The North London club have apparently eclipsed Chelsea as both clubs chase two of the summer transfer window’s most-coveted target: Declan Rice and Moisés Caicedo. Various reports go so far as to say that Chelsea are “out of the running” for Rice and that Arsenal have “jumped ahead” of Chelsea in the race to sign Caicedo. Signing just one would be a massive boost to our fortunes; signing both? Priceless.
Well, “priceless” might understate the fees being bandied about. Moyes is on record as stating that “there’s a good chance [West Ham] don’t have Declan Rice next season”, and Rice did come back out after the Hammers’ win over Leeds to do his own lap of honour, as if he knew that this was his last match at London Stadium in a Hammers uniform. Whether this means he’ll end up at the Arsenal is still an open question, but, given his desire to stay in London and play in the Champions League, the list of suitors did just narrow to just one club. For those still in the dark, I’m talking about Arsenal. No other London club can offer Champions League play. We’re still waiting to find out who between Tottenham and Brentford can offer the Europa Conference League to Rice. He’s been there and done that.
Over to Caicedo, we probably came a Trossard transfer from adding Caicedo back in January. Having maimed Martinelli while his Seagulls mauled us a week ago, the Ecuadorian has some fences to mend. What better way to do that than by joining Rice at the Arsenal? They’d almost instantly become one of the most-exciting and dynamic midfield duos in the Prem, and Caicedo in particular offers the kind of positional flexbility that has made Zinchenko so valuable on the left. Against us, as he’s done numerous times, he played RB rather than DM. He might be a bit rough around the edges (as shown by that foul on Martinelli and the fact that he’s committed the second-most fouls in the Prem behind Newcastle’s Joelinton.
What would all of this cost? Between the two, we could be looking at something approaching £200m, but I suspect that the combined fees would be closer to £150m. That’s still quite a lot and suggests that one (or both) could break our club record £72m for Nicolas Pépé. While such a sum sounds like quite a lot, it is, for better or worse, the water we’re all swimming in. Until and unless clubs like Chelsea and Man City are actually held accountable for their chicanery, fees and wages will continue to ride. We’ll have to trust Edu, Arteta, and the Kroenkes to make responsible decisions. They showed that they would not be drawn into a bidding war for Mudryk, which suggests that they will walk away from a negotiation in which the numbers exceed their valuation.
If that means we miss out on one of the two, I can live with that. I think I may speak for more than a few Gooners when I suggest that missing out on both, especially if it’s over “just” a few million quid, might be problematic. We’re seeing how a lack of depth and flexibility have cost us during the run-in, and that’s without anything to focus on other than the Prem since the Ides of March. If we’re to build on this season’s remarkable progress, we’ll have to add at least four players. We can’t coast through the Champions League group stage as we did through this past season’s Europa League group stage.
Our priority for next season will still probably be to compete for the Prem title—the gap to those vying to win the Champions League is still too vast—and maybe to win one or both of the domestic cups.
Last but not least, I hope you don’t mind too much that I wallowed in a bit of clickbaitery with my title. Unlike the clickbait experts, I put a bit of thought and effort into offering something insightful, enjoyable, and (maybe) accurate. If you disagree, let me have it in the comments section below. At any rate, thanks for stopping by and (perhaps) reading to this point.