We’re now just under a month into the Summer transfer window and Arsenal have already made two astute signings. Willian has been brought in from Chelsea to add some experience and quality in attacking areas. Meanwhile, a deal to bring promising central defender Gabriel Magalhaes to North London is complete according to Fabrizio Romano. A promising start amid the chaos behind the scenes concerning redundancies.
However, in spite of the fact that these two players will certainly improve our team, more is needed. Mikel Arteta will know better than anyone that Arsenal need reinforcements throughout the team. Due to the departures of Mattéo Guendouzi and Lucas Torreria looking likely combined with Mesut Özil’s prolonged absence, looking to add at least a couple of midfielders should be Arsenal’s priority in the coming weeks.
Thomas Partey, as we all know has been Arsenal’s long-term midfield target. This seems to be one that will drag on a bit in the coming days. It has been widely reported that Atletico Madrid are unwilling to budge on their €50m release clause. Having said this, David Ornstein reported that Arsenal are ‘hopeful’ of negotiating a lower figure.
Does it mean Arsenal don’t have the money to pay the release clause? It certainly isn’t the case – given the COVID situation where liquidity is an issue for most clubs, committing lesser funds up front frees up more cash to spend on other areas. But what we do know is Partey is Arsenal’s number one target and he wants to come here, so let’s hope that plays in our favor in the negotiations.
Secondly, Lyon’s Houssem Aouar, one of Europe’s most exciting midfield prodigies has also been linked. French publication L’Equipe has reported on our interest – we reportedly offered Guendouzi + cash in exchange for the player. Other whispers from France suggest that he has a personal preference to join Juventus, but this is one transfer saga to keep a close eye on.
There were also concrete reports to Philippe Coutinho from the very reliable RAC1, which suggests that we are in for a creator. Arteta has spoken about how we need to get that creativity back, so it will be very interesting to see who we end up with.
Of course, rumours regarding a potential loan return for Dani Ceballos have also been relentless. Real Madrid have called the player back for pre-season and this could possibly be a negotiation tactic. But judging by his social media activity, he seems to be really happy at Arsenal.
The idea of the likes of Partey, Ceballos and a new creator such as Aouar playing together in a midfield three next season is very enticing. However, our lack of depth in the engine room if Guendouzi and Torreira are allowed to leave and we do not land our transfer targets should be cause for alarm. Granit Xhaka would be the only remaining experienced midfielder in our squad.
So, the onus is on the likes of Edu Gaspar and Huss Fahmy to recruit sufficiently so we are not left with a gaping hole in the middle of the park. If we cannot sign Aouar, a player who might be difficult to bring to the Emirates Stadium, we must move on. Just as we must sell so we can buy, we must buy so we can sell. We need assurances that our outgoings players will be replaced.
Another key focus for the remainder of the window has to be moving players on. Reading various reports together it seems like we are willing to listen to offers for a significant portion of the squad. Just today, we heard from Sky Sports News that Wolves are looking to sign Ainsley Maitland Niles for a fee of around £20m. It will be interesting to see how many we manage to ship out.
So far, no first team player has officially left Arsenal this Summer. Fortunately, this is where the extension of the transfer window should help us. We still have around 6 weeks to conduct the business that needs to be done. Now, it’s time to accelerate that process. It’d be good to see us complete most of our dealings prior to our opening day fixture at Craven Cottage.
The coming week is set to be one of the most important for us in this transfer market. Our community shield final against Liverpool is just a week away and following that match there are a set of international fixtures to get through. Thus, from next week onwards, it’ll be much harder to conduct transfer business. Yes, as shown by the Gabriel deal, in the current coronavirus landscape it’s unlikely transfers will reach completion particularly quickly. However, it’d be nice to see Arsenal set in place some all-important agreements before the international break.
Plenty of work yet to do for us in this transfer window. Gabriel and Willian are certainly signs that we mean business this Summer but there’s still a long road ahead for our recruitment team if we are to succeed next season. If all goes to plan, there should be some exciting times ahead for us Arsenal fans.