Arsenal Commentary: Defending Arsene Wenger's Activity In the January Transfer Window

Arsene Wenger's activity in the January transfer window should be applauded and not criticised. Many might disagree considering Arsenal only signed ex-Malaga full-back Nacho Monreal. That's despite languishing four points outside the top four.

The Gunners have been frustratingly inconsistent this season. They currently sit sixth in the English Premier League, after a series of high-profile failings. The winter transfer window was viewed as the opportunity to salvage the season.

Many called for Arsenal's besieged boss to indulge in a spending spree, rather than exercising his usual caution in the market. However, Wenger was right to treat the January window with prudence, rather than as an opportunity for lavish spending.

It is a dangerous element of modern football culture that transfer windows and spending big, are seen as cure-alls for every ill. Admittedly, it is a sentiment difficult to resist.

Perennial EPL champions Manchester United serve as a prime example. Their ability to regenerate title-winning squads stems from supplementing via consistent spending. While the Red Devils don't indulge in the kind of exorbitant, bulk-buying of Chelsea or Manchester City, they aren't far behind.

Those three teams share something else, other than financial power, in common. They have each enjoyed consistent success and lifted numerous trophies in recent seasons.

That's the kind of success Arsenal fans can only stare at with envy. Wenger's beliefs about financial restraint and squad building, offer only hollow consolation when rivals are raising the silverware.

However, Wenger's rigid, sometimes annoying fidelity to his principles, does give Arsenal a distinctive character and personality the others lack. Yet it is more than just grandiose ideals.

It is also a smart response to the dangers of frenetic transfer activity. Many of Arsenal's problems this season can be traced to too much change, too many new faces. There simply hasn't been enough continuity in key areas of the team since the season began.

Adding a quartet of new faces in the winter window, would only have forced more upheaval. Think of the transition Arsenal would need to allow a bevy of new faces to settle in. Sitting two places short of qualification for next season's UEFA Champions League with 13 games left, means that's time Arsenal don't have.

Where exactly should Arsenal have strengthened? Many, including this writer, would have welcomed the addition of a new striker. However, right when that might have happened, Arsenal's attack began firing.

The trio of Lukas Podolski, Olivier Giroud and Theo Walcott were all scoring at the turn of the year. There was no reason for Wenger to spend money to disrupt that frees-scoring dynamic.

Of course, what those critical of Wenger's winter transfer activity also overlook, are his attempts to complete other deals. Several players were mooted to have been close to joining Monreal in North London.

Wenger reportedly missed a chance to capture French defensive midfielder Etienne Capoue, according to Metro suggested the second target might have been FC Lorient striker Alain Traore. The Daily Mirror went one further, offering Barcelona forward David Villa as the possible target Wenger tried to lure at the last minute.

Regardless of who the player was, it does at least seem clear that Wenger was prepared to be active. Yet being active is not the same as buying for buying sake. There's a subtle, yet crucial difference.

Loading up on high-profile names and being held to ransom over fees, would be nothing more than a cosmetic fix for Arsenal. While it might act as a face-saving move to appease disgruntled sections of support, it would undermine the positives in this squad.

Those positives include youthful English duo Jack Wilshere and Theo Walcott. There is also the bonus of last summer signings, including cerebral schemer Santi Cazorla, all becoming key players.

Thsese factors called for shrewd and careful moves in January. And what did that smart prudence yield? A Spanish international left-back, who by all accounts is a superior defender to any other full-back in the squad.

Consider how often Arsenal's central defenders, woeful as they are, are pulled out of position to cover for full-backs. That means Monreal might be the right signing at the right time.

The summer will be the time for any full-scale surgery, if needed. However, Wenger's brand of meticulous tinkering was perfect for the January transfer window.

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