Arsenal and Liverpool appear to be two squads heading in very different directions.
For the last half-decade, there have been envious glances cast towards Merseyside as Jurgen Klopp assembled an all-conquering team. And while their on-field product was rightly lauded, their processes off the pitch were also the toast of Europe.
The Reds had a four or five-year period where every signing seemed to work to perfection. Even low-profile arrivals like Andy Robertson or Joel Matip helped build a side capable of competing on all fronts.
Meanwhile, Arsenal were in the grips of a post-Arsene Wenger malaise that threatened to remove the Gunners from relevance in the Premier League. But under Mikel Arteta, there was an acceptance that a fallow period would pave the way for long-term success down the line.
Mesut Ozil, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Willian and many more were allowed to leave, either on a free, or vastly below their market value to essentially start again. Instead of experienced veterans on bloated contracts, Arsenal made a conscious effort to go young and corner what they felt was an under-utilised market.
Gabriel Martinelli is perhaps the perfect example of finding an advantage and emphatically making the most of it. The Brazilian actually arrived a few months prior to Arteta, but was a key signal of the imminent change that was set to be deployed.
Arsenal battled to land the teenage forward from Ituano, looking beyond his handful of appearances in Brazil’s lower leagues. Instead, they saw a player with all the characteristics of one ready to succeed in the English top flight.
His new long-term contract - which was announced this week - is the culmination of a transfer plan devised years previously. “Part of the plan obviously is to extend the contracts of our biggest talents and commit them to the future,” Arteta explained.
And that is clearly the next step on the Gunners’ path back to the top of not only English, but European football. Bukayo Saka and William Saliba are both anticipated to follow Martinelli’s lead, with Arteta now possessing a youthful and talented squad which can compete for a number of years.
That all means that for once, it is Klopp who could be excused for being a little green with envy, Not only is he now facing the prospect of a major rebuild of his ageing squad, in Martinelli, he thinks a future title rival has tied up a generational talent.
Back in 2020, Klopp said: "Martinelli's pretty much the same age but he's a talent of the century, he's an incredible striker, so it's really difficult,” before last year telling people to “remember the name.”
There may also be an acceptance behind closed doors at Liverpool, that their era of unique transfer excellence has come to an abrupt end. The extent of the Reds’ current slump has perhaps been overexaggerated - after all, Klopp is dealing with a host of injuries.
But what can’t be questioned is that where once Liverpool were once the shining example, they have recently become a case study of sleepwalking into trouble. Their midfield has quickly become slow and laborious. Their press from suffocating to passive. And their pace from relentless to acceptable.
It’s undoubtedly too soon to say Liverpool should be directly copying Arsenal’s path, but the warning signs are becoming clear. Klopp will be hoping that when the next Martinelli comes up for grabs, it’s the red of Liverpool, rather than Arsenal he becomes a superstar in.