Following from a week is a long time in football, Arsenal have lost further stalwarts, and gained four u-23 players – in what appears to be a new policy.
Pat Rice has gone from a scouting capacity but retained as an ambassador. Stewart Houston, in charge in the mid-nineties has also departed from the scouting set-up.
Freddie Ljungberg has gone from his assistant coaching role to pursue new managerial opportunities.
This combined with dispensing with the world-wide scouting network which included Francis Cagigao and Brian McDermott is bound to leave an experience gap, particularly as they all played for Arsenal.
The person who was swinging recruitment policy more to agents, Sanllehi, has also departed, leaving the possibility of a vacuum between the two approaches, unless the potentially over-stretched Arteta-Edu-Mertesaker axis steps in.
One advantage is a more cost-efficient and streamlined approach.
New under 23 players
Seventeen year-old Salah-Eddine has joined from Feyenoord on a free and joins the Professional Development section of Arsenal’s youth set-up.
The Arsenal website says: “The Dutch midfielder is renowned for his agility and creativity in the middle of the park. Predominantly a central midfielder, Salah has spent his youth career in the Netherlands, developing through the youth ranks in Rotterdam with Feyenoord. We all welcome Salah to Arsenal and look forward to watching his development with us.”
In an interview, when asked about his style of play, he added: “I’m a central midfielder and I like to play box to box. Offensively I’m a creative player and I can play with my left or right foot. I score goals and get assist, and defensively I like to think I do my bit too, especially in the transition.”
Arsenal have gained Tottenham centre back Jonathan Dinyzeyi who turns 21 in October. An under 18 England international, he played for Tottenham’s under-21 squad in the 2017/18 and 2018/19 EFL Trophy and 22 times for Spurs reserves in PL2. He covers the loan of Zech Medley.
Tim Akinola has joined Huddersfield Town. The 19 year-old midfielder spent last season on loan with Lincoln city.
Meanwhile, 20 year-old winger George Lewis has signed from Fram Larvik.
The Rwandan born winger is described as quick and skilful right-footed winger comfortable playing on both flanks. He also previously spent time in England working with Bournemouth, Solihull United and Ipswich Town.
Transfers and rumours
Interesting to look at the transfer rumours – particularly in the Express. At the start it was Arsenal to sell five or six first teamers, but now it is fifteen.
“Mikel Arteta is keen to offload players to fund his summer transfer activity, as Express Sport understands the Gunners are ready to put up to 15 players up for sale.”
Looks like the on-on-off-off-on transfer of Gabriel Megalhaes in on, with numerous outlets reporting he will sign a five year contract tomorrow, with a fee rising to £27m.
A feather in the cap for Arteta and Edu, given the damage losing the player would have created, following Manchester United’s late intervention, and alleged interest from Man City and PSG.
The Star looked at detailed stats and picked out that he made 111 open play passes which entered the final third in 2019/20 – the ninth most in the French league with him making an average of 4.8 successful passes into the final third per match.
In terms of pressing, his success rate was the fourth-best in Ligue 1 at 39.1%, which was ahead of Arsenal’s top performer Calum Chambers, who was at 35.7%.
Jonothan Johnson, described in the Express as a football expert said on the Gabriel/Saliba pairing: “It would be a pairing of two very good, very promising central defensive talents and potentially a partnership which could serve Arsenal for the best part of the next 10 years.
“He [Saliba] hyas shown when he plays he has a lot of talent, a lot of potential, he is fulfilling quite a bit of that already, he has impressive maturity for his age, and I think he would pair well with Gabriel. Both will take a bit of time to get used to the Premier League but both are tailor-made for Premier League football. I do not think that process would take as long as it would with other foreign players.”
Current rumours turn to the Aouar swap with cash plus Guendouzi and the enquiry for Thiago Alcantara, which along with the Coutinho rumours a couple of weeks ago, make clear a creative midfielder is the direction of travel, which puts a question mark over Dani Ceballos’s future who is linked with Real Betis and AC Milan.
Despite the transfer activity, Arsenal are at 50-1 to win the title and 3-1 to finish in the top four with Man U 4-11, Chelsea 6-10 and Tottenham 14-5 ahead of them with the bookmakers.
Talking of numbers, it looks like Arsenal will be allowed a 30% capacity stadium when fans are planned to be allowed back to watch live games in October, compared to 20% for older stadiums, like Stamford Bridge and Goodison Park. Price of tradition.