Premier League: Arsenal transfer window review
The 2019 summer transfer window has entered its home stretch with only a handful of days remaining before the market slams shut for British clubs. The current off-season, akin to many previously, has also seen Premier League clubs splash the cash in an effort to find tonic to ailments that had plagued their respective squads.
And, contrary to common belief, Arsenal have been one of the clubs to have acted swiftly to strengthen their squad, despite boasting a seemingly meagre budget.
The 2018-19 season was the Gunners’ first term under the tutelage of Unai Emery and the North London outfit showcased promising signs through the campaign. Though the defensive capitulations were never completely off the cards, their run to the Europa League final portrayed that the Spaniard had just done enough to ensure that the top brass trusted him with the funds the club had at its disposal in the summer.
Thus, through the course of this article, we would analyse the business the Gunners have conducted so far and the transfers they might indulge in over the next few days. To cap it off, we would accord Arsenal’s 2019 summer transfer window a rating out of 10.
Players bought by Arsenal: Dani Ceballos, Gabriel Martinelli, Nicolas Pepe, William Saliba
The 2019 off-season started off slowly for the Gunners with them not setting the transfer market ablaze. In sync with previous years, Arsenal waited for the right player to come along at the right price.
Their first bit of business was to acquire Gabriel Martinelli from Ituano. Though the Brazilian turned quite a few heads with his performances in his native land, one feels that the winger has been signed as a player for tomorrow rather than one who could instantly fix things at the Emirates in the upcoming season.
The Gunners then brought on board Dani Ceballos and William Saliba. Though the latter would not feature in North London in 2019-20, the fee paid for the young centre-back could prove to be a bargain in the future. At 18 years of age, Saliba has already displayed maturity beyond his years and with another season of top-flight football under him, he could blossom into a defensive rock for Arsenal.
As for Ceballos, the North Londoners have gotten their hands on an elegant midfielder capable of influencing games in the middle third. Blessed with a silky first touch and brilliant dribbling attributes, the Spaniard carries the ball through midfield expertly and could provide the Gunners the drive they require in the centre of the park.
Moreover, despite being 22, Ceballos has showcased exemplary leadership skills and led his country to glory in the European U-21 Championship recently.
The midfielder is not afraid to ask for the ball in tight areas and that propensity to take responsibility might hold the Gunners in good stead, especially when staring down the barrel in crunch away games.
Arsenal’s latest acquisition was that of Ivorian, Nicolas Pepe. Through the course of the off-season, there were several top European clubs hoping to coax the winger into signing. However, surprisingly, the Gunners won the race, in spite of a limited budget.
The North London outfit somehow managed to convince Lille of an agreement which would now see his £72m transfer fee being split over his five-year contract.
Pepe took the Ligue 1 landscape by storm in 2018-19, notching 22 goals and 11 assists through the course of the season. Thus, the Ivorian would add firepower to an already potent Arsenal attack.
Additionally, the Gunners were guilty of lacking proper width in a few of their games last term. Hence, the arrival of Pepe, a wide forward capable of hogging the touchline and also adept at cutting inside, could add another string to the club’s offensive bow.
Players that could join Arsenal: Kieran Tierney, Dayot Upamecano and Daniele Rugani
For much of the summer, Arsenal have been linked with Kieran Tierney yet a deal has not been finalised for the Celtic left-back. Though reports suggested a breakthrough had been reached a few days back, there has been no clarity on the situation ever since and the defender’s recent injury seems to have caused a furrowed brow or two at the Emirates.
Rugani, too, has been touted to make the move to North London but Arsenal and Juventus have not agreed on a fee that would satisfy both parties. While the Gunners have understandably baulked at the Old Lady’s asking price of 50m, they are still hopeful of concluding a loan deal, with an option to buy next summer or the year after.
The player to be most recently linked with Arsenal is RB Leipzig’s highly-rated centre-back, Dayot Upamecano. The Frenchman has established himself as a vital cog in the German side’s wheel and looks set to have a sizzling career ahead.
However, if reports are to be believed, Leipzig are looking for around £70m to part with their star defender. The aforementioned figure has unsurprisingly set Arsenal back and they now face an uphill task trying to negotiate a fee that would suit their finances.
Rating for Arsenal’s summer transfer window: 7/10
The Gunners have expertly brought on board the likes of Ceballos and Pepe, two footballers who could have a huge impact in the upcoming season. In addition, they have also procured the services of Martinelli and Saliba, players who could serve them well in the years to come.
Moreover, they have recouped close to £10m by shipping David Ospina, Krystian Bielik and Takuma Asano despite the trio not being first-team regulars.
Having said that, the Gunners might just have left themselves with a little more than they can chew in the defensive department. The centre-back position looked an area in need of massive reinforcement yet Arsenal have not tied up a transfer target to iron out that flaw.
Thus, while the North London outfit has done exceedingly well to acquire the players of its choice, their lack of action in the defensive third could yet cost them, as the 2019-20 season dawns.