You suddenly find yourself managing Arsenal’s transfer activity this summer, but you are required to pick up at least one player from Championship-bound West Brom, who do you bring in? In this second entry of the purely-for-fun-don’t-take-it-overly-serious series, we turn to the Baggies who have limited transfer target options, but a few players that could be useful to Arsenal in the season ahead.
If you missed the first part of this series, you can catch up here - Which Sheffield United player should Arsenal target?
Projected Value: $5 million
Argument For: As Arsenal look ahead to revamp the right-back position, a player with some top-flight experience, but is open to being a backup at a larger club, and has the potential to improve is an ideal target — especially if Bellerin, Cedric, and Chambers all exit over the next 12-14 months. Furlong is 25, has a year of Premier League experience, with several in the Championship, was West Brom’s 2nd highest assist leader (with three), and second is crosses completed. All that for under $5m (as West Brom got him for $2m and could be open to selling as they drop back to the Championship). Furlong isn’t a player to move the needle, but in the event, Arsenal need right-back depth next season, he could be a worthwhile purchase.
Projected Value: $9 million
Argument For: England’s third-choice keeper at the Euro’s is not a bad option to consider. Of course, his fee would likely be higher, but he would offer great competition for Bernd Leno if the club isn’t going to secure Mat Ryan permanently (which would also be a sensible move this summer). Johnstone faced the most shots and gave up the most goals in the Premier League this season, but it’s hard to judge him completely based on how West Brom performed as a unit. Honestly, it’s hard to see him moving anywhere that he isn’t going to be the starter, so unless Arsenal is selling Leno and pursuing Johnstone/Ryan as a duo next season, this would be a hard sell for someone in the England squad.
Projected Value: $15 million
Argument For: West Brom doesn’t have many prospects that Premier League clubs will truly be chasing this summer, but if they have one it’s Pereira. In his two seasons with West Brom since joining from Sporting CP he’s managed 20 goals and 26 assists (that’s across this past season in the Premier League & the season before where he helped West Brom finish second and earn promotion). He led the team in shot-creating actions and actions that led to goals and will be very hard for West Brom to hold on to. Pereira is a top-flight player and if no club in England signs him this summer, another top-five league will. Arsenal has a Pepe, Aubameyang, Saka, Martinelli, Smith Rowe, and Nelson so there isn’t a pressing need, but Pereira would surely add to the Arsenal attacking front line.
Projected Value: $2 million
Argument For: Arsenal needs a true left-back to act as the fill-in for Tierney when injured or being rested. If the club is looking to focus their spending elsewhere, Townsend would be a cheap option to try out for a season. This was his first season in the Premier League, 27 matches, two assists, was in the top five for shot-creating actions and goal-creating actions, and completed the most crosses for West Brom. His top-flight experience is limited, but at just $2m he could fill in for Tierney during Cup matches or the occasional Premier League match. Then the club can focus bigger spending on right-back, midfield, attacking midfielder, and forward.
At the moment Arsenal has Ainsley Maitland-Niles returning from West Brom, but his status heading into next season remains doubtful. If West Brom had managed to stay in the Premier League perhaps they could have entertained a player(s) swap deal. But with their return to the Championship and some players looking to move on, who would you pick up this summer for their estimated price tag?