Having just been asked to write my newspaper column on which of the current Arsenal squad we should ‘Keep, Loan or Sell’ it is very clear to me that Arteta and his staff have a huge task ahead of them in the Transfer Window, made that much harder because they know they need to sell in order to buy.
Decisions that we as supporters make in our own minds quite easily are entirely the opposite for Arteta, Edu and co. Getting rid of the deadwood, which for us is a simple as throwing it, (or them) on the bonfire, is a laborious process, fraught with barriers and angst along the way. Of course, it is made even harder when the buying clubs have less money, due to the pandemic, and the ‘so called’ deadwood, are International footballers on absurdly high wages, agreed in more affluent (or more stupid) times.
The belated summer window is upon us, the media are full of transfer stories, imaginary or otherwise and the betting websites are happily offering transfer specials. It is a fun time for us fans to dream, speculate and discuss what we would love to see but I feel perhaps we need to take a breath and consider what is practical and likely, over what we want. That way, as with Pepe last summer, a pleasant surprise can be just that, and much more enjoyable as a result.
In addition, I think we need to remember that whilst to us the players, out of favour, are purely marketable commodities in one sense, they are also humans with emotions and families as well. It is simple to demand that Arsenal offload players not in the coaches plans such as Ozil, Sokratis, and quite probably Mustafi and Kolasinac but only possible if the players themselves are happy to be sold, move their families and indeed if there are buying clubs with the cash to buy and afford their inflated wages.
Sadly I think it more likely that Arsenal might have to sell some players who have been in the first team squad, but not perhaps regular starters, such as Lucas Torreira and Rob Holding, purely because they will attract reasonable offers and their wages are not off putting to interested parties. The combined fees for these two popular, yet not integral squad members might be as much as £35 million, which Arteta could put to very good use, knowing he still has Chambers and Maitland-Niles covering those roles.
Moreover, unpalatable as it might be to fans, who are always desperate to see home grown youngsters break through, if the senior unwanted here are also unwanted elsewhere, some ‘young’ sacrificial lambs might need to be found. Much as we all want Reiss Nelson, to succeed, the truth it seems that he is behind, Pepe, Saka, Martinelli and potentially Willian in Arteta’s mind.
It is our Spanish coach, who has earned our trust, who watches the youngsters each day on the training ground and knows all their attributes and frailties. Nelson is a young talented footballer with huge potential, with the added advantage of being ‘homegrown’. As a result, he might command a sale price of £15 million, although Transfermarkt, have him at £11.25m.
The simple reality is the we have players we want to leave who may not wish to or we cannot find buyers for on one side, and three players we all like in Torreira, Holding and Nelson who may not wish to leave but are marketable. We equally know that they are not first 11 players for next season, but their combined sales fees would buy Thomas Partey, who certainly would be
Over to you Arteta and co, I don’t envy you.
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.