How Arsenal’s Hale End graduates are set to aid the club’s summer transfer pursuits

With Emile Smith Rowe and Reiss Nelson set to remain in North London, Premier League runner-up Arsenal could be set to focus solely on key areas of the first XI during the upcoming summer transfer window

In what is sure to be one of the most talked about subjects across Premier League football this summer, English giants Arsenal is primed to navigate a critically important summer transfer window in the hopes of both running down Pep Guardiola’s vaunted Manchester City while also once again competing in the Champions League.

How the 2022-23 season has been analyzed has, largely, come down to the individual in question who is doing the rule-running. For some, the now-completed campaign spoke to massive progression under Mikel Arteta as the Gunners unexpectedly finished runner-up while most would have bitten off a limb in pre-season if the club would be guaranteed to finish top four.

For others, however, it has been nothing but a massive disappointment on account of Arsenal topping the league for ~250-days before ultimately losing steam as the bullet train that is Guardiola’s Citizens left the North London side in its wake.

Regardless of whichever side of the debate you plant your flag, what is for certain is that Arsenal is currently in better shape than they were when Arteta first took over from now Aston Villa boss Unai Emery, while many view the club as a strong candidate for yearly involvement in future pushes for a title.

In order to continue their progression on the pitch, Arsenal is in need of considerable investment this summer if they are to upgrade the talent pool under their immensely popular Spanish tactician.

Most reports currently detail the growing expectation that the club could spend up to £200m before any additional revenue from the sales of the likes of Granit Xhaka, Folarin Balogun, and Rob Holding. All told, Arsenal is expected to bring in five names while jettisoning eight in the process, but those five names have largely remained a source of debate.

Two potential summer captures that very much remain in the Gunners’ crosshairs come in the shape of West Ham United and England star Declan Rice, and budding Brighton midfielder Moisés Caicedo. Though Rice appears to be the club’s prime transfer target in a deal that could potentially reach the £100m mark, many Arsenal supporters have been hopeful for a world that sees the club capture not one, but both, despite Caicedo himself also likely to fetch the Seagulls £80m-£90m in his own right.

On the surface, Arsenal blowing their entire presumed, and assumed, transfer budget on two midfielders would not only seem rash but also lacking in the better part of prudence. The need to replace the outgoing Xhaka is a huge one, and replacing him with the right man even more so. Adding another name into the central pot is equally as important if Arsenal is to avoid struggling in the wake of injury as well as fixture congestion.

This has led some, myself included, to want the club to explore the growing rumor of our interest in City’s veteran German midfielder İlkay Gündoğan; a player who would be an ideal Xhaka replacement, while the acquisition of Rice would provide the club with Thomas Partey’s immediate and long-term successor.

A free deal for the former Borussia Dortmund man would leave funds available for the club to reinforce other areas of the pitch; namely adding a right-sided center-back of quality, as well as an addition at full-back, and another quality name further forward, thus seeing the club hit it’s suggested target number of five incomings.

But news that both Emile Smith Rowe and Reiss Nelson are set to remain at the club may make what was once a long-shot dream into a real possibility this summer., while also allowing the club to continue to develop its talented youngsters without forcing their hand in the transfer market needlessly.

Questions surrounding the immediate futures of the pair of Hale End Academy products was a key factor in why the club was likely to move for a versatile forward this summer, with names the likes of Bayer Leverkusen’s Moussa Diaby being touted due to his capability of operating on either flank. The cost associated with the French international (in the region of £60m) could have stripped the club of a considerable chunk of its summer spending power, but keeping ESR and Nelson on the books for the foreseeable future could, mathematically, make a move for both Rice and Caicedo a potential reality.

Many fans will still argue that the club needs a forward this summer, but for me, I think that need is overstated.

At current, the Gunners can boast Gabriel Jesus, Eddie Nketiah, Bukayo Saka, Gabriel Martinelli, Leandro Trossard, Emile Smith Rowe, and Reiss Nelson as their forward options. Seven players across the three positions furthest forward on the tactics board. Supported by recent rhetoric from Arteta that details the level of importance moving forward that both ESR and Nelson are set to be given, this paints the picture that both will be in for minutes. Plainly put, there is little room to add an eighth name to the senior squad in those areas; at least one that is a dedicated winger.

Moreover, does Arsenal truly need one? Despite Jesus’ poorly-timed injury and the need to bring in a new face in January, Arsenal still bagged 88 goals in the league this season, just six fewer goals than a City side that now boasts the league’s single-season record holder for goals. Moreover, many have quickly forgotten what a fit ESR was capable of in the prior campaign, with the English forward hitting ten league goals. Arteta has more depth of talent at his disposal across a full-strength forward line than many will give credit for.

Assuming that Arsenal’s summer will end up looking like Rice as one of the incomings, and for argument’s sake that a second midfielder will follow suit in conjunction with a deal for - as an example - RB Leipzig’s Mohamed Simakan or Bayer Leverkusen’s Edmond Tapsoba as well as a possible versatile full-back. This leaves scope to suggest that the Gunners could have room for a sneaky move for an advanced midfielder in the summer; but one that is far more of a versatile profile.

In that light, the likes of Ajax Amsterdam’s Mohammed Kudus (currently valued on the market at €30m) offer an under-the-radar solution. Capable of playing as a left eight, number 10, on the flank, and residually at striker, Kudus’ versatility presents the kind of profile that would continue to provide Artea with flexibility in his planning.

What matters most is that the Gunners act quickly this summer, especially for a player of Rice’s profile who is garnering interest from serious destinations such as Bayern Munich. There is no doubt that Arsenal will act in the summer, and act in a big way. While none of us knows what the end product of their efforts in the transfer window will look like, it is likely we will all be rather pleased come September.

Read below for more news

Tottenham wants to sign relegated duo for £80 million

Revealed: The Chelsea January signing Graham Potter warned was ‘too expensive’ before Todd Boehly signed him

Paris Saint-Germain plot surprise move for Arsenal star

Andrew Thompson

US-based Football writer. German football guru with a wealth of experience in youth development and analysis. Data aficionado. Happily championing the notion that Americans have a knowledgeable voice in the beautiful game.

Related Content