This could be the week we start to see Arsenal make big moves in the transfer market.
So far, the business Arsenal have done has been quietly efficient.
Cedric Soares and Pablo Mari have both had their loan deals made permanent, whilst Willian was also recruited on a free – 3 experienced campaigners.
The club also re-loaned Dani Ceballos and signed Gabriel Magalhaes.
On first impressions, Willian has added some busyness and creativity in the final 3rd, whilst Gabriel put in a commanding performance at centre back.
But Arsenal need to sell.
We still have 18 non-home grown players in the first team squad – and 32 players in it.
This means Arsenal need to sell before they buy, both to bring down the non-home grown quota and to reduce the squad size generally.
Emiliano Martinez will be the first out of the door. His transfer to Aston Villa is all but done (and will probably be completed by the time we hit publish!).
Martinez does not solve the squad problems however, before:
- He will need to be replaced and;
- He is home grown
Arsenal have been linked with both David Raya of Brentford and Runar Alex Runarsson from Dijon. Interestingly both keepers have previously worked with Inaki Cana; Arsenal’s goalkeeping coach.
Raya would be the preference as he is home grown having joined Blackburn at 17. Having a non-home grown 2nd choice goalkeeper feels like a waste of a slot, especially as we already have one too many.
This week should also be the week when Lucas Torreira and Sokratis make their moves to Italy.
The 3 players (Torreira, Martinez & Sokratis) should raise close to £50million between them. By the time Arsenal use some of the money to buy a new keeper, it should leave the club with at least £40million cash surplus to make moves.
Sokratis and Torreira leaving will also give Arsenal 1 non-home grown slot – although this could get taken up by Runarsson if he joins.
If we do see a home grown keeper join, expect Arsenal to quickly reinvest those funds into a new midfielder – my gut says Houssem Aouar rather than Thomas Partey.
Further signings will then depend on further departures.
Talk about Edouard from Celtic intensified over the weekend, but you can only see him coming in if Alex Lacazette is sold.
Likewise Thomas Partey.
With Matteo Guendouzi back in first team training, there is a school of thought that he will return to Mikel Arteta’s plans.
He has a friendship with Aouar which could be good for both players, and he would play a similar role to Partey on the right side of a midfield 3 – given the role to drive the ball forward at his feet.
With Granit Xhaka, Dani Ceballos, Guendouzi, Aouar (potentially), Elneny and Joe Willock, it makes most sense that Partey would replace Matteo.
The 3 likely out this week will not be the only ones to leave Arsenal.
That will still leave Arsenal with a 30 man first team squad once we have signed a replacement goal keeper.
The club will still expect to move on Sead Kolasinac, Shkodran Mustafi and Calum Chambers. That would drop us down to a 27 man squad, and also get us within the non-home grown player limit. 27 is a number Arteta could cope with.
It is going to be a busy week…