Yesterday in Part 1 we looked at the club’s need to sign coverage at the left-back and goalkeeper positions, as well as needing a decision on how to handle Alexandre Lacazette’s contract this summer. Today we continue to look at what Edu and Mikel Arteta are tasked with as they look ahead to the upcoming summer transfer window.
4 - Convincing Folarin Balogun to stay at Arsenal
The 19-year-old forward has been a striking talent for the Arsenal U23s for the past two seasons, but the club is on the verge of seeing him walk away before getting a serious chance for the senior side. He’s been at Arsenal since 2011, but with his contract expiring in four months is there any chance he can be persuaded to change his mind?
His path is currently blocked by Lacazette & Nketiah plus at times Aubameyang. But Lacazette will turn 30 this season and has just one year left on his contract. If you were in charge would you pursue a $20 million transfer for Eddie Nketiah this summer and push Balogun into the backup striker role? Or allow Balogun to walk away thinking that Nketiah is a primary striker option for the next few seasons?
Likelihood this summer: 10%
5 - Sorting through the senior loan player situation
Arsenal has heavily used the loan system this season for both the senior side and the U23s, with seven senior players out on loan at the moment and three playing at the Emirates on deals through June.
- Sead Kolasinac - Schalke - With another year left on his contract at Arsenal, expect the club to secure a $5-8 million transfer fee for the left-back to remain with the German side.
- Lucas Torriera - Atletico Madrid - The La Liga side may be on their way to winning the Spanish league, but the Arsenal midfield hasn’t been a key contributor so far. Under contract until 6/23 and valued at $30 million, the Gunners could help fund their left-back and goalkeeper needs by selling Lucas this summer. Several other notable clubs were interested in his services this January, so Arsenal shouldn’t have an issue making the move.
- Matteo Guendouzi - Hertha Berlin - One of three Gunners playing in Germany this season, Guendouzi fell out with Arteta, but still has plenty of upside — in the right role and right system. However, if they can find an offer for him in the $25 million range this summer, that will be too attractive to pass up — and the rare Arsenal positive bit of business after buying him for under $9m.
- Joe Willock - Newcastle - He’s already scored and has the talent to be a regular Premier League starter, even if that’s not at Arsenal long term. Useful throughout the midfield positions, it seems more likely that Arsenal and Willock wanted consistent playing time for him rather than Arteta thinking he was surplus to requirements long term. I’d expect Willock back at Arsenal in July unless Newcastle stay up, he impresses there, and they make an attractive $20~ million offer.
- Ainsley Maitland-Niles - West Brom - Like Willock, AMN needed to be playing regularly - both for his overall development and his England chances. Plus West Brom offers the chance to start in the midfield rather than being backup fullback coverage at Arsenal. He is a versitile option to have in the squad with so many matches to consider each season, but unless Arteta can offer him a clear role that is attractive to Maitland-Niles both parties may decide it is time to move on. Once again $15-20 million for the potential England international will be tempting as Arsenal searches for funds to rebuild the squad to Arteta and Edu’s vision.
- William Saliba - Nice - It hasn’t been the most positive week for Saliba....Is there a way back for him next season? Next season at center back Arsenal will have Rob Holding, Pablo Mari, Gabriel & Calum Chambers. No offense to the long time Gunner, but surely Saliba offers more potential than Chambers at this point. And Arsenal are not getting anywhere near the $33m they paid for Saliba, so let’s see how the 19-year-old can fare next season.
- Konstantinos Mavropanos - Stuttgart - That’s right, Mavro is still on the books. After his $2.3m move in January of 2018, he’s spent the majority of his time away from the Emirates. He’s having a solid season in the Bundesliga and at still just 22, I’d rather give him a season at Arsenal (and/or Saliba) and let Chambers move on.
- Mat Ryan - Brighton - As stated yesterday, unless Ryan shines in the coming months, this is likely just a short stint for the keeper at the Emirates.
- Martin Odegaard - Real Madrid - It’s too early to tell how Odegaard might impact Arsenal in the coming months. If it doesn’t work out, they move on and it only cost them $2.2m. If he looks the part, could Arsenal secure a full-season loan ala Ceballos? It’s hard to see Arsenal getting near the estimated value for $44m, but perhaps a swap for Torreira or Guendouzi might entice Madrid if Odegaard proves the attacking option Arteta needs.
- [Updated] Dani Ceballos - Real Madrid - In the rough draft there were eight loan players to discuss & in the final review only seven listed? Thanks to reader ‘writerclouser1970’ for being the first to point out that Dani Ceballos had been subliminally shifted from a loan player to a permanent addition. That says a bit about me and a bit about how long he’s been at Arsenal now. Surely he won’t be loaned for a third season, right? Under contract at Madrid through June 2023, the Gunners can’t outright buy him for $20-30 million, but would the La Liga side be interested in Torreira or Guendouzi if Arteta feels Ceballos is the right move? Or can Arsenal find another alternative for a fresh start next season?
Likelihood this summer: 75% (as in a final resolution for 3/4ths of these names)
Which move is most crucial this summer?
This poll is closed
A backup for Tierney
Signing a ready-to-play backup GK
Deciding Lacazette’s fate
Convincing Balogun to sign
The senior players on loan
What are you expecting from Arsenal during the upcoming summer transfer window? How do you think they should handle these five options discussed? What other moves do you view as critical that should be addressed during this summer?