The remarkable frontman merry-go-round between Borussia Dortmund, Arsenal, and Chelsea on transfer deadline day begs the question: which club got the best deal? Here, RunSportBet puts forward a case for each party.
Deal: Michy Batshuayi on loan until end of the season (Read more)
Daniel Rouse: Arsenal broke its transfer record twice in under seven months, with the latter high set by Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s deadline-day arrival, a 28-year-old who relies on his pace. Chelsea signed Olivier Giroud, who was phased out of the Arsenal lineup this season and turns 32 on his next birthday. Both are examples of rash short-termism.
Dortmund, meanwhile, wasn’t forced into knee-jerk and pricey negotiations. Without a permanent acquisition, Alexander Isak and Jadon Sancho are free to develop and adapt without the hurdle of a forward on a long-term contract above them in the pecking order. There is also time to assess January nab Sergio Gomez, the teenage Barcelona product.
An artilleryman was needed to step in for Aubameyang, though, and Der BVB picked up a top-class stop-gap in Michy Batshuayi. Since 2016-17, no Premier League player has a better minutes per goal ratio than the Belgian, and he’s scored more across all competitions than £52-million Alexandre Lacazette. He’s desperate to cement himself in the Belgium squad for the 2018 World Cup, and that should be evident in his performances.
Batshuayi is only 24, and if his Westfalenstadion sojourn goes well, don’t bet against his stay becoming permanent.
Deal: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang for reported £55.4-million fee (Read more)
Gordon Brunt: Arsenal’s frantic winter was unprecedented on many levels, especially for a club which historically waits until the summer to make a splash in the transfer market. Although January featured the departures of several fan favourites, the capture of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang on deadline day will undoubtedly offer a glimmer of hope for a club which had its hopes of ending its Premier League title drought ended months ago.
With Aubameyang in the fold, Arsenal now has another elite forward whose combination of pace and finishing will be a welcome presence in a squad loaded with the calibre of playmakers that Dortmund couldn’t come close to matching.
Outside of the otherworldly distribution of Mesut Ozil, reuniting with former teammate Henrikh Mkhitaryan has the potential to recreate the lethal attack that made Borussia Dortmund a European force for several years. Playing in the same system seemingly brought the best out of both players, as the pair combined for 59 goals and 31 assists during their final season together.
Perhaps the biggest concern will be how Aubameyang can co-exist in a lineup alongside previous club-record signing Lacazette, considering the two posses similar playing styles. However, it’s a welcome dilemma for a club that was often forced to rely on mediocre options in attack.
Deal: Olivier Giroud for reported £17.5-million fee (Read more)
Armen Bedakian: There’s no telling yet if Batshuayi can replace the goal-scoring feats of his predecessor at Dortmund, while the additions of Aubameyang and Mkhitaryan don’t address Arsenal’s defensive concerns. It does mitigate the loss of Sanchez, but there’s no guarantee Mkhitaryan or Aubameyang will quickly succeed in what is now a completely revamped team.
Heck, there’s no guarantee they’ll ever succeed.
While there’s no denying the star power and quality of Arsenal’s signings, it is Chelsea that emerged out of this three-team swap with exactly the kind of man it had been searching for – a 6-foot-3 striker with strong distributor qualities. As such, the Blues addressed a need and bolstered their ranks for a cut-rate fee of £17.5 million and didn’t lose a significant part of their team to do so.
Giroud’s proven goal-scoring record in the Premier League runs contrary to the complete question marks that exist within Arsenal’s attack. His archetypal mold fits an absence, where Arsenal now has two expensive strikers in one position. Lastly, Giroud’s skill set affords Antonio Conte tactical flexibility.
Chelsea has immediately improved its attack by adding Giroud – Dortmund and Arsenal can’t confidently say the same just yet.
Related: Giroud brings new dimension to Chelsea’s attack
(Photos courtesy: Getty Images)