Whisper it, but Arsenal nail the summer transfer window. Hush. Keep it for us.
The club are going about their business in a way fans haven’t seen in years, and their efficiency in the market is scaring away rivals. Edu Gaspar, meanwhile, after constant condemnation, finally delivers. Mikel Arteta knows what he wants and Edu does his best to satisfy the Spaniard.
Fabio Vieira joined the club earlier this week just days after Arsenal agreed a deal with Porto. The Portuguese midfielder will add another creative spark and ensure that Martin Odegaard doesn’t get too comfortable in the XI. Now the club appeared to have acquired Gabriel Jesus from Manchester City.
Their interest in the Brazilian is long-standing and well-documented but they haven’t allowed the situation to turn into a saga as we’ve seen in recent windows with Manuel Locatelli and Dusan Vlahovic. The Gunners have agreed a £45m deal with City for Jesus and the striker’s move to north London is set to be completed over the next week. Thus, he will enjoy the vast majority of Arteta’s pre-season.
Arsenal aren’t done there, however. Lisandro Martinez and Raphinha are next on the agenda.
Do Arsenal need to splash big on Leeds winger Raphinha?
Ajax defender Martinez would be a superb deal. The Argentine is a bizarre technician who will elevate Arteta’s build even further while providing high-quality depth from three positions. This move is a given, but I wonder if a move for Leeds man Raphinha is a necessity.
The Brazil international is, without a doubt, a superb footballer who has already excelled in the Premier League. His profile is reminiscent of Angel Di Maria and he is one of the few wide players – many of whom play as ‘inside forwards’ – who can single-handedly hold down a flank and isolate a defender in one-on-one situations. He epitomizes the beauty of wing play, and there is no doubt that he would seriously rival starboy Bukayo Sako for a few minutes if he were to arrive.
It’s the kind of signing City do to ensure they have at least two high-quality options in every position – a pattern the Gunners are trying to follow.
However, Leeds are demanding a whopping £65m fee for his services and they are unlikely to budge from that valuation after agreeing a deal with Cityzens for Kalvin Phillips. That’s a lot of money for a player who won’t be a guaranteed starter – not in his preferred position, at least. You also have to take into account Arsenal’s more pressing need for central midfield and the fact that Barcelona and Chelsea are seen as the player’s preferred destinations.
The club’s interest in Youri Tielemans has reportedly cooled due to them pursuing other goals, and their passing on the Belgian is a decision they may regret.
For me, the addition of Jesus lessened the need to sign Raphinha, no matter how good. Jesus is able to provide cover for Saka on the right and Arteta could still bring in Nicolas Pepe if a buyer isn’t found this summer. Jesus performed superbly on the right for Pep Guardiola last season, with the City boss often using him in the biggest games against higher defensive lines. The Brazilian was relentlessly running behind and stretching the opposition, with his profile contrasting completely with Saka and Raphinha, who want the ball at their feet as much as possible.
Arteta could similarly deploy Jesus with Eddie Nketiah as a No.9. But Jesus is believed to have been promised a starring role in Arsenal’s attack by the Arsenal boss. It remains to be seen whether that means he will play exclusively at centre. It would be a waste not to use it on a large scale, where it has been so effective in the past.
So you could argue that Jesus’ arrival leaves Arsenal with ample cover for Saka down the right, especially if Nketiah continues to prove his worth at the top level. Raphinha is superb, but her arrival might be more of a bonus than a necessity.
The left side of Arsenal’s three-man midfield is a more pressing need. The Gunners can’t let Granit Xhaka perform that job uncomfortably for another season.
However, if Arsenal sign Raphinha over Tielemans from Leicester then, well, it’s nothing short of a masterclass from Edu Gaspar, folks.