Who the f*ck is Steve Round?

by & filed under News Review.


That’s how damn hyped I am because I watched a video of Mikel Arteta teaching players how to pass.

Super basic, but I love to see it.

I couldn’t work out if the players were miserable or just focused, either way, who cares, just give us results on the pitch over the next few months.

“Four things: Ball. Teammate. Opponent. Space. That’s all that we’re going to be working on!”

That’s what they were working on at training. He’s clearly picking up where he left off at City, which works for me. The idea that great football can only work if it’s at the most richly assembled club in the world doesn’t rub for me. I think we need to aim high, no reason we can’t replicate the work ethic and strategies of better clubs and push forward. Gladbach are doing things this season and they are completely about the good stylings.

What I liked about the second interview Arteta gave on the website was his focus on being hard to beat, but also, controlling the game by having the ball. That’s where I want to be as a club. The toughest thing he’s going to have to deal with is a defence that look uncoachable.

I don’t believe that, but the evidence is stacked in the naysayer’s corner… which makes the rumour about Saliba being called back all the more tantalizing. The club rate the kid very highly, you’ve obviously read the reports, seen his power, watched him bully and purred at how good he looks. If we’re truly using this next 5 months to shape next season, why the fuck not have Saliba here now? Get used to the pace of England, ready to hit the ground running next season with Rob Holding as his partner.

The other story hitting the airwaves is that Steve Round is picking up the role of assistant. The story is unclear… he is ‘one of’ not ‘the’ so I’m not sure how that works.

I really don’t know a lot about him. A few people are jumping on this as a sign of Arteta being naive, I’m not so sure about that. Below is an interview he did for one of the GPS tracker firms. The interview is 28 minutes, I took the following things from it:

  • He was a trailblazer back in the day, one of the youngest coaches to pass his A licence.
  • He sees himself as an innovator. He was one of the first to work with Prozone. One of the first to embrace true video analysis, cutting clips himself in 1994 on a double VHS. One of the first to work in a modern football structure.
  • He’s very, very qualified. He took a degree in sport science, he loves psychology, he recently took a masters in sporting directorship (Is it too late!)
  • He speaks the language of Arteta. He is all about the high-performance culture. Creating environments that foster hard work, rapid development and results.
  • His view on training is that you have to bring players things that work (you lol, but Emery brought us Xhaka as captain in season 2), otherwise they won’t pay attention to you. One of his examples, when he was at Derby way back when, centred around him building out a player room with robot massage chairs, he’d use that dead time while they were relaxing to show the players clips. I thought that was cool. Arteta keeps on saying his job is to convince, which I assume means he doesn’t want to dictate things the players don’t want to do because it’s not clear. Little tricks like the above seem a smart way to foster engagement with new ideas.
  • He also spoke about the American model (2016 interview) of specialist coaches. Having specialists across defence, midfield and attack. I thought that was interesting, as European sport often borrows from the states in the end. The challenge, football is chaos and benefits from cohesion, so there’s a balance.

It’s a good 28 minutes. What I took from it is he’s highly experienced, he’s a very measured, he needs to be innovating to feel satisfied with his job, and he shares similar values to Arteta. The assistant is there to help the leader realise their vision. He’s not there as a yes man, he’s there as the operations guy that works the message through the groups.

I’m sold.

Right, a Christmas treat coming for you later, a full backs blog from my main man Mike McDonald, but before I go… why didn’t you listen to my podcast yesterday? Do you hate me? Is that fair? No. It’s not. Grow up. Listen to it now. Don’t make me call you a Christmas melt.


189 Responses to “Who the f*ck is Steve Round?”

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  1. Romford Pele

    Ornstein reporting on his podcast that Ancelotti was considered but they didn’t think it would work due to his age profile and the need for a squad rebuild. The consideration is that he’s no longer made for top jobs.

  2. Romford Pele

    So we’ve been linked with 6ft3 22-year-old CB Gabriel Magalhaes from Lille apparently. Don’t know much about him but I like the sound of his profile. If he’s quick bring him in. Even better if he can distribute from the back.

  3. Guns of Hackney

    Loving that we’re being linked to people like Ndidi from Leicester. Sure he will cost a Premium but he’s already PL ready and battle hardened and only 23 years old. Yes.

    As Peter says, let’s get Saliba here ASAP. No brainier.

    Shift on Xhaka, Ozil, Auba, Luiz and Kola ( got to be £140m in there)…maybe Pepe but perhaps give him next season. See what Laca wants to do. Promote Martinelli FT to the first team, get Tierney, Bellerin and Holding fit. Coach Gued and Saka, make Leno captain and all of a sudden we have a really young squad of hungry players assembled for next to nothing.

    Arteta hopefully is starting to think smarter than his last two predecessors. This is good.

  4. Gunnernet

    @ Romford pele

    I hope it holds water. A CB is a must even if it means paying srh extra to get Saliba now. I ve written a few times about this in previous comments. I dont know at which state his team is at the moment, but if they are not battling for relegation or to get to european slots get him now! Upamecano would be a dream move but we lack the funds affording him.

    Xhaka off means we desperately need a CM in. We need him anyway a box to box type of player. But if Xhaka leaves numbers are limited. That is far trickier to me.

    Anyone k owing when Ceballos is back?

  5. Alexanderhenry


    The arteta appointment is exciting but let’s be honest here, the main reason why the club went for him is because he’s clearly on board the no money train.

  6. Gunnernet

    He started well after the summer, he seemed very promising but then was lost fell to mediocrity as anyone else in the squad under Emery. I would lime to see Arteta’s effect on him

  7. salparadisenyc

    Ancelotti was certainly elite in his day, that AC Milan side was insanity. But have to think since his move from Madrid to Bayern its been a slow decline. So dodged bullet for me, pleased club with direction it did.

    Big Mik has his work cut out, this side looks fucking shelled.

  8. Romford Pele

    Gunnernet, Yeah I agree with you that we need both a CM and a CB. problem is numbers. Can we shift out players. We have six CBs, so unless two leave will we bring one in? I think a big part of the Saliba agreement was that he’d spend the season at St Etienne for his development. And I was happy for that with Emery here but now he’s gone it’d be a boost if we can get Saliba in early. Not sure how feasible that is.

    Ceballos has just returned to training so we have him, Guendouzi, Willock, Xhaka and Torreira as CMs. A lot depends on how Arteta wants to set up. I’m hoping and I think it may be 433 so we have numbers even if the quality isn’t the best. I think Ceballos might be one of those to benefit from Arteta in terms of the style but I might be projecting.

  9. Romford Pele

    Don’t see how Ndidi is a possibility and why would he leave midway through the season with Leicester in their current position. I think people need to apply context before just linking us with anyone.

    For example, i’d love to have more PL ready players but we’re in an era now where every PL club has money and don’t need to sell. What’s their incentive? That then raises the premium. Maguire who is average is now the world’s most expensive defender. Brighton then quoting Leicester £45m for Lewis Dunk. Is that not insane?

  10. Wasi

    How many wonderkids have Luis Campos bought at Lille in the recent years. Since firing Mislintat we have not had a proper chief scout. Edu and Raul should be all over Campos for the chief scout position imo. He really has a diamond eye.

  11. Wasi

    I don’t think how Ndidi will reject us if we show concrete interest in him. No Matter how good they are doing they are still a very small club compared to us. It the fee that will probably scupper the move. I suspect theyd definitely demand around 60mil for him.

  12. Left testicle

    He’s currently better than Sokratis and Luiz. He’s ticks the ‘home grown’ box, a potential leader and is yet to reach his peak.

  13. CG

    I thank PedRo fro his post And Season Greetings to him and all.

    Re: Steve Round Video,

    High Performance?

    One click on to your video link- there he is slumping on the arm of the chair: poor posture, lethargic vibes immediately.

    Can he not sit upright for 30 minutes during his interview?

    its important you know, Steve…

    He can have as many O levels, A levels as he likes- but where are his medals?

    Medals he has won as player or manager?
    Just the one will suffice?

    Round is dull.
    He is an Englishman’s Unai Emery.
    He will dust down The Clowns old clipboards and re utilize them.
    The players will recoil when they see them.

    I would have hoped to seen Arteta appoint someone who has track record of success who would have a perfect foil for our exciting but inexperienced young coach.

    And I suspect deep down too – you would have had too.

    But Round its is. And round and round we will go.

    Somethings never seem to change at AFC.

  14. Rambo

    “I would have hoped to seen Arteta appoint someone who has track record of success”

    Yes, I’m sure successful coaches would line up to be assistant to Mikel fvcking Arteta.

  15. Ansar

    To be honest , as a fan im excited to see a young and upcoming coach seemingly liked and backed by all the big names in football management take up the role of leading arsenal forward. The downside to it is experience, arteta may be a top bloke and have innovative ways but being a coach is a complex thing as we all know and it involves as much tactical insight as the psychological/mental side of getting the players buying his ideas. Hope it works well..
    Keeping the comments short, I will judge arteta on how he revitalizes some of our youngsters who seemingly are on a downward trend recently… Specially the likes of
    Ainsley maitland niles
    Reiss nelson (who had a decent game but should be doing more)
    Joe willock (Decent start but is looking very confused these days on the pitch)
    Rob holding(how he develops him)

    I think we have a very decent set of players who could be coached and drilled into becoming a top top side , atleast a top 4 side by next season, regardless of what all the media is telling us as if we are doomed etc.

    Further, and most importantly, after a couple of seasons of zero identity and flare, my eyes are dying to see some beautiful football back at our beloved club.


  16. Romford Pele

    Wasi, yes we’re a bigger club but at this stage of the season it’s nigh on to near impossible.

    As you say, he’s likely to cost around £60m, i honestly don’t see us paying that. We should be buying these players before they reach the status where they’re going to cost a bomb like this. But again, they have no need to sell anyway. He’s on a long-term deal so they can charge what they want.

    Leicester won the title in 2016, have completely rebuilt the squad and arguably now have a better squad than when they last won the title.

  17. Graham62

    “Leicester won the title in 2016, have completley rebuilt the squad and arguably now have a better than when they last won the title”

    Why should we be surprised?

    Other proactive/progressive clubs have plans.

    We have not had plans since we moved to the Emirates.

    Just our values.

  18. Graham62

    Arteta, I am sure, learnt so much about how NOT to run a progressive team environment in his five years under Wenger.

    Hopefully he can put these negative experiences to good use.

  19. Nelson

    Holding came back too early. His knee is still not 100%. The club should allow both Holding and Bellerin to recover fully before pushing them to resume play.

  20. Romford Pele

    Nelson, When you come back from a long injury it’s natural to pick up muscular injuries in your battle to reach full fitness. It’s normal science. It’ll take time. My biggest worry with Bellerin is that he looks very skinny. I don’t know it it’s related to the vegan diet but he’s very slight atm. Need him to build up muscle to regain that explosiveness.

  21. Wasi

    On what basis is he better than Sokratis and Luiz. His performances this season have been poor even and he has only played in midweek fixtures. He has never had a good run of games at Arsenal other than last year in Emery’s honeymoon period. I also think he lacks the Pace required to be a top defender. Although I do hope he becomes a good player for now Id rather play Sokratis or Luiz until he proves otherwise.

  22. Wasi

    You’re right . Leicester have built a good squad and are Play well in the league rn. But “When Arsenal knock its a different knock”. Leicester can complicate the matter but I dont think Ndidi would reject us even in such a poor season.

  23. Romford Pele

    Wasi, it’s not even about him accepting. Leicester will not allow it at all until the end of the season. Why would they let their season be derailed in Jan by one of their best players leaving when they don’t need the money.

    Also I do have slight doubts about Ndidi’s distribution.

  24. Graham62


    You are correct.

    I remember when he first came on the scene he was lightening quick. Faster than Walcott they said. Not the case now though.

    Never been impressed with his defensive qualities and, if I’m honest, if he no longer has the physical attributes he once had, I see him as surplus to requirements.

  25. Gentlebris

    Don’t allow yourself to be taken for a ride, Everton are paying Ancelotti £11.5m on a 4.5 year contract. Arsenal are paying Arteta £5m on a 3.5 year contract. There…..that is your reason. Forget Ornstein’s.

    I’m now backing Arteta, but i wouldn’t buy that bullshit reason from anyone.

  26. Cesc Appeal

    ‘For some weeks now, Arsenal have deemed central midfield to be an area in need of urgent attention, and Arteta is expected to concur with that assessment. While hopes remain high for Guendouzi and Willock, there are doubts over the future of the other three CM’s.’

    The Athletic.

    There is sense at the club!

  27. Romford Pele

    “Don’t allow yourself to be taken for a ride, Everton are paying Ancelotti £11.5m on a 4.5 year contract. Arsenal are paying Arteta £5m on a 3.5 year contract. There…..that is your reason. Forget Ornstein’s.”

    Lol do you really think if Arsenal wanted Ancelotti they couldn’t get him? Ask yourself why after being sacked in his last two roles the bets job he could get is Everton.

  28. Graham62

    I bet you there’s a clause in Arteta’s contract that stipulates that his salary will be increased, should he get us into Europe.

    Just a hunch.

  29. Romford Pele

    Graham, yeah i have doubts over Bellerin’s physical level. ACL can really take it from you. It’s still early days so hard to completely ascertain but i’m not confident.

  30. Ishola70

    Romford Pele

    “Also I do have slight doubts about Ndidi’s distribution.”

    Not this again.

    I really doubt these players are complete hacks on the ball as portrayed.

    He’s an excellent DM. Surely that is the whole point.

    Coquelin was ridiculed at Arsenal and mocked out of the club but he has had the last laugh as he has been playing regular CL football with Valencia and has been looking over at Arsenal playing Europa League football.

    Coquelin was laughed out of the club and in his place we saw Xhaka coming in. That really worked out well didn’t it.

    Do you like Xhaka’s distribution?

  31. Graham62

    I’m sure Arteta will work very hard with our midfield unit, especially the likes of LT/ Guendouzi / Willock/Ceballos to enhance both their defensive and offensive play.

    Watch this space.

  32. Rambo

    “Also I do have slight doubts about Ndidi’s distribution.”

    The same doubts you had about Coquelin and championed Xhaka instead?

    That’s worked well.

  33. Romford Pele

    “Do you like Xhaka’s distribution?”

    Xhaka I was totally wrong about and i can hold my hands up. That’s not an issue. He lacks the athleticism and can only distribute off one foot.

    But yes for possession-based sides, having someone who can distribute from the base is very important. While they can often be the last line of defence, they are also the first line of attacks. It’s very important.

  34. Ishola70

    What is the obsession with possession based?

    Can’t teams mix it up?

    Why chain yourself to one philosophy?

    You can become too predictable playing only one style only and in fact Arsenal have suffered from that. It can be great if you have world class players in every position having one set style.

  35. Romford Pele

    “Why chain yourself to one philosophy?”

    Because history shows the teams who achieve sustainable long-term success are the ones who have a defined way of playing. You can alter it in certain games to ensure you’re aware of the opposition’s strengths but it’s vital you have a strategy which the players can buy into.

    Part of the problem under Emery is that the messages got diluted because he chnaged formation and personnel every game. You are never going to be able to achieve consistency of results without consistency of performance. Teams have to know what they’re doing. Repetition is important so players can get familiar and that’s how automatisms are built. If you change things every game, you’re at risk of players getting disillusioned and confused because the messaging is not the same.

    It’s important to have an overaching strategy. From there you can make subtle tweaks accordingly but the best teams always have a style.

  36. Ishola70

    Not really true RP.

    Teams have also had success because they are adaptable.

    You can understand though surely why many sigh now when they see you dismiss a player like Ndidi because of “distribution”.

    Many fans are fed up seeing players in front of the defence who can’t defend properly.

  37. Romford Pele

    “Teams have also had success because they are adaptable.”

    I didn’t say you can’t be successful, i said long-term sustainable success.

    Also where did I dismiss Ndidi? I said I had doubts. That’s not me saying he’s not good. I just think that having a DM who can distribute is important. Look at Fernandindho and Fabinho. They are athletic in breaking up play but also act as ports of call for instigation of attacks.

    Fergie’s success throughout his tenure was based on an attacking 442 with his wingers pinning opposition team’s full backs back. United were a high octane attacking team. That was pretty much the same for all of Fergie’s tenure then. Even when they changed to a single striker system the philosophy was the same. Yes there would be games where they would adapt but for 90% of games that’s what they played. Carrick and Scholes who were the mainstay of United midfields weren’t exactly what you’d call athletic either.

    We don’t need to speak about Wenger’s early Arsenal or Pep’s Barca. The proof is in the pudding. Ancelotti’s AC Milan side had Pirlo at the base. When Pirlo went to Juve the same followedd. Look at that successful bayern team under Heynckes. The same.

    There are obviously more pragmatic ways of doing it but history shows you the successful teams are the more proactive ones.

    Nobody is saying we don’t want someone good infront of the back four. What i’m saying is that the role is multi-faceted.

  38. Wasi

    You aren’t getting my point. I do agree that Leicester probably wont sell Ndidi mid season unless we pay an exorbitant amount.
    What I’m saying is that suppose we do agree to pay such amount (in a parallel universe ) then Ndidi wouldn’t hesitate to join us even when we are in such a dire state.

  39. Ishola70


    But the snobbishness also has to be dropped.

    If a DM is excellent at protecting his back four then he doesn’t have to be highly technical on the ball as well.

    Coquelin was portrayed as a complete hack at Arsenal. He wasn’t. He wouldn’t be playing CL football for Valencia now if he was a complete hack.

    And that’s not me saying Coquelin was “excellent” at Arsenal in protecting the back four. But he was a whole lot more dependable defensively than Xhaka has been.

  40. Wasi

    I do share your doubts about Ndidi’s distribution. If Arteta wants to play a similar style to Pep’s we’ll need someone of Rodrigo’s ilk playing in the DM position. Good defensively and good on the ball. Good athletic ability too.

    I would look at Tonali of Brescia.
    Is already one of their best and key players at 19 years of age. I haven’t watched him a lot but whatever I have watched is positive. Was called up to the Italy squad when he was playing in the Second division in Italy . That js some feat.
    He’s got a good physical presence and is very comfortable on the ball. Wont be cheap tho.

  41. Ishola70

    I think rather than an obssession about possession based we should be looking at what Arteta alluded to in stating fast flowing football.

    Fast flowing football with risk taking. If you don’t risk you don’t get reward.

    Arsenal were playing predictable football for a long time now and also under Wenger in his last period.

  42. Unai

    lol, no grey area on LG, either a player is world class or not fit for purpose. You must choose.

    Agree RP and I’d extend that multifaceted requirement to nearly every aspect of a successful team.

    Imo, One of our major issues is that we have specialist players, Ozil, Xhaka, LT, Auba are all good in one aspect of the game but deficient elsewhere.

    To make matters worse the specialist techniques of these particular players dont particularly compliment each other.

    I’d much rather see Arteta buy and pick players that contribute to the whole rather than trying to shoe horn players in or create a system to cater for major deficiencies or specialities.

  43. Romford Pele


    It’s not about snobbishness, it’s about what the coach wants for the needs of the team. Why do you think Pep has always had ball-playing DMs at the base of his midfield?

    And for the record, i would absolutely love Ndidi, i’m just saying what my reservations are and why I could see why it would be a turnoff for some.

  44. Ishola70

    Everyone would like a team of multi-faceted players playing to a certain level.

    It would be a dream team.

    But in reality this doesn’t always work out.

    Players will be very good in one aspect but lacking somewhat in another.

    This is when you have to mix and match a little bit.

  45. Romford Pele

    Wasi, yep Rodri is a great shout. Tall and physical but can play too. That’s the ideal. In a possession-based team you’re going to spend more time on the ball so naturally if you’re not good at it your ability is going to get called into question. That was the issue with Coquelin. He was playing in a team that had 70% of the ball but couldn’t utilise it himself.

  46. Sid

    The CBs bar mustafi can do a job, they are better than squillaci, djourou
    The problem is midfield, without technical players even Ndidi wont help. We need atleast 2 to be able to control the tempo. Thats the reason Wenger played a baller midfielder and another baller on the wings instead of a true winger
    Im telling you this for free!

  47. Romford Pele

    Unai, yes you’re spot on. Too often we’ve lacked two-way players. We have players who are good going one way but don’t have the athleticism to go back.

    We used to be a team with technicians who were athletic, then we became a team of technicians with no athleticism. And now we have neither. Both need to be addressed.

  48. Romford Pele

    France Football claim Arteta has told the board he wants to sign a #6 and two CBs next month. How true that is remains to be seen but defo fits in with the narrative that we’re looking at a CB and DM.

  49. Ishola70


    “Why do you think Pep has always had ball-playing DMs at the base of his midfield?”

    Well he hasn’t always because Fernandinho played DM for them but he is not a real baller.

    All that is being said is let us not forget the importance of being somewhat adequately tuned in defensively as well as ball playing when looking for this DM. Surely the experience of Xhaka would have you wary of just fixating on what they can do on the ball in this position.

  50. Wasi

    Italian folks are already likening him to Pirlo.
    Boy needs a serious look at. If we can get him for anything below 40 would be a steal given the buzz around him.

  51. Gentlebris

    Pedro, well I listened to the podcast, great sound mostly, great presentation; great job.

    But may I say always invite a dude or two on, even if is one of the no-nothings here, Marc when sober you should add to the positive brouhaha, Pierre could find with it a vocal platform to moan. Having one or two dudes on board should create a vibe similar to le grove’s beautiful chaos.


  52. Wasi

    “Well he hasn’t always because Fernandinho played DM for them but he is not a real baller.”

    Fernandinho not a real baller? You high mate.
    Was the cornerstone of the City team in their 2 title winning seasons

  53. Romford Pele

    “Well he hasn’t always because Fernandinho played DM for them but he is not a real baller.”

    Eh? Fernandinho is an absolute baller what are you talking about? He played as an attacking midfielder for Shakhtar. That’s why he knows how to bring the ball through the lines and thread through balls.

    “All that is being said is let us not forget the importance of being somewhat adequately tuned in defensively as well as ball playing when looking for this DM. Surely the experience of Xhaka would have you wary of just fixating on what they can do on the ball in this position.”

    Nobody is denying this. Like I said the archetypal player does both.

  54. Unai

    Ishola, no doubt but if you look at our squad, striker for example.

    We needed a new ST so we went out and bought one, then another….. neither Laca or Auba seem to fit any footballing philosophy that we were look to create.

    The thought process seemed to be; we need goals, who’s available?, let’s buy him then…..

    Rather than; we need a striker, this is how we play and what we want to create therefore said striker must be able to achieve X,Y & Z criteria, this is the shortlist…..

    Coquelin for all destructive ability became a total liability when transitioning to attack, you cant afford to give the ball away, at that point, playing the way we were at the time.

  55. bennydevito

    Aa far as I’m concerned we should be moving heaven and earth and putting all our resources into getting Upamecano this January. Big, strong, great tackler, has pace and can play out from the back and actually run with the ball.

    The closest I’ve seen to Sol Campbell in a long time.

  56. Paulinho

    Romford – I’ve often spoken of the big difference Tielemans has made to Leicester. People say Leicester haven’t changed much since last season, but having a natural composed ball player next to Ndidi has altered their dynamic significantly in the middle. Nidid can concentrate on the defensive aspect and play can go through through Tielemans offensively. Last season Leicester had Mendy playing alongside Ndidi and they were too similar; both looking to destroy and do the same job.

    We need those sort of complimentary partnerships in our side.

  57. Chika

    Gabriel Magalhaes is also a LCB which makes great sense as Saliba plays on the right.

    Another Brazilian we could consider for the midfield is Bruno Guimarães. He has great engine, very physical and impressive technique.

  58. Wasi

    Google searched Tonali just now.
    This is what the Brescia president had to say

    “All the big Italian clubs are interested. Abroad there’s Atletico Madrid, Paris Saint-Germain and Manchester City, but in my view, he’d be better off remaining as a protagonist with Brescia.
    The other day, his agent and his parents were telling me about this €50m evaluation. I replied that for me he is worth €300m, which means I don’t want to sell. I have a dream. If Sandro accepts, I am ready to make a big financial sacrifice to extend his contract.”

    We are already out of the race I guess.

  59. Paulinho

    Fernandinho used to go forward and score some crackers for Shakhtar. It’s only at City he’s dropped deeper as he’s aged, but he can still effortlessly move between the lines when called for.

  60. Chika

    “Atlético Madrid have dropped out of the race to sign Athletico Paranaense’s highly-rated central midfielder Bruno Guimarães, leaving Benfica, Flamengo, Chelsea and PSG as the frontrunners. He could be available this January for €20m plus.”

  61. Ishola70

    All you lot obssessed with possession Arteta stated fast flowing football.

    You do realise the overwhelming majority of teams are not about that anymore?

    Possession for possession’s sake is virtually dead.

  62. Romford Pele

    Paulinho – yes that is spot on. Partnerships are of course important but I don’t really like players who have to have their hands held in midfield which is my main gripe. Tielemans aids a lot with build up as he plays much deeper. It can at times almost look like a double pivot as he does more than his fair share of defensive work.

    What DM options are you looking at?

  63. Marko

    France Football claim that Mikel Arteta has told the Arsenal board that he wants to sign a #6 & 2 central defenders next month.

    Well at least he’s aware of our biggest problem and not looking for a number 10.

  64. Romford Pele

    “Another Brazilian we could consider for the midfield is Bruno Guimarães. He has great engine, very physical and impressive technique.”

    He’s class. More of a B2B midfielder than a #6 but I love his athleticism and intensity on both sides of the ball.

  65. Wasi

    Possession for possession’s sake is virtually dead.

    This happens when you try to play possession football and dont really have good ball carriers, Composed midfielders who can pass between the lines and break the press. Usually leads to a disaster . What we witness week in week out

  66. Paulinho

    Romford – Same as everyone else really, Sangare, Soumare. I share your concerns about the distribution aspect but we need to address the basics and an athlete that can close the spaces has to be one of the first ports of call.

  67. Romford Pele

    “Fernando was the defensive midfielder that was limited, and he got binned sharpish.”

    Yep they used to play together which is what some people may be thinking. They played in a pivot with yaya Toure ahead. Fernandinho was much more creative in his younger days but because of his athleticism and smart positional sense the transition into a DM was easy for him.

  68. Cesc Appeal

    I would take Ndidi. Not a question at all.

    But there’s no way Leicester are selling in January and there’s no way at all they’d be interested in Xhaka so it would have to be straight cash (whenever any deal could actually be done).

    Best to look elsewhere.

    Also this season has put me off players like Sangare etc, I want someone like Partey who has the experience and is far more likely to come in and do the business for us right away.

    We’ve got lots of talented youngsters. The senior players are the ones causing the issues in terms of performances and attitude.

  69. Romford Pele

    “His defensive qualities were more impressive something you seem uninterested in.”

    Why do you keep saying this? I’m telling you that athleticism and intensity is important. I’m also saying that you completely disregarding the importance of a DM to instigating attacks is wrong.

    Paulinho – agree RE Soumare/Sangare.

  70. Frost

    “Also I do have slight doubts about Ndidi’s distribution.”

    How about we focus on getting a DM who can actually defend for once. Distribution is what’s gotten us into this mess.

  71. Ishola70

    Romford Pele
    ”Why do you keep saying this? I’m telling you that athleticism and intensity is important. I’m also saying that you completely disregarding the importance of a DM to instigating attacks is wrong.”

    Well the debate started regarding Ndidi.

    Are you really telling me that you have never seen Ndidi initiate an attack for Leicester?

    Remember iniating attacks can just be carrying the ball some yards and passing the ball onto a more accomplished attacking player.

  72. Paulinho

    A ball-playing type like Grealish or Lobotka has to come in soon pretty soon though, but need a link player higher up the pitch otherwise our play will still splutter.

    Bournmouth ditched ball-playing midfielders like Andrew Surman for Jefferson Lerma, and they are more combative, but their football is less pleasing on eye than before. It’s hard to cover all the bases.

  73. Wasi

    Partey can give is everything we need. Exceptional off the ball, good enough on the ball. If he realy does have a 42m release clause and wanted to join us we should be doing everything we can this January to get him. To put into perspective , Soumare, a player similar to Partey but very much behind in his development is being linked with 50m moves.
    Partey would really be a steal.

  74. Romford Pele

    “Are you really telling me that you have never seen Ndidi initiate an attack for Leicester?”

    Doing it once and doing it regularly are two different things. You forget most top teams are playing against deep blocks so the challenge more often than not is to be able thread the ball through the lines to be able to take out a player or too.

  75. Chika

    “He’s class. More of a B2B midfielder than a #6 but I love his athleticism and intensity on both sides of the ball.”

    I’ve been very impressed by his game. I wouldn’t mind him, Szoboszlai and a DM like Partey in a three man midfield.

    Ultimately, we badly need players that are athletic and technically proficient.

  76. Marko

    Good shouts on Bruno of Paranese and Tonali. As for Gabriel of Lille granted I’ve not seen a great deal when I have seen him he’s looked composed on the ball, smart positionally and quick so for me he ticks the right boxes. It also helps that some major clubs are reportedly looking at him too. Very happy that it’s being reported that a CM and TWO CB’s are being targeted but I’m hoping still for a RB next month. Can’t endlessly complain about the lack of balance in the squad without addressing the fact that we have one single RB in the squad and he’s not that good himself

  77. Gentlebris

    Ndidi definitely can’t distribute, no wonder Ndidi’s Leicester team has scored 41 goals so far while our ‘distributive’ team has scored 24, should we also mention that Ndidi’s Leicester team has only conceded 14 goals so far while we have leaked in 27.
    One would have thought a DM is pivot to these kinds of numbers.

    No need to also mention that Ndidi is an aerial warrior, both defensively and offensively, a trait Arsenal desperately lack.

    He is just not good enough for Arsenal because he doesn’t have time for meaningless sideway passes.

  78. Ishola70


    Norwich completely destroyed Man City’s high press which they are renowned for at Carrow Road earlier this season.

    With a midfield of Tettey and McLean.

  79. Marko

    Again back to distribution, runs between the lines and runs into the box. Look this team first and foremost needs a proper DM. Someone who can pass sure but mostly tackle win back possession and protect the back 4. Get that and only then can we talk about other CM’s for me. Let’s cut the shit finally I say. As in less talk if Graelish please at least until this number 6 and two CB’s is signed

  80. Marko

    Exclusive: Arsenal are prioritising the signing of Lyon striker Moussa Dembele for the coming months. [@le10sport]

    Change is a coming at Arsenal?

  81. Marko

    – Exclusive: Emile Smith Rowe expecting to leave Arsenal on loan next month, would prefer English club
    – Reiss Nelson wanted by Leverkusen
    – Merih Demiral broached as potential addition

    Maybe Nelson for Bailey? Keep that quota

  82. Ishola70

    Really we can talk about technical distribution and passing between the lines but it has to be married up with athleticism.

    And I think this was agreed with by RP.

    What we don’t want to see is snail football.

  83. Romford Pele

    “Really we can talk about technical distribution and passing between the lines but it has to be married up with athleticism.”

    This is the main premise

  84. Nelson

    “But may I say always invite a dude or two on, even if is one of the no-nothings here”

    I have the same feeling. I felt asleep while listening to it. I would like to have Anita from the dailycannon podcast. Go and listen to them once.

  85. Gentlebris

    One of the positives of a contact conman like Raul is having little inclinations for being mixed up in failure. Such dudes would go to extremes to get success, that’s how they survive.

    Again, big Wenger is already laughing at them with his latest comments.

    So maybe we will sign the players we need in January.

  86. Dream10

    Bailey is more of a straight runner. Don’t think he’ll have as much joy for us as he does in Germany, don’t think he’s capable of transitioning into a top #9. Need someone with pace and craft in wide areas like Mané, Son. I like Ismaila Sarr. He has the skill set to play centre forward too

    Guimarães looks very promising. Proper all around midfielder. Flamengo want to offer him the same salary as Gabriel barbosa to stay in Brazil. Benfica are sniffing around and that often means he is a quality player.

  87. Minden Raider

    Thanks Pedro for another great post and for all the great posts throughout the year. Dont know how you do it.

    Nollaig Shona

  88. Gentlebris

    “But may I say always invite a dude or two on, even if is one of the no-nothings here”

    ‘I have the same feeling. I felt asleep while listening to it. I would like to have Anita from the dailycannon podcast. Go and listen to them once.’

    I thought I was alone on that.

    And I actually thought I wrote know-nothings there and not ‘no-nothings’.


  89. Dream10

    Sokratis, Luiz, Chambers, Holding, Mustafi, Mavropanos.

    Expect Mustafi and Mavropanos to go on loan to Serie A and the bundesliga respectively with options for purchase on both. With two CBs and Saliva to arrive by next summer, it could well be that Chambers and Holding are competing for one spot in a five CB rotation.

  90. Marko

    Bailey is more of a straight runner. Don’t think he’ll have as much joy for us as he does in Germany, don’t think he’s capable of transitioning into a top #9.

    Don’t need him to be a number 9. He’s a LW we need a LW and that’s all we need from him. I’m not even sure he’s on it was a suggestion because Leverkusen are interested in Nelson.

  91. Dream10

    Just read that Bologna are interested in taking Mustafi on loan with an option to buy. Makes sense as his deal is up in 2021.
    Now, just a deal for Mavropanos to a Hoffenheim/Augsburg to Germany in January. Will be good for him. He does well there, then he can earn himself a move to Dortmund/Borussia MG

  92. Wasi

    – Exclusive: Emile Smith Rowe expecting to leave Arsenal on loan next month, would prefer English club
    – Reiss Nelson wanted by Leverkusen
    – Merih Demiral broached as potential addition
    Are these accurate?

  93. Guns of Brixton

    Feel for Mavaroponas.

    1. 92 m tall, 88 kg and as far as I remember his highlight reel looks composed enough. One Diamonds eyes finer purchases at time especially next to the oldie sokartis .

    Only 22 as well.
    Frustrating to think we could be sitting on a solid CB but for whatever reason we are bit playing him

  94. Marc

    I usually take transfer talk with a lorry load of salt, what is interesting is the volume of rumours doing the rounds at the moment.

    Certainly sounds as if the club is looking to make some changes both in and out.

  95. CG

    Interesting to read that Arteta is after Lemar.

    That is exactly the prototype of player we should be trying to sign.

    perfect physical specimen allied with 8/10 technical skills ( and the right age)

    If Arsene Wenger wanted him – he must be a player worth pursuing.

    Never been a better judge of player than our Wenger
    too many to mention but :

    From Anelka to George Weah to Cesc to Pires- Wenger was a genius in this aspect

    Striking similarities between Wenger and Arteta already:

    1) Lucid and charming press conferences
    2)Targeting athletic players with technical skills
    3) having a dopey no.2
    4) Training sessions focusing on the ball.( no clipboards with Mikel)

    Early days yet- but it seems Arteta is more Arsene than Pep.

  96. Marko

    Dunno how Mavropanos can be considered a finer signing when all he’s had is one good game then the next game he got sent off and since then it’s felt like he’s been constantly injured. Feel bad for the lad but can we stop thinking that we have some diamond prospect in our ranks. Literally zero of our current CB’s are trustworthy. In fact our best CB is currently on loan having never even played for the club. And that’s sad

  97. Marko

    perfect physical specimen allied with 8/10 technical skills ( and the right age)

    He’s 5’8 with shit calves. You’re consistent I give you that. French and Wenger failed to sign him therefore he must be great

  98. Marc


    “Never been a better judge of player than our Wenger
    too many to mention but :

    From Anelka to George Weah to Cesc to Pires- Wenger was a genius in this aspect”

    That applies to Wenger in the first dozen or so years of his reign. Unfortunately the latter period is better reflected by the likes of Xhaka, Mustafi, Santos, Xhaka, Ospina, Alumnia and Xhaka.

    I’m not even going to mention Källström as it is the season to be jolly.

  99. Bamford10


    I guess it depends a little on what you mean by “baller,” but just because a player plays as a DM/CDM doesn’t mean he isn’t excellent technically. Fernandinho is an excellent player. He may not be as good as a Silva or a De Bruyne on the ball — very few players are — but he is a very good player. He is a much better player on the ball, for example, than a Francis Coquelin, a player you and I have discussed before. So again, I don’t know what we mean by “baller” here, but I wouldn’t turn my nose up at a younger version of Fernandinho (to the extent that this was the context for your comment above).

  100. Unai

    “Early days yet- but it seems Arteta is more Arsene than Pep.”

    Let’s hope not, eh?

    From what I’ve seen of Mav he looks like bamby on ice caught in the headlights of an articulated wagon, I wanted him to do well but on the limited minutes we have seen it doesn’t look like he will.

  101. Marc


    If Mav doesn’t come good and Torreira leaves due to not settling then Sven’s time with us will not have involved in signing a single notable player.

  102. Bamford10


    “What with Ancelotti starting his career at Everton the same time as Arteta at Arsenal, it will be interesting to see …. Does experience and know-how prevail? Or will inexperience and coaching prowess prevail? Who finishes higher this season — Ancelotti’s Everton or Arteta’s Arsenal?”

    I don’t think it makes sense to compare Arteta’s performance to Ancelotti’s performance over the next five months. At least not in any simple way. The two will be working with very different squads, and the two will have very different projects. Arteta is tasked not only with improving our performances and results but with building a new culture, a new style of play, a new way of thinking, a new approach. As a result, this will not be a straight-line improvement process. (At least I don’t think it will be.) In contrast, Ancelotti’s task is simpler (although he too is working with an inadequate squad) in that he only needs to implement a formation, an XI and an approach that gets them better results. He’s not going to be building a new culture.

  103. Valentin

    Gabriel is a good shout. And as Lille European adventure are over they will concentrate on Ligue 1 and finishing in the top 3 to qualify for Champion’s League, they may be willing to do a deal for him.
    At last somebody has realised that Arsenal did not have a proper left footed CB.
    Campos has a good eye for players, but he also know how and where to send them on loan that does benefit them. Too often Arsenal send players on loan and they either don’t play or end up playing in a different position hampering their readiness to first team in their original position.

  104. Bamford10


    ” ‘a clean slate’ Arteta said, two days after I was criticised for saying exactly the same. Very intelligent way of looking at things I have to say.”

    Yes, Pierre, it is the smart approach, even if it’s not the approach many of us would’ve taken given how long we’ve been frustrated with this or that player, how much evidence we feel we have against this or that player.

    At the same time, however, let’s not pretend that Arteta is unaware of Freddie’s (or Raul’s, or Edu’s) assessment of Ozil’s work-rate and attitude. There is good reason to believe that Freddie was not happy with Ozil’s work-rate and attitude, and there is every reason to believe that Freddie has passed this along to Arteta. Arteta is going in with an open mind — the right approach — but I’m sure he is looking carefully at the work-rate and attitude of every player and of certain players in particular.

    That attitude and work-rate (in training and in matches) is absolutely essential to Arteta is clear from a number of things we’ve heard and seen so far. He told the players he would be watching people’s “body language” from the stands against Everton. When he was shown the training grounds, he asked about whether we have video drones; these will allow him to watch how players were working (or not working) in training, in this or that drill or exercise, to observe their work-rate, their body-language, etc. When speaking to a writer the other day, one Arsenal player said something like: “coach has made it clear that he will be playing the players who run,” and the player’s emphasis was on the word “run”.

    It will be interesting to see how Ozil fares under the new regime. You believe, I take it, that Ozil will flourish (under any appropriate, right-minded manager, and I trust that you regard Arteta as such a manager); many of us have our doubts about this.

  105. Marc


    Any intelligent manager is going to come in and claim everyone’s starting with a clean slate.

    That doesn’t mean Arteta has looked at certain players and already formed an opinion whether he says so or not.

  106. CG


    “Early days yet- but it seems Arteta is more Arsene than Pep.”

    I was slightly befuddled by the Round appointment.
    But then it hit me- like a bolt of the blue.

    Arteta like Wenger has decided to employ someone who can never replace or challenge him. We don’t do that at The Arsenal.

    It now makes sense.

    Arteta is not going Peps Man City’ s way- he is going back in time with Arsene’s way.

    Thats fine by me.

    Back on track with Wengerism – Arteta style.

  107. Unai

    Imagine if Arteta came in and said Xhakas, Ozil & Mustafis careers at Arsenal was over in his first presser, what would that have said about him?

    He said the only thing he could say.

  108. Bamford10


    “Coquelin … has had the last laugh”

    Sorry, I just now saw this part of your comment, Ishola. Coquelin was not good enough on the ball, and he was not imposing enough physically or athletically to make up for this fact. You seem to think that Coquelin was equal to or comparable to a Fernandinho or Ndidi or Gueye. I’m sorry, but I don’t think that’s even close to right. He was not as good as any of these players.