in January. PAB scored 98 Bundesliga goals in 144 appearances. He’ll help Arsenal stay afloat in the race for a top-4 finish as well as take down Manchester City in the Carabao Cup final later this month, but because Dortmund could not escape their Champions League group, one that included reigning champions Real Madrid and an impressive Tottenham squad, he can not compete in the Europa League, but Henrikh Mkhitaryan can. Losing Alexis was always the end game for Arsenal. The decision to cash in on his imminent departure was wise, and in return they received Man United outcast Henrikh Mkhitaryan. Unlike Aubameyang, Mkhitaryan will be eligible to play in the Europa League because his former club survived their Champions League group. He’ll look forward to rekindling his partnership with Aubameyang for the foreseeable future, and possibly firing Arsenal to a Europa League title.
The story of the summer for Chelsea supporters was manager Antonio Conte’s poor relationship with the board. That headline carried over into the winter window when Chelsea couldn’t find a suitable target man to meet Conte’s liking. After a rumored deal for Roma’s Edin Džeko fell through all hell broke loose. Chelsea were rumored to be interested in a new striker every day. From Peter Crouch (lol) to Ashley Barnes (even bigger lol) the Blues seemed to be turning over every couch cushion in England to find their man. I’m surprised this guy‘s name never popped up (if you know, you know). Ultimately their search came to an end with the signing of Olivier Giroud. They shipped off a perfectly good striker on loan to Borussia Dortmund in Michy Batshuayi, but hey we can’t all be Russian billionaires can we?
Haha just kidding. Remember when I thought they were gonna prove something this year?
Liverpool boast a ton of talent. Despite losing Philippe Coutinho to Barcelona they still have a disgusting front three of Mo Salah, Sadio Mane, and Bobby Firmino with some sturdy midfield options behind them. They decided to use a little bit of that money from the Coutinho sale and purchase Virgil van Dijk from Southampton for £75 million to shore up the defense, buuuuuuuuuut they turned right around and took a massive L in an ugly loss to Swansea. It makes you wonder just how much longer Klopp can get away with dropping f-bombs on live television.
The rich get richer.
Manchester City leapt out of the gate to an almost unbelievable start to the season. An unbeaten run in the league that lasted 22 games, including 18 straight victories, a first place finish in their Champions League group, and a Carabao Cup final at the end of this month highlighted the historic first half of City’s season. If that wasn’t good enough they went out and triggered the release clause in Aymeric Laporte’s contract to fortify Pep Guardiola’s defense. The Fred saga flamed out when Shakhtar Donetsk couldn’t find a replacement for their man on the way out, and a deadline day move for Leicester’s Riyad Mahrez also collapsed at the last minute. Despite the failed transfers the Citizens have all but wrapped up the league, and they look impossible to stop as they set their sights on winning an unprecedented quadruple by season’s end, despite the manager’s mind games.
Time is a flat circle.
If you haven’t heard Mourinho complain before then bless your heart (and ears). All the guys does is bitch and moan when things don’t go his way. Now I do the same thing, so maybe I shouldn’t be complaining about his antics, but I like to think there’s a difference when you’re the manager of Manchester United. His tactics are whack (boom roasted), and every time a league rival buys a player he whines about not having the same funds with which to purchase expensive players… at Manchester United… It’s almost as if Pogba and Lukaku didn’t cost £164 million. It is certainly worth noting that Mourinho has been in Manchester just as long as Guardiola, and in that time Guardiola has spent £179.4 million more than Mourinho, but in that time Mourinho has recruited only seven players to Old Trafford, and one of them (Alexis) didn’t cost anything as part of a player swap. Pep on the other hand has purchased 20 players in his time at the Etihad, but enough about Mourinho v. Pep. We’re here to talk about Mourinho’s managerial career being a cycle of the same events over and over again (and maybe some United transfers):
This is literally all he does. My point in all of this is that United’s squad is already really, really good. Definitely good enough to win the Premier League and maybe even the Champions League. Adding Alexis Sanchez midseason, especially at the price of swapping Mkhitaryan, and even more so to keep him away from Pep and City, was a brilliant and savvy move no matter how much they may be paying him. Alexis is a top class player and worth more than his January price tag. So with all this firepower how come United haven’t distanced themselves from the rest of the pack bar City? There’s no doubt that all the big clubs in England stepped up their transfer game these past two windows, but with the talent United have many would think they’d at least be challenging for title. To put it simply, Mourinho needs to go. His tactics are more suitable and effective for teams fighting relegation. United boast the talents of some of the very best players in the Premier League, if not the world, at their respective positions, and to get them playing at a high level again they must move on from their current manager.
Like kissing your sister.
Tottenham are not in a position where they need to splash the cash in order to bring a big name player to the club. In fact Spurs haven’t been in that position since Gareth Bale left. Mauricio Pochettino’s arrival coincided with the rise of Harry Kane, Dele Alli, and Christian Eriksen. Obviously the potential was there all along, but to develop it the way Poch has takes something special. Poch has never been one to make big money signings, and Lucas Moura’s move from PSG is par for the course when it comes to the type of signings he has made throughout his managerial career. The purchases the club have made don’t even come close to approaching the amount that their league rivals have spent, and that’s because Poch has established his favored XI and subs. The team is already extremely talented, so there is no need to break the wage structure or squad chemistry by purchasing a player for £50+ million when he’s probably only marginally better than the guy he’d be replacing.
So there you have it. Arsenal have finally won something that isn’t an FA Cup. Congrats to all you Gooners out there. Don’t forget to tweet me if you think I’m wrong. Have a good one folks.