This transfer window seems to be taking an age, really dragging on.
Arsenal’s first game of the season is in less than 10 days time. But the transfer window still has another 27 days to go.
A couple of years ago the Premier League trialled changing the rules on the window – having it close on the eve of the beginning of the season.
This was done to try and create a “fairer” playing field ensuring teams started the season with their squad and would be unable to make changes until January.
The problem is the rest of Europe did not follow England’s leave and it all ended up a bit of a mess.
So we return to the more traditional window with all nations aligned and it shutting on 31st August.
It might be because the season is starting later than normal but it just feels like there is still a long way to go both until the start of the season and the end of the window.
With Ben white, Albert Sambi Lokonga and Nuno Taveras, I am please with the business we have done so far. But there is still plenty of rebuilding to go; and much of it dependent on players departing.
As it stands, the we have 2 holes in the squad a 2nd choice keeper and a creative midfielder.
We have been linked with the likes of Aaron Ramsdale and Sam Johnstone; but in recent weeks speculation about both seems to have quietened down. That 2nd choice keeper is a must though.
Yesterday speculation of a big bid for James Maddison intensified – with Arsenal happy to seemingly offer Ainsley Maitland-Niles and / or Reiss Nelson as part of the deal.
A move for Maddison would be exciting (it is easy to forget he is just 24-years-old) and would make Arsenal’s squad “complete”.
I think the deal will happen, and it is just a case of Arsenal waiting for the Joe Willock to Newcastle deal to go through and Leicester and (probably) Maitland-Niles to come to an agreement.
Signing Maddison for £40million and Maitland-Niles whilst selling Willock for £20million would be very good business. We would basically be swapping two fringe players for a starter with a net cost of around £20million.
If Arsenal get Maddison over the line alongside a new keeper, I would expect only two more possible signings.
A right back will come in if Hector Bellerin finds a new home, and a new striker if Alexandre Lacazette is sold.
It feels a natural time for Bellerin to leave, but like Granit Xhaka only if the deal suits Arsenal.
Arsenal would need to reinvest any funds from Bellerin in a replacement – so a loan deal would make no sense.
Likewise if the incoming transfer would not go a long way to paying for Bellerin’s replacement, a deal should not happen.
Like with the Xhaka deal, it would be silly to undersell the player, which could leave us short in signing a replacement. The result of this is why change targets to someone cheaper and end up signing someone who is not as good as the player that left.
This is the situation the Xhaka to Roma transfer left us in.
Roma reportedly bid £10million for Xhaka. Who realistically would we have signed as a replacement for that sort of price with money being so tight?
Bellerin is similar.
It would just be a dumb move to sell him for £15million and then have to spend £30million on someone who is marginally better; or £20million on someone he is no better.
Lacazette is a headache.
The French striker is a popular member of the squad and emerged as a leader and role model last season. But he has just 1 year left on his contract.
It would be irresponsible for Arsenal to offer him a new deal – Lacazette will be 31 at the end of the season.
We are in a similar situation with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. And if we ended up with two ageing strikers on long term contracts it would tie up too much money for too long.
That is why I think there is legs in the talk surrounding Lautaro Martínez.
Martinez reminds me of a Carlos Tevez / Sergio Aguero.
A hard working forward with a big bum and will cause teams trouble in the Premier League.
I can certainly see a front 4 of Pepe / Saka, Maddison, Aubameyang and Martinez working.
Arsenal will not raise much selling Lacazette, so a move for Martinez will only occur if we shift on a couple more players.
If Arsenal can raise some money selling Eddie Nketiah & Reiss Nelson (if he is not used as part of the Maddison deal), chuck in Willian’s wages and shift Lacazette, a deal for Martinez could be financed.
A move for Martinez will probably happen late in the window, and only after we have cleared out those attacking players now surplus to requirements.
Putting the squad down on paper, it is easy to get excited.
If (and it is a big if) Arsenal get Martinez and Maddison over the line, that will be: Pepe, Saka, Maddison, Smith Rowe, Aubameyang, Martinez, Martinelli, Balogun as the 8 options for the 4 players behind the striker.
That should be enough fire power to drive us to top 4.
There is plenty of time to go in this window and hopefully we can make the sales required to bring in our targets.