Arsenal transfer chief Edu must choose targets wisely in tough summer at the Emirates
With new outgoings announced almost every single day in north London, it is shaping up to be a busy summer of transfer dealings for Arsenal and technical director Edu. With a dramatic improvement required on their eighth place finish last season, the pressure is on for the Gunners to get the squad in a position where they can realistically challenge for the top four next time out.
Such a disappointing domestic finish leaves Mikel Arteta’s side without any form of European football for the first time in 25 years.
Aside from upsetting the fans, its absence is also set to make their summer of business exponentially more difficult.
First and foremost, attracting the world’s best players, as Arsenal have done in the past, is made that much harder when you cannot offer European football.
Naturally, the cream of the crop like to play in the biggest of games, and it does not come any bigger than the Champions League.
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Without it on the table, the Gunners will logically have to provide incentives to transfer targets in different ways, chiefly in the form of long-term contracts and high wages.
However, the added difficulty with this is that without European football, the club is also set to miss out on revenue from European football.
In a painful double-whammy, the Arsenal boardroom is therefore tasked with providing bigger financial incentives than their Champions League-qualified rivals, despite having less money to work with.
Their situation is illustrated perfectly through their pursuit of Italy midfielder Manuel Locatelli.
The 23-year-old has dazzled at Euro 2020, helping his national side all the way to the final, and although Arsenal are now pushing hard to sign him they are facing stiff competition from Italian giants Juventus.
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Some reports indicate that a deal is close for the north London side, but journalist Paolo Bargiggia suggests that the player plans to reject Arsenal in favour of Juve.
Unless Edu can put more money on the table than their opposition, they are always going to be facing an uphill battle.
Similar situations can be found with fellow midfield targets Yves Bissouma and Renato Sanches.
Both players are also being tailed by Liverpool who, once again, will be strutting their stuff in Europe’s premier competition next campaign, so the extra incentives will surely need to be offered by Arsenal.
All of this points to the fact that, if every major signing is going to be a significant long-term investment for the Gunners, they simply have to get them spot on.
With Matteo Guendouzi, David Luiz and Martin Odegaard just three of a handful of players to have already departed the Emirates so far, Edu could face the pressure of getting a whole series of transfers bang on the money.
The last thing the club need is another Mesut Ozil situation, where the classy German midfielder ended up completely frozen out of the side despite being one of the highest earners in the Premier League.
Clearly, Arsenal are going to have to pull out all the stops if they are to execute many of their more ambitious signings over the coming weeks.
The pressure is certainly on for Edu and Arteta, who not only need to recruit in numbers, but need to recruit extremely well with financial pressure hanging over their heads.
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