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3cbPerformance

What Arsenal's incoming transfers tell us about the team's priorities

Arsenal’s critical 2021 summer transfer window is now shut and as mentioned multiple times by manager Mikel Arteta, the club has actually supported his and director of football Edu Gaspar’s ambitions with a net spend of nearly £150 million and 17 total deals (including re-signing and releasing of players).The full list of incoming transfers and re-signings is as follows:Forward Folarin Balogun (re-signed)Centerback Ben White from BrightonCentral midfielder Martin Ødegaard from Real MadridGoalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale from Sheffield UnitedCentral midfielder Albert Sambi Lokanga from RSC AnderlechtLB Nuno Tavares from BenficaRB/CB Takehiro Tomiyasu from BolognaAdvert InsertedThere are immediately some clear and obvious threads and profiles that intertwine each of these players.AgeThe first pattern is that this is a very young group with an average of nearly 21 years old with Ben White being the senior of the group at a whopping 23 years of age! This younger age profile speaks immediately to Arteta and Edu’s focus on longer-term team building and surrounding them with seasoned veteran, high impact players like Thomas Partey and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.PotentialSecondly, each of these players is filled with potential and not close to their final product. This reflects the club’s desire and priority to find players who can not only grow as individual players but also grow together to form a cohesive team identity and alongside Arsenal’s very promising core of youngsters in Bukayo Saka, Emile Smith Rowe, Kieran Tierney, Gabriel Magalhaes, and Gabriel Martinelli (and there’s multiple more on the horizon like Charlie Patino and Kido Taylor-Hart).Composure & Technical SkillThirdly, when you watch film on the majority of the players (Nuno Tavares is the exception here to an extent), there’s a high level of technical security and composure on the ball along with a high floor of footballer IQ. Not only is this required in Arteta’s system of play when building out of the back and often complex tactical game-planning but those attributes are critical in bringing about a stability to the squad and overcoming those moments of anxiety and fear that Arsenal teams have too often wilted under.True ProfessionalsLastly, when you dig deeper and investigate quotes about the players from teammates and coaches, it becomes clear there was a focus on personality and intangibles. The clear trend is these are committed footballers with many already taking on leadership roles at their previous clubs and/or international teams. Arteta holds a high standard of non-negotiables that he expects from his players as he continues to change the culture of the squad and it’s clear those attributes were considered when targeting players.All in all, each of the moves fits clear themes and patterns. Although not the “sexiest” window, the thought process is clear in finding players who can become the foundation of the club and mix together to reinforce it for years to come.Fin. COYG.Dr. Rajpal Brar, DPT, (@3cbperformance) is a
physiotherapist,
movement expert,
fitness trainer, sports scientist and mindfulness coach. He runs the LA and online based
wellness and athletic performance clinic
3CB Performance, is an avid Gooner since 1995, and you can subscribe to his
Youtube channel
(which posts a variety of Gunners’ related content).