Arsenal are preparing to make their greatest transfer spend ever, with Isak, Calvert-Lewin, and Neves all being targeted as part of a £180 million summer overhaul.
ARSENAL are about to embark on their largest summer spending spree in club history, with up to £180 million set aside for new arrivals.
Stan Kroenke, the club’s billionaire owner, wants to express his faith in manager Mikel Arteta by investing in a big squad improvement.
The hungry young players required to take the Gunners to the next level have been identified as strikers Alexander Isak and Dominic Calvert-Lewin, as well as midfielder Ruben Neves.
But Arteta is well aware that if he is to land those top targets, he will need to qualify for the Champions League this season.
Arsenal have just 20 senior players for their bid for a top-four finish after star striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s startling deadline-day move to Barcelona.
Ex-Arsenal captain Auba, who has been without a club since mid-December due to a disciplinary issue, said he was “proud and thrilled” to join the Catalan giants, but admitted it “hurts” to say goodbye to Arsenal.
Arsenal is thought to have paid a lump sum of roughly £7 million to end the Gabon striker’s £350,000-a-week Emirates contract and allow him to join Barcelona.
Aubameyang signed a three-year contract with an 18-month break clause – and a buy-out clause of £83.4 million – with the LaLiga club officially confirming the deal yesterday.
“I’m quite proud,” Auba said, “especially because my mother’s family is Spanish.”
“I’m incredibly proud and grateful to be here, and I’ll do my best to offer my all.”
He had previously written a social media farewell letter to Arsenal fans.
“Thank you for making London home for my family and me for the past four years,” he said.
“Your encouragement meant the world to me.
“Having the opportunity to win trophies and the honor of captaining this club is something I will cherish for the rest of my life.”
“I’ve always been 100 percent dedicated and determined to doing everything I can for this club, which is why saying goodbye without a proper farewell hurts.”
“I’m sorry I wasn’t able to assist my teammates in the final few weeks, but I have nothing but respect for this club and wish all of my teammates and supporters many more great years in the future.”
During his two years as manager, Arteta has managed a significant clear-out that has helped the club reduce its annual pay expense.
Even though Aubameyang’s exit will save them roughly £20 million, former striker Ian Wright was disappointed to see him leave.
“I’m devastated it’s come to this with Auba because he was created for Arsenal,” he said on his Wrighty’s House podcast.
“I’m not sure what happened between him and Mikel, but I assumed it would be resolved because it was only a year ago that they were together.”
“If there was something wrong with what he was doing, there would have been enough misdeeds for the management to say, ‘Let’s not sign him because he’s done this or that.'”
“Why would they sign him up for so much money if they knew he was doing things they didn’t like, and then he’s gone a year later?”
“None of the current players, like Aubameyang, are proven scorers.”
After spending £150 million last summer on Ben White, Martin Odegaard, Aaron Ramsdale, Takehiro Tomiyasu, Albert Sami Lokonga, and Nuno Tavares, Arteta has been given permission to spend more money.
The success of those six newcomers has persuaded US billionaire Kroenke that Arsenal is finally on the right track after a long period of stagnation.
However, none of the possible recruits will be inexpensive.
Real Sociedad has a £75 million buy-out clause in Isak, Everton has a £60 million buy-out clause in Calvert-Lewin, and Wolves have a £45 million buy-out clause in Neves.
Arsenal, on the other hand, are dangerously short of numbers with Alex Lacazette, Eddie Nketiah, and Mohamed Elneny all set to leave as free agents at the conclusion of the season.
They haven’t ruled out the possibility of offering Lacazette a 12-month contract extension, but they are aware that Lyon is planning to offer him a long-term contract.
When their current loan terms expire at the conclusion of the season, William Saliba, Pablo Mari, and Folarin Balogun are anticipated to return to the club.
Other on-loan players such as Matteo Guendouzi, Lucas Torreira, Hector Bellerin, Ainsley Maitland-Niles, Reiss Nelson, Alex Runarsson, and Konstantinos Mavropanos are expected to fetch roughly £70 million if they are sold.