How much do Arsenal need to spend on transfers this year.

by Tony Attwood


Here’s a fun game to play. 

Take a look at the Arsenal squad and nominate the players that you think might be the stars of next season – the players in the current squad who will really lift the club in 2021/2.

And if you are of a negative disposition and are prone to believe the media, just remember what the league table for the last two thirds of the season just finished has revealed.  So whoever these players are, they are not coming into a deadbeat team going nowhere, but actually a team used to winning, and for most of the season doing better than the likes of Liverpool, Chelsea etc.

P Team P W D L F A GD Pts
1 Manchester City 25 21 0 4 64 20 44 63
2 Manchester United 25 13 9 3 45 23 22 48
3 Arsenal 24 14 5 5 43 21 22 47

Now I’ve been trying this little game with a few fellow supporters and here are the players who have primarily been nominated as the ones who will do us the most good next season and give us the most lift.   (This is of course not a scientific survey – just a few of us nominating players.  But even so it is a damn sight more scientific than a journalist sitting in a bar and writing copy that tells us that most of the team has to go).

Here’s the list

  • Tierney
  • Saka
  • Smith Rowe
  • Martinelli
  • Xhaka
  • Willock
  • Odegaard

And what struck me as interesting was just how much these players cost us.

  • Tierney – £25m
  • Saka – Nil
  • Smith Rowe – Nil
  • Martinelli – £6m
  • Xhaka – £32m
  • Willock – Nil
  • Martin Odegaard – €350million buyout clause

Three players cost nothing, two were moderate range fees (given the amounts being quoted this summer) and one was very much on the cheap side.   Odegaard is of course the exception, but the buyout price is never the actual price a player is actually sold for.  The most common value we hear at the moment is around €50 million – which Arsenal could afford, if they were not buying in anyone else.

But despite this history of bringing through youngsters, the journalists are constantly saying that Arsenal are going to buy ever more expensive players to help out what the media call their “ailing squad”. 

So isn’t there something odd here?   For the players that most fans seem to value the most, and have the highest expectation for next season, cost the club nothing.  So why all the emphasis on buying?  Even though we clearly had a great team through two thirds of last season, and we are going to get another superb player in for no cost for next season in terms of Joe Willock.  It seems very strange behaviour by these journalists.

So are there more players to come through?  Possibly yes…

Reiss Nelson

Although he has dropped out of the limelight of late Reisss Nelson, has been much praised by Arteta, and it may well be that as with so many young players he has been having a catch up season, gradually adjusting to the rigours of the game and life as a footballer.

Speaking of the player Mr Arteta said, “I think he has been a little bit confused in the last few years – what direction he had to take, some of the decisions that he made. Now, I can see he really wants it and I think he has the potential to do whatever he wants.”

Like so many young players he has had trouble adjusting to life on loan oversees, and given that at Manchester City Mr Arteta was said to have taken Raheem Sterling and Leroy Sane up a level the time for Nelson at Arsenal might well not be over.

Tyreece John-Jules

Now 19 it would not be surprising if next season he really showed us what he can do as an out-and-out number 9.  However it may not happen quite yet and it is possible he could have the first half of next season on loan.

Folarin Balogun

Brentford has already made an offer for Folarin, and Arsenal at once turned it down preferring to have Folarin play in PL2.

Sam Greenwood

Sam’s name was included by mistake – apologies. He’s with Leeds.

Miguel Azeez

He’s a playmaker, the sort of player who will regret our lack of European games this coming season as he might well have expected a chance to shine.  As it is he must be hoping for a good run in the League Cup and of course the FA Youth Cup.

Of course Arsenal can spend money, as the table below for recent seasons shows…

Season Money spent on transfers Money received from transfers Net spend
2020/21 £76.50m £16.79m £59.71m
2019/20 £144.36m £48.29m £96.07m
2018/19 £72.14m £7.11m £65,03m
2017/18 £137.57m £142.20m -£4.63m
2016/17 £101.74m £9.32m £92.42m
2015/16 £23.85m £2.25m £21.6m
2014/15 £107.08m £25.02m £82.06m

But why spend when you have players with ready-made talent already at the club?   Oh, I know, because that’s the easiest thing for “journalists” to write about.

For me, the most important thing is not to confuse what football journalists say, with reality.

How 8 Arsenal players swept to the top 20 table in Europe this month

The absolute proof that Arsenal has turned itself around. Now to avoid the danger.

14 players joining Arsenal, 17 players leaving the club. Arsenal’s transfer list

11 Replies to “How much do Arsenal need to spend on transfers this year.”

  1. Sorry to disillusion you but Greenwood has been at Leeds for the last year . And Azeez is too old for the Youth Cup . And Nelson hasn’t got what we need . And Xhaka is nowhere near good enough to play central midfield . Odegaard plays for Real Madrid

    But we have got the nucleus of a good team . Take Xhaka out and add Saliba and Holding and Gabriel . We need about four top players – a CM , a reserve left back , a reserve keeper and another number 10

  2. We need to spend around 175 million,unrealistic I know,but you asked,that’s always assuming we offload lone deadwood,bring back willock,we need Odegaurd ,grealish,beundia,and bissouma,another left back to back up Tierney and a right back to replace bellerin.
    Then an out and out striker like cavagni of United.

  3. Looking into the future is all so unpredictable…a loss/gain of form by individual players/the defence/the attack/the team due to outside/internal/personal/societal/accidental issues means that no matter how much one looks at ‘evidence’ as a possible indicator of performance, it’s all guesswork.
    Who knew that Peter Marinello would turn out to be a flop? Who knew that Frank McLintock would be so dissatisfied, that he would ask for a transfer a season before they won the Inter Cities Fairs Cup and 2 seasons before the ’71 Double? Who knew that a winger from the Juventus bench would turn out to be such a star? Etc etc
    Who cares what the papers say? They’re just trying to sell advertising space!
    When I started following Untold, one of the recurrent themes (before the very worthy refereeing study had been put together) was how the fortunes of clubs that had built new stadia had by & large gone down the gurgler. This was before the Arse had left Highbury and Spurs had even considered demolishing WHL. The impression i got from Untold was that the burden of repayments on building loans meant that challenging for top honours became out of reach. Relegation seemed almost inevitable for all concerned. Yet here we are, a respectable if not wildly exciting 8th in possibly the very top league in the world and, if I understand correctly, most of the debt repaid or at least, under control. Back then, no one could have foreseen the financial effect of the Kroenkes/Glazers/ENICs …or Covid. I wonder how Tony currently sees the Arsenal in this respect?

  4. What does Arsenal need to spend?

    In my view, nothing on players (except possibly a fee for Odegaard).

    Fees on lawyers to sue PGMOL might be better value.

  5. John L – One thing for certain PGMOL are not there to slope the pitch!! VillaReal have scored from a very smart freekick to upset the BT applecart. United have not been able to prise open the submarine that was so lucky against us.

    That is football. Halftime and ……………..

  6. Cavani has stepped on opponents 3 times and not seen yellow. The Baille stop of the breakaway should have been red not yellow as last man.

    But that’s the way the cookie crumbles for the mancs.

  7. de Gea has his pen saved and Gory gory Man United. Congratulations Unai Emery =. Gud Ebaning.

  8. Also Fernández constantly whining at the referee and always trying to cheat. A total pain in the

    Congratulations Unai Emery and Francis Coquelin.

    The better team won deservedly

  9. As regards spending? I think John L summed it up perfectly a fee for Odegaard and the cost of lawyers to sue the FA and PGMOL for bringing the game into disrepute.

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