The summer transfer window opened on July 27 and will last for 10 weeks, ending on October 5. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the traditional season and transfer timetable has been disrupted. Now, most teams have a month or two at most to rest and recapitulate the previous season before running out on the pitch again.
This means that managers and coaches have had significantly less time to properly assess potential transfers, both incoming and outgoing. However, time is not the only thing in shortage. Coronavirus has significantly shrunk the war chest for most clubs, with the absence of ticket sale revenue forcing them to rebalance their finances.
Mikel Arteta’s Arsenal is no different. The club managed to qualify for the UEFA Europa League by beating Chelsea in the FA Cup. Had it failed to do so, a full season without European football would spell trouble for it in keeping current players or attracting new ones. Arsenal finished 8th in the Premier League after a difficult season and with much room for improvement. Arteta’s firm hand seems to be steering the club in the right direction, but it is having trouble in the mid-field. The club ended the season with 14 draws – the highest in the league next to Wolves and Brighton.
Both Arteta and Arsenal fans believe Thomas Partey is the key to improving the game. Atletico Madrid’s defensive midfielder has been in Arteta’s sight for a while now. This Ghanaian player is strong and energetic and isn’t afraid to go into duels. He could be the solution to the club’s problems. While he can’t be the sole playmaker, his stamina could help greatly in counter-attacks and pushing the ball forward. He could be played in a combination with Xhaka and Torreira, and potentially Özil if his standoff with the club is resolved.
However, there are obstacles to obtaining Partey. The first one is money, with Arsenal not being quite ready to pay Partey’s £50 million release clause and £300,000 weekly salary. They offered £22.5 million-plus Matteo Guendozi, whom Arsenal is definitely selling, but Atletico wouldn’t budge. To make matters worse, Juventus has entered the race for obtaining Partey, and they have significantly more financial wiggle room to make it happen. Partey himself seemed interested in joining the Old Lady as well.
Mesut Özil is also a problem. After refusing to take a 12.5% wage cut to his £350,000-per-week salary, Arteta has kept him on the sidelines. Now, Ozil also does not want to leave the club, insisting he fulfils his four-year contract in full. The 350k weekly dent in finances is definitely not something you look over in an already troubling financial situation.
Still, Arteta and Arsenal fans remain hopeful. In the RB Leipzig – Atletico Madrid Champions League match, Partey was left on the bench due to the muscle injury he sustained in La Liga. On top of that, Atletico Madrid went on to lose the match and dropped out of the Champions League. This, in the eyes of the fans, increases the chances of him leaving. While many hope he’ll be joining the Gunners, the Juventus threat looms. However, there is good news for Arsenal as well, as they managed to sign Willian. Additionally, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who scored both goals in the match against Chelsea in the FA Cup, prolonged his contract with the club, spelling a hopeful future for the management, the fans, and those looking to bet on Arsenal in the upcoming season.