Monday init

by .

Hello and welcome to Monday – I feel like a hot bag of shit this morning, so I trust this finds you in somewhat finer fettle. Due to this, a lack of news and me having to actually do some work, this is a short one today.

So, a new week is upon us, which can only mean another week of banal transfer guff, pictures of players puking their guts up at pre-season and Alexis doing terrible things to his dogs after the excitement of the Copa America victory. On that point, I spent a significant portion of Saturday evening watching vines of his delicious panenka in the shootout (amongst other things).

Remarkable nerve and bottle to pull that off in such a significant moment, with the hopes of a nation resting on his shoulders. I suppose, whilst it is risky and you look a prized tit if you miss; most goalkeepers wouldn’t expect the audacity at such a critical moment. Well done to him – it’ll be interesting to see when he returns to the Arsenal-fold – hopefully Arsene puts his foot down and mitigates Alexis’ enduring thirst for exercise. Strap him to his bed and stick him on a drip of saline solution for a week and he’ll be good as new.

I do have a rather shocking confession to make – I find Alexis’ chiselled abs and body as whole to be rather grotesque. It’s just too ripped and sinewy. Gain a bit of gut, let the love handles lose. I’m sure there are plenty of ladies (and men) who’d disagree with me, but he’s just not my type. Need something to hold on to….ahem.

Onto transfers, there have been rumours circulating that Benzema could be deemed surplus to requirements by Benitez at Real. If there is any truth in this, we should be on it like a fly on a freshly laid cow pat. In my previous post I commented on the lack of quality centre forwards in the market, as evidenced by Liverpool’s ongoing pursuit of Benteke, but Benzema is top drawer. He’s been at Madrid for nigh on 6 years, with the majority of those as their first choice number nine. At a club as ruthless and downright mental as Real, you don’t last that long if you’re not of the requisite quality – he’s a truly top-level performer and would certainly take us to another level. Whether it’s plausible is another matter completely – I do wonder if we’d stump up the kind of money they’ll be demanding for a player about to turn 28 and with zero resale value. That being said, our acquisition of Cech is hopefully evidence of Wenger ‘buying for now’, with the realisation setting in that ready-made solutions are the answer to making a genuine fight for the title.

I’m intrigued to see what further activity there’ll be at Arsenal this summer – save for Cech, there’s been minimal links to incoming players, certainly in comparison to previous seasons. It’s actually been a fairly quiet summer across England’s top clubs. Chelsea and City are yet to make their move, United have signed Depay; whilst Liverpool have been the most active of our rivals, although their business won’t have too many looking over their shoulder. United and City seem to be the clubs that are likely to do the most significant business, with the noise around Ramos ramping up, along with the likely acquisition of Morgan Schneiderlin.

City are likely to refresh their midfield and attacking options, with Sterling being the forerunner to arrive, but their interest in Wilshere (which I hear is very genuine) suggests they are looking to upgrade on Fernandinho and Fernando, whilst also mitigating the gradual slump from Yaya Toure. It will be interesting to see how Sterling does there, assuming it goes through. Whilst he was indifferent at best last season, I think he can be excused due to playing in a makeshift front-line and spending a significant portion as the lone striker/ false-nine. In 2013/14 however, he was electric alongside Suarez and was a critical factor in Liverpool’s surge for the title (and delicious demise, of course). I sense that playing alongside a similarly world class operator in Aguero may bring out the best in him again – time will tell.

Assuming our rivals do the serious business I expect them to, it highlights our requirement to continue upgrading and adding depth to our squad, whilst retaining our top talent. Clearly this is not a squad in need of major surgery – quite the opposite – but stasis would be a massive disappointment for a squad with so much quality and we need to complement what we have accordingly.

I’d also like to briefly touch on the ongoing rumours about Santi possibly trotting back to Spain. This is a non-starter for me and I can’t fathom why anyone thinks this is a good idea. When you’re trying to build a squad to challenge for the title, selling one of your most experienced – and talented – players really isn’t prudent. Not only can he cover pretty much all of the midfield and attacking midfield positions, but he is the only player in our squad who can provide genuine cover for Ozil should he have a prolonged absence. Losing him makes no sense to me at all and given he’s such a unique player, I would be highly sceptical about us replacing him with someone of commensurate quality.

Right, that’s your lot for today – Alex will be taking the reins tomorrow and I’ll be back later in the week.

Until next time.

You can follow me on Twitter @James_Willson2, but I really wouldn’t recommend it.

344 Responses to “Monday init”

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  1. nasri's mouth

    Employment law probably means they can’t stop contracts being exchanged, but they can stop registration in THEIR competition.

    Does it mean that he twiddles his toes for 4 months?

  2. El Tel 1

    Same with Cech.

    He only wanted to come to us. Wenger spoke to him a while ago. They probably planned to force the Chavs hand.

    Looks that way

  3. nasri's mouth

    Wenger would have spent the money on Schneiderlin if Coq hadnt emerged. Now it means spending £25m to get a minor (few million worth) upgrade. As an economist he’ll be wondering if that makes sense

  4. Leedsgunner

    El Tel

    “What if Wenger knows that Scneiderlin only wants to play for us? No matter how much the Mancscum bid if he wants to play for us the price can stay low till he gets his wish.”

    I do hope so. I think MS would be a good player for us. Someone to challenge and compete with Coquelin to keep him sharp and stop the rot of complacency.

    Tbh, I suspect before Ospina came along that’s what probably flatlined Szcesney’s progress after his Golden Glove season. No serious competition so he lost all his focus and drive…

  5. salparadisenyc

    The questions left to be answered.

    Why hasn’t Walcott extended?

    Will AW replace Poldi and Campbell with a marquee man?

    All these CB rumors signal anything other than boredom amongst the pundits?

    Is he going with just Coq or will he add some ball?

  6. Cesc Appeal

    Hard to know what to think of Arteta’s renewal, need the overall context of the summer come September…no new CDM/CM and hearing about Arteta’s usefulness and it will be extremely damaging.

    If it’s a throw away renewal to keep an old head and good voice in the squad, fine. Playing wise, I think he’s of limited to no value.

  7. mysticleaves

    be ready to eat your words this season re Arteta. as most of you have already done with wilshere. Arteta is still good enough to provide cover.

  8. Leedsgunner

    Has Arteta’s renewal been announced on What’s the source?

    If Arteta’s has renewed I think we can kiss the acquiring of a new CDM goodbye. Wenger will try to be cute and try to go through the entire season running down Coquelin ragged… which will inevitably lead to Francis becoming injury prone and brittle… a la Wilshere. Lessons not learned, mistakes repeated.

  9. Cesc Appeal

    How long am I on notice to be ready to eat my words for Arteta? I still have Sanogo stacked up from this time last summer.

    Need some time restrictions I feel, otherwise it’s just a bit unfair really.

  10. Marko

    Gutted if Arteta has signed on. 33 and as broken as they come. Squad wise don’t see any use for him

  11. Cesc Appeal


    It’s a context thing though.

    Either it will mean nothing by the end of the summer, or it will be bad. As you say, I think his body has deserted him, even prior to last season physically he wasn’t looking good, slow, getting bullied, puffing. But he is by all accounts a very useful head and voice in that locker room and on the training ground.

    But, can we please give Mert the armband officially.

  12. Marko

    I still see a midfielder coming in. Though what kind is a mystery to me. It could be one of them Giggs situation as in he barely if at all plays but learns how to get his coaching badges

  13. salparadisenyc

    If AW isn’t moving for Schneiderlin, were not bringing anyone else into the mid. Its Coq, Arteta and I guess Flamini in the event it really goes tits up.

    Only really leaves some type of attacking player if Wenger comes upon the key man he can’t pass on. Any other year that would of surely been Pedro, think he passes this season.


    Still think Draxler has something to prove before making his ‘big’ move.

  14. Sam

    Why people talking about poldi n Campbell replacements n they aren’t even first teamers?
    Unless Wenger’s thinking of doing ospina on welbeck we won’t see any new CF

  15. Howard

    Not surprising Wenger has given Arteta one more year. Its the same Wenger who gave 3 year contract to Flamini, a player who refused to sign an extended contract with us years ago and said bad things about Arsenal when he left for AC Milan.

    He’s also the same person who gave six years contract to Diaby and a one year extended contract to a 35 years old Rosicky.

    Arsenal cannot win the league with Wenger still as the Manager.

  16. Dark Hei

    I am all for renewing Arteta if Rosicky wants to go. He can play a variety of positions and is an accomplished role model. As long as his brief is the occasional game here and there. I think he isn’t “broken”. He just can’t cope with 3 times a week football.

    Additionally, I would prefer a “Nacho” signing for the DM position. Someone who is willing to take the risk that he gets zero playing time but yet capable enough to play 3 times a week without being overly strained. It certainly won’t be a star dust signing of the ilk sprinkled on this blog. That someone must either be way down in the pecking order somewhere, or someone desperate for a move. I can see a loan move for some desperate souls near the end of the transfer period.

    Somehow I think Coquelin is always motivated. If you can get upset coming back from Charlton, it means you don’t care about the glitz of the club and the meaningless opportunity to win trophies from the bench. You just want to play.

    The other possibility is Carzola making a move back to Spain. Athletico is the rumoured destination. Carzola has hinted that he will probably want to return back to Spain but is contented at Arsenal. But if one of Spain’s top 3 give a call for a first team position, I am not sure if Wenger will stand in his way as it is unlikely to happen again.

  17. Sam

    Nothing wrong with giving Arteta contract n keeping a senior player at the club for one more year but using him as excuse not to sign a new midfielder is a crime, a big one

  18. Emiratesstroller

    Arsenal have adequate cover for virtually all positions in the squad APART from DMF.

    However, Wenger does have a predicament if he brings in a new specialist, because realistically it would need to have been an upgrade on Coquelin who played very well last season.

    As I suggested many times over the last 4 weeks the recruitment of let’s say
    Vidal or Schneiderlein would have created more problems than it solved,
    because Wenger needs to satisfy the expectations not only of Coquelin, but
    Wilshire,Ramsey and of course Cazorla as well who will all expect to play
    regularly in the team.

    What Wenger is doing is GAMBLING that Coquelin will not suffer long term
    injury or need too many periods of rest and that either Wilshire,Flamini or Arteta will play in the team on those occasions.

    My concern is that Wenger may well retain an ever increasing number of
    midfielders aged 30+ in squad with Cazorla,Rosicky, Arteta and Flamini.
    Apart from Cazorla none of these players is genuinely good enough now to
    be selected for the bench let alone in starting X1 should we get an injury crisis
    in midfield.

    I believed always that Arsenal would make only one or a maximum of two more additions to squad apart from Cech and that looks increasingly likely.

    The million dollar question is who else Wenger will buy. By the time he makes
    up his mind the cupboard may well be empty.

  19. Goondawg

    Arsene went into last season without a backup CB, and a DM, Now that Arteta has signed an extension it is looking likely we won’t sign arbiter body in midfield

  20. Wallace


    “In an ideal world Wenger is probably right and Schneiderlin isn’t worth over £25m but as an economist surely he understands what someone is worth is a relative thing dependant on the price a buyer is willing to pay. Schneiderlin would serve a double purpose for us — it would undoubtedly strength us and weaken Utd.”

    as an economics graduate he’s probably thinking i can pick up a player of similar quality for 10m less if i shop elsewhere in Europe/S America.

    and how would us buying Schneiderlin weaken Utd? it only weakens them if Utd’s where we’re buying him from.

  21. Wallace


    i wouldn’t worry about the age of the 4 midfielders you mentioned. i think all will be gone this time next year. and as you point out, only Cazorla these days is a first eleven contender, and i’d expect Jack or Ramsey to have taken his place come the end of the season.

  22. Gregg

    So Turan to Barcelona seemingly makes Pedro available. Whilst we’ve been linked, do not be surprised to see him snapped up by Bayern Munich

  23. wenker-wanger

    If wenger doesnr bolster the squad with real quality then its wankgers 4th place business as usual. He isnt the manager to go for the title… He could be the ongoing fa cup trophy hunter. Maybe fans are happy with this. Its hard to make a case against him, when he is winning some silverware. Personally I am continually unimpressed with wankger. Not a manager to take us to the title, and arsenal should be up there scrapping for the title every season now.

  24. Gregg

    Interesting move with Arteta. Ideally I’d want us to strengthen that area, maybe they think Bielik will be ready to compete in a years time ?

  25. Wallace


    reports also suggesting Bayern are in for di Maria. i know Pep likes Pedro, but di Maria would be a far better Robben/Ribery replacement.

  26. Gregg


    On top of that I think Bayern have a big part to play in this years window, both in recruitment and players they may let go. I think others, us included may be waiting to see who and what becomes available

  27. Wallace


    yeah, the Götze rumblings and a question mark over Müller. i think the potential availability of either would have Wenger’s interest.

  28. Le Prof


    ‘Not a manager to take us to the title, and arsenal should be up there scrapping for the title every season now.’

    Should be scrapping for the title now? What’s changed from before?

  29. Willow Wilson

    I have no idea what you watch but it isn’t football.

    You are always harping on about how we need a world class striker and how we won’t win anything without one (that turned out well). Then you start reeling off names you have heard mentioned in the media or seen on FIFA. Last weeks entry for most bizarre comment was your classic regarding Fekir. You said we should sign Nabil Fekir as you ‘had read somewhere he could play centre forward’.

    Now it’s Charlie Bloody Austin because he can run fast. Well what about Steve Austin, do you think he should be looked at? Here’s a scouting clip from youtube: