Two imminent Arsenal transfers savaged with stinging £135m ‘B team’ jibe

Date published: Thursday 19th August 2021 2:17 - Steve Pearson

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta speaking after their 2-0 defeat to Brentford 2021

Arsenal have been branded “Banter FC” after the two players the Gunners are on the verge of signing were labelled “B team” stars.

Arsenal kicked the new campaign off in dismal fashion when slipping to a 2-0 defeat to newly-promoted Brentford. Two of the club’s three major signings at that point started the contest – Ben White and Albert Sambi Lokonga.

Midfielder Lokonga looked assured on his English debut, but White struggled in a two-man centre-back pairing and was bullied in the air by Ivan Toney. Further additions were always on the agenda, but that defeat may have accelerated proceedings.

As such, recent reports have put Arsenal on the verge of a double deal to sign both Aaron Ramsdale and Martin Odegaard.

The Gunners successfully negotiated the price down for England international Ramsdale. Early reports stated Sheffield Utd were seeking £30-£40m. However, an agreement has been reached for around an initial £24m.

Norwegian playmaker Odegaard is set to return to North London permanently after impressing on loan last year.

Odegaard will cost around £30m, bumping the Gunners’ summer spending up to around £127m before add-ons.

However, the ability of the players Arsenal are signing has been called into question by outspoken talkSPORT pundit, Jamie O’Hara.

The ex-Spurs midfielder didn’t hold back when blasting the Gunners over selling Emiliano Martinez.

On that occasion, he called for Antonio Conte to replace Mikel Arteta to clear up Arsenal’s “mess”. And speaking on the radio station today, he has once again fired away at Arteta’s side.

“They are Banter FC right now,” O’Hara declared on talkSPORT. “They are Banter FC!

“If they sign Odegaard and Ramsdale, along with Ben White, Tavares and Lokonga, they will have spent £135m this summer on a B team. Is their team any better than it was last season?”

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Ex-Arsenal chief “astounded” by Man Utd swap

Meanwhile, former Arsenal transfer chief Dick Law has opened up on one deal involving Manchester United which left him ‘astounded’.

Arguably the most intriguing deal between the two clubs was Alexis Sanchez and Henrikh Mkhitaryan’s swap deal back in 2018.

Sanchez was in the final 12 months of his Arsenal contract and the north London side were desperate not to lose him for free. Mkhitaryan, meanwhile, wanted a new challenge after a tough spell in Manchester.

Speaking to The Athletic about the difficulty of organising swap deals, Law said: “I think, first of all, it comes down to valuation of players; every owner thinks their pony is the prettiest one at the fair. Sanchez was willing to go to United and Mkhitaryan wanted to go to Arsenal, and that’s why it worked.

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“The third issue would have been the player negotiations and agents’ commissions. We were astounded when we heard what United paid the player and paid the agent.”

German outlet Der Spiegel (via Daily Mail) write that Sanchez earned just shy of £400,000 a week at United, making him one of the best paid Prem players of all time.

He also picked up a £6.7m signing on fee. Mkhitaryan was handed a £144,000-a-week contract by Arsenal and pocketed an £8.5 loyalty bonus.

READ MORE: Arsenal player set to leave with agreement reached for new signing

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