First up is a substantial investment in the backroom staff. We sign loads of people from coaches to physios, improving our staff no end. The Head of Youth Development is sacked for an eye-watering £3.1m and seriously upgraded. All’s well at Director of Football though, with Arsene Wenger looking very comfortable behind a desk in a room with 6 massive television sets, all showing footie 24/7…
Anyhow, we’ve got some cash to spend on players. Best part of £40m. Looking at the squad, we could do with upgrades at centre back, left back, central midfield, right wing and up front. But £40 million quid doesn’t go as far as it used to.
In fact, finding upgrades at all within our price range, and current scouting vision, is nigh on impossible. So we’re gonna have to settle for added depth and prioritizing 2 or 3 positions.
For now, we’ll have to make do with what we’ve got at left back and on the right wing. Kieran Gibbs, Theo Walcott and Alex Oxlade- Chamberlain are all “home-grown” options and worth a punt, but Nacho Monreal could be the first player I look to replace, next time there’s money to spend.
The first position to take care of is centre back. Mertesacker and Gabriel are out injured for a while, Rob Holding’s not ready yet, and if experience has taught me anything at all, it’s that a Laurent Koscielny suspension is never far away…
So welcome to Michael Keane. He costs £12.5m, though there are some clauses in there, so it could be more if he’s particularly good. This signing comes with the bonus that he chose us over Tottenham. My coaching team don’t forecast any growth for Keane, but I’m hopeful that at 23 years old, and with my upgraded coaching staff, we can buff a few of those attributes.
Same goes for our new striker Andrea Belotti, who at 22 must have a little more to come. I’m guilty in this case of signing a player that I like “in real life” (whatever that is…) which can always be dicey, but he offers a good option as an advanced forward, different to Giroud’s target man role. He’s also £12.5m, also with clauses.
Franck Kessie comes in as a ball-winning midfielder, which years and years of history suggests Arsenal need. He’s only 19, so our coaching should improve him to be a better option than Coquelin eventually. I suspect I may have slightly overpaid for him, but Atalanta were shrewd negotiators and I couldn’t get him for less than £15m (clauses again).
With that, our business is complete, as the coffers are empty. The only outgoing transfer is Yaya Sanogo to Dijon for a meagre £550k, plus clauses. Ainsley Maitland-Niles and Chuba Akpom go out on loan to Brentford and Huddersfield respectively.