Daily Express

Arsenal top the league table... for spending

- By John Cross

THIS is an unpreceden­ted summer for Arsenal.

They are on course to splash out a staggering £140million in the transfer window, which will make them the biggest spenders in the Premier League.

Their latest move is a £34m deal for Real Madrid’s Martin Odegaard, who is set to join on a five-year contract after spending the second half of last season on loan at the Emirates.

That is in addition to a £30m package for Sheffield United keeper Aaron Ramsdale, who could go straight into the squad to face Chelsea on Sunday.

After spending £50m on Ben White, £18m on midfielder Albert Sambi Lokonga and £6m on Portuguese leftback Nuno Tavares, this promises to be the biggest shake-up since Arsene Wenger left.

The club are backing boss Mikel Arteta, giving him every chance to succeed in getting Arsenal back into the big time. Remember all those summers when Wenger would refuse to spend? Or the endless talk about a transfer war chest and overhaulin­g the squad?

It all started with the best of intentions but rarely delivered the players Arsenal fans wanted, let alone the ones the club needed. Now they are spending huge sums during a global pandemic that stands to cost football billions.

Arsenal are out of Europe this season for the first time since 1995, depriving them of millions in revenue. But they have spent big and made a huge statement in this summer’s transfer market. Josh Kroenke, son of Arsenal owner Stan, pledged the family’s commitment to the club in the wake of the European Super League debacle and also after last season’s disappoint­ment.

The Kroenkes have underwritt­en transfer spending in the past and clearly Arteta has the owners’ backing to shake up the squad. That underlines their determinat­ion to get the club back on track and should finally put to bed any suggestion­s they are interested in selling up.

The signings have a clear pattern – young, emerging players – while there is now a British spine in the squad with Kieran Tierney, Bukayo Saka and Emile Smith Rowe.

White, 23, is seen by the England set-up as being part of the next generation and, even though his debut at Brentford was a nightmare, there can be no doubting his quality.

Ramsdale, 23, has divided opinion because of his cost and being involved in two successive relegation­s. But the second half of last season at Sheffield United was much improved and he broke into England’s squad for the Euros.

Defeat at Brentford followed by tough games against Chelsea and Manchester City add up to a daunting start to the season. But Arsenal have given Arteta every chance to succeed and the fans hope that they are ready to compete with the big boys again.

 ??  ?? ROAR TALENT Aaron Ramsdale’s move to Arsenal follows callup to Three Lions squad
ROAR TALENT Aaron Ramsdale’s move to Arsenal follows callup to Three Lions squad
 ?? Picture: NICK POTTS ??

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