Arsenal are coming into the week off the back of a second win. However, it was hardly won in a manner that instills confidence moving forward. Arsenal struggled to create chances and looked toothless, while West Ham wasted plenty of opportunities to score that frankly, better teams will score. Better teams like Leicester City, Liverpool, or Manchester City, all of whom Arsenal play in the next month.
The issue isn’t anything particularly new. Everyone has known Arsenal’s backline lacked the ability to be thoroughly self-sufficient in order to allow the midfield the ability and freedom to expand their role beyond needing to have a defense-first mindset, and that the midfield lacks the ability to provide creative opportunities for the attack while also protecting the backline. Many had hoped that the inclusion of Dani Ceballos and Willian would provide a boost, but we saw versus West Ham that fears of it not being enough are true.
That’s not to say these decisions were poor or failures in any way. Gabriel looks like the type of player that will be very capable of playing on the left side of a back four without dedicated midfield protection from two players, and Willian, while potentially being a hot and cold player, certainly has the ability to produce. But without being able to fully trust the midfield’s consistency, reinforcements that can raise the bar are needed.
There are 16 days left in the Fall transfer window which means Arsenal need to start turning sale links into actual sales, and deal negotiations into closed deals. The problem that remains, and has been present since the very beginning, is that Arsenal have a set order of operations that this all needs to go in — starting with sales.
So who is on the sale list? Well, the obvious answer is just about anyone that a team is willing to pay for, but there are a few names with actual actions around them. Let’s take a look to start the week!
Arsenal are in one of those peculiar situations, and by peculiar I mean shitty, where they have a buffet of defenders to select from and very few that anyone want to select. Whether due to injury, poor play, old age, or the most common, a bit of everything plus being wildly expensive, it’s made it incredibly tough to offload some deadwood. But tractions may be starting to build.
Calum Chambers is linked with West Ham, Newcastle, and Leeds United. Chambers suffered an injury during last season that saw him out for 9 months, but with reports of him running outside and aiming for an October return, a few nibbles may turn into bites. It is understood that Arsenal have priced Chambers at roughly £12m, and Arsenal are looking to sell.
Shkodran Mustafi is another defender currently on the list. Some may be surprised by the news after his revival under Arteta, but given Arsenal’s need for cash and William Saliba coming in, his value in Arsenal’s eyes is dropping. Mustafi is another player that seemed like a difficult one to sell after suffering an injury in the FA Cup finals. Similarly to Chambers, he is working toward an October return which means some clubs are starting to show a little interest.
Currently, there are reports linking him to Lazio and Napoli for roughly £13.4m with suggestions that Arsenal are willing to go lower if need be. Keeping both horses in that race will be important to maintaining the price.
Sokratis also finds his name on the list, but in quite a different scenario with Napoli. After Arteta took over, his selections saw Sokratis removed, besides an occasional appearance at right back. By all accounts this was due to him not fitting Arteta’s identity of what a center back needs to offer – mostly with the ball at their feet. According to reports, Sokratis remained an incredibly hard-working, positive influence around the club, and both parties understand it’s his time to go. There was a brief period where it was suggested he would see his contract out, but with recent links to Napoli it seems that is not the case.
According to reports, a deal between Arsenal and Napoli has already been agreed to but is entirely contingent on Napoli selling Koulibaly during this window. The agreed upon fee is reportedly a little over £4m. We will wait and see.
Kolasinac is our final defender for this round up, but there is little news of hard links. According to a variety of reports, teams in the Bundesliga are showing interest and Arteta has told Kolasinac he is free to go. Few will be surprised, and many relieved, after his diabolical performance at the weekend against West Ham. Defend him if you want by saying he hardly knew he would be called to start until moments before the game, his performance was so subpar that even if Tierney’s non-serious injury should force him to miss a game, Arteta needs to look elsewhere within the squad. What kind of fee the Gunners could get for him remains to be seen, but anything plus removing his £90k per-week wages is fine by me.
It’s time to talk about the story that broke yesterday and is producing quite the buzz. Atletico Madrid are interested in a loan of Lucas Torreira. Now, there are many interesting aspects to this news. First, Torreira has been concretely linked in the recent past with a return to Serie A, not La Liga, and seemed destined to head in that direction. But with interest from Atletico, the dynamic changes, and the reason is very, very obvious — Thomas Partey.
Partey remains at the top of Arsenal’s list alongside Lyon midfielder Houssem Aouar, but between Aouar’s £50-60m fee, and Partey’s £43m release clause, Arsenal seem destined to be force to make a choice between the two. It’s a major conundrum considering both are very good at what they do, both provide something that Arsenal are in desperate need of, but both would send Arsenal in a very different midfield direction.
Overall the interest from Atletico has to be considered a very good thing, even as a loan. First, no one has heard the terms of this loan, nor have Arsenal removed from the table the fact that they want a permanent deal. Some are even reporting that Arsenal have turned down the initial offer of “loan with option to buy”, demonstrating their intent to ensure there is a Torreira purchase — now or later.
Second, producing a deal like this is likely the only way in which Arsenal find the funds for both Partey and Aouar, unless they are hiding cash people don’t know about or having a willingness to reallocate a serious amount of funds. Just a little bit ago, it seemed like a swap deal was dead in the water from both Atletico and Lyon who had no interest in Guendouzi nor Lacazette. Now Arsenal are back in a seat at the table with a real piece to bargain with.
It goes without saying that the end goal will be to end with Torreira off the books and Partey in the club. Whether that is possible for a fee that allows Arteta to also get Aouar, or if Partey is the apple of Arteta’s eye when it comes to choosing one or the other, only the club knows, but this is a start, and it’s a good one. Let’s see where it goes.
Not a huge amount of update when it comes to Aouar, although it seems like the deal is at a pretty straight forward place. Pay the fee, get the player, don’t pay and don’t get him. I imagine that standstill may have a little bit to do with seeing how this Madrid situation plays out.
I don’t do many blogs around transfer rumors and updates, but with the clock ticking down and some concrete news coming out, it seemed too important not to write about. I will have more blogs and other content around the team later this week!
Midweek game against Leicester City in the Carabao Cup to look forward to and it will be very interesting to see who Arteta, and Rodgers for that matter, select.
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