This would be the most joyous £25m sale of the summer

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Well it’s good to know that despite the English having a terrible rep for travelling, they’ve been part exonerated for the blame in Marseille. The Russians showed up with bumbags, as well as tiny shorts… in those little bags, was not a Timeout City guide and a lip balm. Apparently they kept MMA fighting gloves, gum shields and weapons… knives and telescopic batons. They were trained according to the police for ‘ultra-violence’.

SCARY.

UEFA have come out and threatened England.

‘If you guys take an ass whopping again, we’ll throw your team out of the tournament’

Nice threat there. I was once threatened in German class by my teacher about disruption and if any more came her way, I’d be excluded… the two guys next to me double wedgied me out of my seat and I was punished. Harsh flashbacks to those dark days when I read that UEFA statement.

The press are bantering us, or Liverpool are back to their old tricks. Rumour has it they’ll move for £25m Theo Walcott. WHAT! Imagine if they came with half of that, I think I’d be moonwalking round Tribeca. No one would understand and I’d have to explain the story using celebrities… but we’d get there.

There are more stories about Jamie Vardy. Danny Simpson reckons you can’t buy the bond he has with the Leicester boys. I’d disagree. You can buy a bond and you can also upgrade a bond. I also think it’s hilarious that he and Jack Wilshere are having a Flamini / Ozil like bromance. VERY CUTE. I mean, you can just imagine the trouble those two will get into, but it’s great to see.

I still can’t see any other decision outside of him joining us. Staying for the inevitable sinking ship is stupid. Not adding a major club to your resume is stupid. Not moving to London for 3 years is stupid. Especially when you love the celebrity that comes with being a top player. Honestly, hanging out with Gary Lineker and his brother might feel like something special right now, but jeez… Linekers Bar? Compared to drinks with Bobby P, Arsene W and Jen Lehmann in Oriole, Farringdon? You haven’t lived Jamie. You really haven’t.

How about the football yesterday? I feel like I’ve been on a 4 day football bender. I sat in like an addict hooked up to the football pipe ALL day. Turkey Croatia was pretty lively. Modric pulling off some quite incredible tekkers to rifle home a looping ball from 25 yards. Northern Ireland vs Poland was a bit bland. The irish did a great job marking Lewa out of the game, but put so much focus on him, they forgot Poland have plenty of talented individuals and let them in.

Germany vs Ukraine was the main course (I wasn’t allowed to watch Copa America so missed Brazil vs Peru). It didn’t really live up to the expectations. Loew did, scratching his balls and inspecting their fragrance after. The Germans played in second gear most of the game. Mesut Ozil didn’t really click for most of the match, looking unusually out of sorts and sweaty. We did get the chance to see Draxler play, he’s a very stylish wide man, he had some good touches and was a threat… but I don’t think he’d have changed our world, especially not for £38m. Konoplyanka, my hot tip from last season, had a solid game, he’s very powerful and bold… Yarmelenko also looked pretty good. Just a shame they played in a Ukraine setup that rightly didn’t want to play too adventurously.

The game was put to bed when the Germans broke at pace, Ozil powering into the box, delivering a perfect ball that Giroud NO WAY would have put into the net. Wenger needs to seriously make sure he has someone world class at being clinical in mind this summer… plan A, B and C please.

Toni Kroos though. What a player. He breaks up attacks, distributes perfectly at pace, is a threat going forward, efficient protecting his back four… I also think he’s one of those quieter players that’s quite underrated. I don’t watch him enough to know, but his passing doesn’t look that far off what Ozil can do… and he has so many more layers to his game. GIVE ME HIM. Praying Pep doesn’t snap him up for Manchester City.

Right, that’s all I have time for this morning. SEE YOU TOMORROW!

 

583 Responses to “This would be the most joyous £25m sale of the summer”

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  1. qna

    Cesc. Look at the recent comments by Ivan. He basically doubled down with him and backed him fully. Bascially saying “we really do want to win” but we are already going about it the right way. Problem with Arsenal is that the owner and the CEO (also a shareholder) are in it to increase their wealth. And they are being vindicated in their top 4 approach as Arsenal’s valuation has now risen to 5th in the world.

    There will be no change at Arsenal – not even after Wenger leaves. If we win, it will be in spite of the owners and the management. It will be down to individual ability of the manager of the day. Unlike Bayern, Juventus, Athletico, Dortmund etc. These clubs have football people running the show – good football people.

  2. London gunner

    Bamford

    He was third best statistically.

    Did you not make similar claims about matic?

    Anyways we are in agreement about kante as it looks like he is equally at home in a possession based outfit as well as the counter offensive football of lecister

  3. Louis Almeida

    “I know your Portuguese but that’s utter tripe. Kante much more graceful on the ball more agile, turns in tighter circles. More nifty age fluid. Carvalho is fairly cumbersome by comparison”

    If you say so. I’ve been watching him for the last 3 years and for you to describe him as cumbersome means you obviously haven’t watched him. He’s slow, sure. But he’s immensely talented on the ball and can play as a deep-lying playmaker as well as a traditional destroyer.

  4. Bamford10

    Marko

    “Thing is I like the look of Martial (except his price) but you’ve honestly and objectively gotta ask yourself why is it that he’s got such potential as a world class striker that he’s continuously played out wide?”

    Not sure how many times I have to say this, but I have never been a massive advocate of Martial. I think he is good, has a bit of dribbling, change of pace, poise, scoring. All I ever said was that I could see him replacing Giroud as the #2 after Benzema.

    There are others here that rate Martial a lot higher than I do; I just think France would be better off with something other than a lamppost up top.

  5. Bamford10

    London

    Let’s just agree on Kante. Looks a very good little player, on both sides of the ball. I would love to have him at Arsenal.

  6. Dream10

    Bamford

    Probably
    GK
    RB CB CB LB
    Naiggolan Dembélé
    Carrasco KDB Hazard(Mertens)
    Bathshuayi

    They have vertonghen and Vermaelen at the back. Not a fan of left footed CBs, but Vertonghen is better and he should play in middle with Alderweireld

  7. Wallace

    Louis

    “Kante has a better engine and is more mobile but I haven’t seen him show as much in terms of quality on the ball.”

    agreed. Kante’s a DM for me. don’t think he’s all that interested in the attacking side, and even if he was I don’t think he’s got the game for it.

  8. Jim lahey

    @qna – “Jim. You saying that there wasnt genuine interest from City? ”

    No maybe he signed a new contract to increase the release clause so Bilbo get more money for him? Its happened before!

  9. Bamford10

    Dream

    I like that. I think I’d start with Mertens wide left, then bring Carrasco on in the 65th minute or so. I like Batshuayi as an option too, as he’d give them more movement up top. Lukaku has pace, of course, but he doesn’t move enough.

  10. Relieable Sauce

    Carvalho missed the easiest of headers v England in the recent friendly.
    Was a really terrible effort.

  11. Dream10

    Bamford

    I like Mertens, especially on the left. You’re right on Carrasco. Perhaps, he’s better as an impact sub.
    Hazard will play, as he is the most high profile player.

    What’s with the trend of making the golden boys captain (Messi, Ronaldo, Hazard)? Rooney, I understand as he is the most experienced player.

  12. TitsMcGee

    Really impressed with Italy, was like watching Atletico at times with their work rate and defensive discipline from what was, with the greatest of respect, an ordinary sort of group of players.”

    Conte at Chelsea will be something.

  13. Leedsgunner

    With all our focus (rightly) on the first team we can forget that we have some very good youngsters coming through… youngsters who probably are ready to make a breakthrough into the first team.

    I hope we use a combination of fringe players and youth to good effect during League Cup and lower level FA Cup games to give our strongest XI, a break during the season.

    Bielik, Pleguezuelo, Toral, Jeff Reine Adelaide, Chris Willock, Maitland-Niles, Zelalem, Crowley and Malen should all be given some game time during the season… and obviuous Iwobi. 🙂 I’m looking forwatd to seeing them play.

  14. tunnygriffboy

    Elneny. A hack player lol

    Ok he’s not WC but he’s certainly a good player and useful to have. Youngish as well.

    The worst transfer record ever. Again lol. Be a bit objective. Ozil, Alexis, Elneny, Welbeck, Gabriel, Monreal, Santi all good value. Sure we’ve had some duds but look at man u, man city, chelsea and their transfer business over the last three years

    There’s loads to bash the club and Wenger with but throwing grenades at everything shows you can’t be objective

  15. Ishola70

    For those wanting Giroud to start as first choice next season why not just look at the chance conversion rates of EPL strikers season just gone and also the stat s re: teams missing the most most goalscoring chances from clear cut chances. It will tell you all you need to know and why an improvement on Giroud is needed.

    And no idea why some are pointing to Giroud scoring goals for France . Yes he has scored one goal in this competition when he didn’t give up on a cross that should have never got him due to terrible goalkeeping and the ball hit the side of his head. Please do not tell me that some on here take international friendly matches seriously. Why can’t people just see these matches for what they are. Just look at some friendly match results in relation to Germany and Spain. Stop over-rating friendly matches and their real meaning. These matches may have had some importance for France as it was all they could play as hosts leading up to the tournament but that doesn’t take into consideration the opposition.

  16. Cesc Appeal

    Tunny

    I’d say Wenger’s approach to transfers is pretty terrible, your use of the phrase ‘good value’ is pretty telling, like with Giroud, he’s ‘good value,’ yes he is, but he is good for Arsenal, no not really, not at the top level, he’s decent.

    Wenger is a low risk, laid back, frugal, ditherer in the market, I really don’t think that is a shock type statement. He would prefer giving a player who has let him down multiple times already another chance as opposed to spending £30 Million on another.

    He would prefer to give a player (like Giroud) chance after chance to prove his critics wrong.

    I don’t think Wenger likes the transfer market, he probably would like for it not to exist. With that sort of attitude, it is small wonder we’re so bad in it. Reactive, risk averse, dithering and minimalist.

  17. raptora

    I wonder if you guys watched this comp of Alex Iwobi. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y41nFjk4v4w Very impressive for someone that young. He really did break into the first team with a bang. I wonder how big will his impact be and how big does he stand in Wenger’s plans. The kid was one of the brightest lights in last campaign for sure. And to play the way he did at Nou Camp.. You need balls.

  18. tunnygriffboy

    Cesc

    I wouldn’t disagree with a lot of what you’ve said. I purposely put the term ‘good value’ in.

    Even with that term I still thing we haven’t been as bad as others in the market recently. Could we have been better ? Most definitely. Last summer was the killer and as a result we’re having to do two years work in one. Just making one top signing last summer would mean instead of getting 3 in now it could have been two

    We currently have 3×£30 million in our squad. Small potatoes to other sides who regularly purchase players at this amount and cast them aside at a vast loss.

  19. Louis Almeida

    Lukas Podolski on Joachim Low’s scratch ‘n’ sniff: “I believe 80% of you [reporters], and me as well, scratch your nuts from time to time.”

    Haha you have to love Poldi.

  20. Dissenter

    Kante’s ball retention is better than Cazorla’s, you have to foul him to get the ball off him. He dribbles just as well as Cazorla.
    Left to me I’ll sell off Santi cos he’s lost his engine. He’s a shadow of the player we bought three years ago.

    Kante in
    Cazorla out, off to any club that will have him in Spain.

  21. naijagunner

    He plays as a striker and is known for his reliable goal scoring rate, size, technical ability, heading, powerful shot, link-up play and celebrations.[4] He is also associated with making runs to the front post that outwit defenders.[5]

    “He began his career at Grenoble in Ligue 2 before joining Tours in 2008. In his second season at Tours, he was the division’s top scorer with 21 goals, earning him a move to top-flight Montpellier. Giroud was again the top scorer with 21 goals in the 2011–12 season, giving the club their first ever Ligue 1 title before moving to Arsenal. Giroud won the FA Cup with Arsenal in 2014 and 2015, and is one of only seven players to score 50 Premier League goals for the club”

    Above is the introduction on Giroud’s wikipedia page.

    I believe Arsenal should have brought in another striker at least two seasons ago to challenge him.

    But calling him a “Lampost” really makes you loose a lot of credibility @ Bamford., you do not like Giroud, we all got that a while back, and we are living with it.

    You should as well live with the fact that the guy has done well for himself, and his stats back him up anytime any day.

  22. WengerEagle

    Cazorla is a 10, you have to admire how he’s adapted his game to a CM role to accommodate Ozil as the CAM, it’s hurt his game.

    In 2012/13 he was top class as the CAM, better goalscorer than Ozil and was a creative force.

  23. Jim lahey

    I know we all have Kante fever at the moment, and might be a better player (now) than Santi, but lets not go overboard and say he is better on the ball than Cazorla, because he isn’t.

  24. naijagunner

    “I know we all have Kante fever at the moment, and might be a better player (now) than Santi, but lets not go overboard and say he is better on the ball than Cazorla, because he isn’t”

    Amen .

    Once he is in red, this same blog will be awash with how limited he is, how he does not score screamers ….etc….and the demand we purchase ” insert latest flavor of Le grove here

  25. Jamie

    Cazorla’s only real weakness is his age, which unfortunately means his ability and fitness is bound to take a dive at some point soon.

    If only he was still 26. He’s the most technically gifted player in the squad when he’s fit, imo.

  26. Jim lahey

    @Jamie – Completely agree, thats why having a player like Xhaka beside him is key. Its no coincidence that our season went to shit without him last year.

    Iniesta is 32, I don’t think people would complain about him in their team!

  27. Ishola70

    We could see a Lewandowski situation with Mhiki.

    What is highly improbable is that he signs a new contract with Dortmund. The agent and player want a release clause lower than what Dortmund might sell him for this summer.

    The scenario that some German observers are suggesting that has the highest probability is that Dortmund keep him on for another season and he goes for free next summer as was the case with Lewandowski.

  28. Ishola70

    Are Wenger and the board going to pay 30-35m for a player this summer that they could get for free next summer in regards to Mhiki?

    Past history suggests not.

  29. Ishola70

    This is a manager that waited on Chamakh remember.

    I’m sure he won’t be averse to waiting on Mhiki.

  30. Jim lahey

    Pretty funny when I made that Cazorla/Iniesta comparison i thought to myself, well Cazorla is no where near Iniesta’s level.. Then I decided to look at their stats from last year.

    Cazorla:

    Games – 15
    Goals – 0
    Total Chances Created – 37
    Chances Created Per Game – 2.5
    Avg. Pass Accuracy – 90%
    Avg. Pass Distance – 17m
    Shot Accuracy – 44%
    Avg. Duels Won – 52%

    Iniesta:

    Games – 28
    Goals – 1
    Total Chances Created – 32
    Chances Created Per Game – 1.1
    Avg. Pass Accuracy – 88%
    Avg. Pass Distance – 17m
    Shot Accuracy – 33%
    Avg. Duels Won – 55%

  31. Jim lahey

    2014/2015

    Cazorla:

    Games – 37
    Goals – 7
    Total Chances Created – 78
    Chances Created Per Game – 2.1
    Avg. Pass Accuracy – 89%
    Avg. Pass Distance – 16m
    Shot Accuracy – 57%
    Avg. Duels Won – 55%

    Iniesta:

    Games – 24
    Goals – 0
    Total Chances Created – 20
    Chances Created Per Game – 0.8
    Avg. Pass Accuracy – 90%
    Avg. Pass Distance – 16m
    Shot Accuracy – 50%
    Avg. Duels Won – 58%

  32. Jim lahey

    One of those players plays in one of the greatest attacking teams of all time who dominate their league, a league that plays open football.

    The other doesn’t….

  33. WengerEagle

    Cazorla is quality but he’s nowhere close to Iniesta who’s in a league of his own.

    Him and Xavi utterly dominated club and country football from 2008-2012, won literally everything.

    Best midfielder since Zidane and he’s actually won much more than even Zizou did.

  34. WengerEagle

    Jim

    Come on mate.

    2 Euros, 1 World Cup, 2 Champions Leagues, 3 La Liga titles and mutlipe other trophies from 2008-2012 and he was their second best player after Messi.

    Best player for Spain NT.

  35. Ishola70

    I think what those stats tell us is that Iniesta is slowing down a bit now and isn’t as good as he was in his complete prime.

    I would like to see Iniesta’s stats compared to Cazorla when he was in his prime.

    That’s not knocking Cazorla btw.

  36. Bamford10

    West Ham have signed Sofiane Feghouli from Valencia on a free transfer. He created more chances than any other Valencia player over past five seasons, apparently. I don’t know him.

  37. Louis Almeida

    This may be blasphemous in some quarters but for me there’s an argument to be made about who’se better between Iniesta and Zidane. Iniesta was more consistent, won more and always turned up in big games. I think what gives Zidane the edge and arguably the win is that he had more WOW moments (a match winner) that make him into a mythical type player. Think of the World Cup and CL final goals. He married physical prowess with technical grace. I think it’s why a lot of people love Pogba now too.

    And while I do love Santi, Iniesta is another level above. Stats don’t tell the whole story there.

  38. Jim lahey

    @Bamford – “Cazorla is nowhere near Iniesta. Sorry.”

    Yeah I agree, not saying he is, but I think he should be starting beside Xhaka next year.

  39. Louis Almeida

    “Yeah I agree, not saying he is, but I think he should be starting beside Xhaka next year.”

    I think that midfield lacks mobility. Xhaka basically does the job that both Cazorla and Coquelin did.

  40. Ishola70

    Yeah mobility big issue there.

    Xhaka is not the quickest and Caz has never been what could be called quick, far from it and is only going to slow down at this stage of his career.

  41. Wallace

    Dissenter

    “Kante’s ball retention is better than Cazorla’s, you have to foul him to get the ball off him. He dribbles just as well as Cazorla.”

    corker! do you sometimes wake up drunk?

  42. Wallace

    i think Jim’s initial point – kinda sad that he felt obliged to make it – was that Cazorla’s better on the ball than Kante. and then used some stats to back that up. don’t think he was really suggesting he gives Iniesta a run for his money.

  43. Bamford10

    Jim

    Maybe, though I prefer a longer CM. But Cazorla is very good. I will always think of him more as a CAM, and I lean toward Jack or Elneny or someone else in that role, but I like Santi.

    Whoever suggested that Kante is as good the ball as Cazorla above needs to delete his account. Nowhere near, but of course they’re completely different players also.

    Kante is not a B2B CM as some here are suggesting. He’s a CDM who occasionally finds himself further up field, like 40 yards from goal. He is not a Frank Lampard, however. His game mostly comes to an end 40 yards from the opposition goal.

    Which is not to say anything against him. But let’s not make him into something he’s not.

  44. tunnygriffboy

    Xhaka and one of any other 6. We have any number ofoptions to play with him. We could even partner Coquelin with him in some games, Crikey if we needed to we could give him a rest and play Coquelin. He’s good enough.

    Key is to get the attack sorted. Interesting what happens re Mikhtaryan. Failing that there’s noises being made re Mahrez

  45. Jim Lahey

    @Wallace – Yeah spot on, not saying he is better than Iniesta, was absolutely just making the point that Cazorla is better on the ball than Kante.

    @Bamford – WOuld have no problem with bringing Kante in, just hope people don’t expect him to be some form of deep playmaker. Also at this point I would keep Wilshere and let Ramsey go.

  46. WengerEagle

    Sorry Jim must have got the wrong end of the stick but didn’t you say that he played in a team that dominates in an attacking league?

    Barcelona and Spain have largely been so dominant because of Iniesta’s impact, he’s been Spain’s best player at international level and Barca’s second best player after Messi.

    It’s not as if he’s just a part of these great teams, he’s the heart and soul of them.

  47. Louis Almeida

    Henry on Xhaka after the first game: ‘He showed that he doesn’t care whether he’s playing against his brother or against his roots,’ Henry said.

    ‘He just wants to win the game – Arsenal needs this kind of mentality.’

  48. Ughelligunner

    Iniesta is awesome, but the question we should ask ourselves is, would Santi had won all those trophys if he played for Barcelona? Would he be an automatic starter for Spain, by the fact that he played for Barcelona? Pedro did. So….

  49. shad

    @Bamford – “Cazorla is nowhere near Iniesta. Sorry.”

    Not really. Cazorla is a genius on the ball, similar style of how they glide past players. You could argue that Cazorla is better at dribbling because of his ambidexterity. That and the fact that Iniesta has been at Barca through and through where ball recovery and retention are the order of the day. But there is a reason why Del Bosque loves picking Santi in his teams..

  50. Wallace

    Louis

    will there be any young & exciting Portuguese players starting tonight?

    any team with Ronaldo in it is so eaten up by getting the ball to him that I struggle to maintain interest. but if there are some funky kids also in there…

  51. Honest Bill

    FRIG OFF LAHEY!

    But in all seriousness, i’d be happy to have Kante come in to replace Flamini, but he’s nothing like Cazorla.

    Cazorla is very much an AM who was being played deep as Arsenal didn’t have Arteta or Wilshere to rely on.

  52. Louis Almeida

    Santi may be two-footed but I don’t think his dribbling is better than Iniesta. Iniesta has had Messi moments where he’s dribbled past 5/6 players with the ball in close proximity. Iniesta for me is one of the greatest midfielders ever and would stand the test of time in any era. I think sometimes it’s hard to look objectively when the player is still playing.

  53. Ughelligunner

    Sometimes, a player’s path to success, determines it either positively or negatively. If Santi had come to Arsenal sooner rather than Villareal, he would have been playing for Barcelona by now. They would have lured him back, like they did Fabregas. But he came a little too late.

  54. Ughelligunner

    Sometimes, a player’s loyalty becomes his own hindrance. Cazorla would have accepted Real Madrid or Barca’s call rather than stay loyal to Villareal. Because, he still finally left.

    Its what i was saying re vardy, if Vardy hard scored just 20 goals for Arsenal, he would have started ahead of Kane, even though Kane scored 25goals.

  55. Louis Almeida

    Wallace, we have some awesome central midfielders. Our tournament victory starts tonight 😉

    You have the obvious ones like Moutinho, Carvalho and Danilo. Then there’s great talents like Joao Mario, Andre Gomes, Renato Sanches, and Raphael Guerreiro (Arsenal linked). Unfortunately Bernardo Silva misses out through injury. Like you say it’s a very Ronaldo-centric team. I don’t like it but it’s probably necessary because we don’t score that many goals. We are in ok form though I’m not expecting us to progress past the QF. A lot of these midfielders are young.

  56. Jim Lahey

    @WE –

    Not going to argue that he isn’t one of the best midfielders ever, just saying it does help when you are constantly surrounded by other great players! No doubt he was the second best player after Messi, but just look at the list of players he has had around him!

    Piqué
    Puyol
    Xavi
    Henry
    Eto’o
    Dani Alves
    Busquets
    Deco
    Ronaldinho
    Thuram
    David Villa
    Javier Mascherano
    Ibrahimović
    Yaya Touré
    Alcântara
    Alexis Sánchez
    Pedro
    Cesc Fàbregas
    Neymar
    Ivan Rakitić
    Luis Suárez

    And of course Messi!

    I’ll say it again, one of the best midfielders of all time, but it helps when that is the calibre of player you play with week in week out!

  57. Mysticleaves

    Bamford

    You think am deluded cos I said I prefer Lukaku to Morata? Get it clear now, Lukaku is a better player than Morata. And I do prefer him. You’d be deluded to want to make me change my mind cos you prefer Morata (mind, nobody is talking about his price cos I don’t think true value is reflected these days).

    One last thing; if Giroud had gone to Juventus with Morata still there, he would bench Morata.

    Of course, he’s not easy to bench as Mandzukic is doing it already.

    Note that I don’t want Giroud to be our no9 next season but Morata is no better than him. That’s my argument.

    Off to ball…

  58. Honest Bill

    What separates Iniesta from most players is his speed of thought. He dominates his opponents by dictating what they do as much as by what he does.

    Santi has the dribbling and technique but almost nobody thinks as quickly as Iniesta.

  59. Ughelligunner

    Many atimes, Bamford is so sentimental and his bias so obvious, that you think he is smoking while typing. He prefers an injured Wilshere to anybody in the English or Arsenal’s line up. And he prefers a worthless Benteke (after waiting for klopp to come and make him a better player, but Klopp still sees nothing in him), yet Benteke must be ahead Giroud in even a France and Arsenal’s line up.

  60. Ishola70

    Ughelligunner:
    “Sometimes, a player’s path to success, determines it either positively or negatively. If Santi had come to Arsenal sooner rather than Villareal, he would have been playing for Barcelona by now. They would have lured him back, like they did Fabregas. But he came a little too late.”

    You’re on your line again Ughe of Arsenal fans underestimating their own players in comparison to non-Arsenal players even when we are talking about one of the best CMS in the world even if he is slowing down at this point in his career.

    The discussion was about the CM position.

    Honest Bill has summed it up. Iniesta and Cazorla are not the same type of midfielders. Cazorla is really an AM. Iniesta is a CM.

  61. Honest Bill

    I’d also say that Iniesta had a slightly better acceleration, and was slightly more fleet footed, which helps immensely.

    I do admire Santi’s ambidexterity though. I can’t think of too many players as good with their weak foot as him.

  62. WengerEagle

    Jim

    Very true but would Cazorla have got into the Barcelona side of that era? No chance for me.

    Which is where any comparison ends.

    Worth noting that 95pc plus of great players play in top sides stacked with talent too.

    Not many Totti’s about.

  63. Honest Bill

    Being surrounded by top quality is always helpful, there’s no doubt about that. But if you’re not top quality you will not be able to mask it behind the players surrounding you.

    Cazorla would not have looked out of place in any Barcelona side.

  64. BigCheese

    Stats? When used to pummel an Arsenal player say for example, Giroud, they are very relevant and very good barometer of how bad they are.

    However when using stats to actually say how good an Arsenal player is then all of a sudden they are irreverent and “don’t tell the whole story” .

    Have to laugh.

  65. shad

    @Honest Bill,

    Concur with you mate. Iniesta is speedy in thought though I rate cazorla in pretty much the same way. Too bad Santi isn’t surrounded by many on his wavelength and is hence forced to hold on to the ball longer. Not to mention this is a highly physical league and a lot of tackles that are let fly here would warrant bookings there withiut 2nd thought.

  66. Ishola70

    Fans are bombarded with stats now.

    People many times have agendas in how they use them.

    It is up to those that are relayed them to ascertain their worth or relevance.

  67. gonsterous

    Santi Is a very good back up player and can occasionally rotated.. we have such a thin squad ( with quality players, mind you ), wish we would not get rid of the players who contribute, like Campbell, elneny, coq and santi. The rest are deadweight pulling us down !!

  68. gonsterous

    Isnt messi surrounded by world class players in the Argentinien side ? No excuse really for the ex midget !! Did he play a big part in Argentina’s run to the final ?? My memory is a bit hazy !!

  69. Honest Bill

    Stats are interestin in and of themselves. The problem is that people think they can infer extra details from them which are beyond the scope of what they are intended to represent. Stats can tell you how many passes a player makes, but they have nothing to say about how good those passes are. Quantitative statistics need to be supplemented by qualitative analyses if one wishes to glean more from them beyond ‘what it says on the tin’

  70. Champagne charlie

    Romford

    Hearing we have a verbal agreement with Mkhitarian on terms to join, deal a while off but he wants it and there’s an accepted package on the table. Your man hearing the same?

  71. STV

    People having a laugh suggesting Iniesta only slightly ahead of Santi.. What a joke!

    Iniesta one of the greatest ever players. with incredible passing ability and genius footballing brain. Santi not among the best midfielders in his generation. Silva Xabi Xavi Iniesta all much better midfielders than him in Spanish team.

    Being played as attacker in most part of his career, he’s more comparable to Mata and Silva and both of them are better in imo.

    Santi is a great player and is rewarded by his high no. NT appearences and recognitions at Arsenal. Unfortunately because Wenger is his Manager not enough trophies.

  72. Dissenter

    Santi Cazorla was a delight to watch when he still had a burst of acceleration [not pace]. Back then he could take on a player, beat him and run at goal.
    These days, he beats the player halfway and gets knocked off the ball [often crudely] because he can’t up the pace to free himself for the pass.

    He’s on the decline. These days he’s slowing up games more than he’s creating.
    If the goal is to play headless tiki-taka then Santi’s your man.
    If the goal is to successfully transition from defence to offence, a dribbling ball carrier that knows how to defend like Kante is your man.

    Wht do people under-rate Kante so much. Many here still cant believe he’s become the staple of the French national team. They cant believe he’s ahead of the Legrove favorites like Schneiderlein, Kondogbia and even Matuidi.

  73. Dissenter

    It just begs the question;
    Why in the world did FIFA award a world cup to Russia,
    Woe betide any person of color or different sexual persuasion who decide to go to Russia for the world cup in two years.

  74. Honest Bill

    Putin is probably worried that other fans will now try to provoke Russians in to a fight in order to get them expelled from the tournament.

    Obviously there were a bunch of them who needed no provocation, but now opposition fans might have an incentive to goad them in to violence.

  75. WengerEagle

    Spot on STV, Iniesta in particular stands out ahead of the rest of the pack.

    Only part I disagree with is rating Mata over Santi, always felt th latter was better.

    Silva is better than both no question.

  76. WengerEagle

    No one is underrating Kante, he’s one of the best B2B CMs in football but on the ball it’s not even close between him and Santi, even the declined Santi of 2016.

  77. Ishola70

    karim:
    “Great news ! As I said, I’m not really sure he did say that.”

    Wouldn’t suprise me at all Karim if he did say that.

    That’s why I was laughing at Putin.

  78. karim

    I remember when I was living in London finding myself in a Tube train with 5/6 Russians, boys and girls, including a very strong man who asked me whether I had something against them as I was sort of observing them.

    Luckily enough, he was joking and I survived !

  79. raptora

    I would say that we got the best spanish midfielder out of the following – David Silva, Cesk, Mata and ours Casorla. Iniesta has probably almost as big of an influence in Barcelona’s success over the years as Messi, so he’s something else for sure. But the other 3 compared with Santi are very close to him and I would rather think we got the best deal with him than any of the spanish midfielders signed by our english rivals. It’s a close one tho.

    My opinion that with healthy Santi we were playing pretty watchable football and were well on course to win the league, then he got injured and everything fell apart, speaks a lot of his influence on Arsenal. Much of the second part of the season was Wenger trying to find some solution to the lack of Santi and the problem of it. Imo if he didn’t get this mean injury we’d be champions.

    Wilshere is probably the only one in our team who can be fit for this role, but he was injured too. Providing Xhaka cover think could look better but there is still a major problem on this front if both Santi and Jacky are not available. Elneny can be an amazing squad player but not a real solution there. Ramsey proved he’s not fit for this role.

  80. Rambo Ramsey

    Wallace

    “corker! do you sometimes wake up drunk?”

    Dissenter’s opinion may have been an over exaggeration but you calling him out is hilarious. only 24 hours ago you were going on about ”Elneny is a country mile ahead of Kante offensively”. speaking of which, you still haven’t justified that comment have you?

  81. Honest Bill

    Karim

    Neither would i, but then i’m guessing that you’re not the kind of man who derives his only sense of self-esteem directly from how hard his mates think he is. I’m sure there will be plenty of people who would like to have a go at them.

    Couple that with quite understandable anger at the outrageous acts of violence carried out by those thugs on innocent people in the street and you have a potential riot on your hands.

  82. Wallace

    Rambo Ramsey

    to be honest I find it baffling that people can watch them both and think that Kante is anywhere close to Elneny on the ball. to me Kante always looks a bit spooked when he’s in possession, like he can’t wait to get rid of it, whereas Elneny’s very relaxed, head up, looking to pass and move.

    Kante’s a phenomenon defensively, no doubt, but honestly don’t think much of him at all in an offensive capacity.

  83. Honest Bill

    Players like Kante and Elneny are not players who you would employ in an offensive capacity anyway, so it doesn’t really matter whether one is better than the other. They are both the ‘legs’ player that you use to run tirelessly for 90 minutes.

  84. WengerEagle

    Kante is miles ahead of Elneny.

    Sure the former might be better offensively (debatable tbh) but the latter absolutely floors him defensively, it’s embarrassing the disparity.

  85. Wallace

    i thought Elneny was excellent for us. considering he was joining mid-season, and from a much weaker league, he settled very quickly. was positionally smart, full of running, comfortable in possession, always available…I think he was an excellent signing, and will be even better next year.

  86. Dissenter

    Kante is a ball carrying, hard tackling, forward passing, dribbling and street savvy mother-f**king midfielder.
    If the objective is to play meaningless tikitaka then Santi is your man with the needless side passing.
    Kante is not for everybody. I just wonder why he’s still been underrated.

  87. WengerEagle

    Hopefully that will be the case Wallace, he looked deadly against Barcelona and was good in a couple of league games too.

    Have a feeling that he will end up being a squad player though.

  88. Honest Bill

    To be honest. Elneny does seem pretty good on the ball. But i haven’t really seen enough of him to judge adequately. From what i have seen, he does seem quite lacking defensively, Kante is tidy on the ball, but i don’t really see him as much of a transition player, he’s more of an all action ball winner.

  89. Wallace

    WE

    “I always would have Kante ahead of Elneny all day long when it comes to transitioning defence into attack and vice versa.”

    you think Kante’s a better partner for Xhaka than Elneny? I’d much prefer the Egyptian in probably 80%of the games we play. away to Barcelona or a Pep side I’d stick Kante in there, but otherwise…think Elneny would complement Xhaka far better.

  90. Rambo Ramsey

    Come on Wallace, using ‘body-language’ to judge players is really daft. what they do with the ball on the pitch is more important than how they appear to others. yeah, Elneny has mastered the pass-and-run-to-space skill but what else has he got in his locker that makes him ”country-miles better than Kante”?

    pace and power? no
    running with the ball, keeping it under pressure and taking it past players? no
    dribbling? no
    through balls, long balls, or any defense splitting passing? no
    goal threat? no

  91. tunnygriffboy

    We have very good options in midfield for next season and can alter them depending who we are playing and how we want to play. I’m hoping that Xhaka will allow Ozil to stay higher up the field. After Christmas due to Santi’s absence Mesut was dropping deeper and deeper trying to dictate the tempo of the game.

    Champagne

    Where did you hear the news about Mikhtaryan? I think I’d do a little wee if we signed him.

  92. WengerEagle

    Wallace

    I think that Kante would complement Xhaka perfectly, ideal midfield pivot for me.

    Xhaka has the range of passing and is basically the brain of the side, he’s like a left footed Xabi Alonso.

    Kante provides you with the defensive capabilities of all the elite players but is also a terrific little ball carrier, the guy must have an extra lung because he covers an outrageous amount of ground.

    Xhaka is also a bit stiff in his movement, Kante is faster, more aglie and has a low centre of gravity.

    I think together they’d be great, like an improved Motta-Matuidi.

  93. Dissenter

    Mkhitaryan has a simple choice;
    London V Manchester
    Champion’s league V Europa league

    This is when you appreciate the consistency of Wenger’s Arsenal; it comes across as truthful when Wenger pitches CL participation to player’s he’s grooming for Arsenal.
    Wenger’s draw is a plus for these potential signees.

  94. Honest Bill

    Pretty sure the Mkhitaryan story is one of those extremely tenuous links that only gains traction because people want it to happen so much.

  95. Rambo Ramsey

    Xhaka is not a defensive powerhouse, possession play is his real strength. why on earth would you pair him with another defensively weak mid like Elneny?

    Granit-Coq would be a better combo!

  96. tunnygriffboy

    Dissenter

    That goalie is Kiraly. He’s 41 or something. He played for someone over I’m sure and has always worn the trackie bottoms

    On the Kante/Elneny argument. The have slightly different attributes. Both have a ridiculous engines. Kante is a defensive beast whereas Elneny is not as strong defensively but has better skill on the ball

    I think Elneny has done well since he’s come in half way through a season. I think he’ll get better.

  97. Ishola70

    I thought you had concerns about goals being scored WE if Kante and Xhaka were the midfield partnership. You said it will put big pressure on the other attacking players to score goals when we had a discussion about it previously.

    I was for having this partnership and would love to see Kante at Arsenal.

    The Kante signing would be even better of course if Mhiki is signed and perhaps a striker that takes more goal scoring chances than Giroud perhaps Vardy if there is a concern that there would be a lack of goals from midfield. Elneny isn’t going to score many anyway.

    Anyone that would prefer Elneny to Kante must be because of aesthestic reasons. Can’t think of any other reasons. He looks prettier on the ball.

  98. WengerEagle

    Ishola

    That Imo would be a concern because neither score many goals but if we were adding a quality striker and Mhitaryan too I wouldn’t be as worried as Alexis and Miki are both capable of 20 goals and the striker would hopefully be scoring closer to 30 whoever that may be.

    Ozil needs to step up in this regard, he should be aiming for 15 goals a season, he had the technique for it.

  99. Ishola70

    The Mhiki transfer situation is getting very messy now.

    The agent Raiola is angry that Dortmund may refuse his transfer this summer and make him stay on for another season.

    Agent has now said that Manchester United would be a unique opportunity and Mikhi wants to go there. This after all the positive talk Mhiki had stated about Arsenal before.

    Not looking good. This is an agent screaming at clubs to pay up the 30m that Dortmund want and he is screaming at Man Utd to stump up the cash.