An aggressive Arsenal can win the transfer window

Arsenal are not messing about after an aggressive start to the window. But what does their summer business look like?

Arsenal supporters may have reflected on the season and thought maybe the team needs essential players that improve the current lot. Talk of certain stars has been rife since January, with Declan Rice the common name on everyone’s shortlist of key targets.

Little did they know that Arsenal would take up an aggressive approach in the window and get the ball rolling. Also, the Gunners are not encountering any serious competition for their reported targets so far, with four players heavily linked with moves.

The Edu Gaspar era has evoked mixed emotions so far. Supporters have been happy with the players the Brazilian has brought in. But they are sceptical about his prowess in the market for big-name players. Arsenal have not signed any player above £50 million during his time as technical director, and he has failed in pursuit of several top targets.

The failed pursuit of Mykhailo Mudryk was the tipping point for Arsenal fans to recognise a possible flaw in Edu. Yet, watching the Ukrainian international in a dreadful Chelsea side may have opened the doors for retribution, as the decision not to enter a bidding war may have been right all along.

Similarly, last summer, Arsenal refused to get drawn into bidding wars for key targets Lisandro Martinez and Raphinha. The two stars went for huge sums, with Manchester United and Barcelona the beneficiaries. Some supporters have seen Arsenal pulling out of those deals as wise, while others continue to question Edu’s authority and ability to conclude huge transactions.

That said, Arsenal’s approach in the current window has been contrasting to past endeavours, and they seem on the right path. In the past week, the Gunners have had two bids for Declan Rice rejected and are closing in on Kai Havertz and Jurrien Timber while advancing in talks for Romeo Lavia.

The progress made in those deals is no coincidence but the result of astute planning and execution. Unlike past windows and targets, there is total optimism Arsenal can conclude deals for players they truly want, as Edu and Mikel Arteta’s aggressive approach is beginning to pay dividends.

Here, we take a look at some potential deals in the pipeline and what Mikel Arteta plans under the rug to make this team even more competitive than last season. From a midfield rebuild to bringing in an exciting yet unproven attacker and a game-changing defender, Arsenal are ready to go the distance to compete at the very top.

Arteta’s midfield rebuild with Declan Rice and Romeo Lavia

Declan Rice has been the priority target for many months, and Arsenal have done their groundwork to get ahead of the curve. Surprisingly, West Ham United have made every possible effort to start a bidding war, with alleged media leaks about interest from Manchester Club, to a stubbed-out admiration from past suitors, Chelsea.

None have thwarted Arsenal’s concerted efforts to sign the midfielder, not least by paying an exorbitant asking price. Like every player, Rice has a fair value in the market, and the Gunners recognise it. They have not rushed through the signing with the fear of someone else swooping in for the England international.

Of course, there is considerable pressure from fans and pundits, who are constantly juggling between in jubilation and meltdown. The news of two rejected bids have had a mixed reaction so far, although, in our opinion, Arsenal are ‘perfect’ with their negotiation strategy.

There is a strong feeling they will get their man. But Rice will only begin a massive task on Arteta’s hands. With the potential departure of Granit Xhaka more or less confirmed, Thomas Partey has also joined the problems in the departure lounge.

Arsenal can ill afford to lose two of their starting and experienced midfielders to leave in the same window. They might still have the experience of Jorginho with them. But losing the Ghanaian internatioanl, in particular, could leave a huge void.

A relatively young star like Rice cannot handle the pressure of those two experienced heads despite donning the leadership hat at West Ham United. Hence, Arsenal are already planning to bring in another body in the middle. Romeo Lavia seems like the replacement for Partey, with the 19-year-old showing he is more than capable in the long term.

Yet, if Arsenal sign those two and allow their experienced players to leave, will there be a quality gap in the side? Possibly, but there seems like a clear plan in place, and who knows, they might even reignite their interest in Moises Caicedo if they can gather considerable funds from Partey’s potential sale to the Saudis.

Are Kai Havertz and Jurrien Timber the versatile monsters Arteta wanted?

Mikel Arteta has increasingly preferred versatile players in specific positions. He does not envisage the idea of stars that can play all positions. But it is a non-negotiable for the Spaniard in specific areas. The signing of Oleksandr Zinchenko made it abundantly clear why he wanted Lisandro Martinez before.

Similarly, he has desired a forward who can take up several positions. With Havertz almost signed, there comes the versatile monster in the final third Arteta desired, and the move will bring dividends. A potential fee of £65 million, including add-ons, should be seen as a solid deal rather than the Gunners overpaying for a degrading talent.

We will discuss what Havertz brings to the table in detail on another day. To sum up the signing from Arteta’s perspective, the German is possibly what Emile Smith Rowe should have been. The Englishman can still fulfil his potential, but Havertz could have a bigger say in this squad.

At the back, Arsenal are now close to securing Timber’s signature. One must admit the links came out of nowhere, but one that was cheered by most Arsenal fans in unison. Directly calling Dutchman a right-sided Zinchenko would insult the defender’s talents.

He is that cover for right-back, central defence and possibly in midfield if Arteta ever needs to deploy him there. In any case, the manager wanted a different option for Ben White and Takehiro Tomiyasu, which he seems to have achieved with the potential arrival of Timber.

The Dutchman’s qualities change the dynamics at the back. And with Arsenal set to compete on all fronts, every player will get ample game time. As for Timber and Havertz, they are the versatile monsters Arteta wanted, which will strengthen this team to another level.

What is an ideal window for Arsenal?

Arsenal ended the season brightly in the second spot and had already made plans on where they needed to strengthen. Central midfield was one area, but how many players they needed there will become clear based on the market dictates.

Ideally, with Rice, Arsenal will have the much-needed base in midfield, but some potential exits could complicate matters. Had budgets permitted, Arteta would have loved to rekindle his interest in signing Moises Caicedo but may have to settle for a cheaper alternative in Lavia.

Similarly, he would ideally want two new full-backs and possibly a centre-back. But things could change to focus on their priority signings. Hence, Arteta might play smart, meaning the links with Timber make a lot of sense. With the Dutchman, he can free up Tomiyasu or Kiwior to occasionally play left-back, particularly if Kieran Tierney departs.

Finally, in the final third, Arsenal were seeking a wide attacker, but that may now change with the imminent arrival of Havertz. Arteta might use Gabriel Jesus as a wide man in a hybrid front four. Bringing in a new winger, like Moussa Diaby, increases the attacking options, but they are optimal right now, in our opinion.

In conclusion, Arsenal should do fine by bringing the currently linked four players in Rice, Lavia, Timber and Havertz. It takes them to the next level, but they might look for additional players if certain other stars look to leave as the window progresses. If they manage to bring the four aforementioned stars, we are potentially looking at a 9/10 window, albeit certainly at a cost.

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