Tomorrow, those players who have not – or have not been – on international duty will return to pre-season training. The hard work starts here, etc. Etc.
We are still waiting for things to start happening in the transfer market in both directions, so I thought I would summarize where we are in terms of movement, rumors, etc. Let’s go position after position.
Outgoing: There’s a story that makes rounds connecting Runar Alex Runarsson with a switch to Altay Spor, a Turkish club recently promoted to the Super Lig. Bless him, he seems like a nice young man, but he’s the equivalent of your goalkeeper not showing up for a Sunday league game and someone’s little brother volunteering to do the job. The deal is supposed to be permanent, and I see no reason why we should do anything but facilitate his departure.
Mat Ryan is signing for Real Sociedad, while academy candidate Arthur Okonkwo’s contract expired on June 30, and there has been no announcement of a renewal yet. He’s probably hanging out in the VIP section with free agent with Lionel Messi.
Incoming: Everything has gone quiet on the Andre Onana front, but I do not see why he commits to a transfer now instead of waiting until next summer when he can leave Ajax on a Bosman and can pick and choose among all kinds clubs.
There are some stories from Spain that connect us with Barcelona’s Brazilian goalkeeper Neto. They desperately need to get rid of players to reduce their salary bill, and although he would not be the homemade goalkeeper we are reportedly looking for, he is represented by Kia Joorabchian, and as such I do not rule this out as easily as some perhaps. He has only played 17 appearances for them since joining from Valencia and is presumably classic back-up goal material (which is fine when you only use him as a back-up).
Outgoing: It’s been pretty quiet on that front. Hector Bellerin is expected to leave, but there has been nothing new from Inter Milan wanting to sign him on the never-never. There are clearly the William Saliba things, though I have written a lot about it already. Other than that, it does not look like anyone is sniffing around anyone else, for now.
Incoming: I expect Ben White to finish, but not before the euro is over. He has not been involved in England, but I just think the optics for it, especially now that we are right at the end of the tournament, means that nothing happens until it is over or England is out.
The deal with Benfica left-back Nuno Tavares is likely to end. It makes sense on all possible levels. I have no idea if he’s good or wants to be good, but it’s a move away from the last career kind of start / most back-up defenders we’ve bought for many of the last few years, so that suggests we teacher. We have heard a lot about our desire to pick up a right back, so it is suspiciously quiet on that front. Nothing happens or a surprise package? Let’s see.
Outgoing: Matteo Guendouzi joins Marseille, although he jumped the gun a bit with his farewell message on Instagram, which he subsequently deleted. I expect Lucas Torreira to follow him now that Uruguay are out of the Copa America, and a similar kind of loan now / pay later from a Serie A club makes sense. Dani Ceballos is gone, Martin Odegaard has ruled out a return, and Granit Xhaka’s time in north London seems to be coming to an end when Roma find a few extra pounds.
It remains to be seen what will happen to Ainsley Maitland-Niles and there is obviously a decision to be made about Joe Willock after his sensational goal scoring when loaned out at Newcastle.
Incoming: Albert Sambi Lokonga is not with Anderlecht’s training camp before the season and is apparently dressing closer to an Arsenal move. That’s one of them that’s going to happen and when you look at his profile he’s probably a replacement for Dani Ceballos in terms of his position in the squad. If / when Xhaka leaves, it feels like we need a signature to fill that gap, unless something is being cooked up with an internal solution, but that seems unlikely. Interest has been reported for Italy’s Manuel Locatelli, but if he has to choose between us and Juventus, I do not think we have a chance there. Hopefully we have some other iron in this particular brand.
It has gone quiet on the creative midfield front and again I am worried that we might do something where we think we are wise to take advantage of Barcelona’s current situation to make a deal for Philippe Coutinho a ‘knock down ‘price. He underwent surgery in April, which does not make this any less likely, and his name was considered in January before we brought Odegaard in, so he is not off the radar in any way. I understand why some people might think I’m preparing a worst case scenario here, but time is ticking and let’s be honest, as encouraging as some of the names we’ve been associated with are, Edu still has a lot to prove summer. Maybe he wants an easy to ease load.
Outgoing: Eddie Nketiah rejected an extension of a contract because he has common sense. He has been linked with Bayer Leverkeusen as well as Brighton and Crystal Palace. The Alexandre Lacazette situation is a situation that we must also manage, with a year left on his contract, we must try to get back at least some of the almost £ 50 million we paid for him, but there has not yet been no publicly reported interest in him during this window.
Willian stays on the books, there were some reports he rejected a move to Inter Miami over the salary, but I’m not sure how much truth there is in that. Again, if we rebuild, we would have to do anything to find him a new home. However, I wonder if the fact that Gabriel Martinelli is going to the Olympics and Bukayo Saka’s season might be delayed due to the need to give him some holidays, this one can see run right to the end of the window.
Reiss Nelson has been training hard this summer, but like Nketiah has a year left on his contract and his departure would come as no surprise at all.
Incoming: It has been very quiet on this front. I can not really think of any material links to players, whether they are broad men or strikers. I have a sneaky feeling that we might sign a striker if Lacazette goes, but what that means for Folarin Balogun’s path is a reasonable question. Would he have signed a new deal if he thought a new multi-million pound signature would get in his way? Maybe there’s a tip there.
So much still does, and when pre-season training is about to start, the clock is ticking a little higher than we might like. Lets see what happens.
That’s what it’s about. For the euro tonight, we have the first semi-final when Italy face Spain, and let’s hope it’s a classic of good football, many goals and events and massive skins from both sides. Start 20.00.
If you haven’t already had a chance to listen, the new Arsecast Extra is below. Enjoy!