Arsenal have a whole host of sales to make in the upcoming transfer window. But what is the maximum the club can raise if they offload the highest number for players for the highest possible price?
The Arsenal rebuild will continue in the upcoming transfer window. Mikel Arteta has made an excellent start to life as head coach at the Emirates and there are plenty of reasons to be positive about where he can one day take to the team, but now it is on the club to provide him with the necessary tools to build a competitive side.
While the players that the club recruits will obviously form Arteta’s team, and must thereby be smartly scouted and acquired to fit into the system the Spaniard wants to play, what will define how many and what quality of player the club can sign will be who they sell and for what price. Sales yield signings.
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So, as a thought experiment for the upcoming window, whenever it may indeed be held, I delved into the numbers to see just how much money the club could raise if they decided to be ruthless with the players they offloaded and sold them for the maximum reasonable price.
Here are the following players who I had leaving the club:
- Rob Holding
- Shkodran Mustafi
- Calum Chambers
- Dinos Mavropanos
- Granit Xhaka
- Joe Willock
- Mesut Ozil
- Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang
- Alexandre Lacazette
- Henrikh Mkhitaryan
- Mohamed Elneny
I’ll start with the centre-backs. Next season, Arsenal will have eight centre-backs on the books. They are also expected to invest in a high-end starting option on top of that. Realistically, that would allow them to sell four of their current centre-backs and still have plenty of depth at the position.
Sokratis and Shkodran Mustafi are the two most likely to leave. Both have a year remaining on their contracts and have been inconsistent and error-prone. Sokratis might fetch £15 million at best, while Mustafi could reach £20 million in an ideal world.
I have left David Luiz off the list as he also has one year remaining on his deal but would offer very limited resale value at 33 years old. That just leaves the young centre-backs. William Saliba will not be sold, obviously, but all of Calum Chambers, Rob Holding and Dinos Mavropanos could be up for grabs.
Chambers and Holding might reach the £25 million mark. They are beginning to hit their primes, have proven they are capable of performing at a decent level in the Premier League, and are English, which always adds to the price. Mavropanos, meanwhile, has struggled with injuries but offers an intriguing skill set. Still only 22, it is not inconceivable that Arsenal could get £15 million.
I have not included any of the full-backs for the primary reason that any that are sold would need to be replaced. This includes the versatile Ainsley Maitland-Niles, who offers support at right-back.
In midfield, Arsenal have four players who could hit the chopping block: Lucas Torreira, Granit Xhaka, Mesut Ozil, and young Joe Willock. It is unlikely that any of the other midfielders would be considered up for sale.
Only one of Torreira or Xhaka would leave, if either, and seeing as though Xhaka is older and less valuable to the team, I have included him. He might get close to the £35 million Arsenal errantly spent on him four years ago. £30 million is probably the best they could do. Ozil, meanwhile, would do well to fetch £0, simply because of his wages. Either Arsenal accept a £10 million deal and then pay that back in subsidising his wages or they just let him walk for nothing. Either way, they are not getting any value for him.
Finally, Willock. He will turn 21 this summer, still looks short of the desired quality for the first team, and while it would be risky to let an academy graduate leave, with the superior and younger Emile Smith Rowe returning from his loan spell at the end of the season, Arteta has a surplus of young attacking midfielders. Willock might fetch £25 million in the modern market, which would be difficult to turn down.
Then there are Arsenal’s two big-ticket items: Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. The pair have been the best players in the squad since their arrivals over two years ago, routinely rescuing an otherwise hapless set-up. But Aubameyang will be 31 and with one year on his contract while Lacazette will 29 with two years on his contract and requiring a bumper extension that the club cannot afford.
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Determining their value is more difficult, however. They are in the back-end of their primes, have short contracts, and leave the club in a weak negotiating position. Therefore, I predicted £60 million for Aubameyang, £8 million more than the £52 million initially paid for him, and £50 million for Lacazette, £3 million more than the £47 million initially paid for him.
Finally, you have the two veterans out on loan, Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Mohamed Elneny. The pair could fetch £15 million each, as determined by a £10 million being rejected for the former and a £15 million release clause available for the latter.
All in all, then, this would raise £295 million in transfer fees, as well as alleviating over £70 million in wages for the 2020 season and over £23 million in 2021, per Spotrac.
Now, this is all playing fantasy football a little, and many of the sales that are made will not be for the dreamy prices above. And if Arsenal were to conduct all of these moves, they would also have to spend a large portion of that money in renumerating the squad. Centre-back, central midfield times two, and centre-forward and/or left-wing would all require serious investment. This is not just free money to splash wherever they want.
But the point is this: if the club is able to conduct themselves in an efficient, effective, and intelligent manner, they can raise a substantial amount of cash and create significant space in the wage budget with some smart, ruthless sales. The club has assets. It now just needs to learn how to use them.