Listed: Players who are up for grabs this summer (long read)

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The HEAT is finally here, and football is over… so a straight swap out. Football for summer. I’ll take it. But only if the Champions League final goes the way of Liverpool… otherwise, I’m bringing the white walkers back and we’re going to destroy the world and plunge it into darkness.

Transfer rumours are hotting up, most of the rumours around the centre backs are kind of bland. We seem to be chasing down a lot of short folk. We had many back in the day when we struggled from set-pieces because we loved to hire Tommy V like players, who had a tremendous leap… or a Willy G, who loved to sit on the halfway line and tell everyone he was good at saving money. Wenger really only addressed height when he landed Per Mertesacker.

Umtiti is the really worrying link. He’s a fabulous player, a sublime talent on his day, but we are really playing with the red flames of Abou Diaby’s memory here. There is a reason that Barca is shifting an £80m player for £40m. He has a massive DON’T GO HERE sign attached to his knee. He’s missed 31 league games in the last 12 months.

‘But the medical team would call the shots’, very doubtful. Firstly, we signed Kimmy K with a broken back (spotted > overruled). Secondly, we’d sign him in the knowledge that he’s a massive risk. For me, it’d be like taking a punt on Ledley King back in the day (United thought about it). When fit, he’s going to win you the league, but you’d be cursing his issues every year with ‘what ifs.’

Fitness has to be a priority for Arsenal. We need strong hamstrings, a record of sustained on pitch play and nothing chronic in the closet. We do not have the money to be taking Kanu like risks of yesteryear.

… and be real, we already gave Barca free money for a player everyone knew would tank. Going back to make another very weird deal would offer incredibly poor optics for Raul. I don’t want our football guy keeping Barca sweet because of his DNA. You get me?

I’m hoping that Arsenal seek value in players that have buyout clauses or a couple of years to go on their deals. Julian Brandt is rumoured to be going for as little as £25m. Ziyeck is going to leave with a release clause of £25m, a fabulous player with outrageous pace and work ethic.

Players that have deals expiring next year:

  • Ryan Sessegnon
  • Thomas Meunier
  • Eric Bailly (steer clear, like Umtiti)
  • Nacho
  • Dries Mertens
  • El Shaarway
  • Allain Sain-Maximin
  • Raph Guerreiro
  • Ryan Fraser
  • Mario Gotze
  • Moise Keane
  • Rafinha
  • Kurzawa
  • Keylor Navas (#2 anyone?)
  • Adam Johnson

Just kidding on the last one. DIRTY NONCE. You just KNOW some Premier League chairman that is a nonce sympathiser is going to pull the ‘society must forgive’ card and roll with him. North of Manchester, no doubt.

The two-year deal players are also interesting, mainly because they’ll all be negotiating new contracts. Good clubs will be exiting them if it looks like they won’t sign. There’s some tasty names in this category.

  • Lio Messi (get on it Raul, we’ll let this one go)
  • Mauro Icardi
  • Thiago
  • Casemiro
  • Florian Thauvin
  • Memphis Depay
  • Seb Haller
  • Zielinski
  • Hummels
  • Carlos Soler
  • Ginter
  • Alex Telles
  • Grimaldo
  • Sarr
  • Vazquez
  • Julien Weigl

As you can see, lots of options if we want to play this summer. I don’t even have the list of players with buyout clauses.

Point being, we don’t have to take massive risks on mates rates names that come with health concerns. This league will not absorb any weakness. It’s faster, more competitive and more relentless than any other. The only way you compete is having more of your first team players fit than others.

It looked to me like Emery tanked his fitness plan this season, blowing up the front end of the season with OTT training regimes that hit him hard during the mid part of the season. December 2018 was a flashback to the dark days of Wenger, who famously bemoaned the science of fatigue a few weeks ago. If you don’t remember, we had an annual injury pileup because Wenger trained his players too intensely and didn’t rotate. He blamed luck, hair pills, witches, the vision of a Trump presidency… until we hired Shad, who took care of the nonsense.

Someone accused me of being hipster in the way I think about the game, for me, that’s a bit like telling a doctor he’s a hipster for reading medical journals. If you believe thinking about the future to gain an advantage is hipster, you really should keep those thoughts to yourself. The future is here, you can’t unfuture what has already arrived. Calling it hipster just makes you look dim.

Anyway, Ralph Rangnick spoke to Coaches Voice (great site), casually sipping on a cream atomised, fluggenhoffled, Germacano coffee that I believe was brewed from a rare strain of Russian coffee bean that garners its taste from the musical notes of Mikhail Glinka…. and gave his thoughts on respecting the ‘athletics’ guys (Shad and Burgess).

Five years ago, I would have thought it impossible that an athletics coach would tell me how many metres my team should run today, and how fast, in training. But that’s what’s happening. In the past, you’d have to trust your eyes and gut feeling as a manager to find the right dosage in training. Now, it’s a bit like picking up a rental car: they will tell you how much is in the tank and what your mileage is.

The athletics coaches are in charge of planning the whole week of training in terms of the intensity on any given day. We take our cues from them.

“Musical tastes aside, I have a strong connection with my players”

If you want to increase the speed of your game, though, you have to develop quicker minds rather than quicker feet.

Improvement translates as taking things in more quickly, analysing them more quickly, deciding more quickly, acting more quickly. At RB, we work on increasing the memory space and the processing pace. We put players into the Soccerbot, for example – a machine that simulates previous games and allows players to relive key moments of matches.

It’s PlayStation football, but with your feet. The players enjoy it so much we have a hard time getting some of them to stop.

YES RALPH. Love it. Again, the above shows you how the powershift is happening in elite football. The days of an assistant putting out cones are long gone. Each role is essential to building an elite sporting machine. Football follows the path of American sports, they lead the way on many things.

Anyway, my prediction is that clubs will start to move more towards specialist roles, versus the current broad strokes approach to coaching. We’ve already seen clubs take performance super seriously. I would imagine that more and more outfits are looking at people with more specialists offerings in defence, attack, and pressing. Ralph mentions in his piece that his team are trained to take risks in certain areas that present great counterpress opps, there must be a group of people working together to work out where the sweet spots are. Do we have that? RB is strategic about where they lose the ball. It’s a different level of thinking and it’s working for them.

Pep G just won the league with the least tackles of any team. Off the ball movement is now an absolute art in the Premier League. There is so much information that has to be absorbed by the modern player, that it’s no wonder major clubs are trying to pioneer ways of fast-tracking information into players brains so they can make better decisions.

Point being… when Barry down the Black Swan tells you football is about FIRST AND SECOND, tell him to fuck off, he doesn’t know what he’s talking about.

Lyon didn’t sign Arteta, as I suspected, the Spaniard is being earmarked for City when Pep leaves. However, Aulas has infuriated some in the French press because he allowed Juninho to pick Sylvinho (left back for us that had to be booted for having a fake passport) as their new coach. His coaching experience extends to the Brazilian under 23s. It is a BOLD move, but again, it’s low risk for Aulas and the future of football clubs isn’t about that ONE GUY who will cost £15m a season and bring 50 of his mates, it’s going to have a more evenly spread system of responsibility and accountability. Football is basically replicating the organisational structures of corporate America.

GFFN bemoaned the hire because… JOSE AND WENGER WERE AVAILABLE. Rationalising that Aulas wanted to win the Champions League. I love that site, but whoever was manning the twitter lost their minds there. Jose just spent £360m at United and tanked them. He’s a nasty man with spiteful tendencies. He also doesn’t care about success anymore, he’s done. Then you have Arsene Wenger, who tried 20+ times to win the Champions League and failed… not to mention his HORRIBLE record with spending money, his grim Barry like views of the modern game and science combined with his terrible approach to tactics would chalk him off any right-thinking owner.

Wenger still not in a major job… shocker, right? Where is that PSG rumour when you need it?

Anyway, see you in the comments x

463 Responses to “Listed: Players who are up for grabs this summer (long read)”

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  1. Un na naai


    We won’t be making two attacking midfield signings this summer I’ll put my house on it. Not unless we make some serious sales including shipping out one of our strikers. You’re proposing 3 new attacking midfielders in a side and two strikers. How much room does that leave for midfielders and defenders? It’s unlikely we will be moving ozil on this season anyway so with him iwobi and Nelson at the club and gaping holes in cmf and our backline I’d only sign winger who can come straight in and improve us immediately and focus on the more pressing matters in the side. With xakha and Elneny (and Ramsey) said to be leaving then we have just torriera and guendouzi in the middle.

  2. Freddie Ljungberg

    3 new attacking midfielders? Do you not know what / means? It means either of.

    We have 0 wingers. Expecting 1 cheap established player and 1 prospect is hardly reaching for the stars is it?


    Think that is bullshit. Jenkinson is not PL quality so why would they want him?
    Very much doubt we’re getting rid of Nelson on a permanent basis too.

    Anyways, better ways to spend our money this window than Zaha. Wouldn’t mind if we got him but think we should look elsewhere.

  3. Un na naai


    I’m counting reiss nelson as a new winger so shove your / up your bum

    So Brandt Nelson and whatever prospect they are looking at bringing get in makes 3 new players looking for two attacking midfield positions along with iwobi and ozil doesn’t make sense

  4. Valentin


    Crystal Palace wanted Jenkinson two seasons ago, they just could not agree on a financial package to tempt him away from Arsenal.
    As Jenkinson is in the last year of his contract and no other London club (Spurs, WestHam, Chelsea) are interested in him, he may be tempted by the security of 3~4 years contract and we may willing to subsidize his salary for a year.

  5. Freddie Ljungberg

    2 attacking midfield positions? How do you reckon that? The only reason we have played with 2 strikers this season is because we didn’t have a choice, doubt we’re going to continue doing that, it’s not sustainable long term.

    More likely to see 3 up front, 2 wingers and a striker, so that’s 2 positions where we have no one and then there’s Cam =3.

    Iwobi should only be back up, Nelson too atm.

    that leaves us with a front 6 (incl. Backups) of Ziyech/Brandt, Nelson, Maurice, Auba, Laca and Iwobi

    Cam is a different matter, Ideally Ozil needs to leave but we probably can’t give him away unless Pierre is looking to pay 350k a week for a male companion. Both Brandt and Ziyech can play as Cam as well.

    Just trying to make sense of the players we’re being linked with, not saying any of this will actually happen.

  6. Un na naai


    Have you actually been watching Arsenal this season? Swear to god, so money if you fools think your playing on your poxy Xbox

    Yeah it’s easy. Just sign him and him and him and him and him and him and him. You aren’t at Tesco.

    If he’s keeping Aubameyang and Lacazette next season he’d be a fool to drop either
    Both play better with the other on the field than off, as evidenced this season. We aren’t in a position to have a £50m striker sat rotting on the bench so either sell one of play both.
    And certainly not dripping either to play a ligue 2 punt. Wake up Freddy

  7. Un na naai

    More likely to see 3 up front, 2 wingers and a striker, so that’s 2 positions where we have no one and then there’s Cam =3.

    How the hell do you know what’s “more likely”?

    Another crystal ball mechent.

  8. Un na naai


    We played both striker beacuse they are the best players in the team. A teenager form french lower leagues isn’t going to produce what either striker can.
    As I said, we already have Nelson iwobi and ozil. Mkhitaryan too if we can’t projectile him anywhere. Shame he’s Armenian it he’d be ripe for turkey

  9. Freddie Ljungberg

    If he’s keeping Aubameyang and Lacazette next season he’d be a fool to drop either
    Both play better with the other on the field than off, as evidenced this season.

    Yeah, because they’re the only 2 quality attackers we have atm.
    Sure, let’s just run them into the ground and be forced to play Eddie for a couple of months, that’s great planning ahead.

    You idiots complain all the time that we didn’t sign players like VVD, Salah, Hazard etc when we could afford them but have a meltdown when we’re linked to promising youngsters that are good enough to start for us now and has the possibility to become the next big thing. Pick a lane dimwit.

    Playing 3 up front is more likely because that’s what almost all big teams do, we can’t right now because we don’t have the players for it and an unbalanced squad. Fucking hell, you’re not just extremely unpleasant and annoying you’re also incredibly dim.

  10. Graham62


    Your post @ 23:34 last night said it all.

    An essential read for all those fans who see Emery as the negative in all of this.

    You’re right, it all boils down to one thing……..a lack of competitiveness within the club.

    Under Wenger the winning formula disappeared. Accepting top 4 became the norm, whilst losing was tolerated as long as we maintained the status quo.

    On a scale of 1-10 Wenger was only a 5 in regards to being competitive. Hence his acceptance of failure and his inability to act on the bleeding obvious. A truly competitive leader would not have reacted the way he did.

    Emery can only be judged after next season. Those that castigate him are still in denial.

    Emery is not the cause of our failings. All he’s trying to do at this stage of his tenureship is stop the rot and clean up the mess left behind by his predecessor.

  11. Gonsterous

    If we get a quality winger, it will help ease the burden on the two quality strikers we have and May be allow them more resting days and keep them fresh.

    Mustafi, ozil and mhiki top my “to sell” list, other than that, I don’t Mind keeping anyone else for a season longer.

    Get in a quality CAM. Rakitic, (experienced and maybe cheap). I get the need to flood the team with youngsters but adding in players that have quality and have big trophies helps when we have our backs to the walls.
    Get in a proper CB and a Ramsey replacement. We also.have the inconvenient problem of who’s going to be the no.2 next season. Surely we need someone pushing leno and not just another player who’s making up the numbers.
    So winger, CB, CM, CAM and then GK in that order of priority.

  12. Dissenter

    The rumors about Saliba had better be true. That the type of players we ought to be signing. That kid is super fast and is is 6-4 and is ready for the league already. He may be raw no doubt initially. Koschielny will mentor the kid.
    That’s was we should have done last summer with Issa Diop
    Sell Mavros and lots of academy players to facilitate it. There’s no way he’s 25 mill lion though. $8-12 million ought to be enough.

  13. shaun

    iwobi has had more than enough time and he is not doing it , I believe he was thinking about Palace before as I bet he knows his real level …we should do a swap deal ..give them Bellend ,Jenkinson and iwobi for zaha and there right back and we give them 50 mil on top