Arsenal bag first signing (two to follow) in attempt to rebuild a winning culture

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Ok, so lesson learned from yesterday is that no one wanted to shoot the shit with me about famous warlords.

So, today, let’s talk about PLAYER SIGNINGS!

That handsome chap at the top of the screen is our new reserve right back. He’s dropped 250 appearances in Serie A, the most since 2008. He’s the fourth most capped player in the entire history of football played in Switzerland, and he’s one a bucket load of trophies.

Unai Emery had this to say on his first acquisition.

“Stephan brings huge experience and leadership to our squad. He’s a player with great quality with a very positive and determined attitude. Stephan will improve us on and off the pitch.”

Get in son!

I’m excited about his signing. This isn’t some tin pot player like Silvestre, this is a smart defender who has played at the highest level in Europe. He’s played in super complex systems for Conte and Allegri. He’s a winner.

We don’t need him to play more than 25 games next season and that’ll be more than enough. He’s here to help change the culture of the dressing room. He’s here to hold players accountable. He’s here to bring a bit of winning dust to the Arsenal.

The next player rumoured to be joining is Sokratis. The big Greek is coming in from Dortmund after turning down United.

“There was interest from United but he had to wait until July for them,”

“United have a very good relationship with Dortmund, the teams talked but Sokratis chose to go to Arsenal.

Clearly he’s had a word with Mikki about Jose and chosen to be reunited with Dortmund 2.0. Again, the signing isn’t Unmtiti, but it’s a solid one regardless. Forgetting last season, if you read the read ups, people and online magz were talking him up as a hardcore competitor and a good passer of the ball. He’s played under Klopp so he understands the gegenpress. He’s also experienced the madness of Thomas Tuchel and he was the favoured centre back during his first year in charge.  Key with this guy is his leadership, he was the AEK Athens captain at 19. He’s known for unshakeable self-belief. That’ll be much needed at AFC this season.

As Matt and I opined on the podcast last night. Both are super pragmatic signings, but if you look at our business over January to now, it’s not terrible. I’ve read people say we’re doing West Ham like deals… well, I’m not so sure about that. I’m willing to give Diamond Eyes a chance, and as many people that work in and around the club will tell you, Arsenal aren’t that far away from being a very good side.

We have a lot of stars or stars in the making. We have 50 goals in two players in our frontline. We have 20 assists in Ozil if he turns up. We have 15 goals and 10 assists in Ramsey if he can stay fit. Arsenal are trying to do work on the back 5 at the moment. I think Sokratis could prove to be a very solid signing who could help shepherd in Mavrapanos. I think the Swiss is going transmit knowledge into the other players. We’re building in solidity into a starting 11 that didn’t have any balls. I still can’t quite believe we won’t sign a ball playing keeper, that feels imperative for a team that’ll need to play out of the back, but it’s early doors.

I’m also not quite sure about the Fellaini deal. He’s been playing clogger football under Mourinho. I think there are probably additional levels to his game. But you can’t help but look at him coming to Arsenal as anything outside hiring in a professional piece of shit-housery. Still, worth noting that he’s 29 years old, he’d be free, he’d do a very specific job for us and United and Juve are both interested. He’d be great off the bench, he’d be great away in tough games and he’s given our midfield something it doesn’t have in terms of size and strength.

It’s also notable that we’re hiring in players like Yacine Adli. If we start to build out the youth team with players who can push within a season or two, we have our succession plan for the old players that’ll be retiring in 3 years. Key here is the players have people they can learn from. Our young players have been left to rot in a zero coaching setup. Now they’ll be learning from the staff and players. They will be held accountable and pushed like never before. That’s a smart strategy.

It’s clear the club is trying to change the dynamic of the dressing room, and their clear goal for next season is to make top 4 so they can invest proper money in elevating positions.

I can get behind that plan. We need incremental wins. We’re not going to be able to challenge from the league in the first year. We have to be real about where we are as a club, and how much work needs to be done.

This is pure play pragmatism. We are in a three-year plan. This isn’t going to be tika-taka football all the way. The club are addressing spirit, culture and the glaring lack of know-how left by Arsene Wenger.

Basically, shut up and support the new post-Wenger infrastructure.

Right, listen to our return podcast because it is SO GOOD and I’ll see you tomorrow morning.


296 Responses to “Arsenal bag first signing (two to follow) in attempt to rebuild a winning culture”

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  1. gonsterous


    you are really pushing the “buy nzonzi” propaganda, but Then on the other hand you come out saying, no one is actually saying to buy him. just drop the nzonzi talk and move on to other players…

  2. gambon


    Is “Stockpiling” the new “Financial Doping” that the AKB use to justify Chelsea outperforming Arsenal?

    Stockpiling is code word for “buying good players and selling well”

  3. China

    Both signings improve on our current situation. Lichtsteiner is free and nzonzi isn’t that expensive. I’m comfortable with both joining.

    Their only major downsides are their ages, but licht is free so no major downside and we already have Bellerin and nzonzi has a good few years left in the tank in all likelihood.

    Sign both and a quality keeper and then start fishing around for some major prospects under the radar, cheap young players who we can slowly bed in to be long term options.

    I really don’t see there’s anything wrong with having an older squad if it’s good and if we have a pipeline of talent to plug the gaps they leave in the future.

  4. Ishola70

    China don’t talk about N’Zonzi

    We are under strict orders not to talk about him from gonsterous lol

  5. China

    Regarding the hunt for top 4 next season, let’s not forget that it’s very unusual for all the other top 6 teams to have good seasons at the same time

    In any given year normally 2-3 of them are either shit or at least disappointing. If we have a solid but unexceptional season we have every chance of making top 4 (no trophy mind lol). But at least we can use the CL money and the platform to attract more top young talent and compete better in the following transfer window

    We don’t need miracles to make top 4 next season. Just a solid season and a tiny bit of luck is more than enough

  6. China

    At the end of the day, excellent young players who also have serious experience at serious clubs come very pricey most of the time.

    Unless we want to reignite project youth (makes me com in my mouth a bit) and bank on young players who haven’t won much to deliver us major trophies (very fucking difficult) then it’s better for us to build a serious and competitive platform out of experience and players who know what it means to actually win. Young players coming into that team can get dragged up by the experience around them much better imo.

    Sure some young teams do great things but if we’re serious it’s very unusual. Time for arsenal to stop making everything look so complicated.

    Improve the squad, add winning mentality, add experience, build a platform at an affordable price and use that platform to introduce youth

  7. Buckhurst gun

    Remember when Arsenal fans used to lose their shit when wenger wouldn’t give a player over 30 more than a years contract – not once did anyone think about resale value back then , now all of a sudden it’s a massive deal like it directly affects our personal bank accounts …… now people are shitting themselves about buying a 29 yo !!

    If we buy Sokratis for 15 mill , How long do you think it would take arsenal as a business to make that 15 mill back ? How much do we earn on a home match day , factoring in ticket sales merch sales and food and drink sales ? I reckon 4/5 home match days makes that 15 million back ,so then we’re even , it’s not like we spend that 15 mill on Sokratis and because he’s 29 we are forever 15 mill in debt for the rest of human history is it …. calm down with this massive stress out about resale value for fucks sake , Arsenal are making a steady flow of millions every month so you can all rest easy , Arsenal fans have become so fucking Anal about all this

    From the independent 2016 – “

    If their figures are right then we made just over 5 million per home game and that was in the 14/15 season – stop worrying about resale value – you have to spend money to make money and 15 million on a 29 year old is clearly a drop in the ocean for Arsenal

  8. Pierre

    “Stockpiling is code word for “buying good players and selling well”

    Gambon, in your honest opinion, do you think selling Lukaku, de bruyne and salah is good business.

    Chelsea did buy well 5/10 because they had a shit load of money to buy well so they could afford to make mistakes in the market.

    I wouldn’t say buying morata, babayako, giroud and that Leicester midfielder are a case of buying well, would you.

  9. China

    The problem with arsenal is there is little pragmatism.

    Most of what the club has done for the last decade is built on hedging long bets and outright praying they pay off.

    Let’s take some shorter odds for once and not build our club on a hope and a prayer. A bit of pragmatism will do wonders for us right now

  10. Emiratesstroller

    As I wrote I have no issue with signings of Lichsteiner and Sokratis. Both are
    solid players, but they are short term solutions with no resale value.

    Lichteiner is cover in right back position where we did not have cover since
    departure of Debuchy.

    Sokratis is a centre back who is experienced and probably an upgrade on all the other CBs on our books. Mertesacker has retired and there must be questions about future of Koscielny.

    However, I would be personally opposed to recruiting Nzonzi. Bringing in yet another player approaching 30 is just finding short term solutions to an inherited problem that the club has.

    No-one believes realistically that Arsenal are going to win title next season.
    Our short term objective must be top 4 finish.

    If we are going to spend £30 million+ on any player I would prefer to spend it
    on younger player who has a resale value.

  11. Victorious

    ‘Only someone who is very much anti-N’Zonzi would make such a statement so we know why this pie in the sky comment was made don’t we.”

    Oh,Except I’m not as ‘anti-Nzonzi’ as you’re ‘anti-Xhaka’.. am I? keep on yapping about the qualities of Nzonzi(which are mostly intangibles)…at a stretch you then mention the match against United which was just a one off
    We have brought in Licth(34),Sokratis(29) and want a 30 Nzonziyear old added to the pile of oldies…when we could easily target savic,Rabiot,Tolisso,kovacic.huge NO

  12. Jay

    Good read pedro. They are solid if not spectacular buys. Emery has clearly identified the lack of leadership in the back 4 and is trying to resolve that.
    Steady the ship first and foremost.

  13. gonsterous

    Ignacio camacho is a decent chap. won’t cost us more than 15m to sign him. not just a great DM but has an eye for a pass. just another example of players available when we don’t limit the DM options to nzonzi or a 50m player…

  14. Pierre

    Did anyone realistically think that Leicester or Chelsea (after finishing tenth, I think, the season before) would win the league…. So yes it can be done if you get the early momentum.

  15. Buckhurst gun

    And on the subject of us not being able to gain an extra 12/15 points next season – come on now – we only won one anyway game in 2018 , that’s not our usual away form is it , look at the teams we lost or drew against away , that away form is not likely to happen again so an extra 12/15 points is an easy target – make top 4 then we go from there , we made top 4 without tactics , a game plan or coaching for 20 something years imagine what we could do with Emery who actually wants to prep for games

  16. gambon


    Youre using one year of bad purchases to prove Chelsea dont buy well?

    They have won 2 x league titles, 2 x FA Cups, The Champs League and the Europa League in the last 6 years.

    Of course their policy is massively successful.

  17. Ishola70


    Rabiot is going to have many suitors after him.

    Tolisso will add nothing defensively to the midfield. Nice player but will add nothing defensively.

    Kovacic leaving Real Madrid soon is he? To Arsenal? Bit weak in the air that one.

    I didn’t say the dreaded N word in all of that either.

  18. Pierre

    Personally, I would prefer 2 holding midfielders, similar to what Tottenham use.. Xhaka is a good player but is too often left to fend for himself in midfield.. As I said before, Ramsey has been at the club for ten years and, as yet, has failed to build a partnership with any other Arsenal midfield player… Why is that.

  19. gonsterous

    or the tunisian Ellyes Skhiri who’s only 23 years old, has great stats, plays for Montpelier , would cost peanuts, has Ariel ability. give him a season under emery and we’ll have sorted the DM position for years to come…

    also if I can find players just looking them up on the internet, how come people in the footballing world, paid millions, can’t come up with players that could fit the system ( cause I suppose they know what system they want to play or implement)?

  20. Freddie Ljungberg

    Sevillas president has publicly stated that Arsenal are welcome to buy N’Zonzi.

    For his buyout clause of 40 mil euro.

    So stop with the 20-25 million numbers please.
    He would cost as much or more than a player like Rabiot or Doucoure that we can get 4-6 years more out of OR sell on for good money.

    We obviously can’t piss money up the wall on more stop gap players, as evidenced of our scrambling around in the second hand bin this window.

    Our average age for our starting XI is already over 28 years, why would we need more old players? We need pace, power and skill in midfield and attack.

    No one, absolutely no one is saying go out and sign 17-18 year olds and embark on project youth 2.0, but we can’t be fucking idiots with our funds either.

  21. gambon

    “also if I can find players just looking them up on the internet, how come people in the footballing world, paid millions, can’t come up with players that could fit the system”

    Did you ever think these players you are recommending might not be good enough?

  22. gambon

    “Personally, I would prefer 2 holding midfielders, similar to what Tottenham use.. ”

    Tottenham use 1 holding midfielder.

  23. Pierre

    Their policy, of course, is successful… I was just pointing out to you that the fortunes they spent on players 5/10 years ago is the reason why their net spend looks good on paper….
    Of course, there is no denying that our buying and selling policy has been poor during that time albeit with a fraction of what some of the others have spent…

  24. Ishola70


    As long as he covers ground and is mobile. Unlike what we have atm.

    Long langy legs ala N***** and little legs ala Torreira.

    Makes no difference.

  25. Pierre

    Dembele and wanyama or dier =2 holding midfielders.

    Neither get ahead of the ball, neither are interested in scoring goals.. Both control the centre of the pitch and both protect the defence.

    2 holding midfielders allow the front 4 to attack with freedom knowing that they are protected by 2, thats TWO, holding midfielders.

  26. Ishola70

    “We need pace, power and skill ”

    Not necessarily all those for a holding midfielder.

    If you can recommend a player that has power, pace and skill but is also defensively sound and positionally cute everyone is listening.

    Rabiot is going to be much sought after and by clubs in CL. Big clubs.

  27. Dissenter

    Sevilla will only let Nzonzi go for 35 million.
    Spending £35 million to sign a 30 year old midfielder is madness. That’s just financial recklessness.
    We might as well sign Lucas Torriera from Sampdoria for his release clause of €22.5 million.

  28. raptora

    We should have been looking at 30m release cause, 22 yo, young defensive leader in Clement Lenglet. Not at 29 yo Sokratis who’s never been top quality anyways.

    I want our new people with power to succeed more than anyone, but Diamond Eyes and Sanllehi are not giving me much optimism. Bad winter where they could have went all in and try to make transfers that will win us Europa League. We were a good player away from winning vs Atleti. If someone of Auba’s caliber was eligible to play in attack, or we had a winger that can actually take on people and then cross or score. A good CB or CM would have made a world difference as well. Instead they chose to buy a striker that can’t play in the tourney and a low on confidence, no pace “winger” that prefers to pass than to dribble past players aka Ozil numero 2.

    I’m pessimistic about this new regime.

  29. Dissenter

    That £35 million will cover most of the cost for Doucore.
    Nzonzi is a fool’s dream.
    Stop the madnesss.

    Get Doucore
    Sell Elneny and squeeze to get Torriera and we are in business.

  30. Ishola70


    You are not comparing Dembele/ Dier/Wanyama with a potential Xhaka/N’Z**** partnership are you.

    Xhaka and N’Zonzi are incapable of what Dembele does in midfield and he is the permanent fixture in midfield.

  31. Dissenter

    Let’s talk plainly
    Spending £56 million on a striker that was not qualified to play in the Europa league was UTTER MADNESS. They should have realized that Europa league was our best chance back to the CL and considered that.
    We’ve made some crazy bets and lost.

  32. Ishola70

    The problem with Doucoure is that he is not a specialist player.

    He’ll run about for you box to box but probably will not excel or stamp himself in a certain area.

  33. Freddie Ljungberg


    I’m not convinced we need a pure holding midfielder, I would prefer 2 defensively minded b2b players.

    Rabiot has been linked to us, now and in the past, is supposedly a fan of the club (according to his dad) the only other solid link this window is to Inter Milan for £27m.

    Serie A is not as attractive as the PL, we can beat them on both transfer fee and wages.
    I don’t see the problem here, should we continue our failed Wenger policy of only going after players no one else wants? That worked out great…

  34. raptora

    Similar players to Dembele are Modric and Wilshere. None of them can be classified as holding midfielder. All three of them are probably what central midfielder should mean in books.

  35. Dissenter

    Pierre is the cause of this Nzonzi hysteria.
    I wouldn’t let him anywhere my retirement funds. If he has his way, we’ll drop £35 million on a player with no resale value, at a time when we are already stretched.
    It’s a crazy as the chant to keep Sanchez and take a hit just to prove a point.
    What exactly is Nzonz going to do to justify that silly risk? Score 30 league goals t9 get us fourth place and win us the Europa league single handedly?

  36. Ishola70

    I think there will be a big problem Freddie signing Rabiot.

    All the big boys are looking on with interest at what is going on at PSG atm and Rabiot is a real quality player.

  37. Dissenter

    Who’s your specialist defensive midfielder?
    That title is redundant, you should know that. The successful defensive midfielders are the one who can break up play and initiate attacks quickly with their running (Edgar Davids) or passing (Claude Makalele). They have to be very good central midfielders as well.
    Nzonzi is a central midfielder who just has physical attributes to defend.

    Why did you dismiss Doucore for such a flimsy reason?

  38. Ishola70

    See Dissenter is just thinking about scoring tonnes of goals again.

    How about sorting out that embarrassing goals against record season just gone.

    You are talking like a thoroughbred Wengerite.

  39. Bamford10


    Agree that we don’t necessarily need a pure holding mid. Two defensive-minded, responsible CMs might be just as good if not better.

  40. Emiratesstroller

    Question for all those pro Nzonzi advocates who are prepared to spend £35
    million+ on a 30 year old player.

    Do you know any other club in top 6 of EPL who would spend that sort of money on another player in that age group with no resale value?

    Man City, Man Utd, Liverpool, Spurs and Chelsea are spending £30 million+ on
    players aged 20-25.

    Man Utd acquired Sanchez aged 29 but swapped him for another player of a
    similar age and did not have to pay a transfer fee.

    Whilst several posters would like to see Xhaka replaced in team the fact is that he came to Arsenal with a reputation as one of the best CMF/DMF in
    Bundesliga if not in Europe.

    The fact that he has proved to be a slight disappointment may well be down to
    the poor framework of the team under Wenger and not his ability.

    Let’s judge him once Emery comes in and reorganises the team. Let’s be honest most of the squad looked fairly awful last season.

    The question which needs to be answered first before you make wholesale
    departures was it the system/culture at club at fault or the players?

  41. Bamford10


    If Lacazette were more convincing, they never would have been in for Aubameyang.

    But you’re right that it would’ve helped if Aubameyang could’ve played in the Europa.

    However, we were still being managed by Wenger, so there is little to no chance we would’ve won that, even if Aubameyang could’ve played.

  42. Thorough

    Why are we all fixated on Nzonzi, whom I like btw. However I absolutely won’t mind another DM in the form of William Carvalho. Domineering, younger, cheaper, sits perpetually in front of the back 4/5, put fires out with minimal fuss and an ever present in one of the most competitive national teams of the past 10 years. And don’t give me the line about his club, I still watched him play Athletico a few weeks ago and I was as impressed as I have always been.
    And can even play CB at a stretch I heard. What’s there not to like?

  43. Vintage Gun

    “I want our new people with power to succeed more than anyone, but Diamond Eyes and Sanllehi are not giving me much optimism”

    When you look at the players we’ve brought since January PEA, Mhikki, Mavropanos & Lichestiner i honestly think that we’ve brought quite well all things considered.

  44. Dissenter

    AC Milan spent £160 million last summer ….and lost their bet. They are being pilloried for it right now.
    We’ve evaded the same level of scrutiny.
    We made huge blunders; flushed money down the drain with the dithering on Alexis, made the wrong call with th Ozil deal, spent mega bucks on a striker that could not play the one competition that would have brought us back to dine with the elites.

    We are still in that bone headed course, signing 30 years old defenders with ONE. Year left on their contracts for £16 million.
    Yet there are some financial geniuses who want us to sign 30 year old midfielders for £35 million.

  45. raptora

    Our transfers don’t need to be super sexy names necessarily. Look at Man City with their GK Ederson and years ago with Fernandinho. Or at Matic for Chelsea. And so on. Just need to be carefully picked.

  46. Dissenter

    In fairness to Wenger, the Aubameyang deal was the work of Mislintat and Gazidis. It has nothing to,do with Wenger.
    It was a poor choice, the type of stuff that should have gotten someone sacked.

  47. Ishola70

    Ederson was rated tbh before Man City signed him.

    Only saw him a couple of times for Benfica and knew real soon he was going to be picked up.

  48. Dissenter

    Torriera is about the same size as Veratti and Kante
    Anticipation, mobility, sheer competiveness and non-stood running to cover ground can overcome the lack of height.
    His release clause is £22.5 million. A club that routinely played duds
    Ike Elneny shouldn’t even be thinking about making this deal.

  49. Leedsgunner

    Before we moved into the Emirates we were told we couldn’t compete unless we did. After we moved into the Emirates despite having a modern stadium for a decade in comparison to our London rivals we are still told we can’t compete.

    What was the utter point of the move then?

    Letting Wenger stay on for 12 years longer than he should have done has been a unmitigated disaster.

    I hope Emery can repair the damage that Wenger has left in his wake.

  50. Bamford10


    You clearly missed my point. I don’t think PEA was a “boneheaded” signing — though I admit it would’ve been better if he could’ve played in the Europa — as I am not convinced by Lacazette. Sven & co. weren’t convinced by Lacazette either; that’s why they signed Aubameyang.

    If we hadn’t signed Aubameyang, and if Lacazette were our only genuine CF at moment, more than half of the posters here would be saying we need a CF in addition to needing a GK, CB, CDM, etc. The only reason people here aren’t saying we need a CF is because we have Aubameyang.

    As for Wenger, my point was simply that even if Aubameyang could’ve played in the Europa, we still would have lost, because we still had Wenger as manager.

  51. raptora

    If Nzonzi was 15 to 20m it would have made sense to get him. At the cited 35m it’s double the money we should be trying to make a deal for.

    We should be looking at Jorginho, Weigl, Rodri (that Atleti already bought for 20m and the guy is a 22 yo 190cm beast).

  52. Rob The Goon

    “Basically, shut up and support the new post-Wenger infrastructure.”

    Glad to see you’re on board.

    Great signing – interesting to see who else we sign.

  53. Ishola70

    Dissenter the point is N’Z**** will give Arsenal much better defensive protection at this point than Doucoure would.

    From what we have seen of both players N’Z**** would be termed the specialist holding midfielder while Doucoure is a mish mash.

    And if you state that Doucoure would give better protection from what we have seen from both players you are telling fibs.

  54. Marko

    I wouldn’t sign Nzonzi and for the fee mooted we could do better. But sure we seem to be targeting a certain type of player this summer so why not. Never a dull moment with Arsenal

  55. Dissenter

    Torriera with a 22.5 million release clause is a steal. It’s robbery in broad daylight.
    He’s the best deal on the market.
    I wouldn’t spend £35 million on a 30 year old midfielder. Even the ManU board would sta no to that.

  56. raptora

    I know that Ederson was rated, that’s why he was a 35m GK. And I’ll admit that I had never seen him face before he signed for Man City. Just like I haven’t seen the face of this Torreira dude which doesn’t mean that he will be a worse signing than Nzonzi.

  57. Pierre

    “Dembele is not a holding midfielder.”

    You’re showing your footballing ignorance.

    What is he then.

  58. Vintage Gun

    “In fairness to Wenger, the Aubameyang deal was the work of Mislintat and Gazidis. It has nothing to,do with Wenger.”

    It had everything to do with Wenger.
    We brought PEA in an attempt to save face after the Sanchez fuckup from the prior summer. They knew Swapping Alexis for Mhiki would have pissed of an already disgruntled fanbase. So they got PEA in aswell.

    Basically the fuckup happened last summer BEFORE Sven and Raul were working for the club. They just make the most of a bad situation

  59. Ishola70

    Torreira is very good at springing out from defensive positions and intercepting.

    He’s like a bull terrier.

    If you asked him to be more conservative you would lose the characteristics of the player that you inticed you to him in the first place.

    Really he needs to play alongside another holding mid not on his own in that position.

    He is too head strong to play holding mid on his own plus he is a dwarf.

  60. Dissenter

    I disagree with you that we would have lost out in the Europa league had we had Auba as striker.
    Hell no, I disagree
    You think if we had Auba and Laca in the that first leg at home, against 10 men for 80 minutes, we wouldn’t have scored more goals?

    We are in a financial straight jacket now to to the recent crazy bets that we’ve
    lost out on.

  61. Ishola70

    I think people would be ok with Xhaka deeper and Torreira alongside him doing the running and springing out with the energy.

    But Xhakattack is still the last man in midfield in such a set-up.


  62. Bamford10


    We don’t a single dedicated holding mid. Two mobile, tackling, responsible CMs will work as well.

    Plus, if we’re keeping Xhaka and looking to pair him with someone, a Torreira makes far more sense than N’Zonzi.

  63. Pierre

    “Who’s your specialist defensive midfielder?
    That title is redundant, you should know that”

    It makes me smile when I read the comments on here.

    Gambon… Apparently dembele is not a holding midfielder… Classic.

    Gambon… Apparently Tottenham only play with one holding midfielder… Classic.

    Dissenter.. The defensive midfielder is now redundant… Classic

    All the Wenger obsessives who called him tactically inept are showing us that they really ” know nothing only bull shit” (KNOBS).

  64. Dissenter

    You keep knocking all these younger players down forgetting that there’s a reason why you employ a manager.
    A manager who has access to a video review system and basic stats after games.

    “ He is too head strong to play holding mid on his own plus he is a dwarf.“
    What are you talking a out.
    Kante is 5’ 6”, Makalele was 5’ 6” and Veratti is 5’ 5”
    How many aerial goals were scored against Mascherano (5’ 8.5”). When he played center back for Barca. He played as defensive midfielder alone forever despite the height.
    There’s such a thing as rapidly reading the game >>>>anticipation>>>>reaction speed to get to the ball first>>>>good tackling and utter competitiveness >>>>graft to foul cleanly>>>>making good choices rapidly to initiate an attack.

    I don’t know what you meant by can’t play defensive midfield alone. Kante has done it all the time for two league winning teams.

  65. Ishola70

    Of course N’Z**** and Xhaka would not be suitable together but you will find that Torreira will leave Xhaka on his own more than N’Z**** would.

    Neither option is good because of Xhakattack in the equation.

    Where you are going to get two mobile responsible tackling mids is anyone’s guess. Torrerira is one of them.

    And Arsenal unlikely to buy two mids.

  66. Pierre

    Are you as thick as the rest of em (obviously)

    If he is not a holding midfielder then what is he.(should be interesting).

    Let me give you some help

    1)he plays in midfield
    2)he is very rarely (if ever) in the oppositions box.
    3)his goalscoring is basically nil
    4)his assists is basically nil.

    Why is that do you think.

    Answer.. Because his primary role is to protect the defence and stay disciplined in the middle of the park.

  67. Emiratesstroller

    The point which many posters miss is that a lot of players looked poor at Arsenal in recent years, but that does not mean that under different management they would not be better.

    Both Ox and Gabriel left us last season. Both have shown improvement at their
    new clubs.

    Xhaka and Kolasinac were highly rated in Germany before they joined us. So
    the question is whether it is the club or the player where the problem lies?

    Realistically very few players have improved under Wenger in recent years and my view is that there are quite a few players at the club whose performance level can be upgraded.

    At the moment I feel that we need to recruit a new goalkeeper, because I don’t
    see Cech or Ospina good enough as starting eleven players.

    In case of defence I would like to see how our defence performs under new
    coach before additional investment.

    I would not renew contract of Wilshere primarily because of his fitness track
    record. He needs to be replaced.

    The only other player in squad who could be replaced is Welbeck. At best he
    is a third string striker and I agree with other posters that he is not a natural
    winger so we could find a specialist there.

  68. Dissenter

    You’re on another cun*ing deceitful argument run.
    You do this a lot, fibbling your way into an argument.
    Read what I wrote properly before you start off looking like a blockhead.

  69. HighburyLegend

    “When you look at the players we’ve brought since January PEA, Mhikki, Mavropanos & Lichestiner i honestly think that we’ve brought quite well all things considered.”

    Agree with Vintage.
    But it seems that many fans expect only “awesome names” kind of signings…

  70. raptora

    RMC Sport:
    Adli to Arsenal is a done deal!

    It’s official, PSG has lost Yacine Adli. While three weeks ago, the young 17-year-old midfielder was close to signing his first pro contract with the champion of France, it is for Arsenal that he signed a three-year contract with two other optional. Adli, who was in contact with the Londoners before the arrival of Unai Emery, has been seduced by the Gunners project. This is the third sell of the club after Claudio Gomes moved to Manchester City and Abdourahmane Barry to Salzburg.

  71. Bamford10


    One, no, I don’t think Aubameyang in the XI means we would have beaten Atletico.

    Two, so Aubameyang would have made sense as a 56m wide player? No. He’s a CF and we signed him as a CF.

    If we made a mistake, it was in signing Lacazette, not Aubameyang. If we had signed Aubameyang first, we never in a million years would’ve signed Lacazette in January.

    Regardless, this is all water under the bridge. We are where we are. If you think we need money, maybe we should sell Lacazette (or Ozil) in order to get some, no?

  72. Ishola70


    Torreira is a very head strong player.

    His main best attribute is seen as springing out and intercepting.

    That is not ideal for a holding mid unless you have back-up behind/alongside you.

    He looks great on youtube highlights when he wins these spring out challenges but there will other times when he gets caught out.

    He needs back-up to see the team at it’s most effective and secure.

  73. Dissenter

    Dissnter ; “Who’s your specialist defensive midfielder?
    That title is redundant, you should know that
    Emphasis on “specialist”

    Pierre’s dubious extrapolation to score a cheap point;
    “Dissenter.. The defensive midfielder is now redundant… Classic”

    Who’s the knob-headed one now.

  74. Dissenter

    Adli is going straight into the senior team. He will take the place of Jack Wilshere, I think.
    That’s what probably convinced him to come to Arsenal.

  75. Bamford10


    No one has missed that point. It has been much discussed here. Some of us, however, think that certain players will still not be good enough (even if they improve,) and that we need several new players, not just internal improvements.

    A GK, a CB and internal improvement — your prescription — will maybe get us fourth. Maybe. That is all. Why not aim to improve more than that?

  76. Pierre

    I have read what you said and I am amazed that so many on here don’t feel the need for one let alone two defensive midfielders.

    It has been Arsenal’s /Wengers failing for many years not to have a Vieira /petit partnership or a Vieira /Gilberto partnership and no I never said xhaka /nzonzi is the partnership for me.

    I would go for a wanyama /nzonzi type partnership in midfield.. Both good footballers who are positionally sound with good technique and good in the air and are not afraid to put their foot in… That’s what this Arsenal team has needed for a good few years

  77. Dissenter

    “1)he plays in midfield
    2)he is very rarely (if ever) in the oppositions box.
    3)his goalscoring is basically nil
    4)his assists is basically nil.”

    How many teams endure with defensive midlfjekders like this, it’s like playing with 9.5 outfield players.
    Coquelin did a lot more than those attributes; he used to get into offensive positions…yet he was rendered redundant eventually because he didn’t offer enough.
    Makalele was probably the last specialist defensive midfielder that was considered successful.

  78. raptora

    VintageGun and HighburyLegend,

    Yet from all of them (PEA, Mhikki, Mavropanos & Lichestiner) only Auba has added quality straight away and everyone knew he would.
    We desperately need 3 more players that can have a similar impact to our team – a serious player for our midfield, a real winger with all the dribble and speed etc, solid CB and a quality GK. If Sokratis is a done deal (although I’d preferred Lenglet 10 times) it leaves us with 3 quality and super needed transfers left. If we don’t make them we will be in for another horror show of a year.

  79. Pierre

    What do you regard as a “specialist defensive midfielder”….

    All top defensive midfielders over the years , whether specialist or not, have had good technique and good positional sense and most importantly discipline… The crap ones would just kick the shit out of anything that moved.

  80. Dissenter

    Torreira is a very head strong player
    Strong headed could also be presented as ultra-competitive…they type tat drives midfields.
    If you want to build a team around pressing then you need players like him. They never stop running. That’s how small players get noticed.

    Another thing Tom insider is the country of origin.
    How many Uruguayan players aren’t head strong?
    They come from a country where Rugby is as popular as football. Most played rugby as well as football and have to be tenacious to stand out.
    Uruguayan players have the reputation of Spartans. They would rather die on the field than lose. It’s a very small country that has to punch above her weight to compete with the Argentinas and Brazils in their neck of the woods.

  81. Pierre

    Dembele is regarded as one of the best midfielders in the prem (rightly so) and he scores and creates next to nothing but is an essential cog in the team… He is not in the team to score and assist…

    I can see I’m wasting my time here..

    Dissenter, marko and Gambon are making Bamford look like an encyclopedia of football knowledge.

  82. Ishola70


    “How many teams endure with defensive midlfjekders like this”


    Cork, Defour and Westwood between them gave out offensively a couple of assists and one goal.

    Burnley goals against = 39

    Arsenal goals against = 51

    Now tell me how much attacking capability Arsenal have over Burnley regardless of two defensive mids?

  83. Marko

    Pierre you’re a slippery prick I’ll give you that much. Pretty vague by calling him a holding midfielder. He’s not a DM is what I’d say he’s more box to box and retains the ball and passes it brilliantly. The last line of defence in midfield though goes to Dier or Wanyama

  84. Dissenter

    The modern defensive midfielder, (post=Makalele) is a central midfielder foremost.
    The central midfield responsibilities are gelled with defensive know-how and a willingness to be anonymous for the team to do well.
    Mickel Obimused to get critiqued at Chelsea by fans even though all the merry go round of Chelsea managers used to start him. Eventually he was rendered redundant because h didn’t do enough offensively.

  85. Champagne charlie

    How the fuck is Dembele not a holding midfielder?

    He’s primarily the deepest CM who maintains formation and controls the tempo of their midfield with his passing and bursts through the lines.

    Does he need to register 4.5 scissor tackles a game to be heralded a holding mid?

  86. Dissenter

    I’m glad you picked out the ultra-defensive tactics of Sean Dyche.
    The overwhelming objective of Burnley FC is to remain in the premier league. That’s how they define a successful season.

    That’s not a good answer. You’re trying hard. I give you props for that.

  87. Ishola70

    Dembele knits it all well but hardly ever assists gives the final ball or scores.

    So can he really be termed box 2 box? box 2 boxers should be giving final balls and scoring at times. He’s too involved in the centre with his passing to be termed a DM.

    So he must be a pure CM lol

  88. Bamford10


    No one is opposed to a CDM or defensively-minded CM. Obviously. The question is who is the right option or options to play that role.

    There is also a question about Xhaka: are we simply pairing him with someone? If so, that requires a certain type of player, and people here differ on what kind of player would be best for that. Or are we replacing Xhaka? If so, then we need to sign two CMs, and people differ on the types needed for that.

    For my part, I’ve accepted that Emery is probably looking to pair Xhaka with another CM. Given the latter’s immobility, I want a quick, technical, tackling battler. A Verratti or Torreira type.

  89. Pierre

    “Dembele is more a box-to-box CM, not a holding mid.”

    Let me explain, Bamford.

    A box to box player is basically self explanatory…
    Dembele is rarely, if ever, in the oppositions box… Players like lampard, bryan robson and yes Ramsey are box to box players because they make runs regularly into the box to try and score… Something which dembele never, and I mean never, does.

    I trust that you find this helpful.

    I’m afraid you have joined the other 3 dimwits on this matter.

  90. Marko

    Oh here’s the boyfriend. Yeah he’s considered box to box again purposefully very vague with the holding midfielder stuff. He’s not a DM he’s kind of like what everyone hopes and prays Xhaka would be but never will be. Very good on the ball almost never gives it away his ball retention is as good as it gets. Holding midfielder? Deep playmaker? Not a defensive midfielder anyway

  91. Ishola70


    You haven’t answered the question.

    Regardless of the twho holding defensive mids how much more attacking and goal scoring capability do Arsenal have over Burnley?

    Arsenal would have finished higher up in the table with two dedicated holding defensive mids in the side.

    Plus it may get the team away from possession football for possession sake and we see more counter attacking football which in turn makes the team less predictable to play against. Can come in very handy in away matches.

    But if you want all ballers in the team breaking a neck to get that star show assist or goal all within the possession based football notion so be it.

  92. Bamford10



    I think you are in favor of N’Zonzi. OK, I like N’Zonzi too, but he makes no sense as a partner to Xhaka. That would be a slow and too deep-lying midfield base. If we’re in for N’Zonzi, it should be as a replacement for Xhaka, not as a partner.

  93. Emiratesstroller

    Bamford 10

    Our first objective must be to finish in top 4.

    That is priority on two counts. First because we are negotiating a new kit sponsorship in next 12 months and second we need to increase our revenue in Europe.

    Whilst I am unconvinced with several of our current crop of defenders I recognise also that the problem might have been down to Wenger and his
    coaches and that under new regime we might find solutions within the club.

    It is clear that Arsenal are not going to spend mega bucks this summer so I
    would like the club to use whatever funds are available on one top quality player who has a long term future at club.

  94. Dissenter

    Dembele’s job is to turn defense into attack. He’s not a holding midfielder.
    “A defensive midfielder is a playable position, so it is akin to strikers, attacking midfielders, wingers, fullbacks, central defenders etc. … In contrast, the holding midfielder is not a playable position, but a playable role. A player who is a holding midfielder is tasked with providing a defensive hold of space”

    The perfect holding midfielder would have been the great Argentine player, Fernando Redondo. He was probably too good to be just considered a holding defensive midfidkeer bcause he was better at attacking than many central midfielders.
    Micheal Carrick never got enough recognition for how good a holding midfielder he was for United.

  95. Marko

    Ah… At long last, some Posters who understand the game…. Charlie and ishola.

    Ishola said he’s a CM which is extremely accurate. You said originally to gambon spurs play with two DM’s he said one he was right. We all understand

  96. Vintage Gun

    “Yet from all of them (PEA, Mhikki, Mavropanos & Lichestiner) only Auba has added quality straight away and everyone knew he would.”

    I think Mikhi has done well since he’s came but i understand your angle.
    Also i’m with you 100% on signing a strong GK, CB, DM and Winger.
    I’m not kicking back saying ‘Job done’ im just satisfied with our moves so far on the premise that after sokrites we go for younger players.

  97. Bamford10


    Does Dembele play like Dier? No, he doesn’t. Dier is a pure holding mid, whereas Dembele plays the CM role. If for you a CM needs to find himself in the opposition 18 a lot to be a “box to box” CM, then I guess we need a new category, which someone else has already suggested.

    Point is: Dembele is not a “holding mid” any more than he is an “attacking mid”. He plays the role in between. Call it whatever you want.

  98. Dissenter

    “Arsenal would have finished higher up in the table with two dedicated holding defensive mids in the side”
    That’s a very tepid point to use to butress your position.
    We may have finished higher if we weren’t persisting with a past-it goal keeper.
    We may have started higher if we had two central defenders that can defend
    We may have finished higher if Ozil kept his pre-contract form
    We would have finished higher had we sold Sanchez for 60 million in July 2018 and used the money properly.
    We may have finished higher had we gotten a proper winger.
    We would have finished higher had we let Wenger f*** off in the summer of 2017.
    The list is endless

  99. Ishola70

    System means a lot Dissenter and can aid individual weaknesses.

    Ask Burnley. They will tell you.

  100. Dissenter

    We are too far behind to truly get one of the top four places. Our squad still isn’t good enough and the manager has to CME to terms it’s some reality about the new landscape.
    People forget that we are still going to be playing Thursday night football. We have to still field a competitive team in the Europa league because it’s put best bet back into the CL.
    I don’t expect a fourth place finish. Emery will be ahead of schedule if he gets it this season. We aren’t even competing for the same type of players as the top five teams.

  101. gonsterous

    I thought dembele was the deep lying play maker. the guy who gets the pre assist. but I think he was a used as a box to box for Dortmund but I could be wrong…

  102. Marko

    You’re getting your Dembele’s wrong there. And clubs wrong and position wrong. Moussa was actually an attacking player back in his AZ days only kind of became a midfielder at Fulham only really flourished at Spurs

  103. Bamford10


    Agree that our goal should be top four. But unlike you, I think we need to add more than just a CB and GK to achieve this. We need a new CM for the XI as well; indeed we may need two new CMs in the XI.


    Nah, you’re being way too negative. Yes, we need signings, and no, we don’t have unlimited resources, but we haven’t somehow become an Everton overnight.

  104. Dissenter

    “System means a lot Dissenter and can aid individual weaknesses.”

    You’re the one who was dismissing Docoure and Torriera because they can’t play defensive midfield “alone”
    Did you consider a system built around their strengths then?

  105. Ishola70


    On Torreira why do you keep taking one part of the description of him for?

    That’s not good. Headstrong part was entwined with the way he plays and jumps out to face the opposition.

    And headstrong is not even a criticism of him. It’s the way he plays and what makes him attractive to some.

    The whole point was that the way he plays springing out in his headstrong fashion would be to see a safety net behind him. Another player behind him.

  106. Graham62


    Please give me your reasons again for selling Lacazette.

    Maybe I can understand getting rid of Ozil(which you also highlight), but why Lacazette?

  107. Pierre

    A holding midfielder is a defensive midfielder….I know it must be difficult for some of you to understand (or admit) but a holding midfielders primary role is to protect the defence..

  108. Ishola70

    The Burnley mids sat. At least one of them did.

    Torreira is not going to sit. It’s not in his nature.

    Doucoure is not going to sit either. He is a player that naturally wants to get around the pitch.

    So you need a sitter to go along with either of those.

    Xhaka is a natural sitter. But he’s no good defensively. He’s like a sandcastle that gets overwashed and disintegrates with the oncoming tide.

  109. Dissenter

    I think some of the assumptions that are made about our finances is magical thinking a la “Alice in wonderland”
    You don’t think one season in Europa league while placing players on 350k weekly contracts, not getting the £60 million Alexis would have fetched, coming 6th with leagu revenue less than spurs, spending £100-105 million on two center forwards and having to pay off at least 15 million to the departed coaching crew thIs season …has any effect on our finances?
    People keep spewing the “6th richest club in the world” nonsense as if the value of stadium based on it’s location has any bearing on transfers.
    I’m just being open-eyed and candid. It’s pragmatism for me.

  110. Pierre

    Did you know that özil is classed as a defensive midfielder even though he rarely defends… Strange logic I know but I am using the same logic of the dim wits who think that dembele is a box to box, not a defensive midfielder even though he never ventures into the opposition box.

  111. azed

    1)he plays in midfield
    2)he is very rarely (if ever) in the oppositions box.
    3)his goalscoring is basically nil
    4)his assists is basically nil.

    You can say the same for lots of non holding midfielders.

    Wilshere, Modric Thiago Alcantara

  112. Dissenter

    You’re some how implying that “head strong “ means uncoachable?
    Like he can’t be managed into a system?
    That’s what you’re essentially saying.
    He can”t sit????
    Even my three month old wheaten terrier puppy sits when I say “sit”.

  113. Bamford10


    Or alongside of him.

    Imagine you paired a Torreira with a very similar player but who also had height.

    These two could play alongside one another as a midfield base; it doesn’t have to be that one is defined as the deeper and more holding or defensive of the two. That’s just one particular structure; there are other structures.

  114. Graham62

    Ishola 70

    “Arsenal would have finished higher up in the table with two dedicated defensive holding mids in the side”

    I think what you should be saying is that Arsenal would have finished higher up in the table with a half decent manager in charge.

    When you have a clown at the wheel, you just know you’re going to be driven off the road.

  115. Bamford10


    Sorry, mate, but you’re all over the place. Of course those things have an effect on our finances. Which is why I have been trying to make the point that we don’t have unlimited resources. This doesn’t mean we’re an Everton now & that we can’t attract top players. We simply need to be intelligent.

    We need to be practical and intelligent and find a way to finish top four. Then we can begin building towards a challenge. One step at a time. Much work to do, but no need for all the doom and gloom and hysterics.

  116. gonsterous

    asier illiarmendi any one ? flopped at real Madrid, but so Did a lot of great players. he has a 30m release clause though..

  117. Dissenter

    People saying Dembele never gets into the opposition box need to get their cataracts removed promptly
    He’s does he get so many free kicks close to the 18 yard box and penalties if he doesn’t ether that far.
    The dude is a central midfielder. Poch just assigned him more defensive midfield “holding roles” because of his size and his dribbling skills- it’s hard to get the back, off him.
    Defensive midfield is a POSITION
    Holding midfielder is a ROLE

    Modern day goal keepers actually play the holding role a lot now. They are often called upon to be sweepers or to recycle the ball when the team is pressing or playing a high line.
    Line. That’s why Claudio Bravo is on the bench for Ederson at City.

  118. Ishola70


    As has already been said if you instruct Torreira to sit you take away from him what people rate him for and that is his aggressive style of springing out and pressing like a mad man.


    It would probably be better to have a combination of characteristics rather than two of the same. Can be seen as more complimentary.

  119. Pierre

    “Ishola said he’s a CM which is extremely accurate. You said originally to gambon spurs play with two DM’s he said one he was right. We all understand”

    Yes marko we do understand because you have got that wrong, my original comment was to victorious
    Personally, I would prefer 2 holding midfielders, similar to what Tottenham use”

    Gambon replied
    “Dembele is not a holding midfielder.”

    An apology will gratefully be accepted as I do understand that people mis quote others sometimes and maybe you got a little desperate as you realised you were talking shite.

  120. raptora

    “No Juve player made more than 10 passes in the opposition half. Dembele completed 73.”
    “As more teams opt for a pressing style of play, this ability to glide beyond players is a great asset, opening up the game for his side.”

    Hailed for his passing in the opponent’s half and dribbling capabilities to claim any free space in opponent’s midfield. Definitely sounds like a holding midfielder. LOL

  121. Dissenter

    We aren’t going to attract top players this summer
    We aren’t united that have money to make up for being on the Europa league. We are fishing in different waters for a while.You lot need to get used to it.
    We’ve made too many mistakes recently…too many.

    Liverpool are spending off the massive funds they’ve stacked up for doing very well in Europe, doing mega outgoing transfer deals every season and developing several young players under Klopp.
    Wenger did the very opposite for awhile.
    Remember we all agreed that it will take time to clear out the mess. This summer is where it begins. We do not have the funds to attract that type of talent. We threw the dice in January already.

  122. Graham62


    You’re right.

    A three bedroom mid-terrace house down here on the south coast is around 300-350K.

    Around the Emirates, it’s nearly three times the amount.

    Does this also mean that Ozil should be paid a third of what he’s being paid?

    I bloody think so!

  123. Marko

    A holding midfielder is a defensive midfielder….I know it must be difficult for some of you to understand (or admit) but a holding midfielders primary role is to protect the defence..

    Explain the dribbles and amount of touches he gets in the opposition’s half? Not very defensive is it. Pretty sure you’ve looked at his lack of goals and assists and determined he’s a Defensive midfielder and not box to box. Not all box to box midfielders get goals and assists

  124. HighburyLegend

    “Ah… At long last, some Posters who understand the game…. Charlie and ishola.”

    They should replace Emery.

  125. Emiratesstroller

    The hard reality is that Arsenal’s major problems in recent years have been
    Wenger and the staff who worked alongside him.

    The first team and youth programme has lacked proper direction and good
    management and that is why not only Wenger but many of his sidekicks have
    been offloaded this summer.

    What the new head coach and other senior football people left at club need to
    assess is whether the football personnel we have is capable of being upgraded
    and turned into a decent team.

    That is not going to be completed in one summer transfer window and whilst
    I and other posters may have views on what players need to be culled and replaced that is a process down to Emery and his staff to decide.

    As Pedro said quite rightly in his podcast these decisions will take some time.

    The two replacements which have been made i.e. Sokratis and Lichsteiner were necessities, because a] we needed to find replacement for Koscielny
    until New Year and b] we offloaded Debuchy in January without replacement.

    If either Wilshire or for that matter Ramsey do not sign a new contract then
    clearly a new central midfielder is a necessity as well.

    As I have said many times I do think that we should invest this summer in a
    new goalkeeper. I don’t think that Cech and Ospina are going to improve.

  126. Micheal

    A clue to who Emery might try to sign in the next two months can be found in his playing style and tactical approach.
    Emery plays a high-press style with full-backs likely to be pushed forward at every opportunity. If so, he will need two or three very mobile midfielders capable of winning the ball back – partly to sustain the high-press and partly to provide cover for the two central defenders.
    As we know, Wenger continually left the central defenders horribly exposed by employing pedestrians like Song or Xhaka or ill-disciplined box-to-box players like Diaby and Ramsey. There was never proper cover for the defence since the days of Gilberto.
    Do we have any mobile, defensive-minded midfielders on the books ? Only Maitland-Niles, in my view. Sure we need a new ‘keeper and centre back. But we also need at least two disciplined midfielders if Emery is to play the high-press game with attacking full-backs.

  127. Micheal

    “A ‘Holding Midfielder’ is a Defender playing in Midfield…….”

    And the Earth is flat, Father Christmas is real and Red’s meds have run out……..