Arsenal have always enjoyed a solid relationship with Barcelona, especially when transfers are involved.
It’s no secret that there is a rich history between the two clubs in the transfer market, with the likes of Thierry Henry, Cesc Fabregas, Marc Overmars, Alexis Sanchez, Emmanuel Petit, and Thomas Vermuelen swapping the red and white of the Gunners for Barcelona, or vice versa.
With summer transfer rumours beginning to pick up pace, Arsenal need to be involved in more than just speculation to kickstart the club’s ascension back up the league table.
You wouldn’t expect to see any of the top sports betting sites install Arsenal among the favourites to win the Premier League any time soon. Bringing back the days when you could confidently bet on the club winning trophies is going to need the right investment strategy.
As well as the money to make it happen, of course.
Despite what many fans would like to see at the club, players are unlikely to swap Champions League football for what could be life outside of European competition next season, but there are at least three players Arteta should have on his radar. And all three are currently on Barca’s books.
In April, Mundo Deportivo’s Francesc Aguilar reported that the La Liga champions would be willing to sell everyone not named Lionel Messi and Marc-Andre ter Stegen in order to fund transfers for Neymar and Lautaro Martínez. In short, there is one hell of a shop window over at the Camp Nou if you believe what you read.
Call it clutching at straws if you like, but Gunners manager Mikel Arteta – who began his illustrious career with the Catalans before eventually finding his home in London – needs to rekindle a working relationship with Barcelona. Especially in the current circumstances.
Let’s not forget that Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is said to be on Barcelona’s shortlist this summer, too. If the Spanish giants go against Xavi’s advice and decide to make a move for last season’s joint EPL top scorer, this would give the club leverage when it comes to pursuing some of the players currently on their books.
If the club is to lose its star striker, the label of being a feeder club to the elite will grow and become even harder to peel off. But let’s not pretend that the current situation doesn’t help with that.
Yes, Arsenal need to build for the future. But part of the building process is to have secure foundations in place. Defensively, David Luiz and Sokratis are too error-prone and anything but stable. Therefore, bringing in a solid, proven winner at centre half is crucial.
That’s where Samuel Umtiti comes in. Yes, William Saliba should be an incredible player, but he’s just 19. He needs an habitual winner – both domestically and internationally – to help him reach the top even faster. And both are French.
Umtiti has had a torrid time with injuries in the past, but he is worth the gamble. A proven, 26-year-old World Cup winner rated at €30 million? Yes, please.
Although a little optimistic, the pacy Ousmane Dembele is another player Arteta cannot ignore. Like Umtiti, Dembele has suffered from injury problems in the past so would fit in well at Arsenal.
Although he prefers to play on the right side of the attack, he is more than capable of slotting in for Aubemeyang on the left, if he moves to Barcelona. And how much easier would it be to make a deal for a cut-price Dembele if that happens?
Finally, how about Jean-Claire Todibo? Like Umtiti, Todibo would make a great partnership alongside Sarabia.
Both are France u20 internationals who could very well establish the most potent centre half pairing in world football within a few years. How different would Arsenal look in the future if the club had both men in their ranks?
Call me a dreamer, but the Gunners can take advantage of the shakeup in Catalonia. How ironic would it be to see an old-standing relationship between both clubs pave the way for a successful resurgence at The Emirates?