Arsenal manager Unai Emery’s transfer budget worries have been well documented this summer with just a reported £45m available to strengthen multiple key areas of concern – to put that in perspective, Bayern Munich are offering that exact number for Chelsea’s Callum Hudson-Odoi. Realistically, it could be said that Arsenal need a new centre-back, left-back and at least a new winger or attacking midfielder. It will be very difficult to successfully fill all of those voids with the tiny finances available. However, there are a number of under-rated stars that could come considerably cheaper than some of the big names. Here’s a scenario:
Dani Ceballos (loan)
The Gunners have been linked for a move to Real Madrid midfielder Dani Ceballos – a loan move. The La Liga giants are in need of reducing their squad size or risk facing a number of unhappy stars who aren’t getting sufficient game time. A loan move here could suit all parties – firstly, Arsenal won’t have to pay any major transfer fee in gaining the Spain international. Real will successfully trim their squad down slightly and for the player, he can impress either resulting in a permanent move to the Emirates or elsewhere – or even finding a first-team spot upon his return. The 22-year-old impressed at this summer’s Under-21 European Championship, scoring two and assisting two, recording an average rating of 8.01. Maybe his Spanish compatriot Emery can get the best out of the playmaker next season.
Dennis Praet (£21.6m)
The Belgium international might not be the first name on people’s lips when wanting a new winger but the 25-year-old has stood out for Sampdoria in the Serie A this season. In 34 appearances he has bagged two goals and three assists, averaging a rating of 6.99. By comparison, Arsenal’s only first-team winger Alex Iwobi underperformed averaging 6.62 in 35 appearances – though he did manage to gain more assists but in some part that could be down to the style of football of their respective managers. It could be a better option than risking the inexperience and unproven abilities of some of their youth prospects – Bukayo Saka may be impressing in pre-season but he’s only featured for the first team on four occasions.
Jamaal Lascelles (£13.5m)
Arsenal have had big defensive issues for the majority of the season and with Laurent Koscielny’s latest catastrophic update, demanding to leave the club, Emery may need a new centre-back and fast. The problem is with £45m to spend and a number of players being able to play there, he may not prioritise that position. One option could be Jamaal Lascelles from Newcastle who has proven Premier League experience. The Magpies’ ownership aren’t prone to selling their best players as seen with Ayoze Perez‘s move to Leicester this summer so a deal could easily be made on Arsenal’s part. In 32 appearances last season, the 25-year-old captain averaged 6.6 clearances per game (more than any Arsenal defender playing over 20 games), 0.9 blocks per game (better, again) and averaged an overall rating of 6.80.
Total spend: £35.1m – not too shabby…