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

The Daily Telegraph - Business - - Total Football - By Sam Dean and Ja­son Burt

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.”

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