The upcoming summer transfer period has been hyped up to a tremendous degree for Gunner fans. The club’s woeful form has had the fan-base clamoring for change, and in the wake of the fan backlash and the very public push by Spotify owner and Arsenal fan Daniel Ek to purchase the club, the Kroenke’s have once again promised big things for Arsenal this summer.
Arsenal’s needs are glaring, and the two areas most in need of attention are the midfield and the fullback positions. It looks as though the first domino in the summer overhaul is set to fall, as it is being reported that Arsenal will make a move for Southampton left back Ryan Bertrand, who has confirmed that he will be leaving the club at season’s end.
Arsenal’s interest in Ryan Bertrand has entered a serious stage in the last 72 hours. The club are working on an alternative option at left-back, but Bertrand is the ‘hottest’ file. Arsenal are intensifying their efforts to settle their first summer transfers. [@TheAFCBeII] #afc pic.twitter.com/bB1Ve5o5yl— afcstuff (@afcstuff) May 16, 2021
The cynic in all of has probably reared its ugly head at this news. “An out-of-favor full back from Soton? And he is over 30? AND he has played for Chelsea? Please, no, not again.” And sure, this is not the splash signing we are all hoping for, but on paper, it is not an entirely bad move.
For starters, the move would provide much needed depth behind Kieran Tierney, as Arsenal’s left back depth is dire. Sead Kolasinac is still technically an Arsenal player, but it is clear that his time at the Emirates has come to a close, Cedric is not a true left back, and Bukayo Saka’s future is in the attack. Bertrand is not going to threaten Tierney’s place on the team sheet by any means, but he gives the position some breathing room.
Secondly, he is a Premier League veteran. It’s a bit of a cliche to say that the PL is “tougher” than most leagues, but you cannot overlook experience and familiarity. He has played in the Prem and the Championship for 15 years, largely on loan from Chelsea, and he brings with him some veteran experience that might benefit the youth in the defense.
Third, he is homegrown. With the need to ensure a proper complement of homegrown players on a roster, English players come at a premium. Arsenal could potentially offload the likes of Eddie Nketiah, Ainsley Maitland-Niles, and Joe Willock this summer, so the acquisition of Bertrand minimizes the impact that losing three homegrown players would have to the roster.
Lastly, he would be joining on a free. No wages have been discussed, but I cannot imagine Arsenal putting him on the type of bloated wages that the club has wasted on the likes of Kolasinac. At 31 nearing 32, he is well past his prime, and whichever club he joins he will be joining as depth. If Arsenal can sign him for no more than two years on somewhere in the neighborhood of £60-80k per week, then the risk is almost nil.
The summer window does not open in earnest until June 9th, but it looks as though Arsenal are at the very least starting out quickly. We will update the situation as events continue to transpire.