Arsenal invest in squad depth
Arsenal is a spender in the transfer market, as they look to get back to glory.
The Gunners have been among the elite for a long time, but the last two decades have been a rather dull affair. The move to the Emirates, its associated costs, and very ordinary campaigns over an extended period have resulted in diminished clout in the transfer market.
The arrival of Mikel Arteta seems to have changed the mood at Arsenal. Having gotten off the block with some hesitation, Arsenal under Arteta seems to have found a purpose.
Last season’s performance seems to have given the club a new sense of purpose. The team is young and talented, the fans are back, and the atmosphere in the stadium is electric.
After years of evident disinterest, the owners – the Kroenkes – appear ready to loosen their purse strings. The qualification for the Champions League and the funds that brings in has quite clearly prodded them into action.
After years of being just a small change in the transfer market, Arsenal has dusted off its reluctance and decided to splurge. There is a definite plan in place, and the action in the transfer market is evidence.
As rumors floated around, Arsenal made some very significant moves. Here is a look at the landscape and what could still be coming as the transfer window rolls on.
Kai Havertz crosses town
After three years with Chelsea, Kai Havertz has been brought in to add muscle to the club’s midfield attack. With the Blues, Havertz played in the attacking lines under Thomas Tuchel and Graham Potter.
However, it looks like he might be playing in more of a central midfielder role with Arsenal. It is a role with which he is probably more comfortable as compared to the striker role. Frank Lampard, the Chelsea manager when Havertz arrived there, had a formation that pointed to Havertz being the creator. The idea was as good as any, but Lampard didn’t last long, and Tuchel then Potter tinkered with the formation, necessitating the move to push Havertz into the role of a striker in the box.
Arteta does seem to have similar ideas to Lampard, but he is aware of the risks given the underwhelming few years Havertz has had. Arsenal look settled, and Havertz has the chance to settle down without the chaos and confusion he has endured at Stamford Bridge.
Declan Rice expected to take charge
Once finalized, the arrival of England midfielder Declan Rice will be a landmark deal.
Upwards of $100 million, this deal would be Arsenal’s biggest transfer deal as well as the highest fee for an English footballer.
Rice has been a standout performer for West Ham and England. Powerful, inventive, and solid in both the midfield and when defending, the West Ham captain is indeed in a zone.
Leading West Ham to European Conference League glory capped off a few years of brilliant and consistent performances. He is at the top of many statistics put out these days.
Rice has the most possessions won in the League, he has been dribbled past the least amount of time per 90 minutes, and he has managed more interceptions than anyone else in the EPL.
Impressive stats, and they are, without any doubt, a reason for the clamor over his signing. Arsenal will add a potent weapon to their armory if they manage to get this deal over the line.
Jurrien Timber joins the Gunners
Dutch international Jurrien Timber, playing as a defender at Ajax, might be the last one through the door this season.
Rated highly by those familiar with the Dutch league and raved about by those who have worked with them, including Erik Ten Hag, Timber’s ability to handle the physicality of the Premier League is cited as a possible blind spot.
From the statistics that get thrown around and the views of coaches and other experts, it seems like a good bet for Arsenal. He would fit in with the age profile of the Gunners, and it also means he has time on his side to be a long-term Gunner.
Arsenal might make more moves
Arsenal has always been prudent with its finances. A fee over $200 million does not happen often, and it would not be surprising if some players were offloaded. It would make commercial sense, both in terms of transfer fees and wage bills, to let go of some players.
As is the nature of the transfer window, there are rumors, news breaks, and tweets that keep floating around. There might be more action, but Arsenal, if they close out the Rice and Timber deals, would probably have done their bit for the season.
Rice is a sure winner; the other two are a bit of a roll of the dice. Havertz and Timber have the promise but still need to deliver.
Arsenal would love to have a hand on the league trophy, and it would require big transfer moves to have a squad that can sustain its performance over the season. But, to beat the treble winners of the year, Manchester City, they will have to put in more on the field and then a bit more.
No doubt, the upcoming season is going to be exciting for Arsenal and Gunners Nation. It is now all about waiting and watching.