Arsenal round-up: Lemar discusses future; Mustafi update; Stadium capacity increase plans
Arsenal had a disappointing final day of the transfer window and there are lots of questions regarding the future direction of the club. Thomas Lemar was a priority target this summer and despite a late bid on deadline day, they couldn’t convince him to move to North London. After France’s win over the Netherlands, the player spoke to Canal+ and the quotes were reported by the Independent:
“I’m a Monaco player, I’m very happy there. Now, I’m going to have a good season with my club, try to improve and move forward in my career. I am going back to Monaco,”
It always looked like a long shot on the final day, as Arsenal don’t have Champions League football and their start to the new season suggested that they wouldn’t be returning to the competition any time soon. They remain an attractive option for the majority of players, but Lemar has interest from a lot of Europe’s elite. His advisers would have convinced him to turn down a move to the Emirates Stadium and wait it out at Monaco for another few months at least.
Shkodran Mustafi was linked with a deadline move away, but he ended up staying at Arsenal and supporters will be pleased by that. The Mail report that Inter Milan walked away from the deal as the demands were too high. The Gunners were holding out for a fee in the region of £35 million and the Serie A club didn’t think that the German was worth that.
It seemed odd that Arsenal were considering a sale, as they are short on quality at the back. Mustafi isn’t perfect, but he is one of the better defenders at the club. Their first eleven would have been weakened by his departure and it made no sense moving him on without bringing in a replacement. The German could be set for a move in future windows, but the fans will be relieved that he is staying for the time being.
There was some positive news that surfaced today, as Arsenal are planning to increase the capacity of the Emirates Stadium. Football London report that they want to add another 800 seats to the ground in a plan that has been named Operation Saturn. Due to recent developments, the stadium’s capacity has fallen below 60,000 and the club want to get it back over that mark.
This is a positive development as it means there will be more opportunities for supporters to go to games, but the timing of the report isn’t the best. The club have just made a profit in the transfer window and supporters won’t want to hear that the money is going on other projects rather than being invested in the team.