EDU GASPER: THE MAN BEHIND THE BIG ARSENAL CULLING
With nine wins, nine losses and four draws, it’s fair to say Arsenals league form this year has been erratic at best, but one man has been performing consistently all season, the clubs technical director Edu.
The Brazilian has brought in quality signings in the areas needed despite the gunner’s tough financial situation, whilst successfully getting rid of the team’s dead wood which the club has been failing to shift for years.
This season Arsenal have signed Thomas Partey, Gabriel, Matt Ryan and Martin Odegaard whilst getting rid of Shkrodran Mustafi, Sead Kolasinac, Ainsley Maitland-Niles, Joe Willock, William Saliba, Sokratis, and most significantly Mesut Ozil.
Fans are yet to see the best of Partey due to his injury problems, but the Ghanaian is sure to add steel and a touch of class to the clubs midfield for years to come.
Gabriel, in comparison, has hardly been out of the team and has dramatically improved the gunners defence from one of the worst in the league to one of the best. The 23-year-old looks confident and assured, with him having the potential to turn into a world class centre-back.
Odegaard is a generational talent, though his career hasn’t exactly gone to plan so far. With 7 goals and 9 assists last season, he is not a signing to be frowned upon.
Perhaps though, it may be the players that Edu has managed to shift out that may prove to be the technical director’s best business.
The Coronavirus pandemic has of course had a drastically bad effect on clubs financially, with Arsenals large squad proving to be a huge drain, but now thanks to Edu’s work in January the club has taken more than £700,000 off of the weekly wage bill.
This could prove significant come the summer as Arsenal will be in a much stronger financial position and may be able to take advantage of clubs struggling for cash across the continent, by signing their best players on the cheap.
Kolasinac and Mustafi have joined Bundesliga strugglers Schalke. Fans of the Royal Blues will hope that the two can turn their careers around and steer the club away from danger. They certainly have a lot to prove.
Sokratis was released from his contract and joined Olympiacos, whilst Ozil has joined Fenerbahçe on a free transfer.
The Germans move away has been a messy one, but in time he will be remembered fondly by the gunners faithful.
Edu has also managed to get good loan moves for the clubs youngsters.
Maitland-Niles will be hoping to recover his FA Cup form from last season whilst he is on loan at West Brom, with the Englishman hoping that he can get back into the national squad for the Euros.
Willock has a great opportunity out on loan at Newcastle after consistently playing well in the Europa League in the last two seasons, and for the 21-years-old it could be his last chance to make it as an Arsenal player.
Saliba has been loaned out to Nice for the rest of the season, with the youngster hoping to prove manager Mikel Arteta wrong for freezing him out of the squad.
With two key loan signings and seven players going out, it has been a successful transfer window for the gunners.
Fans can only hope that Edu’s excellent management off of the pitch can translate to better results on it.