Arteta can step up hunt for new faces thanks to European place
Offloading costly Ozil would help Arsenal move for Carlos Tierney sees more trophies ahead thanks to coach’s impact
Arsenal will step up their recruitment plans following victory in the FA Cup final, with Sevilla defender Diego Carlos one of their potential targets.
Mikel Arteta wants Arsenal to complete their summer business as soon as possible, but there is an acceptance within the club that the financial uncertainty in recent months has made their transfer planning more complicated.
Saturday’s success ensured that Arsenal qualified for next season’s Europa League, a source of muchneeded funds as they contend with their hefty wage bill and the financial implications of the pandemic.
The victory will also help their attempts to convince Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to commit to a new contract, with Arteta hopeful his star man will sign in the coming days.
Qualifying for the Europa League means there should be some money to spend, although the size of Arsenal’s budget will depend on whether they are able to sell players who are not part of Arteta’s longterm plans.
“I know how important it was as we needed to be in Europe,” the head coach said. “It is a must for our club and financially because it is a bigger step forward in order to allow us to do more things in the future and have a better structure financially.”
The Europa League remains far less lucrative than the Champions League, though, and the club’s financial struggles have not been fully eased by reaching Europe’s secondary competition. But Europa
League football is considerably better than nothing, and there was a strong possibility that Arsenal would not have been able to invest in the team without player sales had they failed to get the better of Chelsea at Wembley.
Arteta and technical director Edu have drawn up a detailed list of targets during their planning for various scenarios over recent months.
Thomas Partey, the Atletico Madrid midfielder, remains one of the primary targets for Arsenal, who are desperate to add a box-to-box central player to their squad.
They are also hoping to keep Dani Ceballos, one of their standout performers since football’s restart. The Spaniard’s situation is made complicated by Real Madrid’s participation in the Champions League. He said last week that he would have to wait until Madrid’s season was over before making any decision on his future.
Arsenal are one of a number of clubs around Europe tracking Carlos, even though the London club’s financial situation means they would not be able to afford the £68 million release clause in the Brazilian’s contract.
It is understood that Sevilla would accept less, but not a substantial reduction, with a fee of £54.5 million being mooted. Such a demand would almost certainly prove too much for Arsenal.
Another potential option at centre-back is Malang Sarr, who would be available on a free transfer after he parted ways with Nice at the end of their campaign.
Much of Arsenal’s transfer kitty will depend on the future of Mesut Ozil, whose wages of £350,000 a week have placed such a strain on club finances. Ozil has not played for Arsenal since March and was not even in the country for the FA Cup final, having been allowed to travel to Turkey.
Ozil’s agent has said publicly and repeatedly that the former Germany international has no intention of leaving north London before the end of his contract next year.
Arsenal would almost certainly be unable to find a buyer willing to pay his full wages, so the realistic best-case scenario for the club is that another team agree to pay part of his salary next season.
Arsenal are facing a similar, albeit far less damaging, situation with defender Sokratis. The centreback is not part of Arteta’s thinking, having played only around 10 minutes of football since the lockdown, but the 32-year-old’s wages of around £90,000 per week will make him hard to sell.
Matteo Guendouzi is also available for transfer after falling out of favour under Arteta because of behavioural issues, and he could be traded for other targets this summer. Rob Holding’s long-term future remains in doubt, although injuries to Shkodran Mustafi and Pablo Mari mean he could be needed at the start of next season.
Meanwhile, Kieran Tierney has said this is just the start for this Arsenal side, warning the club’s rivals that they will only build on their 2-1 FA Cup victory.
“The best is yet to come from the team,” the Scotland defender said. “We are building something here. People can see we are building something and getting somewhere.
“There is no better feeling than winning trophies. It has been a roller coaster here, but to finish it like this is just brilliant.
“The manager has had a big impact on this squad. We are improving. This is a process and we will have some bad results and ups and downs, but we all trust in this process 110 per cent.”