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Tuesday Cannon Fodder: ruthless

Arsenal v Manchester United - Premier League Photo by Stuart MacFarlane/Arsenal FC via Getty Images

People overuse the word “ruthless” when it comes to transfer dealings. “[club] need to be ruthless in the market.” “Look at how Chelsea sell players, even talented ones, they’re ruthless.” You get the picture.

There is, has been, and always will be a human element to running a football club that is underestimated, undervalued, and misunderstood from the outside looking in. That element factors into everything clubs do. Clubs are composed of people. People are emotional, fickle, often irrational beings. To ignore that in organizational decision making would be a mistake.

But Arsenal need to be ruthless this summer.

The club need to continue to clear out players who aren’t part of Mikel Arteta’s plans. That effort is very much underway, see e.g. Calum Chambers to Aston Villa, Matteo Guendouzi to Marseille and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to Barcelona (which was an on-the-fly plan change). Arsenal still have a bunch of guys — Lucas Torreira, Hector Bellerin, and so on — who don’t have a place in the North London going forward. They need to continue to move on from those players, without regard for sentimentality.

The other part of being ruthless is holding other clubs’ feet to the fire on transfer prices. It feels like Arsenal have fallen into a habit of selling players for below market value. To be fair, it’s in part because the wage scale was out of whack and so guys have massive weekly wages that make them difficult to sell. But that trend of selling for pennies on the dollar needs to stop. The players likely on their way out this summer have value. Arsenal need funds to supplement their summer spending. It’s time the other clubs pay market price.