The Premier League title is nothing but decided after Manchester City comfortably won at the Etihad against their main challengers Arsenal. The Gunners were phenomenal this season until the month of April where three draws and one loss allowed the defending champions to take the advantage in the title race. But expectations will be on Mikel Arteta’s side to improve and once again challenge City for the Premier League title. One such player the Gunners are looking at is Chelsea‘s Mason Mount.
Mount is now going to be into the final year of his contract at Chelsea with Tom Roddy of The Times reporting that talks have not been re-visited since February. Arsenal are clearly looking to strengthen the midfield area which has an injury-prone Thomas Partey, a now 30-year-old Granit Xhaka, a 31-year-old Jorginho, Mohamed Elneny, the club captain Martin Ødegaard and a young Fábio Vieira. Although when fit a midfield of Partey/Jorginho, Xhaka and Ødegaard does look well on paper and have performed as such but this is clearly upgradable. Arsenal are heavily linked with Declan Rice who is almost imminent to leave West Ham United and now Mount is also on the Gunners’ radar.
So having said that, let’s discuss the pros and cons of signing Mason Mount from Chelsea.
a) It’s a typical British argument used in any transfer by the media, pundits and fans and probably so rightly that Mason Mount being a ‘homegrown’ experienced Premier League player does count for a lot. For a transfer to be successful multiple things have to go right like injury issues, adjustment to new surroundings, gametime, etc. but for it to go wrong one of the reasons is enough and the kind of money in these deals involved could result in relegation, missing out on a European place or losing the title. So clubs have to work really hard on a player.
Arsenal have been emerging as one of the successful teams in the last two years due a lot of things done right and one amongst them being bringing in the correct profile of signings. The pattern emerging out in this time is that the club is targeting players who have played in the league with the club being the most involved in bringing players from their rivals and this has been proved successful with Aaron Ramsdale, Gabriel Jesus and Oleksandr Zinchenko with the latest to add to this list being Leandro Trossard.
Mount does not need to adjust to the demands of the Premier League as he is already well versed with the conditions unlike any player coming from a foreign league. He will also not take a lot of time to adjust to his new teammates given his nature and he has already played with a lot of the players at national level. This will prove advantageous to Arsenal who would like to kick the season very strongly and then continue to do well as time goes on.
b) Mount as a player really looks ready-made to suit the system Arteta is currently implementing at the Gunners. His energy levels and attitude are the kind of qualities any manager always appreciates.
The left side of Arsenal’s three-man midfield where Granit Xhaka has made the spot his own looks like a good fit for Mount and as good as Xhaka has been this year, Arsenal will need to start future proofing their squad. Mount’s age is exactly the kind of player Arteta is looking to build on and he also brings the experience of winning big titles with Chelsea something very similar to what Jesus and Zinchenko are bringing to this current group of players. Versatility is another important characteristic he brings to the side and the player born in Portsmouth will be able to fill various positions such as CAM, RW, LW and LM.
c) Now this point is a bit of a reach. Mason Mount coming to Arsenal could also help them achieve another target in the summer transfer window which is: to get Declan Rice. The friendship between Mason Mount and Declan Rice does not need to be broadcasted out in this piece but both English stars have known each other for a long period of time. Mason being at the club could help Arsenal in convincing the West Ham star that they are the best side for him to continue his career playing Champions League football and challenging for big trophies.
Again I say this that this point is a bit of a reach but the chances of signing Rice go up significantly if his best friend is vouching for them.
a) Anyone can guess this one, it’s Mason Mount has had a very poor season at Chelsea. 2019-20 which was Mount’s debut season saw him register eight goals and six assists in 53 appearances across all competitions that is a goal involvement every 3.79 games. The following season saw this tally go up to nine goals and nine assists in 54 appearances which saw Mount contribute to crucial moments in Chelsea’s UEFA Champions League triumph scoring in the quarterfinals, the semifinals and assisting the winner in the final at Benfica. The 2021-22 was the best campaign for him with 13 goals and 16 assists in 53 appearances, an extremely impressive goal involvement of one in every 1.83 matches.
Those numbers have sharply gone down this year with three goals and six assists but it is really too difficult to blame him entirely given the state of the club. The club owner Todd Boehly has clearly misread the situation last year and in the words of Sky Sports pundit Gary Neville has played ‘football manager’ with Chelsea this season seeing four different managers on separate timelines. A team can only have 11 players but Chelsea have over 30 options to choose from. This created massive instability at the club plus Mount has some injuries issues which have contributed to his bad form. Every exciting young player goes through this phase where they reach massive highs and then there is a season or two where they perform really well but they come back to their best. Arguably the best we can give here would be Manchester United’s Marcus Rashford and clearly his trajectory from how things have gone for him.
b) What could moving for Mount mean for the development of Hale Academy talent Emile Smith Rowe? The three-time capped Smith Rowe has had tough luck with injuries, missing 55 games due to muscular problems and a groin surgery earlier this season which kept him out for four months. Due to these issues, Arteta is unable to trust Smith Rowe with Leandro Trossard being played on the left wing and Fabio Vieira playing as an eight when the manager wants to rotate Gabriel Martinelli and Granit Xhaka.
Also, the Englishmen is really good in carrying the ball up the field, dribbling with it and shooting it but Mount also brings a lot of industry and creativity to his teams something Smith Rowe hasn’t convinced he can do yet. Formalizing an interest in a player of Mason’s caliber will mean that Arteta does not see Smith Rowe having a future with Arsenal.
c) The last con is the price tag. In our pros we said about Mason being a homegrown player and all the benefits that brings along with but also what he would bring is a big price tag especially when you are buying a player of Mount’s caliber, the experiences that he has had in big games and the fact also happens to play for Arsenal’s London rival will contribute to a big cheque to Todd Boehly’s Chelsea. To go along with that, Mason Mount has rejected offers from Chelsea which are more than £200,000 per week and wants wages as high as Raheem Sterling does at Chelsea which are reportedly in the region of £300,000 a week.
This will be a big increase to Arsenal’s annual expenses and with the UEFA Champions League nights back at the Emirates next season, it is sure to go up like a rocket given that a lot of players might have included clauses of wage increases when the Gunners play in Europe’s biggest competition.
Personally, if Arsenal want to avoid a situation like this season Kroenke Sports & Entertainment will have to open up their cheque books if they want their side to compete on two fronts. Mount’s addition feels like a first good step. The player can play a number of positions and has shown at Stamford Bridge that he can contribute at the very highest level, both in terms of goals and creativity. He will tick a lot of boxes in terms of recruitment whether he improves this team dramatically remains to be seen but the attack will show improvements when he replaces Xhaka at that left-sided No.8 role.
Some Arsenal fans will be vary of buying Chelsea players who have failed to live to the expectations at the Emirates i.e. David Luiz, Willian and Petr Cech but this is a different case due to Mount’s age. The Gooners will be getting a player who is about to go in the peak region of his professional career and it does make sense for the club to buy him.