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Edu Gaspar: Full time BBQ Aficionado, Part Time Transfer Market Maestro

By Jahid Islam

Hello, readers of We Love You Arsenal! I’m Jahid (@JahidFullStop) with an article looking at the man behind our summer dealings so far. It’s of course, Edu Gaspar. Part time Arsenal Technical Director, full time barbecue expert. But it seems that this summer, the only thing on fire’s been his mobile phone.

Edu’s previous performances in charge of our transfer windows have been hit and miss, to say the least. Stop-gap signings such as Willian and David Luiz early on in his tenure seemed to be transfers based on mutual convenience and paths of least resistance. They still had a few years left in the tank, were clearly quality players once-upon a yesteryear, and perhaps most importantly, had the same coloured passport as Edu. What I’m trying to say, in a waffly manner, is that they were both Brazilian, just like Edu.


But if David Luiz’s performances showed that he was still capable of continuing in the Premier League, Willian would soon leave Arsenal having completed two goals. 1) To make his pension fund a lot more cushy, and 2) help relegate West Brom with his only goal for the North London Reds. If he was a boxer, his record on Brazilians so far would be 1-1; the only way is up, I guess…

Add to that an initial reputation for not going through the hassle selling players, but rather terminating their contracts and enabling them to join other clubs as free agents, it’s understandable as to why some Arsenal fans wished Edu kept his oven gloves out of the boardroom and on the patio grilling some burgers.

A move for Cedric Soares, a middle-of-the-road full-back (if we’re being honest) down at Southampton, as well as recurrent single season loan spells for Dani ‘Theballos' further embodied a lack of ambition. Maybe attributable to Mr Gaspar’s own unremarkable footballing ideology, or perhaps as a direct consequence of his unfamiliarity with the job. Judging by the fact that he was a pretty solid ‘baller back in the day, you know, as one of those ‘Invincible’ lot, and the fact that Mikel Arteta was also a fresh-faced manager, I’d be inclined to agree with the latter.

However, there were early triumphs of note. Kieran Tierney, Thomas Partey and the first of our Gabriel’s, Mr Martinelli, have all become starting regulars when their knee ligaments, hamstrings and ankle joints remain problem-free. The next Gabriel, Mr Magalhaes, has matured excellently and become one of our best performers last season, proving to be a brilliant bit of business from the club, and Edu in particular.

Moreover, Martin Ødegaard, the heir apparent to our seemingly inauspicious captain’s armband, has enjoyed two individually excellent seasons at a place he himself has described as feeling like ‘home’, and aided our progression from 8th last season up to 5th in season just gone by. And to make his tenure permanent for just £30million in a market as skewed as this, it was a bargain back then and even more so now.

And whilst ‘a lack of ambition’ may have described Edu’s first few signings, this summer he’s been a man on a seemingly-nationalistic-inspired mission to recruit as many Portuguese speakers as possible. We may genuinely become the second Premier league club, behind Wolves, to have Portuguese as an alternative language besides English.

For reference, just this summer alone, we’ve signed:

  • Marquinhos; a 19 year old winger hoping to emulate Martinelli’s development and adaptation to the Premier League

  • Fabio Vieira; the Primeira Liga’s joint top assist-maker

  • Gabriel Jesus; a signing in a mould not too dissimilar from the way we signed Alexis Sanchez prior to some of my best memories as an Arsenal fan. Let’s hope he doesn’t leave in a similar fashion. Oh shit, that’s a new fear unlocked.

  • Raphinha; a massive ‘if’. Especially now given Boehly-Bomba barging in and hijacking of the transfer right from Edu’s prized BBQ Tongs. Damn. He would’ve been an unnecessary but fantastically, and I’m going to say it again because I just haven’t got a better word, ‘ambitious’ signing.

I haven’t included Matt Turner in this list of signings but that’s only because I don’t think he speaks Portuguese. But you never know. ¡Bem vindo ao norte de Londres Matty!

With his swift movements in the window this summer, Edu’s confidence in his role at the club is growing, and is none-more-so apparent in our recent announcement videos, which include him giving tours to our new signings in that crisply ironed blue shirt that accentuates all of his thick-as-hell muscles.

It’s symbolic of someone settling in to a job that they both enjoy and are also becoming better at, day by day, window by window. I’m excited to see what the remainder of this summer’s window brings, and where Arteta and Edu’s partnership takes this club next… hopefully to both Domestic and European successes.

A boy can dream, eh?

I’ve been Jahid (@JahidFullStop) for We Love You Arsenal! Thanks for reading, and I’ll catch you in the next one. See you later!

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