Tag Archives: Sokratis

From Auoar to Ozil, Partey to Chambers – what business will Arsenal get done before the deadlines?

It’s October the 1st already.

The garden centres have put the BBQs away and the Christmas decorations are up in store. Yesterday I planted my winter hanging baskets.

Winter is coming, but more important is transfer deadline day is also coming, at least for international transfers.

The transfer window for international slams shut at 11pm on Monday October 5th. However domestic deals can still be made up until 5pm on the 16th of October.

It has been a well written story that Arsenal have too many players.

As it stands, we have 33 first team squad players listed on the website. More importantly than that is we currently have 19 non-home grown players.

We can only register 17 of those.

So players need to be sold, but players also need to be signed.

We are still a Thomas Partey and / or an Houssem Aouar from having a really good team.

Arsenal need to sell to buy. Not just to raise funds but also to free up the squad space – leaving players unregistered is not an option due to contractual issues that could arise.

So what do we expect to happen in the next few days (internationally) and weeks (domestically)?

Sead Kolasinac looks like he is out the door, off to Bayer Leverkusen. By the time this is published he might be gone.

He was rated as one of the best left backs in Germany, having been named in the Bundesliga team of the year in the season before joining Arsenal.

Following Kolasinac out of the door will be Lucas Torreira.

His move to Atletico Madrid will be rubber stamped.

Atlético want a loan with an obligation to buy, whilst Arsenal want a straight sale.

What might happen is a loan with an obligation to buy next season will be agreed, but at slightly higher than what Arsenal want for a transfer this summer.

Arsenal then might use a factoring company to get instant access to next summers transfer fee.

The departure of both will bring Arsenal’s squad size down to 31, and non-home grown contingent to 17. Bang on where we’d need to be.

Whilst you might think “Arsenal still need to sell to buy” there is a school of thought that the club have already written off the futures of Sokratis and Mesut Ozil.

Come deadline day, Arsenal will be happy to sell Sokratis for free, and accept a loan deal for Mesut Ozil where they continue to pay the majority of his wages for the rest of the season.

Both of these deals will probably happen quickly on deadline day as clubs look to take advantage of Arsenal having too many players.

Napoli have already tried to sign Sokratis for nothing. Arsenal rejected the deal but come Monday they will have no choice but to sign off on it.

With Ozil, the club would prefer to ship him out to a side that pays a big chunk of his wages. But the lore he becomes unwanted by Mikel Arteta, and the more Arsenal need rid to bring the squad numbers in line, the less a loaning club would be expected to contribute.

Do not be surprised to see him go to Turkey (or even join Kolasinac at Leverkusen), with Arsenal still paying £250-300k of his weekly wage.

There are 38 weeks left on Ozil’s contract. Arsenal’s fall liability would be around £13.3m. If we can get that done to just £10m, we’d have done well.

Sokratis leaving would also save the club £3.5m in wages, whilst Kolasinac & Torreira leaving frees up a further £7.5m. £11m in total.

Following Kolasinac & Torreira leaving, expect the club to move quickly for Auoar.

With Arsenal mentally writing Sokratis and Ozil off, we do not need to sell them before signing Auoar. The Frenchman can be signed with the two unwanted lads dumped on deadline day.

Deadline day is when we will move for Thomas Partey.

Kolasinac, Torreira, Sokratis & Ozil sold, with Aouar in would leave Arsenal at 16 non home-grown players.

If Arsenal pay the release clause for Partey, they do not need to negotiate with Atlético Madrid. It is just a case of taking the money to the Spanish FA HQ which in turn triggers that release clause. It will be a deal done quickly.

Calum Chambers and Shkodran Mustafi’s injuries have proved to be a hit of a headache for Arsenal this summer.

With the likes of West Ham, Fulham, Crystal Palace & Newcastle desperate for a centre back, both would have had plenty of interest if they were fit. But no one will take a risk with their injuries

Neither are expected to be fully match fit until the end of October. That is just 8 weeks before the winter window opens.

I would be very surprised if either leaves before January, but we might see a club like Fulham take the risk on Chambers and sign him prior to the October 16th domestic deadline. Expect another loan deal with an obligation to buy next summer for him.

As for Mustafi, expect a “Cedric deal” to be done with him in January.

This year Arsenal signed Cedric on loan, with an agreement for him to join permanently from Southampton in the summer when his contract expired.

Do not be surprised if Lazio or someone else takes Mustafi on loan for the 2nd half of the season, and he later joins that club when his Arsenal contract expires in the summer.

Arsenal would benefit from his wages being paid by someone else for the 2nd half of the season.

Matteo Guendouzi could leave if a big enough hid comes in for him. If not he will stay.

If Arsenal do secure Partey and Aouar, expect Emile Smith Rowe and Joe Willock to be loaned out to Premier League clubs – although these deals will happen closer to the 16th October.

So in summary, we do we predict:

Kolasinac SOLD

Torreira LOAN with obligation to buy

Auoar to be SIGNED

Sokratis to be SOLD for free on transfer deadline day

Ozil to be loaned out on transfer deadline day, Arsenal paying the majority of his wage

Partey to be SIGNED on deadline day

Chambers to leave on LOAN with an obligation to buy prior to October 16th

Mustafi towable on LOAN in January. He will join that club on a free transfer next summer

Willock and Smith Rowe to go out on LOAN closer to October 16th

We will keep track of our predictions and let you know how we get on.


Arsenal will have to wait “until January” before selling central defenders

“Arsenal have 8 centre backs, we need to sell” has been written countless times over the summer.

As it stands, Arsenal have not sold a single one, with only Konstantinos Mavropanos leaving on loan to VfB Stuttgart in Germany – and he was not one of the “Magnificent Eight”.

So what is happening at the club with regards to our central defender situation?

Gabriel Magalhães was signed from Lille over the summer and William Saliba returned from his season long loan at Saint-Étienne, whilst David Luiz signed a new contract.

Arsenal also made the loan deal of Pablo Mari permanent.

A few people have questioned why Arsenal signed Pablo Mari, and then later went on to sign Gabriel, which pushed Mari down to 4th choice centre back – a role Rob Holding, Calum Chambers, Sokratis and Shkodran Mustafi could all have played.

Hindsight is a wonderful thing.

When Arsenal signed Mari, Gabriel was not on the radar as a transfer this summer.

Arsenal would have been scouting the Brazilian, but with a move likely next summer – so Arsenal agreed a deal for Mari back in January with Flamengo.

Gabriel then came available and Edu clearly felt the club could not afford to miss out on such a prestigious talent – even if it meant having one defender too many.

And that is how we came to sign both Gabriel and Mari.

Luiz, Gabriel, Saliba and Mari looked set to make up Arsenal’s defensive options with Rob Holding, Calum Chambers, Sokratis and Shkodran Mustafi all no longer required but none have yet exited stage left. The question is why?

A loan deal seemed to be agreed taking Holding to Newcastle, but the transfer quickly died and Holding found himself starting the first game of the season against Fulham.

Despite having 7 central defenders, Arsenal did not have a single one on the bench. This highlights why no one has left. They are all injured.

David Luiz picked up a knock prior to the Fulham game, but has now returned, whilst William Saliba was lacking in match sharpness having not played since March. A few games with the U23s might be needed for the Frenchman.

Those two joined Pablo Mari on the sidelines who is still recovering from damaging his ankle ligaments back in June. Mari is back in full training but it will be a couple of weeks before he is fully fit.

Without Luiz and Saliba in the short term, and Mari in the mid-term, Arsenal did the sensible thing and pulled the rug on the transfer of Holding to Newcastle. He was needed in Islington.

Holding still has a role to play at Arsenal albeit as 4th or 5th choice centre back.

If he remains at Arsenal this season, he will be back up to Luiz, Gabriel, Saliba and Mari; with the potential to replace Luiz as 4th choice next summer. It all comes down to whether he wants to be a bit-part player at Arsenal, or play week in week out at someone like Newcastle.

For now Arsenal can not afford to lose Holding.

Keeping Holding means they can afford to lose Sokratis.

Sokratis is another who is currently injured.

The club said he sustained a “mild strain to right calf in training”, with an of returning to full training “within the next week”.

You feel once he has recovered, his deal to Napoli will go through.

That leaves Calum Chambers and Shkodran Mustafi.

The problem Arsenal face with the pair is they are both injured, with neither expected back in full training until October.

By the time they are “match fit” it will probably be November.

Injuries mean that they are not available to play (obviously) but also unlikely to be sold.

This puts Arsenal in a situation where we have 5 centre backs (Luiz, Gabriel, Saliba, Mari & Holding), and have an additional 2 that are not fully fit, who can not be sold.

So whilst selling Sokratis will take us down to 7 central defenders, only 3 are fit for selection for West Ham and 2 are not going to be full fit for at least another 6 weeks.

This will result in Arsenal not selling Chambers and Mustafi, and potentially not even registering the later.

Arsenal will then look to loan (or sell) the pair in January.

Mustafi, whose contract expires at the end of the season, could end up making a similar move to Cedric Soares.

A team might decide to pick him up on loan for 5 months, with the pre-contract agreement already in place to make the move permanent in June. A move like that would suit Arsenal, Mustafi and the club loaning him.

Likewise, we might see Chambers move out on loan in January, with an option to buy at the end of the season.

A similar deal could be done for Rob Holding if Pablo Mari has returned to full fitness, with Arsenal then having the option of Chambers, Holding or Mavropanos to return from loan and replace Luiz in 2021.

It might feel like Arsenal have a lot of centre backs at the club right now, but the reality is somewhat different.

Holding will stay, Sokratis will be sold, and not much else can realistically happen until January.


Arsenal set for busy week of sales

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…