If all goes ahead, this is a big deal.
Not due to any ill-feelings, an overriding lack of confidence or a personal vendetta; no. It’s for no other reason than that in this squad, it’s the biggest gain we can make.
There is always a need to avoid being swept up by the endless spew of transfer nonsense. Aimed to titillate and tantalise our taste buds with the suddenly conjured up hope that your club may or may not sign X, Y or Z, the transfer window is toxic cesspit of false dawns.
Ideally, it’d be like the old days where Arsene Wenger would walk into a press conference to a cacophony of bemused journalists’ faces as he brings in a signing nobody had any inkling was coming to north London to sit beside him.
We now live in an era where – and Arsenal fans are great at this – someone is tracking the every move of a potential signing from the hotel room they’re staying in to the taxi company they used to catch their already tracked private jet. It’s madness.
On the plus side, all the transfer talk does mean that we can garner a calculated understanding of how legitimate certain stories are. This summer, Lucas Torreira will leave Arsenal. We can say so with a fair degree of certainty.
Who, where and ultimately when will differ from outlet to outlet, but a return to Italy is on the cards for what we’re rumoured to believe will be around the same fee – a few million less – than we signed him for two years ago: £22m, although likely not all at once.
With Alexandre Lacazette clearly enjoying his time under Mikel Arteta and the Spaniard clearly enjoying having him in the team, we can scratch him leaving off the list. Well, for now at least.
Then there is Hector Bellerin, who was on the cusp of joining Paris Saint-Germain only for the French side to bring in a different right-back. Barcelona are said to be snooping around but they have no cash spare, and other targets on their mind. Not to mention, the defender’s most recent social media post offered a slight indication that he’s staying put as well.
Emiliano Martinez’s sale brings in a very welcome £20m – whatever some say, I firmly believe this is a very good deal for Arsenal – although some of that will be reinvested in potentially even two goalkeepers, should Matt Macey depart.
So then we’ve got the Uruguayan. A firm fan favourite who won a place in Arsenal hearts with that goal watched on by his dad in a bar back in South America. A tenacious, do-or-die player who for about half a season was the Patrick Vieira-esque midfield enforcer that has deserted north London for 15 years.
He’ll be on his way soon enough, however, and we thank him for his contribution. Absolutely.
But this is money. £22m may not come across as an awful lot – especially since the club will take a hit if the rumours are true – but with the two main targets in Arsenal’s sights both lying in wait and without the troublesome need to negotiate over fees, it’s crucial, crucial cash.
Neither Thomas Partey or Houssem Aouar will come cheap. Bids with Matteo Guendouzi have been turned down from both parent clubs given their steadfast insistence on cash only. But they have price tags that, as soon as met, end discussions. Pay the money and they’re yours.
Seeing the fees being offered on top of the Guendouzi makeweight offered suggests Arsenal aren’t that far off meeting the asking prices. A bit of simple maths – admittedly a calculator was used – indicates the money accrued from Torreira’s sale will amount to the valuations of one or the other.
Yes, it’s not as simple as that. We should never assume football finance and transfer deals are as black and white. Yet the conundrum facing Arsenal has remained in place throughout out the window: sell before buy.
Looking across the rest of the squad, it’s really only Torreira left who is both actively available for sale and will depart for a handsome fee. Guendouzi, perhaps, but nobody wants him.
Torreira’s time in north London will be fondly remembered; yet his departure could the catalyst for a season of real promise. Get this done so we can improve the squad in the one way Arteta can’t: added quality.