Arsenal finished last season in the unenviable position of needing a huge squad rebuild this summer, and to an extent that is what we have got.
There have been a handful of departures and a number of signings made, all of a young profile. However, the big question everyone seems to be asking is whether we could have done more considering we spent over £150 million.
DEPARTURES – 5/10
This has been the let down of our summer in my opinion; we have been able to get a few players off the books though generally there still remains a lot of deadwood in the squad and a number of missed opportunities.
Hector Bellerin – Real Betis (season long loan)
Willian – Corinthians (free transfer)
Joe Willock – Newcastle (£22 million permanent deal)
Matteo Guendouzi – Marseille (season long loan)
William Saliba – Marseille (season long loan)
Miguel Azeez – Portsmouth (season long loan)
Lucas Torreira – Fiorentina (season long loan)
Reiss Nelson – Feyenoord (season long loan)
Alex Runarsson – OH Leuven (season long loan)
Ultimately, there are some decent moves here. Getting Willian off the books is really helpful for one. Reiss Nelson will need some game time and should get plenty of that at Feyenoord. So too will Azeez at Portsmouth. I think we could have maybe gotten a bit more for Willock though ultimately I believe we were right to sell. However, the amount of senior players leaving on loan is laughable. Bellerin and Torreira for example, it is so poor that we were not able to sell these guys this summer.
Meanwhile, a player who we could have sold but failed was Nketiah. That failure will lead to him running down his contract and walking away for nothing next summer and the same can be said for Alexandre Lacazette. Finally, we come to Guendouzi and Saliba who despite being two of the earliest decisions to loan out, still strike me as the most bizarre. Arsenal fans can see we need a mobile, ball-playing centre back, yet Saliba was sent out on loan AGAIN. We are also crying out for a deep-lying playmaker and yet a young promising player of that model whom we had at the club we also sent out on loan. This is an aspect of Arsenal’s dealings that needs to improve massively.
SIGNINGS – 8/10:
Nuno Tavares £7 million – 7/10: A really tidy piece of business in my opinion. We needed a backup to Kieran Tierney and we managed to sign one with the same traits. An attacking full-back, with plenty of potential and on the cheap. He has impressed me so far and I think can be regarded as solid business.
Sambi Lokonga: £17 million – 8/10: I really like this signing. He plays with a maturity beyond his years and already is one of our best central midfielders. This one feels like a really good signing, both to improve us right now and to bolster our future lineup too
Aaron Ramsdale: £28 million – 6/10: Aaron Ramsdale himself is a really decent keeper with a huge potential and already very experienced for someone so young. However, the reason why I can’t rate the transfer that highly is because I don’t see the need. £28 million on a backup keeper is excessive. If he had sold Leno and reinvested that money then I’d be over the moon.
Ben White: £50 million – 7/10: Again, much like the Ramsdale deal I think he is a good player who will improve us in the long run, but feels like we have paid over the odds for a position that perhaps did not require us to spend that much money. That being said, I think once he settles down and establishes a good relationship with his fellow defenders he can be a real key player for us this season
Martin Odegaard: £30 million – 9/10: This is the deal that I find the most exciting personally. I was well in that camp of wanting to sign Odegaard permanently if possible; he has all the traits to become a top class player and already has shown that he improves us massively in terms of creativity. Maddison would perhaps have been that 10/10 that we were looking for but I can’t complain at signing Odegaard for just less than £30 million; that’s an absolute bargain
Takehiro Tomiyasu: £17 million – 7/10: I haven’t seen him play in fairness, though after some thorough research throughout today this one seems like a solid deal. His defensive numbers for Bologna seems quite impressive and is only 22. He is versatile and exactly what Arteta needs in a full back. Reliable, hard-working, defensively sound and offensively competent. Time will tell but I’ve got a good feeling about him. Either way he is an improvement on our current options IMO.
Overall, I am contented with this summer, though not entirely satisfied. I think there was more to do. Aouar for the reported £20 million would have been unreal and I still struggle to see why we couldn’t go that extra mile to sign him. Realistically, I would not have expected a marquee striker signing this summer (though that will be a priority next year), however Aouar was a needed and easy addition from my point of view.
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