Arsenal are slowly beginning to turn their season around after a poor start to the Premier League campaign, but a transfer decision by boss Mikel Arteta could create problems
It was a case of no expense spared this summer for Arsenal as Mikel Arteta’s side forked out no less than £142million – a club record for a single transfer window.
Arteta specifically targeted young players, with a plan to build for the future, with no player over the age of 23 brought in at the Emirates.
Ben White was the first to arrive from Brighton for a fee of £50million, before the likes of Nuno Tavares and Albert Sami Lokonga joined him soon after from Benfica and Anderlecht respectively.
Sheffield United goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale was next, Martin Odegaard signed on a permanent basis following a loan deal last season and Takehiro Tomiyasu completed the summer spree after joining from Italian side Bologna on deadline day.
The Gunners certainly splashed the cash, but some of it would have perhaps been better spent in other areas.
Arsenal had a poor start to the campaign – which saw them loose their first three league games – but Arteta’s side have now won back-to-back games against Norwich and Burnley respectively.
Martin Odegaard’s first-half strike proved to be the difference between the two side’s on Saturday at Turf Moor as the Gunners moved up to 13th in the table.
But despite recent wins showing a slow change of fortunes, Arsenal’s problems up front still remain given their main issue has been scoring goals.
Arteta’s failure to sign a striker is something that could not only cost both Arsenal and him in the coming months. The Gunners already have two good strikers – Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette – but uncertainty remains over the pairs’ future.
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Both continue to be the subject of speculation linking them with moves away from the club. And that speculation is not something that looks as if it will be going away anytime soon.
If the Gunners fail to successfully negotiate with Lacazette, then they will face the prospect of losing the Frenchman for free in just over three months’ time.
After all, the 30-year-old is out of contract next summer meaning he is free to negotiate with other clubs in January. And he won’t be short of offers with Juventus the latest club to be linked with a move to sign the forward.
However, Arteta has recently insisted he has no plans to sell the forward and is keen to keep him at the club.
The Frenchman was benched for the recent Premier League fixture against Norwich which raised further questions over his future at the Emirates.
“No, he’s fully involved,” Arsenal said at a press conference on Thursday.
“You give the reasons why he hasn’t played more minutes and he will be back to the form that he can achieve. I am sure that he will be instrumental in our success.”
Aubameyang is a different story altogether, with both Barcelona and Juventus said to be keen on luring the Gabon international away from the Emirates. When January comes – and the window opens once more – then any lingering background speculation is likely to re-ignite.
Recent victories will help Arteta, but he remains under pressure to prove he is the right man to take the club forward, and his decision to spend funds elsewhere could lead to problems.