Wednesday, March 15, 2023

Stan Kroenke Arsenal transfer strategy can fulfil Xavi Simons 'dream' signing at PSG expense

Arsenal are 11 games away from winning their first Premier League title in nearly 20 years. Mikel Arteta has nitpicked a squad of players worthy of being labelled champions but there are no signs of the club relaxing on one year of success.

Ever since the Gunners last lifted the title at Highbury in 2004, every champion has enjoyed a sturdy spell of success in the following years – even Leicester City. As far as Arsenal are concerned, this season is certainly not a ‘lucky’ season.

The business completed in the January transfer window saw Leandro Trossard, Jakub Kiwior and Jorginho all arrive. There’s no hiding away from the fact that Trossard and Jorginho were Edu’s first-choice targets with Mykhailo Mudryk and Moises Caicedo the priority.

Arsenal’s recruitment team reaped the rewards from their work in January. A clear transfer strategy is in place at London Colney and the vision is expected to play a key role in next season’s performances. “We are very excited with where we are at the moment, but we have to understand there’s still a journey to go, still things to do,” Edu told football.london at the London Football Awards.

“Of course, we’re happy to be in the moment we are now, but we have to understand there’s still things to go to keep going.”

And keep going they will. The Gunners have already been strongly linked with a move for a new midfielder in the summer, with football.london understanding that there remains a strong interest in Declan Rice. The England international looks certain to leave West Ham at the end of the season – especially if the Hammers suffer relegation to the Championship.

However, as we’ve seen in the past couple of windows in Kiwior and Fabio Vieira, investment in the future will be on the agenda once again. There’s an array of talent on display across Europe and plenty of options to choose from – albeit at expensive price tags.

However, one man that Edu Gaspar has already had the chance to watch is PSV Eindhoven sensation Xavi Simons. The Netherlands’ generational talent is a name that many in football are aware of having progressed through Barcelona’s famous La Masia academy before moving to Paris Saint-Germain at 16.

Since joining PSV on a free transfer last summer, he’s been one of Ruud van Nistelrooy’s most impressive players this season, scoring 15 goals and assisting eight in 37 appearances.

Following the January sales of Noni Madueke and Cody Gakpo, Simons is now PSV’s key asset. At only 19, he’s highly rated from many across Europe, including Liverpool and PSG.

Capable of playing on either wing, as a number 10 or as a centre-forward, Simons would be a smart acquisition by the Gunners. There’s no surprise his services have been attracted after less than a year since moving, with PSV sporting director Marcel Brands hinting at a possible move to England.

“I don’t think he 100% returns to PSG. I am confident that he will just play here next year,” he told BNR. “We will work with him and see if we can get that PSG clause out.. and it’s not only PSG, I think he also dreams of Premier League.”

If reports are believed to be accurate, there is now interest from Manchester United and Newcastle. Transfer expert Ekrem Konur has suggested both clubs have sent scouts to assess the teenager. There is also the enormous issue laying in PSG’s first-option clause, with 90min claiming the French giants can re-sign him in the summer for between €10m (£8.8m)-€12m (£10.5m)

For Arsenal, focus remains solely on the current campaign. Despite this, Edu has hinted at how a decision will be made on possible signings in the future. Speaking to Arsenal fan TV (AFTV), he said: “We have started to talk about ‘WE’ as a club, deciding who we want. It’s not Edu, it’s not Arteta and it’s not the board. We decide who the best players for Arsenal football club.

“It’s unfair to talk about me, because I know I have a lot of people helping me as well to make the right decisions. Mikel, also, has a lot of people helping him to make good decisions. Of course, sometimes you have to be there in front of people and lead those processes, but it’s fair to mention that we have a big team around us to make good decisions.”

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