Well Arsenal fans, I think we’re at that stage of the transfer window where we’re starting to see slight patterns emerge. 4 days. Yep, I have patterns to share.
- We’re going to be in a scrum for players this summer
- We’re going to sell a lot
- We’re going to buy a lot
Arsenal has money to spend, no doubt about it. The KSE apology tour comes with Benjamins.
Arteta seems willing to move on players we thought were his favorites, Granit Xhaka proving out there’s a ruthless streak we didn’t know existed, especially after last summer when it felt like he hoarded.
If things go well, we’re likely to see a very different 25-man squad next season. Wenger said you shouldn’t add more than 3 players, well, we’ll need at least 5 to stand still.
This is a hugely consequential moment however you cut it.
The thing that’s exciting me the most is the profile of player we’re looking at. I’ve been writing for years that we need to shift to a Dortmund+ model if we want to get back to the top. That means you adopt a model where you create a good coaching environment for the best young players in Europe and you snatch at them before it they the top level. Monaco, Leipzig, Atleti, Lille, Dortmund, and Ajax are superb at this.
The better you get at it, the more you make in player sales, the bigger the pot you have to play with each season. Arsenal needs to get good at selling if we want to get back to the top. That’s why it’s essential this summer is clever.
Ivan G convinced himself we could get back to the top by signing ‘experienced’ players in their prime. It did not work. Sven Mislintat barely got going before he left after seeing what the Barca guy was up to. Don Raul, the least creative of our football hires, thought you could beat the market using ‘contacts’ scouting, it did not work. Now Edu has the chance to show the world he can do something more interesting than what has gone before.
Edu has done some VERY weird stuff, but if we’re going to be kind, maybe we can lay the blame at the door at over-controlling scuzzy execs that are now out the door. This summer will be his last if he fails. Career death has a funny way of sharpening the mind. It is not a surprise that the Brazilian player cartel has told Willian to move on this summer. I expect best behaviour and signings closer to Martinelli and Partey vs Willian and Cedric Soares.
So far, things are looking sexier. The average age of the players we’ve been linked to is lower. The names are coming from less obvious sources. There have been very few names linked to mega-agents. Everything on paper ‘feels’ smarter.
Emi Buendia is the sort of player Arsenal SHOULD be looking at. Young, great technically, perfect athletic profile, ready to bang… without doubt we moved for him, there are just too many big journos on it to think otherwise. Something clearly put Arsenal off, because we are a bigger pull and no way he’s says no if we’re at offer stage. However, the ‘why’ it failed doesn’t fuss me. Who cares? Didn’t like the slag anyway. What seems clear is:
- Martin Odegaard might be harder to sign than we hoped. No way we’re signing two creators in that #10 role this summer
- If the Norwegian is off the agenda, we are might be looking for someone who can bring energy and numbers to the operation
If you can’t make Buendia work, fund someone that has lookalike statistics. Rodrigo De Paul? Sure, maybe last season when the Le Grove comments section was repping him, but probably too late now, once Mino is involved, you’re dead. But what does he have that we need as well? Bang-bang energy, chance creation, power, pace, ability to transition the ball PLUS sexy versatility.
Who else could we find? Well, we’re being linked with Lazio’s Joaquin Correa, for £17m. He plays as a second striker, but can very much occupy that hole in behind like a #10. He has pace, strength, great technical skills and he can move through tight spaces. Do I know if we’re in for him? No. But do I like the idea we’re looking where other clubs aren’t? Absolutely.
We didn’t nab Buendia, but two players that could do something similar are linked right after. Again, I have no idea if I’m the conspiracy theorist piecing together the relationship between Elon Musk and the Bill Gates tracker bots he put in the covid vaccine… but the rumours feel smarter than they did last summer.
Our transfer window cannot be about chasing the coattails of clubs already in the Champions League. There is a HUGE opportunity to take advantage of a burning European transfer market and build a squad that can bang. Give a stupid Tech Director £100m and they blow it on a player that will return fuck all. Give it to a smart one, they’ll turn that into £250m.
Do we have the Edu who took £36m and turned it into Willian over 3 years? Or the guy that pulled Martinelli out of Brazil and made him a £50m youth sensation that Klopp called a GOD? Who knows. Who knows.
But the rumours are sexier…
Lokongo, yes please. Huge potential from a country that has players banging all over the world.
Caqueret? Absolutely. The French league is full of diamonds and their clubs are BROKE.
Onana? What a good bit of business that would be.
Locatelli? He’s a big boy, but what a player.
Barella? OH MY LORD YES PLEASE.
Smart money can still be sexy.
There are obviously going to be positions we have to stock with Premier-League-ready players. I understand that. If you ship Xhaka, you can’t give his role to someone that’ll take 5 months to settle in England because that position is so important and the fans will oust Arteta if that doesn’t work.
Same for the RCB position. I honestly find the rage surrounding Saliba baffling, because it generally comes from the people most critical of Arteta’s inexperience. No club in the world takes a chance on a 20-year-old center-back for the first team with no Premier League or Championship experience. That. Would. Be. Absurd.
… but, if you bring in Ben White or someone of his profile, then Saliba has a good mentor and we can develop an amazing talent over the season in conjunction with a player that can give us stability (To just regulate how crazy starting Saliba in our defence at 20 is, remember, Brighton sent Ben White to Leeds at 21). I honestly believe Saliba is the safest of our centre-backs because he’s the only one that can play football the way Arteta needs him to play.
People also need to move away from the idea that you sign players in order of need.
No one slags their mum on Twitter for not loading the weekly food shop in order of physiological priority.
‘MUM I NEED TO SEE LEGUMES IN THE TROLLEY FIRST, WHY WOULD YOU PRIORITISE PICKLED ONION MONSTER MUNCH YOU LUNATIC?’
A transfer window is a jigsaw puzzle. There are 5 or 6 pieces that need to drop in. It doesn’t matter which order as long as each piece is filled come the end of July.
So there’s the view of the summer patterns.
Hopefully, we can ship players out in a ruthless fashion.
Hopefully, we can buy with intelligence and do it with speed.
Hopefully, 80% of the deals we do can impact the starting 11 before December.
This is the true start of a new era. Let’s see what the club has. If it’s shit, we’re absolutely finished.
The Christian Eriksen collapse was the worst thing I’ve seen in live sport.
This is not a moment for finger-wagging about things we do not understand.
We should celebrate the rapid reaction of everyone involved, especially the talented medics that kept him with us. We should celebrate the leadership of the players on the pitch. We should pray to whoever we pray to and celebrate that Christian is alive.
Life is really precious, there’s nothing more important, let’s hope he gets back to his best as soon as possible. xxx