Arsenal two transfers away from Mikel Arteta dream as plan finally made clear

Arsenal transfer news as Mikel Arteta’s men plan for big changes but it comes at the expense of Hale End graduates

Arsenal are continuing to be frustrated in the transfer market as Mikel Arteta looks to strengthen his squad. The reality that high-end deals are tough to complete in January is not escaping anybody but the outcome is.

The Gunners are desperately searching for a way to end their goalscoring issues that have plagued them in recent weeks. Although it is a small run in the grand scheme of things it is threatening to derail the season as the narrative turns. It is almost ironic, though, that the club are turning to the market for the answer given their current situation.

Of Arsenal’s best options going forward two of them arrived at the club as teenagers or younger – Gabriel Martinelli and Bukayo Saka – whilst Eddie Nketiah remains the club’s top scorer in the league from open play goals. Compare that to those that have been signed in the past 12 months and it isn’t a pretty picture.

Kai Havertz has caused more issues than just missing chances. His movement from midfielder to auxilery target man to general striker has upset the balance of the side, something not helping those around him. Meanwhile the £65million price tag is looking worse and worse each week, especially as funds are not readily available in January.

Although not pushing things close exactly, Arsenal are not blessed with the cash that they could have been. As profit and sustainability rules loom heavy over the league as a whole it comes to attention that Arsenal have spent a lot in the past two years without recouping much.

They have spent over £150million in each of the last three seasons but only generated more than £25million back from sales in two of those. That window came over the summer and has seemingly weakened the playing XI as well as wider squad. In just two deals, selling Granit Xhaka and Folarin Balogun, Arsenal let go their left central midfield cog and also a player with the best scoring return of anyone to arrive in USA for pre-season at the club.

The return, which could have been solved in part by Havertz’s versatility, has been poor. Six months in and it has left the head coach looking for an answer.

Reports from the Telegraph suggest that 22-year-old Bologna striker Joshua Zirkzee is someone being looked at but on the face of it he hardly fits the bill. Although the Dutchman is an impressive 6ft4 and would offer a new profile to the team up front he isn’t exactly the ‘proven goalscorer’ that the wisdom of the masses believes Arsenal need.

His career to date is impressive, excelling at Bayern Munich as a youth player before moving to Belgium and looking strong there too. In just his first full year at Bologna he has scored seven times with two assists. In the cup he has another goal and two assists. His prospects look good, he is highly-rated, but at the same age Balogun has already managed a 20-goal year in a European league.

Balogun was also a homegrown player that effectively costs nothing on the books – outside of what can be assumed is a relatively low wage compared to the signings coming in. Arsenal also have Eddie Nketiah, 24.

The English international has almost 200 senior appearances. Balogun is approaching 100. The pair were, for all intents and purposes, costing the club nothing. To sign Zirkzee it would take a reported £50million this window and is unlikely to drop that much in the future either.

He has a release clause only valid for Bayern which also rules Arsenal out on that front. The other striker options on the market are Victor Osimhen and Ivan Toney – they are being watched by every team not currently in ownership of Erling Haaland and Kylian Mbappe.

However, Arsenal will still need to find a way to raise their capital before the summer if they do wish to go all out anyway. Having sold Balogun, it looks like the way they will fund any moves is going to come at the expense of other Hale End graduates.

Nketiah has already been linked with a move away from the club with Crystal Palace amongst those interested – though that is reportedly a loan for now. Reiss Nelson has played just a bit-part role so far this season having signed a new contract and is another player that the club could sell for what is now known as ‘pure proft.’

The term, which relates to the sale of homegrown academy players, has become infamous since Todd Boehly-Clearlake Capital tookover Chelsea in 2022. Seeking to raise money and foot the bill of their expensive signings, the Chelsea owners have sold on some of their best youngsters in order to bank the immediate transfer fees before then signing on new players to long contracts, therefore spreading the cost over a number of years in a process known as ammortization.

They have also been tipped to sell Emile Smith Rowe – though has always downplayed the chances of this happening in the past – and are now reportedly open to letting Charlie Patino go in order to help sign Dusan Vlahovic. It is a set of deals that, in the wider scheme at Arsenal under Stan Kroenke, looks geared towards funding their new transfer desires rather than utilising the current crop.

Although it is maybe too soon to tell just how Havertz will go at Arsenal it has not proven to be a successful move and the fact that he arrived with Balogun going, possibly soon to be followed by Nketiah, would be somewhat a changing of the guard for Arsenal. It’s a new method of working and one that needs to bring results.

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