Yes, there’s actually a reality in this current era where Arsenal upgrade their ambitions from top-four aspirants to that of title challengers. Recent transfer policies implemented by the Gunners mean there could be a change in the club’s perspective moving forward.
Sorry, it’s just not going to be now. Well not immediately at least.
The Gunners are still being commended as the EPL “winners” of the transfer window so far. The manner in which Arsenal completed all their signings – particularly the shock signature of Nicolas Pepe sent a clear message the club is changing its approach.
For all their good fortunes over the summer, Arsenal have a Spaniard to thank for their newfound transfer stronghold – and no it’s not Unai Emery.
Over the summer, Raul Sanllehi oversaw a huge turnover of players, with the main aim being to reduce the wage bill whilst improving the squad.
Early gauges are that Arsenal’s pay bill has decreased by around £20m over the season. This was accomplished with over £45m worth of wages going out the entryway and their incomings costing around £25m in wages.
A second look at Arsenal’s transfer activity will show that the fans indeed have even more to be positive about regarding the summer signings.
Last season much was expounded on the age of Arsenal’s squad.
At 26-years and 5-months, Arsenal had the seventh most oldest squad in the Premier League and the oldest squad in the top six.
But now, the Gunners are a brand new looking side.
From 7th oldest last season, Arsenal now have the youngest squad in the league.
Average ages of Premier League squads for 2019. Arsenal are the youngest of the pile (via The Sun)
Prior to this summer, Arsenal’s transfer policy was to buy experienced professionals. Players who were at their peak, but also costly.
It saw the club sign a lot of players over 26-years-old. The likes of Alexis Sanchez, Mesut Ozil, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette.
This summer we saw a return to the transfer policy that made Arsene Wenger so successful.
David Luiz (32) aside, every player Arsenal was 24 or younger.
Nicolas Pepe (24), Dani Ceballos (23), Kieran Tierney (22), Gabrielle Martinelli (18) & William Saliba (18) all joined the club.
The club also promoted the likes of Joe Willock (20), Reiss Nelson (19) and Emile Smith Rowe to the 1st team squad.
Alongside youngsters coming in, Arsenal saw a whole host of players aged over 30 leave the club in the summer.
Pete Cech, Laurent Koscielny, Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Stephan Lichtsteiner, David Ospina and Nacho Monreal all left over the summer. All aged over 30.
That leaves the club with just 4 players north of 30 – David Luiz, Sokratis, Mesut Ozil and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
Alongside the over 30s, the likes of Danny Welbeck, Aaron Ramsey and Carl Jenkinson also left. All 3 were over Arsenal’s average age in 2018/19.
What this could mean for Arsenal’s future title chances
However, you look at it this is one factor Arsenal will be smiling at – in the next few years to come.
Taking City and Liverpool into context, for instance, will mean both their squads currently have at least two or more years older average ages than the Arsenal squad.
With Liverpool having a squad average of 27.9 years and City having theirs as 27.3 years, it’s fair to say in two to three years, both squads will need overhauls as the current players would be getting to declining ages where they can no longer perform at the required “intensity”.
It would explain that the majority of the Liverpool and City players are in their peak years at the moment (which is an extra value to why they are the major contenders as it stands).
Meaning in the next two to three years, the Arsenal players would have gelled properly and would be hitting their peak years.
While other teams would be worrying about how to “improve” their personnel, the Gunners would only be bothering about squad balance and only a few additions in one or two positions.
Take a Mateo Guendozi for instance who is only 20 and playing like he has been there forever. Imagine what he could look like after proper development in say three years from now. Yes, you’re right to have dreamy thoughts thinking about that.
In football though, things don’t always go as planned but still any case Arsenal would still be the winner.
Transfer prices are now majorly hinging on player ages and should any of these “young” players chose to go in the nearest future, the Gunners would still be smiling home with a hefty/decent paycheck.
A prime example is Alex Iwobi who cost the Gunners nothing when he signed as a kid and ended up being sold for £40m. No one would be able to reject that deal (so let’s not fume Arsenal didn’t).
Raul Sanhelli has changed the perspective and approach in which Arsenal now run their affairs. It’s obvious his refreshed transfer policies will bring better fortunes in the Gunners finances and results on the pitch as well.
The Arsenal transfer window can be rated as a success not just because they signed players for required positions but also because they were well-thought transfers that would fit the bill for a future bargain as well( based on performance or sale returns).
One thing now is obvious, Arsenal are still top-four aspirants but it’s only a matter of time before this team gets a balanced cohesion and upsurges that dominance from City and Liverpool in recent years.