Another promising young player has committed their future to the new Arsenal FC. Kido Taylor Hart will drop a full season with the U23s this season whilst also being given time to train with the first team.
This is a coup for the system Per Mertesacker is setting up and it once again speaks to the new vision of Arsenal.
Young players, great coaching, fast-track to the first team if they do well. This is how clubs in our situation should be operating.
Granit Xhaka, as it currently stands, will be an Arsenal player heading into the new season. The Swiss was attracting interest from Roma, they apparently bid £10m for him, we turned it down because that level of compensation would have impacted our ability to move on other players this window.
I was kind of hoping the player moved on this summer, Xhaka feels like a hangover from the dark years of Arsene Wenger. I think that sentiment is shared by a lot of the fans. We all wanted to see a Locatelli at the carpet.
Not Arteta. He likes the player. This summer was never supposed to be about selling Xhaka, but the club was willing to do so if a proper fee was sent out way. £10m is no good if you need £40m to replace. We’re trying to move on a number of additional positions that need more attention than the one he normally occupies. If you take £30m out of the pot, that’s less money for a right-back, keeper, and CAM position. However you want to cut it, Xhaka was not a massive problem last season. When he dropped into defence, we weren’t as good.
Also worth noting that whoever we put there was going to be a problem. United is being linked hard with Reuben Neves, a player that the Arsenal fanbase went nuts over… but not United fans, who seem to be very excited about him. The role Xhaka plays is unsexy, but if he plays like he did last season, I don’t think we’ll be in bad shape, especially if he’s next to Thomas Partey.
The longer-term view is the one I’m paying attention to. Miguel Azeez has bulked up over the summer and he looks like he’ll be competing for the first team very soon, he scored another screamer over the weekend. Then you have Lokonga, one of the most exciting midfield prospects in Europe, who clearly can do a lot of things Xhaka can do and more. Don’t be shocked if our midfield pairing is Lokonga and Partey by January. The Belgian is not here as bench fodder.
The thing that really needs to kick up a gear in the next few weeks is transfer exits. People keep on saying that we’re not being ‘ruthless’ enough and I really don’t think they understand what they are talking about. What does get ruthless about selling mean? Like… force sales? To clubs with no money? Annul contracts?
So far this window, total sales from bigger clubs.
- Chelsea: 4 players
- United: 0 players
- Spurs: 2 players
- Everton: 1 players
- Leicester: 0 players
- West Ham: 1 player
- Manchester City: 3 players
How about some of the smaller clubs?
- Aston Villa: 1 player
- Palaces: 0 players
- Sheffield United: 0 players
- Newcastle United: 0 players
Notice the pattern? Selling players isn’t about being ruthless unless you think we should do another round of selling players for painfully low fees or we should just give free transfers to players the club thinks have value.
The market is dead. There’s a nasty combination of no one having money and no one wanting to sell the crown jewels to get the market going. If the best ‘selling’ club in the Premier League is CFC with a whopping total of 4 exits, then you know the market is totally fucked.
I suspect another consideration at play is a ‘it’ll brighten up next year’ mindset. Base premise of a portfolio manager, buy low, sell high. Why should Arsenal sell Hector Bellerin for peanuts at 26 years old? If the market bounces back next summer, he might have more than one club vying for his services.
What we’re waiting to find out is if clubs will start to show their hand a little more in the coming weeks. No good heading into a new season with no recruits. Clubs need to have players in the door. Ainsley, Reiss, Willock, and Eddie are very capable young players that would add value to plenty of squads. I expect (hope) there to be moves for them coming soon.
Lacazette, who seems open to a move, would add goals to any squad in Italy, France or Spain. Clubs will need goals and might move on him. Cal Chamber, Cedric, and Hector would be decent for certain sides.
These next two weeks are going to have to perk up for everyone because a market only works if there are lots of participants.
One thing to keep in mind: Arsenal won’t go into the season without a CAM or a back-up keeper. I think moves on a right back and a striker are going to be provisioned on exits.
So… plenty of summer still to come, just don’t blame the sluggishness all on Arsenal. I’m more than willing to go at the club, but you can’t look at a lack of movement without looking at the market as a whole… because a market and its health is predicated on active participants. You can’t sell if no one wants to buy.
Right, that’s me done, see you in the comments.
P.S. I hope that picture of Thomas Partey out in Paddington was from yesterday, because he wasn’t limping around, and that is good news.