Edu Gaspar: Arsenal's transfer mastermind or in need of replacing?

  • Edu Gaspar became Arsenal's first technical director and sporting director
  • Impressed on recruitment front
  • Inability to sell at the right time

Brazil Press Conference & Training Session - Granja Comary
Brazil Press Conference & Training Session - Granja Comary / Buda Mendes/GettyImages
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Edu Gaspar has drawn both praise and criticism for his work in a non-playing role at Arsenal, with fans divided over whether he is a masterful negotiator or if a step away from needing to be replaced.

Edu returned to Arsenal in a non-playing capacity back in 2019, as the Invincible became the club's first-ever technical director.

In 2022, Edu's role changed and he became the club's first-ever sporting director, which saw his responsibilities with the Gunners increase, and his role as a link between manager Mikel Arteta and the ownership group become even more important.

Since then, he has been the recipient of fierce criticism, as well as deserved praise, from large sections of the fanbase who have taken strong views over his handling of transfer and contract business.

FBL-WC-2018-BRA-TRAINING-GRANJA COMARY-GASPAR
FBL-WC-2018-BRA-TRAINING-GRANJA COMARY-GASPAR / MAURO PIMENTEL/GettyImages

In 2023, the former Invincible was awarded the 'Best European Director' award at the Golden Boy awards, though some fans were left bemused by this decision after what they perceived to be a series of bad transfers and sporting situations.

With this in mind, it is time to answer the question of whether Edu is a negotiation mastermind or in need of replacing.


Edu's Arsenal signings

Gabriel Martinelli
Watford v Arsenal - Premier League / Julian Finney/GettyImages

While he was not solely responsible for every signing, Edu had a lot of power and could have ultimately put forward or vetoed any deals if he so wished.

His first summer with the Gunners saw the arrival of several players who received very mixed receptions from fans and went on to leave vastly different legacies at Arsenal.

David Luiz (£8m) and Nicolas Pepe (£72m) both made moves to north London and, while the latter brought with him much excitement as Europe's top teams chased his signature, his with the club was underwhelming, to say the least.

But while it is easy to focus on the more negative signings, we would be doing Edu a disservice to fail to mention some of the frankly superb deals that he has overseen during his time at the club.

For example, William Saliba and Gabriel Martinelli were signed for a reported combined fee of around £33m, which is an absolute bargain given their current output, with each player perhaps worth triple that fee in today's market.

So while signings under the Brazilian can rightly be scrutinised and, in some cases criticised, his overall contribution to incomings at the club has been generally, in my opinion, positive and something that we should be very grateful for.


Edu's Arsenal sales

Okay, buckle up. We have to be bluntly honest and say that, for all the success that Edu has enjoyed with his signings to date, sales are an area where he has proven underwhelming to say the least.

In recent years, seeing a player sold for any notable sum of money has become something of a rarity, with Arsenal often instead opting for contract terminations to offload players where interest otherwise appears low in said players.

While this would be a logical approach in some scenarios, the simple fact is that we have been very bad at selling players over the last few years, and that, generally speaking, fees received for players have been sub-par.

While, on the face of things, this may just seem like an inconvenience and source of frustration, it could actually prove to be very detrimental to the club, as lower player sales mean that we can spend less on transfers.


Strong but clear room for improvement

Overall, I feel as though Edu brings rather undeniable quality to Arsenal's backroom team, and, despite not being perfect, is a real asset to the club.

With that said, we can still recognise areas where he can improve, like with player sales, and rightly call out instances where we feel that he has performed below par, but it is essential that we do so in a constructive manner, rather than just slaughtering him online which could well amount to abuse.

So to say that he is the perfect man for the job may feel a stretch at this time, but suggestion that he needs immediate replacement is both premature and absurd.


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