If recent reports are to be believed, Arsenal just might have kicked their summer transfer window into high gear. As most of Arsenal’s squad are focused on the International Champions Cup following their victory against Bayern Munich on Wednesday night, upper management has been hard at work trying to make last minute improvements to squad in serious need of some recruits.
BBC reporter and Arsenal expert, David Ornstein, proclaimed that William Saliba has decided to sign with Arsenal rather than join Tottenham. On top of this Arsenal are supposedly close to bringing in Dani Ceballos on loan from Real Madrid and remain interested in the acquisition of Celtic defender, Kieran Tierney.
Arsenal have been forced to conduct complicated business this summer due to the low transfer budget and high wage bill. Rather than completing deals with immediate payment, Arsenal are trying to operate by offering payment plans and loan deals, which only makes negotiations a great deal more strenuous. However, Unai Emery publicly expressed optimism about Arsenal’s chances of securing signings,
” We are working, the club is working with the possibility to sign some new players to help us. ”
“Really, I can say to our supporters that we are going to have a very good team with the players that are there now and also with three or four players who can help us in a few days.”
It is reassuring to hear this news especially since Emery provided a timeline as to when such acquisitions would be completed.
Perhaps what is more surprising than the potential signings is the utter lack of any news about player departures. Arsenal lost quite a few players who were out of contract, but unfortunately the club does not recoup any monetary compensation in such instances. As a result, in order to raise any substantial level of funds Arsenal would need to sell players. It is odd, then, that there has been no developments on that front. Players like Mesut Özil, Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Sead Kolasinac, and Shkordan Mustafi were rumored to be out the door to make way for new players.
For all the drama that has surrounded Arsenal this season, do the Gunners actually need a massive overhaul? While the answer is clearly yes, the solution is not as complicated as one might think. Arsenal are a club in transition. Josh Kroenke, son of club owner Stan Kroenke, stated as much in a recent interview with Arsenal media. Now is the time to provide players already at the club who have immense potential the opportunity to secure a place in the first team.
Reiss Nelson, Ainsley Maitland-Niles, Joe Willock, and Krystian Bielik have all shown the potential to play in the Arsenal first team. Finances are tight and the chance to build a new young core at the club is vital. The attack as well as the midfield looks to be set without needing any more additions should the Ceballos loan deal go through and Gabriel Martinelli makes an immediate impact with the side. Wilfried Zaha is too big of a risk for the club and would take playing time away from home grown talent. Defense, on the other hand, is where Arsenal should devote all of their available resources.
The William Saliba move while not an immediate benefit would make impressive strives to develop Arsenal’s back line for the future. Saliba’s loan move back to Saint-Etienne would only allow the young player more time to develop in a low pressure situation. That does not mean that Arsenal’s moves should be seen as complete. Kieran Tierney would be a smart signing for Arsenal. He is a defensive upgrade over Kolasinac, who has exhibited a more attacking skill set, and all put replace Nacho Monreal on the left. Unfortunately, there are little hints that the deal is anywhere close to being completed.
Tifo football released a new video in their Sensible Transfer series highlighting Arsenal’s primary weak points with defense remaining a particular vulnerability. The recent scuffle between Laurent Koscielny and the club only exacerbates the problem. Pundits, journalists, and club legends alike have called into question Mustafi’s ability as an Arsenal player. Monreal’s quality also experienced a dramatic dip during the 2018/19 season. Should Mustafi, Monreal, and Koscielny be put aside for the moment, Arsenal would be left with one reliable, experienced, and healthy center-back, Sokratis Papastathopoulos. That is simply not good enough when considering the quality of competition in both the Premier League and the Europa League. By all means, Unai Emery should provide opportunities for Rob Holding to win back his place when fully fit, but more consistent competition for the place would get the best out of every player
Arsenal’s reported acquisitions would be shrewd bit of business. That does not mean that the job should be done. New technical director, Edu, unfortunately arrived late to the job due to commitments with the Brazilian National Team in the Copa America. However, his next few weeks will be headache inducing as he attempts to solve Arsenal’s puzzle before the transfer window closes on August 9. He must determine which areas the club is confident can be covered with the current crop of young talent, and who could come in and make an influential impact.