“Quality and physicality” – Edu reflects on Arsenal’s transfer business

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Technical director Edu says he’s pleased with the way Arsenal navigated a difficult transfer window to secure targets who he believes bring quality and physicality to Mikel Arteta’s first team squad.

The acquisition of long-term target Thomas Partey from Atletico Madrid for €50 million stole the headlines on deadline day but the Brazilian is equally pleased with the capture of compatriots Gabriel and Willian, signed from Lille and as a free agent respectively, and a second loan deal for Real Madrid’s Dani Ceballos.

Lower-profile signings included backup keeper Alex Runarsson and a host of youngsters who will challenge for a place in the senior side in the years to come.

“I think we improved the squad’s quality and physicality,” Edu told Arsenal.com three days after the window closed.

“Thomas, who we had in our plan for the future, when me and Mikel sit and talked, I think you get all the players who we really focused on.

“If you see Willian, he brings us experience and a very special physicality in terms of speed. If you see Gabriel, he gives us a lot of physicality and presence. Dani, quality. Thomas, physicality, quality and mentally he is very strong.

“But in the end if you see all these players we brought to the club, they are very good here [points to legs], but they are better here [points to head] which for me is very important because when you talk to the players, they have a lot of ambition, they are excited and they are hungry to win a title again.

“This, for me, is important to have in the players to not only be good here [points to legs], but good here [points to head]. And they are.”

Edu also played up the importance of tying down Gabriel Martinelli, Bukayo Saka and captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to new deals.

“This is another good point I want to mention because normally people are talking about signing players but for me and Mikel, we dedicate our time to what we have at home.

“So we have to renew players, we have to give our respect to the players we have here, so let’s do it as soon as possible.

“If you see, Martinelli was the first one we did even before the window, Bukayo was during the window and Auba was in the window as well.

“Those three, in my plan, was to try to get them done before the window even opened but of course there are negotiations, there are talks, there are meetings but we did it and it’s an important point as well.”

That Arsenal were able to splash the cash has come as a surprise to many, especially against the backdrop of a Covid-19-related downturn in revenue.

With the club haemorrhaging income from the moment football stopped in March, players were asked to take pay cuts that were supposed to help stem the need for job losses. In August, days after winning the FA Cup final, the club revealed 55 employees would be made redundant. Other departures, including that of the man who plays the role of club mascot Gunnersaurus, have also made headlines.

So how did the Gunners find €50 million to spend on Partey? Writing yesterday for The Athletic (£), Amy Lawrence explained that owner Stan Kroenke “provided some funds…as a show of their confidence in Arteta.”

Edu has seemingly corroborated that take, explaining he only felt confident of a deal for the Ghana international once he’d been given the green light by those above him.

“When I received the green light from the board and the owners, yes, I was confident [we would get the deal done],” he reflected.

“It’s an important player and it is, to be fair, a huge investment for this moment in which we are now and we needed a green light from them.

“When I showed my plan to them, they were so excited, they understand the plan and they pressed the button, green. Then I felt very confident. As I said, it’s not easy to invest a lot of money in this period of time.”

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Glen Jones

Fair play to Stan

Var Will Solve The Problem

Yup. Gotta give credit when it’s due. Specially when you look at clubs like Real Madrid failing to do any transfer for the first time in 20 years or Barcelona failing to do even a staright forward 22 mill deal for Memphis Depay for lack of cash. We still managed to do many of the deals and I completely forgot about the new deals for Saka, Martinelli and Auba. Im sure we had to pay them bonuses for signing new contracts.
Yes, we did not spend like Chelsea but at the same time we were not as dysfunctional as Barcelona.

Johnny 4 Hats

I suppose just in recent memory we’ve had a big player every year. Laca, Auba, Pepe then Partey. And with those players a few expedient, lower status transfers that have often worked to fill gaps too. But it’s also important to remember that this is all coming from the clubs coffers. I think I’m right in saying that Stan still hasn’t put his hand in his pocket. These major transfers are great but sometimes it feels like we are so behind the pack that even an Aubamayang or a Partey isn’t enough to do anymore than keep us at the… Read more »

TOGooner

It’s maybe fair to critique the owner and directors for not doing enough with transfer dealing when it comes to quality and vision in recent past, but we have absolutely spent money. We spent money we didn’t think we had, then we spent more. We are behind the pack because we don’t have champions league and we still bought partey when other clubs tiddled their woodwards. For the first time in a long time, I feel good about us and our future. And Martinelli saka and tierney aren’t cash cows they are players we would wish u could buy if… Read more »

Johnny 4 Hats

Ok but it’s still our money. It’s money the club has created from season ticket sales, advertising deals and competition money. So maybe let’s hold judgement on the goodness of the Kroenke’s when they’ve relied on the clubs prosperity, created by Wenger and resurrected by Arteta, to keep the money topped up. We probably wouldn’t have Partey were it not for our profoundly unlikely FA cup win. And I’m not saying that we treat our young players like walking bank transfers. But if Kroenke is going to drip £50m into the transfer account every 12 months then something’s got to… Read more »

Vonnie

It’s still our money? Sorry pal you don’t own Arsenal football club. The players will want to stay because this is a club on the up, those players left because they could see Arsene was losing his edge. You seem hell bent to find fault with the owner supporting the club.

Johnny 4 Hats

And there goes the discussion because I’m stuck in the moderators bin for the next 4 hours. Ah well ??‍♀️

Var Will Solve The Problem

I agree that we could have done more. Aouar would have made this a more than perfect window for me. At the same time, not sure if spending is always the answer. Just look at Man Utd. They have spent so much in last few years and if you read the papers, everyone is still demanding them to spend more. So perhaps Kroenkes wants to set realistic targets and invest accordingly. This year our goal sb Champions league. Now do we have a squad for top 4 finish? Looking at only the players alone and investments made by other teams…I… Read more »

Yellow Ribbon

Transfer wise we have definitely come a long way. Don’t ever want to relive those days when Wenger used to go for a last minute trolley dash or when players used to leave year after year for better contracts. Absolute nightmare.

Hopefully we make the progress on the pitch too.

David C

Chelski spent a lot of money, but I’m not sure they spent it well. Their best (and most handsome) striker rots on the bench for some reason. Giroud with a couple of goals for France against Ukraine this week.

Lampard will have too many egos to manage in the front three and their defence is still leaky.

Matty Cakes

Don’t think it’ll happen to many times, Stan dipping into the Walmart tills. Nice for it to happen this time though.
Looking forward to Partey-Ceballos-Elneny midfield masterclass in Manchester

Matty Cakes

*Too many

Bobbyp

I’m no particular fan one way or the other, but it’s almost as though Stan can’t win. If he doesn’t put money in people moan, and when he does they still find fault.

Reality check

Long way to go still, his inactivity or under funding is one of many reasons we have fallen so far behind. He remained asleep for years when we needed a little hand for one last push to be contenders. He was happy with a CL place. May that’s why he’s spending, to get that lucrative CL spot. It’s good that he’s realised that a mediocre squad won’t cut anymore, win win for Arsenal. Can’t fault the start considering last few transfer windows, 100 plus last year and has delivered a couple of amazing signings this year too.

John C

Non-sense, the sheer quantity of mid-range mediocrity signed by Wenger is the reason we’re in this position.

In the space of 18 months we signed Gabriel for £11.5m and Mustafi for £35m, both not good enough but if that money was spent of a single player we probably would have got world class.

Another £35m was spent in about the same time on Welbeck and Perez, again both not up to scratch and had we prioritised quality over quantity things would have been different

gooner

he’s not a Hill wood or a lord of Peckham and definitely “this kind of people ” will never be given a benefit of doubt

K9ine

First of many windows to give us the required quality to challenge.
Not getting any hopes up but want just 2 things from the team.
Do better than last year point wise and position wise. That will show real progress.
Give us back St Toterringhams day.
Wish us all the best

Oregoon

Yes. Job one: beat the neighbors and win London. (Well maybe one and two.) Then we have a good chance at the top four.

Tanned arse

Surely you mean second window of getting in required quality? Unless you disagree with tierney pepe saliba and martinelli.

Anonymarse

Will be interesting to see what comes next. Looking good so far.

Avneet

I like the message here, but am I the only one thinking why there were no mention of Vinai at all?

Viv the ?

Thinking about it, yes you are right. But as far as I’m concerned, Vinai is more about administration, and daily running of things. I mean finances too, but maybe it shows, that Mikel and Edu are running the footballing side of things, where decisions about the players and transfers are happening.

TOGooner

He’s on the commercial side of things. Not the footballing side. Though the arrival of Tim Lewis recently may have played a hand in helping Stan open that chequebook.

Salman

This made sense here [points to head]

Christoper Wreh

For the first time in a long time it’s quite exciting to be an Arsenal fan. The squad is looking solid and you can actually see what Arteta wants to build. It’s so refreshing. Anyone with any rationality will see this won’t happen overnight, but I look at certain performances (the cup semi and final in particular) and it’s so nice to see us looking resolute and organised in big games and that’s the foundation upon which to build. It’s slightly tainted by the redundancies which are difficult to be seen in a positive light and, for me, was very… Read more »

Biggles

Well, I never thought that the owners would cough up additional funds in the way they appeared to have done to fund the Partey transfer. That said, I didn’t see how we had the money to pay for it with the expenditure fairly comfortably outstripping the rather meagre income over the window, so a dip into the owner’s pockets seems to make sense. All that said, it will be fascinating to see on what terms we got the money. I doubt it was a gift, I don’t think Christmas has come that early, more likely a loan – possibly interest… Read more »

Willy

Apparently Partey likes to rack up the yellow cards…

Chris

No more than most it looks like, a quick google comes back with 13 for last season and then 3-8 range per season. Xhaka has had 10 the last 3 years so should be alright.

Viv the ?

As long as he does not get send off and concede stupid cards, it is something we were also crying out for.

Auba Auba Laca partey

recruitment (inc contract extension) = 9.5/10! Super chuffed

SteveVallins

I always thought ( with no evidence to back this up ) that we were going to purchase Thomas Partey and that if we could agree a fee which we were willing to pay Lyonn for Auour he would arrived as well .
Auour fee would have been paid over the length of the agreed contract having no immediate impact on finances , along with hopefully a good season and entry into the promised land the Champions League .

Sancheezy

Two points I want to share: 1. Arsenal have spent/invested in massive amounts of money in players (Ozil, Lacazette, Auba, Pepe, Partey, etc.) and it may have been under the leadership eras of Gazidis/Wenger, Sanllehi/Emery or Edu/Arteta. We (fans) all have cried to “spend some f’ing money” which Arsenal have, maybe wrongly doing so by completing some sketchy or irrational deals such as buying two £50 strikers in two consecutive windows or overpaying paying for players (e.g., Pepe deal) under Raul Sanllehi’svreign but the Arsenal ownership have slowly corrected their mistakes with their leadership and have invested into the club.… Read more »

chepetin

Yes, I think you are spot on. In hindsight I think we can all see that things weren’t particularly well run but now with the current execs in place [Lewis, Vinai, Edu, Arteta] I think we are on the right path. It’ll take some time to work through the lingering issues – selling certain players or in the event that we can’t waiting for their contracts to expire – but that’s a normal thing when you are brought in to change/evolve a business. I for one hope for a similar rate of spending in future but it’s imperative that we… Read more »

Tungor_Adams

It seems our owners are taking the hit and not letting arteta’s and edu’s recruitment plan suffer from our inability to sell players no longer required. This is indeed a strong sign of confidence. If we look at recent few years, our owners have outperformed even slightly optimistic expectations. I am leaving the lay offs out of this assessment, not because of lesser importance, more cause I just don’t have visibility.

Name*

“One day I would like to show the fans how we work, or how we worked because if you saw my plan six or seven months ago when I did it with Mikel, Thomas was there already,” he told Arsenal.com. 

[ https://www.arsenal.com/news/parteys-been-our-plans-six-seven-months?fbclid=IwAR0t7Lh4V78cQ0VZisFYjHpvt3MT4uU6xvOvk_wYvafq-cKW48Z2eWZ1pls ]

There was this interesting video on Tifo Football

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f-lplFdG0QY

It was a great video about why that travesty came about. Are we looking at something similar from Arsenal?

Chris O.

If you’re a Gooner and not excited by this, you need to check your pulse.

Frankie

Good transfer window I’m really looking forward to the rest of the season

Elbon

If you look at the squad numbers for this season and the players wearing them, you’ll be very excited for next season. We’ve got the makings of a title-challenging team already.
Leno
Bellerin Saliba Gabriel Tierney
Partey (he’ll get the 5 once Papa goes)
Ceballos Saka
Pepe Auba Martinelli (he’s my first choice for the left when fit and he’ll get the 11 when Torriera leaves).

Goonermatty

I personally can’t wait fir Martinelli to return to fitness from his surgery, his passion, drive and trekkers will be brillian5 for us

Goonermatty

Ok spelling not so brilliant…

Teryima Adi

Thank God the Kroenke’s are helooin

Teryima Adi

Are helping