As we obtain distance from the 2020-21 season and head into the summer transfer window, it’s the perfect time to enjoy the what-if transfer market game. Arsenal has a lot of work to do this summer, deciding how to handle the numerous senior players out on loan, upgrading the existing squad, addressing players that want to move on, and how to best test the top U23 prospects next season.
With all of that in mind, we are doing a short series looking at the three clubs relegated from the Premier League this season and who might be of value to Arsenal. Of course, there might not be any great fits or at the right price, but if the club had to pick up a player from Sheffield United, for their estimated value, who would be a potential option?
Position: Defensive Midfielder
Projected Value: $20 million
Argument For: I should really just point you here - “Transfer Rumor: Arsenal linked with exciting midfield talent” as I covered the transfer rumor linking Berge with the Gunners a few weeks ago in a bit more detail. Anything related to moving the ball forward he excelled for Sheffield United, something Arsenal would enjoy move from its midfield - distance progressing the ball forward (1st), number of carries forward per match (1st), carries into the final third (1st), carries into the 18-yard box (2nd) and successful dribbles (2nd) - all based on per 90. He looks the part, should look to remain in the top flight, has plenty of potential to improve, and that’s a fee Arsenal can afford when considering they need to eventually replace Xhaka and Elneny.
Projected Value: $8 million
Argument For: Bellerin’s expected to leave and neither Cedric nor Chambers are the starting right-back Arsenal needs moving forward. In fact, the club might be best trying to move Cedric on (if that’s even possible) and Calum would be better suited to find a starting role at another club, although I appreciate he is well-liked within the club and offers depth at multiple positions. Well, Jayden Bogle isn’t the Gunners’ new starting right-back, but could he be a better #2? He’s just 20, fills an England national spot, and probably available in the $5-8m range. 21 matches, three goals (their third-highest scorer), and just a -8 goal differential while on the pitch, which is actually a great result considering how brutal Sheffield was this year (he ranks near the top in this category). If Arsenal is going for a full rehaul at right-back, Bogle is a decent option for the backup.
Projected Value: $4 million
Argument For: One of Arsenal’s biggest needs this summer is Kieran Tierney’s backup. When he was out Arteta was forced to play Cedric there out of position and eventually Granit Xhaka. While it worked to an extent, it’s not ideal nor how Arsenal will head into next season. But with Tierney a clear Premier League #1, they need a young second option that has some experience and potential to develop further. A product of the Derby academy system, Lowe was brought into Sheffield ahead of this past season. Used by Sheffield as a Left-Midfielder, Lowe didn’t get a ton of action (just 11 matches and one assist), so it’s a bit of a guess here. We all know their defense shipped goals, but they were only -5 in total in Lowe’s nine Premier League matches. He’s young, was part of the England U20 set up a few seasons ago, can play left-back and left midfield, and would only cost $3-4 million.
Projected Value: $13 million
Argument For: Ahead of the 20-21 season he made a $22m move from Bournemouth and was seen as not far off from the England national team squad. A rough season at Sheffield and the desire to remain in the Premier League probably has him looking for a quick exit this summer. He finished 10th in save percentage (70.7%) in the Premier League despite facing the second-highest shots on goal (205). There are rumors Leno wants to leave (either now or after next season), Runarsson didn’t pan out, and Mat Ryan’s loan has ended, even though there are rumors he and the club might work to bring him back in. At just 22, home-grown status, and available for maybe $10-15m, Ramsdale might be a reasonable addition as first or second keeper next season?
There is an argument to be made that Arsenal needs to address all four of these positions, at least from a depth chart perspective, this summer. However, there will be very limited to pull away from this Sheffield United squad, especially as Mikel Arteta looks to rebuild back towards a Champions League caliber club. Their top two goal scorers are 32 and 34 years old, no one else managed more than three goals and no one at the club managed four assists all season. So if you had to pick up one of those four options for that projected value this summer, which player is it and why?