Arsenal are preparing a bid for Kieran Trippier, per multiple reports.* Earlier this summer, it appeared as if the Atletico Madrid right back was headed to Manchester United, but that seems to have cooled off with United only prepared to offer £20M and Atleti valuing him at £34M. Pure speculation on my part, but if Arsenal were to make an official bid, I’d expect it to be somewhere in the middle of those two numbers — in the £25M to £27M range.
Like most clubs around Europe, the La Liga champions are thought to be in a bit of a financial bind this summer. Atleti was rumored to be interested in Hector Bellerin before Inter Milan came to the fore, but they were interested in a loan with no obligation to buy and Arsenal were looking for that obligation at the very least and would have preferred an outright sale.
A line from a comic’s set that I listened to years ago comes to mind: “You ever see two lumber trucks pass each other on the freeway? It seems like a phone call could have saved a lot of trouble. ‘If you’ve got lumber over there, and I’ve got lumber over here…’”
If they wanted Bellerin and Arsenal want Trippier…maybe the two clubs can work something out. Again, that’s just me. Don’t go retweeting and citing this post for “Arsenal and Atleti close to Bellerin for Trippier swap deal.”
Would Kieran Trippier improve Arsenal? Yes, he would. He’s as good as Calum Chambers and Hector Bellerin on the attack. They each have slightly different strengths, mind, and if Arsenal are pursuing Trippier, it might be because he does what Mikel Arteta wants from his right back better than the current pair. It might also be because Trippier is significantly better than either Bellerin or Chambers defensively. Those evaluations based on these radars (Bellerin vs. Chambers | Trippier | note: they aren’t exactly the same stats in the same places so you’ve got to look closely to evaluate) from Scott Willis, @oh_that_crab.
Is Kieran Tripper the right buy for Arsenal? Probably not. For starters, he’ll be 31 in a few weeks. That doesn’t really fit with the age profile that the Gunners have been targeting this window. He’d be better than what Arsenal currently have at right back, but he’s not that much better, and certainly not £25M or more better.
Whatever Arsenal would have to pay to get him is far too expensive for a stopgap that’s going to give you two or three good seasons, if that. Marginal to medium upgrades on “fine” players is what you do if you’re trying to put your already strong, contending squad over the top. It’s not what you do during a rebuild.
I think Arsenal would be better suited spending at other positions and on younger players. With Hector Bellerin apparently staying, at least that’s what it looks like at the moment, I think Arsenal can make it work for a season with him and Calum Chambers. It’s not perfect or ideal, but it’ll do. The need for another creative attacker is much more pressing.
But it may not be a binary decision between buying a right back or a CAM. There may not even be any workable transfers for creative attackers right now. And while I wouldn’t be over the moon about buying Trippier, I’ll default to the happy equilibrium / zen outlook I reached a few weeks ago.
It’s not my money. The move would improve Arsenal. The guys in charge know much more about the financial outlook at the club and what’s actually happening in the transfer market / who they could realistically purchase. And they seem at least semi-competent at their jobs, which is an upgrade over the last guys calling the shots. I’m giving them a shot this summer to do what they want to do.
*the report seems to originate from that paper that we don’t link to here