Ian Wright jokingly claimed that Arsenal would take Liverpool defender Virgil Van Dijk as long as the Reds accepted being paid over the course of 25 years.
The retired forward was reflecting on Arsenal’s recent history in the transfer market on Monday and used the Reds’ centre-back as an example of how the Gunners would like players of his quality, but they’re not going to get them without serious cash upfront.
Arsenal spent big in the summer, particularly when they signed Nicolas Pepe for £72million, as per the BBC, and Wright appears to think that his former side now have the right people in place in charge of their transfers.
“We’d take Van Dijk if they’ll take payment over 25 years,” said Wright on BBC Radio 5 Live (19:59, Monday, August 12th).
“But people won’t take the money like that, but why should they?
“Now we’ve got people upstairs at Arsenal who know what they’re doing and can navigate in those sort of areas.”
Arsenal caught everyone by surprise in the summer window, as they pulled off deals you didn’t expect. The London club were often mocked on social media for supposedly not having a big transfer fund, especially compared to their top-six rivals, yet no rival fan was laughing when the club announced Pepe. After all not only did the London club break their transfer record to sign the 24-year-old attacker, but on paper, he’s a player who could make a real impact in the Premier League. Only Paris St Germain’s Kylian Mbappe had more combined goals and assists then Pepe in Ligue 1 in the 2018/19 season, as per BBC, as the 24-year-old scored 22 goals, while assisting 11 in his 38 league outings. So with that in mind, if Pepe could translate his form to the Premier League then Arsenal could really improve on their fifth-placed finish from last season. However, as for Wright claiming that Arsenal would take Van Dijk if they could, this is no surprise as the London club needed to toughen up defensively based on their record last season. The London club conceded 51 goals in the Premier League, and no one else in the top-six got close to letting in as many goals.