The speculation is over. The money has been spent, the contacts signed and the increasingly elaborate ‘reveals’ of the new arrivals have flooded social media.
The January transfer window injected a new lease of life into the Premier League race for the UEFA Champions League, with the top six all bringing in high-profile new recruits.
Runaway leaders Manchester City continued their one-horse title race by bringing in defender Aymeric Laporte, and the Frenchman’s first task was to help Pep Guardiola’s side extend their lead to 15 points.
Liverpool, of course, recently brought in a big-money reinforcement at the back themselves, shelling out a a world-record fee for a defender to end their long pursuit of Virgil van Dijk.
But this week it was all about the four remaining members of the PL’s Big Six, three of whom were inextricably linked this week as the UCL-chasing rivals initiated a merry-go-round of centre-forwards that brought three big PL transfers.
105 - Since joining in 2012, Olivier Giroud scored 105 goals in all competitions, 25 more than any other Arsenal player in that time. Au Revoir. pic.twitter.com/miloaeSEcz— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) January 31, 2018
The Chile international will be hoping to make a much greater impact this weekend, and there has already been speculation that he may replace mega-money summer arrival Romelu Lukaku through the middle.
Lukau now has just 15 goals in 63 Premier League appearances against the Big Six. His record against the other clubs was one of the reasons he was brought into Old Trafford, but his Seasonal Pressure Index total for the season has fallen to 70/100.
Alexis’ move made way for the arrival of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang at the Emirates, and the Gabon international may also be looking to oust a summer arrival. Arsenal splashed the cash on Alexandre Lacazette in the summer, but it’s difficult to see how the two will fit into the same side.
Lacazette has hit 9 Premier League goals in 22 starts this season, but with the Gunners having scored the second-fewest league goals in the Big Six, Arsene Wenger will no doubt be tempted to unleash Aubameyang.
Arsenal new signing Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang had a hand in 172 goals in 213 matches in all competitions for Dortmund (141 goals, 31 assists), averaging a goal or assist every 96 minutes— Goal (@goal) February 1, 2018
His switch from Germany saw Arsenal usher Olivier Grioud out the door – and he too will be looking to squeeze out a huge summer signing.
Alvaro Morata’s form in front of goal has tailed off and, with Chelsea having managed one goal fewer than Arsenal in the Premier League, Giroud may finally start to see the minutes he is so desperate for ahead of the World Cup.
The only big mover from the window whose move had nothing to do with what was going on elsewhere in the Big Six was Lucas Moura, with the 25-year-old swapping the bench at PSG for what he hopes will be regular playing time at Tottenham.
In order to find that, he will likely have to ensure he gets ahead of Son Heung-min in the pecking order. Son has a higher Seasonal Pressure Index Score than Lukaku, Morata and Lacazette, but the Brazilian’s pace and thrust could inject new life to a dynamic Tottenham frontline that appeared to lack true competition for places.
Their time has come. And the pressure is on.