Charles Watts has given TEAMtalk an update on outgoings at Arsenal before the summer transfer window shut on Friday, with Kieran Tierney, Rob Holding and Nuno Tavares all discussed.
The Gunners are in for a busy few days as the clock clicks down, although much of the focus is on players who will be leaving rather than any more additions to Mikel Arteta’s squad.
And we’ve been speaking to Watts about what to expect at The Emirates in the final days of the window.
Starting with Tierney, Watts has been left shocked that the Scotland international was not the subject of more Premier League interest, although that could now lead to a bigger move next summer instead.
The 26-year-old has joined Spanish side Real Sociedad on loan for the current campaign, but Watts believes that could end up being a massive benefit to him.
He said: “I’m really surprised no Premier League club put money on the table for Kieran Tierney.
“I think he improves half the Premier League teams. And I just don’t quite understand how none of them came in with a bid.
“For Arsenal, obviously, they wanted to get money. That’s why they left it this late in the window before agreeing to deal with Sociedad because that deal was on the table for a fair while but Arsenal were hoping someone was going to come in and actually put money on the table. It didn’t happen. And so they pretty much reluctantly agreed to send him out for the season.”
Watts adds: “The good thing for Arsenal is they’re in a strong position. He’s still got three years left on his deal. If he stays injury free, I can see him having a brilliant season in Spain, because he’s such a good player at a very good team with Champions League football this season.
“If he plays well, then hopefully there’ll be a much bigger market for him next summer and they can still sell because his contract will still have two years left on it.
“I don’t think they’re in a bad position when it comes to Tierney but ideally they would have liked to sort it at the start of this summer.
“I’m 100% sure on their predicted balance sheets that they were penciling in for the summer, they would have had Kieran Tierney down as a pretty significant amount of money coming into the club.
“So I’m sure they will be equally as disappointed, as I know a lot of fans are, that they couldn’t get a deal done.”
Holding poised for Arsenal exit
As for the future of centre-back Holding, it appears only a matter of time before the 27-year-old is offloaded.
Watts adds: “There are quite a few clubs in the running for Rob Holding. I do think he will go before Friday. Things are progressing at the moment.
“I don’t think it’s got down to the stage of just being one club yet. I think there’s a few options on the table that are all being sized up and then a final decision will have to be made very, very soon.
“There is Premier League interest definitely, significant interest in him from abroad as well, Spanish clubs are looking at him and are in discussions with Arsenal.
“I fully expect Rob Holding to go between now and Friday on a permanent basis. I’d be very very surprised if he doesn’t.”
Tavares deal on the brink
Nuno Tavares is another player poised to leave the club, with the Gunners expected to fetch a decent fee for the Portuguese defender after an initial loan.
Watts adds: “He’s going to Nottingham Forest. That will be confirmed very soon. He’s had his medical already at Forest.
“This is a deal that was on about two weeks ago then it was off and now it’s back on again. But it’s only a loan this time around with an option to buy for around £12million.
“You can add him to the list of players Arsenal would have preferred to have got money for but they are in quite a strong position with Tavares.
“He’s still got a lot of time left on his contract. I think he’s a talented player, he has flaws no doubt about it. But I could see him going to Forest and having a very good season and we could see that move be made permanent next summer for around £12million.
“Arsenal will get a loan fee for him and Forest will cover his wages. I can easily see him move to Forest on a permanent basis.”
The Gunners are back in action on Sunday when they host Manchester United in the Premier League.