Arsenal are set to hand Mikel Arteta a £180M war chest to spend in the summer transfer window, per reports. The Gunners spent £160M last summer, the most of any Premier League club, and are in the midst of a significant rebuild that includes resetting the wage structure at the club. The contracts coming off the books this summer plus the wages moved out in the January window clear approximately £800K per week from the ledger.
Per reports, the Kroenke’s are keen to back Mikel Arteta with a new contract and big spending in the summer window, having been impressed by his plan for the club, and with the hope that the investment will get Arsenal back into the Champions League.
Unfortunately, the transfer war chest report originates from that publication that we do not link to. If you want to find it for yourself, it shouldn’t be that difficult. Of course, the source being what it is also raises questions about the credibility and accuracy of the story and the number the Arsenal brass are set to spend.
But I think there is a good chance we see a spending spree similar to that of last summer from the Gunners. Edu and Mikel Arteta have trimmed (read: nearly fully turned over) the roster. With Alexandre Lacazette and Eddie Nketiah’s contracts expiring and a few more player sales likely, the decks will be as close to clear this summer as they will ever be.
At the most basic level, Arsenal need to bring in senior players to have enough bodies to compete for an entire Premier League and domestic cup season. And that’s before you get to the possibility of European football.
For next season, the Gunners have 23 senior outfield players under contract. That number includes Hector Bellerin, Pablo Mari, Dinos Mavropanos, Lucas Torreira, Ainsley Maitland-Niles, Matteo Guendouzi, and Reiss Nelson, all of whom are not likely to be at the club (and some definitely won’t be because of clauses in their loans. It also includes William Saliba (who knows whether he’ll be with the club) and Granit Xhaka (who was almost sold in the summer). If you take all those players off the roster, it leaves the Gunners with 14 senior outfield players.
Say Folarin Balogun (currently on loan) is the 3rd striker next season and that both Xhaka and Saliba are with the club. That’s 17 outfield players. That’s not enough. Even adding Charlie Patino and another academy player doesn’t do it. The Gunners have to buy senior players this summer.
I think four players is the bare minimum: two strikers, a central midfielder, and a backup right back. The reports say that Alexander Isak, Dominic Calvert-Lewin, and Rúben Neves are the preferred targets. The Gunners have been linked with Djed Spence for that backup right back spot.
As a reminder, Premier League squads can have up to 17 non-homegrown senior players (22+ years old), 8 additional homegrown senior players, and as many U21 players as they care to register. For the back half of this season, Arsenal registered 17 senior players, 5 of whom are homegrown.