You’ve probably already drawn up your ideal transfer window.
Mapping how we’d like things to pan out is the mental landscaping that occurs during those sleepless nights where it’s too darn hot and the fan is broken. We dream of Arsenal doing X, but they’ll likely do Y.
Houssem Aouar has surely found his way into those 02:00 AM thoughts, although he’s just one of many whom Arsenal fans would like to see on the Emirates conveyor belt. Some in, many out.
How often, though, has the ideal summer window come to fruition? In fact, how rare is it that even 50% of what you’d like your club to do in any given transfer period is achieved? Once in a blue moon.
Mikel Arteta is rounding up his troops, whipping out his shopping lists and getting on the blower, we can presume, at an almost hourly rate. Backed by former Arsenal hero Edu, he’s got a man fully focussed on the technical side while he attempts to balance preparing a squad with sounding out new arrivals. Lots to do, with pressure aplenty.
Supporters have faith they can do right, yet not everything will take place this window. A strategy needs to be in place that covers both short-term and long-term goals, and it’s folly to expect Arsenal being a ‘complete’ squad come October 5th. That doesn’t mean we won’t see a fair bit up upheaval between then and now, though.
Let’s start predicting.
Who’s Joining Arsenal?
At this point, we can’t expect all too much to take place. It’s highly doubtful that multiple signings will walk through the door. There isn’t any space left. Like the aftermath of an extensive Christmas dinner with all the trimmings, Arsenal are bloated in all the wrong places.
Having a stab at it, despite the two big names on everyone’s lips, it appears far more likely that just one player will be joining before the end of the window. Spain or France. Atletico or Lyon. Thomas Partey or Houssem Aouar.
While a few weeks ago the populous would’ve been nailed on in believing it was the former who would join the club, the pendulum has shifted towards the younger of the two.
Financially, it looks well beyond the reach of the Gunners to fork out what would be a combined £100m on the pair, having already dished out a cool £27m to bring Gabriel Magalhaes to the Emirates. Having lay awake in bed dreaming of a double-swoop, the head is ruling over the heart on this one.
So, who is it? My money is on Aouar. But only Aouar.
The price is higher, but the admiration is unavoidable. Hearing frequent claims of Arteta being infatuated by the 22-year-old – who isn’t? – the movements in the sales department lean towards an urgency to get this deal done before the fat lady even takes to the stage.
This window would be deemed a failure if one of the duo don’t join this summer. Forget the exciting centre-backs or the free transfer of Willian, it’s in central midfield where Arsenal are at their unequivocal weakest.
It’s a feeling that is sure to resonate with Arteta and Edu. But when will it happen? I get the feeling – totally without basis – that it will be before the Liverpool match on September 28th. How soon before, heck knows. This is just a wild estimate.
There will be a keeper coming in, too. No outlandish spending with Bernd Leno the undisputed number one, so the speculation of Rúnar Alex Rúnarsson for a nominal fee of around £1.5m makes sense. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has signed his contract. At last.
Who’s Leaving Arsenal?
This is the tricky part. Ideally, a good few central defenders would leave this window but with so many crocked, that’s unlikely to take place. Sokratis appears the most likely candidate, for no other reason other than he’s fit. Well, he’s also not very good. Napoli remain keen.
There will be a quick turnover before the winter transfer window – which will open in January as usual – therefore this could be a heavy selling period when defenders return from injury.
Lucas Torreira will be brushing up on his Italian once more as he’s one of few players up for sale that will garner decent cash. His close pal Emiliano Martinez joining Aston Villa is now done, but I think we can expect further departures.
In wide positions, Reiss Nelson looks unlikely to accrue many first team minutes. Gabriel Martinelli is still to come back from injury, but there is now Willian, Nicolas Pepe, Bukayo Saka and Aubameyang who play in wide areas, with Ainsley Maitland-Niles and Emile Smith Rowe also capable of being fielded there.
A sale is unlikely, as one of the main draws of Willian was the experience he can offer to his fellow forwards – Nelson in particular. There is a chance he could be loaned out, but it would defeat the point of acquiring someone who he can learn off. Sometimes it’s easy to forget Nelson is still only 20 years of age.
If it weren’t for his sky-high £120k-per-week wages, then Sead Kolasinac could also have been moved on. Trying to find a buyer (or temporary home) for a player who has not been in great form of late is no easy feat in the current market. Still, could happen later in the window.
Then, of course, we have Matteo Guendouzi. What will come of him?
It’s no secret that he doesn’t feature in Arteta’s plans, and the reintegration of him into the first team comes across as more of a ploy to entice buyers as opposed to a legitimate route back. As the window drags on, Arsenal’s original valuation will fall – more than it already has – to the point where it could be a first-come-first-serve situation.
I would not be surprised at all to see this one drag on until deadline day. However, I can envisage him being shifted, on loan or otherwise. Granit Xhaka’s story is one that can’t be played out twice, surely.
Mohamed Elneny is another player who many expect to go, but the Egyptian has won over critics and poses a solid option for domestic cups and even Europe. A Joe Willock/Elneny partnersip may more common than we think.
- Houssem Aouar
- Gabriel Magalhaes
- Pablo Mari
- Cedric Soares
- Rúnar Alex Rúnarsson
- Henrikh Mkhitaryan
- Emiliano Martinez
- Lucas Torreira
- Matteo Guendouzi