Ramsey and Santi need replacing | Another new staffer | Bad attitude pairing worth it?

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So what do we have here?

A new keeping coach. Sal Bibbo. Sounds like an extra from Lord of the Rings, but he’s not.

He’s Basingstoke born and raised, Havant & Waterlooville is where he played most of his games, Chillin’ out max, and relaxin’ all cool, and all trainin’ some keepers at the Nike Academy school. When a couple of guys who were up to no good (Ivan & Wenger), made him a nice offer to join the Arsenal neighbourhood

… and he did.
No idea how good he is, doesn’t sound like Lollichan, but whatever, he has a real chance at being better than Gerry P.

We have Lacazette onboard now. It seems clear that we’re bringing a wide player into the mix. Who that’ll be is a mystery. It appears we’ve given up on Lemar, because Monaco want proper money from him and have probably pulled their trousers up after being severely dealt with by the bigger boys in the elite playground.

The rumour is Leicester City enigma, Mr Mahrez.

Now, he’s no doubt talent. However, I do have my worries that we’re taking a punt on a guy who went well and truly missing last year. He has a character flaw, and £50m is a helluva punt for a guy who might not show up. I’d also be super worried about being dependent on the grit of him and Ozil when the chips are down. They’d probably spark up a cigarette and pull out a pack of cards for a quick game of bridge if weather permitted on a dry night in Stoke.

It’d go one of two ways… the dream, where we bring title winner Mahrez back to form. A little but like the rebirth of the whole Chelsea team, in particular, the rebirth of Eden Hazard.

Or he’ll just be an expensive luxury the Gen Z tactics and stats nerds rally behind as the genius that can only be seen through the prism of an Xg graph, wrapped in a radar, contextualised through an opta stat like ‘meta transitional semi-sprints.’

The same carry on that stats pin Aaron Ramsey as the most important midfielder in Europe no one knows about.

I had an interesting debate with Alfred that centred around the Welshman. He feels Aaron is the replacement for Santi Cazorla, so we don’t need a replacement. My view is that doesn’t work for me. He’s never come close to replacing the genius of Santi, and he’s had plenty of chances. We need a direct replacement for Santi, right now. He’s over as a first teamed. Aaron should only be seen as a squad player until he can be trusted to stay fit, stay in form, and contribute to more than 10 games a season.

We need to start getting ruthless with players who can’t offer 40 games a season to the club. That’s both Ramsey and unfortunately, fan fave, Santi Cazorla.

On the Lacazette front, I’ve come to accept that he is the level we’re at during these heady Europa League times. His stats looks comparable to our two most prolific players at the moment. Here’s some back of a fag packet math.


  • Starts 45
  • 37 goals
  • 4 assists
  • 115 shots
  • 63 shots on target
  • 32% conversion rate
  • Goal per minute – 109


  • Starts 54
  • 33 goals
  • 17 assists
  • 182 shots
  • 76 on target
  • 41% shots on target
  • 18% conversion rate
  • Goals per minutes – 147.2


  • Starts 27
  • 24 goals
  • 8 assists
  • 83 shots
  • 40 on target
  • 48% shots on target
  • 29% conversion rate
  • Goals per minutes – 101.25

The way I see it is at worst, Lacazette is a faster version of Giroud. That goes a long way with how we hope to play. What we lose is having a bully up top. We’d be the only top 7 club without a lead striker under 6ft tall. But look, if we play fast, aggressive soccerball and we learn how to press in every game like we did in the cup final, we’re upgrading.

The absolute most important thing for the club is to keep Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil. Keep those, and the summer could be a massive upgrade.

I also don’t buy into Alexis asking for £400k a week. You have to look where that’s coming from. It feels like propaganda to soften the blow of selling him. Reality is, Alexis is very unlikely to move to China, because that league is pony to cartoon like proportions. He’d also not land that sort of cash anywhere else in Europe. We should go all out to sign him, £300k a week would be fine by me if he delivers like he did this season. I’d not pay Mesut that, but be real, no one else would and no other club is in for him. His punishment for switching off last year. He must have forgotten Bayern Munich and PSG also have access to Nickelback soundtracked YouTube scouting montages.

So this summer is panning out real nice, some steady changes… still the underlying feeling we’ve been here before, but hey, you might as well enjoy things while they’re dreams and hopes!

Plenty of time for me to dash your dreams in September.

Right, listen to the podcast and subscribe and leave a damn review AND LOVE IT.



448 Responses to “Ramsey and Santi need replacing | Another new staffer | Bad attitude pairing worth it?”

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  1. Mark S

    It’s just past 3am here, and I thought there was no way there would be a new post up. Oh the joys of a newborn son.

  2. Alexanderhenry

    Can’t see sanchez staying, can see mahrez joining.

    Arsenal will delay the sanchez sale as much as possible to keep fans on board and renewing those season tickets.

  3. Leftsidesanch

    Can’t see Mahrez joining, apparently Leicester value him at £50m.

    Also, Sanchez asking for £400 p/w? Wheres the credible source.

  4. Zaco

    still think Chelsea will be coming for our dear Alexis, they are in London and capable of challenging for the title and the champions league, he also have a better chance of playing week in week out unlike what will happen if he signs for city. they also have the cash to burn especially if Roman is in love and approves it

  5. azed

    Congrats Mark…

    A new gooner in town. Hopefully by the time he’s old enough to know anything, Wenger would be long gone.

  6. Mark S

    I picture Gerry Peyton showing up at training, and there is a car in his parking spot for “Goalkeeping Coach”. GP at first thinks, “Well that’s kind of odd?”, before getting a sick feeling in his stomach as he realizes he could be a casualty of the “Catalyst for Change” policy. He runs over to Arsene’s office only to find Sal, Jens, and Wenger talking to each other. After a few awkward hellos and stares, Arsene reassures Gerry that he still has a job and that Sal is only there to “assist/co-coach” the keepers. As soon as Gerry hears that he’s still collecting a check, he looks at Sal, Jens, and Arsene and lets them know that if they need anything he’ll be sunning himself on the back training pitch with Vic Akers aka “The Man Who Always Wears Shorts No Matter the Season”.

  7. Mark S

    Thanks Azed! I was kind of hoping that would be the case with my other sons…but here we are…3+ years later…..

  8. Ishola70

    “still think Chelsea will be coming for our dear Alexis, they are in London”

    Sanchez doesn’t really care for London.

    Seen him in interviews and he was asked about London and didn’t seem that interested, Said he was more of a stay at home person.

    He can stay indoors in Manchester or London.

    Doesn’t really matter to him.

  9. Mikey

    Pedro you wrote a highly critical post a few weeks back lambasting the club that there is no change happening within our set up and that Ivan and Wenger were pulling the wool over our eyes again.

    Correct me if I’m wrong here but the addition of Bibbo means we have now made our 4th new hire to the coaching and structural set up this summer (Jens, Fahmy, Burgess and Bibbo)?

    Is this sufficient change for you or will you still find ways to criticise in order to suit your agenda ( rumour has it you won’t be convinced until the club have hired a new assistant of tea and biscuit operations)

  10. champagne charlie

    On Lemar:
    L’Equipe saying we’ve bid 45 mil Euros today but France Football saying it’s likely to be rejected as Monaco really start digging their heels in. Positive part is that Lemar is said to be ‘desperate’ for a move, moreso now the Lacazette deal is done.

    On Mahrez:
    We’re odds-on with every bookie imaginable, 1/12, 1/5, 1/10, 1/10, 1/5,1/5, pretty considerable odds which makes you wonder if there’s been a leak.

    So apparently bidding for Lemar and red hot to sign Mahrez. If both of those come off then that to me signals Alexis is a goner, one of those and we keep him and that’s superb stuff from Arsenal thus far.

  11. gunnershabz

    hey guys I work 2 mins from king power stadium and I have met Riyadh mahrez and islam slimani few times around and also around Leicester

    Riyadh Mahrez is a good guy, I did speak to him about being linked with arsenal last summer and he loves to be at arsenal but Leicester made it difficult for him but promised him at least one more year and sell him which he did and I guess he was not that motivated as he had an eye on move for a long time but they bought slimani just to give him a buddy here

    He really wants to come arsenal and he is a wenger lover but it does look like Leicester want top dollar for him and the reports of £50m is true. his partner has been looking at properties outside London

    this one may go to the wire it depends on how Leicester play it

  12. Emiratesstroller


    1. Ramsey is probably better suited to playing in the formation we played at end of season including FA Cup Final, because there was less responsibility defensively in that formation with 3 CB + 2 WB/FB.

    2. I do not understand the recruitment of Mahrez unless it is as replacement for Ozil. Also the valuation for this player seems excessive particularly when
    you see offers likely to be made for Sanchez and Ox.

    3. Is the new goalkeeper coach being recruited for 1st Team or Academy?

    4. You posed a question yesterday about role for Lehmann. My instinct is that
    he is being recruited for a different role than just goalkeeper coach. Maybe he
    will be long term replacing Wenger or Bould in two years time. Zoff may have
    been a goalkeeper but he went on to become National Coach and Manager at

  13. Black Hei


    If we are getting Lemar AND Mahrez, that can only be a return to the dreaded 4-2-3-1 formation.


    Imagine Ozil and Mahrez strolling around during a counter.

  14. Biggles

    If we sell Sanchez, it has to be for more than we spend on Mahrez. It’s clear which is the world class player and which is just the good player – so they can’t cost the same money. Likewise, Sanchez is better than Lacazette, so again, if we sell, it has to be for more than we just spent.

    Whilst part of me wonders what Ozil could do if he’s pinging balls to Lacazette instead of Giroud, I really do think we should just sell him. There’s just not enough killer balls to make up for the fact that we’re a man down versus most other teams the rest of the time. Besides, isn’t the regista the guy who is supposed to do the pinging around of the ball? If Xhaka is supposed to be pulling the midfield strings, we need a couple more action packed mids to work with him – and that definitely isn’t Ozil.

  15. Rambo Ramsey

    Romelu fucking Lukaku could well become the fourth most expensive player in football history. Read and weep.

  16. Ishola70

    Mahrez overindulges when he is on the ball just a few too many times for my liking.

    If he was an explosive player or really dynamic then that would be great and really exciting to watch.

    But he is not an explosive player or really dynamic.

    Lemar when on the ball is more dynamic than Mahrez.

    Mahrez if he joined Arsenal wouldn’t really elevate the team.

    Lemar possibly could.

  17. Cesc Appeal

    If we can get Lemar and keep Sanchez even if it means us losing him for nothing, provided that does not hurt us or is used an excuse next summer for low spends, that is absolutely ideal.

    We will still have 40 Beats Per Minute playing, but with Sanchez and Lemar in the team, the work rate will have picked up. In that situation, personally, in a 3-4-2-1 I would drop Ozil and play Lemar and Sanchez behind Lacazette, especially in the big games.

    Would need a CM then and we are done. Please do not waste anything near to £50 Million on Mahrez, even if we lose Sanchez, look at a Cuadrado, or Martens, or even a young buy like Keita Balde Diao.

    Lacazette, Lemar, CM, keep Sanchez. That is a good summer.

  18. Tomtom

    It’s such a shame that we don’t have a new manager in place as the new season approaches, I’d be genuinely excited but with old man Wenger in charge I just know it will be the same old failure yet if he makes fourth place he will see it as proving his critics wrong and probably extend his contract further.
    Easy to see why life time supporters are disillusioned with the club

  19. champagne charlie

    “Lemar when on the ball is more dynamic than Mahrez. Mahrez if he joined Arsenal wouldn’t really elevate the team.”

    What do you mean dynamic? Also, how wouldn’t Mahrez elevate us when he’s a clear improvement to anything we can field wide right?

  20. Rambo Ramsey

    Monaco haven’t exactly been ripped apart as many like to purport.

    Mbappe- Likely to stay.

    Bakayoko to Chelsea- Chelsea usually get their business done with minimum fuss. If its dragged on this long, its safe to assume chances of a deal is dead.

    Fabinho to United- Not happening according to France football

    Mendy to City- Again, appears to be dragging on far too long.

    Lemar to Arsenal- Monaco are reluctant to sell.

  21. David Smith

    The GK coach who made our own number one keeper great is available.
    Yet, the club sign a nobody as a new GK coach….a man who reached the lofty heights of waterlooville and Havant. What can he teach cech?
    Wenger is such a small man

  22. gunnershabz

    papers linking alexis to inter Milan, they are even worse then us at the moment

    I don’t think they even got Europe

    its been 4/5 days and alexis has not mentioned anything about his future

    is he going to do a RVP and write a letter to us

  23. Rambo Ramsey

    Arsenal broke their club transfer record by completing the €53 million signing of Alexandre Lacazette on Wednesday, but the biggest statement of intent they can make this summer is by blocking Alexis Sanchez’s exit, regardless of the fact they could lose him for nothing 12 months down the line.

    The FA Cup winners now face a crucial test of their resolve and ambition with Sanchez, and the outcome will define what kind of club Arsenal really are.

    Is the Chilean regarded by the Arsenal hierarchy as an asset on the football pitch? Or a depreciating asset on the balance sheet who could walk out at the end of his contract in June 2018 as a free agent?

    Sanchez’s performances for Arsenal last season and for Chile during the Confederations Cup in Russia suggest he is a player reaching the peak of his powers.

    At 28, he is maturing into a forward with the ability to be the outstanding game-changer in the Premier League — a player who can do for Arsenal what Cristiano Ronaldo and Luis Suarez did for Manchester United and Liverpool.


  24. Cesc Appeal



    I really do think the best move would have been to take Ozil out of the team, sell him, and let Lemar have his role technically starting on the flank as a wide playmaker but having freedom to cut inside, sit in CAM etc and he would likely contribute more to our total game.

    Really want us to land Lemar. I think he would be an excellent buy. Even if we pay £50 Million, next summer after another season of progression he will be worth more than that and will be an asset to our side.

  25. Ishola70

    champagne charlie:
    “Lemar when on the ball is more dynamic than Mahrez. Mahrez if he joined Arsenal wouldn’t really elevate the team.”What do you mean dynamic? Also, how wouldn’t Mahrez elevate us when he’s a clear improvement to anything we can field wide right?”

    Charlie as some others have been saying the team don’t want too many prancers in the team. Ozil is enough in that respect. The team will end up as the fvcking effette XI lol.

    If you want a truly balanced and effective team you don’t want players like Ozil and Mahrez in the same starting line-up.

    Mahrez really is not a necessary signing as long as Ozil is still at the club.

  26. Rambo Ramsey

    I think what the above espn article suggests would be the best course of action for Arsenal.

    Get Sanchez to sign a 2-3 year deal on 250-275k salary, promise him if we can’t get close to the title next season he’ll be allowed to go wherever he wants.

    I mean, if fucking Liverpool successfully sold such a pitch to Suarez, we should be able to do it with Sanchez. The guy has won two trophies with us in three years after all.

  27. champagne charlie


    so again…. What do you mean when you dub someone ‘dynamic’?

    Also, how doesn’t Mahrez elevate us when he’s better than any wide right player at the club?

  28. champagne charlie

    Ozil gushing about Lacazette, saying he’s ‘looking forward’ to playing with him and how his friends in the French league have said he’ll have a lot of fun playing with Lacazette.

    Pretty much confirming he’s staying then…

  29. tayo

    Pedro, Mahrez any day anytime would outperform the overrated mesut ozil.
    So I don’t buy to your argument.
    Also, lacazette is good…you’re talking height…please how tall is aguero, Messi and dyballa….don’t make me laugh.
    Laca has very good starts and most of you have forgotten that the last 3 PFA player awards went to ligue 1 migrants, hazard,mahrez,kante…. laca should be a plus.. He can use both feet well, so please leave giroud out of the comparison …lol

  30. Emiratesstroller

    The demands of Alexis Sanchez agent specifically the £400K pw are not as ridiculous as being suggested.

    The increase translates into an additional £260K pw, which over the lifetime of
    a 3 year contract will cost Arsenal about £40 million extra.

    Sanchez on current market valuation is worth a wage of at least £300K pw. Therefore the extra £100K pw will cost us around £15,600,000 over 3 year

    The question you need to ask is would the transfer fee of Sanchez or an equivalent player cost Arsenal in the open market £15.5 Million if we wanted to buy him today?

    The answer is most definitely no. Sanchez on a 3 year unexpired contract is
    worth at least a transfer fee of £70 million + wages of £300K pw.

  31. Leedsgunner


    I know I’m probably against the grain here but I still have faith in Özil especially now with a clinical striker on board. Remember this is a man who managed to scratch out for himself 19 assists with Giroud leading the attack. Imagine what he could do with Lacazette in the side. (I can hardly wait).

    It wouldn’t surprise me though if Özil did get sold if a suitable offer did come in. Typical Arsenal. Muddle along for 5 years with the world’s best playmaker and pair him up with a barn door… as soon as we get an incisive striker we look to sell him.

    Although if Lemar is as good as people say he is, why don’t we offer Monaco a straight swap?

    Although we Mbappe stays, Özil would have a field day… and no doubt people would start wishing he was back here again…. lol.

  32. azed

    “I mean, if fucking Liverpool successfully sold such a pitch to Suarez,”

    Wenger probably lied to Sanchez when he signed him, telling him he will be competing for the EPL and CL with Arsenal so yeah its would be a pretty hard to tell Sanchez he would be sold next year when we know the 3 Amigos are specialist in lying.

  33. gunnershabz

    Guys if we can get rid of the dross i.e Wilshire, Walcott, gibbs, debuchy, Campbell

    I would love us to sign either dani cabellos of betis or leon goretzka of schalke both players capable of replacing our Santi

    dani cabellos is the closest to santi at the moment and we could get him for £18m

    but we have to compete with barca and real according to rumours

  34. Ishola70

    champagne charlie
    “Isholaso again…. What do you mean when you dub someone ‘dynamic’?Also, how doesn’t Mahrez elevate us when he’s better than any wide right player at the club?”

    Dynamic when I term it comparing Lemar and Mahrez is that Lemar is more direct in his running with the ball and dribbling.

    Mahrez may be better technically than anything Arsenal have got in that position at present but I think sometimes you have to think of the characteristics of certain players and how this blends in as a whole within the entire side.

    For me having Ozil and Mahrez in the same team is overcooking it in relation to similar characteristics of the players. With Ozil in the team I would be looking to get in a more direct player. Lemar is certainly more direct than Mahrez.

  35. TR7

    Regarding Bellerin to Barca rumors :

    Sell Bellerin for at least £40M, buy Seamus Coleman for £25M who is anyway a much better RB than him (although injured at the moment) or any other young RB and use the spare £15M for either upgrading in other areas or to meet Sanchez’s wage demands.

  36. Rambo Ramsey

    Charlie, puts Arsenal in a shitty position.

    The brittle nature between fans and the club means that they can’t force a sale of Ozil and Sanchez.

    Sanchez would probably be the one player they’d be okay losing on a free and take a financial loss on. Instead it appears it’ll be Sanchez going now and Ozil next season on a free.

  37. gunnershabz

    just seen ozil talking about lacazette on arsenal.com

    looks like he is staying

    I do think he is going to run his contract down and then join either his boyhood clubs fenerbache or schalke as they wont be paying big transfer fees

    I think fenerbache, he is a big supporter for his Turkish team

  38. Leedsgunner

    Mahrez would only work if he was a replacement for Theo and not a playmaker competition for Özil.

    Who ever we bring in we need to be more incisive and move our ball quicker and more direct…

  39. Paulinho

    Ozil was always staying.

    The only two clubs interested in signing him were probably Schalke and Fenerbache.

    Al this stuff about the important thing thing being Sanchez and Ozil staying at the club. The most important for me is Ozil leaving and being replaced by Lemar and someone else. Bernardo Silva would’ve been ideal but that ship has sailed.

    Ozil is simply not good enough. It’s not as if we have some incredibly strong dynamic that needs tweaking. The team needs ripping up. Xhaka, Ozil, and Mahrez would be a disaster of a midfield. Way too many players who cannot play in congestion and move away from the ball looking for space when you want players who thrive without space. Fabregas, Hleb, Rosicky could turn congestion to our advantage and make teams pay for pressing us.

  40. Cesc Appeal

    Barcelona describing Verratti as a ‘prisoner’.

    Now why does that sound familiar?

    Utter, utter c**ts.

  41. Rambo Ramsey

    Its Oxlade Chamberlain we ought to be selling, not Bellerin.

    1. Bellerin has a long term contract whereas Oxlade is down to his final year and refusing to commit.

    2. Put simply, Bellerin is a better player and a better bet for any wingback role. Oxlade is inconsistent and injury prone.

  42. Cesc Appeal

    Now all they need is mop head and Shakira’s husband to go to PSG’s training ground and steal a picture of Verratti off the wall, #wefinallyfreedverratti, and they will have gone full Barcelona.

  43. TR7

    Lol at Ozil having fun playing with Lacazzete. The guy is a fraud of a player and should be sold as soon as possible. He and Xhaka are the weakest links of the team and we ain’t winning shit while they are in our midfield.

  44. Marko

    First off if we end up getting Lemar and keeping Sanchez and Ozil we going back to 4-2-3-1. No way we don’t play all 3 on a consistent basis. Even if we lose Sanchez and bring in Mahrez and Lemar again we’re back to3 behind a striker. Which isn’t a bad thing that reason that formation wasn’t a complete success is mostly down to personnel in the positions but it would absolutely mean addressing the DM and defence area.

    Also fuck Barcelona

  45. Leedsgunner

    “Barcelona describing Verratti as a ‘prisoner’.

    Didn’t they say the same thing about Cesc before his move?

    As I said the other day give Bellerin a compliation video of how well Hleb, Song, Cesc, Song and Tommy V did. The chances aren’t great is it?

    Barca will tell you that they love you one moment and spit you out the next.

    Then I would play Bellerin our compliation of club’s greatest victories… and invite him, in time to become an Arsenal legend.

    No contest in my mind 😉

  46. Rambo Ramsey

    Cesc, its typical Barcelona.

    They always play this disruptive game- get their target to break relations with his club, force through a transfer so that they( Barca ) benefit and are able to get the player on a reduced fee.

    Arsenal may be a nuisance because of cheapskate tendencies but Barca are just sheer fucking Cunts.

  47. Cesc Appeal


    Was keeping my fingers crossed we were selling Ozil, but the way we are approaching things I agree, it looks as if we might go back to 4-2-3-1.

    I suppose 3-4-2-1 served its purpose for Wenger, secured his position and he could claim he had changed. Maybe he will break it out again next March or something. In case of emergency break glass on formation change.

    But as you say, it means even more so than before we cannot have Xhaka and Ramsey as the base.

  48. Cesc Appeal


    I think it was something about being a slave.

    Seriously, any side that plays Barcelona I support. Shameless club, corrupt, supported by UEFA, supported by their own league and behave despicably in the market.

  49. raptora

    Ozil is staying for sure. He has been posting Arsenal stuff ever since his vacation ended. Not sure if he’s renewing but my guts says he will. Probably around £250k a week.

    For me the summer would be great if (from good to worse):
    1. We keep Sanchez, we get Lemar and we sign an upgrade on the Ramsey position;
    2. We keep Sanchez and we get Lemar
    3. We keep Sanchez and we sign an upgrade on the Ramsey position;
    4. We keep Sanchez and we don’t sign anyone else.
    5. We sell Sanchez, we get Lemar and we sign an upgrade on the Ramsey position;
    5. We sell Sanchez, we get Mahrez and we sign an upgrade on the Ramsey position;
    6. We sell Sanchez and we get Lemar;

    The summer would be meh if (from good to worse):
    7. We sell Sanchez (in EPL) and we buy Mahrez.

    The summer would be straight up disaster if (from good to worse):
    1. We sell Sanchez (in EPL) and we don’t buy anyone else.

  50. Cesc Appeal


    I was about to say I wonder how they have never been taken to task on their transfer approach. But obvious answer.

  51. Rambo Ramsey

    But surely, this nincompoop Barca President has overplayed his drama-queen card? How can you call a player with contractual obligations to another club a ‘prisoner’ ?

    PSG should report this disgraceful behavior and get Barca sanctioned.

  52. raptora

    It would make sense to get Lemar in even with Sanchez and Ozil staying. I could see Alexis staying for a year only so Lemar could be his understudy and it could ease his introduction to english football. After that year Alexis leaves and Ozil would have probably left or could still be on the right flank. Plus there will always have injuries and playing time for a young 21 yo Lemar. It makes sense that he doesn’t come as a straight up 100% starter since he is so young. We don’t need another Martial fk up. Plus imagine our subbing choices with Lemar and Giroud on the bench. It would be a transition year for the frenchman, something he could need and can afford at 21 yo. Not that I see it happening, him moving while we still have Alexis and Ozil, but it would make sense to me if it’s possible to get him and keep Alexis since Ozil is obviously staying.

  53. gunnershabz

    I think its true,

    mahrez and ozil in the same team will be too gung-ho

    it will not be a good balance

  54. champagne charlie

    Lemar more direct than Mahrez? Not at all, in fact Lemar has been compared many a time to Ozil more than anyone in our team.

    Mahrez is seriously underrated here it’s painful to read. Not that it says anything, because Lacazette is pants according to many sooo…

  55. azed


    Ozil is staying because there’s no “big” club in for him but i think he will walk on a free next year.
    Also i don’t see Arsenal spending a £100 mil on Lacazette and Lemar and taking the risk of letting Sanchez go on a free next year.
    If we sign Lemar or Mahrez, Sanchez is gone.

  56. TR7

    Mahrez is a quality player who will improve our team. But yes, we can’t have both Ozil and Mahrez in the same team. Problem is nobody is interested in Ozil. So we’re stuck with him.

  57. qna

    Dream10: qna Is Gelson Martin a typical winger or one that can become a goalscorer? He was Liverpool’s backup option to Salah

    I don’t know much about him. Only named him because he is a rumour which doesn’t say much. But like Black Hei says his youtube highlights are pretty outstanding. Thats why I wonder if he will be much of a player for us with immediate impact. But like I said, now is the time we have to buy players like this, but only if we are prepared to play him regularly.

  58. Dissenter

    Versatile us complicit in this nonsense. PSG will sell hm for a rcord fee. It’s Tim they started selling players on too.
    Ver attic was asking PSG to show ambition!!!!!!
    Which is worse the Barca president calling Verrati a “prisoner” or Veratti asking PSG to show ambition?

    Anyways he’s gone. Veratti off to Barca late in th season. PSG will go for Naby Keita. Liverpool just lost out

  59. Leftsidesanch

    Per Mertesacker is to become the club’s academy manager next season. Does that mean we’re in for a defender?

  60. Leftsidesanch

    Just as i typed that I can hear Wenger right now ” we have chambers, gabriel on top of Koz, Mustafi and Holding”.

    Hold that thought then.

  61. Dissenter

    It seems autocomplete dislikes Veratti (had to type it four times). It comes out as ” versatile” and “ver attic”.

  62. qna

    I agree that Mahrez and Ozil wont work. The real problem we have is that we have to replace Sanchez with a new wide attacking player. Sanchez works hard defensively so we need to ensure that is replaced in the team. Thats why I think rhe most important player has to be another CM that has a beast mode and also is skillful with the ball. If that player, say Carvalho sits along side Xhaka and in front of a back 3 then all of a sudden we are not so exposed regardless of the 5 players in front of them. With that back 5 then we can start to have less defensive requirement from the front 3.

  63. Rambo Ramsey

    Wow, Merts is going into retirement early? He turns 33 in September. Meanwhile John Terry still wants his payday at 37. Lol

  64. Bamford10

    I think there’s a decent chance Wenger is planning to revert to 4-2-3-1. It doesn’t really make sense to be looking at Mahrez for the 3-4-3, and Marko is right that if we really are in for Lemar and we really do want to keep Alexis and Ozil, then there is no way Wenger is thinking 3-4-3.

    This also clarifies to me why so many here have been comparing Mahrez to Ozil, despite the former being a wide right and the latter a CAM. You were thinking of us in the 3-4-3, in which case Mahrez and Ozil would be playing the same position in a sense.

    Take this remark from Emirates, for example: “I do not understand the recruitment of Mahrez unless it is as replacement for Ozil.” This only makes sense if you are thinking of us in the 3-4-3. Otherwise it’s not difficult to see how both Mahrez and Ozil could fit into an XI. (Whether that would be effective is a separate question.)

    Anyways, I think there’s a decent chance Wenger is thinking of reverting to 4-2-3-1.

  65. Cesc Appeal


    It is not a question of fitting, it is not a player-centric question that many of us thinking of. Mahrez has qualities as a player, certainly he is better than Walcott etc, it is a question of Mahrez in our actual team playing with the players we have. It is a collective question.

    Yeah, in a 4-2-3-1 Mahrez and Ozil fit, Ozil at CAM Mahrez at RM, but do they work? Does the system work with two lazy, sulky players who can evaporate into nothingness in games? Added to that, if Wenger rolls with Xhaka and Ramsey as the central midfield pairing which I have serious reservations over what does it mean having two toilet tissue type players occupying the three spaces in front of them, doing next to no tracking back, defensive work, shirking the physical stuff?

    That is the question, not an assessment of Mahrez individually but in our collective.

  66. Paulinho

    Mahrez is yet another – like Arshavin, though different styles – that comes alive right at the top end of the pitch. Isolating defenders and using his quick feet in and around the box.

    He will nowhere near to be seen away at Anfield, Old Trafford, Stamford Bridge when they press us in and the defenders are looking for options to bail them out. He’s useless at receiving the ball with his back to play and thus will hide; exactly the same way Ozil hides, and Xhaka hides, and we once again embarrass ourselves in away games with awful football.

  67. TR7

    Mertersacker is a very smart man and model professional. Good move to make him our academy manager. Meanwhile I hope he starts ahead of Mustafi for the next 12 months.

  68. Bamford10

    Agree that there is more anti-Mahrez sentiment here than I would have expected. Count me among those who like him.

    Now, if I had to choose between Mahrez and Lemar, I’d take Lemar, but Mahrez is a good player and he’s much better than any wide right we’ve got.

    If we revert to 4-2-3-1, I’d be happy with signing Mahrez. Though again, I’d love to have Lemar as well.

    Mahrez is a baller, though, and I must say I don’t get some of the negativity towards him here.

  69. champagne charlie

    Mahrez and Ozil absolutely can work in the same team, find that narrative pretty laughable. Theo doesn’t track back or tackle and Alexis doesn’t help out the left back whatsoever.

    This idea Mahrez would somehow come in and offer even less defensive cover than those mentioned is simply not true. Mahrez can be part of a pressing team as much as Theo/Ox can, difference is he’s 10x the player they are when he finally gets the ball.

  70. Cesc Appeal

    It seems as if Wenger has opted for Lemar anyway, we are back in raising our bid by £10 Million with just a our second offer. Journalists are saying we have basically laughed off Leicester’s asking price for Mahrez as well. Might be Wenger thought of Mahrez as the cheap option but now Leicester have essentially made him think he might as well pay big money for Lemar instead if the monetary difference between the pair will be minimal.

    If that is the case, it is one of those rare times I get to say ‘good decision Wenger’.

  71. TR7


    At least Mahrez can take players on unlike Ozil and Xhaka who always look to move away from opposition players for space so that they can play their predictable passes/crosses.

  72. champagne charlie

    Paulinho spouting complete ignorance.

    Mahrez will go missing in big games when we’re being pressed? His title winning season debunks that entirely given Leicester were constantly under pressure and would fire balls up to him and Vardy to do something with – which resulted in him devastating the opposition irrespective of the quality. Destroyed Chelsea and City, last season too.

    There’s few people in the league as good as Mahrez when it comes to receiving the ball in an isolated position and doing something with it.

  73. Bamford10


    “two lazy, sulky players”

    Yeah, sorry, but I don’t see Mahrez this way. Ozil, yes. Mahrez no. There were no lazy or sulky players on the Leicester team that won the league, and Mahrez was a massive part of that. And not to bring culture into it, but I don’t see an Algerian player playing the prima donna. If he wasn’t all in last season, maybe that’s because he’s ambitious and his head got turned by all of the Barcelona talk. I’m not going to write the guy off because of that. I’ve watched him play; he’s fucking dirty.

    As for whether he would be a good fit, yeah, I think a front three of Alexis + Lacazette + Mahrez (with Ozil as the CAM) would have good chemistry, actually.

    I think we see Mahrez differently. I would never in a million years compare him to Ozil. Very different players, IMO. Though I do see Paulinho’s point about Mahrez’s usefulness in the final third versus one’s own third. I’m not too concerned about that. He’s good enough in the middle third and final third that that doesn’t matter that much IMO.

  74. Leedsgunner

    I think there is a bit of snobbishness toward Mahrez.

    Since RvP won player of the Year back in 2011-2012 the following people won the trophy. Apart from Mahrez they were

    Gareth Bale, Luis Suarez, Eden Hazard and N’Golo Kante.

    Ask yourself the question… would Bale, Suarez, Hazard and Kante strengthen our team? Now if they were realistic avaialble would Arsenal do well to go for them?


    Why not Mahrez? He was just as a deserving winner as the others in my opinion.

    If he’s available, he would be silly not to buy. He is pacey, versatile and a goal threat… and less injury prone than Theo.

    If we can get a decent price for him he would be a good addition to the squad.

  75. Cesc Appeal


    Totally disagree. But there you go.

    Opinions and all that. I would not touch him with a ten foot barge pole with our current set up. The only way I would entertain it would be if we changed our CDM and CM to two well rounded, mobile, physical players to cover for the work rates of Ozil and Mahrez.

    But then Leicester have done the people who think like me a favour, no way anyone will meet that £50 Million asking price.

  76. Bamford10


    “The real problem we have is that we have to replace Sanchez with a new wide attacking player.”

    Don’t forget we have to sell Lacazette as well.

  77. Cesc Appeal

    ‘Gareth Bale, Luis Suarez, Eden Hazard and N’Golo Kante.’

    Seriously, are you comparing Mahrez to these players? Consistency of performances over seasons?

  78. champagne charlie

    Precisely. Could ask it another way, how many of our current team do people think capable of winning player of the year? Short fucking list..

    Bamford @ QNA… LOL

  79. TR7

    Excerpts from Guardian on Mahrez (Mahrez is seriously underrated here. I was in awe of his exploits when Leicester won the league)

    “And this is the point about Mahrez. He was, lest we forget, Leicester’s best player when they won the league. He was a genuine force in their Champions League run. He remains a lovely, louche, slouching little wedding cake figurine of a footballer. Mahrez can dribble, shoot, pass, track back and make and score goals. His touch has the precision, the alluring sense of cruelty of the very best, even when he’s ambling around the pitch looking like a disappointed minor eastern European royal, sixth in line to the throne of Syldavia out on a particularly tedious public walkabout in the crumbling city centre tiergarten.

    Mahrez is in a sense one of our own, a domestic success story, from Championship to title-winning player of the year. And yet you get the feeling he might still end up being appreciated a little more outside the Premier League. Lionel Messi is a fan. Atlético Madrid’s players kept calling Mahrez “a craque” before their quarter-final in the spring. Whereas in England there is a sense Mahrez has been pushed a little to the back of things. The idea of a slightly effete one-season wonder has gained a surprising degree of traction.

    No doubt Mahrez’s style is a part of this, a footballer so casual in his movements at times you expect to look down and notice he’s played the last 60 minutes in espadrilles and a linen safari suit. Even at his best Mahrez doesn’t so much run as mooch purposefully on legs so thin they resemble a single standard leg split in half, swaying like a dandelion stem one way, then gliding off in another direction entirely.

    Some say Mahrez has only one trick, the one where he dummies on his left foot, cuts inside, dummies again, then dummies again. But what a trick it is – all the trick you’ll ever really need, based on the ability to stop and start quicker than any other person on the pitch, a miracle of power-to-weight ratio, and a unique kind of creative physicality, swaying and bending and feinting with a range of movements that are all his own.

    The word “player” can sound slightly silly in football. Professionals don’t “play” football. They enact football. They process it. Sergio Ramos inflicts football. Mahrez is a player though, all inventiveness and gaiety of movement, with an obvious connection to the teenage street footballer who had to be told to stop kicking a ball around after midnight on the streets of his housing estate in Sarcelles, in the Paris suburbs.

    It is hard to think of the last time English football threw up a player like this. Chris Waddle perhaps, who had the same mix of precision and swaying, feinting invention. Mahrez also reminds me of the great Djalminha, a mid-range Brazilian of the 1990s who during his time in La Liga could score or make a goal of such insolence it just made you want to laugh.

    Mahrez sails against other kinds of modern trends, the bulked up, hard-running game of sprints and hustle. Hand-picked by Leicester’s scouts for his difference, the counterpoint of his technique and grace in a very physical league, he still gets tired. He was said to be exhausted towards the end of the title-winning season. But then this is exactly the kind of player English football doesn’t usually produce, or nurture, or garland with honours; and to whom it should perhaps be offering a little grace, a margin for failure.

    Hopefully Mahrez will stay in the Premier League. Arsène Wenger has been spotted striding around the south of France with £150m in his hand looking flushed and bothered, like a man attaching himself slightly desperately to the end of the office conga line. He really could do much worse than sign Mahrez, who has the precision and the playful high-grade invention Arsenal have missed in the absence of Santi Cazorla. More than this Mahrez represents something else, a reminder that in between the collisions and the managed forms things such as invention and artistry, the outsider with a trick can still bloom and thrive and inspire.”

  80. Leedsgunner


    I’m not comparing consistency.

    I’m just stating a fact.

    They were all PFA Player of the year winners… including Mahrez.

    If he is available at a decent price, I cannot see how he couldn’t strengthen our team… and he looked decent in the Champion’s League as well.

    We can agree to disagree. 😉

  81. Bamford10

    Two questions: one, if we sign Lemar and keep Alexis, who plays on the right and who plays on the left?

    Two, any chance Wenger signs Lemar and decides he doesn’t need Alexis?

  82. Cesc Appeal

    Sky Sports saying Lemar is now Arsenal’s number one target for the summer.

    Get it done Wenger!

  83. Leftsidesanch

    Just if it werent clear. Per takes the reigns at the end of the 2017/18 season.

    Monaco also rumoured to have rejected our improved bid for Lemar. We should go in at £50-55m.

  84. Cesc Appeal


    Exactly. Can very respectfully agree to disagree on this one.

    But I see you said ‘decent price,’ so at £50 Million would you?

  85. champagne charlie


    I think Wenger sees Lemar as a Cazorla replacement. He played wide for Monaco last season but he drifts inside all the time when Mendy was bombing.

  86. Bamford10


    What a fantastic piece of writing. Thank you for that. I need to make a point of reading everything Barney Ronay writes.

  87. Leedsgunner

    I would offer Leicester £30m tops plus a player maybe Walcott, Wilshere or Welbeck.

    Kill 2 birds with one stone, get rid of a fringe player and bring in a first teamer without that much of an outlay.

    There’s one more aspect that Mahrez has in abundance that no one in our present squad has except, ironically, Wenger.

    Mahrez is a EPL winner. He knows how to win, especially in the face of overwhelming odds. When was the last time we had EPL league winners in our squad? We need winners, not just physically but mentally.

    That experience of grinding out wins is surely worth something is it not?

  88. Paulinho

    CC- Absolute tripe.

    Mahrez stayed high up the pitch for Leicester and Leicester were content to sit and deep and defend, and he received the ball with only the oppostion back four to contend with.

    Arsenal try to play through the lines so Mahrez will be asked to drop deep and look to combine in congested deep areas in the middle third; something he is shit at, which was evident if you did watch him for Leicester in those situations.

  89. champagne charlie

    “he received the ball with only the oppostion back four to contend with.”

    Oh is that all mate? Just the back four…we have loads of players who can operate in those situations ehh.

    You haven’t a clue about Mahrez with these pictures you’re painting, he excels in tight spaces as he’s so good technically. Sorry he wasn’t able to play triangles with Danny fucking Drinkwater or Albrighton, though I think he’d fare a touch better with Mesut Ozil and Xhaka.

    You’re commentary is car crash stuff, full of absolutes that more often than not are only absolute shite. This being another example of one.

  90. Rambo Ramsey

    I have to say, your go-to-argument ‘Player X will disappear at Anfield, Old Trafford, Stamford Bridge’ is fucking boring bruh.

    How many players or teams really go to those places and stamp their authority? Big game results are usually more reliant on defensive mistakes than attacking genius.

  91. Paulinho

    CC – It’s okay. You just have a limited understanding of football.

    Similar garbage this time last year when I said IXhaka would be a complete liability under pressure, and you came out similar bollocks about his ‘flawless’ technique. We all know how that turned out.

    11 points behind Spurs.

  92. S.Asoa

    ” I also don’t buy into Alexis asking for £400k a week. You have to look where that’s coming from. It feels like propaganda to soften the blow of selling him. Reality is, Alexis is very unlikely to move to China, because that league is pony to cartoon like proportions. He’d also not land that sort of cash anywhere else in Europe. We should go all out to sign him, £300k a week would be fine by me if he delivers like he did this season ”
    Lower down there is a Charlie further softening the blow of Sanchez exit to a Premier League rival.
    Slosh slosh. softening with Champagne

  93. TR7


    He wrote a letter suggesting he wanted to move on. I don’t think he handed in an official transfer request.

  94. Rambo Ramsey

    Liverpool had the best record of big game clashes last season. Yet, I have no doubt you’ll struggle to name 1 player of theirs who is ‘Oh so good’ individually.

  95. Oh Theo Theo!

    Not often I agree with Charlie, but I can’t believe the know nothing armchair quarterbacks dissing Mahrez.

    He smashed teams during Leicester’s title run… Dominated back 4’s.

    So he has the ability. And all this stuff about ‘going missing’ for him and Ozil – it’s crap.

    Ozil just isn’t handled right by wenger. Mourinho knew exactly what to do – Let Ozil create chances for 60 mins then whip him off when 1-0 up with somebody more defensively minded….

  96. Wallace


    “I have to say, your go-to-argument ‘Player X will disappear at Anfield, Old Trafford, Stamford Bridge’ is fucking boring bruh. How many players or teams really go to those places and stamp their authority?”


  97. champagne charlie

    Apparently the only thing limited here is your criticisms of players, same shit different name. Xhaka didn’t seem out of place slapping City and Chelsea about, you’re just trying to come off as some football sage by making ridiculous assertions and hoping they turn out to be.

    Have yet to see anything you say come to fruition mind. Your player assessments continue to give me a laugh, like you’re getting your info from a newspaper instead of seeing them play.

    Xhaka got better and better last season, reel off another name.

  98. Paulinho

    Rambo – Boring because it’s true?

    I remember saying Ozil still had it all to do last October – when he scored a few goals against shit teams – and you disagreed with that then as well, when I said he needed to actually step and score in big away game. Again, how did that turn? Did f-all for the rest of the season.

    As for players going to away games and stamping their authority, any team that wins big trophies.

    You can tell it’s pre-season when the cognitive dissonance sets in and fans can’t handle the truth about certain weaknesses in our squad; weaknesses and flaws borne out by actual performances and results.

  99. Oh Theo Theo!

    And have to say – Barcelona – most classless team in the world….. Surely the tapping up rules apply??

    Nick more of their academy players I say…

  100. Rambo Ramsey

    Alright then Paulinho, perhaps you can give us some names we should be targeting- players that will not disappear at Old Trafford, Anfield, Stamford Bridge etc ?

  101. GoonerDNA





    Not bad but still feel we need to stay with 3 at the back.

  102. Paulinho

    “making assertions and hoping they turn out to be”

    Yet they turn out to be true.

    I was only one this time last year saying Xhaka’s lack of mobility and ability to deal with pressure was a problem, and yet a year later around 90% of the fan base realise it is a problem.

    Even you changed your tune mid-season, talking about finding the right partner for him to cover up his flaws.

    You’re a clueless tit. I actually hope Mahrez does join because it will be funny to see the mental gymnastics you employ mid-season to deny his flaws and the affect they have on the team.

  103. Rambo Ramsey

    ‘As for players going to away games and stamping their authority, any team that wins big trophies.’

    So Paulinho, by your own admission- Mahrez who lifted Leicester to a big Premier league trophy?

  104. Paulinho

    Rambo – I’ve mentioned Bernardo Silva numerous times. Too late now though.

    We need creative players that are comfortable dropping into central areas and playing around the pressure. Mahrez is just more of the same for me. Skirts on the fringes of games and if the ball comes to him in the final third, he is comes alive. But he won’t create the space for that himself.

  105. TR7


    Don’t you think our focus should be on building a midfield with players in the mold of Rosicky etc. who can deal with the press and then pass it to someone like Mahrez on the wing to do things in attacking third ? I mean I feel like you’re asking too much from a wide player to not only do things with his feet in the attacking third but also often drop deep and build up play. Can’t really think of many players really who can do the stuff you’re talking about. I would rather we built a solid midfield and leave wingers to do things they are supposed to. There aren’t many Rosickys around.

  106. Paulinho

    Jim – Yep, someone like that.

    Guys that actually enjoy the challenge of being pressed and look to turn into a positive, instead of a damage limitation job like most of our players.

  107. Paulinho

    TR7 – Yep, that would be option. Lemar might help in that regard.

    I’m talking about Mahrez with Ozil in the side, and Xhaka in midfield.

    Mahrez would still have his moments even if he did join, and score some great goals, but we would see the same problems and anaemic, lifeless performances because team morale goes south quickly when you cant keep the ball as a supposed possession side.

  108. TR7

    “I’m talking about Mahrez with Ozil in the side, and Xhaka in midfield. ”

    Yes, said it a few times – doesn’t matter who our front 3 is , we are going to struggle unless we resolve our CM issue. But standalone I think Mahrez is a very good player.

  109. champagne charlie

    Changed my tune?

    I’ve done no such thing re:Xhaka, I’ve commented on the system/personnel that has left him isolated in midfield as last man. Nothing to do with his quality, being less mobile isn’t destructive in a proper system – or more acutely, when his partner is disciplined.

    Only reason to need another partner is because Rambo goes missing, whereas Cazorla did not.

    You’re full of shit, now saying Mahrez did fuck all in ‘venues you mentioned’ as if to be considered a quality player there’s specific stadia to perform in. What an embarrassing comment. He destroyed every team he faced, led his average side to the title, and won player of the year….but Paulinho on a blog said he didn’t turn up at Stamford Bridge. What a cuck

  110. Rambo Ramsey

    ‘Rambo – I’ve mentioned Bernardo Silva numerous times. Too late now though.’

    Yes, we’ll see next season.
    There is no one else who you can think of?

    ‘Rambo – Mahrez did f-all in any of the venues I mentioned.’

    So the fact that he didn’t score or assist at those venues means more than the fact that he was player-of-the-season in a title winning campaign?

    How would you rate Hazard? and how do you think Hazard did in those venues this season, pal?
    Arsenal- 3-0- Chelsea

    Ethihad was only place Chelsea won and Hazard made it 3-1 in stoppage time. That’s it.

  111. Bamford10

    Calm down, everyone. Let’s play nice. Surely we can disagree about this or that without suggesting others know nothing about the game.

    I might rate Mahrez higher than he does, but Paulinho definitely knows what he is talking about. That is obvious.

    And he is right that he was right about Xhaka, and he has also been right about Ozil, Wenger and a thousand other things.

    Learn to disagree amicably, Champagne.

    Cue Charlie, with a “wind your neck in, Bumford”. 😉

  112. Paulinho

    “I’ve done no such thing re:Xhaka, I’ve commented on the system/personnel that has left him isolated in midfield as last man. Nothing to do with his quality, being less mobile isn’t destructive in a proper system – or more acutely, when his partner is disciplined”

    And yet not a squeak of that concern,and Cazorla’s importance in all of it, before the season started. When the squad was widely known,the system we played – and Xhaka’s role in it – was widely known.

    You dozy disingenuous bellend.

  113. Bamford10


    Agree that central midfield remains a problem. One athletic, technical, ball-winning CM — e.g., a Fabinho — would help a great deal.

  114. Paulinho

    Rambo – They are different players, pal.

    I remember Hazard creating an excellent chance for Willian against Arsenal at the Emirates that Willian screwed just wide. That would’ve made it 1-1.

    Some of those performances were mediocre I agree but over the course of Hazard’s Chelsea career he’s not been shy of showing himself in those venues and looking to link play and do what he does.

    Keep missing the main point though; which is the issue of having too many players who are uncomfortable playing in certain scenarios.

  115. champagne charlie

    Are you dense?

    There is no concern about Xhaka, there was a concerned that developed given he was isolated by his midfield partner.Not concern about his ability, but concern in his isolation as there would be with anyone being isolated in the centre of midfield.

    Literally nothing to do with Xhaka and hi9s strengths or weaknesses, you isolate any CM because their partner goes walkabouts and its a problem. Says nothing about Xhaka whatsoever who I rate higher than any other CM option we have.

    Nothing disingenuous about it, you simply can’t read whats being said. That and you have your ridiculous assertions to stick to. Funny how you never seem to present solutions to matters, or suggest players. Rather beat your chest and pretend your football knowledge exceeds the games elite.