Arsenal could do a lot worse than look further down the table for potential purchases this summer. There are plenty of decent players who will be relegated or come close to it, and several of them could be useful additions to Mikel Arteta’s squad.
A year ago, I wrote about how Arsenal rarely ever buy players from other English teams, and why this should change. Look no further than this season’s champions: Andrew Robertson, Georginio Wijnaldum, and Xherdan Shaqiri were each signed from relegated clubs for a combined total of around £45m, and all have played important roles in Liverpool’s ascent to the top.
There is certainly plenty of value out there, it’s just about “outsmarting the market,” as Arsenal Head of Football Raul Sanllehi put it last summer. Relegation on top of the (somewhat undetermined) financial impact from the COVID-19 pandemic could leave several clubs strapped for cash, potentially forcing some player sales at a discount.
While Arsenal has started to show signs of improvement under Arteta, the squad still has some glaring weaknesses, particularly in central midfield and defense. A new striker could become a priority as well if the club is unable to hold onto leading goalscorer Aubameyang, whose contract talks remain up in the air at this point.
Below is a list of five players who I believe can help fill some of the holes in Arsenal’s squad, and whose transfer fees shouldn’t be too inflated, especially if their team is facing relegation.
5. Todd Cantwell, Norwich City
Although Norwich has already been mathematically relegated, they have played some really exciting attacking football at times this season. One man who has been at the heart of much of it is 22-year old Cantwell, who is apparently an Arsenal fan; he celebrated a penalty shoot-out goal in the FA Cup by shushing Tottenham supporters.
The English midfielder/winger is also represented by Elite Project Group Limited, the same agency of Bukayo Saka, Eddie Nketiah, and Reiss Nelson, so perhaps Arsenal does have an in here. We have seriously lacked a goalscoring threat from midfield since Aaron Ramsey’s departure; Cantwell has scored against Arsenal, Chelsea, Manchester City, Wolves, and Manchester United this season. It wouldn’t be at all surprising to see him back in the top flight in a few months.