After the Brentford game, there has been a knee-jerk reaction with Mikel Arteta’s odds for the sack going from 16/1 to 11/4 with Brendan Rogers installed as an unrealistic favourite to succeed him at 13/5.
Several articles have cast doubt on the Spaniard’s Arsenal future, for example Sam Quek in the Mirror: “At the end of last season Arteta spoke of an “unprecedented” summer to establish the Gunners as a force again. He identified seven positions that would be strengthened and promised a “ruthless” clear-out. None of these things materialised.
“Whether he hasn’t been given enough funds to strengthen, or there has been a failing by those higher up to move on the squad’s deadwood, is unknown.”
It is not unknown. Most clubs in Europe, apart from six or seven in the Premier League (outside of the new ‘English Super League’ clubs) can’t afford the wages let alone transfer fees of Arsenal’s fringe squad players and are seeking to offload players of their own. And a club based on self-sustaining principles, needs to find buyers or creative loan/buy deals before new players can come in.
Arteta is a long-term project, and the club are highly unlikely to change horses in mid-stream, unless things are dire around November/December.
Arsenal’s financial and footballing future is mainly with youth and the academy.
Which is why, amidst all the chatter of Martinez and Locatelli etc, the report that Arsenal are after 18-year-old Barcelona central midfield player Ilaix Moriba has more credibility. He has been moved to the reserves and hasn’t signed a new contract.
The talk of Lacazette or Aubameyang moving to Barcelona as part of a swap is imaginative – but apart from the above, a swap looks dysfunctional with Barcelona trying to offload Samuel Umtiti, midfielder Miralem Pjanic and striker Martin Braithwaite with apart from Moriba, Arteta admiring Philippe Coutinho, goalkeeper Neto and centre-back Clement Lenglet. Barcelona could probably match Aubameyang’s Arsenal wages by getting Coutinho off the books? But if Arsenal are seriously considering Philippe Coutinho (who is not in the right age profile vis a vis transfer policy) – then why pursue Martin Odergaard?
The Odergaard to Arsenal story, still should be treated with caution, with Ancelotti saying the fact he hasn’t been given a squad number is ‘a technicality’. Although talks are reportedly continuing with a loan extension favoured by Arsenal over a straight sale, enabling strengthening in other areas.
Meanwhile back in the real world, Arsenal have been re-admitted into the European Club Association, along with eight others – five Premier League clubs along with Inter, AC Milan and Atletico Madrid.
The nine made a combined payment of 15 million euros and will give up 5% of revenue for one season playing in Europe, presumably deferred in Arsenal’s case.
The clubs have also agreed to be fined 100 million euros if they seek to play in an unauthorized competition or 50 million euros if they breach any other commitments to UEFA as part of the settlement.