As the Raphinha door shuts, an Nkunku one opens

So we have lost out on Raphinha. I am not concerned one bit.

Edu and his team will have long lists of transfer targets on a white board somewhere at London Colney.

They will be in a locked room that only he, Mikel Arteta and a selected few other senior members of staff can access.

Every club has one. The transfer room. It is where the magic of happens.

Whilst Raphinha was probably top of the list, he will certainly not be the only name on the list.

In-fact, we do not know that he was top of the list. That might have been Serge Gnabry. Or Raheem Sterling. Or another winger that we established early on would be unobtainable.

So we move on from Raphinha. Just like we moved on from Dusan Vlahovic in January.

Now back in January we made the decision not to buy another striker once Vlahovic went to Juventus.

There would have been other options – Alexander Isak and Dominic Calvert-Lewin were being touted around at the time. But the club decided to bide its time.

It is clear now that the option after Vlahovic was Gabriel Jesus; but he was not available until this summer.

Had we signed Isak or Calvert-Lewin in January, their move might have impact Jesus joining.

If the Jesus deal was not “nailed on” for this summer, we might have gone for another name in January.

On a side note, I do wonder whether we were actually considering signing Vlahovic and Jesus at one point?

Vlahovic would have been first choice striker, Jesus his cover whilst also being a regular option out wide. That scenario would have meant we would not have been in for Raphinha (or any other winger) as Jesus would have been that option. It also would have meant Eddie would not have signed a new contract.

Anyway, I digress.

So with Raphinha now not an option (although at the time of writing the deal with Chelsea has not been confirmed so it might still collapse), Edu will go to the next name on the list.

The situation now reminds me of the summer we signed Nicolas Pepe.

Pepe was clearly our primary target that summer.

Lille wanted a lot of money for him. Probably too much money.

We begun to be linked with other players including PSG’s Christopher Nkunku.

Nkunku was a couple of years younger than Pepe and no-where near as established. Although he clearly had the raw materials to become a top player.

In the end we opted to go for the “ready” player in Pepe and paid the £72million for him.

Meanwhile Nkunku went to RB Leipzig for just £10million.

Hindsight is a wonderful thing in football.

Pepe has struggled in his 3 years at Arsenal. The talent is clearly their but something is lacking mentality.

Meanwhile Nkunku has grown into a terrific football over in Germany – scoring 30 goals in 54 games last season.

Now 24 (the same age Pepe was when he signed), he is being linked away in a big money move. One club linked is Arsenal.

Pepe was signed during the Raúl Sanllehí era – a period of time where we bought a lot of “ready made” senior pros.

The likes of Pepe, David Luiz, Pablo Mari and Cedric Soares – with Willian joining the day before he left the club.

Clearly Sanllehi was looking at players for the hear and now and not too concerned with what the future may bring.

Pepe v Nkunku was “ready now but expensive” against “could be a star of the future and cheap”.

Under the current regime with Edu at the BBQ , we probably would have gone for Nkunku ahead of Pepe.

Edu has shown a couple of times that when a deal gets a bit too expensive, a bit too hot, he is willing to walk away from it. I think he would have walked away from Pepe.

Likewise his recruitment has focused on younger talent.

Now whilst Pepe at 24 would still have been in the target range of Edu, £72million would not have been. We probably would have ended up with Nkunku.

So back to Raphinha.

The price on Raphinha got very big – £65million is just not worth it.

So we now look at who is next on the list? And those players will probably be exciting younger talents.

It could reopen the door for someone like Cody Gakpo – the 23-year-old Feyenoord winger has been on our radar for a while and recently been touted as a replacement for Raphinha at Leeds. Or you have Moussa Diaby currently playing out in Germany. Just 22.

We might also look the other way.

Raphinha at £40million would have been a good deal. But at £65million are there better players on the market?

I am thinking Joao Felix.

Or might the world turn a full circle and we end up signing a certain Christopher Alan Nkunku – spending £50m+ on the man who was our full back option back in 2019?

In football transfers, as one door shuts another opens.

In 1999 we lost the best young player in the world to Real Madrid – Nicolas Anelka. To replace him we signed a gangly winger from Juventus. And the rest, as they say, is history.



5 thoughts on “As the Raphinha door shuts, an Nkunku one opens

  1. Geoff

    Nkunku has signed a new 4 year contract with Leipzig. We need to announce Jesus and concentrate on getting another versatile striker, a CM and FB cover. I just hope we don’t start faffing about again and end up missing out on our targets.


  2. Andrew Hastings

    Poorly written gooner article from a typically “wishful thinking” gooner mentality. Best of luck losers. London is BLUE



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