Pundit Kevin Campbell has launched a staunch defence of the transfer business conducted by Arsenal this summer despite fervent criticism.
The Gunners splashed out north of £140m to revamp several areas of their squad. Signings at goalkeeper, left-back, centre-half, central midfield and attacking midfield were all made.
The common theme running through the six new faces was their age and profile. Each of the new arrivals are under the age of 24, clearly indicating Arsenal bought with one eye on the future as much as the present.
But it is the present that will concern Arsenal fans most, and their woeful start to the campaign has already seen pressure mount.
A surprise report indicated the Gunners have already lined up a proven winner as their next manager. Furthermore, ex-Gunner Paul Merson fired stinging criticism Arsenal’s way when lambasting their summer business.
Technical Director Edu defended his dealings in the window when speaking to Sky Sports, and another voice in football world has insisted Arsenal’s business is far from the disaster some are making out.
Speaking to Football Insider, former Arsenal striker Kevin Campbell praised his former club for their “great” signings with one eye on the future. Though Campbell did conclude his defence with a parting shot at the “geniuses” who tied so many unmoveable assets down to high salary contracts.
“People will question when the team aren’t winning,” said Campbell. “But when you sit down and look at the signings they have made, they are great signings.
“They have brought the age of the team down and there is longevity in these signings.The problem is getting them out on the pitch. You have to have as many out there as possible. That’s the key to it all. Unfortunately they haven’t been able to do that.
“This is one of those times where the international break has come at the right time. There is time to work with those players who aren’t away. You want to get those players in.
“When the league resumes, they are in the team. We have had so many people come in who are supposedly the best in the business.
“The only sale has been Willock, that doesn’t reflect well on the geniuses who came before Edu.”
Familiar story leaves Arsenal facing double disaster
Meanwhile, Arsenal are set to lose two first-teamers for free next summer after a familiar reason was cited as to why deals failed to materialise.
French forward Alexandre Lacazette was one player Arsenal were open to offloading. Tentative interest from European pair Roma and Atletico Madrid surfaced.
But his high salary and Arsenal’s desire to ensure his exit was permanent scuppered any realistic chances of a deal being struck.
Lacazette is in the final year of his contract and with no plans to pen fresh terms, is on course to walk away for free.
Now, the Sun report Eddie Nketiah – whose contract also expires in 2022 – is ‘stalling on a new contract’. The Sun state the main factor that blocked Nketiah’s exit were Arsenal’s lofty demands. They initially desired £20m, though dropped that figure to £12m when time began to tick away.
They also reportedly pushed for a ‘sell-on fee or buy-back clause’ to be inserted. Again, that demand helped to dissuade potential suitors. Nketiah therefore remained in North London, though this season will likely be his last.
He is stated to be seeking a ‘bumper payday’ and will be free to sign a pre-contract agreement with overseas clubs in January. The Sun conclude approaches from Germany are likely.