David Ornstein, journalist for The Athletic and transfer window expert gave an interview this week revealing all of Arsenal’s transfer priorities for the upcoming summer window and any possible obstacles they may face.
Arsenal have secured Champions League football next season for the first time in seven years. The aim for the club this summer is to build a team that is capable of competing in Europe, as well as challenging Manchester City for the Premier League title. To do that Mikel Arteta is keen to add quality in depth in many positions ahead of next season.
Mikel Arteta was asked about the upcoming transfer window recently where he said: “When you get closer to the top, the margins are smaller. What makes you win or lose is minimal. What we have ahead of us is extremely important & we have to absolutely nail it.”
Arsenal missed out on winning the Premier League title this season due to their lack of squad depth. The squad was too fragile to deal with the injuries to William Saliba and Takehiro Tomiyasu towards the end of the season. Arsenal dropped too many points and Manchester City took advantage.
Arsenal will look to strengthen min any positions this summer, with the main priority central midfield. This will not only require new signings but also will require some of the existing players to leave the club.
David Ornstein says: “I think it’s going to be a busy time at the Emirates Stadium, because they’ll want to maintain the momentum from this season & almost strike while the iron’s hot, that’s a definite feeling I’ve picked up around the club.”
“They’ve got interest in loads of players, no doubt, it’s not just Rice & Caicedo – players like Romeo Lavia are admired by Arsenal. I think it’s going to be a really busy few weeks & months ahead at that club.”
Declan Rice has been on Arsenal’s radar since January but it was reported that he was set as a target for the summer transfer window, as the West Ham captain wanted to make sure the Hammers survived relegation this season.
Speaking on Arsenal’s main focus this window Ornstein said: “We know that the focus of their attention is midfield and that’s why the likes of Declan Rice are a priority. They [Arsenal] did look at Declan Rice and his situation in January but for whatever reason that didn’t materialise, most likely West Ham starts [to intervene], they wouldn’t want to lose him in the middle of the season.”
Moises Caicedo was also a player Arsenal were heavily interested in during the January window however, that deal failed to go through and Jorginho was brought in instead. Recent reports suggest that Arsenal are still interested in the player and will look to bring in both Declan Rice and Moises Caicedo this summer.
Ornstein said: “As the summer has approached, it does seem that Rice is the focus of their attention. That doesn’t mean their admiration has diminished for Caicedo. Given their likely values, it would be a surprise to me, even with amortisation & staggering of payments, that they would be able to bring both of them in.”
Both the players are valued very highly by their respective clubs. Arsenal may well have to spend nearly €200m if they wish to sign both players this summer. However Declan Rice remains Arsenal’s number one priority. Competition from other clubs also remains an obstacle Arsenal will face when trying to sign either of the two players.
Arsenal want to get deals done as quickly as they can ahead of next season. This could be in order to eliminate competition and ensure any new arrivals get a full pre-season before the Premier League gets underway again.
Ornstein says: “Judging by reports & what we know of the industry, they seem to be trying to move things forward quite quickly & get business done ahead of pre-season. They’re not taking their eye off the ball in other positions as well, so that advanced midfield position, the #8, is something that if Arsenal can fill, seemingly they will look to do. That’s why the likes of Mason Mount are among their targets.”
Speaking on strengthening other positions of the squad, Ornstein said: “Do Arsenal look to bring in somebody at right-back? I’ve heard suggestions maybe [a player] that can also play at center-half as well if needed, so a bit of an auxiliary center-back/right-back – not too dissimilar to Tomiyasu.”
“Do Arsenal look to bring in somebody at right-back? I’ve heard suggestions maybe [a player] that can also play at center-half as well if needed, so a bit of an auxiliary center-back/right-back – not too dissimilar to Tomiyasu.”
However, Arsenal must make way for the new additions. Granit Xhaka is one of the names who is expected to leave the club this summer, as well as many other first team players.
Ornstein on Granit Xhaka to Bayer Leverkusen: “I don’t know precisely where it’s up to. I had a conversation in recent days that suggested it was ‘done’ – when we say ‘done’, you don’t mean signed, sealed & delivered, but it’s going to happen. Without saying it’s finalised, it appears the direction of travel is for Xhaka to leave.”
Speaking on the other possible exits Ornstein said: “Balogun is expected to be sold. Nketiah not so long ago got a new contract, so you suspect they’ll continue with him & Jesus. I don’t hear big suggestions that they are going to be bringing in a striker. I think they’re focused on those other positions.”
“Nuno Tavares has been out on loan, he’s had a great season but do Arsenal say that’s another opportunity for us to trade him”
“I don’t think Kieran Tierney wants to be second choice for his whole career and there have been heavy suggestions of a possible move whether it be Newcastle or elsewhere.”
Arsenal are expected to have one of their biggest transfer windows in the clubs history. With the Premier League finishing this weekend, the Gunners are set to waste no time in making their moves ahead of next season.