Arsenal to rely on youngsters as finances tighten

Football is in a strange place right not alongside the rest of the world.

Whilst Chelsea have just agreed a £53million deal to sign Timo Werner, Tottenham have taken a  £175m Bank of England loan to ease coronavirus impact. Spurs fear losing more than £200m of revenue to June 2021.

Football clubs are leaking money daily.

Despite many doing deals with players to take a temporary reduction in wages, costs are still sky high.

Budgets run on a 12 month basis. At the end of each accountancy year (usually 31st May), most clubs have an extremely low cash balance. Then season ticket renewals come in which can add up to £60million over a 2 or 3 week period at the end of May & 1st week in June.

The problem clubs face is that the season ticket money that would normally have hit their accounts today is non-existent. And with it being highly unlikely that clubs will be able to issues renewals for 2020/21 any time soon, money is quickly running out.

This will all lead to a strained transfer market this summer.

Most clubs will not have the money to make big transfers; and would be reluctant to offer big wages having asked existing players to take temporary pay cuts.

They will have to sell to buy – but very few clubs will want to buy a player and offer them the equivalent wages.

Take Shkodran Mustafi.

Arsenal could offer him for sale on a free transfer, but how many clubs can afford his £90,000 a week salary in the current climate? Not many.

One big deal usually triggers another big deal and so on. If the big deals do not happen, money will not filter down from the big clubs to the smaller clubs. This will lead to a huge stagnation in the transfer market.

The answer is clubs will have to rely on their young players to supplement their senior stars, and having given a lot of young players a chance in recent seasons, Arsenal could be in pole position.

Defence

William Saliba – 19 years old

Last summer arsenal signed French teenager Saliba from Saint-Étienne for a reported £27million, and then left him on loan in France for a year. This allowed him to continue his development with regular first team football.

Whilst many fans are calling for the club to make a big money signing in defence – the likes of Dayot Upamecano – what is more realistic is that Saliba will come in and partner a senior centre back; One of David Luiz, Sokratis or Shkodran Mustafi. We are more likely make the “cheap” signing of Pablo Mari.

Daniel Ballard – 20 years old

This summer might be the year Arsenal decide to cash in on Rob Holding and Calum Chambers. Both players are now in their mid 20s (Holding 24, Chambers 25) and have not really progressed from their exciting beginnings.

Whilst Arsenal will look to move on older, higher paid defenders, Chambers and Holding are more sellable.

Northern Ireland defender Dan Ballard may well fill the gap left by them as 5th choice central defender.

Jordi Osei-Tutu – 21 years old

Slough born Osei-Tutu has performed well during his season long loan to Bundesliga 2 side VfL Bochum. This gives the club an option as to whether utilise him as back up for Hector Bellerin; or sign Cedric Soares on a free transfer.

The decision could come down to the wage demands Soares and the agent fee.

Thoughts: Arsenal need to sell rather than buy in defence. Sokratis and Mustafi need to somehow be moved on. And then we have the David Luiz contract situation. We need to go into next season with no more than 5 central defenders. These should be: Luiz, Saliba, Mari, Chambers / Holding, Ballard

Midfield

Matteo Guendouzi – 21 years old

The situation for Guendouzi is an interesting one. He is clearly a talented lad, one which Arsenal would not want to lose, but he is also a huge sellable asset. Arsenal might decide to cash in on him to pursue a ready-made option like Thomas Partey. However the preference would surely be to move on either Granit Xhaka or Lucas Torreira to raise funds for the Atletico Madrid midfielder.

With 80 senior appearance for Arsenal, Guendouzi has quickly become a senior member of the squad.

Joe Willock – 20 years old

Next season will be a make or break one for London born midfielder.

Willock is in the mould of Arron Ramsey in that he is high energy in the middle of the park, and able to find space in the box to score goals.

His versatility means he can cover central midfield, attacking midfield and the wings if required.

Emile Smith Rowe – 19 years old

Mesut Ozil is unlikely to leave Arsenal this summer. His £18million a year wages will have a huge impact on what we can do this summer. The result will be instead of signing someone like Dani Ceballos to provide cover / competition for him, we will ask Emile Smith Rowe to step up.p.

The English youngster has been on the fringes of the first team squad since making his debut 2 years ago. Next season will be his time to step up and provide cover for Ozil.

Thoughts: Emile Smith Rowe will be given the chance to provide cover for Ozil next season, saving the clubs millions. The club might decide to cash in on Guendouzi to finance Thomas Partey.

Wingers

Bukayo Saka – 18 years old

Our break through player this season, Saka is set to save the club millions.

Playing mainly at left back this season, the winger has scored 3 goals and created a further 9. He will surely finish this season playing on the left wing and become first choice next season.

Arsenal to rely on youngsters as finances tighten

Reiss Nelson – 20 years old

Backing up Saka and Nicolas Pepe will be Reiss Nelson.

Alongside Saka, Nelson’s presence means Arsenal will not have to go into the transfer market to buy a winger.

Thoughts: With Pepe, Saka and Nelson at the club, Arsenal are well set on the wings. Mikel Arteta will also be able to call on Aubameyang, Martinelli & Willock if the side is short.

Strikers

Gabriel Martinelli – 18 years old

Signed a year ago, Brazilian Martinelli has scored 10 goals in 26 games. This gives Arsenal the option of cashing in on Alexandre Lacazette and not needing to buy a back up for him. Martinelli could easily be understudy to Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.

Would Martinelli be ready to step up to replace Aubameyang if the club decided to cash in on both senior strikers? He would certainly give it a go.

Eddie Nketiah – 21 years old

Backing up Martinelli is Eddie Nketiah.

The English youngster spent the first half of last season on loan at Leeds before returning to the club and scoring 3 goals in 7 games. He could certainly do the job of 3rd choice striker behind Martinelli and Aubameyang. He might be called upon to be 2nd choice.

Folarin Balogun – 18 years old

Putting pressure on Nketiah is Folarin Balogun. The youngster has been scoring for fun in the Premier League 2, and is considered by many as the best striker to come through the academy since Kevin Campbell.

Thoughts: Arsenal should try and keep hold of Aubameyang as a senior striker, even if it means losing him on a free transfer next season. This would give Martinelli another year of development under his belt and Balogun the option for a season long loan before returning in 2021 to compete with Nketiah to provide back-up to the Brazilian.

Final thoughts: William Saliba, Dan Ballard, Matteo Guendouzi, Joe Willock, Emile Smith Rowe, Bukayo Saka, Reiss Nelson, Gabriel Martinelli, Eddie Nketiah & Folarin Balogun. 10 players aged 21 or under who will make up 30% of Arsenal’s squad in 2020/21 without costing the club a penny.

Keenos

4 thoughts on “Arsenal to rely on youngsters as finances tighten

  1. Atid

    Agree with your assessments, though you have missed one or two out.

    Here is what I would do. Firstly I would make Aubameyang permanent captain, oldest player and highest earner in the first team. This means the sale or release of Luiz, Sokratis, Mkhitaryan and Ozil. Those 4 alone bleed from the club around £800k a week. If we are lucky, as well as saving £40m in wages, we might be able to grab around £25-30m in transfer fees.

    Next up those that have not hit the heights.
    Goalkeepers – Martinez and Macey, sorry but by the age of 26 you should be in a position to challenge for the no.1 slot. Neither are good enough and they are not alone a Iliev is of a similar age and ability, ie not good enough sell or release all 3 £30k a week saved may be 5m in fees raised. In Hillson, Hein, okonkwo and Tom Smith we have 4 young keepers who are equal to the 3 older players. Plus there are better keepers around available on free transfers take Walter Benitez and Karl Darlow for instance.
    Defenders – Mustafi, Mavropanos, Kolasinac – two of the 3 are injury prone while Mustafi is well just Mustafi. We could probably get 25-30m for the 3 and save around 300k a week. Some decent freebies and low cost left backs/ centre backs available take Kurzawa, Sarr and Mari for example £9m for the 3.
    Midfielders – Elneny and Xhaka – sorry can’t see the point of keeping either, 120k a week saved and maybe 30m in fees raised. Give Maitland-Niles, Guendozi, Torreira, Willock and Smith-Rowe more chances to develop, may be look at playing Saka on the left of a 433. Matty Longstaff of Newcastle would be a great free transfer option, if we cannot afford Partey.
    Attack – The only place where we don’t need to sell or buy in my opinion. Aubameyang and Lacazette new 3 year contracts leaving our squad ( or with new signings) looking like this.

    GK: Leno, (Benitez) Okonkwo
    RB: Bellerin, (Meunier) Osei-Tutu
    LB: Tierney, (Kurzawa) Bola
    CB: Chambers, Saliba, Holding, Ballard, Medley (Mari)
    Midfield: Maitland-Niles, Torreira, Saka, Willock, Guendozi, Smith-Rowe, M.Smith, Olayinka (Longstaff)
    Attack: Pepe, Lacazette, Aubameyang, Nelson, Nketiah, Martinelli, John-Jules, Balogun, Coyle

    By my reckoning we would have shaved around 1m a week of the wage bill and raised around 100m. Spent approximately £9m plus wages on 5 players and have a 33 man squad based largely on academy and homegrown players.

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