Arsenal’s presence in the transfer market this season is all due to the driving force of Mikel Arteta.
Between aggressively pursuing transfer prospects and effectively shutting out those rumoured to be leaving the club, the season’s opening has not been a quiet one.
Signings have already included Gabriel Magalhaes and Willian, both showing strongly in their debut Arsenal appearances at Fulham last weekend. Arsenal’s 3-0 win was due in part to a goal by Magalhaes and two assists by Willian, and the boost to the squad has made Arteta icier towards his standing lineup.
With Willian now at Arsenal, Arteta reportedly told Nicolas Pepe that further improvement is required if he wants to make the lineup. When asked about his comments, Arteta claimed it was not targeted at Pepe, but that it was time for the entire squad to elevate themselves even further. In Arteta’s thinking, this added pressure will raise up the club as a whole.
But Arteta’s icy attitude on playing time extends to Emi Martinez as well. Martinez had been known to be open to transfer options, and a £20m bid has now been accepted for his move to Aston Villa. Despite Martinez’s ties to Arsenal, the goalkeeper was not starting in the number of games he saw fit. This season Arteta told him that Bernd Leno would remain his priority, and that Martinez would not play in the cup competition, effectively playing hardly at all this season.
This and other pressures motivated Martinez’s decision to move to Villa. Both Martinez and his wife have separately hinted at and confirmed the deal on social media.
More blood is to be let from Arsenal with the expected departure of 29-year-old Alexandre Lacazette. The French footballer has two years left on his contract but he’s nonetheless been linked to a possible exit to Atletico Madrid this summer.
As a prospective replacement for Lacazette, Arteta has made a move for Celtic centre forward Odsonne Edouard. Rumours claim that an initial bid of £15 was rejected, which was then increased to £20m with an additional £2.5m in add-on value. The payments, however, would not be a lump sum but spread over the course of four years, a practice becoming more common in the transfer market of recent years. Since the transfer rumours began, Edouard has only just recently broken silence on social media.
67 ⚽️ 💚🍀 https://t.co/QQiea579hW
— Odsonne Edouard (@Oedouard22) September 12, 2020
These are among an increasing number of moves Arsenal management have been making in order to revamp the club’s prowess in this season after an unprecedented turn of events earlier this year.
With the second weekend of the season fast approaching, they are sure not to be the last either.