Before the previous season had even concluded, what was needed this window was etched across the Emirates: sell, sell and sell. While the ceiling needed raising at Arsenal, the floor urgently required lifting. As of yet, not one player from the squad has been sold.
It’s now three senior squad players who’ve left Arsenal this window following William Saliba’s loan move to Marseille being completed, with not one of them handing the Gunners any meaningful cash this window.
Saliba’s deal was never going to be anything other than a simple loan and Arsenal will receive a loan fee from the French side, but Matteo Guendouzi and Konstantinos Mavropanos are two that will only became permanent under certain circumstances.
In both their cases the money is as good as Arsenal’s, yet it demonstrates again the same issue that has plagued this club for a number of years.
Arsenal still suffering from same transfer troubles as Mikel Arteta and Edu struggle to sell overpriced fringe players in summer window
Marc Overmars in 2000 remains the biggest fee received for a player in Arsenal history at £36m. Twenty-one years ago. While the reasons for that are dreadful recruitment and equally painful decision-making in not knowing when to sell, those issues are compounded this summer by the toughest market in years to sell players.
Only one signing has been made so far but looking at the other side of matters, those hoping to scoop £30m for Hector Bellerin, for example, are coming to terms with the reality of a COVID-hit market. It just will not happen.
There is sympathy for those in charge. European club finances have been decimated and no side has the capability to be meeting the demands of Premier League sides. Guendouzi will move to Marseille for a meagre £9.4m, but the truth is that is all Arsenal could realistically be aiming for.
On top of the troubles on the continent, it’s important to remember the calibre of player Arteta and co are looking to shift: Sead Kolasinac, Willian, Bellerin, Torreira, Cedric etc.
Far from top tier footballers, they’re undesirable at a side that has finished 8th in consecutive seasons. The worst side most supporters will have known. There are no salivating buyers queuing up in their droves to sign them, and even if they are there is no way they’re meeting the demands Arsenal set out.
Throw in the wages Arsenal foolishly placed their fringe options on and it’s far beyond what most clubs can afford. These are huge investments that require the player and his agent’s blessing for a wage cut that goes beyond the control of the selling club.
Of course, Arsenal are to blame in a variety of ways. Their initially weak scouting pinpointed these players out; they signed them on these silly wages; they didn’t sell at the right moment; and allowed many to run their contracts down.
But there has to be some cognizance about the trials and tribulations facing more than just those in north London. It will not be pretty and neither will the fees the club, hopefully, will be accruing at some point this window.
Has there been enough so far this window? Certainly not. However, there are reasons for that. Selling will be a different ballpark once the market has settled and Arsenal have a squad worth paying for, just very blatantly not now.