Arsenal Football Club is now finally ushering into a new era. The Wenger era might’ve been over last summer, but that was not a new start. The Summer of 2019 is; as Arsenal has finally won the transfer market.
More often than not, the North London club has been bullied off deals and has let its star players leave cheaply. Aaron Ramsey did leave, but that was because of the poor decision making of the previous regime. Everybody has got to start somewhere, Head of football Raul Sanllehi and technical director Edu are certainly off to a flyer.
Arsenal started off the window quietly, making just one signing in Gabriel Martinelli. He is an exciting prospect who will blend in well with the already fantastic group of youngsters at the Emirates.
Then came Dani Ceballos from Real Madrid, the Ramsey replacement. While Ceballos’ does not have Ramsey’s goals, he is an excellent midfielder, who progresses the ball from deep. The Spanish U-21 is an exceptional dribbler and is an amazing technician. He’ll slot right into the midfield taking the creative burden off Mesut Ozil and Granit Xhaka, being the perfect link between them.
Then came the deal of Arsenal’s window – Nicolas Pepe. The 22-year-old was targeted by some of Europe’s most elite clubs but it was the Gooners from North London who were able to grab the bag. Arsenal have lacked a true winger for years now; Pepe fills that void. The Ivorian scored 22 goals and assisted a further 11 in the Ligue 1 last season. He is an explosive player, with excellent dribbling and finishing. He is not the best crosser of the ball but can certainly find key passes in the final third.
Kieran Tierney was a long term target for the Gooners. His deal finally came to fruition on deadline day. The Scottish left-back will replace the ageing Nacho Monreal and take over from Sead Kolasinac, who was great going forward but left too much to be desired on the defensive side of things. Tierney is the perfect blend of everything, a true modern fullback, who is a long term solution to the left-back problem at the Emirates.
William Saliba is another highly-rated teenager joining the red side of North London for £26.5m. He is strong, has good distribution and will be the Gooners’ centre half for the coming decade, given his high ceiling. He will join Arsenal next season, but the club hierarchy has done excellently to gain the Frenchman’s signature now, as he is only going to get better.
Meanwhile, David Luiz is anything but a long term solution. He comes in to replace club captain Laurent Koscielny, who has left for Bordeaux. Arsenal needed defensive reinforcements since Saliba went back to St. Ettiene on loan, Rob Holding is still injured and Shkodran Mustafi is comical as they come. Luiz is an excellent stop-gap solution. The Brazilian has a pedigree in English football and has a great relationship with manager Unai Emery as well. The Brazilian has been known to make an error or two, but still represents a very good deal for Arsenal at just £8 million, given his amazing distribution skills and natural leadership.
Not only did Arsenal buy smartly, they sold players to balance the books as well. Alex Iwobi departed to Everton for £28 million plus add ons. The Nigerian was a very useful player and was certainly progressing, but given Pepe’s arrival and the emergence of Reiss Nelson and Joe Willock, the sum of money offered for a player who hasn’t reached his peak yet was too good to turn down.
Laurent Koscielny refused to go on tour and was subsequently sold. His toxicity was not tolerated. Arsenal also sold Krystian Bielik, David Ospina, Carl Jenkinson and Takuma Asano for a combined amount of £ 14 million bringing the net spend down even further.
Arsenal structured the Pepe and Saliba deals in a very efficient manner as well. The only slight criticism is that there is no option to buy for Ceballos and the fact that Mustafi hasn’t been sold, despite the club willing to offload the German. A move may happen in the future but has not yet.
Arsenal have plugged the gaps in the squad, cheaply and have set themselves up not only for a top-four finish in the 2019/20 season but on an upward trajectory and have sent out a statement to their rivals. They aren’t to be taken lightly anymore.
Vedansh is a Manchester United fan from India. Follows almost all sports – football and pro-wrestling in particular. Wayne Rooney, Sir Alex Ferguson and Jose Mourinho are some of his favourites. He also writes for ItsRoundAndItsWhite.
Follow him on Twitter @NathaniVedansh