Arsenal’s activities during the January transfer window could indicate what might happen in the upcoming summer transfer window, especially in terms of players departing from the club.
Earlier this year, in an effort to support Arsenal’s quest for their first Premier League title in nearly 20 years, Mikel Arteta strengthened his senior team by making three new signings. Leandro Trossard joined from Brighton & Hove Albion, Jakub Kiwior was acquired from Spezia in Italy, and Jorginho made the move from their London rivals, Chelsea.
With the inclusion of these three signings, Arsenal’s expenditure in the winter transfer window amounted to £54 million. These players made significant contributions that aided Arsenal in qualifying for the Champions League, a feat they hadn’t achieved since 2017.
Although their ultimate objective of winning the Premier League title eluded them, the new additions played a role in the team’s overall performance.
The significance of the signings goes beyond the players themselves and extends to the shirt numbers they were assigned. Leandro Trossard was given the number 19, Jakub Kiwior received the number 15, and Jorginho, who usually wears number 8 for the Italy national team and previously wore number 5 for Chelsea, had number 20 on his Arsenal shirt.
What makes this allocation interesting is that the previous holders of these numbers were Nicolas Pepe, Ainsley Maitland-Niles, and Nuno Tavares. Although these players were not at the club during the time of the mentioned signings, they are technically still contracted to Arsenal, creating a unique situation leading up to the summer transfer window.
Indeed, Ainsley Maitland-Niles has made it known that he will depart Arsenal permanently once his contract expires at the end of the month. The club has not exercised the option to extend his stay for an additional year. As a result, Maitland-Niles will be leaving Arsenal this summer.
“It’s been a great journey but it has come to an end now (at Arsenal),” he told The Athletic. “It’s time for a fresh start and to find a new home. I’m looking forward to that but, at the same time, my head’s not quite there yet and it’s all about what’s happening now with Southampton.
“When the time gets closer towards the end of the season, I’ll have something else to think about. But right now, I’m just focused on football and the task at hand. Southampton is a great club to be at and progress and get some minutes under my belt. Of course, if they were to make an offer, I’ll be more than happy to stay.”
In the cases of Nicolas Pepe and Nuno Tavares, it appears that their loan spells at Nice and Marseille respectively did not prove sufficient to secure permanent transfers. They are now set to return to Arsenal, only to find that their shirt numbers have been reassigned, which could be seen as a clear indication that they have been made available for sale.
While new shirt numbers can be allocated if Arteta intends to include them in his plans for the next season, it seems unlikely considering Arsenal already have ample options in the wide positions and are rumored to be looking for a replacement at left-back if Kieran Tierney departs for Newcastle United or Aston Villa.
It is understood that Arsenal would prefer to generate a transfer fee for Pepe before his contract expires next summer. However, there are contingency plans in place to terminate his contract if necessary.
Additionally, it has been reported that Tavares has expressed a desire to remain in England, and coincidentally, he has been linked with a potential move to West Ham United.
Arsenal may have quietly settled on three summer transfers after finalizing £54m swoop