Tag Archives: william saliba

Could this be Arsenal’s best transfer window in over a decade?

A short apology for the lack of blogs in recent weeks. Real life has taken over and with work being at its peak period, annual leave and weddings I have barely had enough time to think, let alone write a blog.

It has been 6 days since my last blog and a lot has happened since I blogged that Arsenal’s transfers were heating up.

On the Thursday I was at a wedding, sweltering in my suit in an old stately home with no air conditioning. Anyone that has ever met me will know that I am not the fittest of blokes. Let’s just say there was a lot of perspiration.

Since my blog last Tuesday Arsenal confirmed that signing of Dani Ceballos on loan and William Saliba, who was immediately loaned back to St Etienne.

Both transfers interest me because of the deals themselves.

Ceballos is a wonderful player, but the loan deal does not include an option to buy. This means if he excels and has a good season, Arsenal will probably have to pay even more to secure him next summer. This makes me feel that we see him as short term option.

Next summer Ozil will only have 1 year left on his contract. We will have to go big to replace him – an attacking midfielder will be next seasons marquee signing. That is perhaps why we have opted against paying (or pledging to pay) a fee for Ceballos. We want to ensure that we have enough in the bank to go big on a target, rather than have £20 or £30million less due to buying Ceballos.

Of course, if Ceballos does perform, he could become that marquee signing.

Saliba has also been loaned back to St Etienne.

At 18 we have clearly signed him with the long term in view. A replacement for Sokratis in 12 to 24 months rather than an immediate replacement for Laurent Koscielny or Shkodran Mustafi.

My feeling all along was that a senior starting central defender would only come in once Mustafi has left the club.

On a side note, the booing of Mustafi by Arsenal fans was childish. Grow up.

If Koscielny is released by the club in the coming weeks, it leaves us with Sokratis, Mustafi, Rob Holding, Calum Chambers and Kostadinos Mavropanos. Signing a 6th central defender does not make sense. Either Mustafi or Chambers will be moved on 1st.

Then in 2020, Saliba returns and we have our new centre back signing, Holding, Saliba, Chambers and Mavropanos (or Medley or Ballard).

Over the next couple of days Arsenal will confirm Nicolas Pepe, who flew home from Miami last night.

The French-born-Ivorian will be a real statement of intent. He is one of the best wingers in Europe and it shows that top players would rather play for top clubs who are temporarily out of the Champions League, then small clubs who do not win trophies.

It would not surprise anyone if we did the deal for Kieran Tierney towards the end of the week.

Carlo Ancelotti has recently announced that Napoli are out of the running leaving Arsenal with no opposition for the signing.

Arsenal have reportedly met Celtic’s asking price, but the Glasgow’s 2nd club are unhappy with the structure of the deal, preferring the full fee upfront. Expect the deadlock to be broken this week.

That would leave Arsenal having signed Gabriel Martinelli, William Saliba, Dani Ceballos, Nicolas Pepe and Kieran Tiernay. It would be nearly £125million spent excluding whatever fee we have paid for the Ceballos loan deal.

We have always said that the £40million was a lie. We have been proved right. We are not ITK, we just did the maths and looked beyond the clickbait headlines.

The last piece of the jigsaw this summer would be that central defensive signing to replace Mustafi. If we complete that, Raul & Edu should be congratulated on a very good 1st summer transfer window under the new regime.

It is going to be another exciting week.


Arsenal transfer deals heating up

This summer has been a bit a slow burner for Arsenal’s transfer dealing, but as we approach 37°C on Thursday, things are hotting up.

Last night we had the breaking news that Arsenal have reached an agreement to sign Real Madrid and Spain midfielder Dani Ceballos on loan for the 2019-20 campaign.

Ceballos will replace Aaron Ramsey in the short term, providing cover and competition for Mesut Ozil and be an attacking option from deeper in midfield.

My Spanish source (a mate whose family is from Spain) has described him as a fantastic dribbler, although a little greedy.

Ceballos is not as dynamic as Ramsey and will not contribute the Welshman’s goals, but he will offer Arsenal a different creative option in the middle of the park with his more direct running.

Arsenal could make it 2 deals in a week by finally completing the signing of William Saliba.

Saliba has been linked with the club for such a long time that it is a surprise he is still only 18. It is expected that he will return to Saint-Etienne on loan next season before joining up with the Gunners in 2020.

Whilst Arsenal do need a new defender now, Saliba is perhaps not ready to step up to be a Premier League regular, so playing 30-odd games in Ligue 1 will do him the world of good. Come 2020 Saliba may well have stepped up and be ready to become a 1st team regular at the club.

With the transfer window shutting in just over 2 weeks, Arsenal will hope to complete deals for Kieran Tierney and a winger.

Do not be surprised to see the club bring in a 1st choice central defender if they can shift Shkodran Mustafi (Toby Alderweireld anyone?)

Stay cool, drink water, and do not pull the emergency alarm on the tube.


Arsenal target exciting young talent

According to reports Arsenal are closing in on deals for Kieran Tierney, Dani Ceballos, William Saliba and Everton Soares.

Whether we get any or all of these deals over the line is not yet clear, but what all 4 targets show is a clear shift in Arsenal’s transfer policy.

When we moved from Highbury to the Emirates, the tagline was “this will enable us to compete for the best in the world”. The following years saw Arsenal sell their best players and replace them with younger, cheaper alternatives.

This lead to an outcry from many fans that we had been lied to.

Arsenal were hamstrung with high repayments and a dip in the London property market caused by the recession. We had the Russians and Arabs at Chelsea and Manchester City changing the landscape of football. Suddenly a player who would have been available for £15million was being singed for £25million (think Shaun Wright Phillips).

Perhaps feeling the pressure from fans, Arsenal changed the policy of focusing mainly on talented young players in 2012.

That season Santi Cazorla (28) Lukas Podolski (27), Nacho Monreal (27) and Olivier Giroud (26) joined the club. Senior, experienced professionals at their peak.

The issue with signing these sort of players is they have very little sell on value. You buy them, give them a 5 year deal, and end up keeping them until they either leave on a free, or leave in the last year of their contract for a nominal sum.

Arsenal spent £52million on the quartet, and have recouped just £19.8million.

The year after we went big, breaking our transfer record on Mesut Ozil. A player at the peak of his powers. Then it was Mathieu Debuchy, Alexis Sanchez, David Ospina, Danny Welbeck and Gabriel Paulista.

3 seasons and the majority of our signings were established senior professionals, rather than exciting young talents.

2015/16 it was Petr Cech and Mohamed Elneny, the next season Lucas Perez, Granit Xhaka and Shkodran Mustafi.

Alexandre Lacazette, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Henrikh Mkhitaryan followed as we continued to sign players over 25.

Last we saw some change, with Matteo Guendouzi and Lucas Torreira joining the club, although we still signed Stephan Lichtsteiner and Sokratis, 2 players who were in their 30’s.

Of the 20 senior signings Arsenal have made since, just 9 are still with the club. Their total cost was nearly £400,000,000, and the 11 that have left raised just £38million.

6 of those players who left did not raise a single penny in incoming transfer fee, with only Olivier Giroud making a profit over £1million. Arsenal made £5million from his sale.

Arsenal are at a deficient of over £360million, and many of the 9 still at the club would generate little in transfer fees.

The policy of chasing senior, experienced players has cost Arsenal a lot of money and is the key cause we are in the situation we find ourselves in today.

Arsenal have an ageing squad, a high wage bill and very few players they can generate to raise further funds.

Compare this to Liverpool who, in recent years, have bought low, sold high, rebuilt and won the Champions League.

Despite moving from Highbury to the Emirates to compete for the best it is clear and obvious to all that trying to sign senior, established stars has done more damage than good at Arsenal.

If we do secure Tierney (22), Ceballos (22), Everton (23) and Saliba (18) it will see the club addressing the ageing squad issue and returning to the policy of buying bright, young talent.

All of these players will develop further at Arsenal and could potentially be sold on for huge profits, allowing the club to reinvest again.

Younger, hungrier players is the order of the day at AFC.