Thoughts on Arsenal’s Transfer Deadline Day Deals
Mikel Arteta and Edu Gaspar had an alignment to trim the squad weeks ago and several players like Rob Holding, Nicolas Pepe, Albert Sambi Lokonga, Cedric Soares and the wantaway forward, Folarin Balogun were on the potential chopping block.
Arsenal had done great business to bring in their transfers really early with the acquisitions of Kai Havertz, Jurrien Timber and Declan Rice, giving them time to bed in with the squad early. The interest on Matt Turner by Nottingham Forest paved the way for Arsenal to make a ballsy move for David Raya, and the ‘goalkeeping union’ got a nice shuffle with Aaron Ramsdale set to get stiff competition for his position.
Auston Trusty was the first to leave in early August to Sheffield United, with Turner leaving afterwards. Marquinhos moved to France on loan, which was followed by Alex Runar Runarsson to Cardiff City. After a slight break in transfer business for a couple of weeks, things heated up towards the end of the window – Kieran Tierney moved to Real Sociedad on loan, which was followed by the much-anticipated sale of Folarin Balogun.
Then there was transfer deadline day.
We weren’t expecting any incoming deals, but there were still a couple of players that needed to be shipped out. First off, Nuno Tavares made his loan move to Nottingham Forest, a deal he had walked out on a couple of weeks ago. Then we learned that Crystal Palace had gathered interest in Rob Holding. I’d shared my thoughts on Holding’s potential move out of the club and even though it was not a big money move, I believe it was the right move because he had really regressed at Arsenal and gone further down the pecking order. After 162 appearances and five trophies with the club, Holding leaves to Crystal Palace with all the respect Arsenal fans can afford to give him. A model professional to the very end, coming on to do a job on the pitch when he was asked to do so by his gaffer and was never seen in the media mouthing off his lack of playing time.
A loan move I also expected to see was Albert Sambi Lokonga, but not to Luton Town. He was widely expected to make a move to be re-joined with his former boss, Vincent Kompany, at Burnley, but despite their interest, that move never materialized. A move to Luton is very interesting and I hope he gets a lot of game time to further improve his chances of finding a permanent move out of the club, because there is no light at the end of the Arsenal tunnel for him, at this point in his career.
However, with Mohamed Elneny and Jorginho in the Septembers of their careers, there might still be hope for Lokonga.