It’s still all quiet on the Arsenal front. I assume the lads will be back in London in the next day or so to start the preparations for the weekend. After the warm-weather training in Dubai, there’s probably a need to acclimatise to the more brisk temperatures in this part of the world. A cold football whacked into the thigh on a freezing-cold day hits different.
Meanwhile, as touched on yesterday, the Premier League announced that both Everton and Nottingham Forest have admitted breaches of the Profit and Sustainability Rules for the period ending June 2023. A statement on their website says:
Everton FC and Nottingham Forest FC have each confirmed to the Premier League that they are in breach of the League’s Profitability and Sustainability Rules (PSR). This is as a result of sustaining losses above the permitted thresholds for the assessment period ending Season 2022/23.
There’s a whole lot of stuff beneath that which outlines those rules, and there’s a link to the Premier League handbook for those who want to delve into them further. I’m no Swiss Ramble, so don’t ask me to explain any of this stuff to you, but ultimately it might well see both clubs hit with points deductions, and for Everton this would be their second of the season. Which, as far as I can remember anyway, is unprecedented at this level.
It remains complicated because Everton are currently appealing the first deduction, as reported by The Guardian, but PL guidelines mean a resolution has to be found by the end of the season. They would be in big trouble if both were upheld, while the likes of Luton and Burnley could benefit most.
The January window has been pretty quiet so far. According to this piece on Sky Sports, the only club to have really spent anything are Sp*rs, bringing in a Romanian defender from Genoa, and apart from that there’s been almost nothing spent by Premier League sides. A few loan deals here and there, but that’s about it.
Obviously there are still a couple of weeks remaining in the window, and plenty can happen between now and the end of the month, but last year, Premier League clubs spent over £700m in the January window. Some of that money circulated within the league itself if you’re interested in a kind of ‘net spend’, but it was a much more active window than this one. There were more rumours, more stories, more interest in spending money across the board.
Arsenal, as I’m sure you recall, were hot in pursuit of Mykhaylo Mudryk, willing to spend an enormous amount on a very raw player, but in the end had to pivot when it was decided for him that he was going to Chelsea. We still splashed nearly £60m on Leandro Trossard, Jorginho and Jakub Kiwior in January, and I would say the chances of us doing anything like that this time are almost zero. Not unless we sell somebody, which requires other clubs to spend money, and right now it doesn’t look as if anyone is going to do that this January.
It’s all well and good saying ‘Sell Eddie Nketiah and Emile Smith Rowe and Reiss Nelson’, but if there’s nobody willing or able to spend money – perhaps in part of because of these profit/sustainability rules and the Premier League’s willingness to enforce them – then what can we do? I could be wrong, but it feels like the market itself is different this year, and I don’t know what we can do about that. As much as people don’t want to hear it, when Mikel Arteta talks about needing to get the most out of the players we have, he’s not saying it because he doesn’t want to add to the squad or upgrade one or two players, it’s because that is simply the reality of our situation right now.
Maybe there will be a deal or two that has a snowball effect on the market. One or two players move, that money allows one or two more deals to take place, and it goes from there, but I don’t think we’ll see anywhere near the level of spending we did last January. Your mileage may vary on how you view the January window anyway, but this month is so low key, even the entire hype-machine that exists in the media (mainstream and social) around transfers is struggling to permeate the consciousness the way it usually does. I’ll leave it up to you if you think that’s good or bad.
Right, let’s leave it there for now. There is an Arsecast Extra for you to listen to below, and over on Patreon we have an episode of our Premier League round-up show, The 30. So get your ears into all that.