Morning folks and welcome to Monday. It’s a full working week for me for the first time in a while after a couple of holidays and then the bank holiday weekend we’ve just had in Blighty. I’m hoping my brain doesn’t conk out by Thursday!
In the Arsenal world, all is still quiet on the Western Front, as the chess pieces are clearly being aligned for us to make MEGA MOVES in the transfer market. Or maybe not. One thing’s for sure, we’ll have to buy SOMEBODY. I mean, as it stands right now we have 19 recognised first team players if you don’t count Lacazette. So there definitely has to be a bit of a volume play because I don’t think Arsenal will look at Patino, Flores, Hutchinson, Azeez, Biereth, Ogungbo and Olumide Awe as players who can slot right in and fill the squad to the levels he wants.
Let’s also remind ourselves that Arteta has said he wants three goalkeepers and 22 outfield players. That is what he said in March. With that in mind we currently have 17 first team players, then you have some of the youth players mentioned above. Given the lack of game time any of them have had, I think it is fair to say that some will – and should – get some loan time. If we’re counting out Leno and in Turner, then we’re looking at three goalkeepers already secured with Okonkwo as the third choice ‘keeper. If we’re looking at Saliba coming in, then we’re looking at that number of first team players jumping to 18. There is speculation over a number of players, but most of those are loan players that won’t impact the volume of our team. I look at our first team squad right now and based on the numbers we have, I can’t see us exiting too many who are in that 18 right now. Saliba said yesterday he’s there for next season so that’s that sorted. We have a question mark over Pepe and I think if all parties can conclude a deal that’ll be that sorted too. That would bring us back down to 17 first team players.
Perhaps Arteta can promote one – maximum of two – to the 22 so they can play League Cup and Europa League. Maybe Maitland-Niles comes back if we can’t find a home for him and maybe Azeez gets a shot this season. Omari Hutchinson has been talked of in dispatches and Brook Norton-Cuffy has just had an impressive loan spell, but I suspect the club will look for him to go out to a Championship club this season and perhaps look at the exit of Cedric at the end of next season, as the natural succession plan if BNC can have a good season. Hutchinson too will go out on loan I suspect. So I guess what I’m trying to say here is that I think Arteta promotes at most one player in to the 22. But he doesn’t have to because they are youth players and therefore don’t need to be counted. So in theory we have 17 players, 18 if AMN doesn’t have a home and even then we still have space for four signings.
I’ve just had a quick look back at the last five year’s of incomings at The Arsenal on Transfermarkt. I looked only at players who you could say would be coming in as first team squad players, not youth players or players that won’t play (like Auston Trusty from Colorado), and in the last five summers here’s the number we’ve brought in:
- 2021/22 = six
- 2020/21 = five
- 2019/20 = five
- 2018/19 = five
- 2017/18 = three
So in four of the last five summers we’ve brought in five players who could conceivably be classed as first team players. If we currently have what I am assuming to be four first team slots, I think we can assume that we’ll be getting at least four players in to the team that should improve us. We all know there’s a striker coming in because with Lacazette going we have just Nketiah on the books (although not confirmed as signing a new deal yet…) and Balogun. Maybe Balogun comes in but again, he’s part of the home grown quota so I still don’t think he will be counted in the 22 that are registered, because why would you?
That’s a striker, most likely another central midfielder that we know we’ve been linked with, giving us an extra two positions to cover. If Pepe goes then one could be a wide forward. If Pepe stays then I think the club will look at full back which is why you can understand the Aaron Hickey links. That will leave maybe one more position with which the club might look to fill and I wonder if it’ll be at full back again. I have suspicions that Tavares and Cedric won’t be relied upon and that means we need to look at two players to act as back ups. For me that makes sense and if that happens I think it’ll be a sensible move.
So we’re talking about (potentially) a couple of full backs, a midfielder, a wide forward if Pepe goes and a striker. Between now and the first game of the season in August. I think that’s doable, personally. And if you think about an average price for a first team player in those positions, you’ve got to be talking:
- Striker = £50million
- Midfielder = £30million
- Full back 1 = £20million
- Full back 2 = £15million (assuming he’s more of an understudy)
- Wide forward = £40million (and that would be offset by any money received for Pepe, so perhaps this could stretch a little further than my estimate?)
That’s a total outlay of £155million and doesn’t account for any player sales, of which we know the club have a few returning loanees with which they’d like to get cash for. If the club can make £55million from Torreira, Bellerin, Maitland-Niles, Runarsson, Nelson, Pablo Mari, Guendouzi and Mavropanos (which averages out at £6.9million per player), then you’re talking about a potential outlay of £100million and suddenly you’ve got what looks like a very impressive squad. I haven’t even included the sale of Pepe which you’d hope could fetch between £15 – £20million. That’d be a big hit but if the club can get anything like that then you’d think they’d be able to get more than £55million in.
I guess all I’m trying to do with today’s ramblings is outline that whilst the numbers seem like a lot at first, if all of these conservative figures bear out for the next couple of months, Arsenal can have a good – affordable – summer in which they can bring in good players and still look in a good position to compete for the top four with a young and impressive squad.
It’s time to see if Edu & Co can do the business for us.
Catch you all tomorrow.