The wheels are finally starting to turn at Arsenal as the club steps up preparations for the new Premier League season but are they moving fast enough?
To date, the club’s only official signing has been Portuguese youngster Nuno Tavares, though a deal for Belgian midfielder Albert Sambi Lokonga is expected to be announced in the coming days.
While these deals put us in a good place for the medium and, hopefully, long term, what of the immediate future? Discussions over a deal for Brighton defender Ben White are ongoing but the mooted £50million fee for that deal continues to be a stumbling block and, frankly, I have my doubts whether we can get it over the line.
The White deal aside, there remain significant gaps in our squad that are in need of attention for next season. At the very least, we need a back-up goalkeeper, battle-ready centre midfielder and another creative influence in the number 10 position. While there are always things going on behind the scenes we won’t have heard of, the lack of substantial whispers in those departments are a concern.
So too is the progress being made on thinning out the, shall we say, less important members of the squad and those we no longer have a use for. Players like Sead Kolasinac, Ainsley Maitland-Niles, Willian, Alex Lacazette, and Eddie Nketiah were all given minutes against Hibernian on Tuesday but are any of those guys in the manager’s plan for next season? It’s not clear.
We have moved on a number of youth team players and secured fees for Matteo Guendouzi and Dinos Mavropanos – albeit paltry amounts – but there really hasn’t been much movement towards the overhaul we had hoped to see this summer.
This COVID-affected market is proving difficult for every club, of course, but there remains a lot of work to do, and that’s before we’ve considered the futures of Lucas Torreira, Joe Willock, Granit Xhaka and Hector Bellerin – a quartet of players who could do a job for the club if asked to stay but who, ideally, could be generating fees for our rebuild. After all, we aren’t finding the money for Ben White down the back of the sofa.
I heard somewhere that it’s barely a month before the start of the league season and that’s pretty terrifying. No-one who watched us last season could say we had the personnel needed to move to the next level and, with all due respect to Nuno and Albert, we are unlikely to move up the league with a few youngsters who, if we’re being honest, don’t really have that much senior experience.
It often only takes one or two deals to get the whole market moving and that might just happen in the next week, but I wonder if I’m the only one starting to sweat. Whether incoming or outgoing (preferably both) it would be great to start seeing some serious signs of progress in the next 10 days as we start to jet off overseas for various pre-season tournaments and distractions.
Heading into the final few days of the window has always been exciting and a bit of a novelty for Arsenal fans, partially because anything could happen, but, this year, we could well do with a whole lot of boredom.