The transfer window ends next month and yet, Arsenal still have some ballast they need to drop off before being ready for the season.
Our squad is a little bloated right now and with funds in need of a little lift, Arteta and Edu are in need of shedding a few players before the window slams shut. We are being bombarded with rumours of potential players being linked toa hatful of clubs, but it seems that there is nothing concrete so far about any of them finding a bona fide new club.
We have Sokratis, Mustafi, Torreira, Elneny, Smith-Rowe and possibly Nelson who are all primed for a permanent transfer or possibly a season-long loan deal. That represents some serious wages that could be freed up for the likes of Thomas Partey and Houssem Aouar, but each of these will want to have plenty of opportunitiesto start games. And at the moment, our squad needs trimming before we can clear the way for these two stars.
With Sokratis, the Greek defender is a stable, solid choice but his weakness is playing out from the back. He has no problems with actually defending a box, aerially or on the deck, but when the ball is at his feet, Sokratis can’t feed it to midfield like Luiz can. The Greek player was linked strongly with Napoli and would carry a fee of around £5-10m, which could help any future bids we make.
Shkodran Mustafi is still injured but is nearing closer to a return. The German had a renaissance last season, putting in performances that showed why he was in aWorld Cup winning squad, but Mustafi still has the capacity for a mistake – and with Magalhaes, Luiz, Holding and Chambers ahead of him, his prosepcts could be lifted by another club – although there are no rumours at present.
Lucas Torreira seems to be the closest to the exit door, with Atletico Madrid seemingly keen to tie up his services. The Madrid club do need to sell before they can buy so a season- long deal would suit them – or perhaps he could be part of the deal to take Partey to Arsenal?
With Nelson and Smith-Rowe, both seem to have a bright future with Arsenal, but gametime is what is needed. With both Pepe and Willian ahead of him in the pecking order, Nelson could benefit from a loan club in the Premier League who could give him that platform. The same goes for Smith-Rowe, who has Willock, Willian and others ahead of him in the fight for minutes at the club. His loan spell at Huddersfield went incredibly well and the step up to a loan club in the Prem would be a litmus test for the youngster.
Arsenal need to get busy and soon. While our targets are waiting, we could do well to get our house in order first.