Arsenal to make 3 key signings in 2019

Yesterday I touched a little bit on how targeting Ousmane Dembele would impact on Arsenal’s summer 2019 budget. It is well worth discussing this further.

The starting point on any discussion around who we want to buy, and how we can afford them, is to firstly look at the state of the squad to truly establish what we need to buy, and what is a priority and what is not.

The way I see it, the below will be the basis of the squad going into 2019/20:

Leno
Cech
Macey

Bellerin Sokratis CB LB
Lichtsteiner Koscielny Holding Monreal
Mavropanos

Xhaka Torreira
Guendouzi AMN
Elneny

Nelson Ozil LW
Iwobi Mkhitaryan SmithRowe

Lacazette
Aubameyang
Nketiah

With debating the decisions I made too much, I will quickly touch on a couple of the players that a few people bought up on Twitter when I posted the above up.

Firstly on Petr Cech.

His contract runs out at the end of the season and I think he is well worth another one.

When you are second choice goal keeper, you have to be good enough to play a 38 game Premier League season if the first choice picks up an injury. I am not sure if Damian Martinez, Dyan Iliev or Matt Macey currently have that ability.

Keeping Cech around will be good on the training ground and also allow us to give Matt Macey (who I expect to step up to 3rd choice keeper next year) some cup games allowing the club to truly assess whether he is a long term 2nd choice.

Buying a new keeper is also not a priority. Keep Cech for a year and if no one else steps up; buy a new number 2 in 2020.

There is a debate to be had over Nacho Monreal and Saed Kolasinac. Originally I had Kolasinac in the squad, but after discussions, was encouraged to change my mind.

Like Cech, Monreal’s contract runs out at the end of this year.

Despite being 33 (soon) he is still our best left back. Give him another year, cash in on Kolasinac, and buy a youngster with potential. Keeping Monreal around will ensure we have someone reliable and who we know competing with the new man.

The last one people mentioned was Mo Elneny.

Whilst I am not his biggest fan, we need 5 central midfielders, and with Ramsey off that leaves Elneny.

It would be a pointless exercise selling Elneny to then buy someone of similar standard to be 5th choice. The other option would be to promote someone from the youth team – but in my opinion there is currently not a central midfielder knocking on the first team squad door.

Keep Elneny for a year and see if any of the kids are able to step up in 18 months time to become a first team squad member.

So ultimately, we need a left winger, a left back and a centre back.

Due to increased sponsorship revenue, and some amortised transfer fees set to full off the books, we have around £50m available to us next summer. As I have explained before, this does not mean we have £50m available for transfers. It means that we can increase club costs by £50m. This then covers amortised transfer fees, yearly wages, agents fees, signing on fees, bonuses and any increase in contracts of current players.

I would expect us to also sell Calum Chambers (who has struggled at Fulham) and Shkodran Mustafi. The transfer fees for these players can go into the pot, but it must be remembered this is a one time increase in revenue, and not something you can rely on next year to cover costs.

With Aaron Ramsey, Danny Welbeck and David Ospina set to leave on a free transfer, we would free up around £20m in annual salary over the 5 players. That can be added to the £50m we already have free giving us a total of £70million to play with, prior to income from sales.

So what can we get for £70million?

Well first up is my man Osumane Dembele.

If we secured him for £85m on a 5 year deal, his transfer fee be have have an amortised value of £17m a year. Add in a salary that would cost around £11m in a year, it would cost the club £28m over the next 5 years – that will be about 40% of our budget spent.

We could then sign a left back for £30million over 5 years. I think you could secure someone like Ben Chillwell or Ferland Mendy for this. If you assume you would pay either about £100k a week, that comes out to £6m in annual wages (by the time you add NI, pension, etc). That is then £12m spent.

Finally replicate the above on a centre back. This is where Svan Mislintat would earn his money.

Sign a powerful centre back for £30m, I back there is someone out there who could be uncovered. A similar wage structure as above would also cost us £12m over the year.

So that would be around £52million added to our annual expenditure.

By the time you add other costs (agent fees, signing on fees, other bonuses, etc) that’ll be pretty much the transfer budget done

Any fees from selling Mustafi / Chambers is then a Brucie Bonus. Money that you could spend on youngsters, or leave in the bank for another day.

It will take a few transfer windows to get the squad into a fully competitive state. Last summer we added Lucas Torreira and Bernd Leno as long term first teamers.

If next summer we add a new CB, LB and LW to the squad, it would be another huge step forward.

Looking forward to 2020, we will then need another centre back and perhaps a Mesut Ozil replacement. We might also look at upgrading on Granit Xhaka.

A top squad is not built overnight, in one transfer window. Manchester City owners have been at the club for 10 years and spent £2.7bn. Anyone who expects Arsenal to suddenly become champions after 1 or 2 windows is being unrealistic.

3 top signings next summer and we are good to go.

Keenos

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Aaron Ramsey, Ousmane Dembele and future Arsenal wingers

After the joy of watching England over the summer, the national team has reverted to type since.

Gareth Southgate has lost almost all of the good will gained due to the decision to pick Wayne Rooney for a goodbye cap, make Fabian Delph captain, and select some horrendously average players – the likes of Delph, Michael Keane, Lewis Dunk and Harry Winks.

I did not watch last night games. I could not care less for it. Mainly due to the Rooney fiasco, but also due to what Southgate is doing to the national team at the moment.

Anyway, it has been the dullest of dull interlulls, but yesterday we had a bit of breaking news as Aaron Ramsey was close to agreeing a deal to join Bayern Munich next summer on a free transfer.

These things do have to be taken with a pinch of salt. Ramsey is not actually allowed to discuss anything with a foreign club until January 1st. Although I am not naive enough to think that his people have not spoken to top clubs around Europe.

Moving to Munich would (and would not) make sense for him. I would be very surprised if he moves abroad with such a young family – his wife gave birth to twins a month ago.

However Munich seems like a good fit, and I can see him doing very well in Germany.

They are one of the few clubs that would pay him what he wants, and with James Rodriguez likely to leave and Thomas Muller seemingly shot, you can see Ramsey starting in the advanced midfield position he thrives in.

There are a couple of bellends at games who seem to laugh at booing him. Whilst he wears an Arsenal shirt, we should be backing him. And remember it is Arsenal’s decision to let him go, not his decision to leave.

I wish him luck if he joins Munich.

Other news surrounds Ousmane Dembele.

A few days ago he was heavily linked with Liverpool. I posed the question on Twitter as to whether Arsenal should be in for him at a similar price in January.

The result was close, but ultimately the British people voted to leave Europe the majority would take him.

At £85m, he would take up almost all of our summer 2019 transfer funds, especially when you take into account that he is rumoured to be on £220k a week at Barcelona.

Despite this, I would still move for him.

Next season we need two wingers, a left back and a centre back. If we assume Reiss Nelson is going to continue his fine form and development in Germany, we can assume that between him and Alex Iwobi we have the right hand side locked down. Nelson will save us £30+.

What that means is we could double up on the left hand side. use the funds we would have assigned to signing a right winger and put them towards the left winger.

attempted to do some back of the fag packet maths yesterday to show how we can sign Dembele and still have enough in the pot to secure the centre back and left back we need:

Before people get hung up on the left back, I have since changed my opinion, that we should offer Nacho Monreal one more year, cash in on Kolasinac, and buy a left back who has the potential to be long term first choice. But that is a debate for another day.

I might attempt to expand on what Arsenal can and can not buy another day.

Whilst we are talking about wingers, I encourage you to read this excellent blog by Jorge Bird detailing the talented young wingers in Arsenal’s youth teams.

I have seen our youth play a few times recently, certainly not as much as Jorge (or JW who blogs here), and we do seem to have a lot of the same type of players coming through.

We have an abundance of rapid wide men throughout our youth system, but they are also technically excellent.

Nelson aside, the two I am most excited by Xavier Amaechi and Bukayo Saka.

Amaechi is a left winger and some have claimed that he is the quickest player at the club. Currently injured, he has a big future and next year would be knocking on the door of the first team squad for the summer tour and League Cup games.

Still just 17, he has a bright future. Will we follow the same route as Nelson with him? Send him abroad a year where his sort of talent does not get kicked out of him (unlike in the Championship), before he returns to Arsenal for 2020/21 to compete for a place on Arsenal’s left hand side.

Coming up behind Amaechi is Saka, who has only just turned 16. The youngster has taken advantage of his older team mates injury to cement a a place in Arsenal’s U23s. He has also appeared for England U19s.

Saka is perhaps a year behind Amaechi in terms of development. Despite both being born in 2001 (how old does that make you feel?), they fall into different English school years. That does have an affect on development and when they could start playing more competitive football.

I expect Saka to continue his development and we will see more of him in the summer of 2020, before he pushes into the first team in 2021.

That might seem a long time away, but Saka will still just be 19 when the 2021/22 season starts!

What is exciting is underneath Alex Iwobi, we have 3 very talented wingers in Nelson, Amaechi and Saka, all of whom will be given time to develop and make an impact over the next 2 or 3 years.

That’s all from me today, the cricket is on and I have some cleaning to do. Enjoy your day!

Keenos

Reiss Nelson: “I want to be an Arsenal legend”

This morning there is a terrific interview on the BBC with England youngsters Jadon Sancho and Reiss Nelson. The duo are currently ripping up the Bundesliga.

The pair – who have been friends since before they were teens – moved to Germany in the search for first team football. Sancho joined; Nelson joining Hoffenheim on loan from Arsenal.

Between them they have scored 11 goals and made 8 assists in all competitions, form that has led to Sancho to be called up to the England national team.

Despite both being 18; the interview showed that they both have sensible heads on their young shoulders.

There is not a hint of arrogance in either. Neither comes across as a party boy. Both talk about their families. Both talk about how they know they have talent, and know they have to work hard to be the best.

Over the years we have seen plenty of young talented footballers. Most have the wrong attitude. They get the money early, a contract which will make them £5million over 5 years, and they fade away. They get that first contract on their potential rather than their performances, they take the foot off the pedal, become more interested in cars, girls and social media, and eventually fade away.

By moving to Germany both Sancho and Nelson have already shown they have a different mind set. They did not want to be the big man amongst their mates. Paying for the all vodkas in Tiger Tiger VIP whilst surrounded by girls looking to bag (or bang) a footballer. They took themselves out of their comfort zone, to Germany, to improve.

Nelson is living in Heidelberg with his family. A university town with just 160,000 residents – it is the equivalent of living in Oxford or Cambridge. That is half the people that grew up in the Borough of Southwark – where Nelson grew up. To go from a 10,000,000 city to a 160,000 town would have required huge adjustments. He has adjusted well.

The Arsenal youngster was rumoured to be on his way out of the club a year ago. Instead he signed a new long term deal and moved his life to Germany for a year. He was named Bundesliga Rookie of the Month for October.

A few fans are calling him to make a return in January. This would not be beneficial to either him or Arsenal.

Despite his good form for Hoffenheim, he has only started 4 games. To expect him to go from impact sub in Germany to starter at Arsenal is another huge jump.

He would be much better staying in Germany. Over the year forcing his way in to the first team, to become a first team regular. Once he is playing regularly for the Hoffenheim first team, we will know that he is nearly ready for the Arsenal first team.

By the end of the season, Arsenal will be getting a teenage right winger who has had a full season in one of Europe’s top leagues, and who has excelled in that league. What would his value be? £30m? £40m?

The term “like a new signing” is one that is detested by many Arsenal fans, as it was usually used to justify no signing as we had a player coming back from injury.

In Nelson, he would be like a new signing.

He went away to Germany as a boy struggling to make an impact – just 146 Premier League minutes to his name last season. He is set to come back as a man. A first team player who Gareth Southgate will no longer be able to continue to ignore.

Arsenal need two wingers next season. A right winger and a left winger. Nelson could be that right winger.

With his good attitude, his natural ability and his years experience in Germany, Arsenal would be promoting one of Europe’s best young players into their first team. He would be like a new signing.

Maybe in the summer Arsenal should make the double swoop and bring Sancho back to England. See what Dortmund want. And then have the two most exciting talents in English football either side of Mesut Ozil.

If it all go’s right for Nelson, there is no reason he can not become the Arsenal legend he dreams of.

Keenos