Arsenal travel to America this week ahead of the pre-season games against Inter Milan and either Everton or Millonarios.
Two games in Scotland were a decent fitness exercise and two more before we play against London teams will hopefully allow Mikel Arteta to further prepare his men for the new season.
Hopefully this week some of the “new faces” Mikel Arteta mentioned over the weekend will appear. The two deals that are closest to closing are Ben White from Brighton and Albert Sambi Lokonga from Anderlecht, who has apparently survived his isolation phase and should be announced very soon. Additionally, there are some pressing squad building issues that we all know and that are still fundamental for us to make significant improvements over the next season. I’m sure the manager knows this, and hopefully the technical director can find time to get things done in his busy party schedule.
I wonder about Edu. I don’t know how these pictures circulated last week were captured by Stan / Josh, but despite their distance and apparent disinterest, I can’t imagine they were excited about them. However Raul Sanllehi’s exit was presented, the American corporate glamor of it all never prevented people from reading well and truthfully between the lines.
The best that can be said about it is that it was stupid by Edu (not necessarily to see his friends, but to get it all over social media). Each to their own, and maybe my experience in this type of thing is limited, but I can’t imagine that there are too many people in the football world in a position like his Instagram nights with super agents.
Last summer, in the most difficult transfer phase ever, the Arsenal boss left the club and that undoubtedly had an impact on what we did and / or didn’t do. It’s a scenario you can’t go through two summers in a row, which gives Edu a sense of security, but if he wasn’t at the club this time next year I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised.
Anyway, back to the faces. As much as we want / need new ones, we also have a pretty significant problem with old faces. I think this transfer window will be judged primarily by the in-depth deals we make and how much these players improve, but moving some players we no longer want will also be crucial. You all know the names of the possible exits, and while purchasing is seen as the chief duty of the technical director, how we sell is also crucial – especially when that money can offset some of the expenses.
It’s fair to say that – in general – this has been a weakness over the past few years, and we still have no idea how good Edu might be at this part of the job. So far, under his supervision, we’ve sold a goalkeeper on a deal that now looks like the bargain of a lifetime to Aston Villa; did some mediocre loan deals for players like Matteo Guendouzi, Lucas Torreira and William Saliba (twice); and literally paid three senior players, Mesut Özil, Shkodran Mustafi and Sokratis to leave.
This is a tough market we all know, but it’s also a market where Crystal Palace bought a 21 year old from Chelsea – who played 2 games for them in total and has no Premier League experience at all – for one Charge of nearly £ 20 million. Perhaps, in that context, it makes more sense for Arsenal to turn down £ 12million for Eddie Nketiah, even if I think his contract position means that it will hurt his potential value.
Yes, I understand that much of what we are trying to sell this summer could in some ways be perceived as “damaged goods”, but until we can prove otherwise, the perception of Arsenal as a bad seller will persist. We’re not so very soft, we find ourselves constantly in situations with players where the deck is stacked against us. Manage contracts better, sell sooner, make more decisions about player talent and potential – these are all part of what we need to do to get higher fees. As it stands, I would predict another summer of disappointing offers, but if other clubs can sell more limited players at much better prices, we have to acknowledge that despite all of the external difficulties the transfer market presents, a large part of the problem lies internally.
Right, with this happy note, I’ll leave it with me for today!
James and I are going to do an Arsecast Extra for you this morning. Keep an eye out for the Call for Questions on Twitter @gunnerblog and @arseblog on Twitter with the hashtag #arsecastextra – or if you are an Arseblog member on Patreon, leave your question in the question # arsecast-extra-questions Channel on our Discord server.
The podcast should come out around noon, so do it quietly until then.