This transfer window is a time for Arsenal to be shrewd, methodical and pragmatic.
As a Europa League team on a decidedly Europa League-level budget, making the step back up to the Champions League won’t be as simple as playing better, with the clubs ahead of them able to take larger strides forward with their more lucrative financial resources.
So what Arsenal need to do is get ahead of the curve. Buy those players who, in two or three years’ time, will command the fees that Europe’s best will be hesitant to cough up.
It’s almost a win-win situation. In the worst-case scenario, those fees go to Arsenal.
But in the best-case scenario, Arsenal will have built a squad worthy of competing in the Champions League without breaking the bank. And in their pursuit of Kieran Tierney, The Gunners seem to be heading in the right direction towards achieving that goal.
At a reported £25m, Tierney would represent great value for money should he come to build a long and successful Emirates career. At just 22, spreading that cost over the next few seasons would see his supposed asking price become an absolute steal – especially if the transfer market continues to inflate at the rate we have seen in recent years.
With Arsenal seemingly in pole position for his signature – as richer clubs understandably pursue more expensive targets – The Gunners have to find their place in their market like this more consistently if they are to turn domestic and European failure into Premier League or Champions League glory one day.
Tierney’s signing would be right on the money, and the £7.2m capture of Matteo Guendouzi last summer was of a similar vein given the Frenchman’s promising start to his Premier League career.
Building for the future is exactly the right strategy for Arsenal to undertake – for when the time comes that they are in a position to vie for top-drawer signings once again, they’ll need those around them to be of a similar standard if they are to be successful.
That plan doesn’t come without its risks – there’s no guarantee any deal will turn out to be a profitable one – but with Arsenal’s resources in mind, they may be left with little choice if they want to fast-track their progress under Unai Emery.
Should the Celtic left-back join The Gunners, he could herald something of a new beginning at The Emirates, and if he fulfils his potential as an Arsenal player, the club could be assured of their brave transfer strategy paying off.