Arteta is set to have a tricky summer of adding quality to his squad and holding on to his present top-quality stars to bridge the quality gap between his team and Guardiola’s. Everyone knows City’s superior squad came in handy for them winning the title race between them and Arsenal. Hopefully Arteta is set to address that.
However, he may have trouble doing so with two of his main men for his squad next season, Declan Rice and William Saliba, putting him in a tricky situation.
For Rice, West Ham are keen on Rice’s exit to be a transfer battle, with Bayern Munich and Manchester United joining Arsenal in the race for his signature. If it turns out to be a transfer race, they may end up holding out for the high price they are rumoured to want for his exit. Thus, Arsenal may be in another Mudryk situation, where they may have to break the bank to beat the competition for their top summer target. Would Edu and Arteta be willing to do that?
For William Saliba, who has made the Arsenal defence his own and is irreplaceable, there’s talk that his wage demands are too high and are making his signing of the new deal challenging. The question is, are Arsenal ready to do everything to keep him or risk losing him in 12 months, if not this summer, if a tempting offer comes through? Well, some would say Arsenal need to do all they can to secure the two (Rice and Saliba’s deals), but Arsenal have indicated in the past, under Arteta, that they are not willing to compromise in deals for their players or for their targets.
Lisandro Martinez and Mykhailo Mudryk are two players Arteta wanted for his project but was disciplined enough not to play over the odds for their deals. Missing out on them, other quality alternatives were signed: Jakub Kiwior and Oleksander Zinchenko in Martinez’s case and Leandro Trossard, the “assist king,” in Mudryk’s case. Back in 2021, snubbing a £60 million move for James Maddison for a £30 million Odegaard swoop is also an example of when Arsenal chose not to be forced to pay over the odds for a player they wanted. So would Arsenal change their transfer policy for Rice? I don’t know why but I feel they won’t (probably, just like the other top targets, there may be other cheaper alternatives).
Balancing the wage bill: Arsenal is one team that’s been disciplined in how they pay their stars. Mikel Arteta, in his time at the Emirates, has tried to find balance, not overpay, in the salary he offers his players. Let’s say Saliba’s salary demands are met, and it is known he got his way. What stops other players from also copying Saliba and pushing for a higher salary when they are at the point of agreeing to new deals?
Arsenal have a policy regarding the figures they pay for new signings and the salaries they offer. So Arteta is in a position where he needs to decide – does he compromise or does he stick to a policy that has kept his squad disciplined?
Video – Alfie and Rob are back for the summer transfer window
Here is their first analysis of the summer, where Alfie and Rob discuss and predict every single possible Arsenal incoming and outgoing this summer, including fees and potential destinations for outgoings.
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