With the summer transfer window set to open soon (June 10th), the next phase of Arsenal’s rebuilding project will kick-off. Last season we saw them bring in Aaron Ramsdale, Takehiro Tomiyasu, Ben White, etc. while also getting a permanent deal for Martin Odegaard. A really productive step in improving the squad, getting younger, and moving out players that weren’t a part of the long-term plan. But imagine how great the Gunners would have been with a player from Norwich City or Watford or both?
Those weren’t, and aren’t, the target clubs Arsenal will be looking at this summer, but at the end of last season, we had some fun regarding potential transfers from the three relegated clubs. So the series is back and this time we’re asking if Arsenal had to sign one player from Norwich City, Watford, and Burnley, who would be the best option? Considering their age, estimated cost, potential, and how much of a need the Gunners have at that position. Up first, the last-place club, the Canaries.
Norwich proved a bit tough since several of their best players were in on loan and thus not eligible for Arsenal to acquire directly from them - Billy Gilmour, Ozan Kabak, Mathias Normann, etc.
Projected Value: $24 million
Argument For: Do Arsenal need a new right-back to complement Tomiyasu? Yes, sorry, Cedric. Does he fit into the club’s recent age profile? Yes, he is 22. How is his experience? 70 matches in the Premier League, 86 in the Championship, and 15 for the England U21s. How about the price? He’s been estimated at around $20-25 million for the past few years and that isn’t beyond the range Arsenal is willing to spend on a solid right-back. He ranked at the top of the club’s stats in crosses, progressive passes, and actions that led to goals. This seems like a hard option to beat.
Projected Value: $20 million
Argument For: We’ve been here before. Cantwell is the style of player that will be linked with moves up the table each season. Whether he eventually lands the right move and how high his ceiling is, is hard to know. Like Aarons, Cantwell has been in the $20-25 range the past few seasons and has proven his ability to score and assist in the Premier League and the Championship. What makes him attractive to Arsenal is his versatility having played at CM, AM, LW, RM, LW, and RW all in the past year. He could be used in a variety of positions and formations, providing cover as needed. He only played in eight EPL matches last season before being loaned to Bournemouth, so Nowich or the player may be looking for a move this summer.
Projected Value: $9 million
Argument For: After several successful seasons in the Eredivisie (13 goals and 20 assists from 83 matches) and then the Bundesliga with Werder Bremen (21 goals and 17 assists from 86 matches), Rashica made the jump to the Premier League. But finding anything near that level of productivity in England’s top flight and within Norwich’s squad was a near impossible task. As the club heads back down to the Championship, the 40-cap Kosvo National Team player would be open to a chance to stay in the EPL. He can play on the right or left of the attack, but would be a depth piece only. For $10m would he be a better option than say Reiss Nelson?
Projected Value: $9 million
Argument For: The American. What’s probably best for him is a season starting in the Championship ahead of the World Cup. And his stats won’t really have many top-flight clubs banging on Norwich’s door. Four goals and three assists from 29 matches are exactly the kind of numbers Arsenal have to avoid in this summer’s pursuit of a new forward. Even at his low price, Arsenal has little to no need to make this move when Folarin Balogun could easily hit (and probably improve upon) those numbers.
Position: Left winger
Projected Value: $10 million
Argument For: Similar to Rashica, except four years younger and yet to produce the attacking stats his fellow Norwich winger did. He would be a project and that’s not probably the best fit for Arsenal who are chasing down a Champions League place. He would be available at a great price, but I would imagine Norwich see him, like Sargent, as players to keep for the Championship who can help them challenge for promotion.
I also considered the club’s leading goal scorer, Teemu Pukki, since Arsenal could have used a few of his 11 goals. But let’s be honest, even in this game, there is a zero percent chance Arsenal would take him, even for free. There was also center midfielder Pierre Lees-Melou, who was a high contributor in a difficult season, but at 29 that isn’t the direction, Arsenal would look.
So now we turn to the comments. If Arsenal has to buy one Norwich City player this summer, who would you pick and why?