Arsenal’s Outgoings Must be Heralded as a Success
The caveat to the departures in north London being a success is the lack of transfer funds accrued. Contracts were either terminated or temporarily passed on to other clubs, with only a £2.5m loan fee heading Arsenal’s way from Sead Kolasinac’s loan to Schalke.
Could most of the players who left have been shifted in the summer? Arsenal did try. Perhaps with a more experienced technical director and without the major upheaval in the recruitment side they could have succeeded. Yet that dances around the harsh reality that no club had money to spend in a pandemic-influenced market.
Moreover, whatever money clubs had was unlikely to be spent on players deemed below the standard required for a club at their lowest stage in decades.
Arteta knew who he wanted out and together with Edu Gaspar, the club achieved it. The sad truth is so much of the January window was spent righting the wrongs of past regimes. Managing to remove Mesut Ozil, Shkodran Mustafi, Sokratis and Kolasinac from the squad and still saving some money (the contract terminations meant Arsenal didn’t pay their entire salaries out) must be praised.
These are players few clubs wanted or could afford. Just look at the Bundesliga’s bottom club with one win in a year signing two of them as an example.
Also the fringe players such as William Saliba, Ainsley Maitland-Niles and Joe Willock had loan departures sanctioned, three players who wouldn’t get adequate playing time at the club and were there damaging their value, all the while costing wages. Whether they deserved to be playing or not, that was the situation and it needed dealing with.
Willock will play regularly at Newcastle and the move suits him perfectly; Maitland-Niles had the chance to join Southampton but turned it down, and while West Brom was not the preferred choice, it’s still minutes. As for Saliba, he’s showing what he can do in a division he knows well.