Arsenal may have signed five players this summer but technical director Edu insists the club are keeping a close eye on the transfer market in case other opportunities arise.
After the weekend win over Chelsea in Florida, manager Mikel Arteta referenced the possibility of further ‘ins’ before September but was clear as well that he needs to trim the fat from his squad having amassed a senior squad of 33 players.
“I think we have to be prepared for every situation,” Edu told Sky Sports.
“We still feel the transfer window is open and the most important thing is to be prepared for everything, every scenario, because opportunities can happen.
“Clubs can approach us, players probably want to go on loan, so there’s still lots to do, but again, being prepared for me is the most important [thing] and for sure we are very much prepared for almost everything.”
While admitting the process of selling players is easier said than done, Edu promises to be straight with those who aren’t part of the manager’s plan.
“No [it’s not easy], but it’s a part of our job to try to create some opportunities for the players,” he said.
“I think the most important thing is to make the player understand why he is here or why he needs to go, and then we have to create some possibilities with the player’s agents and try to find the best solution possible for the player.
“As soon as you give to them a clear idea of what you want to do, it helps the situation. It’s a challenge because you have to find clubs, situations and loans. But again, if you can be direct to the player in a very respectful way, that helps a little bit to make the best decision.”
While player churn is nothing new in football, the concerted effort to reshape Arsenal’s squad to Arteta’s liking has seen a huge number of players leave the club.
In some instances – Mesut Ozil, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Sokratis, Shkodran Mustafi, Sead Kolasinac – they’ve been paid to find a new home. After years of studiously balancing the books under Arsene Wenger, it’s a policy that has often left supporters scratching their heads.
In a separate interview with The Athletic (£), Edu explained the thinking behind such drastic action.
“Try to avoid one more year with the problem inside, in the dressing room, expensive, not performing. Clean, take it out. Even, I’m sorry, if you have to pay. To leave is better. Because that guy is sometimes also blocking someone.
“I know it hurts, I know it’s strange when I go to the board and say, ‘Sometimes it’s better to pay a player to leave than maintain them’. But I consider it an investment. Sometimes people say, ‘It’s expensive’. I say, ‘No, it’s investment’. But someone will pay if you sell? No, guys — if the player is above 26, 27 and not performing, big salary, no chance.”
If we’re to believe Edu, we’re halfway through a five-year plan that he presented to the board ahead of Arteta’s appointment as manager. After a difficult period of laying stronger foundations, things, in theory, should start to improve.
“I said to Mikel and to the board: ‘Guys, 2022-23 will be the season we’re going to be much better. We have to be patient… It would be impossible to take everyone out and put everyone in, we need a process to do that. We need good decisions, we need to be brave, we’re going to (face) some difficult moments with players, agents, etc. But that’s the plan’.”