21 July 2015

Arsenal transfer round-up: Szcz to Roma, Flamini to Gala, but who's coming in?

According to the very-reliable Di Marzio, Wojciech Szczęsny is set for a loan to Roma, with the Italian club offering £715,000 or so for the loan and a £7.15m option to buy him at the end of the 2015-16 season. Coupled with news that Mathieu Flamini has signed for Galatasaray (joining Podolski) and Diaby not being offered a contract, we're seeing a clear-out just as aggressive if not more so than last summer's, when we parted ways in various ways with Sagna, Vermaelen, Bendtner, Djourou, and Fabiański, among others. Those who were once good enough are being replaced. Should Szczęsny indeed be loaned out, Arsène would indeed be staking a claim to a more-aggressive agenda, one that should strike fear into our opponents' hearts.

Szczęsny, after all, has been one of his pet-projects, a mercurial player capable by turns of jaw-dropping saves and heart-stopping flubs, and Arsène has stood by the Pole through thick and thin. To hear that Szcz might be loaned out, with an option to buy, suggests that Arsène has bolder plans in mind. It's one thing to part ways with an ageing stalwart like Sagna or misfits like Bendtner or Djourou. Even after the signing of Čech, the assumption has been that Szcz would stay to learn from and be challenged by Čech while Ospina is sold to Fenerbahçe. We'll have to wait and see whether this pans out and what it means for Szcz and Ospina, not to mention Emi Martínez.

In other news, Mathieu Flamini has apparently broken a record (or a principle) by signing with Galatasaray for a £4m transfer-fee. This would mark the first time in Flamini's professional career that a transfer fee would be paid for Flamini. In each of his previous transfers, he's let his contract run down and left on a Bosman. Curioser and curioser, £4m would be far more than we got for Podolski (£1.75m) or that Man U got from Fenerbahçe for van Persie (£3.85m). Seeing van Persie get scythed down by Flamini? Priceless.

In news less-stirring but more-certain, of course, we've loaned Jenkinson to West Ham and Sanogo to Ajax. With Bellerín's continued growth and the return of Debuchy, Jenkinson is all but surplus to requirements, and joining West Ham for a second season makes sense. Sanogo to Ajax is similarly sensible, although it does leave us a bit thin at striker. Behind Giroud, we now have only Welbeck as a "proven" alternative, with Joel Campbell finishing a loan-spell to Villareal and now a tranfer-target of Real Sociedad, and Walcott and Alexis as wingers who can occasionally play through the middle against certain opponents.

The departure of Flamini and loan of Sanogo raises hopes that Arsène will bring in direct replacements. After all, upgrades at defensive midfield and striker have been among our most-desperate desires. Could we still see Benzema arrive? It's possible. The signing of Čech was a signal of intent, even if less-dramatic on its face than those of Özil or Alexis. To hear that Szczęsny might be the one to make way does raise the stakes a bit.

We might be seeing a new era, one in which we only sell and buy when we want to, not when we have to. Who then might we buy?