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Arsenal have seen their transfer philosophy branded “an absolute joke”, with Charlie Nicholas questioning why the “ninth richest club” cannot do permanent deals or sign a decent defender.
Unai Emery revealed early in the January window that his business at Emirates Stadium over the winter would be restricted to short-term deals.
He has got one over the line, with Barcelona midfielder Denis Suarez having linked up with the Gunners as part of a package which includes an option to buy in the summer.
Nicholas has welcomed a move being pushed through, but is baffled as to why another creative influence has been acquired when obvious defensive deficiencies remain in north London.
The former Arsenal striker told Sky Sports: “I'm happy with anybody now to be honest because this Arsenal transfer philosophy is an absolute joke.
“It really is a joke and has been ever since David Dein left the building.
“I'm confused because we all need defenders and they are hard to get. Liverpool spent £60m to £70m getting one of the best you can get, and we can't seem to identify one.”
“We're the ninth richest club and we can only get loan deals. I don't care if the manager likes this player or not, please Arsenal, get some defenders in!”
Nicholas has also questioned a move away from giving the manager control of transfer business at Arsenal.
Sven Mislintat is set to leave a role as head of recruitment shortly after the January deadline passes, with the German having been acquired after establishing a reputation as one of the best in the business at Borussia Dortmund.
He is not considered to have delivered the goods for the Gunners, with the same issues facing the club in a competitive market as were present when he linked up with Arsenal in December 2017.
Nicholas added on the change in approach which was been overseen in north London over recent times: “[Cesc] Fabregas was a change from [Patrick] Vieira, we went from being physically competitive to technically competitive.
“I’m all for that, I’m not a dinosaur to say I don’t want change, but you have got to get the balance right. And Arsenal don’t get the balance right.
“Now we have got a new bunch of guys on a committee who sit there and pat themselves on the back for bringing us [Pierre-Emerick] Aubameyang. We all knew he was a fabulous footballer, but he’s another attacker.
“We all know these are good players but have you got the ability to look at [Shkodran] Mustafi, not good enough for the price.
“We have done it too often. Find quality defenders, bring them in and then the fans will give you the proper judgement.”