It may only be March but attention is already turning to the summer transfer market.
Arsenal are expected to be among the busier clubs as Mikel Arteta seeks to continue to mould the squad in his own image.
There is a possibility that the Gunners could be looking to mike signings at goalkeeper, right back, centre back, left back, central defensive midfield, central midfield, central attacking midfield and centre forward once the season comes to an end.
However, their capability to get these deals over the line will dependent on a few variable factors.
The first, and by far the most important of these is financial.
Arsenal announced a loss of £47.8 million earlier this month as the financial impact of COVID-19 and empty stadiums begins to hit home.
This would be a problem for any club, but given that the Gunners ownership, KSE, like to run the club in a self-sustaining model, it is particularly bad for them.
So with this in mind if the Gunners are going to generate funds for player acquisitions it is likely that they are going to have sell a few of their first teamers.
It is for this reason that players like Hector Bellerin, Alexandre Lacazette, Ainsley Maitland-Niles, Joe Willock, Eddie Nketiah and Reiss Nelson have been linked with permanent moves away from the Emirates in the summer.
It is thought that this will be vital if the club are to be able to fund deals such as a move to make Martin Odegaard‘s loan move from Real Madrid permanent at the end of the season.
It is not out of the question that Stan Kroenke, who has a net worth of $8.2 billion (as per Forbes), could invest in the club to help finance some summer transfers. KSE were reportedly vital in stumping up the £45 million required to bring in Thomas Partey last summer for example.
However, Arteta himself has admitted that like his twice predecessor Arsene Wenger, he shares the American family’s vision of trying to make the club self-sustainable, meaning this is looking less likely.
“I want a sustainable club,” he said earlier this month. “We all want a club that can be run with our own resources.
“It’s great that we have a club with the support of our owners and we have had that in the summer when it was much needed because of everything that has happened with COVID and what has happened with the club in the last few years without the Champions League and the heat that that took.
“But our responsibility and everything that we are planning from the future is that the club can go back to being sustainable on it’s own and being all the time as strong as possible in every department. The financial part of it is crucial as well.”
Another factor that will influence Arsenal’s summer business is whether they are able to qualify for European football next season.
The Gunners currently sit ninth in the Premier League, nine points off the top four and six points off the top six with nine games remaining, meaning that getting continental football next season via the league is looking tricky.
However, they are in the quarter finals of the Europa League where they have a favourable draw against Slavia Prague, before a potential reunion with Unai Emery in the semis. If they are able to win the Europa League then this would allow them to ultimately qualify for the Champions League.
As well as bringing a much needed financial boost this would also give them much better pulling power when it comes to attracting the likes of Achraf Hakimi, Yves Bissouma and Odsonne Edouard who have all been linked with a move to North London.
The summer transfer window is just around the corner.
And the rumour mill is already starting to pick up speed.
Arsenal will not have a huge amount of money to spend, but Mikel Arteta will be hoping to make a number of moves, with loanee Martin Odegaard high up the list of priorities to bring in on a permanent deal.
But who would you sign? Get involved in our transfer window debate here.
Regardless of what happens on either the financial or the footballing fronts though it seems that Arteta and Edu are expecting this summer to be a particularly one in terms of incomings and outgoings.
“We are planning everything for the summer, the same with the board, with [chief executive] Vinai [Venkatesham], with [non-executive director] Tim [Lewis], and with the owners,” he told Sky Sports this month.
“We are very clear on how we want to do it.
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“When you have to change 10 or 12 things in one window [as in January] it’s a lot, and that has some consequences with what has happened in previous months and what is going to happen in the following months.
“We still have to do quite a lot of things to do, but we will get to the point, hopefully, where it’s just ticking off a few things and the stability is there, because you need that as well to be consistent and be competitive.”
With Arteta’s project at the Emirates far from over, it seems as though there’s plenty to come in the market at the end of this season.