Coquelin left for Valencia, and now Walcott is at Everton. Over the summer, the team sent Szczesny to Juventus, Gabriel to Sevilla, the Ox to Liverpool and loaned out nine players. The team has plenty of cash on hand, not just from transfer fees, but also from all the extra room on the wage bill. However, does that mean they should spend it all on just one or two players, such as Aubameyang and Lemar? Or perhaps should the team look beyond this season, and bring in several promising prospects? Let’s weigh Arsenal’s transfer options.
Arsenal’s Transfer Options: Face Lift or Rebuild?
The Case for a Face Lift
There were already too many players at the club, even at the end of August. So, it does make sense that the January window began with players leaving.
Being that the squad has been trimmed, there must be additions, especially in areas in which we are weak. With Alexis almost out the door, at least if we trust that Wenger will sell to Mourinho, and the team struggling in defense, that means a few new faces.
Aubameyang would slot right into the first team, so is an attractive option. Meanwhile, Mkhitaryan would solve the recent dearth of creativity in the midfield, which has caused Lacazette’s goal drought.
The Armenian could potentially switch over as part of the Sanchez deal, while the Gabon international would require a large transfer fee.
Then, the team would also need at least one first-team-ready central defender and possibly another full-back, preferably a right-footed player. That is unless Mathieu Debuchy is staying for another window.
Just how much would a new CB cost? Well, the Virgil van Dijk deal has officially inflated the market for Premier League-proven, if not at least PL-ready, defenders. So, the £35 or so million we paid for Shkodran Mustafi would be a minimum.
Add that to the Aubameyang fee, and the team would spend quite a lot of the fees they’ve recently received. Plus, these new first teamers would eat up plenty of salary space as well.
However, the team is healthy financially, so would be able, theoretically, to make these moves. Arsenal’s transfer options, in this case, are fairly good. But, could they get better?
The Case for a Rebuild
Fourth place is all but gone for Arsenal this season, as they are eight points adrift from the final Champions League place. The Carabao Cup semi-final second leg is on the 24th, likely before we could finalize all of these moves, especially for a defender.
So, all of that financial strain would be in the hopes of winning the Europa League. Yes, these moves would be permanent, however, should we spend big on players in their prime now, only to not compete now?
There’s nothing to say that next year couldn’t turn into a title-winning campaign, but there’s also not much to suggest that the title could be won next season.
Fine Wine or Milk?
Also, let’s think about ages. Auba is not old by any measure, in fact, he’s still in his prime. His entire game, speaking of Theo Walcott, revolves around his blazing speed.
How does age affect a player’s legs? Ask Laurent Koscielny. The Frenchman used to be able to leg it out and keep up with some of the league’s best strikers, now he looks more like Mertesacker than he does himself from two years ago.
What happened? Age 30 came and went. How old is Aubameyang? 28 now, 29 in June.
Yes, he is attainable, but for the kind of money he would go for, how many elite seasons would he have left? The rest of this year and, far more than likely, next. No real guarantees after that.
And, at least in a few years, he would continue to bloat the wage bill with his salary, which would be sizeable. So, this would be a ‘last big contract’ type of move for the striker.
Also, he wouldn’t really help us this year. As Dortmund are in the Europa League, he would be cup-tied, even though he only featured in the Champions League. Them’s the rules.
So, should the team pay that kind of money for, most likely, a season or two of Auba at his best when he really could help the team?
That’s not taking into account the fact, or at least the expected reality, that Wenger probably won’t buy a central defender. At least not until the summer.
So, that leaves the club in the situation where they’ve only brought in one top player in Mkhitaryan, although after his play this year I’m using that term generously, to help win a trophy this year.
Arsenal’s transfer options are not limited to experienced players.
Malcom, heavily linked to Arsenal recently, would help the team out, in a limited capacity, this season. He would also be more affordable, in both transfer fees and wages, than Aubameyang and is eligible for the Europa League this year.
He’s only 20, so will enter the prime of his career at a time when, hopefully anyway, Arsenal can compete for the Premiership.
Yes, that may lead to some bad results this year but, would that really matter? Being in sixth means the team has to rely on TWO clubs to fall apart late in the season in order to qualify for the Champions League, plus one hell of a run down the stretch from themselves.
As opposed to making moves to help win the Europa League this season and, hopefully, at least compete in the league for the next few campaigns.
Sven Mislintat, to the chagrin of Wenger, has already shown that he can sniff out a bargain fairly well, at least we’re hoping with the signing of Mavropanos. Let him find a few more young talents and, hopefully, a few of them will live up to the hype.
For me, buying veterans who will contribute the most now isn’t the way forward. This year the league, FA cup and maybe even league cup are all gone.
The Europa League is the most realistic chance to get back into the Champions League. Let’s not buy players who can’t even feature in the most important competition we’re in. Arsenal’s transfer options are better than that.
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