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You can chill those Heinz Baked beans, it seems that the deal to bring Pépé to Arsenal is basically done. Fabrizio Romano, who has been on top of this story even when it was a ‘OH DO FU*K OFF’ pipe dream, reckons the deal is done and the player is wetting his bed in excitement for the move.

I don’t need to continue to wax about this, but really, it’s the most exciting transfer of the last 10 years for Arsenal. We know he wants to move to us, he’s not a reject, his career is on an upwards trajectory.

… I still can’t quite believe it’s happening.

I’m also glad that this summer has well and truly seen the death of the ITK crowd. We’re back to journo’s knowing more. I much prefer things that way.

We still have our cuck fanbase praising Wenger for being part of the deal. Sure, Pépé wants to come to Arsenal, but be real, Raul having a relationship with Jorge Mendes is why this is happening, nothing to do with what we were doing 20 years ago. The pound notes speak and we’re finally dealing with the right agents that can make things happen.

Interestingly, Monaco are rumoured to be entertaining a €30m bid for Mustafi. Jorge Mendes has deep ties over there. He’s moved lots of names in and out of that club. It really wouldn’t be surprising to see us shift out players because we’re greasing the right sort of wheels with the Pépé deal.

I think moving on Mustafi would be the biggest deal of the summer. It would be absolutely unreal. I think I would write Raul a thank you note.

It’s been very amusing to watch certain Arsenal fans sanctimoniously slamming fans when it comes to his treatment. He’s a leach. He’s here because we make it too easy for him to stink out our defence. Why shouldn’t fans hound him out? To say it’s not Arsenal class to boo player just shows a lack of understanding of our history. I’ve been there when we’ve booed Eboue. Fans in the 80s were militant about moving on Terry Neil with protests. Away fans hounded Wenger at Stoke station. Arsenal fans were booing players as far back as the Chapman days. Fans were even booing in 2004!

Sure, it’s not nice. But this is elite sport. This isn’t dopey Dave the intern that keeps messing up the coffee run. He shouldn’t be given the choice to stay. He should go to Monaco and enjoy the good life. Then we should go out and sign someone better so we can crack on with a better defence.

If Gareth Bale can be shoved out a year after signing a new deal in Madrid after netting 4 European Cups, then Mustafi can be as well.

There is no class in accepting mediocrity.

Right, that’s me done, see you in the comments.

802 Responses to “#WelcomePépé”

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  1. Freddie Ljungberg


    Actually it was his team mate at Betis that talked him up, but that’s not really important.

    Tell me again how a player that had the 3rd most dribbles in la liga is not a flair player, I’m struggling to see the logic you’re using there.

    Also the most dribbles, key passes and passes along with 2 goals and 2 assists at the u21 euros.

    Sounds very Arteta/ Xhaka like right?

    I hope we get more use out of him in 1 season that we got out of Jack in 3, don’t get me wrong Jack had talent but he was shit at applying it, always holding on to the ball too long and getting dispossessed. Also wildly inconsistent and injury prone his whole career.

  2. BacaryisGod

    Really pleased with the fighting spirit of our management team this summer but still concerned about Raul’s statement on selling players if they don’t renew when they hit the two years remaining mark on their contract.

    What are the plans regarding Aubameyang. I don’t believe he’s extended. There’s a small piece of me that thinks Auba’s situation had something to do with our move for Pepe. Let’s hope we extend Auba’s deal before the window closes or we’ll have just deferred the drama until the next window.

    Regardless, I just love what management has done this summer. Saliba looks like an inspired choice and if Martinelli can add some Premier League savvy to accompany his pace, then it’s a worthwhile gamble. Ceballos on loan makes plenty of sense given our current restrictions.

    I’m not going to pretend to be desperate for Tierney to sign as I didn’t know him that well before the summer and he looks too much like Francis Jeffers to get excited over. Far more important is the CB situation which I hope will result in Kozzer (sadly) and Mustafi (with delight) being moved on for a reasonable amount and using that money to bring in an experienced AND quick first-choice CB to play alongside Sokratis.

  3. Un na naai

    I isn’t say he was like xakha
    I’ve seen him play during 90 mins and all he did was pass pass pass

    Sorry but it will take more than one of his buddies endorsing him or a highlights reel for me to change my mind. He will have to perform and show these dribbling skills for arsenal.

  4. Carts

    “18-24%of the Pépé (and other players) fees leaving the game and going to agents and financiers is pretty depressing, it has to be said.”

    Usually I’d say that c.20% leaving the game is bad.

    But when you realise how Lille have pissed on us, i couldn’t care less.

    Lille have made €70m up front on a player whose true valuation was more like €25m-€30m.

    Agents getting paid is standard so that’s a non-starter to be honest!

  5. Carts

    Derby paying up to £10m for Bielik? Wow, ok then.

    Goes to show how mad football is; equally that’s good business.

    Chances of Bielik getting picked up for £20m in a couple of season…crazier things have happened

  6. Un na naai


    If we don’t sign at least one defensive recruit this summer then it’s flattering to deceive

    Missing glaring deficiencies in the team is wengeresque at his worst
    This summer will be no different if we don’t address the defence

  7. Freddie Ljungberg


    No you said Arteta, your buddy Pierre compared him to Xhaka, both are equally wrong which is why I added both names.

    Ok, so the FACT that he had the most dribbles after Neymar and Messi 2 years ago in la liga despite missing 3 months of the season doesn’t convince you that he’s a flair player because he didn’t dribble in that 1 game you saw him?

    Alrighty then, nothing much to add to that then.

  8. karim


    Pretty sure I read Angers gets € 10 million, that’s where he was playing before joining Lille.

    Here’s hoping the agents don’t get it all.

  9. Carts


    Ah, ok fair enough. Hopefully Angers negotiated that into the initial sale of Pépé. Good for them.

    Agents fees, at times, are wild. Makes me wonder why clubs don’t mandate a maximum %, though I’ve read that FIFA have outlined a recommended % but that doesn’t seem to deter vermins like Raiola who’s in a compete different league when we’re talking agents fees.

  10. Un na naai


    I’ve seen him play 2 or 3 times
    Yes, him having a dribble doesn’t necessarily mean he’s joe Cole. Walcott dribbled but he had no trickery. He just ran into space. A dribble doesn’t necessarily mean he’s run took 2-3 players out of the game with skill. For statistic purposes it’s just ball carrying

    Who scored also said he was a highly defensive cmf and bla bla bla while you claimed he was a no10 not dissimilar from joe Cole

  11. salparadisenyc

    If were comparing Ceballos to anyone more Iniesta for me, i’m not saying he’s that good but has that ability to push forward with ball and unlock defense. Can play at the tip of a 433 or deeper alongside the holding MF in a 4231 as we used Ramsay to great affect at times.

  12. Freddie Ljungberg


    I said comparing him to Joe Cole is probably fairer than comparing him to Xhaka, doesn’t mean they’re exactly the same player.

    He can play both as a 10 and as a CM, but considering the rest of the midfield options we have I’m not sure where he fits in, it’s a matter of opinion whether you think Ozil or Xhaka is the biggest problem in there and needs replacing.

    Emery seems to think it’s Ozil so that’s where I’m guessing he’ll be playing most of the time, but we’ll have to see, unlike Valentin I don’t have direct access to Emerys thought process.

  13. karim


    Yeah, Raiola gets outrageous fees, think he got € 25 million out of the Pogba to Man U deal …

  14. salparadisenyc


    You dirty french dog, get yourself a Pastis and put it on the Le Grove tab… cliche but its the thought that counts!

    How you rating this summer?

  15. Un na naai


    Fair enough. From what I’ve seen I’m still very much on the fence over him. If he is what you say he is and we get him permanently then great. I’m just unconvinced he will go that route for us.

  16. Words on a Blog


    Disappointed that you don’t have direct access to Emery’s thought processes.

    Still, hopefully after half a season or so assisting him, you’ll be able to enlighten us….

  17. Freddie Ljungberg


    I’m working on it as we speak.

    Don’t want to supplant Valentin as the go to source for all undisputed and unprovable facts about all things Arsenal though, he can keep that role.

  18. Words on a Blog


    Shame, being the King of The Unprovable Factoid is always a good position to be in…

  19. Cesc Appeal

    Tierney is apparently now suggesting to Celtic he wants to move.

    This is a change of position for him.

  20. Cesc Appeal

    Mr Serge

    The whole way through the window most of the Jock press has been laughing at the idea he would eventually ask to move because he is a Celtic fan.

    But when the chance to play in the EPL for Arsenal and earn then type of money that is offer it must be difficult.

    I would imagine he has sat quietly thinking the deal would happen without him saying or doing anything. But he must be looking at 8 days left of the window and while he certainly isn’t kicking up a fuss he might now be suggesting that he would like Celtic to do a deal if possible.

    The whole sticking point seems to be how much they get this summer. I would imagine Arsenal want to keep as much money in the budget as possible for a CB.

    That’s why selling Bielik is great business at £10 Million and we could really do with selling Kozz, Mustafi and Elneny as well.

  21. Pedro

    Umititi rumours persisting… great player, but no good if he’s injured all the time.

    Might as well keep Mus…

  22. GS88

    Hearing that Tierney is virtually a done deal.

    I know you can’t always believe ITKs, but both Robbie from AFTV and Lee The Gunner have suggested that the deal will go through within the next few days.

    Let’s see what happens.

  23. Guns of SF


    Who would have thought
    Also selling Mustafi maybe?!!!!

    I’m excited again

  24. China1

    If we can get Tierney over the line it will officially be a very good summer

    If we can also get a cb who improves us it would be a great summer

    If we can flog some of our shite on top, it will be a fabulous summer

  25. China1

    Reports from mustafi’s dad that he plans to stay and fight for his place

    This is where our management team have to earn their crust. He needs to be told in no uncertain terms that we appreciate his effort over the years and thank him politely for his contribution to our FA cup wins etc but that he’s not part of our plans and there’s zero chance of that changing, that he would be left in the reserves if he’s not willing to take a move etc

    Don’t be too nice arsenal, do what you have to do

  26. Guns of SF

    Get him out and ozil out too

    We all now what will happen this season
    A good game here and there and nothing else

    I can see more sulking and ozil drama all season

    He can now say ptsd as an excuse for his shitty performances

    I want him out more than Mustafi

  27. Emiratesstroller

    Whatever is the opinion about transfer fees in general and Pepe’s fee in particular the reality is that this fee is not that special when you see what is going on elsewhere.

    What has changed is that Arsenal are now beginning to punch their weight in the transfer market something that we have failed to do when in the past we had the opportunity to buy players of this calibre.

  28. Emiratesstroller

    The concern about our defence remains the same. We need to buy at least one new player this summer.

    Most probably that will be Tierney at left back. This deal has obviously been put on the back burner and my guess is that Arsenal are also attempting to raise some cash from sales.

    I am less convinced that Arsenal will buy a second CB or for that matter sell
    Mustafi. Let’s be honest there is a dearth of good CBs available in the market
    and we are seeing just how resistant Leicester are in selling Maguire to Man

  29. Tony

    Pepe is great news and he could become on par with Bergkamp, Rix, Brady, Charlie N and others predating Wenger.

    Time will tell if Pepe can pull tress in the PL.

    Pepe has every advantage to become a worldly playing with Auba and Lacazette with Ceballos feeding and driving play


    “Ah, Thomas…..I don’t think I’ve ever come across, whether in real life or in the virtual world, a more relentlessly and consistently negative person than Thomas.”

    He never got over being named after a tank engine.

    Pierre and CG make the perfect couple to have pity parties together.

    Let’s see what Raul, Edu and Vinai can pull together in the remaining 10 days of the TW.

    I’m going to be very happy with Raul, Emery, Edu and Vinai if they fulfill their earlier VT promises: a first for AFC management for over a decade.

  30. Thorough

    I said ‘one space in the midfield was up for grabs’ which is the who partners Torreira at the base of the midfield. Cant quite make up my mind on any of the 3 listed, that’s why I used ‘/’ in between the 3 names.

  31. Tony

    “How many kids pick up a guitar or sit down with a piano or a harp or a sax??”

    Isn’t that down to the environment parents create for their children?

    My 21 year old daughter plays guitar and piano where her 21 year old BF plays guitar to decent jazz live.

    My 10 year old son has been learning the guitar for the last 8 months.

    I know I have a solid background in music engineering and management, but we never make our kids take up hobbies or crafts they don’t want to do.

    Pepe song?

    Pepe, Pepe to the music of Louie Louie:

  32. Gonsterous

    I expect to see a lot of shirt sales this season. Hell, people here in asia are already walking around with the new adidas Jersey. Feels good to be a gooner again 🙂
    Pepe is the signing of the summer, I think I prefer him over Zaha, who is very good and PL proven but I think pepe has the higher ceiling. We can resell pepe for 150m if all goes well but for Zaha this was his final destination. Players that use arsenal as a stepping stone play better than those who see it as a holiday and final.destination. But then again that’s just my opinion.

  33. Moray

    Gonsterous, if we can get back into the CL and bring some sanity into our contractual dealings (particularly our inflated salaries) then hopefully we don’t have to sell Pépé if he turns out to be good for us.

    That is the hope.

    Real Madrid, Barca, Bayern, Juve etc will all be a draw as they are more or less guaranteed trophies every year, but a well run Arsenal should be able to compete in a more sustainable fashion.

    The big worry is a devaluing currency, increasing nationalism and a country looking like it is slowly imploding. Who know, though, maybe Brexit can lead to a greater flexibility on visas for young footballers from South America and Africa, say. Stranger things have happened and it all seems to have money at its heart.

  34. China1

    I give massive credit to arsenal for managing this Pepe signing but I also feel we should recognize how lucky we’ve been

    Only 20m up front and something like a 4 or 5 year installment package is kinda ridiculous imo. I’m shocked that Lille accepted it

    If one or two other clubs with genuine cash had shown a more serious interest, ie Utd, PSG, Barca before they bought griezman etc there’s no way in hell Lille would’ve taken our offer or that he’d have joined us

    This is one of those magic moments where a top player kinda falls into your lap with an awesome financial arrangement akin to when we bought Alexis. I give a lot of credit to arsenal for managing it but we’ve benefited from a perfect storm of circumstances for this to take place

  35. China1

    Seriously compare the Lille and Celtic transfer negotiations and it’s night and day

    Celtic are dragging this out all summer and desperately haggling over every penny and installment arrangement despite the fact they dominate their league and already have a replacement in the squad

    Meanwhile one of the world’s hottest prospects negotiates an insane installment package in a matter of days and it’s easy as you like

    These two transfers are the wrong way round lol. Tierney should’ve been the easy buy not Pepe… though better this way at least

  36. China1

    If Pepe was coming from Celtic they’d be doing a crystal fucking palace and asking for 200m all up front lol

  37. Un na naai


    1) I already did pepe’s got a brand new bag!!

    2) yes and no on the instrument front. Yes parents should encourage their children I’d agree with that and I’ll certianly try to steer mine away from the junk that’s being created these days but there’s only so much a parent can do in the modern western world. Once a child becomes a certain age they are heavily influenced by the peers and the culture with which they are growing up in.
    Mine was britpop/rap/ska and bubble gum pop of the 90s. I preferred the Bripop/inde
    Oasis, ocean colour scene, seahorses, Richard Ashcroft etc and went into then get into the stones, led zep, and many other great bands/artists from the past but most of the kids in my area were listening to the new London shit rap that was coming out and garage. Most kids will do what their friends do and listen to what they like and watch the absolute shit they watch, love island and all that fucking garbage.

    So I don’t fully subscribe to that notion.
    Also some of the greatest artists of all time pick up a guitar on their own and play but that was in a time were there were no music making computers to mess around with. The 80s have a lot to answer for in my opinion. Only for the renaissance in the 90s music would have died a death with wham and all the rest of the manufactured “art” of the era.

  38. Un na naai

    Tierney set to sign today apparently

    Good stuff
    Now just a centre half and we are set for the season ahead.

  39. Un na naai

    Pepe, Aubameyang, Lacazette, Ozil, Mkhitaryan, Iwobi, Martinelli, Nketiah, Nelson, Saka, John-Jules, Smith Rowe

    Not a bad talent pool to choose from for your front 3 at all.

    Xakha, Torreira, Ceballos, Guendouzi, Willock, Chambers, AMN

    Not great but certianly could work if he finds the right combinations

    Bellerin, AMN, Sokratis, Holding, (Saliba)Chambers, Monreal, Kolasinac, Tierney


  40. Dark Hei


    Celtic are within their rights to do as they please.

    And so do we with our low balling.

    As for the Pepe deal, it happened quickly because we greased the agents and the middle man.

    Whole thing is probably a 100m affair.

    If it gets done without a significant sale, I will tip my hat to silent Stan.

    But the realist and cynic within me thinks otherwise. We shall see.

  41. Bob N16

    My oldest son plays guitar and my younger son plays sax, both play a lot of football, both spend too much time on screens.

    I’m away for Burnley so my first home game will be Spurs…..bring it on!

  42. Un na naai

    Ceballos has 7 goals and 4 assists in over 100 senior games

    Hardly scintillating is it for an attacking mid/no10

  43. Carts

    If we shift Mustafi on, you mean to tell me that we won’t bring another CB in, or is Monreal going to fill in while Kola and Tierney occupy LB

  44. TallestTiz

    If we’re selling Mustafi and Kos, we should be careful who we bring in.
    I’d rather keep Bielik tbf than signing a midget or a slow cb

  45. fsaf

    Ceballos is more of a #8.

    In the U21 Euro a month ago he achieved 2 goals and 2 assists in 5 games.

    He will add a goal threat but his skills lay somewhere else. I think he will do very well in here and hopefully he will want to stay with us. Also with Auba, Laca and Pepe we have 3 ppl that can score over 15 goals in the league alone. I don’t think that Ceballos would be less of a threat than Ozil. And using Ceballos the front man in a middle three of Torreira and either of Xhaka or Guen would give us a stronger midfield than with Ozil.

  46. fsaf


    Iniesta has 1 season in which he scored 8 goals in La Liga. His 2nd best goal tally in La Liga is 6 goals followed by 4 goals. He has 8 seasons in La Liga where he’s scored either 1 or 0 goals.

    Would you care if Ceballos doesn’t score often if his all round contribution is anywhere close to that of Iniesta?

  47. Bob N16

    Un, when my oldest son was 5 he bizarrely came out of nowhere and said ‘when I’m grown up I want to be a violinist’. By 11 he’d had enough of the violin and took up guitar, he’s now more in to making music on his computer (logic). My younger son, followed but chose the cello and then giving that up for the sax.

  48. Tony

    “I already did pepe’s got a brand new bag!!”


    Re music I don’t disagree with what you’re saying regarding outside and peer influences.

    That said, I believe parents can make the difference if they have the time and inclination.

    Do you play anything, Don?

    I guess it’s different for me because I’m retired and music is a big part of my/our lives.

    I have 2 Sonos Play 5 systems in separate rooms. Another system in the TV lounge, a 5000 WATT PA system in my gym with 4K TV and media player.

    Then there is the cinema being built with sound editing studio equipment and where the cinema is being laid out to double up as a writing studio when my kids want.

    Sorry if TMI, but the point is my kids can listen to different music all over the house and do all the time.

    In our house there is music on in at least 2 rooms most days.

    Similar to my muso friends’ homes I guess. Most people I know have decent mid to high level sound systems.

    I’ve found with my 3 kids: son 23 (adopted Mexican) Daughter 21 and son 11 next month that, if I find the right blend of info that isn’t too preachy, they will give it a good try to decide if they like it then talk it over with my wife or me.

    They are not so influenced by other kids and again talk to us when we make the time to play cards/games in the family room where they get to be DJs and have access to unlimited music of every genre either from the Internet or the house’s hard drives.

  49. Tony

    My kids asked to learn their instruments as Bob’s son did.

    I echo your sentiments re kids’ screen time.

  50. HighburyLegend

    Yeah, you never know, there’s always a big risk, we could sign a player worse than Mustardi.

  51. David Bolo

    OPAL combination loading….Ozil, Pepe, Auba, Laca. We will win games 7-6 because we still have Mustafi…

  52. Receding Hairline

    Mauricio Pochettino says his job title should be changed from manager to head coach as he has no influence over Tottenham’s transfer activity.

    “I am not in charge, I know nothing about the situation of my players. I am only coaching them, trying to get the best from them.

    “These types of things, what will happen, what will not happen, selling and buying of players, extending contracts, not extending contracts, I think it is not in my hands. It is in the club hands, and Daniel Levy. At the moment I am managing the team in the best way possible.”

    Asked if he wants to be in charge of transfers, Pochettino said: “Maybe the club need to change my title description, because my job now is to coach the team. It is not a question for me, it is a question for the club. Maybe the club are going to change my title description.

    “Of course I am the boss, deciding the strategy to play, training, mentality, philosophy in my area, but in another area, I think I am the coach the coach.”

    Someone isn’t very happy at all

  53. Guns of Brixton

    Juventus agree to a Dybala/Lukaku swap.
    “Even the greatest clubs are dumb, sometimes…”

    Looool. My thoughts exactly. May be theres something Im missing but this sounds ludicrous

  54. Un na naai


    Played the drums at school for 3 years, was decent.
    Wouldn’t know how to now. Tried the guitar several times but just didn’t have the patience. I’m not sure it’s in my hands if I’m honest but I certainly appreciate those who can

    There is no higher form of human art in my mind than thinking of a beautiful or stirring melody and being able to translate via your hands into something transcendent. Nothing compares.

    My daughter is going to begin piano lessons and Art. She loves painting and drawing and I was very very good at school but need to learn how to paint properly
    I used to sit and draw for hours and hours as a kid.

  55. Emiratesstroller

    The instalment payment plan proposed by Arsenal is probably very useful to

    Firstly they know that Arsenal is one club which will honour their commitments.

    Secondly Lille are a club who are unlikely to go out and spend mega bucks on
    transfers and wages. Therefore they don’t want to land up with a huge tax bill.

    Most probably the money they receive will cover the club’s running costs over
    5 years.

  56. HighburyLegend

    Thanks for the gif, fasaf, seems to be a “real” one.

    “If I was a Spurs fan I’d be concerned.”
    They have the most awesome and beautiful stadium in the world, so why worry ?

  57. Spanishdave

    Hope Pépé doesn’t let the money and status go to his head.
    When Ozil joined us the headlines were the same and look
    what’s happened.
    The Premiership is tough and there are many cloggers about in the lower teams.

  58. Receding Hairline

    Fsaf yea he has been unsettled for sometime now, would have walked away if they had the bottle to win the Champions league, Liverpool had put in much more last season yet still found a way to play the final at their own pace, Spurs failed to take the game to them.

    He is a great motivator and all but i don’t consider him a that great a tactician

  59. Pierre

    If ceballos is anywhere near the quality of Wilshire then we have a decent player .
    Jack could have been world class were it not for the injuries.

    He had everything u would want in a midfield player..superb technique and balance. Could glide past players with ease. Confidence. Superb first touch… What a shame injuries ruined a potentially great career.

  60. Dream10

    According to Transfermarkt, Tierney is scheduled to return Aug 12 from his latest hip injury. That will mean he’s missed 146 days due to a hip injury over the last eight months. I’m worried by this.

    Would prefer if we went for 21 year old Jamal Lewis from Norwich. He had a great season in the championship. He’s homegrown as well. We can sign another quality left back in 2020 when Monreal is off the books.

  61. Spanishdave

    Tony thanks for the blues albums. Luther Allison was a favourite of mine, because he lived in Germany he didn’t get the exposure he deserved.
    I am going to the Stones last tour date in Phoenix. late August, Hope Mick is ok.

  62. Tony

    Sounds like we understand music in a similar way.

    Pretty much playing an instrument is using muscle memory, but you have to put in the months/years of practice for the muscles to instinctively know how to work.

    There are research papers about the differences in the wiring of a musician’s brain to others who don’t. If you could play drums, then that suggests you should be able to pick up the guitar.

    Have you thought about learning an instrument when you daughter starts piano? Maybe the time is right now and you have different incentive to learn.

    Did you get into African beats? Hugh Masekela was a great SA muso. Kind of links with Ska and Reggae.

  63. Pierre

    If Ozil is to be a part of the current team then he needs to raise his game to a level that makes him difficult to leave out.

    Emery obviously has his doubts about him as he is not his type of player…many think Ozil is past it.. I don’t…it’s now or never for him in an Arsenal shirt
    The arrival of Ceballos may give Ozil the kick up the backside he needs.. I believe Ozil is a class above Ceballos but he needs to basically play out of his skin to convince Emery..

    I would be more than happy to see us play 4-3-3 with a solid midfield (no ozil) to compliment our talented front 3.
    It’s quite simple. Concede fewer goals and we will improve dramatically.

  64. Graham62


    The “injuries that ruined a potentially great career” we’re always going to materialise. His running style, caused by his bandy-legs, meant that he was always going to suffer the consequences of any form of impact from opponents.

    Was he overplayed from a young age? Maybe.

    Knee/ Ankle injuries though were bound to occur, especially as he had the Paul Scholes attitude towards tackling.

    No doubt the powers that be realised all of this early on in his career.

  65. Tony

    I would say it’s a make or break season for both Ozil and Emery.

    Both will be under the microscope, so it’s going to be interesting.

    Let’s see what happens.

  66. Dream10


    4-3-3 can work for us. 4-2-3-1 as well.
    Defensively, Emery has to improve the team’s structure through coaching. We’ll get a LB,. perhaps a CB on loan. The player who has escaped almost any blame for last season is Torreira. He was poor for the last six months due to fitness. Personally, I would sell and get a CM who is more physically capable. But, he was a consistent part of the disastrous results. Even Aubameyang and Leno were criticised!

  67. Dream10


    Tierney’s hip issues started last winter. 40 games is a good number. Celtic played loads as they were in CL qualifiers, a good run in Europa, SPL and two cups. Hoping it’s not a recurring issue.

  68. fsaf

    SkySports: “Rennes back in for Laurent Koscielny”

    If we manage to get any decent cash of Koscielny, Mustafi and Bielik we better get a very good CB cause 3 of our CBs will be out with only Chambers being brought back and I don’t think that his class is enough to be considered for anything more than cup games.

  69. HighburyLegend

    “If Ozil is to be a part of the current team then he needs to raise his game to a level that makes him difficult to leave out.”

    Priceless, as often…

  70. Freddie Ljungberg


    New CB, Holding, Sokratis with Chambers and Mavro as 4th and 5th choice is still much better than what we had last year. If the new CB is a top plyer I’m very happy with that. We can then move Chambers/Mavro on next year when Saliba arrives.

    I can’t remember when I was this excited for a new season to start

  71. Dream10


    Rugani seems to be the name doing the rounds. Haven’t seen much of him for Juventus. You rate him?

  72. Bob N16

    You may be being a little harsh on Torreira,Dream

    He was great up until Xmas and faded. I think there are mitigating circumstances, WC, new country, adjusting to a new league, young, playing with Xhaka, having to deal with an ever changing line up.

    Let’s see how he gets on this year, I’m hopeful, particularly with Ceballos in the picture, another Spanish speaker, same age and dynamic( in contrast to Xhaka). Wilock would combine well too.

  73. Dream10


    Hope he’ll be better this season. I’m not having the playing with Xhaka as an excuse though. Fitness and the ability to absorb games is a key factor. Especially for CMs

  74. Freddie Ljungberg


    “He was great up until Xmas and faded. I think there are mitigating circumstances, WC, new country, adjusting to a new league, young, playing with Xhaka, having to deal with an ever changing line up.”

    Exactly this, but Dream has had it in for Torreira even from the beginning of last season for some strange reason, even though he was arguably our best players during that period

    Advocating that we sell a player that even though he was adapting from a slower league an had to do the defensive work of 2 players, was still our best midfielder is just crazy talk. We already need to upgrade on Xhaka and Ozil next summer, makes no sense to sell Torreira too.

  75. Cesc Appeal

    Torreira was fresh to this league and was partnered with a CM who cannot cover ground meaning he had to do the role of both players in terms of pressing. It didn’t seem as if he had the best stamina anyway and by the second half of the season he looked like his was tired.

    The EPL can be a shock to players in their first season, it’s the most intense and physical league in the world.

    Ideally I’d like to see us go for a strong midfield 3 of:

    Guendouzi/Willock/Xhaka, Torreira, Dani Ceballos.

    I’ve no doubt Xhaka will get games but if his total lack of mobility and constant errors continue to effect us I want to see Emery give Guendouzi/Willock a run in the team.

    It seems like Xhaka is one of those players that makes it hard to implement the defensive side of the game you want to but he can also totally halt any momentum the team has in a game or make the game more difficult/cost us the game with a stupid decision like grabbing someone in the box, body checking someone in the box, fouling someone on the edge of the box, giving the ball away in a stupid area etc.

    You can’t have that.

  76. Bob N16

    Dream, as Freddie mentioned, Xhaka’s defensive deficiencies added to Torreira’s workload, meaning he had to cover more ground.

    A midfielder that can help Torreira with the defensive shield in front of our defenders, should mean that Torreira looks great for longer.

  77. Dream10

    Cesc Appeal

    Think we’ll see
    GK RB CB CB LB Torreira Guendouzi Mkhitaryan Pépé Aubameyang Iwobi in some away matches.

  78. fsaf

    I dunno man… That’s the problem with buying super young CBs…. Cause CBs need experience more than any other position in the game except maybe GKs.

    We bought Chambers 19 yo for £18m FIVE years ago. In the same summer we bought Bielik 16 yo for £2m although that one looks a good transfer since we are going to sell him on a good profit no matter what.

    We bought Holding 20 yo for £2.70m 3 years ago. Mavropanos 20 yo 1.5 year ago for £2m.

    And now we got Saliba 18 yo for £27m.

    Makes you wonder if we actually understand how crucial the CB position is in any team that wants to win trophies.

    It’s no coincidence that Manure haven’t won EPL since Ferdinand’s time and Chelsea since Terry.

    I have to question the CB transfer strategy that the club has seemlingly been following for years and continued following this summer with the addition of Saliba.

    I really hope we get a very good CB in. We might as well reach top 4 with say Rugani, but how the club refuses to acknowledge how a top CB can transform a team around – looking at you VVD – is worrying me a bit.

    If we sell both Mustafi and Kos, which would be the best thing to do, we’d have a total of one over 25 yo CB – Sokratis, who’s kind of old, not so fast and probably injury prone. Now, I don’t mind young footballers, just the opposite. But do we really think that Chambers, Holding and Mavropanos are gonna cut it this season?

    We just need a top tier CB in our defence and then we could experiment who’s going to be the top tier CB’s partner in defence. And if we are not willing to do it this summer, then it just has to happen next summer. 100%.

  79. Cesc Appeal


    I think Dani Ceballos is going to play.

    Emery is a massive fan of his and has promised him a lot of games here. That’s one of the reasons he picked us over other offers.

    He would have to be not that great for him to be left out and I think actually with him being the only midfield player who can run with the ball and beat his man, carrying the ball out of midfield, he’s going to be an asset in away games.

    I think Arsenal fans have a hangover from last season but with Pepe here, if we manage to add Tierney as well and get Bellerin back the performances will be nothing like last season on width and pace alone.

    If the signings go through when this team has played together and clicked I think Arsenal will look like a completely different team. Much faster, much more dynamic, much more effective and oppositions giving us more respect.

  80. Marc


    You’ve also missed off that Torreira got to the qtr finals of the World Cup last summer.

    People make too much of his drop off him form – it wasn’t deficiencies in the player it was asking him to do to much.

  81. Biggles

    I wonder if Mendes is going to help us shift players as well as bring them in.

    I’m delighted with Pepe, pleased with Saliba and think that Martinelli seems a decent gamble. Ceballos I’m not sure about – he could be another Suarez, he could be Cazorla, but at least there’s little risk. If we bring in Tierney, I’d also be quite happy.

    My biggest disappointment though is that Ozil, Xhaka, Mustafi, Mhkitaryan, Koscielny and Monreal are all currently still at the club. I expect Koscielny to be gone soon, maybe Monreal too if we get Tierney in. I just hope Emery properly sidelines them, rather than deciding that Mustafi cost more than Holding, so we should play him.

    Maybe the club are working on departures behind the scenes, but I’m not very hopeful at this point.

  82. fsaf

    Haven’t watched him for more than 5 games in total. He looks and plays like a younger Mertesacker. As much as I liked Per, his game was never suited for EPL or Arsenal. Game moved on from sending the ball high and see what happens. Defenders with pace and power thrive. Rugani has neither. He could still be a decent acquisition to fill the gap for a year or so, but no way that I see him as a permanent solution for our defence. In a league where 70-80% are happy to give us the ball and wait for counterattacks, we cannot be defending with slow defenders.

  83. Moray

    Fsaf, youre right about the CB position. I also think the balance of the pairing has been underestimated by us and affected a lot through injury when we have seemed to get a good partnership going.

    We have bought some young CBs with potential. Unfortunately I think we have let them down by either throwing them in the deep end too early (Chambers) or just being shit in our defensive coaching. A Tony Adams night rose to the top regardless but players with that level and motivation are few and far between.

    I thought there would be more intensive focus on our defensive training, drilling and strategy under Emery after the Wenger defensive circus, but it is not evident yet. He has this season to get this act together. Ditto Bould now that we know he will be more involved in this side of things. He is skating on bald ice, with his track record…

  84. fsaf

    Yeah, midfield of Torr, Xhaka/Guen and Ceballos looks a decent midfield. I hope Matteo improves even more this year so we can bench Xhaka and maybe Willock can show me that he’s better than I consider him to be.

    We wouldn’t need much of a goal threat in midfield with a front 3 of ALPepe.

  85. Un na naai


    It’s on the list mate
    Guitar, classical piano or (strangely) harp I really like.

    I need more time though mate as I work 6-7 days every week and have two young kids so down time isn’t a luxury I’ve been afforded much of in the last 6 years.

    Also, I’m just not sure it’s in me. The Mrs got intoher grammar school through playing cello though so she could well have passed those genes onto the kids.

    The youngest seems the most creative and the eldest is more academically gifted so we will see.

    No never got Into African bears at all but I enjoy Asian and Native American music.

  86. Freddie Ljungberg


    I get the importance of experience in central defenders, but there are always exceptions, players like Varane and De Ligt that dominates from an early age, I think the hope and expectations is that Saliba is one such player.

    I would still prefer buying someone young but ready now with massive potential at CB this summer, we’re a couple of years away from seriously compete for the big trophies so we have to build with that in mind.

    I’ll be ok with Holding and Sok competing for 1 position this year if we get a top CB in. At least we won’t have the walking disaster that is Mustafi and an error prone Kos in there, if we also upgrade left back as it looks like we’re doing we’ll be much better off than last year.

  87. fsaf


    Exactly. Imagine that we field out a CB pairing of Holding and Chambers. I mean come on. It sounds like a Fulham defence ready to concede 4 goals in every game.


    I hope Saliba is the bees knees. I have high expection and we must really liked him to buy him for so much money in such a young age. I hope he is more of a Varane/De Ligt than a Chambers.

    There was some noise around Umtiti. He could be our Kolo Toure. Would certainly prefer him to Rugani and he would also strengthen the French vibe that’s been coming back to our club.

  88. China1

    My eye is on holding this year

    He’s the one cb we have who is both young and good. Certainly a 7/10 player which by arsenal standards is very good

    But can he stay fit?

    And if he can, can he become an 8/10 player. 7/10 is good enough for now and if we had better players as a 3rd choice. But if in the coming 2 years we want to have a really serious CB pairing he’ll need to make that jump up to an 8/10 and with greater resilience to injuries

    Here’s to hoping

  89. fsaf

    Just read that Manure want Umtiti but I get the feel they will eventually get Maguire. If we can get Umtiti for £30-40m we’d do well imo.

    Kos, Mustafi, Bielik out. Umtiti, Saliba, Chambers in.

    I’d say pretty neat business if we can pull it off.

  90. Un na naai


    I fully expect him to cement himself as a first name on the team sheet and probably our captain
    I really rate him. Read the game so well and for a slowish defender always seems to be in the right place to avert danger

    Loves to defend and seems to love the 1-1 challenge of dominating his opponent

  91. China1

    Yeah he’s good on the ball and has an imposing frame as well

    He comes across as a cultured CB consider he’s pretty big and physical

  92. China1

    I gather untiti also has a poor injury record and would be expensive but in the unlikely event that we actually got him he’d be a pretty exciting gamble

  93. Marc

    The Umtiti rumours are ManU trying to put pressure on Leicester or to get Maguire to play up to force a transfer.

    It’s all good though whilst they’re playing games tick tock.

  94. Valentin

    Spanish Dave,

    If you like Luther Allison, check out his son Bernard Allison.
    I went to him in the 90 in a club in Paris by accident. My friend and I thought we were going to see Luther Allison.
    At the concert, His dad came on stage. We thought he was going to do just a few songs. In fact he enjoyed himself so much, that he stays an extra hour.

  95. Ishola70

    “I hope Saliba is the bees knees”

    Well at 30m for an 18yo he has to be the bees knees.

    This isn’t a Dortmund style youth signing where they pick the player up for comparative peanuts.

    It’s good to see that the club are laying out the money albeit over a few seasons period for players like Saliba and reported Pepe. It puts pressure on the club to succeed in getting back into CL pronto and we have said before lack of pressure to succeed can be a handicap. The alternative not getting back into CL for another few seasons after laying out the money is not worth bearing thinking about. But can’t fault them for showing willing this time. Whether the decision to go big on attack and still be sub par in midfield and defence though we will have to see whether that was a wise decision.

  96. fsaf

    Dani Ceballos:
    ‘This is a historic club that I’ve always looked out for because of Jose Antonio Reyes, who is from the same town as me and played here,’ he told the club’s website. ‘He made history at this club, winning the league title, so it’s an important step in my career for me to join Arsenal.‘
    ‘I spoke to his father just before coming here and he told me not to think twice because this is a wonderful club. José had a fantastic time here. ‘When I came into the training ground I saw a picture of him and it really struck me because he’s like my childhood idol. ‘Being at the club where he made a name for himself is a big step forward and I hope to make this club even bigger.’

  97. Valentin

    4-2-3-1 is Emery favourite formation, however I don’t think that it can work in the EPL with our personnel.
    Emery plays one more defensive midfielder Torreira and one more offensive focus on long range passing (Xhaka).
    Most of the other teams playing that system have two aggressive holding midfielders that quickly pass the ball to the third midfielder further forward. The two players don’t need to be as good passers, but they are better at patrolling the area and hunting in pack anybody trying the go through the area. They are athletes first, footballer second.
    Spurs have Sissoko and Wanyama/Dier, with Ericksen further up. Watford has Doucoure and Capoue. Everton use also the same system.

    The result is that we have a soft center and we can’t control game.
    I would either change personnel and ditch Xhaka or change formation and move to a 4-3-2-1. Three in midfield (Torreira, Ceballos, Willock) would give us more stability defensively. Also if the opportunity arise, the third misfield could make a late run into the penalty box. However that system would rely on both wingers to bring danger. On the left, Iwobi would have to up his game or Nelson to really step up.
    With a front three of Nelson Lacazette and Pepe.

  98. China1

    Carts ‘Lille have made €70m up front on a player whose true valuation was more like €25m-€30m.‘

    I dunno what you mean

    We only paid 20m up front and the installment plan lasts 4-5 years

    And if he’s only worth 20-30m why are we not the only club bidding their asking price with several others sniffing around even knowing he’s expensive

    On what planet is he only a 20-30m player anyway lol? Are you a Zaha fan?


  99. Ishola70

    If this effort in this summers window results in a top four place come next season it will be telling what the ambition will be after that.

    Will the club revert to sitting on their hands after achieving a short term goal like they did under Wenger.

    At this moment there are seven players at the club who are not deemed worthy of the first team shirt. Then there are a few others that have question marks against them and also not good enough in the first place. That’s an awful lot of players in an overall squad.

    Still heaps of work to do if the aim of these owners is to “win the big cups”

  100. Marc

    “Most of the other teams playing that system have two aggressive holding midfielders ”

    If we do that isn’t there a chance they’ll both try to tackle the same player or make the same run?

  101. Freddie Ljungberg

    If we do that isn’t there a chance they’ll both try to tackle the same player or make the same run?


  102. Marc


    Remember that the window for selling players to the continent doesn’t close until the 2nd of September. We’ve still got plenty of time to move on some players.

  103. Valentin


    Here is the xenophobic troll who think that adding two players who have the same game will result in twice as many goals.
    I wonder why coaches have not thought of playing with 10 strikers, that should result in ten times more goals.

    I make analysis on system, you see that as a opportunities to score points without even commenting on the systems itself. Classic trolling.

  104. Ishola70

    “Remember that the window for selling players to the continent doesn’t close until the 2nd of September. We’ve still got plenty of time to move on some players.”

    Yes that will be a start and put the club in a better place to get back into CL sharpish.

    But if we look beyond just CL qualification and onto even better things in the future than that then there are many players that need to be moved on over time. Around just over a quarter of the present squad. Lots of work to do.

  105. Nelson

    I can see that both Ozil and Xhaka are weak defensively. They should not be playing in the same formation. I can see that Ozil and Ceballos can play together. This reminded me of playing Ramsey and Ozil in the same setup. Ceballos can draw the defense towards him while giving more room for Ozil to operate. This is particular useful when we play against weaker team. We’ll need someone who can pass in the final third to open up a tight defense. Against other top 6 teams, I’ll go for 4 3 3 formation since our defense is below bar.