Decisions made in the Arsenal board room could provide Mikel Arteta with extra funding in the summer to aid his squad rebuild. Extensive work was carried out during the January transfer window to kickstart the operation, one centred heavily around key departures.
Outgoing quartet Shkodran Mustafi, Sokratis, Matt Macey and Mesut Ozil all left permanently while loan moves were also secured for William Saliba and Sead Kolasinac, essential actions in trimming down the squad’s overall size, freeing up additional cash (however minor), and sculpting a more manageable squad.
Mat Ryan and Martin Odegaard came in on six-month loan deals, two players who plugged holes elsewhere and could even prove to be long-term solution dependent on their performances in north London. As for the sorely desired creative midfielder, Odegaard is already being mentioned about a summer revisit to sign him full-time from Real Madrid.
Balancing their tight finances in a pandemic-affected market coupled with the on-field woes poses another formidable task, one that could be made easier after the Gunners’ became the first club to join the UN’s Sports Climate Action Framework. As per the UN’s official website, ‘this initiative aims at supporting and guiding sports actors in achieving global climate change goals’.
Arsenal could have transfer budget boosted ahead of summer rebuild
In response to the news, football finance expert Kieran Maguire has stated he believes the move could draw in extra sponsorship cash. Potentially soothing music to Arteta’s open ears.
"“There are incentives on a variety of levels,” he told Football Insider. “First of all, from the sponsorship point of view, if you’re trying to attract sponsors who are familiar and supportive of greener projects and more environmentally friendly institutions, that’s a tick in your box. You’re more likely to get that deal over the line.“If two teams are competing for a commercial deal and one of them has got a green tick in terms of climate change and the other one hasn’t, you’re more likely to get it. Secondly, from a corporate governance point of view, Arsenal do see themselves as progressive.“A significant portion of their fanbase, particularly given the gentrification of football fans in general, will be sympathetic to these kinds of ideals provided it can be done at a relatively low cost.”"
Such a move has been in the making for a number of years, with Arsenal becoming the first club in the English top-flight to switch to 100% renewable energy back in 2018, while Hector Bellerin has become a poster boy for climate change with his initiatives to clean up the oceans and plant trees.
When you see the state of the second (and some of the first) string at Arsenal, the need for finance grows painfully apparent. Another exciting crop of youngsters are working their way up through the academy but until they are primed for senior involvement, Arteta can’t rely on misfiring, inconsistent and…well, generally poor backup options.
There will be another wave of outgoings in north London at the end of the season – Matteo Guendouzi, Lucas Torreira and Alexandre Lacazette among the possibilities – yet whoever Arsenal want to bring in will unquestionably demand more outlay than that accrued. If it even boosts the transfer kitty by 5% then this move is a bonus.
And, of course, ethically, it’s pleasing to see the direction the club is taking.