Back in the days of mullets, television and radio personality Noel Edmonds presented a children’s programme where the young viewers called the show to swap their unwanted gifts, it was entitled the ‘Multicoloured Swap Shop’. Mikel Arteta may be about to revamp the show’s format and use it in the upcoming transfer window to refurbish the Arsenal squad due to an ongoing cash crisis caused by COVID-19.
There were already cash flow problems with the club’s failure to qualify for the Champions League and those issues were further compounded by the global pandemic which has left an initial £70m plus gap in the accounts. Arsenal’s yearly wage bill is £230m and although most of the players agreed to a 12.5% cut in their salaries, it doesn’t solve the obvious and massive shortfall. Back in July 2019, Josh Kroenke said:
“It’s no secret that we have a Champions League wage bill on a Europa League budget right now. That’s a fact. And one that we’re figuring out how to face internally at the moment.”
Since then, things have become even more uncertain and the large sums that once seemed as endless within the game are well and truly over, meaning that the way transfers are conducted may have changed for the foreseeable future. Moreover even if the season resumes, a good site out there will be forecasting heavy odds against Arsenal finishing in the top four which means further loss of monetary revenue.
Therefore, Arsenal are left with the free market and swap options which they are no stranger to. Mikel Arteta, Edu, and Raul Sanllehi may have to be inventive and creative if any new faces are to come through the Emirates doors. Let’s look at the most likely transfers away from the Emirates and how Arsenal could use their assets to solve one or two problems.
Strikers Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang are said to be looking at their options and it’s thought that Lucas Torreira remains unsettled.
Let’s forget the objections for now and the obligatory ‘it’s just a rumour’ to explore what could theoretically benefit the Arsenal football club. Notice I use the word theoretically, which implies that no one is sure if any of the players mentioned will actually leave.
Of the three, Aubameyang looks the more likely to depart if he refuses a contract extension. You should be in no doubt that if he doesn’t put pen to paper, Arsenal will sell rather than see him leave on a free. Barcelona, Real Madrid, Manchester United, Manchester City, and Chelsea are biding their time by closely monitoring the situation, ready to make an offer in the summer for the Gabonese striker.
If there is any deal to be done, Arsenal should consider the Spanish clubs because they provide better options and potentially include a group of quality players in return. Barcelona, in particular, have a host of stars that can’t make the first team and are looking for regular football. Moreover, selling to a rival in the Premier League would be a disaster for the Gunners.
Ousmane Dembele, Ivan Rakitic, Philippe Coutinho, and Samuel Umtiti are all looking to end their Spanish nightmare and would walk straight into Arsenal’s first team. In fact, any of the above looks like a good deal even though Arsenal would be losing their talisman and captain.
A deal for any of these names from Barcelona would be far better than the hideous Mkhitaryan/Sanchez swap which didn’t benefit anyone in terms of success. Real Madrid could tempt Arsenal into a deal for Aubameyang by offering Luka Jovic or Dani Ceballos, which isn’t bad considering.
Elsewhere, it’s heavily hinted that Alexandre Lacazette could be used as part of their bid to sign Atletico Madrid midfielder Thomas Partey in the summer.
Rumours are now circulating via the player’s father, Jacob Partey, that indicates he has held discussions with Arsenal according to an interview on Tru FM. He revealed that his son is very keen on a move to the Premier League, but added that any potential deal depends largely on Atletico Madrid.
Lucas Torreira has not settled during his time at the Emirates and his form has suffered after an initial spell of brilliance in the Premier League which included his first goal in the 4-2 win over Spurs in 2018’s North London Derby.
Torreira then fell out of favour with Unai Emery for some obscure reason and since then, hasn’t looked the same with some claiming that he wants to return to Italy. It’s unlikely that there are swap options available here and that any transfer would be a cash-only deal only to recoup the £26m they paid Sampdoria in 2018.
According to transfermarkt, the Uruguayan’s valuation was £32.4m in the early part of April. If the player isn’t going to get back to his previous best then, it may be just as well to release him and take the £7.4m profit. Assuming his price doesn’t diminish in the transfer market between now and the summer.
None of this will fill the hearts of Arsenal fans with joy but life goes on. Better and more important players have decided to move on and the club survived and if the departure of these three players means the team becomes more competitive, then at least, they will have served a purpose for the greater good.