Arsenal has to make brutal decisions for a better future

by .

I have to say, I’m starting to feel very positive about the future of Arsenal. The more I think about it, the more I draw the conclusion that this moment in time, though horrendous in so many ways, will actually work out very positively for The Arsenal.

We’ve still not found ground zero with regards to what’s going to happen at large to football clubs. As with all great disasters, you only find out how bad the mess is when things go wrong. Recessions always uncover bad business practice and I have a suspicion that football has been doing silly things for a while now and this moment in time might bring those problems out of the dark into the light.

What does that mean for Arsenal? Well, it’ll mean that there’s a levelling of the playing field to a certain degree. This is going to happen in a few ways.

1.World-class in every position might die

It doesn’t matter what happens to the pandemic over the next 3 years, the memory of it will be seared into the minds of football executives around the world. Football is no longer stable, fan attendance is now a luxury, the game can be ripped from TV at any point. What does that mean?

It means clubs are going to have to work hard to build better businesses, and most important in that equation, they will have to grow their cash position. The simplest way to generate more cash is to aggressively attack the wage bill and sell unessential assets. I think we’re going to see clubs turn to youth and place less onus on having packed squads of superstars. This will be true of all clubs, bar the mega brands. The days of having a £110k a week reserve right-back might be behind us (for a while).

That will mean bargains this summer as clubs look to move players on. Money will go further this year and there will be a glut of good players on the market.

2. A focus on youth

Clubs were already moving in the direction of academy players, but I think you’ll see more of a push in this direction. Young players are going to be at the heart of The Arsenal model moving forward, no doubt about that. Why this moment in time is going to work so well for us is a few fold. Firstly, we have a world-class coach at Arsenal. People keep chiding me about that, but it’s not even debatable, Arteta is one of the best young coaches in the world and he operates at the cutting edge. He has to prove himself as the top dog, but the credentials for making players better are undoubted. That is great for young players because it means they’re going to get better. It means that young players around Europe will want to join us. It means that we are in a position to develop a squad. This hasn’t been the case over the last 5 years.

Additionally, we can blood these youngsters in a ‘safe’ environment. Learning your way in Premier League football is tough, certainly made tougher by crowds that have high expectations. There won’t be crowds for a while, which means kids can blood themselves into the game with a little less pressure.

3. Fan expectations

Arsenal fans will demand less, if the powers that be come out and state that their plan is to move forward with a young base of players.

We know that we’ve taken wild gambles with transfer fees, we bodged the Wenger replacement hire, there is a lot of fat that needs to be trimmed from the squad. Fans are not expecting a lot from the club at the moment. Again, the perfect environment for a club pursuing a longer-term plan with youth. Fans forgive talented young players far more easily than they would mercenary signings.

What I believe would be a mistake is if we continued to shoot for the stars with has-been purchases that please super-agents. Coutinho? Willian? Really? Why would Arsenal throw more bad money at the squad. Let’s be strategic, let’s focus on a clever rebuild, let’s not ship out one problem and bring in another 2.

4. The dreck

The club will move on senior players this summer. We might not ship out Mesut Ozil because his deal is so outrageous, but I think we’ll certainly look to move on other big-name players that have big wage packets. Alex Lacazette signed his own P45 with that balloon idiocy, I think we’ll move on a host of other players that have 2 years to 12 months on their deal. The reason they’ll move is the same reason Auba wants to sign a new deal with us… security in football is not what it used to be. Sokratis will want a 4-year deal, even if it’s on less money. Lacazette will be 29, he can’t run the risk the game is in a mess in a years time.

I also think you might see some surprises this summer. Players that haven’t delivered to the standards Arteta is looking for. Talent that might not hit the heights we had hoped for. Some players aren’t salvageable, no amount of coddling or arm around the shoulder is going to change that, the difference this summer is we have a manager not concerned about the difficult decisions.

Arsenal were in a mess last summer, this year, we have a fine young manager, we have a Technical Director that ‘should’ have a plan in place, and the brief is clear… sort Arsenal out ASAP. No mercy on who we ship out.

5. Money

The game isn’t going to be fucking around with big transfer fees. You’re going to see big players take loan moves and you’re going to see big names lose massive value on their fees. Dembele of Barca is now up for sale at the price we paid for Mustafi. You’ll see more of that.

The key thing won’t be the transfer fees, it’ll be the wage bill. If we can free up £600k a week in cash, that can go towards some very exciting young players that we can hopefully pick up for prices that feel within range. The entire dynamic of the squad can be reworked this summer. This is shopping in the dip. Now, I realise we’re not exactly wealthy enough to be picking off players like elite disaster capitalists, but we can make some tough decisions that allow us the freedom to operate in this market. Selling Auba might be one of those moves. There will still be an elite market, it’ll just be smaller. PSG, United, and maybe City will be spending big… but Madrid, Barca, Juve, Atleti and most other clubs will not be.

There are deals to be had this summer, but they might only come if we’re prepared to invest in smart choices and trust in our scouting.

7. The football

I said this the other day, but it bears repeating. The football is going to get better. Having a full month with the players on the training pitch is going to have an impact on the game we play. Better ideas, fitter players, and the mental fatigue of Emery being lifted should contribute to a clearer identity on the pitch and hopefully, a more exciting brand of football we can get behind.

My hope is that we start to become unpredictable in a good sense. The ideal would be that we are a solid team capable of delivering devastating results. We know this team has another level, we know that defending can be part of our DNA, now we need to find out if we can be ambitious. We need to know if the players can be convinced that they are capable of finding that next level. Only then will we know if this moment has worked for us.

Right, those are my thoughts, see you in the comments. x


119 Responses to “Arsenal has to make brutal decisions for a better future”

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  1. Chris


    It may be my reading skills but did you go straight from point 5 to point 7?

    Nice post though, agree with a lot of it. As many have said, hopefully the days of obscene transfer fees and outrageous wages are a thing of the past, along with the slippery agents.

  2. azed

    “It may be my reading skills but did you go straight from point 5 to point 7?”


    Only losers and pussies write a point 6. Real men who drink oat milk skip it.

  3. Ernest Reed

    Point 6 is already an obvious assumption, Pedro is great – why actually write it? The man is modest to a fault.

  4. Sid

    Point 6. is more like Ozil, great statistically but cant be seen by ordinary “obsessives”

    Im telling you for free!

  5. Marc


    As always thanks for keeping things up at the moment – it’s got to be really hard work with very little happening.

    It’s a good piece but I’m worried about “The club will move on senior players this summer.”

    If salaries are going to be more sensible why would a player give up a lucrative contract he’s already got? “Lacazette will be 29, he can’t run the risk the game is in a mess in a years time.” Why not – he can run out his contract, move on a free and take the best deal on offer at that point. He’s on £180k per week with 2 years left, A 4 year deal on £90k per week is a worse deal than seeing out his current contract and then signing one at £10k per week.

    I hope you are right about moving on the dross but I’m really concerned that this will actually have the opposite effect and make it even harder.

  6. Northbanker

    Great post – i just hope Raul Reads it and agrees and he can actually create such a vision

    These Coutinho stories However make me nervous we’re still on double or quits thinking.

  7. Kaleja

    Spot on, I wish some of our department heads to visit this site from time to time I particular our TD Edu, because I can see us succeed in this direction, we really need to ship out our ageing and top Paid Players from Mesut to Mustafi there is no shame starting over and Raul and Co. Have a perfect excuse some of the players we are linked with give me the creeps, like Coutinho, William and they bloke from Ajax because they all come expecting a pig salary. I would rather we are seen as a small club over achieving than like we are now a big club under performing.
    Some will argue ” remember Wenger Project Youth” yeah I will admit it was a good plan with a Wrong supervisor, a good thing about youth is that some will make it some won’t so there is no shame on admitting that a certain player isn’t cut out to succeed at arsenal but Wenger had a misguided loyalty to some of the players who weren’t good enough.
    So I believe because Arteta is a young and ambitious coach who will value his success more than anything so that is a good thing because his success is a team success.
    Though a got admit the Dembele feel is really attracting minus his injury records, a young and very good player is what we need right now and I can imagine him, Saka, Pepe and Nelson being at the center of arsenal success year to come and I don’t much care about his personal like because all player have flaws one way or another.

  8. jwl

    Pedro is trying to sell us the future like Wenger use to do, always jam yesterday, jam tomorrow but never jam today. I hate youth projects, we are launching our third one now and first two were failures, with a novice coach who only worked with world class players.

    I am glad that there are a few youngsters fighting for place in squad but we also need senior, experience players, you win nothing with constant youth players who don’t amount to much or want to leave because Arsenal never seem to improve.

  9. Guns of SF

    Coutinho loan, free signing Goetze?

    Ok I would take those 2… and the cost might be good.

    Those 2 would add to our attack in much better ways.

  10. Kaleja

    @jwl, “you win nothing with constant youth players who don’t amount to much or want to leave because Arsenal never seem to improve”
    those experience are youth players from somewhere and we don’t seem to improve with experienced players either we are one of the club with a lot of experienced players and yet we are behind in every level. Yet our most recently perfomer is a 18 years old. On the other the so called experienced earn a lot of money and underperforming and we even can’t ship them out because nobody wants them. So which is better.

  11. Marc

    “we are one of the club with a lot of experienced players and yet we are behind in every level”

    Er that’s nothing to do with experience that’s because we have too many shit players on too much money.

  12. Kaleja

    @Guns of SF “Coutinho loan, free signing Goetze? Ok I would take those 2… and the cost might be good.Those 2 would add to our attack in much better ways”

    Coutinho is on 250,000 aren’t we trying to reduce our wage bill?

    Gotze what is he good at Dortmund can’t keep him because he refused to reduce his wage so say we give him 200,000 on 5 yrs plus sign on fees after a year it will be Ozil all over again. Am I glad you are not Raul.

  13. Freddie Ljungberg


    The problem with Goetze and to a lesser extent Coutinho is how far they have fallen in recent years and how massive their salary demands would be, Goetze is on 160k a week and is said to want the same if he moves. Coutinho is on 220k a week.

    Far better to spend 15-20m on someone younger with high potential like Szoboszlai or Jonathan David or Almeda etc etc with a more reasonable sub 50k wage. Far easier to get rid if they don’t work out too.

  14. Kaleja

    @Mark ‘

    Er that’s nothing to do with experience that’s because we have too many shit players on too much money”

    Remember Xhaka at Monchengladbach we we’re all singing praise
    Auba Exception
    Mustafi, they all seemed like good players, or they became shitter when the come at arsenal, tranfser market is always risk, ask Barcelona if we bought like Barcelona did in the last two season we will file for bankruptcy and being relegated in the next two season.

  15. Freddie Ljungberg

    Wouldn’t mind Fraser on a free, if we move Martinelli to striker after selling 1 (or both) of our strikers we would need someone out there to take the load off Saka, makes more sense getting someone experienced on a free than splashing on another high potential youngster like Kluivert or Moussa Diaby in a position where we have arguably our hottest talent playing already.

    Don’t think that’s all the business we do however, if it happens at all.

  16. izzo

    Players are on pay cut salaries so your fears of inability to shift players doesn’t apply. There’s the option of loaning/player swap. The senior players want to play so for the good of their career they will move because we won’t be able to pay them their so called high salaries. It will be the same everywhere so running down your contract is pointless.

  17. Northbanker

    Agree Freddie – Coutinho will come expensive and that was my earlier point. I’m sure he can still contribute but we need o be forward looking now and build ahead. That means buying at lower levels and looking for young starlets

    I’d be more excited about signing Kokcu who is tomrrow’s man

  18. Habesha Gooner

    Fraser would come in to be just a backup and that’s my problem with it. We need competition for our young wingers. I don’t want to splash out on a winger when we have pepe Nelson and Saka too. I want Saka to progress and hold the LW position as his own but he needs real competition to do that. I wouldn’t take Fraser over all of them and That would actually make them comfortable and not strive for more. We should even go for a high potential winger from the championship if possible.

  19. Marc


    They’ve taken a 12.5% drop which is temporary – they’ll soon be demanding restoration of full salaries.

    If salaries are going to drop dramatically why would Xhaka walk away from £100k per week.

  20. izzo

    Really can’t be demanding anything when there’s no money to pay them. They risk ruining their future employment if they sue. Salary caps needs to come to the PL. Also will every every player be demanding their original pay if asked to take further pay cuts down the line. There’s no situation where they win. Player values have dropped and so will their salaries.

  21. Marc


    I’ve got a 3 year contract and the club sits on a prime piece of land in London – pay me or I’ll sue, when I win you’ll pay or go tits up. Fuck the next contract I’ll go play in China for a couple of years.

  22. izzo

    Straight wage cap obviously. PL needs to level the playing field. No more of this silly 350k and 500k a week stupidity. No more 80-100+ million players. No player is worth that. Not even Messi or Ronaldo who are approaching retirement age.

  23. izzo

    I’m not in charge of making the rules and regulations governing finance in football so that’s up to the experts. Covid isn’t going anywhere and a vaccine is not a cure.(there isn’t even a cure for the common flu) There’s a high chance it returns mutated in the ember months. Money in football will not be carrying on business as usual.

  24. NJ Gooner

    We have salary caps here in the NFL. The cap is renegotiated annually. The teams get to distribute it as they see fit. The owners love it because it puts a lid on their costs. The players accept it because they get benefits in exchange, like union representation over issues such as safety and looking after players in need in retirement.

    Obviously, some of the concerns differ in England. But the basic principle is the same. And one product of this system is that the same teams don’t dominate every year. The New England Patriots have been a perennial powerhouse for a decade. But that is because they clearly had the best coach and quarterback. But even they did not win the Super Bowl every year. Far from it. Indeed, the list of actual winners has been well distributed as has the losing finalists. The big problem is that it works well when you only have one league. But footballers can (and do) jump from one league to another in Europe. This may potentially put a strain on the competitiveness of English teams if the premier league attempts to implement it unilaterally.

  25. Marc


    One small difference – no other country plays American Football to any serious degree. You cap the PL and good players will all leave for Italy, Spain, China or the Middle East they will follow the money where ever it goes.

    You only have to look at how many English players would move abroad compared to now.

  26. izzo

    @NJ Gooner
    I don’t forsee a strain in quality or competitiveness. The PL is will always be among the best leagues for any footballer wanting to play in Europe even with a wage cap.

  27. izzo

    Lol you really think players will flock to China and the Middle East to play footy because of making less money? Yikes

  28. izzo

    Italy and Spain have no money. Be real here. No one wants to jump ship to the middle east or china for that matter.

  29. Freddie Ljungberg


    I would agree with you if we didn’t need to spend that money on so many other positions, we already have the starting players for the wings sorted, a backup with experience for free is fine there, wouldn’t mind someone like Said Behnrahma though but far from a priority.

    We have 3 midfield positions that needs first XI players, our strike force needs to be sorted one way or the other and another long term CB needs to be brought in. After that we can look to doubling up with quality talents in one position but until we have decent options as starters all over the field it’s just a waste of resources.

  30. rollen

    lol no one will go to china .
    We will struggle to even give players like Ozil Miki Mustafi for free.
    No to old flops like Gotze of Coutinho. It would be Ozil mk2.
    Arteta is not WC . To early for judgement.
    He kept Haker vs $ 20M so not the best.

  31. Guns of SF

    anyone who thinks that there is a club to take on Coutinho and Goetz salaries is crazy. Good luck finding that. My point is that they can be obtained on loan ( PC) and Goetze might find EPL and London/ Arsenal attractive enough to take a cut.
    If not, fuck em.

    MY point was obtaining the two of them would upgrade our attack considerably.

    Im all for cheaper and better… just that the rumor mills has these two hotting up right now

  32. izzo

    Again players in Europe aren’t moving their families to China regardless of the money. I think if the money merry go round were to continue it will only be in form of a super league which means the death of domestic leagues. LOL who in their right mind can see that happening.

  33. Guns of SF

    its a toasty 92f here in the bay area.
    I just killed it on the grill. Steak, hotdogs, delicioso~!!!!
    happy family, happy life

  34. Guns of SF

    As Pedro said, this virus has brought things back down to normal kind of.
    Salaries and transfers. Older stars looking for a last contract.
    Free agents looking for that…

    The loss of revenue for clubs across the world makes this summer a very interesting one indeed.

  35. Freddie Ljungberg

    They would both come in as CAMs right? Where we already have a 350k nexus of inadequacy occupying the space. No need to fill it up with another 350k worth of 2 players. That’s 36m in wages a year for 1 position right there, seems a tad excessive.

    Of the players we’ve been linked with I would probably go with:

    Fofana, loan back to St Etienne, minimal fee upfront. When Luiz leaves in a year Saliba has one year of prem experience in him and we don’t have to field 2 PL rookies as CBs.

    Soumare. Would transform our midfield more than any other player on the market right now, seen fees as low as 25m mentioned for him, which would be an absolute steal.

    Diallo/Sangare/Kessie depending on how we want to play. All around the 20m mark.

    All around the 20m mark as well

    If we sell Auba then Edouard is the stand out replacement for me, 25m.

    No superstar names, reasonable fees. Youth pace, power and athleticism high on the agenda.

    Less than a 100m spent. I know the naysayers say it’s impossible and the transfer market is dead bla bla but I think that’s bullshit.
    Will it be more subdued and less mega transfers for a while? Probably, but we don’t really play in that market anyway except for a very occasional dip so that’s fine.

    Even if all of it can’t be done this summer it should be the direction the club takes over the next couple of years if we ever want to stand a chance of getting back to the top again.

  36. Guns of SF

    I’m with you man. You have a good take on potential recruits …
    Some of the names you mention I know of… others not so much….
    Edouard yes.

    I do see value in Coutinho on a year loan. The salary we can cover. for that period.

    Especially if we sell players this summer. He is also Prem tested etc

  37. Gentlebris

    The post is like a single sentence jointly authored by Sir Winston Churchill and Mr Bean. A good post tainted by unnecessary claims of world class status for an apprentice.

    And don’t think you are winding us, you are just being ridiculous.

    Some great points in there though.

  38. Henry Root

    So many people on her have absolutely no idea how serious the financial hit is that the game will suffer. There may be no gate revenue for many months. TV revenue may be affected. There may be knock-on effects on our sponsorships. There may be no European football next season and if there is we are unlikely to be in it.
    To suggest we can spunk £100 m on transfer fees is utterly out of the question.
    Pedro’s post is excellent and realistic and is written by someone who has done the maths. We may have a game where fifty League clubs go out of business. I don’t know many people who will go to games next season even if they are played before crowds . Wake up and smell the coffee. It’s loans and swaps only, no mega deals and anybody thinking we should look at Coutinho and Willian needs a wake-up call. They will want a fortune

  39. David Smith

    Nice post Pedro. We need something to look forward to . Some great young players could provide an antidote to what we have seen in recent years, with a manager in decline, and another who u fortunately never took off at this club.

  40. Valentin


    Barcelona’s attempt at fire sale of all their most marketable players is not something that will be repeated across the board. It is very specific to them.

    They could not afford Griezman fee and even less his astronomical salary. Yet Pride led them doing something stupid. So they went to bed with a loan shark expecting a rising market to cover their lack of resources.

    Even without COVID-19, they would still be in a financial mess. COVID-19 just made it much worse. Kind of waking up knowing that they can’t repay their loan to the nice Corleone family because the sure bet they did at the race track did not pan out.

  41. Valentin

    Goetze will not improve our attack, because Arsenal issue is not the final third, but the central defensive part. Sort that and we have a decent attacking squad. He is £160kpw and is demanding the same. Not worth the money especially if you add the loan fee around £10 millions.

    Countinho is a highlight player. Look good with his screamers, but in real life he hoard the ball, shoots a lot (most of it is off target). He is the kind of player who look good in a smaller team where he is the main man, but in a structured team or in a team where is a just a cog, he is an expensive luxury player.

  42. Sid

    “Along with people’s hopes and dreams of a decent life. What you see, then, is a nation, and a system, that has come to be based on broken promises. That’s what the restless public will take away from this morass of statistics. The discord will rapidly leave the statistical frame and take hold in the emotional frame, and that frame will feature entirely negative emotion: rage, resentment, grievance, vengeance, feelings like that. The sum of all broken promises is a broken social contract. That’s the agreement that we will behave civilly in exchange for the liberty to go about our business”

  43. Anonymous Commentator

    Sell ozil please.
    If he wanted to secure his own personal future by bending the club over then he’s done that well and truly.
    He can leave now, the money situation has changed globally and we know without Shadow of a doubt that he is not interested in taking a pay cut even when 70% of the world has been retrenched.

    Fuck me this player pisses me off in ways I never even knew possible, would rather have mkhitayan in house than on loan.

  44. Dissenter

    Bris, he’s a world class coach, that’s a fact‘

    Sorry man
    That is NOT a fact.
    He’s a huge prospect, nothing more

  45. Overmars

    It’s not un-realistic to think that this could be our starting 11 next season:





    40m on Partey, Coutinho in loan.

    Elneny, AMN, Sokratis, Mustafi, Kolasinac, Xhaka, Lacazette, Mhikitaryan, possibly Ozil all going the other way.

    I’d still like another centre half though.

  46. Dissenter

    I wouldn’t touch Coutinho and Goetze, at any price
    We need to become the club of big ideas and exciting risks, not one trying to squeeze out the last drops from yesterday’s men.

  47. Overmars


    Coutinho is 27, which means he should be at his peak. We all remember how good he was at Liverpool, and that’s because he was their best player, the fans favorite.

    At Barcelona and Bayern, he never established himself as one of their key players. If we were to sign him and build a team around him, I reckon we would see the best of him again. He could easily play a Cazorla/de Bruyne type role in the midfield.

  48. Pedro

    Dissenter, his time at City points to a different truth.

    He’s coached elite players at the highest level, broke records, won major trophies.

    He’s one of the best. Not a prospect in the world of coaching.

    Agree on Goetze and Coutinho… would be like signing the same problems we’ve had with Ozil.

  49. China1

    Pedro I fully agree that a month of training with Arteta is great for the squad and also no crowds is great for the kids

    I’m not sure you can say Arteta isn’t afraid of big decisions tho. So far since he came in all of the clubs problem children have remained in the first team and mustafi was even brought back from the cold

    Ozil plays because even tho he mostly contributes nothing relevant, he’s willing to run a little bit more. Xhaka has an entire strategic setup built just to accommodate his weaknesses rather than dropping him. Mustafi is now a regular starter. Auba still plays on the wing and laca has been accommodated despite some chamakh level form and tantrums every time something goes wrong

    The bravest decision Arteta has made is to let the guys who half or more of the fan base hate keep playing every week. He also plays his dubiously performing big names ahead of our high performance youngsters (martinelli regularly out of the team)

    Arteta talks a great game and I buy in that he’s a really savvy coach who is and will get more out of his players, but he’s not shown an ounce of ruthlessness since he came. He’s been the exact opposite

  50. China1

    Marc it’s true that players do follow the money but firstly China’s economy has also been hurt badly by this, secondly the Chinese super league is really, really fucking bad

    My team usually finish mid table and are equivalent to a league 1 team. You can count how many good moves happen in a match on one hand… missing a couple of fingers…

    The best team in China typically is Guangzhou evergrande and they lost the Asian CL final over two legs to a team for Qatar a couple of years back. Proper depressing stuff

  51. China1

    It’s good fun to go to Chinese games tho. The fans know it’s shit but don’t care and are quite rowdy

    My son (2 at the time) started crying after my team (TEDA) scores and the fans erupted and all the guys around us turned to us and were like ‘oh we made the baby cry! I’m so sorry!’ Hahaha

    You can also see which foreigners give a shit and which are there for the money. Saw obafemi martins play a blinder and run himself ragged. Meanwhile tevez was the laziest cunt I’ve ever seen on a football pitch in all my 30 years. He was on 400k a week and it was a fucking disgrace. He walked for 90 mins and barely even called for the ball.

    That’s why when you see media reports against him from Neville recently I tend to believe Gary.

  52. Aussie Gooner


    How can you build a team around a one year loan player? It would be madness. We all know we could not afford to purchase Coutinho and for all we know he may have lost his mojo for good!

    Goetze appears done and we already have enough over paid/under performing prima donnas stinking the place out. Arsena need to concentrate on keeping existing players who add value to the squad and shipping out those that don’t. Forget all this talk of incomming superstars – it is not going to happen!

  53. Guns of SF

    I see both points in having some older stars or former stars ish

    Experience is important and especially with our mids. Who is the veteran who can guide and control the games and mentor the youths

    No one

    We need some vets and guns blazing youth with something to prove

  54. Overmars

    Aussie Gooner

    Many ways we could work a Coutinho deal i n our favour. 1 year with first option to buy. Or 1 year with obligation to buy. Unfortunately, he’s still contracted at Barcelona until 2023, so we’d be looking to pay at least 50m.

    People say Coutinho’s done. In the Bundesliga alone, he’s managed 8 goals and 6 assists in 22 games playing through the middle this season.. The fact of the matter is that’s an improvement on what we have in midfield. These stats are also very similar to what he was doing at Liverpool. But most importantly, it’s what he does on the pitch that counts, he’s still top quality.

  55. Overmars

    And anyway, who says we can’t afford to buy top players? Yes, coronavirus will affect transfer funds, but that will be the same with everyone.

    If before last summer, I was to write on legrove that Arsenal will buy spend 72m on Pepe, 27m on Saliba and 25m on Keiron Tierney, you’d all rip my head off.

    As I said earlier, we have 8 or 9 players that we can generate some funds by selling. If we wanted to buy Coutinho, we could easily.

  56. Aussie Gooner


    100% agree on Arteta. To date I have not witnessed any magic. He shows little sign of wishing to alter the staus quo by playing all the usual suspects and dropping the likes of Martinelli who could of by now had substantial PL hours under his belt. No doubt some of the younger player will be considering their next moves (ie Saka) if they do not feel appreciated in the current set up.

  57. Aussie Gooner


    I would be better in our current midfield! We need to build on young players that feel loyalty to the club and want to see pathways to success – not stuck behind lazy, overpaid and uninterested ‘senior’ players.

  58. Guns of SF

    I said it a few days ago… his persistence with ozil makes one scratch their head….

    The worry is he is pandering to under performing vets to keep the dressing room and any sort of mutiny’s

    It comes with a cost. Losses

    At least emery was tough on all these slackers

    Arteta might be too sentimental… too close

  59. China1

    I’ll give Arteta until the summer to sharpen his blade but if xhaka and or ozil are still regularly in the starting 11 next season then something is very very wrong

    Is cazorla out of contract this summer? With Ceballos leaving you wonder if a pay as you play deal for him wouldn’t be a bad idea. He wouldn’t be expected to be first choice and instead just an experienced squad player to be called on when needed. And if he does still turn it on and have the stamina then by all means he could play again regularly

    We should be a bit creative this summer but considering how bad our midfield is, just having his name in the squad makes you feel that little bit better right now

  60. China1

    A serious CM/DM + santi on a free for pay as you play would be a great boost for our midfield depth.

    Santi > Ceballos, xhaka and ozil even with a simmer frame

  61. Pierre

    “Ozil plays because even tho he mostly contributes nothing relevant, he’s willing to run a little bit more. ”

    Ground breaking view from China.

    Have you ever thought of going into football management ?.

    You could have guns of SF as your assistant who defends that clown Emery with the classic line ” At least emery was tough on all these slackers”.

    Did him a lot of good didn’t it

    They would be like the Laurel and Hardy of football management.

    ” that’s another fine mess you got me into Stanley”

  62. Overmars

    Guns of SF

    “I said it a few days ago… his persistence with ozil makes one scratch their head….The worry is he is pandering to under performing vets to keep the dressing room and any sort of mutiny’sIt comes with a cost. Losses”

    We are the only team in Europe not to have lost in 2020 and Ozil has started in the majority of the games. I can’t quite see your point?

  63. Emiratesstroller

    Whilst there are many unsubstantiated rumours circulating about players that Arsenal are allegedly interested in I do think that there is now clear evidence as to what positions are likely to be filled this summer.

    1. The intention seems to recruit two specialist squad full-backs. Soares appears to have been recruited on the right and there is now a suggestion that Arsenal will replace Kolasinac with a more defensive full-back on the left possibly Kuruzawa from PSG who is available also on Bosman.

    2. It is also probable that Arsenal will exercise their option to buy Mari. So we
    will have two new CBs coming in this summer and therefore it is unlikely that
    we will replace more than two in squad.

    3. I still think that Arsenal plan to buy Partey providing that the money is available to do so and there is some evidence that AM are planning for that

    4. We need also a decent creative attacking midfielder.There appear to be
    plenty of suggestions in the hat. So it remains unclear which of these comes

    5. Finally I think that at least one of our main strikers will leave. If it is Aubameyang then he will need to be replaced. If it is Lacazette then it is less
    certain as probably both Martinelli and Nkietah offer sufficient goals to compensate for his loss.

  64. Pierre

    “I’m not sure you can say Arteta isn’t afraid of big decisions tho. So far since he came in all of the clubs problem children have remained in the first team and mustafi was even brought back from the cold”

    The easiest decision would be to have binned the so called “problem children”.

    A big decisions , against many of the fans wishes , is to bring Mustafi back into the starting line up , is to start Nketiah regularly ahead of Lacazette, is to play Saka at left back , is to leave Martinelli on the bench despite the clamour for him to start, is to start Ozil in every league game.

    All big decisions that could have blown up on his face but all big decisions that have had proved successful.

  65. Gentlebris

    ‘and anybody thinking we should look at Coutinho and Willian needs a wake-up call. They will want a fortune’

    No, they wouldn’t want a fortune. They got the memo too, football is blown!

    Big players with big contracts will enjoy the rest of the crazy money for the duration of their contracts, after that, nobody will pay them anything like that again. Guys who felt they were smart by running down their deals are now in big problems, their clubs who were chasing them for a renewal wouldn’t have the deal on the table for them again, not even a third of it; and none would give them a third either.

    I read on Sky dude proposing that the premier league should help the lower leagues, well, the premier league is in a lot of trouble itself and needs help. People just don’t realize this.

    FFP is likely going to be in bed for a while. State sponsored teams like PSG and Citey may be allowed to shoot their guns as much as they can and spread some money around.

    As for Coutey and Willey, we need neither. The way forward is the academy. That’s how football should be. Go look for young lads, train them at the academy and build a team of it. Transfer is the crazy side of football and maybe this will end it. Who brought up the idea of transfer in football anyway? The guy was a villain; he made us pay £72 million for a football player who could not shoot into an empty net with his right foot!

    Football, as we know it, is blown…giving birth to a new exciting football era of pure humble youth with good attitude on and off the pitch. We may not see again a guy on £100,000 a week saying fuck you to the fans paying him just because they demanded better services the only way they could, nor a guy on £350,000 a week making a ‘will you please let me be’ faces on the pitch.

  66. Terraloon

    I am going to post something later about loans but whilst doing a bit of research I came across this

    It’s this particular bit that interested me

    They are:
    – Premier League clubs may not register more than two players on loan at any one time.
    – The maximum number of loans registrable in the same season is four, and, under no circumstances, shall more than one be from the same club at any one time.

    Now by my recognise Arsenal currently have 3 players on loan and listed in the first team squad

    Soares, Mari and Cellebos

  67. China1

    Yeah Pierre mate because now ozil has done an amazing job under Arteta, emery and Wenger right? You can’t even be arsed to explain away the fact that he doesn’t even make assists anymore, which was the primary reason We were always told he was so good. Now you don’t even have any excuses left except ‘you don’t know anything’

    Re those big decisions, I don’t think it was brave at all to bring the old losers back into the first team. He probably did it because he didn’t want half of his senior players making unhappy noises the day he walked in and it was the easy way out to let them all play again. He hasn’t been particularly vindicated by their performances.

    All of them have been ‘okay’ apart from Laca who has been awful. It’s hardly ground breaking stuff what any of ozil, xhaka and mustafi are bringing to the table is it?

    Dropping martinelli was an interesting call but hardly what I’d call brave. He’s a teenager. He won’t be blowing up if he isn’t picked every week and it allows him to pick other players.

    He’s started to give Eddie a chance just the last few games. Fair play to him and Eddie. That’s the nearest thing to brave Arteta has been – benching laca, who tbf has been shit anyway

    Saka at LB was an inspired move but we didn’t have any LBs left standing and someone needed to play there. Good call from Arteta and he made it work really well – but was there even a safer option? Not really or not many unless we’re going to start playing CBs or CMs at LB which wouldn’t necessarily be any better and none of them have any pace

  68. Graham62

    Salary caps must be the way forward. It’s the only way clubs will survive the next few years as revenues decrease due to the pandemic.

    Academy players should, irrespective of ability and potential, be on an equal pay scale. Imo, no academy player should be on more than £1k a week.

    Once you’ve made the first team, you’re on a minimum package until proven and have played a set number of times.

    First team regulars should all be on sensibly structured salary scale, with bonuses built in for appearances, goals scored, assists, clean sheets, commercial revenue from shirt sales etc.

    Again imo, no player should be on more than 100k a week. Remember that’s still the equivalent of £5.2m per annum

    All agents must be paid( hired)by the players and clubs should not have to fork out vast sums to accommodate these individuals. This will hopefully weed out the numerous wide boys and leeches that infest the agency system.

    I know I’m dreaming again 😴

  69. Valentin


    My understanding for the two players limits was that Premier League clubs may not register more than two players FROM Premiership rivals on loan at any one time.
    Otherwise it would be redundant with the 4 loans limit at any given time.

    As Ceballos is loaned from Spain, then Arsenal complies with both stipulations less than 2 from premiership {Cedric Soares) and less than 4 in totals (Ceballos, Soares, Mari).

  70. Valentin


    The initial academy and first contract package is exactly what France and Spain have. That is also the reason why every year more than 20% of their academy players leave to play abroad.

    Personally I disagree with the idea of players having individual bonus such as £10,000 per number of goals they score a la Lacazette. At some clubs that created some serious friction on penalties and free-kick duty because some players wanted to pad their stat and other wanted to pad their wallet.
    The bonus should be based on the final achievement of the team tempered with your own involvement.
    Win the league and play 75% or more of the minute => Bonus A
    Win the league and play between 50% and 75% of the minutes => Bonus B
    Win the league and play between 25% and 50% of the minutes => Bonus C
    Win the league and play between 0% and 25% of the minutes => Bonus D
    Win the league and score 10 DECISIVE goals => extra bonus E
    Win the league and score 5 DECISIVE goals => extra bonus F

    Win the FA Cup and score DECISIVE goals in final => …

  71. Graham62



    That’s quite complicated.

    Let’s just give them all the minimum wage.

    That would sort them out.


  72. CG


    “””””Forgot about the loan system””””””””””

    Or did you mean the ‘loan shark’ system surely?

    Its Rauls latest strategy at the the club. Surely his last throw of the dice – before his gross mismanagement of the club in 2 years is finally exposed.

    That is to get the clubs money into the hands of his cronies in exchange for a few of their mercenaries ( Courtinhio, Wlliam etc)
    Proper match with proper clubs with proper executives on later for the first time in months.

    Dortmund v Munich.

    Maybe the reason , they are light years ahead of us is because they don’t allow spivs to run their ‘footballing operations’?

    Just a thought.

  73. China1

    Valentin if our bonus structure is built based on title wins then nobody at arsenal is getting shit for their summer bonus package haha 😀

  74. China1

    If you want to watch heavily regulated football just watch the Chinese super league. You won’t be impressed lol

  75. Marc


    “Again imo, no player should be on more than 100k a week. Remember that’s still the equivalent of £5.2m per annum”

    Fine but once things are back to normal and they will go back to normal, commercial and TV revenue are back to previous Covid levels and fans are back in the stadium there’s going to be a level of excess cash freed up from the wage bill. If the club is selling out most matches they are not going to reduce ticket prices where does the money go? Other than into Kroenke’s pocket?

  76. Valentin


    This is the system that Chelsea has.
    Bonus based on
    1) winning the league
    2) reaching Champion’s League qualification via the league
    3) winning Champion’s League
    4) reaching Champion’s League final
    5) winning Europa League
    6) reaching Europa League final
    7) winning FA Cup
    8) winning League Cup

    No bonus per victory, no bonus per goal scored, no bonus per blank sheet kept, just bonus on winning a trophy or making money for the club.

    If the club was smartly run, we would have implemented a similar incentive system years ago.

  77. Terraloon


    My understanding was that you can only take two players on loan ( temporary transfer ) at any one time.
    The four player thing could be achieved by having two signed in August till January and then a different couple of players signed in January till the end of the season.

    Now here’s the point that no where in the FA rules does it mention that you can take players on International Loans . The PL rules deal exclusively with the numbers of loans permitted between English and Welsh Clubs. ( in other words the only two countries that teams based within could play in the PL.

    FIFA regulations do allow for International Loans but as I say I can’t find anything in the PL rules that specifically mentions restrictions and other that the bit in the PL bulletin that talks about loans and states category that the quota is only relevant to English / Welsh loans.

    In the EFL rules this is stated

    56 International Loan

    56.1 Clubs may also sign players on a Temporary Loan Transfer from an International Club in accordance with the principles set out in Article 10 of the FIFA Regulations subject to the following provisos:

    56.1.1 the onus is on the Transferee Club to identify whether the signing of the player from the International Club is a permanent transfer or International Loan. Players may not be signed from an International Club on any other basis;

    56.1.2 Players signed on an International Loan must sign an employment contract with the Transferee Club in a form equivalent to the Standard Contract;

    So what’s my point?

    If the PL rule does indeed replicate the PL rule, which I suspect it would, if indeed there is one ,then there is no limitation of players that you can sign on loan from outside of England / Wales. As the EFL states you sign the players on a standard contract.

  78. Uwot?

    As regards to Arseteta & big decisions.Im as gutted as the next man with regards to the likes of Hacker,Mustaphi & worst of all Ozil getting regularly picked at this stage.But I seem to remember when he ( Arsteta ) joined the mantra was the Old “ everyone on a clean slate” which is fair as much as we hate it.But it might also have been a “ last chance saloon “ for them as well or even a “ shop window” to try & flog I get it.But now it’s what he does this summer ( albeit in v.diff.circumstances) to show us his that we can buy into.

  79. Graham62



    Seriously though, when do you foresee normality?

    Can’t see anything resembling pre-pandemic football occurring for a considerable time.

    There is no way clubs will survive without making drastic financial changes. Kroenke is going to have to adjust his methods, whatever they are, and incorporate an emergency plan based on the various financial restrictions that this situation is creating.

    Players on astronomical salaries will see out their contracts accordingly and then take a hit like the rest of us.

    The reality is simple. Life has changed and to get back to where we were is a distant dream.

    In some respect though,, as we have already highlighted with the finances, that may not be a bad thing.

  80. Aussie Gooner


    I think I prefer the Chelsea model – it’s all about the team! A bonus for goals scored will only increase selfish behaviours which will lead to less goals overall as often the best option for a pass will be ignored for a chance of a goal. We already see too much of this glory hunting. That is what impressed me so much about Martinelli – a true team player!

  81. Bob N16

    Graham, I worry most for the lower leagues than the PL.

    There may be a temporary adjustment for the loss of revenue for next season in the PL but I don’t imagine they’ll be any dramatic changes, like a salary cap. I suppose the most popular clubs might take the opportunity to push for a European Super League but I’d hope that would be met with enough resistance.

    Not sure how the lower league teams, who depend on gate receipts, will manage or in many cases survive.

  82. Bob N16

    Uwot , I think you’re right to hold off on criticising Arteta too soon.

    Let’s see what happens in the TW before worrying about misplaced loyalty to players we’d be happy to see the back of!

  83. CG


    “””””I’m as gutted as the next man with regards to the likes of Hacker,Mustaphi & worst of all Ozil getting regularly picked at this stage.”””””

    Well, I am pretty certain they will be starters next season too.

    Because Ozil and Xhaka are Arsenals best midfielders and Mustafi is Arsenals best out and out defender.

    Some fans – might not like or rate these players but I would bet a very large sum of money they will be all regulars next season.

    And rightly so. ( they are all internationals)

    Up to MA now to get these World Cup performers motivated , focused and playing to their maximum ability.

  84. Marc

    “And rightly so. ( they are all internationals)”

    Not any more – Mustafi hasn’t kicked a ball for Germany since 2017 and Ozil retired from international football after the last world cup.

    Xhaka comes from Switzerland which has a population less than London so not much competition for places there.

  85. Daniel Altos

    All am seeing is people talking about aubameyang scenarios but none includes him signing a new contract?What if he actually signs?…And on the transfer front am seeing we are linked with fofana who is Saliba’s partner in ettiene even talk of a loan agreement like saliba’s…If we were to lose both laca and auba though we could buy a Marcus thuram or a diaby or a goalscoring winger and then stick with martinelli,nketiah,saka and Pepe and I think we would be okay so long as we stop leaking goals

  86. Marc


    I’ve been over this with you before – I don’t know if you’re so blinded by fear or it fits a narrative you like the sound of but the truth is it’s Shirley Bassey.

    I remember when they banned tobacco adverts and it was going to be the end of F1 – F1 has survived and is expanding. This might take a year or two to sort out the fallout but it’ll go back to normal.

    I’m not going to convince you any different and you won’t convince me the same but in a couple of years I’ll remind you of this when some club is paying some overrated player (hopefully not us!) a silly amount of money. The only thing that will definitely happen is a clause in all contracts allowing for force majeure measures.

  87. andy1886

    Overmars: “And anyway, who says we can’t afford to buy top players? Yes, coronavirus will affect transfer funds, but that will be the same with everyone.”

    Well given that we’re projected to lose around £150m next season and have to utilise a £50m overdraft facility as well as eliminating any available cash reserves I would suggest the evidence says that we really can’t afford top players.

    And it will be the same for ALMOST everyone, just a few mega clubs or clubs with sugar daddies will have decent money to spend.

    You may also be aware that AFC relies more heavily on gate receipts than just about any other club (bar possibly the Spuds) because our commercial performance is so poor.

    So I doubt that we’ll be spending big money on anyone let alone another lightweight over hyped player like Courtinho for example (we’ve already got one money pit of a player in his position as it is).

  88. Sid

    Phillip Morris International(PMI) created and currently owns Mission Winnow
    In late 2018, Ferrari announced a multi-year partnership with “Mission Winnow” as a title sponsor

    McLaren Formula 1 team says its 2020 livery will be “quite special” as a result of an expanded sponsorship deal with British American Tobacco

    I could go on and on, for free!

  89. Marc


    Well if that’s the case their marketing people aren’t doing a very good job as I’d hasn’t heard about any of it.

  90. Valentin

    Tobacco advertising has been banned in sport or in any media in most Western world, but in the Middle east and many developing countries it is still allowed.

    Go to a bar in India, China, Russia, Turkey, etc and see how people react when asked politely to stub their cigarette.

    Most tobacco companies sponsors sport because they know they can get to those new potential customers.
    I remember when the same team had two different brands of cigarettes as sponsors. Or when Marlboro painted the cone of the sponsorised cars in their iconic colour and triangular shape without their name being visible. It took a full year to the French and German parliaments to close the loophole.

  91. Valentin


    I think that the COVID-19 has put paid to the idea of a Super League for the time being.
    Legally, logistically the super League would be impossible to restart if matches were to be played across Europe.
    Imagine a 14 days quarantine for Bayern players and staff before a ManUtd-Bayern game!

  92. Aussie Gooner

    So Arteta wants to let go of Holding, Mustafi and Sok according to Ornstein but keep Luiz who admits that he wants to go to Benfica! Arteta is also after Ajax star Nicolas Tagliafico at left back to allow Saka to move up to the left wing, showing him how much the club values him. What about Kola and Teirney then?

  93. Valentin

    Aussie Gooner,

    You are right that individual bonus only reinforce the idea than the individual is more important than the team.
    At PSG, Neymar and Cavani went to war on who was the designated penalty and free-kick taker. Cavani has a bonus per goal and if he tops the list of goal scorer in the league.

    Emery showed real leadership by locking himself in his office and ignore the feud.
    According to reports, he literally locked himself in his office and refused to go out when a group representing the players tried to confront him and ask him to choose. In the end the Brazilian contingent of players convinced Neymar to let Cavani keep the penalty duty but share the free-kick.

  94. Dissenter

    How dare you praise Emery for anything?
    You haven’t been here long enough to read the memo properly.