OPINION Arsenal make sensible $31m transfer decision as Nicolo Barella bid planned

Arsenal are focusing all their efforts on exits rather than incomings in the final weeks of the summer transfer window.

After starting their Premier League campaign with a 2-1 win over Nottingham Forest, it is those that weren’t on show at the Emirates Stadium that gained attention in terms of ins and outs. Eddie Nketiah silenced any doubters that had questioned his suitability to being a back-up to Gabriel Jesus whilst Thomas Partey slotted in at right-back.

The midfield was a high point for Mikel Arteta’s men as Declan Rice impressed on his full home debut and Martin Odegaard dazzled. One player that wasn’t used was Jorginho. The Italian, who has been linked with a move away from north London just seven months after arriving from Chelsea, was an unused substitute.

There had been suggestions that he could find himself on his way out but transfer journalist Dean Jones believes he will be remaining. “Jorginho is staying at Arsenal as it stands, and I would actually be surprised if that changes,” he told football fancast.
“There was some talk at the beginning of the window that he would leave, but that was knocked down, and my information is that unless something ridiculous comes along he will be sticking with Arsenal. They’re definitely not actively looking to offload him.”

Jorginho only signed a two-year deal on deadline day over the winter but there have still been suggestions that Inter’s star midfielder Nicolo Barella could be a player brought in regardless. For what is said to be the modest price of £48million ($60m), the Italian star would be a relatively cheap option compared to those that have been or are rumoured to be on the move.
football.london says: Jorginho has already served his purpose at Arsenal, to some extent. He was signed to add experience and depth to the squad for what was already a low fee. Not that Jorginho could inspire the finish to the season that the Gunners had in mind, his role was nonetheless achieved.

Heading into this year and with Partey now set to stay and Rice added, his place in the squad is less defined and perhaps best suited to being a rotational option, especially for early round cup matches, Champions League group stage games and as an effective tempo-dictator off the bench.

Barella would be a clear upgrade both in terms of legs and age as well as offering a genuine long-term solution for Arteta to start planning with. The issue is that Arsenal signing Barella doesn’t really look likely. They are more focused on a new attacker and may well soon need a left-back as well.

Putting money towards Barella at this stage looks like overkill and isn’t directly a deal that needs to be done.

What is becoming more of a worry is state of the left side in defence. Jurrien Timber’s second half injury means that Arteta currently has a big dilemma on his hands.

Oleksandr Zinchenko has missed all of pre-season and is not yet ready to return and Timber had impressed in at left-back in a somewhat makeshift role. Takehiro Tomiyasu deputised from the bench and is also capable of doing both full-back roles, it isn’t a long-term option though.

Kieran Tierney is the other player in contention but even that feels generous. He was left out of the squad for the Premier League opener against Steve Cooper’s side and has struggled to force his way into the resurgent squad. Now it looks like an exit is as close as ever.

There are options for Tierney. A return to Celtic has been raised whilst several lower octane moves to Premier League sides have also been roused but a shock permanent transfer has emerged.

It is reported that Arsenal only want to sell their Scotland international but Spanish side Real Sociedad remain interested. There are still three years left on his contract, hence why Edu Gaspar is keen on recouping a fee for Tierney, and Fabrizio Romano has described the situation as an ‘open race.’

Having signed him for £25million ($31m) in 2019, it’s unlikely that a full return on that will come but things are certainly in motion.

football.london says: Despite the dearth of left-back choices for Arteta, the fact that Tierney is so far removed from his options sums up just where the 26-year-old really stands. It’s a shame, he is still such a useful player as an attacking full-back but it just does not fit the system.

That’s not a slight on Tierney, things have moved past him whilst struggling with injury and it isn’t going to change. Arteta likes his defenders to be smoother, better passers and Tierney is a straight lines type of guy. He has plenty of attributes to make him a serious asset to most teams but right now Arsenal have outgrown him and gone in another direction.

If, even with the absence of two first choice players in his position, Tierney still can’t find a way into the matchday squad then he simply never will. Jakub Kiwior has been used in the position before as well. Timber’s injury could shake things up but in reality it seems unlikely that it will be enough to find Tierney back in the fold.

Any money for him at this stage is worth taking just so both parties can move on.

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