If there was one thing I was most concerned about this summer, it was Tottenham doing better business than us. As much as it pains me to say it, a top stadium, a top manager and UEFA Champions League qualification can go a long way when convincing quality players to join.
Let me just clarify, we are not at that stage yet, far from it. The window has only just opened and there is a long, long way to go. However, the longer Arsenal take to complete a deal and the quicker Spurs are in doing just that, the more the pressure and anger can grow.
Especially today, with various reports surfacing that Antonio Conte is closing in on a move for Brighton & Hove Albion midfielder, Yves Bissouma. It is understood that the 25-year-old is set to sign a five-year contract and will undergo a medical on Thursday to complete the move.
Arsenal have been linked with Bissouma over the past couple of transfer windows, but interest has not been followed up any further as of yet and their rivals are looking to take advantage. The Mali international has become a standout player for Brighton, consistent in his play and a talented box-to-box operator who offers quality in both halves of the pitch.
Despite this, as it has been widely reported, the Gunners are looking to tie up a deal for Leicester City’s Youri Tielemans, who has just a year remaining on his current contract. There is said to be belief that the club could secure his services by offering around £25m, and talks will most likely accelerate once he has finished International duty with Belgium.
All of this is fair and well, but considering how long we have been linked with Tielemans and the fact Tottenham are potentially strengthening their own midfield with the addition Bissouma, there’s a sense that Arsenal cannot afford to mess this one up.
Although I am relatively calm myself, the same can’t be said for large parts of the fanbase following the update on Bissouma, and if Edu isn’t careful, the situation will only become more unsettled. The atmosphere can change quickly though, Spurs could sign Bissouma before Arsenal wrap up a deal for Tielemans and with a flick of a switch, the mood instantly shifts.
The business conducted on the other side of north London will not be much of a concern to Mikel Arteta, I’m sure. However, if the transfer for Tielemans fails to go through and Bissouma seals his move, not only does that impact the fanbase, but potentially Arsenal’s alternative targets too. It’s far from an ideal scenario.
With this is mind, all eyes are now on the club as things begin to hot up in the market. I understand the nerves and frustration, especially after the costly inactivity in January. That’s another reason why Arteta, Edu and the recruitment team are under pressure to get things right this time around.