Incredible stat shows how pathetic Arsenal’s transfer policy has been

Robin Bairner
Albert Sambi Lokonga during Arsenal's 2-0 loss to Brentford in the Premier League

Arsenal’s difficult summer went from bad to worse on Friday, as they opened their Premier League season with a 2-0 defeat against new boys Brentford.

Sergio Canas got the opening goal of the game in the first half of the match, cutting in from the left side of the match and flashing a shot by goalkeeper Bernd Leno into the near post of the goal. It was a strike that the hosts added to thanks to Christian Norgaard with around 20 minutes left.

It was a well-deserved win for the Bees. They abandoned their usual principles of playing fluid football for a direct approach, designed to put the pressure on new Arsenal centre-back Ben White – their only major addition of the summer.

The ploy worked. Ivan Toney dominated the Gunners’ centre-backs and Brentford were persistently the side posing questions.

Mikel Arteta might point out that he was handcuffed by the absences of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette were absent because of illness, leaving youngster Folarin Balogun to lead the line, yet his side boasted a huge advantage over their opponents in terms of transfer clout.

Arsenal signings in focus

Arsenal's Bukayo Saka reacts during the 2-0 Premier League loss to Brentford

This was emphasised by the stunning statistic that the entire Brentford starting XI cost just £53m – barely more than White and substantially less than Nicolas Pepe, who started on the right for the Gunners and cost in the region of £70m in 2019.

Indeed, with the exception of academy products Balogun and Emile Smith Rowe, Arsenal’s team have seven players who cost in excess of Kristoffer Ajer, Brentford’s record signing, who was making his competitive debut after arriving from Celtic. These players, Pablo Mari and Gabriel Martinelli, both cost more than the Brentford average.

With key targets having rejected Arsenal this summer, notably Sergio Ramos and Emiliano Buendia, the plight of the club is clear and the lack of coherent transfer strategy was laid bare against an excellent Brentford side, who humiliated the Gunners. It may just be the beginning of a very long season indeed.