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Gunners’ Transfer Tactics: Value or Vanity?

Arsenal’s Transfer Window Analysis

Mikel Arteta’s Spending Spree

The Gunners are, for the fourth summer in a row, among the biggest spenders in the Premier League with Mikel Arteta having taken his total spending as Arsenal manager past the £600mil mark.

New Arrivals and Departures

Declan Rice, Kai Havertz, and Jurrien Timber have arrived, while Auston Trusty, Pablo Mari, and Granit Xhaka have departed. Let’s get to grading the ins and outs, and see what else the Arsenal might need to do before the window shuts on August 31st.

Questionable Investments

There’s no question that Arsenal significantly overpaid for both Rice and Havertz. A combined £170mil went out the door for two players that seem like slightly awkward fits in Arteta’s system. If the plan was, or is, for Rice to replace Thomas Partey as the defensive midfielder then that represents a downgrade, but if he is the Xhaka replacement then it is a very expensive upgrade.

But even as an upgrade, Arsenal would lose the final third threat that Xhaka offered them last season. Havertz has seemingly been earmarked for the Xhaka role, and can offer a similar final third threat but is a massive downgrade defensively and a weird fit in a midfield with Odegaard and presumably Rice. That is not a midfield that would inspire much confidence in their ability to break up opposition attacks and protect the defense.

Timber’s Acquisition

Timber was a bargain, potentially the best bit of business Edu has done since taking on the role of Director of Football. Arsenal paid more than they wanted to, but still got the player they wanted for significantly less than Ajax were quoting for him last summer.

Overall Transfer Verdict

Overall, Arsenal have achieved what they set out to do and signed the three players they set out to sign but that have spent far too much for this to be considered a window of value.

Incomings Grade – B

Profitable Departures

When news of Xhaka’s departure first broke the fee was rumoured to be around the £12mil marker but by the time he departed the Gunners were banking almost £22mil. For a player who was as much of a let down over his tenure as the club as Xhaka, that’s a great fee to receive.

Trusty and Mari brought in a combined £11mil which is also a good return for two players who played no part last season.

There’s still work to be done in terms of outgoings, with Nicolas Pepe, Folarin Balogun and Kieran Tierney still linked with moves away and Matt Turner looking set to join Nottingham Forest, but Arsenal have done pretty well with the sales they have managed to complete.

Outgoings Grade – B

Remaining Transfer Needs

So what do they have left to do? Well with Turner going they’ll need another goalkeeper. They have reportedly agreed personal terms with David Raya of Brentford, but the suggested fee of £30mil is excessive for a goalkeeper of his calibre so it remains to be seen what happens with that deal.

Other than that, the only pressing need is some real cover for Bukayo Saka on the right wing.

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