We’re now into the final week of the transfer window, and I think we’re going to see a lot of business between now and the deadline on September 1st.
Already we can see other clubs are doing bits, with players linked with Arsenal set to rock up elsewhere. Striker Alexander Isak is heading from Real Sociedad to Newcastle, as they begin to splurge, while Lyon’s Lucas Paqueta – a player Edu has admitted he admires but not so much to make a bid – is the subject of a bid from West Ham. I suspect there might be more Premier League interest in him from a couple of sides whose midfields could really use some bolstering.
Isak is an interesting one. He’s still only 22 and had two pretty decent seasons (one of which came when Martin Odegaard was on loan at Real Sociedad), but was indifferent last season. We now have Gabriel Jesus, and I can’t see us splashing another £60m+ on a second striker when clearly we have other targets, so it’ll be interesting to how he does in the oil rich North East.
From an incoming perspective, all eyes are on Wolves and Pedro Neto, but whether Arsenal are working on anything else that they’re keeping under the radar, we’ll have to wait and see. Like everyone, I’d welcome more quality to the squad, but it’s nice to go into this final week of the window without any real sense of panic. The squad we have assembled is good, there isn’t a glaring gap anywhere – even if you could argue for more depth in one or two positions. I don’t know if that puts us in a position of strength in the market itself, but the main thing is that we’re strong for the games we have in front of us, and I think we are.
Meanwhile, there are things still be done on the outgoing front, and it does look as if Nicolas Pepe’s loan to Nice is very close to being done. It’s interesting how terminology in football, and life I guess, develops. This is being referred to as a ‘dry loan’, which means there isn’t option or obligation included in the deal. I mean, just referring to it as a loan pretty much covers all those bases, but what does that make those which do have clauses? Damp loans? Soggy loans? Moist loans? Is there a more unpleasant normal word in the English language than ‘moist’? Ugh.
Anyway, there will be time for more in-depth comment on this as and when it goes through, but clearly this is the best thing for all involved. Well, the best for Arsenal would be for some mad bastards to come along and offer us a load of money in a transfer fee, but in the absence of that, a season where he plays regularly and hopefully generates some interest in him next summer (which might then see other clubs bidding for him), is the next best thing.
And at last there’s a bit of movement in relation to Ainsley Maitland-Niles:
Southampton are pushing to sign Ainsley Maitland-Niles. Talks now in progress with Arsenal on loan with buy option, as current AFC deal also included an option to extend until 2024. 🚨⚪️🔴 #SaintsFC
Saints, insisting to beat competition from two more clubs. #AFC pic.twitter.com/iaCYW7XYi4
— Fabrizio Romano (@FabrizioRomano) August 24, 2022
It seems that Arsenal have the option to extend his contract by a year, which would mean he could go on loan with a purchase option – the dreaded moist loan. It seems a bit complicated though. Why not just sell this summer? Perhaps it’s a case of try-before-you-buy for Southampton, and this is our way of protecting the asset, so to speak, but like Pepe it’s abundantly clear that Ainsley’s future lies elsewhere and something permanent would make more sense.
He turns 25 in a few days time, and I’m sure he’d be keen on something which gives him a bit of security and stability at this point. Still, if that’s not on offer from anywhere, what else is there but a loan?
The only other issue to sort out before the end of the window is Hector Bellerin, and I have to say I’m a bit doubtful of this reported interest from Barcelona. I think he just wants to go to Real Betis, and while I could get behind some kind of compromise where he writes off wages so the club of his heart can sign him, there’s no way we should do that for Barcelona. They are willing to spend massive money on pretty much anyone this summer, regardless of age or contract situation, and although Hector wouldn’t generate a big fee, there’s no way they should get him for free or anything like that.
Finally for today, the draw for the third round of the Carabao Cup took place last night, and we have a home tie against Brighton. The game doesn’t take place until the first week of November though, so that’s one for the back burner.
Right, that’s it for now. Back tomorrow with more here, plus a brand new Arsecast. We’ll have any news throughout the day on Arseblog News.