Arsenal must prize logic and profit over emotional attachment if they are to succeed in the transfer market this summer.
Arsenal have a history of misfires in the transfer market. From the infamous Luis Suarez bid, to a series of annual failings that have led to top targets like Hakim Ziyech playing for rival clubs, to the more recent substantial Nicolas Pepe outlay and subsequent investigation. Of late, Arsenal have become a laughing stock between the months of June and September. Well the time for that is over.
In order to refurbish their reputation, Arsenal desperately need two things: a new strategy and a new mindset. My colleague Flavis tackled the first, so I will focus on the second.
This summer is a buyer’s market, but we need to sell in order to buy.
Arsenal, for yet another summer, are noticeably short on funds. We’ve already cut 55 employees in a set of “redundancies,” and are running on the bare minimum in order to scrape up cash. Raul Sanllehi didn’t have the tools to handle that, so he too was asked to leave.
But what do we need to do in order to turn this financial deficit around? The answer is quite simple: sell, sell, sell. And that means letting go of emotional attachments.
Some players, like Mesut Ozil and Matteo Guendouzi, will be easy to sell the Arsenal fanbase on. Ozil eats up wages like starving lion, and contributes very little to the club – especially in the modern pressing game. He is beloved, but past his time. Guendouzi is similarly expendable, not because he lacks value, but because he does not live up to the standards of maturity this club demands.
Now onto the hard stuff. Alexandre Lacazette is likely on the chopping block this summer, despite earning our 2018/19 Player of the Season award. His best friend looks set for a new bumper deal, and he’s being shown the door. It sucks, but he doesn’t give us the end product we need, and this summer is our last opportunity to sell.
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Furthermore, Lucas Torreira has been put on the market. The tireless Uruguayan is one of my favorite players at the club, but does not fit Mikel Arteta’s system, and at 24 could bring in a hefty chunk of change. He, too, is an astute sale.
Academy prospects Rob Holding and Ainsley Maitland-Niles, as well as Sokratis, are all potentially on the departure list, too. Maitland-Niles is an incredibly useful player at the club, but with rumored offers on the table, we need to be open to the prospect of selling him in order to recoup funds that we can invest into key players.
The same goes for the two center-backs: they are surplus to requirements, and clog up a position in the squad that doesn’t need filling. It seems harsh, especially considering Holding’s injuries of late, but that’s because it has to be. The transfer market, especially this summer, is an unforgiving machine of profit, and this club does not have the financial cushion to approach it any other way.
Arsenal are famous for looking for the “right offer,” and even flat-out rejecting offers if they don’t want to sell the player, but similar to a number of clubs this summer, including Barcelona and Valencia, Arsenal should set an “untouchables” list, and go from there. It’s the best way to finance a rebuild, even if it does involve exposing your financial underbelly.
But the most important thing is that our club cannot hold onto unnecessary players simply because of emotional attachment. The only possible way to justify the backroom cuts is to match them on the field, and offload more than dead wood. We need to give something to get something in return, and it must start now.