How Arsenal are preparing to win the league this coming season


By Sir Hardly Anyone

Although such tales have to be taken with a pinch of salt, it is being said virtually everywhere that Rice is about to sign for Arsenal, with all the details now sorted.  The arguing seems to be about when the payments were to be made, with West Ham in urgent need of money now, not for the club’s funds (for as we always note, they have never paid for their stadium) but because they are reported to have screwed up their FFP arrangements and need the Rice money quickly to avoid getting a penalty.

Certainly, it has been widely reported that West Ham were put on the Uefa Financial Fair Play watchlist, which basically means they have been sent a warning and told of the punishment they face if they don’t get the funds sorted by 1 September.  The selling of Rice is the major part of that arrangement, and explains the delays – West Ham desperately need more of the cash upfront.

But the problem is for West Ham that in the end no club other than Arsenal was willing to pay the price for the player, and if Arsenal pulled out now West Ham really would be unable to buy anyone this window.

The other major Arsenal transfer looking to proceed “any day now” is that of  Jurriën Timber from Ajax for £40m.  Roméo Lavia the defensive midfieder of Southampton is a possibility according to some media.

Meanwhile, as we have often said already, the sale of Granit Xhaka to Bayer Leverkusen and Thomas Partey to Juventus or a Saudi club seems to be on the way.  Folarin Balogun and Nuno Tavares are also repeatedly being reported as available for sale. 

That leaves two problems: Nicolas Pepe and Cedric Soares.  Unfortunately, no one wants Pepe in the sense that no club is willing to get anywhere near his wages at Arsenal, which were driven up because of the huge fee paid for the player.  But Pepe appears to be in a situation in which if he stays he is liable not to be in the 25, simply because there is no room for him.

If more space is needed in the 25 then the other sales that look likely to be Albert Sambi Lokonga, Nuno Tavares, Rob Holding and Kieran Tierney

At the moment the homegrown issue doesn’t seem the major factor as Arsenal have nine home growners on the books at present as we reported the other day.   If Holding goes that obviously means eight which means the club could still lose one more but fill all the homegrown slots…

  1. Rob Holding
  2. Reiss Nelson
  3. Eddie Nketiah
  4. Aaron Ramsdale
  5. Declan Rice
  6. Bukayo Saka
  7. William Saliba (counts as home grown although not English)
  8. Matt Smith
  9. Emile Smith-Rowe

Pablo Mari, who has joined AC Monza in a deal worth £6 million having spent last season on loan and Folarin Balogun if he goes is said to be valued at £40 million.

But there are still more and more names being added to the alleged wanted list.    Team Talk tell us that “Arsenal are ready to abandon their interest in signing Romeo Lavia and will instead now prioritise the huge capture of Aurelien Tchouameni” from Real Madrid and there is talk also of Arsenal going for Manchester City defender Aymeric Laporte according to Defensa Central,  

Another name that has been linked with a transfer is Fenerbahce 18 year old Arda Guler. 

But there are two problems in all of this.  One is quite simply finding space for all these players in the 25 man squad (a detail the media rarely notices) while the other is FFP which at the moment is not being mentioned at all.  We are waiting to see how this is balanced.

In fotoballing terms, Arsenal need to do the same as last season and then convert two of the defeats into victories (which is to say two of Everton and Nottingham Forest away and Brighton at home).   Scoring six more goals and letting in ten fewer would also help.

The six goals could come by improving the performance against Brighton at home and Forest away.  And then the big challenge:  Manchester City scored seven against Arsenal in the league last season.  Chopping that number right down would be helpful too – and then we could win the league.

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