It appears we have made something of a breakthrough – if multiple French journos are to be believed – in the attempt to bring in a new midfielder to our team. It’s not an unfamiliar name in Houssem Aouar, who last night Arsenal Twitter lit up after a number of those ITK accounts suggested is in negotiation with Arsenal.
Depending on who you believe Arsenal are either preparing a bid, made an enquiry, or have already submitted a first attempt at €35million, with a view to a deal probably being done at around €40million. TransferMarkt has him at £44million so if true then Arsenal are doing some decent negotiation as we approach the final few days of the transfer window.
It will probably mean, however, that clubs will inevitably low ball us on players. If we’re making our moves before selling then we’re playing our hand and that leaves us open to the embarrassing offers like loan deals for players like Torreira that I mentioned yesterday and as I said yesterday, my hope is that we stand firm. That doesn’t mean not countenancing loan deals by the way. If Atletico want Torreira then we should just tell them to cough up £8million in a loan fee, plus pay his wages, because next summer he’ll have two years left on his contract I think, which means we’d probably only get £15-£18million max for him in the current depressed market. Which will surely continue next summer.
But we do need to move players. An overseas arrival means we’ve got a squad with four players over the max amount we’re supposed to have for our max squad size plus there’s the non home-grown players issue because Arsenal can only have a squad of 25 and we need eight home grown. Bellerin, Ainsley, Calum, Holding, Saka, Willock and Nelson makes seven, then Smith-Rowe makes up eight. But with the size of the squad we have it doesn’t feel like they’re getting that much game time, does it? I would have thought that’d mean an exit for Sokratis, Torreira we know about, but can Arsenal shift anyone else?
Two weeks ago I’d have thought I’d be Elneny, but I’m not so sure now, whereas Guendouzi is under 21 so it doesn’t matter if we keep him or not. If Mustafi were fit you’d think he might be moved on but he’s not, so that isn’t happening. Kolasinac has to be an option in that regard and I suspect Arsenal might make that exit, but that would still mean we have more players we have to offload.
All of this is to say that there needs to be a heck of a lot of movement by the club in the next nine days. Plus we have two games against Liverpool and a match against Sheffield United next weekend for Arteta to focus on. It does make you think about the whole ‘First Team Manager’ thing, doesn’t it? I mean, don’t we want Arteta reviewing his opponent, assessing their weaknesses, making a judgement on who plays and how he rotates his squad in the next nine days? And if he’s doing that how much attention can he place on transfers?
This is, I guess, where Edu needs to earn his crust. He and the rest of the Arsenal back office team now need to make some player sales and acquisitions that are value for money and don’t see us over paying or under selling. It’s a bloody hard job at the best of times but doing it with just a short time frame puts the pressure on even more.
It’s even more pressure to get the right deal at the moment too given the global pandemic we’re in the middle of.
It’s why I never understand clubs leaving it this late. Rarely does a team do a deal at the end of a window that you can look at and say “that was some fine business there”. Clubs that buy over pay, clubs that sell weaken themselves and usually don’t have the time to find a replacement. And clubs that buy the replacement beforehand get lowballed as the buying club knows there is a surplus in the selling clubs squad.
Sadly the only clubs that win in these situations are the ones that are financially doped; the clubs that can buy a player and tell his replacement that he doesn’t have a number if they’re not getting the right price. Which is why this summer has been Chelski’s to have a ball in. They’ve splashed the cash and whilst they know they need to offload, it isn’t going to impact their situation because they have a sugar daddy.
But we’ve known this situation for a long time. No use crying over spilt milk, as they say; we just have to hope that Arsenal manage to pull off this ‘perfect storm’ situation for the sake of the finances and the long term growth of the club.
Let’s see if anything develops today.
Catch you tomorrow.