With no clear number 1 target, does this make the transfer window more or less exciting??

How are you feeling about this summer transfer window when it comes to Arsenal? Often fans can be found at one end of a spectrum or the other. Either feeling excited, dreaming of what might be possible, or feeling pessimistic, doubting the clubs ability to do what these fans deem necessary to improve the squad. Usually, I find myself in the excited camp, engrossed in video comps of players we get speculatively linked to in a small Romanian news outlet. But this year the excitement just isn’t quite at the level it normally is, and I’ve spent the last few days pondering why that is.

declan rice signing


Rewind to last summer, we had known for some time already that Declan Rice was our top target. We knew it was likely to be a club record transfer fee, we also could clearly see a role for him in our first eleven, and we could also see that he would significantly bridge the gap between ourselves and Manchester City. Rewind again to the previous summer when we knew Arsenal needed a new number 9, Gabriel Jesus was top of our list. It was exciting, as bringing in a player of that calibre is something that did not feel available to us in the few windows prior. This year, a clear number one, ceiling raising transfer target has perhaps not yet emerged at the forefront of media reporting. Why might this be?

When you finish 8th, or 5th, or even a clear 2nd such as last summer, there is a wider pool of players that can raise the team’s level. When you finish within one result of topping the “best team in the world” to win the Premier League, all of a sudden, the pool of players that are sure-things to help you take the next step is drastically smaller, and the ones who may be available at a doable expense, even smaller still. When looking at Arsenal’s best team, you could argue there is nobody in the world you could feasibly bring in as an upgrade to Raya, White, Saliba, Gabriel, Rice, Ødegaard, Saka or Havertz. This leaves positions where ceiling raisers could come in as left back, central midfield and left wing.



At left wing, the solution is arguably already within the club. Although he didn’t have his best season, getting the best out of Gabriel Martinelli again would put him into the un-upgradable group above as he was at the end of the 22/23 season. That would be a much wiser use of resources than looking for a superstar replacement.

At left back, you could argue that a ceiling raising player isn’t available on the market. Ask yourself, who is the best left back in the world? Man City play centre backs in that position, Liverpool have an ageing Andy Robertson, Real Madrid have Ferland Mendy, who is solid, but not a world beater, and Bayern have Alphonso Davies, who is seemingly going to Madrid and is not a profile we seem particularly interested in. Internally, Timber or Tomiyasu could make this position their own, or we could move for a younger player like Jorrel Hato, with hopes he will become the next best thing at that position.

That leaves central midfield, and if Thomas Partey exits, this is the clear spot for a ceiling raiser. Last summer was the summer of the midfielders on the move, with Rice, Bellingham, Caicedo all moving for big money. The likes of Macallister, Mount, Tonali, Lavia also got moves for significant fees. This summer, the midfield conveyer belt doesn’t seem as full. Newcastle will want to keep Bruno Gumaires, Frenkie De Jong wants to stay at Barca, and Lucas Paqueta is set for a very lengthy ban, so again it seems hard to find a bonafide starting level plug-and-play player.


(Image: RONNY HARTMANN/AFP via Getty Images)

This means it’s likely Arsenal will look for good players ready to bulk up the squad, such as Benjamin Sesko, but these sorts of deals do come with an element of risk, as their true potential in our team and our league is unknown, potentially dampening the excitement-o-meter somewhat.

Last summer, there was only one ‘winner’ in the transfer window. Chelsea spent a whopping £435 million. What an achievement for them. When you are finishing midtable, “winning the transfer window”, is where your attention turns. Dreaming of what could be possible should you sign X, Y and Z. Everyone wants to win the big trophies, and when you are so far away from competing against the very best, serious player recruitment is a big part of what you need to do to earn yourself a seat at the top table. Although this Arsenal team is yet to lift the league title or Champions League, we very much feel like it is a matter of time, and there really isn’t any need to be spending anywhere near £435m. This team is ready to win. So personally, my excitement is already firmly on next season. I genuinely wish it started tomorrow. I wish there were no international tournaments, or transfers to be done, I just want to see Arsenal get back out there. Maybe that’s just the heartbreak of the final day talking. 

Like it or not, there are a couple more months of off-season to go and there’s plenty that can still happen to drive excitement through the roof. Tomorrow, Ornstein could drop an ‘Ornbomb’ about our top target, maybe a deal for Bruno G or another top level midfielder can be done, giving everyone with that transfer dopamine hit. Maybe later on in the window, the transfer dominos start to fall which in turn opens up an opportunity. Could Real Madrid need to let one of their stars go following the conclusion of the Mbappe deal, perhaps a Rodrygo? If any world class player suddenly becomes available, Arsenal are once again an extremely desirable destination. 

It speaks volumes about how far this club and this team have come, that I am more excited about getting my Arsenal back on the pitch, than seeing shiny new toys coming through the door. There is also a level of trust that Edu and Arteta will bring in the right people to get us over the line, leaving more confidence and assurance than excitement. For Arsenal, it is winning time, and I am overwhelmingly excited to see a potential trophy parade at the end of next season, regardless of what happens in this summer transfer window. 

Where are your emotions in regards to the summer transfer window? Excited? Pessimistic? Or just ready to see Arsenal play football again?

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