Since Arsenal’s ‘invincible’ season back in 2003-04, Arsene Wenger has spent just short of £100m on bringing defenders to the Emirates, while Premier League rivals Manchester City have coughed up £250m over the same period for players in the same area of the field.
Commendable as it may be for him to refuse to be drawn into outrageous bidding wars, now has to be the time for Wenger to go out and spend big.
The Gunners have been told that if they wish to secure the services of 24-year-old defender Shkodran Mustafi, they’ll have to fork out £40m+. And though that seems a huge amount, who can blame Valencia for asking for it?
The Arsenal board are regularly reassuring fans that their club is able to compete with the big spenders in world football, there’s clearly a desperate need for a new defender at the Emirates, and Valencia don’t need to sell – so why would the Spanish club accept anything less than £40m for the prized asset?
Wenger has often spoken of his frustration at the way English clubs are treated in the transfer window, and is fighting what looks to be a losing battle in order to keep transfer fees respectably low.
The hard truth is that football is rapidly moving on from the days where you could sign an England defender from your local rivals on a free transfer, or you could simply swap your left-back for a centre-half from another top-flight club.
But this is something the French boss should already know, given that he departed with £16m two summers ago for Calum Chambers (a man who sat on the bench in Sunday’s 0-0 draw to Leicester City while £3m newboy Rob Holding took centre stage), as well as another £12m for Mathieu Debuchy that same year.
Debuchy has represented the Gunners on just 12 occasions in the league since joining from Newcastle. Throw into the mix the acquisition of Andre Santos in 2011 for £7m and the arrival of Sebastien Squillaci in 2010 for £5.5m and these four players cost the club a combined total of £40.5m.
If Wenger was to depart with that figure for World Cup winner Shkodran Mustafi, it would undoubtedly go some way to repairing he seemingly broken bridge between club and fans.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.