The aftermath of January was filled with disappointment for Arsenal fans. Six players out of the exit door including Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and no new faces arriving, it was underwhelming to say the least.
However, now we have passed the initial frustration of it all, our minds have turned towards what could be a very big summer.
There are positions to fill and quality to replace, meaning it is absolutely crucial Mikel Arteta receives strong backing from those above him. Last summer was a good start, but if the club is serious in its attempts to close the gap and return to the biggest stages in the game, ambition must always be at the forefront.
Arteta recently held talks with Arsenal owner Stan Kroenke, who invited the Spaniard over to America as a guest, football.london understands.
Although the exact topics of their discussions aren’t known, plans for the summer are likely to have been touched on. In the summer of last year, Arsenal came out of the window as the highest spenders with around £150 million being dished out on six new signings.
A year later, the Gunners could be set for an even bigger shopping spree. According to reports, Arsenal are drawing up plans to oversee the biggest transfer window in their history, with up to £180 million reportedly made available for new signings.
The report adds that Alexander Isak, Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Ruben Neves ‘have all been identified as the hungry young players required to take the Gunners to the next level. But Arteta knows he will need to secure Champions League qualification this season if he is going to land those top targets.’
This is of course exciting to hear and it is certainly the ruthless approach that the club must take in order to catch up with the Premier League’s big guns. However, £180 million is a lot of money and although it isn’t mine, it still remains vitally important that it is spent in the right way.
In terms of the profile of players, last summer was a refreshing change. All six of the new additions were aged 23 or younger, had established themselves at a high level and carry lots of potential. But at the same time, the club didn’t spend a crazy amount of money on just one of them, with homegrown England international Ben White at £50 million being the highest.
With Arsenal’s current squad, you get the sense that a very good cake has been baked but now it’s just missing the icing on top. This is what the summer must be all about, and Stan Kroenke can gather inspiration from some of Liverpool’s business over previous window’s to get it spot on.
Fenway Sports Group, current owners of The Reds and founded by John W. Henry, gave sporting director Michael Edwards and manager Jurgen Klopp the green light to secure deals for Alisson Becker and Virgil van Djik in the space of nine months which totalled a cost of £142 million.
Both players have gone on to be a huge success and played a key part in Liverpool winning the UEFA Champions League, UEFA Supercup, Premier League and FIFA Club World Cup.
Although they are two players who operate in different positions, Arsenal could look to repeat the double transfer success for even cheaper as they look to strengthen their striker department.
The departure of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang in addition to the uncertainty surrounding Alexandre Lacazette and Eddie Nketiah means that Edu must prepare for the likely outcome of Arteta needing two strikers rather than just one.
Two of the aforementioned players in Alexander Isak and Dominic Calvert-Lewin could cost KSE around £135 million altogether, which would leave Mikel Arteta £45 million to secure other targets. Interestingly, in the same year Liverpool signed van Djik, Mohamed Salah and Andy Robertson also arrived at Anfield for a combined fee of £45 million.
If Arsenal want to maximise the summer window and boost the chances of it being a successful one, the hierarchy should take note of how competitors have worked the market to their advantage in the past.
Going big on two strikers similarly to Liverpool’s plan with van Djik and Alisson, before identifying cheaper and sensible options, is a possible route to go down. An alternative option would be to go all out on a striker and midfielder, then focus on filling other areas of need.
Edu and Arteta have a great chance of discovering some hidden gems in the market, another Takehiro Tomiyasu-esque find would be most welcome and enable smaller deals to go on top of the larger transactions, covering several positions in the process.
With big money comes big responsibility, but Liverpool have proven that it can be done the right way.
Follow our Arsenal Fan Brands Writer Chris Davison on Twitter to get involved in the discussion and give us your thoughts in the comments section below. Make sure you have subscribed to The Arsenal Way and the Fan Brands team along with plenty of your football.london favourites will be producing daily Arsenal content for you to enjoy including match reactions, podcasts, football fun and interviews.