Arsenal fans are no different to any in their fascination with transfer gossip and speculation and it now seems likely we know when this summer, or perhaps I say summer/autumn window will be. The first moves could be ratified as early as the 27th July. I am sure some of the free agents, who declined to extend with the current clubs may well be announced on the first day. For Arsenal I suspect that will be Malang Sarr from Nice but perhaps not Ryan Fraser.
Whilst many Arsenal fans refuse to accept it, because ‘We are Arsenal’, the reality is very much that the self-sustainable model is our business at present and despite re-jigging loans KSE will not be adding to the Coaches transfer kitty. It will be more a ‘Minor Skirmish’ chest than a ‘War’ chest, so such quick and decisive moves on the likes of Sarr, make perfect sense. Let;s hope Vieira has paved our way with his Nice protege.
I fear therefore even the desire to see Arsenal move quickly for the cream of the talent at the likes of Norwich, Bournemouth and Villa may be little more than wishful thinking. The hope is that the club can develop a hitherto unseen skill-set and sell much of the squad Arteta deems surplus to his needs, for reasonable money, early in the window. That combined with structuring the payment of deals over a period of years, in the hope of better times ahead.
The club have committed to Mari, Cedric and Luiz for the 2020/21 campaign and we have Saliba to add to the swelling defensive ranks. If the Sarr deal materialises we can anticipate many defensive departures but getting good offers for Sokratis and Mustafi will be tricky, particularly with every club being less well off than pre-Pandemic.
Thankfully the core of our young talent is now on longer term contracts, which is one less concern, and many of those who have shone in 2019/20 will be key for us next season. For Arteta, it is now about somehow blending them with experienced campaigners, willing to fight for the cause. Therefore, Aubameyang being here still is so vital. He along with Leno and Xhaka are vital in the spine as the central defence, assuming Luiz becomes a squad player will be mighty young.
The other reason why intense speculation is simply that at present, whether by us the fans, or the media is that none of us know what system Arteta wants as his ‘go to’ structure. We have seen 4231, with a 10, 433 and now 343 since the Spaniard look over and can any of us hand on heart say we know his preferred route. I suspect 433 myself but it is his vision that will inform our transfer business, both exits and arrivals.
If it is 433 and the club somehow retain the services of their skipper, the main target, rumoured of course to be Thomas Partey, makes perfect sense. If Guendouzi leaves, bringing in the Ghanaian, and one other more adventurous central midfielder, may be the only significant purchases we see. Our coach has Saka, Martinelli, Pepe and Nelson vying for 2 wide striker positions, if it is to be 433. With a more supportive 8 style central player, we can then see Aubameyang central as the need to drop deep hold up and link play will be lessened.
If my hunch is correct, then whilst the signing of Partey could be huge, that, in combination with unearthing a progressive 8 to arrive with him is critical. Dare I say an Aaron Ramsey style player but a younger, less injury prone model.
All this work to be done without the lure of European football sees=m increasingly likely so Arteta, Edu and Raul will be selling a ‘project’ and a vision of better times ahead.
Passionate fifty-something Arsenal supporter who has been making the journey to N5 regularly since the early 1980s – although his first game was in 1976. Always passionate when talking about The Arsenal, Dave decided to send a guest blog to Gunnersphere in the summer of 2011 and has not stopped writing about the Gunners since.
He set up his own site – 1 Nil Down 2 One Up – in February 2012, which he moved on in 2016 to concentrate on freelance writing and building Gunners Town, which he launched with Paul in 2014.
The objective of GT was to be new and fresh and to give a platform for likeminded passionate Arsenal fans wishing to write about their team. Dave still of course, writes for the site himself and advises the ever-changing writing crew.