Hottest centre backs Edu SHOULD be looking at (long read)

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Mike McDonald back with a BEAST of a post about the hot centre backs of Europe. Pull out the popcorn, you are about to be educated. (Find him @Mike_MMcdonald)

Arsenal Football Club will be only be transformed when they correct three issues that have been largely ignored for over 15 years.

The right coach, a solid defensive unit and football that is 50% ‘off the ball.’

I’ve researched centre back options and with that said it’s fair to say that we may have our answer at the club already.

Sometimes a ‘good’ centre back can become the ‘perfect’ centre back with the right partner.

So it could be that Saliba and Holding is the answer? Saliba and Luiz?

Fair to say too that Saliba may not be able to fulfill his potential for a few years yet as he will only be 19 when he arrives.

Either way, with Arsenal far from being an intimidating defensive unit it would be neglectful to hope and not be proactive and at least be aware of who is out there.

When researching I discovered that there are 10’s of possible options so I’ve grouped them and commented on those I consider to be the best options.

Ligue 1 options

With the starting thought that it’s most likely going to be Saliba plus one, there is value in the thought that the perfect CB may need to be French speaking.

Benoit Badiashile

Age: 18     Height: 6ft 4in

Team: Monaco

Potential value: £30M

A target for Chelsea that could be snapped up before their ban ends.

A strong, powerful, quick modern day CB who has been trusted to play regularly since Henry departed the South of France.

Boubacar Kamara 

Age: 19 (about to be 20)

Height: 5ft 10in

Team: Marseille

Potential value: £35M

A much sort after player. Small for a CB but also played extensively at LB and DM. Already a target for PSG, Kamara excels in recovery speed, tackling and being two footed. This ability, alongside his versatility, creates an unusually calm CB.

Malang Sarr

Age: 20.     Height: 5ft 11in.

Team: Nice

Potential value: £30M

Sarr can play both at left back or centre left back. Played over 6000 minutes for a good Nice team at such a young age. A proactive CB who likes to pressure players whilst his partner sits off.

The 3 at PSG…Thiago Silva, Marquinhos and Presnel Kimpembe

Age: 35 (Silva).  25 (Marquinhos). 24 (Kimpembe)

Height: All 6ft

Team: PSG

Potential value: Free (Silva)  £80M (Marquinhos).    £50M (Kimpembe)

Silva may be in his last years but may compliment Saliba. Still starting for PSG after being replaced last year.

Marquinhos is having his best season. Arguably the best ‘footballer’ playing CB in world football. Can comfortably play DM too.

Kimpembe may get itchy if he can’t become first choice at PSG but may be waiting on Silva retiring.

Left sided CB who has been trusted by France ahead of many other great options.

French speaking and already playing in the PL

This may well be the best of both worlds. French speaking with PL experience.

Issa Diop

Age: 22.  Height: 6ft 4in

Team: West Ham

Potential value: £50M (overpriced PL value)

A leggy interception king who has recently been monitored by Man. Utd as well as others. Been a large part of an improving West Ham team.

Willy Boly

Age: 28.  Height: 6ft 3in

Team: Wolves

Potential value: £40M

An underrated regular in Wolves’ impressive team. Particularly dangerous at set pieces.

French speaking but playing elsewhere

Some very impressive names here. Some experienced, some younger. All with plenty of minutes under their belt.

Dayot Upamecano 

Age: 21    Height: 6ft 1in.

Team: RB Leipzig

Potential value: £60M

We allegedly bid for him last summer and may go back in January. Rumor has it that he is our choice.

Has everything needed as a CB apart from international experience but that has more to do with the litany of choices that Deschamps has. Particularly quick and good on the ball.

Ibrahim Konate

Age: 20 Height: 6 ft 4in

Team: RB Leipzig

Potential value: £50M

Fast, powerful with huge potential.

Can look clumsy on the ball. The fact that Leipzig have achieved CL football with two very young CB’s is a credit to both Konate and Upamecano.

Nicolas N’Koulou

Age: 29.   Height: 6ft 1in Team:Torino

Potential value: £15M

Tried to force his way out last summer. Experienced Cameroonian defender who has excelled in Serie A.

Raphael Varane

Age: 26   Height: 6ft 3in

Team: Real Madrid

Potential value: £100M

Unreal that he’s 26! Seems like he’s been around much longer. At his age and experience he would be ideal. Just don’t think he’s leaving RM for AFC.

Samuel Umtiti 

Age: 25 (about to be 26)

Height: 6ft

Team: Barcelona

Potential value: £50M

If Barcelona would sell and if he didn’t have a dodgy knee he could be another perfect choice.

Dan Axel Zagadou

Age: 20.    Height: 6ft 5in.

Team: Dortmund

Potential value: £35M

Quite possibly available as he’s only played twice this season. A monster of a player with strength, pace and obvious power at set plays. Can be error prone.

Serie A options

Always good to remember that Serie A teaches defenders to truly value clean sheets and the tactical side of the game.

Few Italian’s travel to the PL but the majority of this list are not Italians.

Kalidou Koulibaly

Age: 28.  Height: 6ft 1in.

Team: Napoli

Potential value: £120M

Well known by the majority as one of if not the best defender in the world. Doubtful that if he ever leaves that Arsenal would be his choice.

Gianluca Mancini

Age: 23.   Height: 6ft 3in.

Team: Roma

Potential value: £40M

Speed, technique and dominant in the air and becoming a regular member of the Italian National team.

Nikola Milenkovic

Age: 22    Height: 6ft 5in

Team: Fiorentina

Potential value: £40M

A versatile CB having played many times at RB too. Another Man Utd target who excels in his reading of the game and his unusually composed play belying his size.

Armando Izzo

Age: 6ft    Height: 27

Team: Torino

Potential value: £25M

An AFC target (probably a Mustafi replacement, but SM didn’t leave), excels in ball winning and interceptions. He led Serie A in both last season. An impressive stat considering the many good defenders in the league.

Alessio Romagnoli

Age: 24.    Height: 6 ft 1in.

Team: AC Milan

Potential value: £50M

A leader in the AC Milan team who has performed well in a team that has underperformed. A brave, front foot defender with the yellow cards to prove it.

Milan Skriniar

Age: 24.    Height: 6ft 1in

Team: Inter Milan

Potential value: £60M

Currently considered to be one of the best in Serie A.

The Slovakian is an all rounder that doesn’t have any clear lack. His strengths are 1 on 1 defending, positioning and use of the ball.

Very doubtful that with Inter’s resurgence that he leaves.

Stefan DeVrij

Age: 27.   Height: 6 ft 2in

Team: Inter Milan

Potential value: £40M

Another all round defender that has slowly worked his way to the top of the game. Recently called the best defender so far this season in Serie A.

Bundesliga options

Four very interesting options. From an experienced CL player who may want a final challenge to three established, fast and physical options.

Manuel Akanji

Age: 24.    Height: 6 ft 1in

Team: Dortmund

Potential value: £45M

Well known as being the smartest footballer currently playing. A math genius (what does that mean) with a naturally analytical mind.

Super quick with springs in his feet.

Become a regular since Diallo went to PSG.

Johnathan Tah

Age: 23    Height: 6ft 3in

Team: Bayer Leverkusen

Potential value: £40M

When all talk about wanting a ‘Van Dijk’ type, my thoughts go to Tah.

A huge and imposing athlete with obvious leadership and organization skills.

Mattias Ginter

Age: 25    Height: 6ft 2in

Team: M’gladbach

Potential value: £35M

Much like Varane, Ginter has been around for many years.

After years of injury and bouncing from big to small club he’s found home at Gladbach (currently top of the league) and a part of the national team.

A strong, quick leader.

Jerome Boateng

Age: 31     Height: 6ft 4in

Team: Bayern Munich

Potential value: £30M

A huge unit. Experience at every level. A little beyond his peak but has forced his way back into the Bayern team, although not regular.

Premier League options

Some out of sorts, out of favour and almost out of contract to three players who are rising stars and flying.

Toby Alderweireld

Age: 30.   Height: 6 ft 4in

Team: Spurs

Potential value: Free (as close to being out of contract)

On one level he is perfect. On the other, he plays for Spurs.

Nathan Ake

Age: 24.   Height: 5ft 11in

Team: Bournemouth

Potential value: £40M

Underrated, probably because he plays for AFCB. He also regularly starts for the best Dutch side in a generation.

Fast, brave and very athletic.

Available I’m sure.

Caglar Soyuncu

Age: 23.   Height: 6ft 2in

Team: Leicester

Potential value: £70M

Apart from a bizarre greasy rockstar hairstyle, Soyuncu has improved rapidly. Put on significant muscle this summer to add strength to his power, pace and aerial ability. Flavour of the month which will make him very hard to get.

Joe Gomez

Age: 22.   Height: 6 ft 3in

Team: Liverpool

Potential value: £40M

How is Gomez two inches taller than Koulibaly!?!

An impressive athlete who has found himself as 4th choice at Liverpool. You’d think he’s gettable but would Liverpool sell to us?

John Stones

Age: 25.   Height: 6ft 2in

Team: City

Potential value: £50M

A little mistake ridden and out of form but there is a very good CB in there.

Tyrone Mings

Age: 26    Height: 6 ft 3in

Team: Villa

Potential value: £45M

An old fashioned defender. Loves defending, huge passion and a fan favorite for those reasons. Not many ‘Tony Adams types’ left in the game but I see Mings as this.

La Liga options

Lesser known but all highly rated.

Hermoso was available last summer and Nuñez and Torres are new to the Spanish squad.

Pau Torres

Age: 22     Height: 6ft 4in

Team: Villarreal

Potential value: £35M

The first of three Spanish players linked with Arsenal over the last 3 months. Torres is having a fine season at an improving Villarreal. Strong in his game focus, desire to keep clean sheets and long passing. Could put Santi in his suitcase, 2 for 1. Yes, please!

Mario Hermoso

Age: 24.  Height: 5ft 11in

Team: Atletico Madrid

Potential value: £40M

Available all summer until Atleti picked him up late in the window.

A modern day classy CB on the outskirts of the Spanish first team.

Unai Nuñez

Age: 22.    Height: 6ft 1in

Team: Athletic Bilbao

Potential value: £35M

Another Spaniard with a strong passion for defending. Reminds me of Gabriel who was a better defender than many gave him credit. Good on the ball and at set pieces.

Portuguese options

It’s important to not forget that Portugal have won two major tournaments recently and that many of their players have achieved great success in the PL.

Ruben Dias

Age: 22.   Height: 6ft 2in

Team: Benfica

Potential value: £45M

A modern day ball playing CB.

Aerially dominant. Recently broken into a talented Portugal side. Been linked with Arsenal recently.

Young options/new names

Do Arsenal want two young CB’s?

Robin Koch

Age: 23     Height: 6ft 3in

Team: Freiburg

Potential value: £25M

A versatile CB/DM combo who has just broken into the German squad. Elite level fitness who blends a warrior style with a finesse that few young CB’s possess.

Ethan Ampadu 

Age: 19    Height: 6ft

Team: RB Leipzig (on loan from Chelsea)

Potential value: £30M

A natural footballer. Could comfortably play midfield as well as CB. Represented Wales more frequently than Chelsea or Leipzig which is a concern, but has the world at his feet.

Brandon Mechele

Age: 26.    Height: 6ft 3in

Team: Club Brugge

Potential value: £15M

Not a new name if you are Belgian, but a late bloomer who has recently made the National squad. A right footed versatile CB/RB.

A two footed ball winner.

Jhon Lucumi 

Age: 21. Height: 6ft 1in

Team: Genk

Potential value: £15M

A Colombian left sided CB with a big future. Pace, strength and bravery with lightning acceleration.

One for the future, or a risk for the present? Plays alongside Sander Berge who Arsenal need to keep eyes on too.

Merih Demiral 

Age: 21.   Height: 6 ft 4in

Team: Juventus

Potential value: £20M

A very interesting option. A Puyol type in attitude with similar fire. Quick, aggressive and determined Turkish international who is unfortunate to have only played once so far for Juve. Concern that he’s never settled anywhere, but cheap and itching to play. Could be the perfect fit for the club.

My recommendations

I have a shortlist of 8 based on availability and best fit for Arsenal.

SHORTLIST (in order of how I would approach them)….

  • 8th….. Ruben Dias
  • 7th… Johnathan Tah
  • 6th…. Willy Boly
  • 5th… Nathan Ake
  • 4th…. Martin Demiral
  • 3rd…. Dayot Upamecano
  • 2nd….. Caglar Soyuncu
  • 1st…. Tyrone Mings

My 1st choice would actually be Soyuncu but I think City will go for him leaving us flailing. Who doesn’t want Koulibaly too, right?

For the same reason I think Arsenal have little chance.

Mings might surprise you but I think Arsenal need a PL experienced CB. I also lean towards defenders that LOVE to defend. I’ve never understood the notion that ‘ability to play out of the back’ is the most talked about quality of any defender. It should be defending.

He has ridiculous stats on tackles and blocked shots in particular. He makes me feel safe.

I also think that in a short period he could lead the team.

Tyrone Mings for me.

I’d also sign Boubacar Kamara and loan him to an English team.

You?

@mike_mmcdonald

436 Responses to “Hottest centre backs Edu SHOULD be looking at (long read)”

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  1. Bojangles

    Of the Cab’s from the PL, I have been impressed by Ake and Ming’s. I think I actually prefer Ake.

    I read a few weeks back where Santi recommended Arsenal look at Pau Torres.

  2. Davey

    Jesus what a lot of effort how can you be arsed? Should have signed Caglar Soyuncu in the first place Arsenal=Dither

  3. CG

    A wonderful scouting report by the precocious Mr.M McDonald

    Many thanks.

    My golly- the author knows his soccer players.

    Two things I ll add .

    1. We have run out of cash.
    We ain’t got a Pot to P**s in,

    (Compo and severance packages will be burning through what’s left of it…)
    No CL money next year either.
    Seismic drop in Revenues on the Horizon.

    (Vinnai ain’t selling many corporate boxes,alert). In fact can he sell anything bar the pack of lies he told us in that infamous inhouse interview.?

    2. The Spiv will favour players that works for him and his favoured agents.

    We will requiring the Bosman Book of Rejects going forward.
    Let’s hope we get our copy before QPR and Millwall do.

    Because that’s the territory we are heading.

    Good morning Fellow Le GRovers.

    Guy fawkes day.
    Let’s hope this Regime get blown up today!

  4. TT

    Why are we looking at players that we are never going to buy? Did we not spend all our budget for next year last summer?

  5. HighburyLegend

    Don’t care if you’re right or wrong, the fact is that your just passing all your time at pissing everybody off on Le Grove.

  6. Ustyno

    A defender with leadership qualities is what we need but we might not have money to buy so what’s the point

    Cheers McDonald

  7. David Smith

    Superb analysis.
    Seems we have been linked with a few of these players, although with the defensive coaching at this club, unlikely they would have become anything much had they signed here. That really needs to change, shocking that Emery has been allowed to continue Wengers failings

  8. Marc Faber

    Interesting read, but somewhat pointless as no-one who reads this actually gets to pick who our next CB is going to be.

    And if in the unlikely event our scouting/technical department are actually impressed by this dossier, than we are seriously f**ked.

    Saliba, Saliba, Saliba…. is the answer hopefully. Assuming he does not get pinched by Real.

    Finally, some of you may recall we were going to get Soyuncu and instead got Mavraponos. Dud call. LC have handled it beautifully… got in Soyuncu, eased him in last season whilst MacGuire was still there and now he is bossing it (for now).

  9. Emiratesstroller

    Pedro

    Reverting back to posts which I have suggested in recent days my preference as manager/head coach would be Patrick Vieira.

    That is on several counts:

    1. He is relatively young at 43 and not preconceived.
    2.He has got a coaching background in EPL with Man City and also Management experience in USA and France.
    3.He was a World Class Footballer and World Cup Winner. He understands
    the dynamic of success both in England and Italy.
    4.He speaks fluent English and French. Most of the players in our squad speak one of those two languages.
    5.Vieira understands very well the importance of good defending and creative
    offensive play.
    6.He will attract and retain good players. Aubameyang is more likely to stay at
    the club if we recruit someone like Vieira.

    I am not going to comment on your list of Centre Backs, because as everyone
    knows there is never a guarantee that they will be a success in EPL.

    However, Arsenal have already recruited Saliba a relatively young player and
    my view is that assuming that we don’t succumb to Real Madrid’s attempt to
    buy him he is likely to be in the starting lineup when he joins us.

    For this reason I think that it is important that his partner in team should be
    someone with more experience say at least 25 years of age and has played in
    a major league.

    I agree with your scenario that any centre backs we recruit should be french
    speakers, because their is some evidence that many of the top players in that
    position originate from that background.

  10. Wenker-wanger

    Talksports Adrian dummo Durham has been his obnoxious self again.
    ,”Bergkamp nowhere near the best player to have played in the prem..not even the best arsenal player..wrighty was better..
    Jeez the man is some pathetic clown!
    Even by his standards and arsenal hating issues this defies belief.
    Complete twat and arsehole … Confirmed yet again.
    (Not that he is relevant )

  11. China1

    Great post

    I don’t know most of those names but would be over the moon to have upemecano next summer.

    What with saliba also joining, we’d be one elite DM/CM away from having a title challenging first 11. Note that I’m only talking first 11 as depth would still be in question

  12. Pierre

    We should have gone in for mings in the summer for 25 million, it was a no brainer as far as I was concerned.
    I’m sure we could have offered him a better cash incentive than villa.
    He will cost 50+ million now.

    Mings can still improve , he is playing in a villa team who spend a lot of the game defending deep and if I have a criticism of Mings , it is that he tends to drop too deep.

    Mings in a top 6 team would be a different animal.
    He looks a leader of men and he could be as influential as Van Dyke due to his composure in dangerous situations and his ability on the ball .

    I have been watching Saliba this season and I have to say that he also appears to have leadership qualities and great composure , for someone so young. He could be exactly what we need though of course the premier League is a much more demanding league.

  13. China1

    Let’s be honest, as it was in the early to late 90s, France has returned to being an absolute factory of top class footballers.

    It’s like a production line. Take your pick

  14. Wenker-wanger

    The only advantage in hiring mourinho is his defensive organisation.
    Pedro’s list of centre backs is mouthwatering for us arsenal fans that are used to our string vest defense, but I would add that its equally important to get the balance and organisation correct.
    George Graham mastered that organisation…..each defender was totally “in-sync” with each other…a unit that proved unbeatable at times.
    So individually we need to get better players as and together with the coaching we can at last build that wall of rock at the back.

  15. Nelson

    Dannys
    “Have you not seen how we play with 3 holders?”

    That’s because Emery asked the midfielders to do high pressing. They were running all over the places. That left a lots of gaps in our midfield. I want the 3 holders to keep the defensive formation once we lose the ball. Let the opponent do their procession game. We’ll park the bus and defend when they arrive. The attackers will do the pressing.

  16. Wasi

    Pedro
    We were reportedly very very close to sign Soyuncu last summer. Was there any truth to that story? Do you have any information about that?

    Mings looks a good player. I berated him when I didn’t really know much about him other than that he couldnt even make it at Bournemouth. Also I think Upamecano should be the second CB in the list after Mings. Also Upamecano is probably easier to get than Mings now i think.

  17. Valentin

    In that list I would add Evan N’Dicka who can also play left back. Currently at Frankfurt, so we may see him now when we play them again in the Europa League.
    Because of the partnership developed at RB Leipzig, his chance to play for France U21 have been severely limited. But I suspect his versatility and game intelligence is greater than Upamecano. He is able to play DM and left back while I can’t see either of the Leipzig CBs play anywhere else than CB.

    According to reports, Badiashile is already bound to Real Madrid to replace Ramos. So I don’t think that we may get him.

    Thiago Silva does not deserve to be on that list. He was a phenomenal player, but he is not anymore. He is quite often turned by Ligue 1 strikers and bailed out by Kimpembe or Marquinhos. Also as seen during the Brazil World Cup 2014, stress and pressure can get to him.

    Raul in his great wisdom overruled Sven purchase of Caglar Söyünkü in favour of Sokratis, because we needed to add experience. Hence we ended up with Sokratis and Lichsteiner. Great scouting and network connection by Raul . When we went back for him, we were then short of fund and because of the restriction on non-home grown players we could not guarantee that he would be part of the Premiership squad. That opened the door to Leicester.

    I would also add Jules Kounde who just moved to Sevilla. Not very tall, but could also be useful. Another former France U21 player.

  18. shaun

    Toby Alderweireld

    Age: 30. Height: 6 ft 4in you sure this is correct so Alderweirld is taller than mings man my eyes are really getting bad lol……………………..lol

  19. Valentin

    HighburyLegend,

    The thing with Pepe, in France a lot of people were shocked by his successful season. There has been a lot of talk whether he is a one season wonder or whether the way Lille plays over-emphasize his type of players and hide their flaws.
    As his replacement bought from Belgium seems to be in course for the same great stats in Ligue 1. I would say that narrative has some legs.

    Pepe is a good player, but not a world beater. At international level, despite Cote d’Ivoire not having the same quality of attackers it once had still saw fit to drop him at AFCON 2019.

    He can still be a great success but as I said when we purchased him. He need a lot of proper coaching. He is a dribbler but he needs somebody to teach him to channel his talent for the team. In contrast at Lille, the team was channelled all his talents (Ikone, Bamba, Soumaré, …) for him.

  20. CG

    Very very rarely The G is wrong.

    But pepe aint a good player.

    pepe is an average player with a World Class price tag.

    Saliba is promising though.
    Looks a real talent.

  21. Valentin

    I also forgot to add Jean-Clair Todibo who signed for Barcelona.
    He explodes last season at Toulouse. He was so good every big club went after him knowing that he was on a free in the summer. Toulouse then refuse to play unless he signed an extension. He declined, so Barcelona stepped-in and signed him on a pre-arranged free on January 8th 2019. That incensed Toulouse who basically try to even refuse him access to the training facilities.
    On January 30th 2019 Barcelona agreed for his immediate transfer for a very low fee.

    This summer Barcelona were willing to sell him to raise fund to buy Neymar or MBappe.

  22. Batistuta

    Watched Leipzig with Nagglesman a lot lately and if he ever can here and played that suicidal high line he does with them, then he’d be in a for a real dose of reality. Their game against Zenith in the champions league last time out was a typical there for the taking with a high line so close to the centre circle it was crazy…

    Like Upemecano or what I’ve seen of him but he looks like he needs a much more calmer partner there with him as he does venture foward to nick the ball a lot

  23. Moray

    Nice post. Interested to get a feel of how Saliba rates among this group?

    And as mentioned, we need to get the right CB pairing rather than two excellent but non complementary defenders. As well as a decent covering screen from midfield. Oh yes, and Keown back as coach.

  24. Batistuta

    The thing with advocating these young coaches is you have to be sure what their playing style e.t.c. is and make sure you’ve got or plan to get them players who fit what they’re trying to do if not you’d just be setting them up for failure.

    All well and good calling for the Artetas and Nagglesmans and Howes and co but be sure as a club that they’d get the necessary tools to make their work show fruition.

  25. Batistuta

    Chambers is and will never be a DM… Play him in a position where he feels the most comfortable and that’s CB….You want a specialist DM, then go out there and get one

  26. Wenker-wanger

    Bamford,
    Chambers is a good defender so yes a defensive midfielder playing solidly in a confined space.
    Too late for this manager to experiment…he has cocked up so much that a small tweak here and there is like giving a dying man a paracetamol.

  27. China1

    Batistuta wasn’t he Fulhams player of the season playing DM last season?

    Also no one is saying don’t buy an elite DM, we’re saying the transfer window is closed, and instead of playing guen by himself and defending poorly, why don’t we make a combination of a solid two who actually are built for DM, ie a combination of 2 from torreira chambers or Luiz

    All 3 can and have played Dm before and all are better at DM than guen and xhaka

  28. Bamford10

    Batistuta

    He was player of the year for Fulham as a CDM, so your comment makes no sense. Yes, we should go into the market and get a quality midfielder or two, but in the meantime Emery should try Chambers in there. We are desperate. He is more mobile than Torreira and stronger and a better defender than Guendouzi. He can help.

  29. Wenker-wanger

    @ china1….DM is a position that players that can tackle, intercept and move the ball quickly can grow into. Chambers looks to have that skillset. As you say he played that for Fulham.
    I always felt luiz could do that..but he’s undisciplined.

  30. Bamford10

    Wenker

    Yeah, it might be too late for Emery, but I’d still like to do as well this season as possible. Our midfield is weak, and it is weak in large part because of how un-athletic and non-mobile it is. Chambers could help in this regard.

  31. Valentin

    Pepe is Ivorian, but born and raised in France of Parent of Ivorian descent. He speak French with a Parisian accent rather than an Ivorian one.

    Like Zaha, who is Ivorian but was raised in London. Zaha speak French (badly) with a strange accent mix of English, Ivorian and other French Speaking African accent.

  32. Batistuta

    Yea played DM for Fulham in a team that conceded the most goals in the division…He was player of the season there because well he was the least bad out of a bunch of very bad players for them save Sessengon…. he wasn’t particularly good at the CB thing he’s even meant to be good at though he’s improved in that regard since…

    My point is we already have a clueless manager, the time to experiment is long gone…Play the players in their best position

  33. Valentin

    Until a proper DM can be brought in the winter TW, it would make sense to experiment with Chambers there.
    A Midfield trio of Chambers – Willock and Guendouzi further up look like more defensively secure but with some mobility and ability to go or pass forward.

    However we all know that is not going to happen with Emery.

  34. Batistuta

    We have no style of play, no thought out formation but somehow we should experiment with a defender at DM….

    How about the manager learns to properly organize his team for a start instead of the helter skelter tactics we currently employ then we can talk of experimenting with defenders at DM?

  35. Wenker-wanger

    Pepe needs a new manager to give him a chance …at the moment he is floundering by his own £72m standards.
    He needs to spend 4 hours a day kicking the ball with his right foot against a wall …..so one footed it’s ridiculous..

  36. Valentin

    I think that it was Mourinho who said during one of his stint on Sky Sports that Chambers as a DM may be a his future position. It may have been Souness or Redknapp.
    The reason was that he was
    Not quick enough to be a right back.
    Not tall enough or physically strong enough to be a CB.

  37. Bamford10

    Batistuta

    It wouldn’t be an experiment — the player has played there before — and our issue isn’t that we’re not organized properly. Our issue is that we don’t have the right balance of qualities in central midfield (or in our defense, but that is another matter). Our midfield is plenty organized; it just doesn’t have the right qualities in it.

  38. CG

    WW

    “””””so one footed it’s ridiculous..””””

    makes you wonder – who scouted him? Did anyone actually scout him?

    We need less cronyism and incompetence at the club

    And more people with the expertise of our own Mr.Mcdonald.

    If Supermac dropped his stunning scouting report on Edu and Rauls desk they would bin it,

    they have their own agenda

    Line their pockets before they get rumbled!

  39. Bamford10

    He can organize Torreira + Guendouzi + Ozil, or Torreira + Guendouzi + Ceballos, or Guendouzi + Ceballos + Ozil till the cows come home, but it will still be an unathletic, slow, porous and weak PL central midfield.

  40. Danny

    1. We have run out of cash.
    We ain’t got a Pot to P**s in,
    ——————————
    This is The Arsenal we’re talking about. No cash? The club is worth billions and owned by one of the richest people on the planet.
    Anyway we sell Mustafi and Xhaka and right there we’ve got 60 million.

  41. Emiratesstroller

    I am completely opposed to many of the so-called experienced managers/head coaches who have been linked to club.

    Many of these guys are in my book very much in the same boat as Wenger
    was. They have had a modicum of success with other clubs, but equally have
    also had their ups and downs as well.

    I include coaches like Mourinho, Benitez and Allegri in that category.

    I would much prefer to bring in a well qualified coach with ambition and hunger and more importantly can work with the young players at our club
    and “build” a team.

    The three coaches listed above don’t have a particularly good track record of
    working with such players at the clubs which they have managed.

  42. Leedsgunner

    If Emery is still here it doesn’t matter who we bring in.

    If we are interested in improving our defence we need to sack this coach… and perhaps start giving performance bonuses to the team for clean sheets!

  43. Dream10

    Stay away from Aké, Sarr, Kamara, Kimpembe, Silva (top class but too old for PL). Don’t sign small CBs. Konaté, Upamecano, Diop, Mings decent choices.

  44. Batistuta

    Bamford

    “Our midfield is plenty organized; it just doesn’t have the right qualities in it.”

    How is the midfield plenty organized exactly man? Name me one match so far when we had absolute control of the midfield? Complain about personnel all you want but you’d have to explain how teams with far inferior players can control games to a certain extent and we can’t…

  45. Bamford10

    The owner put his own money in this summer, according to reports, and Danny is right that we can generate money by selling the likes of Xhaka and Mustafi, so I think some of the pessimism is a little misplaced. We might also even consider selling one of Lacazette or Aubameyang. Having two £60m central strikers has never quite been worth £120m to us in terms of production on the pitch, so this is worth considering. We really need that CL money, though. Maybe Sanllehi and Edu are calmer than fans, however, because they’ve been told the owner will make up any revenue shortfalls or because they and ownership are taking a longer view.

  46. Wenker-wanger

    @ CG..
    Very true…one of the first things you notice is how two footed a player is. Unless a one footed player can shine at every level he will always be suspect.
    The French league is a very forgiving league.
    We saw that with some of the duds wenger paid good money for in that league.

  47. Bamford10

    Batistuta

    One, name a specific match where you think our midfield was “superior” to the opposition’s yet failed to control the match.

    Two, highlight how or why our midfield was poorly “organized” in said match. Like, using specifics. Positioning of the holding mid’s, positioning of the right-sided mid, the left-sided mid, the more advanced mid, etc. Positioning of the mid’s in relation to the defenders, in relation to the forwards, etc.

    Saying “we must have been poorly organized in midfield because we should have controlled the game” is empty and meaningless.

  48. Champagne charlie

    ES

    Feel free to name such a coach who we can get mid-season.

    Also, “modicum of success” and Mourinho/Allegri don’t belong in the same sentence. Have whatever view of such managers as you please, but my goodness don’t simply make stuff up. Allegri has 6 league titles and Jose is one of the most decorated managers ever, even Benitez has multiple league titles and multiple European titles.

    Modicum is the strangest word to associate with that lot in terming their success.

    Also, for the record, I personally don’t put so much stock in the ‘working with kids’ stuff many have touted. That should be an element to encompass, it shouldn’t be a primary fixation. Arsenal should concern themselves with becoming winners again, this academy on steroids type endeavour is a bit off track for my liking.

  49. Tee

    Soyuncu once said he would prefer to play for a team where he is guaranteed regular play time which arsenal could not give then

    He later signed for leceister but hardly play in his year for them.

    I remembered some of the posters on here were saying if he was not ready to fight for a shirt then he was worth it.

    Even at a time last season, posters saying we dodged a bullet because leceister hardly played soyuncu. They were saying if he couldn’t start for a team like leceister then he wasn’t good for us.

    To now read Le Grover’s bashing the the those I’m charge then for not signing soyuncu reeks of double standards insincerity

  50. Bamford10

    Was Emery’s midfield at PSG or Sevilla “poorly organized”? No. The man knows how to organize a midfield. The problem is the balance of qualities he has available to him in midfield.

  51. Champagne charlie

    Bati

    No, mate. Ask for an answer to the question posed yesterday that was dodged:

    How do these squads better ours in all that’s claimed when last season they finished as follows:

    Wolves……13 points behind us
    Leicester…..18 points behind us
    Palace…………21 points behind us

    I’m waiting for that epic breakdown, we’re an organised team that doesn’t have the requisite quality….but finished miles ahead of the teams claimed superior in personnel.

    “Saying “we must have been poorly organized in midfield because we should have controlled the game” is empty and meaningless.”

    As opposed to stating a poster “doesn’t see the game well”, which is meaningful and vast.

  52. HighburyLegend

    Bamford are you still searching excuses for Emery ??
    You must be kidding…

    Oups : “The problem is the balance of qualities he has available to him in midfield”
    I guess you’re not kidding…

  53. Bamford10

    I think there is a decent chance Batistuta is making a mistake that is common among Arsenal fans, including some here. This mistake is assuming Arsenal have better midfielders than PL Team A or PL Team B simply because Arsenal is Arsenal and they are PL Team A or PL Team B. This is a bad and false assumption.

  54. Batistuta

    Bamford

    Away vs Sheffield…..Can’t tell me our midfield didn’t have better personnel than Sheffield United can you? Wanna say that with a straight face?

  55. Batistuta

    Vs Watford away

    Only Doucoure walks into our midfield, rest of that shower of shire over there is inferior to ours so how do we not only throw away a 2 goal lead but also concede a record number of shots at out goal?

    Waiting for answers Bamford

  56. Guns of Hackney

    Jesus sweet baby Mary and Joseph. That was epic stats on an industrial geek level 99. Well done.

    I can’t comment on any of those players and whether they would make us better…I don’t follow football.

    The most important thing is a new manager, new outlook and new approach. There is no point adding players to a broken system. None.

    You don’t start wallpapering if you have no roof.

    We are so broken.

  57. Batistuta

    Palace home

    Kouyate and co wouldn’t get into our midfield and somehow on our own patch, they get so much control of the midfield to come again from 2 goals down to earn a point….Want to tell me palace’s midfield trumps ours too?

  58. Tee

    Bamford

    The way you are so quick to use lines like “it doesn’t make sense”, “your football knowledge is low”, “I’m always right while you aren’t” makes me wonder if you are here to discuss football or win an argument and be the pace setter here.

    If majority of posters in here are against the opinion you always want to shove down their throats as gospel truth and facts then you should check yourself out. Something isn’t right with you.

    Even those who began this player poverty are already dropping out when it became clear that the man in is incompetent for the job.

    Tell is what he achieved with Sevilla in the league other than this Europa trophies you like to make noise about.

    If he was that good at psg then he wouldn’t be fired

  59. HighburyLegend

    “Bastian Schweinsteiger believes Jose Mourinho would be “tempted” by taking over at Bayern Munich.”

    Get in!!

  60. Guns of Hackney

    HL

    It was a joke. I tell a whole bunch of jokes on here.

    I am not with faith except the one true lord, Satan. The Desolate One. The Morning Star.

  61. salparadisenyc

    Epic post and scout dossier I salut the effort.
    Of the realistic options I really like Milenkovic, Mings and Konate.

    Premier league experience may not be the sexiest in some circles but certainly creates an easier transition notably in the rears so Mings is a very good shout. Critical area to address this summer, thought club would of been better served sorting the defense this past summer as the immediate area to address. Then Raul went madness w/ Pepe, but i’m not complaining.

  62. Words on a Blog

    Guns of H,

    Didn’t realise the communist rag The Morning Star was a front for Satan…look I know you’re pretty right wing, but there are limits!

  63. Left testicle

    Left Testicle

    Age: 47 Height: 6 ft 0in

    Team: Between clubs

    Potential value: £5

    In his head a natural leader with Bergkampesque skill and vision. Undervalued and mostly shifted out to left back. A waste of natural talent.

  64. salparadisenyc

    Badiashile definitely creating most heat of the younger prospects, looks a real force as well in Jardim’s back three. Expect him to make a move this summer for pretty big money.

  65. Valentin

    Salparadisenyc,

    Reports in France indicates that Benoit Badiashile will go Real Madrid as a replacement for Sergio Ramos despite Chelsea attempt at highjacking the move.

    Him and Evan N’Dicka is that they are both left footed. We already have a right footed ball player in Saliba, getting a more physical, more aggressive left footed CB not afraid to put strikers under pressure may be a good idea.

    Unless we play with a back 3, Long term Holding is likely to be Saliba alternative.

  66. Pedro

    Epic scouting report from Mike… I love that the comments here has to find the one defender NOT on here.

    Great report regardless.

  67. Mike McDonald

    Hi, this is the author of this post, Mike McDonald.

    Just wanted to say ‘cheers’ to all that wrote encouraging words on my unnecessarily long novel! After starting the snowball it kept rolling 😳

    I write next day analysis blogs after every game if you are interested follow at @mike_Mmcdonald

  68. WengerEagle

    Bamford the gift that keeps on giving, he’s expecting us to believe now that we’ve inferior personnel to the likes of Palace, Sheffield United and Watford.

    Embarrassing the lengths he is going to absolve the clueless Emery.

  69. Danny S

    What we lack, and have done since Mert retired, is a defensive organiser.

    We seem to keep buying defenders that close down, and not complementing them with ones that sit off and read the game, shout at the other defenders and generally take charge.

    Having 2 CB’s that rush out of defence to attack the ball is suicidal especially in such a quick direct league.

  70. CG

    If I was Klopp- I would be very tempted to pair Saliba up with DVD for next season.

    And from Salibas point of view.

    You couldn’t blame him for wanting to join the mighty Liverpool machine.

    Let’s be honest as Gof H has stated.

    Any new player is wasting their precious career time joining our Current Circus.

  71. salparadisenyc

    Eagle

    Its beyond even engaging at this stage, total Keyser level without being laced with that hint of irony.

    Valentin

    Makes sense as long term Ramos replacement who is on record stating he’ll retire at Madrid, can begin process of bedding Badiashile in with the captain still in side.

    In terms of the Arsenal, Saliba looks a great bit of business and would certainly be high up list above if not already spoken for. Who he pairs is anyones guess, really depends on next manager in my mind.

  72. WengerEagle

    Very nice list although a few there in Varane, Koulibaly and Skriniar that we’ve zero chance of signing. Akanji likely too.

    Thiago Silva’s legs are shot as well as to be expected at age 35.

    Can add Mukiele, Savic, Salif Sane, Inigo Martinez, Kounde as options too.

  73. WengerEagle

    I must be one of the few that thinks that we still need to bin Chambers and that he won’t make it at this level.

    Fact that he’s here on circumstance rather than merit says it all.

    Sokratis too, he’s been a disaster from the moment he was signed, up there with Squillaci, Silvestre, Senderos.

  74. Leftsidesanch

    Some of the teams we’ve dropped points against have players that could slot into our side but to suggest that our team is inferior to their is mind boggling.

  75. WengerEagle

    Sal

    Saliba at the heart of St Etienne closing out a clean sheet win over Monaco at the weekend, impressive stuff.

    Some hope for the future with Martinelli too, gives us a base to build off of post Emery.

  76. Dissenter

    We need a manager that can extract 9/10 from players that are mostly no better than say 5/10 of expected.
    Right now Emery isn’t getting anything more than 50% of of players that are no better than average, especially in the defense.
    Emery doesn’t now how to organize a team, defense, midfield, attack, set-pieces etc. Whatever he’s trying to do isn’t working and the trial window has closed.
    He’s a poor man-manager and cannot be described as a good communicator…. even in Spanish I’m sure he sucks at communicating.
    Hopefully Leicester can do us a favor and cruise to the comfortable victory that most [including myself] expect will happen.

  77. Dissenter

    Giving the likes of Saliba to Emery is like feeding fish to a lion. He wouldn’t know what to do with him. He’ll probably play him at the tip of his diamond at some pint.

  78. CannonSpike

    I was kinda more interested in the other two points. If the other two points are sorted we won’t have a player problem at every position with the players we currently have

  79. Leftsidesanch

    Theres little hope in hoping Leicester beat us, all it will do is create a 9 point gap that we will have to close. The board won’t be persuaded to react until it is completely impossible to make the Champions League next season.

    Emery is a foolish man. He regularly makes the same mistakes each week and doesn’t command authority or respect from these players. He’s timid and his communication is poor. To not have a grasp of the language after all this time is horrific. Any club with any ambition would have put him out of his misery long ago.

    We can be sure LT will be playing as close to the forward line as possible whilst the likes of Ceballos is sitting deep. If we need a goal let’s just throw on the overweight Kolasinac. Nothing he does makes sense but because he is stubborn and foolish he will keep repeating it as opposed to putting the team needs before his pride.

  80. WengerEagle

    Liverpool’s transformation gives you hope and that’s what you cling onto as a supporter.

    Just this time 4 years ago they were a complete joke under Brendan and Klopp took over. It took them just 3 years to put together a title challenging/CL winning team and nowhere near the kind of spending of the elite clubs with the exception of a couple in VVD and Allison, just smart and savvy signings combined with Klopp’s effect in the dugout and a genuine purge of interiority complex to Citeh.

  81. Leftsidesanch

    I would genuinely have a back four of Bellerin, Chambers, Holding, Tierney than those two experienced clowns Sok and Luiz in there.

  82. Uwot?

    Great list.but you can rule out any Spanish or prem connections( minging would have been perfect)but the epl premium would be redic.would like to see upamencano or tits from Barca (slim chance)personally at Xmas.plus whatever we do,keep hold of saliba.pray Emery’s days are numbered & try & flog the remaining half a dozen or so deadwood( we all know who they are)which should raise funds & last but not least request a rogering.Brendan Rogers.

  83. Graham62

    Wenger-Wagner

    Adrian Durham has his moments( remember it’s a commercial radio station) but generally he has been spot on these past few years with everything Arsenal related.

  84. Uwot?

    That Liverpool transformation is impressive.no question.but they lucked out with the amount they got for the likes of sterling,Suarez ,coutinho etc.a shed load of money but yes they mostly spent it very shrewdly.

  85. Guns of Hackney

    A lion and a fish are very unlikely to ever cross paths given their natural environment.

    Lions do not ‘like’ humans. They eat people because they are opportunistic and we are much easier to catch and eat than an Elephant or Gruffalo.

    So many inaccurate statements on here. I hate policing but this demands action.

  86. into the red

    Amazing piece of research. Plenty options there. Now can you do the same for managers, since I feel that there are also options which most of us aren’t aware of. People like Santo at Wolves, or Bielsa at Leeds, building teams with authority and patience, know what they are doing. I’m sure they aren’t the only ones.

  87. Redtruth

    Those of us with brains know VAR not Emery has been the culprit in our campaign.
    A stonewall penalty against Sheffield Utd inexplicably rejected and the same for our WINNER against Wolves….

  88. HighburyLegend

    “Those of us with brains know VAR not Emery has been the culprit in our campaign.”

    looooooooooooooooool

  89. CG

    Is The Clown taking a full squad to Portugal tomorrow?

    Crikey if he does- we have someone mentally ill in charge of Arsenal.

  90. Redtruth

    Liverpool transfer arrivals 2018-19

    Alisson-£56.25m
    Naby Keïta-£54.00m
    Fabinho-£40.50m
    Xherdan Shaqiri-£13.23m

    Total: (£164m)

    WengerEagle talking bollox regarding Liverpool’s spending.

  91. Redtruth

    Liverpool transfer arrivals 2017-18

    Virgil van Dijk-£76.19m
    Mohamed Salah-£37.80m
    Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain-£34.20m
    Andrew Robertson-£8.10m
    Tony Gallacher-£205k

    Total: (£156m)

  92. Champagne charlie

    “I must be one of the few that thinks that we still need to bin Chambers and that he won’t make it at this level.“

    Same, said all summer he should’ve been sold for the £20-25 mil he would’ve brought in and that could’ve seen the Upamecano transfer happen.

    No idea what the plan is for him here, he’s getting flogged at RB, and at CB he’s not of the level. Better footballer than Sokratis though, he’s above him in my estimations but that’s not a huge vote of confidence.

  93. azed

    Bamford

    You are entering the “Pierre and Ozil” territory with your comments.

    Emery has failed.
    It’s ok to admit that.

  94. azed

    “I must be one of the few that thinks that we still need to bin Chambers and that he won’t make it at this level.“
    Same, said all summer he should’ve been sold for the £20-25 mil he would’ve brought in and that could’ve seen the Upamecano transfer happen.”

    I’m with you on this Charlie.

    Ideally, I’ll get rid of Chambers, Sokratis, Luiz and Mavropanos.

    With Holding and Saliba, we just need to get two more and we are good to go.

  95. Mr Serge

    I would have preferred a break down on managers we may get in we could sign peak Baresi and Maldini and we would still suck at the back with grimaces tactics

  96. Redtruth

    Conservative candidates in the general election will be told not to sign up to specific pledges on protecting the NHS from privatisation and trade deals or tackling climate change, according to a leaked internal document from party headquarters

  97. salparadisenyc

    Highbury

    The Europa league has shifted this weeks match to Wednesday at 15:50 to accommodate Emery’s date with destiny this Saturday in Leicester.

  98. Ishola70

    Weagle
    “I must be one of the few that thinks that we still need to bin Chambers and that he won’t make it at this level.“

    Another in agreement so perhaps not just the few that you thought.

    Can’t fault the guys effort but ultimately he lacks pace to be seen as a real good RB or people saying he could play DM and actually be really good at it.

    The area where he could get away with it not being the quickest could be CB but he is prone to key defensive lapses at times as well.

    So overall Chambers is a squad player in a team that have serious ambitions and this is where his level has always been tbh apart from when people thought he could be a real player when he was a youngster.

  99. Wasi

    Redtruth
    The Coutinho money was a huge factor in them signing VVD and Alisson. The rest of the money could have easily been commercial revenue.

  100. Champagne charlie

    Speaking of Coutinho, there’s the guy we should’ve brought in this past summer but we went with Dani Ceballos.

    The lad was shitting a brick all summer hoping for a move to materialise, what a player he would’ve been for us.

  101. Bob N16

    Durham is a trolling wind-up merchant and the sad thing is he would get a semi on at the thought of us discussing him. A good mate of mine lives 10 mins out of Peterborough where he’s from and he’s unpopular with the locals too.

  102. HighburyLegend

    Thanks salparadisenyc, I wasn’t even aware of that.
    A proof of how much I am interested in Arsenal at the moment…

  103. Pierre

    Charlie
    “Speaking of Coutinho, there’s the guy we should’ve brought in this past summer but we went with Dani Ceballos.”

    A swap with Ozil with a few quid on top from Arsenal would have suited both clubs.

  104. Ishola70

    Doubtful that Coutinho would have wanted to give up CL football on the bigger stage tbh.

    That’s why he ends up at Bayern Munich from Barcelona.

  105. Pierre

    Azed
    “Bamford..You are entering the “Pierre and Ozil” territory with your comments”

    Difference is , I was right all along …and no, I have never said anything remotely close to wanting the team built around Ozil.