Players return

by & filed under News Review.

Well happy Friday to you ALL.

Not a lot in the news today. A couple of journos saying Arsenal are interested in Thomas Partey, but the club doesn’t have the cash at the minute. SHOCKER. It’s exactly the same issue standing between me and Mercedes-Benz SL ‘Pagoda’ and a house in Saint Tropez.

Think that’ll be the theme around Europe this summer. Which is why I find it weird we’re also being linked with Tagliafico for £20m. I think even those numbers are excessive for the moment.

That we’re being linked with a left-back is odd just in general, unless the club is sure that Tierney is going to be a problem in the long term. He’s quite young to be written off as a crock, but we have been here before with plenty of players. Still don’t understand why we’d look for an expensive left-back if we have Saka. Martinelli makes the most sense on the left of midfield next year and if Saka is a top 3 left-back in the Premier League, it’d be odd to remove him. Do what you’re good at, not what you’d like to be good at (AMN rings a bell here).

Training appears to have started at most clubs, Kante is the latest to refuse to train, with Deeney as yesterday’s big name to say NO. I wonder what the deal is at Arsenal? Any dropouts? Mesut, Xhaka and a couple of the others have young kids and seem to spend a lot of time with family. Be interesting to see how this shapes over the next few weeks.

I’m also very excited to see how we come back. Arteta took over a burning heap of shit, now he’s had two months of ZOOM lessons with the players, now he’ll basically have 4 weeks of intensive preseason like Emery did when he first joined. Can he get an improved response?

*prays to god*

He’ll have all the component parts he lacked at the start. All his defenders will be back in the mixer, which will give him the power and pace he needs from wide positions and also the recovery pace we’ve lacked at times. He’ll technically have ‘first half of the season’ Mesut Ozil, which usually does a lot better. We’ll also have drilled youngsters. They’ll all be a little bit smarter, more confident, and hopefully, fitter.

We’re moving from a ‘plug the holes’ strategy to a more attack minded approach. Well, I hope we are. Being hard to beat is wonderful. Keeping clean sheets is a delight. However, I think the team is better than that. I’d like to see a bit more boldness to our game. We need to move the ball faster, our combination play needs to be less clunky, we need more goals. There needs to be a bit more imagination out on the pitch.

These final 10 games are important, but I don’t think we need to grind them out. We have a fully fit squad to choose from, I hope we can be more aggressive about how we approach the final games.

It’ll still be very tough to make the top 4, but not impossible. Everyone has had time with their players, all the names are returning, and some of the teams that were struggling will have long forgotten their stuttering form.

Arsenal needs to hit the ground running. Win 7 out of 10 games and we’ll be in a good position to make something happen with Europe.

What would YOU like to see for the run-in?

251 Responses to “Players return”

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  1. HillWood

    Auba is 30yrs old
    His contract runs till 2021
    I’d hate to lose another player on a free
    Cash in on him now for whatever is the current market value

  2. Bob N16

    Marc, Martinelli’s figures are much lower than they would be if he was a regular starter. Pepe’s strike rate is sure to improve.

    Do agree with selling Laca but it’s going to piss me off if PEA goes on a free and is able to negotiate with a new club on 1st Jan. I would sell PEA if the the offer is big enough. Hope PSG don’t manage to do a deal for Icardi and splash the Qatari cash on PEA.

    If we do sell both, which I’d probably go with I’d hope we could get say a 22 year old in who fits the way Arteta wants to play and is hungry to step up. We would make a big saving on our payroll.

  3. Marc


    My argument has only been that we can’t sell both and not bring in a new striker. The squad does not currently have the goals in it.

  4. Bob N16

    I would make a fully fit Bellerin ( fingers crossed) captain. It would be a very young squad, inexperienced but with bundles of potential.

    Let’s go for it!

  5. Bob N16

    I appreciate that Marc.

    The trick would be to bring someone in who fits both on and off the pitch. You could possibly go for a more experienced CF but I’d rather go full on ‘project youth’.

  6. Dissenter

    ‘ Fine but would you buy a replacement striker?’

    You would need a replacement striker next season regardless, then you’ll be doing it without the proceeds of an Auba transfer.
    This issue is fundamentally simple. If we aren’t capable of learning from the Sanchez/Ozil/Ramsey mistake, then we deserve all the decay that comes our way.
    No ifs, ands or buts….his contract has one year left…he won’t extend ; SELL

  7. Un na naai


    They have 16 goals between them in the games that they’ve played. There’s no reason they can’t replicate that in the league as they get stronger and more experiments. They are only going to get better and offer higher numbers hence forth

    Anyway. I’m clearly not changing your mind here so the only way is to watch them prove me right or wrong in the coming 2 years

    The truth is we aren’t going to be able to afford Aubameyang any more. It’s £200k per week. Once Lacazette himself and ozil are gone we won’t be seeing players on that money at arsenal for a while is my bet. I’d also imagine with tough times ahead the club will be looking to offload that payload and invest in cheaper alternatives.

  8. Un na naai

    If we do bring in a striker I’d want a golden oldie who can do all the things Aubameyang can’t. Someone like Ibrahimovic or Cavani on a free. Someone who won’t start more than 15-20 games but will be great for the young players
    Someone who won’t get in the way of the production line

    We’ve got Martinelli, Nketiah, Balogun and Greenwood coming through. I’d not want a 22-27 year old getting in their way. I’d rather we spend where it’s really needed. Where we are short of options. Cmf and no10

  9. Northbanker

    I’m with the crowd on this
    Option 1 we sell Auba for what we can get. – which if an auction arises could be more than reported
    Option 2 he rinds his contract down and we get al of the tail end onerous liabilities in his contract with no residual value And he doesn’t perform at the levels seen previously
    Option 3 we extend and commit to a 3 year onerous contract and still no residual value but witness a declining force as he ages

    I don’t know why anyone thinks if we’re to rebuild Arsenal anything other than Option 1 won’t be a disaster

  10. Northbanker

    And Lacazette needs to go for whatever sum or swap value we can get irrespective of Auba going

    Marc – this isn’t just about next season but rebuilding on a sustainable basis for the future

  11. Marc


    Laca does need to go.

    I’ve now said about 30 times I’m not against selling Auba but if we do we have to buy a replacement.

  12. Marc


    In a years time Martinelli might be ready to take on the mantle as first choice striker but for next season it would be a gamble of negligent proportions.

  13. Marc


    “this isn’t just about next season but rebuilding on a sustainable basis for the future”

    Yes but if we don’t get CL football soon you’ll start to see all of these great young players we have leave. We’ve got ManU a basket case, Chelsea have an inexperienced manager and the Spud’s have Mourinho and the stadium debt – if we don’t make it now we’ll miss the opportunity.

  14. HillWood

    No crowd
    Less pressure for the kids
    Arteta more knowledgeable about them

    Combination -should have a couple of goals in them

  15. Ustyno

    I do think if we struggle to get a reasonable amount of money for Auba,he runs his contract while Martinelli understudies him as the deputy next season and by the upper season when Auba walks away Martinelli would have gotten atleast 2 years of premiership experience and then leads the team

    Might not really sound great,but we try to see if we can get champions league next season with Auba still leading.

    As for Lacazette he should be sold either for money or exchange this season,that way his wage is gone or perhaps reduced if someone is brought in

  16. izzo

    100% agree with Un. We need to move forward. Auba and Laca should be sold and replaced with a more experienced but young prolific striker than Martinelli and Nketiah and the remaining money from sales of other players reinvested into the entire center midfield which needs replacing.

  17. WengerEagle

    I mean were we to sell both Aubameyang and Lacazette, we would definitely need to bring in a twenty goal minimum marksman up top.

    Of how many of those are currently on the market, not an abundance exactly. Some potential options include Duvan Zapata, Lautaro Martinez, Mauro Icardi, Ben Yedder, Timo Werner, Kai Havertz, Haaland, Memphis Depay.

    Out of that list, Haaland along with Havertz, Werner and Martinez are pie in the sky options as they are all heading on to become world class players and will join Europe’s elite.

    I don’t see any of Zapata, Icardi or Ben Yedder as improvements on Aubameyang, think he’s the best player on that shortlist in fact.

    Leaving Depay who would be a really interesting potential option had he not unfortunately picked up that serious knee injury a few months back.

    So as it stands, I would keep Aubameyang along with Martinelli as out CF options next season and sell Lacazette to fund more creative midfielders/wide options.

  18. izzo

    I would give Leverkusen whatever money they ask to get Kai Havertz into our midfield. Nothing wrong with us snatching him before Bayern.

  19. Emiratesstroller

    For the record Aubameyang has scored one more goal than he did after 28 games in EPL last season. I would remind those who are keen to offload him that he won golden boot last season.

    No-one will argue if Aubameyang chooses to move to Real Madrid or Barcelona, but that is unlikely to happen. I don’t see either of them coming in for a 31 year old player and offering a decent transfer fee

    I don’t see PSG coming in to buy him either. They are trying to offload Cavani.

    So realistically the only other clubs who might come in are clubs in EPL
    like Newcastle with their Saudi Backers. Does anyone want to see him move there?

    My view is that Martinelli is certainly good enough to replace Lacazette next
    season, but not ready yet to compensate for goals lost if Aubameyang leaves.

  20. Marc


    We might actually see in the current climate that any offer we make is the best financial offer he has available.

  21. Un na naai

    It’s crazy how overrated Aubameyang is.

    Or how nobody seems to realise that he doesn’t turn up. He pads his stats vs lower teams when the pressure is off. He is solely reliant on his teammates to do the hard yards or he is ineffective. Which is why he tends to disappear against decent teams

  22. HillWood

    For the record
    Relying on one individual to get most of your goals is not a great approach
    We need a style of play to get whatever combination of our current youngsters scoring more between them
    And don’t forget we’re skint

  23. WengerEagle


    He’s far from perfect and I agree with you that ultimately we need better than Aubameyang up top to be competitive in the future but come on mate, he’s just about the last player on the XI that we need immediate improvement on.

    He’s scored against Spurs, United and Chelsea this season which isn’t a terrible big game record. And let’s face it, it’s far more important for where we are right now that we just have a guy that can score against sides outside of the top six as that’s who you play the vast majority of your matches against.

    And nobody in the league does that better than Aubameyang. Were it not for his goals we legitimately would be in the bottom half of the table, even factoring in somebody else would play in his absence.

  24. WengerEagle


    Sharing goals throughout the team is always the best approach, agreed.

    Even in the glory years we were far too reliant on Thierry’s goals. Thankfully the man was made of iron and rarely if ever got injured besides his last season and even then you do wonder how many of those missed games he could have played in as he’d mentally checked out the summer we lost the CL Final.

  25. Bob N16

    ES, the main reason for ‘off loading him’ is not because he isn’t an outstanding goalscorer but that he’s got one year left on his contract.

    We know that our transfer budget is an issue so there has to be a strong argument for selling. If you argue that we won’t get that much for him in the present climate then the counter argument is that transfer fees for incoming players will also be reduced.

    If the management can offload a sufficient number of players to generate enough funds, as well as considerably reducing our wage bill then great, we can enjoy PEA’s last season as our principle goalscorer and wave him off into the sunset for nothing next June.

    The board have screwed up again allowing a top player to run down his contract. When will they learn?

  26. Un na naai


    Never once have I labelled him useless. I just think he’s one dimensional. Because of that he impairs our attacking options
    That’s how I see it. That’s my view of the game. You won’t change that. Aubameyang in the old 442 days? Fine. Back then teams could accommodate a tap in merchant. Not any more.

  27. Marc


    The counter argument is you sell Auba for £25 million (for example) and finish 5th but what if keeping him for a season means we get CL football and then lose him on a free? We’ve lost a £25 million sale but earnt an extra £50 million in revenue, it’s also easier to recruit better players on lower wages with the attraction of CL football so we’re actually millions better off.

  28. izzo

    @Marc just sell players to make up the fee. We have a lot of players that need to go. The squad needs to be trimmed down.

  29. Un na naai


    We probably won’t. I doubt we will sell him to anyone. I reckon he will run down his contract and go to Paris or maybe Italy.

    Guaranteed Bayern/Real/Barca won’t want him

  30. izzo

    We have a lack of quality in midfield and GOALS and Kai brings that at 20 years old. That’s our Ozil replacement.
    Pedro has harped on about bringing in elite young talent well they won’t be cheap but if they’re worth it go the extra mile and get them. If we can manage getting two or three and get rid of the wasters we will be better off moving forward into the future.

  31. izzo

    All players have to take pay cuts with covid still a thing so saying they can’t be moved because of their current salaries makes no sense. There are clubs out there for every player. Now is the time for those in charge of transfers at the club to do what they’re fucking paid for.

  32. R.S.P.C.Arsenal

    Let get this straight

    This Kai lad
    Ain’t .. is not .. will never be an arsenal player
    Ipso facto.

  33. Up 4 grabs now

    Keep Auba and Laca.

    Play 442 with pepe and saka on the wings.
    All you then need to do is buy a mobile midfielder to replace Mr concrete boots.
    If you have wingers you don’t need full backs bombing on leaving only two in defence when caught on the break.

    You actually play with a back four.

    Your welcome.

  34. Bob N16

    Marc, I get that CL qualification is vitally important and PEA would obviously be a major contributor to a top 4 finish if he were to stay. By selling him it could potentially allow us to significantly improve our CM which might make CL equally likely. However I’m unaware of a parallel universe to check both options out!

    I’m just sick of seeing a top player going on a free so I would take my chances and sell, particularly given our young, quality players coming through. If the club choose not sell PEA and we qualify for the CL with him next season, great but of course there is no guarantee of that!

  35. Bob N16

    Up4grabs, who are your two CM players in that 4-4-2 line up because there going to have be serious box-to-box players?

  36. izzo

    John Jules??? Balogun is the only striker that can make the step up to the first team. Sorry to diappoint Nketiah fans but the lad is not it. Does’t have the aggression or overall attributes to lead the line and those tap ins don’t make him worth it. Watch Martinelli and then watch Nketiah and decide who you’d rather keep. Seen enough of him and I don’t get the constant inclusion of him in our strike force.

  37. Trask

    No matter how good Auba is, you don’t let him run down his contract if you can regain some sort of meaningful value for him

    Keeping him to get a champions league spot is not a given either. It wasn’t last season and sure doesnt look likely this season.

    So if the club misses out on champions league football again next season, it then also misses out on 35ish million quid. In these times?

    Sell and we end up close to relegation waters eh? Well what’s the difference between that and the current midtable mediocrity.

    I’m looking at Raul closely during these times. Waiting to see if all that talk of contract extension was all hogwash

  38. Up 4 grabs now

    Just cause he can’t get into Dortmund side which is better than us, doesn’t mean he’s finished.
    Still better than anything we have mate, and on a free at 27.

    If money is tight might not be a bad punt?

  39. Marc


    As I’ve now said repeatedly I don’t have an issue with selling Auba but we’d have to replace him. In the current climate I don’t see how we get enough money to replace him and then have excess cash to spend on CM.

  40. izzo

    Lol Ozil has a year left he can sit on the bench all season and take his 18 million and fuck off for all i care. I’m just relieved its a year left and the unthinkable like giving him an extended contract isn’t happening.

  41. Up 4 grabs now


    That’s why you need to save all your money for midfielders.
    Even if you had two high energy players who aren’t the most creative but can find a forward pass, we can get by.

    Either that or its defensive midfielder and a box to box midfielder, ala petit and Vieira or gilberto and Vieira.

  42. Trask

    No need to dream, even think of Havertz.

    No sort of permutation is bringing him to AFC

    Aint happening

    Wanna get a similarish midfielder? – Szoboszlai

    The club should be able to get him for cheap considering the ridiculously low amount Halland went for

  43. izzo

    I do wonder about Kai though. He’s captain at a Leverkusen at such a young age. Yeah think he won’t be moving for at least 5 years or more.

  44. Bob N16

    Marc ‘in the current climate’ works both ways. If we get less for PEA, we’ll have to pay less for our incoming targets.

    Up4grabs, I see your thinking but at a time when our CM is clearly inadequate, to play essentially four attacking players would require two very efficient, mobile CMs. If we can acquire two, great but we’d have to sell Xhaka as he wouldn’t be right for the role as well as Torreira doesn’t have the legs, Guendouzi and Willock are very much ‘works in progress’, Ozil couldn’t play there and Ceballos is on his way!

  45. Un na naai


    You’ve half convinced me
    If he wants decent wages I’d maybetake him on a 3 year deal
    We have fuck all creativity after emery cut it all out

    I’d prefer to spend most of our money on a proper game changer though

  46. Up 4 grabs now


    Our midfield isn’t really fit for purpose.
    I like guendouuzi with a quality midfielder along side him I think he’d be fine. We just don’t have any!

    Why they didn’t accept the 20 odd million for xhaka in January is the biggest mystery off all time.

    He is fit for nothing.

  47. Marc


    We’re selling a 31 year old on £200k per week with a year left on his contract- to achieve the equivalent drop on purchases we’ll have to look at players other teams are looking to unload or unknowns.

    This really isn’t as simple as people are making out. Sell him – all you’ve got to do is manage to buy a striker who’ll get a minimum of 15 PL goals and have cash leftover to buy a CM.

  48. Marc

    “Why they didn’t accept the 20 odd million for xhaka in January is the biggest mystery off all time.”

    Please don’t remind me.

  49. Up 4 grabs now


    We really miss santi. Just a feeling about goetze but think he could do well for us.

    Think he’d like to try the premier league and wouldn’t want stupid money.
    If we can pay xhaka or mustafi 100k a week Goetze wouldn’t turn that down.
    Somebody solid alongside him would work a treat.

  50. Up 4 grabs now

    The other thing about a 442
    Is that if you have mobile midfielders and full backs that aren’t half way up the field out of position, you don’t need a defensive midfielder as such, as you have 4 players back actually defending.

  51. Bob N16

    Up4, I can’t remember which game it was last season but I left the ground thinking Guendouzi should be made captain there and then. That being said, I’m still uncertain if he is going to make it. He seems one paced, too often wants to receive the ball too close to the player in possession and gets caught with the ball too regularly. Opposition coaches must enjoy highlighting this last failing in particular.

    Coaching should help his progress but I think we need midfielders who are top physical specimens, dynamic as well as technically good.

  52. Marc


    No it’s not £71 million in the bank – it’s a reduction in costs of actually £28 odd million and £45 million in the bank.

    If I don’t renew my season ticket that doesn’t mean I’ve suddenly got an extra £1500 in the bank – it just means I’m not spending money that I expected to.

  53. Marc


    One of the things we miss is leadership, a player like Guendozi needs a player alongside to help guide him and when necessary give him a kick up the arse during play.

  54. Thorough

    We all thought Pepe was beyond our reach last year too. See how that turned out? To move this team forward we need to buy players that even if they’re the only singular player we sign in that summer, it would have been worth it. If we have any ambition we would at least try for Kai.

  55. Thorough

    Bob N16.
    That has to be Aston Villa. He took the match by the scruff and singlehandedly drive the team forward.

  56. Bob N16

    Marc, agree that Guendouzi would benefit from the right partner in midfield. Too early to say but I get the impression he is a very confident 20 year old and it would need a strong player alongside him to make him listen.

  57. Bob N16

    Unai, as has been said many times, there’s a snowball’s chance in hell of Ozil walking away from AFC without being paid a sizeable chunk of his final year’s contract. That’s not to say AFC couldn’t save themselves a good chunk of change though by going down this unlikely route.

    We would obviously have to sell PEA first otherwise his agent might want to get a similar deal to Ozil which would not be great!

  58. Un na naai


    We are one point off United in 5th if we win our game in hand with 27 points more to play for
    We have our whole squad fit again and with the benefit of time to learn and adapt to what Arteta wants from them.

    Don’t be so pessimistic
    Emery is gone. The last 10 games of this season are going to be really enthralling

    I can’t wait
    I really think we will qualify for the CL

    As far as I can see this rest will benefit us as much as anyone of our rivals with the exception of maybe spurs who have Kane and son out

  59. Marc


    Whoa I never said we won’t make CL for next season – it won’t be easy but there’s 30 points available.

    The big questions are which teams will come back motivated and how much difference will empty stadiums have?

    The first round of matches in Germany showed a statistical swing reducing home advantage – we’ve got 4 home matches and 6 away.

    We get CL football for next season and it’s a different conversation.

  60. Valentin

    If PSG were so inclined, I would take Draxler + £25 millions vs Aubameyang.
    Straight away we solve two problems. We have a player who can play LW (sharing the position with Saka) and Martinelli can get time as striker.
    The £25 millions can then be used to get an upgrade on Xhaka.

  61. Marc


    Strangely the most amazing stat from the first round of matches in Germany is the huge effect 1 dimensional players had!

  62. Valentin

    I would say that any team that does not risk relegation and does not think it can get Europe is not going to be motivated.
    Some may even not be motivated to get into Europe.
    If our players are really motivated we may even make Champion’s League football. However I doubt that Champion’s League football could start until December.
    Usually European pre qualifier starts in August, but this time with leagues not yet completed, Every would be postponed by a few months.

    it may even be postponed to next calendar year if some European governments don’t want fans travelling in group right at the start of flu season.

  63. Guns of SF

    Why are we so determined to look in Europe all the time? Surely there are gems out there in other countries and continents

    South America

    If we are going the cheap youth route since we are broke, then why not explore these areas??? Gaby has friends and Edu has the hook up in Brazil.

    Let us not close the door on anything. Keep and open mind.

  64. Northbanker

    I do wonder in all of the forward Line-ups we’re discussing whether Pepe is really a right winger. He is so predictable there being so one (left) footed Which men’s that defenders know he’s going to cut inside. So maybe he would be better at LW but I’d also like to see what he would be like at CF. It’s a role i think he could be devastating in.

  65. Thorough

    100% agree.
    I watched Martinez at under 21,he was heads and shoulders above others.
    Osimhen and Chukwueze played for Nigerian under 17 that won the world cup, and they’re tearing up Europe now.
    I watched the last under 17 and by far the best teams are the Brazilians and the French teams. I’ll practically take anyone of their top 15,the teams were that good.
    Seems Man city got Jan Couto from the Brazilian team already but there were so many ballers on display.
    We need to look far and wide. It’s a must.

  66. Graham62

    Un na naai

    “The last 10 games of the season are going to be really enthralling. I can’t wait”

    No crowds, no atmosphere, no feel, no butterflies a fluttering, no genuine passion or commitment………..Yeh, I can’t wait either!


  67. Guns of SF

    I dont think Pepe will ever make it as a CF
    His size, and his complete lack of a right foot would be horrible.
    if anything, try him as a 10… but even then, the same issues result.
    Dude is stuck as winger until he learns to use his right to cross, , pass and shoot with

  68. Bob N16

    Graham, I think the unique circumstances add a certain interest to the last 10 games but to be honest Arsenal playing under any circumstances will always have my full attention. The players, despite not playing with a crowd, will know that they are being watched by millions on the TV and have their professional reputation to play for, as well as for their teammates.

    In a strange way, it may take the players back to their formative years where they were playing football without an audience and playing with full commitment and passion.

    You don’t have to watch Graham if you think it’s going to be underwhelming, bet you will though!

  69. Dissenter

    What’s with this wild praise of Arteta?
    ‘ Don’t be so pessimistic
    Emery is gone. The last 10 games of this season are going to be really enthralling’

    Arteta couldn’t even manage a simple last 32 tie against Olympiakos.
    He still has a lot to prove.