The transformation of Arsenal’s transfer department is still in its early stages, but the summer of 2021 witnessed a serious overhaul in a short space of time. This has raised the expectations from the Gunners supporters for 2022 ahead of what could be a crucial period.
Should Arsenal qualify for the Champions League this would open a significant number of doors for Mikel Arteta and technical director Edu. The club has been able to attract some serious talent, but the allure of the elite European competition would elevate that attraction to another level.
This will be particularly integral to an element of the new recruitment measures that might see more of the likes of Aaron Ramsdale and Ben White arrive. Both share the trait of being marquee signings from other English clubs.
This was something that Arsenal had always shirked away from. Players had joined from other English sides; however, these were typically those who were surplus to requirements.
Willian, David Luiz, Cedric Soares, Danny Welbeck and Petr Cech were all deemed not to be part of first-team plans at Chelsea, Manchester United and Southampton. Arsenal gained squad depth but the moves failed to upgrade the squad and the form and league positioning suffered because of it.
Whereas the signings of Ramsdale and White in particular have had a drastic impact on the Gunners’ Champions League hopes. Defensively Arsenal have flourished and become much harder to beat. Clean sheets are commonplace and now Arteta seemingly wants more.
“For Arsenal, it is going to be really important to understand whether they play Champions League football or not before they prepare the market. So, they are already working on some players.
“I mentioned to you Cody Gakpo is a player they ask information about, also Raphinha. Raphinha is now, I can’t say close, but I can say in talks with Barcelona because Barcelona are working on it. But Arsenal also asked for information about Raphinha, so they are keeping tabs on the situation. They are preparing something, but everything will be after the Champions League. It is about Champions League football.”
Raphinha would represent the first major Premier league addition to the forward line. It would likely mean replacing Nicolas Pepe who received two enquiries in January from Marseille and Lyon. The Brazilian could be available for as little as £25 million should Leeds United go down.
Yet Mikel Arteta has clearly recognised the benefit of Arsenal signing players ready-made for the rigours of the Premier League. There is little transition time needed, communication with teammates can be established faster and the expectations are understood.
Should Arteta continue onwards with this plan, Arsenal’s potential to push on from top-four challengers to title challengers can become more than simple fantasy. For the benefit of the club’s future, it is an effective strategy that already has evidence of success.