Arsenal must rectify glaring transfer problem after Rob Holding leaves for £4m

Erik ten Hag previews Arsenal v Man Utd clash

Rob Holding’s cut-price Arsenal exit will have reminded the club of a glaring weakness in the transfer market. Whereas the likes of Manchester City and Chelsea made a fortune offloading talent during the summer, the Gunners may be left underwhelmed by the amount they raised alongside another hefty spending spree.

In signing Declan Rice, Kai Havertz and Jurrien Timber, Arsenal sporting director Edu boxed off the majority of his transfer business early in the summer. Goalkeeper David Raya was later signed on loan from Brentford to effectively round off the window in terms of incomings.

The club’s attention was focused mainly on outgoings as deadline day approached. The likes of Folarin Balogun and Granit Xhaka yielded significant fees with their moves to AS Monaco and Bayer Leverkusen respectively, but Arsenal may have paid the price for allowing other deals to drag on late into the summer.

Holding’s late move to Crystal Palace reportedly involved an initial sum of just £1million, with add-ons taking the total package to £4m.

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Such an amount seems insignificant for a 27-year-old defender with just shy of 100 Premier League games under his belt, and one who was entrusted to fill in for William Saliba in the hunt for the title last season.

Arsenal’s ability to financially extract the maximum from their talent pales in comparison to that of Man City or Chelsea. During the window, the Sky Blues banked a combined £53.5m for Aymeric Laporte and Riyad Mahrez – two players arguably past their peaks.

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Chelsea, meanwhile, were seen to have conducted good business by recouping £65m for Havertz, who has started his Arsenal career poorly, and another £60m for Mason Mount, who had only one year remaining on his contract at Stamford Bridge.

The Gunners may have several chances to put things right over the next 12 months. In the case of Nicolas Pepe, it could be even sooner as clubs with later transfer deadlines continue to show interest in the Ivorian flop.

Albert Sambi Lokonga, Nuno Tavares and Kieran Tierney have all embarked on separate loan spells for the season. It would be no surprise to see Arsenal auction them off next summer, which could make up for their failure to bank permanent fees for them this time around.

Honing their ability to sell could become crucial for the Gunners after a sequence of big-spending transfer windows, as in 2021/22 and 2022/23, on top of the summer just gone, considerably more was spent than brought in.

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