Arsenal’s recent shift in transfer strategy has appeared to begun bearing fruit for the north London club. Long gone are the days of signing older players on big contracts and now are the moves for a sustainable squad that can keep up results in the current campaign with a broader look at the future.
Hale End academy stars are given the chance to shine, with the likes of Bukayo Saka, Emile Smith Rowe and Eddie Nketiah already established as first-team ready. This faith in youngsters has continued into this season, with Mikel Arteta handing a Premier League debut to 15-year-old Ethan Nwaneri late in the game against Brentford on Sunday.
When asked about that decision, the manager said after the game: “It was a pure gut feeling. I met the boy (and) really liked what I saw. Per Mertesacker and the academy staff are giving me really good information, Edu as well. I met him, he’s trained a couple of times with us.
“Yesterday he had to come because we have injuries, especially the injury of Martin (Odegaard), and then I had that feeling from yesterday that if the opportunity could come that I was going to do it and I just done it.”
Surrounding the influx of youth talent are the signings that match the project setup by Arteta, looking for a consistent type of performer and character in the squad. While the club have looked to invest heavily in the Spaniard, the early signs this season remain positive.
However, a ranking of the top overspenders in the past 10 years suggest there’s still work to be done to keep the club sustainable. According to CIES Football Observatory, the Gunners rank seventh in the top five leagues for money wasted by comparison between their value and how much they paid.
The figure currently stands at paying over £113million more than they got over that time period. Some of their rivals rank much worse though, with Manchester United in first place having overpaid by £209million.
London rivals Chelsea are marginally ahead of the Gunners too, finding themselves £113.5million over. North London rivals Tottenham, on the other hand, have made up value by £5.25million, labelled one of the more sustainable clubs, albeit with some questionable player investment over the years.
With a new strategy in place, Arsenal will certainly be hoping that number can shrink for them over the next few years as they make smarter decisions with a squad of players still having their best years ahead of them.