Most of the talk surrounding Arsenal’s summer transfers was about their purchases, and rightly so. The Gunners stunned the soccer world by securing Nicolas Pepe in a club-record £72 million deal. One of the most sought after players in all of Europe, Pepe gives Arsenal some much needed creativity, pace, and width on the pitch. They also intelligently added quality players in the correct positions.
Kieran Tierney, David Luiz, and William Saliba were all brought in to help stabilize a leaky defense (although they will have to wait a year on the Frenchman). The loan deal for Dani Ceballos also appears to be a very shrewd piece of business for the club as well, while Gabriel Martinelli is a typical teenage Arsenal signing for the future.
Although the north London outfit clearly had a fantastic summer as far as signings go, credit also has to be given for their outgoings as well. The fairly new regime of Raul Sanllehi, Edu, and Vinai Venkatesham were ruthless in their clear out of players. Along with the quartet of summer releases (Petr Cech, Aaron Ramsey, Stephan Lichtsteiner, and Danny Welbeck), Arsenal were able to either sell or loan out seven additional first team players.
This also does not include departures from the youth setup such as Krystian Bielik, Xavier Amaechi, Dominic Thompson, and Takuma Asano.
After factoring in the new signings, Arsenal’s annual senior wage bill has decreased by about £26 million since the end of last season. Not only has the wage bill steeply decreased in such a short amount of time, but the current squad is well-rounded, more talented, and younger than in recent years.
With an average age of arrivals at just 22, the Gunners clearly made an attempt to get younger this summer. Besides the fact that Luiz was the only player north of 24 to be brought in, the club also promoted young prospects such as Reiss Nelson, Emile Smith Rowe, and Joe Willock. As far as outgoings go, Alex Iwobi was the only one out of the 11 senior players to be under the age of 27.
The £90 million net spend on quality players was certainly both impressive and important; however, the massive reduction of player wages was absolutely imperative. The old regime may have left the club with a swollen wage bill and an aging squad, but Raul and co. have mostly fixed these issues in one summer transfer window. Not only did the Gunners get younger and lower the wage bill, but most importantly, they are now favorites to finish in a top four position in the Premier League table.