Plenty in the departure lounge, but how much will we get?

Plenty in the departure lounge, but how much will we get?


I’m sure many of you have listened by now, but yesterday we did our predictions on spending and income on the Arsecast Extra. This is now a tradition for each transfer window and it’s fair to say we’re usually wide of the mark – at least in terms of income. I think spending is a little easier to predict.

I’m going to put mine here for the sake of discussion on a quiet day, if you want to listen to both of us get it wrong, listen to podcast here, or in all the usual podcast places. So, this is what I had, in no particular order.

Predicted Arsenal outgoings this summer

Nuno Tavares – £4m

Albert Sambi Lokonga – £10m

Eddie Nketiah – £15m

Emile Smith Rowe – £20m

Reiss Nelson – £5m

Kieran Tierney – £8m

Oleksandr Zinchenko – £20m

I think part of what makes it difficult to predict how much we’ll get for certain players is the fact we don’t have a track record of selling well. We have the occasional Alex Iwobi or Joe Willock, but then you look at the deal we did to sell Bernd Leno and it’s hard to understand how an international goalkeeper in his prime went for so little.

One thing to acknowledge is that selling players you don’t want in order to improve/upgrade a very good team is much different from where we were a few years ago. Not being able to get into a poor Arsenal team, or a team that is a work in progress, is not the same as being unable to get into a side that won more Premier League games than any other in the club’s history. I don’t know if a rising tide will lift all boats, but it should have an impact on the market value on some of the players listed above. And I think once you change the perception of what you’re capable of generating from sales, it’s a change that sticks, if that makes sense.

Even so, there are various factors which will define the price. Smith Rowe at £20m, for example, is about 50% cheaper than he would have been if we’d decided to sell him two years ago. Of course, why would we have decided that back then? He looked like a player for the future, now after two years where injuries have set him back and he’s been unable to fight his way into contention, his price on the market is significantly lower.

With Eddie, I don’t think his ability to do a job for at least 50% of Premier League clubs is in question, but his wages from the new deal he signed last year are. That means clubs might well be interested, but the overall investment they have to make has to take that salary into account, which means we might have to accept less for a player whose time at the club looks like it has come to a natural end.

Does £5m for Reiss Nelson sound low to anyone? When you look around at some of the prices paid, it might, but when you realise he’s going to be 25 this year, he’s started one Premier League game in four seasons, and like Eddie his wages are also an issue, it seems about right to me. Obviously I’d like more, but I don’t think we’ll get it. His career has stagnated, someone has to take a punt on him.

There are also players I’d like to sell but I don’t know if we will. Thomas Partey top of that list, but as it stands he might just decide to stay for the final year of his deal, while the Aaron Ramsdale situation is another that’s complicated. He signed a new deal last May, making him one of the best paid goalkeepers in the Premier League, and between Arsenal’s valuation and his wage packet, he’s out of reach for most clubs – the likely outcome being he’ll go on loan somewhere for next season.

Thanks to listener, Ally Wood, who mentioned we could bring in some reasonable money for some youth players who have been out on loan and done ok. Charlie Patino, Mika Biereth and Brooke Norton-Cuffy were the three he mentioned, with most other departures at that level players coming to the end of their contracts. My total income (outside those youth players) was £82m. Not massive, but between the income itself and the impact on the wage will, certainly plenty to give the club room to manoeuvre.

When we did our spending predictions, James and I both completely forgot the commitment to spending £27m on David Raya, so perhaps that goes some way to explaining Mikel Arteta’s comments from last week about having to get more out of the players we already have. For example, I think the ongoing discussion about who might play back-up to, or take the burden off Bukayo Saka, is solved by Gabriel Jesus – fitness permitting of course. I think the team has evolved beyond him as the 9, but as a wide player he is streets ahead of Reiss Nelson, who was basically that guy last season.

Anyway, it’s all guess work at this point, but I do think it’s an important summer from an outgoing perspective. If we can challenge for the title, if we can be as good as we were last season, and still not manage to sell for half-decent prices, I don’t think it’s unfair to worry a bit. Not least because what revenue you generate does have an impact on what you can spend.

Your thoughts in today’s Arses are very welcome, of course. And the pod is below if you haven’t had the chance to listen yet.


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