So, we’re entering the final run of the transfer window. This is where things will likely get a little bit rough for the impatient among us.
There are two positions that are a priority for Arsenal. The absolute guarantee you can make is that Arsenal is going to sign themselves a #10. This is happening, do not fear, we’re going to bring someone into that role. I think the two priorities are likely Martin Odegaard, who comes with complications… and possibly James Maddison, who will also be tough to wrestle from Leicester primarily because there’s a lot of money needed to move on him. It’s not in doubt though, the window will not end without a name there.**
**Worth noting a snippet of news that slinked out a couple of days ago. Maddison apparently has a 15% sell on clause in his contract, inserted by Norwich. Emi Buendia was a target for Arsenal, we shied away, I suspect that sort of sell-on clause was pushed our way and we said no. Rightly so at £40m, if you were lucky enough to resell him at £60m, you’d be handing over £9m, taking your profit to £11m. Anyway, main point here, we’ve already made moves on a #10, it’s part of the budget.
The next position the club will likely work hard to work on is right back. This is where it’ll be tough for fans, because it’ll be a one in one out situation here (maybe even two out). Bellerin is with his agent in London right now, likely trying to loosen the vice we have on his tenure here… Arsenal want a sale, Hector is a known quantity, he’s at his peak, and PSG apparently offered £30m for him last season. Then you have Cedric or Cal Chambers, who’d probably struggle to find a buyer, but one will have to move for on loan for Arsenal to sanction cash for a new right back.
Central midfield is where things might make us a little sad. The Granit Xhaka contract stories yesterday were a bolt from the blue. I have no idea what is going on there or whether it’s true… but here’s what is likely a fact. Arteta likes Xhaka, he doesn’t see him as a major problem, so if he stays, he’ll be fine. Roma is clearly interested, but if they don’t pony up, Arsenal would rather keep him around than sanction a shite deal that stifles their ability to replace him. This position, 100%, is a one in one out as things stand. If you want Bruno to replace Xhaka, there will have to be an actual fee for Granit.
It’s the same story in attack. David Ornstein just shared that Arsenal moved really did move on Lautaro Martínez… BUT… they wanted to see if they were interested in taking Lacazette in return. Which was a big fat no by the sounds of things. We can’t add to our striking unit if there’s no space for talent.
I see a lot of ‘ARTETA SAID HE’D BE RUTHLESS THIS SUMMER’ and I remember the quotes well. But part of being ruthless is telling other clubs to give you actual money for your good players. Granit gave a very good showing last season, he had a top Euros, he’s 28 years old, we cannot be accepting £12m for him (even though many of us would like to)… because we have needs as a club as well. If Roma is not serious, they’ll have to look elsewhere.
I think where you will see movement very shortly is with some of the English players. Ainsley, Reiss, Eddie and Willock are all likely going to have to find themselves new clubs and it does appear there is a bit of interest in all of them.
‘WHAT ABOUT RAMSDALE’ well, this quote from Arteta yesterday gives you a little bit of a view into Arsenal’s approach this summer.
“Ben is an intelligent defender who is very comfortable with the ball at his feet and his style fits perfectly with us. And of course, he is still young, so his age and profile fits with what we are building here. We are all looking forward to Ben being central to our future long-term plans.”
This summer, so far, has not looked like a typical Edu run out in the park. It looks like the analysts are finally having a bigger say on who we sign. Ben White took everyone by surprise because most normal fans weren’t looking at him last season, but he clearly has a set of unique talents we need. Sambi Lokonga, a player who seems to have it all, was on not one soul’s radar this summer. Tavares is raw, but he looks like he has all the qualities to be a top talent. Arsenal is identifying the qualities they need for our system and acting on them. I have no idea what they are looking at in Ramsdale, but they seem to have found something they think is valuable to our system and it’s not a recco from the keeping coach.
Obviously, the big question you have then is… are the analysts any good? We’ll see, but if it’s a choice of Ramsdale because they’ve found something others aren’t looking at, or Neto, because a palm has been greased somewhere, I’ll go with the smarts (as long as it’s a very good price and I don’t for one minute believe we’re offering £36m). White, Lokonga and Tavares look like smart buys, Ramsdale is a confusing one, but let’s see what it’s all about. Main point here… it’s a new day and the ideas will absolutely have been thought through based on a profile not a favour.
So, to conclude, outside a CAM that will definitely arrive, we’re at the phase of the summer where incoming players will only happen if exits accompany them. It’s frustrating, but one of the biggest issues last season was having senior players without squad places, and the toxic waste it causes to the whole club. Edu cannot allow that to happen again this summer, so he’ll have to get his Romford Market selling hat on and start moving some bodies.
Only thing you can take a positive from is that the market really isn’t in free flow at the moment, no club is selling deadwood for millions, and none of the clubs that usually buy it up have been spending. Just be happy that KSE is actually pushing cash around this summer, because if this apology tour wasn’t happening, we’d be bumming around like we did last year moving nowhere fast.
£110m is likely going to be the top out of expenditure (assuming £40m for CAM), we’ll need to raise cash for anything else from there. That’s an educated guess btw, but not bad considering we finished 8th and have no Europe.
Fingers crossed the summer is going to kick up with some sales, we need them.