The 70-day transfer window officially opened this week and every single Arsenal fan is aware of the substantial effects this period will likely have on the immediate future. With the need for upgrades and overhauls in multiple spots, reductions in the overall wage bill, moving along deadwood, and the need for funds in order to do it all, the list of tasks on the club’s ‘to-do’ list is a bit overwhelming.
As if the shortened time frame between the end of this last 11-month Premier League season and next year’s September 12th start date wasn’t pressing enough, given Arsenal’s extensive needs, Arsenal face a problem that appears to be even more difficult than enticing players to come to the club and take on the project. Getting others to leave.
View the transfer rumors, the Twitter feeds, the potential lineups, or the dream transfer windows that people lay out. Almost every single person hedges their bets by saying, “this is possible with good selling”, and it is potentially true. Arsenal are looking for savvy maneuvering of the market and a lot of what is possible to bring in, depends on what goes out, but that job won’t come easy.
There is a long list of players that many supporters would like to see exit the club during this period, in return for funds and swap deals. We have heard Mesut Ozil’s agent say repeatedly that his client will be seeing out his contract at Arsenal, Sokratis’ representation has said they have no desire to see him leave the club, and Elneny is running into issues with Besiktas in the Turkish league that may see him return to the club instead of stay for what seemed like a done deal sale. While Elneny would still likely find himself sold again, it’s added legwork the club needs to do distracting them from larger goals.
Guendouzi has been offered to a few clubs in return for swap deals that have been turned down in the midst of his fall from grace with Mikel Arteta and club. Calum Chambers suffered a long term injury that will make his sale very difficult, if not impossible, and Mustafi was recently assessed to need surgery and will be out for not only the FA Cup final, but the until October as well. This is potentially a huge blow to Arsenal, who may have looked to move him along in search of funds for reinvesting despite how good he has been under Arteta.
With reports of Atletico Madrid and Barcelona, turning down swap deals in search for strictly cash deals to give themselves flexibility with their own spending, combined with the knowledge that the topsy-turvy market is unpredictable as seen by the slashing in player values and Arsenal feeling content to move Mkhitaryan on for nothing but freedom from his wages, it’s clear that navigating through deals will be far from straight forward.
In past years, this barrier may not present such a large hurdle for Arsenal who could take a few gambles knowing their matchday revenue stream would soften the blow. With the uncertainty around when fans will be back in stadiums and the current unpredictability of European qualification or what funds Arsenal would make from the Europa League, Arsenal are left with a scenario where many of their purchases are likely contingent on sales. But Convincing players to leave or selling them, isn’t as straight forward as one might assume.
The power doesn’t entirely lie with the club, but is partially with the player’s willingness to cooperate, which is why the selling aspect may prove tougher than the buying. Arsenal will be counting on those sales in order to comfortably purchase for their rebuild, but how do they do that without being certain they will be capable of selling?
Stubborn players on fruitful contracts given by Wenger and Gazidis, a life in London that enticed players to come, injuries that frighten off buyers, and many other components stand in the way of revitalizing the side during this tight window. Time is short, the pressure is high, and these contingencies have put Arsenal in a tough spot. Time for Raul and company to show back up the clout that comes with their name. The immediate future certainly depends on it.