Mikel Arteta will struggle to achieve his Arsenal overhaul if the club continues to sell its deadwood for such low fees. Midfielder Matteo Guendouzi is reportedly next to leave the Gunners for a small price, despite an impressive first season at the Emirates Stadium.
Guendouzi was excellent under Arteta’s predecessor, Unai Emery, after signing in the summer of 2018 and quickly made himself a fans’ favourite with his performances in central midfield.
But the Frenchman quickly fell out with Arteta early in the Spaniard’s reign.
A petulant argument with Brighton’s Neal Maupay during Project Restart, in a game Arsenal lost late on, raised Arteta’s concerns that the 22-year-old lacked maturity.
Guendouzi was exiled from the first team and spent last season on loan at Hertha Berlin.
He is now surplus to requirements alongside a host of the north Londoners’ fringe players but is reportedly available for as little as £10million.
The likes of Liverpool, famed for being able to sell players for far more than their worth, will remain ahead of Arsenal for as long as the Gunners struggle to demand similar prices for out-of-favour players.
Arteta has demanded change at Arsenal this summer after they suffered one of their most disappointing campaigns in recent history.
A five-match winning run to end the season was not enough to prevent them from finishing eighth. The defence of their FA Cup win from the previous season ended in a fourth-round exit against Southampton.
But the Spaniard’s lavish summer will not happen if there are no funds to spend.
“The squad needs changing,” Arteta conceded in May.
“There were already a lot of changes in December, something that has not been done in years, but it tells us where we were. Things are going to have to change and the owners are going to back it up.
“Time is catching up right now.
“It’s a trend, it’s years now that this has been happening. If the distance and the margins with the rest become too big, then it’s almost impossible to do it.
“We are still on time, and we have put some very strong pillars and foundations in the last few months to do what we have to do.
“We know what has been going on inside here for the last 18 months. We know. We only know, the ones that are here. How we have built that is incredible.”
But to continue that good work behind the scenes is unsustainable without strong profits.
The financial restraints thrust upon even the richest football clubs by the pandemic restrictions mean that clubs must find ways of making money.
Arsenal will only progress if they start demanding bigger transfer fees.