Scouting for rough diamonds

by .

Today’s post is brought to you in association with Mike McDonald. He writes over at Gunnerstown, today he’s bringing you a scouting report from the Championship. Follow him on Twitter here.

“There are no easy games in the Premier League”

That’s always been a thing. In the past, the challenge for teams like Arsenal was overcoming the ‘smaller clubs’ work ethic, physicality, and direct style.

The challenge has changed. The team most likely to come last play some of the best football when they click, are often the lower placed teams.

What does this mean for Arsenal? Well, I’ve found 24 players from the teams below Arsenal that we could look at for the next transfer window. I’m particularly thinking of those that could get relegated.

As you’ll see, they would either improve our squad and most of them would improve our starting 11. Three will be relegated as we know, so those players price should drop too.

Let’s do this based on Arsenal’s needs rather than by team.

Back-up/3rd choice goalkeepers

I was convinced that Martinez would leave before Leno got hurt as he’s perfectly capable of being first choice at a good club. He may be encouraged to stay now if he keeps up his good form. Not sure how this will go so let’s assume we may need one.

I’d love to pick Fabianski as he’s greatly improved but he’s not coming to be back up again.

Matthew Ryan (BHA), Ben Foster(Watford), Freddie Woodman (Newcastle-currently on loan at Swansea).

Ryan is a good keeper but gets no press. Foster has improved with age and has great distribution. Arsenal have an interest in Woodman already. He may come as a package with his father who is a talented Academy coach. As you’ll see in the video, Woodman is a specialist PK saver and seems to have a strength in reaction saves.

Random fact…. Woodman is the Godson of Gareth Southgate

Right-back/right wing-backs

Hector Bellerin may stay at Arsenal. My thought is that if he does it will be based on patience for a guy who has been through a big injury and/or because we need his leadership.

It’s becoming hard to justify his demise. I’ve never been a big fan as I think he limits himself. It’s driven me crazy for years watching a laser fast player run down the wing, stop and pass it backwards. He could’ve pushed himself to use his pace to learn a trick and change of pace and added the embarrassing deficiency of not using the outside of his foot. Breathe, Mike. I’m just bothered by those who underachieve and because he’s such a good guy, it’s overlooked.

I’m thinking that there is a reason that Cedric got four years. He would’ve accepted two. He’s probably better than we realize.

Jeremy N’gakia (WHU) and Max Aarons (Norwich)

N’gakia is a new name to most. It will come as little surprise that he fits the profile of many young defenders… fast, quick, athletic and strong. He’s refused to sign a contract and he’s free this summer.

Like many under 20’s he will need space to improve his decision making.

Max Aarons will end up somewhere other than Norwich. He’s likely the hottest young PL right back. I’ve got a feeling City will see the Walker/Cancelo duo as ageing/unsettled. Could transform our right side, but do we have the funds to rebuild our midfield, get a CB and afford a RB too?

Left-back/left wing-backs

Everyone talks of Max Aarons. Rightly so.

Jamal Lewis (Norwich)

Do Arsenal need a LB/LWB more than a RB? I’ve come to that conclusion (see end of blog).

Jamal Lewis, like Aarons, is a modern full-back with a similar toolbox. Would probably cost the same as we’d get for Kolasinac and cost 50% of wages.

Centre Backs

So far, you’ve probably looked at the options above and been somewhat underwhelmed.

This list will change that. Most of these players start for Arsenal.

Tyrone Mings (Villa), Nathan Ake (Bournemouth), Ben Godfrey (Norwich), Issa Diop (West Ham), Jamal Lascelles (NU), Lewis Dunk and Ben White (BHA)

Mings and Ake would start for Arsenal and no doubt be our best CB’s. Mings is underrated for me. We are told these days to watch and judge our CB’s firstly on their ability to play out from the back. When I watch football I see CB’s passing to each other 50 times a game and forward’s three times. I see blocking, heading, organizing, tackling etc..

Tyrone Mings loves to defend. He loves that list.

Nathan Ake can do everything. If we matched him with Saliba you can defend 20 yards higher.

Dunk and Lascelles might be more industrial but as I said above, aren’t those qualities used more often anyway?

Diop is not a favourite of mine but I think I look at West Ham defenders the way the market looks at Arsenal defenders!

Godfrey and White (did you know that the highly-rated Leeds CB is on loan from BHA?) are younger and like Saliba, potentially top class. Do we look to partner Saliba with another youngster though?

Defensive Midfielders

One of these is an interesting thought. The other probably too expensive and the third, off to Spurs.

Phillip Billing (Bournemouth), Declan Rice (WHU) and Pierre Emil Hojbjerg (Saints)

Rice is an ever-improving ball-winning DM. His improvement is seen in his ability on the ball as his move from centre back has needed time.

Don’t stick your nose up at Billing. He’s better than you may realize. Oh how we could’ve utilized a tall, quick, athletic ball-winner this season.

Hojbjerg, like Billing, is a consideration as a very good squad player for Arsenal. A natural and highly impressive leader in an era when there are few. Simplistic yet effective modern midfielder.

Centre midfielders

Arguably the biggest need of improvement at AFC.

We currently look like a midfield put together by an executive who spends too much time on YouTube and has the life issue of falling in love too easily.

Arsenal didn’t need Ceballos when they had Guendouzi. They didn’t need Torreira because they needed a taller, more athletic DM.

Abdoulaye Doucoure

If the Thomas Partey rumours are true, I doubt we get Doucoure too.

Probably could’ve/should’ve signed Doucoure two years ago.

Attacking Midfielders

Another area of desperate need at Arsenal. Doesn’t have to be a number 10, but as we know there are wingers who stay wide and others who drift from wide into central areas. This is the ‘drifters.’

Jack Grealish (Villa), Todd Cantwell and Emiliano Buendia (Norwich) and Miguel Almiron (NUFC)

Here are four different options for the same role.

Grealish would be a huge upgrade for Arsenal. I think most of us realize that he will go to City or Utd and that we can’t financially compete or in current stature. Shame.

Cantwell is a Gooner. Like that. Personally, I don’t think he’s our level. That’s a pivotal role with much expected. Buendia is a different beast though. A diamond in the rough. Two footed, highly creative and great stats for a team bottom of the league.

I’m also a big fan of Miguel Almiron. As a Brit abroad, I’ve got to see him often when he was at Atlanta.

His acceleration is elite as is his directness. Much like Theo, he will get better results if he learns to slow his wheels before he passes or shoots.

Wingers

Do Arsenal need a winger?

If Aubameyang leaves looking at rumours (Kluivert, Veron etc..), it looks like perhaps we are going to sign one.

My thought is that Arteta wants one wide player inside (Auba) and the other on the paint (Pepe) and that this doesn’t suit Pepe. If Auba leaves, Pepe plays inside forward (phew!) and the wider player is on the left.

Allan Saint-Maximin (NUFC), Ismaila Sarr and Gerard Deulofeu (Watford) and Jarrod Bowen (WHU)

Bowen has electric speed and potential but like Cantwell, not sure he’s Arsenal level.

You may not like Deulofeu. I don’t know many that rate him. I think he’s got fantastic feet. Some players are average at average clubs. Some stay average at bigger clubs. Some just needed to be around better players. I think Delefeou falls into the latter category.

I have a theory on Sarr. Do you remember when the equally fast Adama Traore showed up in England? Lacked end product but huge potential. Just wondering if Sarr will figure it out like Traore, as he is a wonderful last twenty-minute option.

I was amazed when Saint-Maximin went to Newcastle. His take on numbers at Nice were second only to Messi. Unless NUFC improve quickly, he will end up at a far bigger club.

Strikers

I can’t see Lacazette staying. No way. His ego has been damaged by Eddie, he has some value in the market and honestly, it’s just not working.

Danny Ings (Saints)

The questions are being asked now. Is Ings capable of repeating this seasons stats at a bigger club? His Liverpool career was hampered by injury and lack of opportunity.

I’m a believer that players are unfairly judged by their look and name. Maybe he should get a hair transplant before people start noticing and believing he’s older than he is. Change his name to Danielo Inglo?

I really don’t know if he’d work at Arsenal. Undecided.

The decision

I’ve picked my Arsenal 20/21 squad already. It’s changed three times then again after I scouted Teun Koopmeiners at Alkmaar. I’ll let you check out his elite passing ability!

My 20/21 Arsenal squad includes one of the 24 listed above…. Nathan Ake.

I considered 12 of the list.

I kept all of current GK’s. After seeing our right back inverted as an extra CM, I kept AMN as first choice. Perfect role for him. I wonder if Osei-Tutu will be a factor?

I spent the money I think we will raise from sales on our midfield in particular and preferred Partey, N’didi and Koopmeiners, but thought hard about Billing as a back up DM.

I would’ve loved Grealish or Buendia but money sent me to West London to get Willian on a free, as it did when I chose free signings, Edinson Cavani, Malang Sarr and Santi Cazorla.

Would you buy from the clubs below us?

Hard to argue that the list of 24 isn’t very interesting!

@mike_Mmcdonald

130 Responses to “Scouting for rough diamonds”

Jump to comment form ↓

  1. Guns of SF

    Almiron impressed for me. Quick and very mobile and great with the ball.
    On the small side but most CAM’s /10’s are rarely tall.
    Ake would be good.
    Dunk good too

    IF Watford go down, we can snatch Docoure maybe

  2. Thenry

    What a waste of a blog post
    I wouldnt take any of those players in the list most come from sides that Are mid table or fighting relegation
    We have better youth coming thorough IMO
    COYG

  3. MidwestGun

    Serious question.. when was the last time Arsenal bought a player from a side getting relegated.. or even paid the “English” premium? Pretty much never is my recollection. So for me, this is all pointless musings. No offense.

    Also, I read the whole thing and for the most part there was no scouting of any current championship players and every single conclusion of anyone mentioned was not good enough..or too expensive. so let’s get some European players from other leagues. .. Ok then . I don’t know,it all came across as too fantasy football for me.

    What you have to ask yourself Pedro are guest commentators Le Grove quality.. my conclusion is no. Sorry to be harsh like that.., just my opinion.

  4. MidwestGun

    Thanks, Jamie.. I guess that’s close enough. This column reminds me of when your at the bar and you get sucked into some drunks in -depth conversation of his fantasy football team when all your trying to do is watch the highlights on the television behind the bar of todays matches.

  5. Radio Raheem

    Good young CBs I have watched in Europe:

    Kounde (Sevilla)
    Tapsoba (Leverkusen)
    Milenkovic (sp) (Fiorentina)

  6. salparadisenyc

    If a day player is coming into the fray of Le Grove, better be up to the task.
    I’m looking forward to reviewing this space at days end, expecting total carnage.

  7. Aasim

    So how would we rate these players out of 10 – all play in the front 3 and all are 22 or under. Am curious to see how objective we as Arsenal fans are when rating our own.

  8. Aasim

    So how would we rate these players out of 10 – all play in the front 3 and all are 22 or under. Am curious to see how objective we as Arsenal fans are when rating our own.

    Mason Mount 21
    Mason Greenwood 21
    Tammy Abraham 22
    Marcus Rashford 22
    Bakayo Saka 18
    Eddie Nkeitah 21
    Daniel James 22
    Callum Hudson 19
    Reiss Nelson 20
    Gabriel Martinelli 19

  9. Wiscogunner

    I’ve often wondered why we seem to buy mostly from out of England. Yes Theo, Rob, Chambers come to mind quick but we’re all young talents with longer roads. Arteta himself is the only ready made first team player we have bought from the EPL that springs to mind. But all the other top clubs in the league seem to poach top players from mid to lower table teams and have had some nice results. Not sure why we don’t. I enjoyed the article for what it’s worth

  10. salparadisenyc

    If Arteta is keen on Stones having worked with him for a couple years i’d say get in.

    Havertz is going to go for huge money , would have been an ideal player to build the MF around Chelsea look to be queued and ready to pounce with Bayern pulling out. If they land him thats Timo Werner, Ziyech and Havertz, devastating business.

  11. MidwestGun

    Un-
    Yep.. Well I don’t disagree with the premise of finding Championship players who are about to blow up.. or relegation bargains. This column didn’t really give me any insight into that though. Also, historically we just don’t really go there. Not sure what Artea will do though. Did bring in Soares so maybe he takes a look around the Prem. League.

  12. Graham62

    One of the many things that pisses me off about modern day football is the fact that players below the EPL are deemed as not being fit for purpose.

    The snobbery of clubs like ourselves, when it comes to recruitment, just beggars belief. Just because a player plays in the Championship or even lower, doesn’t mean that they are not capable of playing at a far higher level.

    Are you telling me there are not better/more productive players in these leagues than the likes of Mustafi/ Xhaka/ Sokratis/David Luiz etc? Of course there are.

    I’m sorry but ‘lady luck‘ plays a major role in many players development and progression through the system. You may just be in the right place at the right time. Sometimes that’s all that it takes.

    Imo, far more emphasis should be placed on scouting the lower leagues for talent.

  13. Graham62

    Just because you were born and played your football in Brazil, doesn’t always mean you are better than someone born and playing their football in Bradford.

    Roberto or Bob?

    Snobbery to the extreme.

  14. GunnerDNA

    Trying to get Arsenal relegated earlier than expected. The football on display is similar to football West Ham played under Fat Sam. Arsenal don’t need anymore squad players, we need players that will help the team challenge for trophies. All the excuses for the trash football that’s currently on display won’t get the free pass with fans in the stadium. Most are bored, so there’s a lot of twerking going on, but most know it’s all crap.

  15. Emiratesstroller

    I had today lengthy discussion about Arsenal with sports journalist.

    His view about potential transfers was as follows:

    OUTGOING
    RB Bellerin might be offloaded if decent offer made for him. I disagree.
    CB Sokratis, Mavrpanos to leave. He thinks Mustafi and Holding to stay
    LB Kolasinac could leave without replacement.I agree.
    DMF Elneny to leave. Torreira could also be offloaded as he is unhappy at
    Arsenal. Arsenal promised to let him leave if still unhappy at end of
    this seasoN. I doubt that Arsenal will offload 3 MF this season.
    CMF Guendouzi and Ceballos to leave. I agree.
    AMFMkhitaryan to leave. Ozil will stay because no-one will take him.
    CF Lacazette needs to improve performance before end of season. I reserve
    judgment.

    He agrees with my view that Partey should come but is concerned that someone might come in and hijack deal. Also Arsenal need an attacking midfielder.

  16. Pierre

    Un
    “There is a lad at Leeds”

    Calvin Phillips…I rate him, would probably cost 30+ million though.

  17. MidwestGun

    Well on another subject. I’m rooting for a Var decision against Spuds, today. The fireworks from that would rival any fireworks on display from the 4th of July, here.

    Mourinho throwing his players under the bus makes me laugh as well. What exactly did the Spuds think they were getting with a Mourinho hire?

  18. Leftfootcurler

    Mings is a horrible defender. He retreats into his own penalty box. Look at his touch maps, positioning.
    Look at VVD’s touch maps, positioning.
    The reason Liverpool improved massively with VVD is because he kept the defence line High.
    If the defence line drops too deep,the opposition attackers get access to the edge of the box where they can create a bit of space and have a crack at goal.

    I would say a very big reason why villa may get relegated is because of Mings.

    Why do you think we conceded so many shots under Emery?
    Because the defence line dropped too deep and there was a big gap between the defence and midfield lines.
    Emery used to often indicate from the touchline to push the defence line High and close that gap but our defenders just couldn’t implement it.

    Lascelles and dunk are good organisers who can keep the defence line High.
    Would transform the defence.
    But with limited money, better to focus on the attack.

  19. Wasi

    Good list of players that. I would also be looking at some of those guys. Ake and Mings would be our 1st choice. Would love to sign them.
    Grealish is a top top player. Post-lockdown he’s not been at his best but he’s a real gem of a player.
    Billing is MASSIVELY underrated. His defensive numbers this season are very good. On the ball he is good and also has a good engine. Rn I think he starts for us.
    I talked about Ngakia a couple weeks ago. He’s got great physical ability and good technique. With proper coaching he can become a good player imo. Should get him if we look to move on Bellerin. Hearing rumours PSG is interested. Take 25 mil and RUN.
    Max aarons would be the dream signing at RB. Massive potential.
    Buendia of Norwich is another underrated player.

    Suppose Norwich , Villa and Bournemouth go down ( which is looking highly likely) and we had 50 mil to spend on some of these players .
    Id go
    40 mil Grealish.
    Ngakia – Free.
    Billing – 10mil.

    Un
    Its simple. Arteta wants a left footed player at LCB.
    Holding is definitely great in the air but its concerning that he can’t get game time over Mustafi and Luiz. With Saliba coming in , Mari already signed and rumours of a nee contract for Mustafi, I think we should loan Holding out to play out a full season in 20/21. Or maybe sell him if we get a good offer tho I doubt he will fetch us anything over 8-10 mil in his current state.

    Someone had to play down the Saliba hype. Fans have already labelled him as a starter for next season. Kid is 19. I hope he settles fast and becomes a starter as soon as possible but thinking that he is the solution to all our problems is insane.

  20. Valentin

    I agree that there is value to be found in the lower league. You just need to be willing to look for it and not just turn up your nose at lower league or lower club. Not every big club stars started their career at a big club. That snobbery toward lower leagues players is in fact impairing Arsenal.

    Talking about Snobbery.
    I remember a poster who kept lambasting the name of all the CBs whom I said were cheap and available. His argument was that if they were still playing at 18 years for crap teams that could only means that they were crap players.
    One of those crap players was Jean-Clair Todibo. At the time Jean-Clair Todibo was playing for Toulouse FC that was fighting against relegation. His position was “I have never seen him play, but 18 years defender playing for a lowly team in Ligue 1 must be crap.”.
    And then Jean-Clair Todibo was bought by Barcelona on a free pre-contract which 3 weeks later in order to avoid him being freezed by his club later was bought outright for a nominal fee. So within six months we went from crap player I don’t want to hear about to how come we missed that opportunity.

    Also regarding great defenders tend to play early in their position for lowly team and then move to a bigger team. The few years experience of playing every Saturday against senior opposition during their formative years having a longer lasting effect than playing for the reserve of a big club.

  21. Matt

    When I read the headline about championship players I was expecting to see Calvin Philipps as well. Looks to have real quality and the creativity that our midfield is severely lacking. I guess the question is if you sign him, what does that mean for Willock, ESR etc… Although after early glimpses, I am struggling to see what Willock brings to the table to be honest, besides youthful enthusiasm…

  22. Henry Root

    I thought it was a very interesting post. Much more interesting than the rubbish spouted by several of the leading posters on here.
    Calvin Phillips and Ben White are top quality
    Eze at QPR is very good as is Benrahma . Mitrovic would be an interesting back-up striker if you can get the ball into him from wide positions
    There is a very good young CB at Division One Gillingham – Jack Tucker. Classy with good defensive instincts .
    Willian would be very high maintenance as would Cavani

  23. Sid

    The competition for places in Brazil is 4 times the competion in U.K at all levels.
    The more affluent the less the drive to prove yourself in football

    Im telling you for free!

  24. Wasi

    Un

    If he was deserving of a start he’d be starting ahead of The slow Lois , On the edge Mustafi or Low IQ Kola.
    The last time he played ( when he came on for Luiz) he looked a bit dodgy . Also he was partially responsible for the goal we conceded .
    And if this continues into next season where he is the 4th or 5th choice CB , id rather loan him out so that he can get game time and develop.
    And tbh my patience is kinda running low with Holding. He’s already 24 and he still cant displace Mustafi and Luiz. A loan is the best option for him. If he does well enough to deserve another shot with us , Great. If he doesn’t. Sell. Simple as that.

    As for Chambers. I think he has done enough to stay at the club for now.
    Before his injury he was easily our best defender.
    He’s versatile and also had good prem experience. We should look to keep him for at least another season. If he can add value and challenge for the CB positions. Great. We wont need do replace Luiz and/or Mustafi next window.
    If not we can still keep him as a versatile option that provides cover at CB, midfield and Rb.

    On a side note – I’ve always rated Chambers higher than Holding.

  25. Champagne Charlie

    Brendan Rodgers on Arteta:

    “From a tactical perspective, he’s made it very clear how they want to play. The style, you can see. That is not an easy style to put in place and implement, especially at a club that wants to be challenging straight away as well.

    His courage since he’s gone in, to want to develop that. They’ve played with a couple of different systems but the style has always remained the same. That is something that bodes well for the future and for him.”

    Few Keyboard Kebabs on Le Grove:

    ‘Nothing’s changed’, ‘It was Norwich’, ‘Let’s see what happens against X’

  26. TR7

    Holding is the best CB at Arsenal imo. All he needs is an injury free long spell and then he can prove how good he is.

  27. Radio Raheem

    Re: Holding

    Kolasinac might be quicker or more of a specialist with his left foot. I know I’m overreaching just trying to read the sauce.

    Luiz should not be anywhere near Arsenal. MikSauce must be super saucey that he wins matches despite self-sabotage.

  28. Terraloon

    Un

    Some of your ratings.

    For instance.Mount same rating as Nelson.

    Or Rashford so poorly rated .

  29. Sid

    Wilshere, Ox, barkely, grealish, foden, mount all hyped as the next coming.
    Good thing is the law of probabilitytells us at some point there one has to breakthrough.

    Just to put things in perspectiveHolding not fit to tie Soyuncus laces

  30. Dissenter

    Hendy Root
    ‘Eze at QPR is very good as is Benrahma . Mitrovic would be an interesting back-up striker if you can get the ball into him from wide positions”

    Did you say Mitrovich?
    Surely you cannot be serious

  31. MidwestGun

    Always been this way on Le Grove… You could name a player from anywhere in the world on any team including our own.. and 5 people will say he is garbage and 5 people will say he is amazing. That’s why these so called scouting columns .. that Pedro occasionally posts from guest posters don’t do anything for me. I do realize a daily column is an immense amount of work and struggle for content however, just as long as it isn’t a regular thing, I guess its ok occasionally. The writing style on this one though wasn’t my cup of tea.

    “I spent the money I think we will raise from sales on our midfield in particular and preferred Partey, N’didi and Koopmeiners, but thought hard about Billing as a back up DM.
    I would’ve loved Grealish or Buendia but money sent me to West London to get Willian on a free, as it did when I chose free signings, Edinson Cavani, Malang Sarr and Santi Cazorla.
    Would you buy from the clubs below us?”

    Like what was all that mess about.. fantasy football money or team building? or some such nonsense.

    Oh damn Spuds score.

  32. Mike McDonald

    Hi, this is the author.

    There is a separate blog upcoming on Championship players. Some really interesting and talented players to choose from, especially dribblers.

  33. Gentlebris

    Most of those nobodies you were hyping above would have £70m price tags tucked inside their armpits.

  34. MidwestGun

    If people thought our last match was bad.. they should have watched this Spud/Everton crap. That was a snoozefest of mediocrity. Most exciting thing about it was the dustup between Son and LLoris.

  35. Terraloon

    Mount 8 6PL goals from midfield . Decent return. Quick feet intelligent player
    Greenwood 9. Ruthless. Going to be a top talent
    Abraham 6 1/2. 15 goals. Decent return requires too many chances to score
    Rashford 8. Development sort of stalled .
    Saka 8. 1/2. Pick of the bunch at Arsenal but needs to sort out his best position
    Nketiah 6 -7 . Far from convinced but need to see more of him
    James 6-7 . Very fast but not a lot else to his game
    Hudson Odi 6. Injury has taken its toll . Next season will be crucial for him
    Nelson 6. Over rated
    Martinelli 8. 1/2 Seems a top prospect

  36. andy1886

    Some decent young players at Norwich but the key will be to get in there fast if we’re interested in the likes of Aarons, Cantwell or Buendia. We’ve seen it before, we’re interested in Player A, the other club sells Player B and can then afford to play hardball as they don’t want to lose all their best players. Early bird, worm, etc, etc.

    As for Cavani – why? Willian – why? Santi? sorry no, ship has sailed. The last thing we need are more older players out for one last payday.

  37. Versus

    UTD fans boasting because they beat Brighton and Bournemouth.

    Arsenal fans boasting because they beat Norwich and Wolves

    Be careful what you lower your expectations for.

  38. Champagne Charlie

    Orny says Guendouzi has been training alone since Brighton and club want him sold/swapped this summer.

  39. TeeCee

    Holding, Chambers, Luiz, Mustafi………dogshit defenders, in fact Mustafi is the best of the bunch!! I cannot believe that some people rate any of them!!!! Have you ever seen them play FFS??? Chambers makes Mertesacker look like Usain Bolt. Holding’s décision making and positioning is lower championship quality AND he’s not that quick.! Luiz is just plain shit and Mustafi can’t stop making glaring mistakes regularly. If we want to be better than a 6th-9th placed team then we need to get QUALITY.
    Don’t even get me started on the players in the article….Almiron? The MLS is his level!! As for the other journeymen/average Joes, that standard is why we are in the mess we are in! If we don’t spend some reasonably serious money then Arsenal are heading for mid-table mediocrity at best……and we’re not far from that already!!

  40. Champagne Charlie

    “If england play Scotland who do you cheer for?“

    Amuses me that you think I’d even watch it, would rather have a wank with a Brillo pad

  41. Left Testicle

    Oi, Pedro,
    I hope, with your woke stats the other day, that todays guest post was written by somebody from the BAME community?

  42. Terraloon

    un

    As they say football is all about opinions.

    I have watched mount quite a few times and I stick by my rating. From what I read he is highly rated and at age 21 to be capped 6 times for England is no mean feat.

  43. Freddie Ljungberg

    So Guen frozen out completely, a shame, the midfielder with the highest potential at the club.

    Hopefully we’ll get good money for him though and get in 2 new CMs along with a Cam then.

    Why can’t we do like that with some of the non performers to get them to leave though? I’m looking at Ozil in particular, gives us nothing on the field and can’t be bothered playing half the time anyway.

  44. Champagne Charlie

    Un

    Not dodging anything, we’ve been here on International football… I couldn’t care less about it.

  45. CaliGooner

    Mls is Almirons level? What just because he played in mls? Is mls Alphonso Davies level too? Tyler Adams?

    Everyone starts somewhere.

  46. GunnerDNA

    There’s something going on with Mattéo Guendouzi that someone senior at Arsenal needs to intervene. It’s a real shame because the kid is serviceable. Fans forget about his age and how he comes up because he’s playing so regularly. The same patience show with retards like Ozil, Mustafi and Xhaka needs to apply to Mattéo. The amount of chances Ozil gets at Arsenal after publicly dismissing the training staff and the Club is crazy. Some member of the training staff reacted to the Brighton incident badly and the kid flipped because he thinks he’s been bullied. Can’t wait to hear his side of the story. Shame on Edu because I thought he would make some difference when he was appointed but he’s no more than a f*cking clown.

  47. Freddie Ljungberg

    Don

    Great job Nostradamus…
    Hardly ability based is it? Guen is a discipline issue and Ceballos was a loan ffs, was always dependant on if he could adapt to the league or not, which he hasn’t, dominating against weak teams that gives you a lot of space isn’t enough.
    Hope we don’t extend.

    Xhaka is only ever decent against teams that gives you a lot of space but he’s the teachers pet so guess we’re stuck with him.

  48. GunnerDNA

    Un

    “If we can get £40m for a bad egg who doesn’t ever seem to affect games anyway I’d take it. I don’t see this high ceiling I keep hearing of. AMN and willock affect games. Saka affected games more from left back than Guendouzi at cmf”

    He’s a bad egg who don’t affect games but you expect the club to get 40m for him, right? Ask yourself why you think he’s valued at 40 m? You’ve been completely Pedrorize!

  49. Emiratesstroller

    Arsenal have a number of young English players coming through system at club starting off with Saka, Nkietah, Willock, Smith-Rowe and Nelson.

    Apart from perhaps Aarons I don’t see Arsenal pursuing any players at other EPL clubs because of the ridiculous premiums which would be demanded in
    a transfer.

    I suspect that there are probably another two or three players coming through pipeline in the Arsenal Academy such as John-Jules, Smith and Aziz.

  50. Guns of SF

    Guen has got to go
    There is a history here
    If he was a great talent… sure let’s work with him. He is not that. He is a arrogant prick it seems.

    Apparently emery knew of his issues and felt he could change or work with him

    Our mids need an overhaul anyhow

  51. Dissenter

    Gunner DNA
    ‘ Shame on Edu because I thought he would make some difference when he was appointed but he’s no more than a f*cking clown.’

    I have to agree with that point.
    Edu’s role is totally unnecessary and he’s just duplicating Sanllehi at best. The manager shouldn’t be able to solely oust a good talent like that. It negates whatever long term strategy the club is trying to do with transfers.
    I made mistakes at 20 years old that I wouldn’t repeat at 25 years old…and I wasn’t earning 40k weekly at the age of 20 y/o.

    Anyways, I wish the kid well with his future and hope we get as much as we can for him.

  52. Gentlebris

    Bring in T. P: £45m

    Bring in J. G: £55m

    Bring in W.N: £60m

    = £160m

    If you have those playing behind Saka, Martinelli, Nketia, Arsenal will come back from the shadows.

    Stop fucking around!

    To raise most of the money, sell:

    Guen: £35m

    Torrey: £30m

    Willock: £15m

    Chambers: :15m

    Xhaka: £20m

    Kola: £20m

    = £135m

    Difference: £25m

    Sorting Arsenal shouldn’t be that difficult, we have many valuable deadwoods.

    A large amount of deadwoods can only bring grief. Quality even in small quantity matters, Liverpool won the league with quality in small quantity.

  53. Wasi

    Un

    I agree Rob is a better CB than Kolasinac. Most people would agree to that. But Arteta loves a left foot in central Defence and only Kola provides that right now and thats probably the only reason he is starting.

    Holding’s mistakes?
    This season when he first came back into the team (under Emery) he was playing like an 18yo who’s never played senior football before. Granted he was returning on the back of a long term injury but I don’t think thats a valid excuse for fluffing simple passes under no pressure. And if he can’t replace Mustafi now , there’s little to suggest he can do it next season..Not to mention Mari is also above him in the pecking order. And from what I’ve seen Saliba is a Real unit and will probably get in the first 11 as the season progresses.

    As for Matteo. The writing is on the wall.
    A player with immense potential but a child’s attitude. When he matures he will click and become the top class midfielder that his talent expects him to be.
    Anyways there is also a similar situation going on with Mourinho and Ndombele.
    SWAP?
    Imo , id take that swap right away. Pace, Power , technique . Ndombele’s got it all. Needs proper coaching to rough out the edges but he’s got all the raw ingredients.

    And please Arteta . Do not extend Ceballos.

  54. azed

    Am I the only one not on the party Partey train?

    I don’t watch much of Atletico Madrid so this is just my gut feeling
    Partey might just turn out to be Xhaka v2.

  55. salparadisenyc

    Azed

    He’s definite quality but not the only one…. think fact Partey played critical role in shutting Liverpool down in Champs league has many moist.

    I absolutely get that.

    But certainly not the only one out there.

    Off topic but these tears for Guendouzi rolling in this space are comedic… i’d say ironic but that may get lost on some.

  56. The Godfather

    Azed,

    Bro without a doubt, Partey is the real deal.

    He can play anywhere and in any role as a central midfielder.

    Pace, power, guile and technical skills in abundance … I’d describe him as a more polished Michael Essien!

  57. The Godfather

    I thought the French Legionnaires Auba, Laca and Guendo were a tight bunch.
    Is there no way these two senior players could’ve bridged the gap btw young player and Coach?
    Is the discord that serious?
    Wow?
    Shocking!

  58. azed

    Sal and TGF

    I’ve read reviews and seen clips of Partey and he’s better than what we currently have in midfield which is not saying much but I just feel we can get someone younger with the same skill set and cheaper.

  59. GunnerDNA

    It’s pointless having time for Willock, AMN, Nelson, ESR, and EN but quick to dismiss Mattéo Guendouzi. They’re basically all the same age and MG have the highest ceiling. We’ve seen this movie at Arsenal before, it was clear that Gnabry was one of the biggest talent in the academy and he was sacrificed because if players aren’t meek and mild at Arsenal they’re classed as bad eggs. The term class and values are misunderstood at Arsenal. For over a decade now class and values are used to justify be average/pony.

  60. CaliGooner

    That’s pretty revisionist. Gnabry wanted to leave.

    Also why does Guen have the highest ceiling he doesn’t assist or score?

    I like Guen but acting like he’s head or shoulders above our young players seems odd to me. Willock scores and assists. ESR has shown in games. Reiss more in Germany then here. Ainsley plays multiple positions.

    Seems like people are just using Guen to attack Arteta or the club. Why isn’t Guen at fault. That’s the most likely scenario.

  61. Aussie Gooner

    Guendouzi has had ample opportunity to show his wares but has failed to make an impression time and time again. Regardless of his off field histrionics, he is not up to standard. How many times has he hit the deck under minimal challenges, short passed backwards when a break was on, got in a clean tackle without fouling? 57 appearances, most as a starter, 0 goals, 1 assist. He has to go. If any club offers 20m, bite their hand off! Funny how people were/are happy to right Pepe off already (24 appearances – 8 as sub – 8 goals, 8 assists).

    Holding will never be up to standard either. Sorry if this sounds harsh but he still makes too many mistakes to be a reliable starter. He has reached his ceiling. The fact that some see him as our best CB is more a reflection of our current standard of CBs. The jury is still out on Chambers.

    As for Bellerin – never the best RB/RWB, had his moments but never consistent enough – and that was before his injury! If PSG and Bayern are interested, let him go. As for Mustafi, Luiz, Xhaka, Ozil, Kola, Sok – well if they are still in the starting line up next season then we can expect more of the same mid-table results. The definition of madness is doing the same thing over and over but expecting different results!

    There are players to be found at lower levels, but it requires a skilled scouting and development team to identify, acquire and coach these individuals. I fear we do not have such a set up now and are unwilling to invest the appropriate money.
    At the other end of the scale, please no more retirement home candidates as a cheap temporary ‘solution’! It is a financial burden for the club and disheartening for youth players.

    Anyone who has coached or scouted at lower/youth levels will have seen loads of potential EPL players in their travels. Unfortunately less than 1% make it. My son was a prime example – looked like the second coming of Messi between 14-16 years old then hit his personal ceiling and that was that. It happens to the vast majority at some stage. Unfortunately Arsenal have ended up with quite a few in their teens and early 20s who have hit their ceilings. They will never improve to EPL standard unfortunately and need to be sold off to find their level. Only Saka, Martinelli and possibly ESR have shown the skill set and application to succeed thus far. The jury is still out on Nketiah, Willock and Nelson.

    One other problem is our goalkeeper – yes a problem position! Martinez is too good to remain a backup and will seek a first team spot at some stage. You can’t maintain two ‘first choice’ keepers without one getting disgruntled and wanting to move on. A choice will have to be made for next season.

    Look forward to the post on potential Championship players!

  62. Dissenter

    Caligooner
    Which of these four players has the highest transfer value?
    AMN, ESR, Willock or Guendouzi?

    Do you think any top European club will be snooping around for Willock or AMN? I left out ESR because he did do well in the Bundesliga.

  63. Dissenter

    I wish Guendouzi well.
    Every player is sellable, that’s the nature of the game. I’m sure he knows this. We sell him for good profit and move one.

  64. Guns of SF

    I hope my son peaks late . Granted he is skinny undersized 9 year old. He is a late bloomer physically so hoping he comes good as his body grows and gets stronger.

    He dreams to play for arsenal some day.

  65. Aussie Gooner

    Guns of SF

    Best wishes for your son’s development as a footballer! Unfortunately application and teenage boys often does not go together! Those that develop at a steady pace often succeed – look at Tony Adams! Who on here is old enough to remember the donkey calls (sometimes from our own supporters!) that greeted him when he made it into first 11 and made numerous mistkes? He was strong enough to overcome this and had the character to make it.

  66. Gonsterous

    Great post. I enjoyed it. I’ve always wondered why arsenal don’t buy more players from lower teams and it’s because we don’t have any one British in the club.
    Wenger always looked to the French market and abroad. Now we have raul and co who would rather pick someone up from real betis than look at the lower teams in the PL.

    On another note, I like that we are getting wins,but arteta needs to stop shouting the 90mins and just let the lads play. Let them express themselves is the phrase. Sure shouting sometimes helps but it could be counter productive when you are yelling at people for 90mins where to go, and what to do.

  67. Overmars

    It’s a shame about Guendouzi, when he had that run in the team beginning of last season, it seemed that we found a bargain of a gem.

    At the age of 21 and to have played over 80 times in 2 seasons at Arsenal is nothing to be sniffed at. He’s also made the French squad on a couple of occasions, a team that dozens of class midfielders, but hasn’t made his debut yet.

    I said this a few weeks a go on Le Grove – it’s 50/50 situation with Guendouzi in the fact that if we sell him for minimum 40 million, his stock could rise if he goes to a Dortmund, or a PSG, or an Atletico.. and he could easily become a 70 million pound player within the next 2 or 3 years. The way he’s coped in the Premier League, making the switch from Lorient at such a young age and the way he’s coped with the pressure of a fan base that compared him to a young Fabregas after 1 good performance, I think he’s over achieved.

    For now, especially if Arteta doesn’t like his attitude, it makes sense to sell him and replace him with a top quality centre mid or centre back. But I do worry that in a few years we’ll all be sitting here wondering why we let him go for so cheap.

    On the other hand, he could move to a new club and his career may fizzle out, but I doubt that. What a shame his attitude let him down.

  68. Overmars

    Just a quick note to add about Edu, Raul and co..

    They scouted Martinelli from the Brazilian second tier, Guendouzi was playing in lique 2.

    Wenger brought in Cohan Brammel a few years ago from non-league.

    So they’re more than happy to look for players from the lower leagues if they’re good enough.

  69. DivineSherlock

    Its a shame re Guendouzi but at this point I trust Arteta’s judgement more than anything . He his trying to create a culture for the team and if Guendouzi is not up to it then sell him sure.

  70. DivineSherlock

    Also Nice work done scouting .
    I would buy Saint Maximin , the guy is seriously good dribbler . We can Sell him for profit in 2 yrs time , get that money invested like Liverpool . Also you missed that Brighton LB whos starting for them now Lamptey . That kid is something.

  71. Northbanker

    What would be good if we didn’t need the money would be to loan out Guen for a year to a team like Dortmund. Give him some space to grow up and respond and then bring him back as a DM.

    But I think we will just have to accept he will appreciate in value. If we get a decent fee now of £30 – 40m and that funds a top Youngish CM (I’m assuming Torreira sale will fund Partey) then It probably puts us in a better position than we are now.

  72. Moray

    This isn’t the 90s…there is a huge gulf now between the Premiership and other divisions, in terms of fitness and professionalism. As there is with the Premiership and many other leagueS around the world.

    That’s not to say that there are gems there to be found, but the days of picking a Bould or a Dixon from the lower leagues – and giving them playing time to improve to the necessary level for what is supposed to be a top 4 club – are long gone.

    On another topic, Chelsea are owning this window. The money they saved last season during the ban for being cheating cunts is worth three to four times in the current market. Conversely, we are still paying for Pepe, who was our moon shot. Not sure of the odds on Chelsea next year but it’s surely worth a punt, so long as you spend any money won on dirty stuff like brass, drugs or genocide.

  73. Receding Hairline

    Guendouzi will move on, probably to a top club and determine how his career goes by his work rate and on pitch attitude which has been impeccable since his time here. Hopefully he is replaced with an actual footballer not just someone that “behaves well off the pitch”.

    This is personal, anyone who thinks it isn’t is kidding themselves. Its sad that those that wanted his pay doubled and team built around him are leading the attitude mob, you can actually disagree with something a coach does no matter how much you back him. Its not a cult you know.

  74. Emiratesstroller

    There is growing evidence how Arsenal plan to change the squad next season.

    GK No material change

    DF We don’t need 8 CBs. I think that the maximum number is 5. Sokratis and
    Mavripanos will be sold. Chambers or Holding will be loaned out.

    WB There is some difference of opinion here. Some think that Bellerin could
    be sold and replaced. Also whether Kolasinac should be sold. I don’t think
    Bellerin should be sold, but I agree Kolasinac is surplus to requirement if
    Saka is alternative for Tierney.

    MF Mkhitaryan and Elneny should leave permanently. Guendouzi should also
    be sold. Partey should be major acquisition. Torreira could also leave and
    be replaced. Ceballos may well stay.

    FW It seems that there will be no material changes here unless Aubameyang
    leaves which seems increasingly unlikely.

    So to conclude two possible acquisitions in MF seem the most likely scenario
    replacing Guendouzi and Torreira. Saliba and Smith-Rowe added to squad
    replacing Sokratis and either Holding or Chambers.

  75. David Smith

    Great having two very decent keepers, and now, a proper GK coach.
    One of my biggest bugbears with Wenger was his choice of GK coach once Bob Wilson, Gerry Payton, acknowledged as useless by keepers who worked under him, yet Wenger kept this inept, but grateful yes man to the bitter end,

  76. R.S.P.C.Arsenal

    North banker
    Very good point
    Loan him out let him see what he has here.. May wake n shake him

  77. Emiratesstroller

    Un na naii

    I don’t think that Saliba will be loaned out, but I do see him starting off as a bench player.

    I agree with you that if Ceballos is retained it would be better that he stays on a
    loan basis. Whether RM will agree to that is debatable.

    In any event I don’t think that the club is so impoverished that they cannot afford to buy Partey and Szoboszlai if both Guendouzi and Torreira were sold.
    Sokratis and Mavropanos would cover cost of Mari and I think that there will
    be one or two departures from academy which could generate revenues e.g.
    Balogun.

    Also I don’t think that Arsenal is as impoverished as some plead. The journalist told me yesterday that he believes that Arsenal’s cash balance is still
    over £120 million and that is considerably higher than most other clubs in EPL
    and European football.

  78. Dark Hei

    Arteta is also benching, Ozil, but nobody is up in arms.

    I like MG as a player, I think he is really good.

    But then, he isn’t some club legend that I am emotionally attached to. If he goes, he goes. If he comes good, good for him too.

  79. Graham62

    Nice to see yet another team under Mourinho enjoying themselves playing anti-football.

    The fact that this time it’s Spuds, makes it even more special.

    Can’t believe that some folk on here wanted Mourinho to come to Arsenal.

  80. Chris

    When the Mourinho Spurs relationship goes completely down the toilet (And it will) it is going to be great to watch. It is already souring.

    He is already cracking up if he is getting wound up by a tweet from Arsenal.

  81. Mr Serge

    Love the spuds implosion it’s fantastic
    Don’t like any of the rough diamonds barring Declan rice but he will be super expensive

  82. Valentin

    In my view technically Saliba is already at a level higher than all our CBs. The only thing he needs to adapt is the physical intensity and the lax refereeing standard.
    With that in mind, I can’t see the point of loaning Saliba again, especially to a foreign club. How is he going to adapt to playing in the EPL if he never plays in it.

  83. T

    I think that Pukki is by far the best player in norwich and he would easily score over 20 goals for us in a season even if he was second choise behind eddie. Also he is better at linking up play than either of our cfs and tops it of with good workrate. If he could be poached for 10-20m it would be a great bargain.

    Also jack grealish would be a great addition to the squad. The current squad really is screaming for a flamboyant but reliable beast to anchor the midfield. I think that he would make us much more reliable and resilient outift.

    Also i see no need for a playmaker. Mikel has excellent choises in pepe and saka for the coming seasons.

  84. Pierre

    Saka did score at the weekend, but his performances recently have been sporadic at best.
    I say, play him where he receives the ball in areas where he can do most damage.

    Since lockdown , I can’t remember Saka going on a mazy run with the ball and I can’t remember him putting in a delivery into the box that is his speciality.

    Arteta likes to play Tierney and Aubamayang on the left and he also likes Xhaka left /centre midfield.

    At the risk of repeating myself( but I will) , Saka creates a conundrum for Arteta, and he is no closer to solving it than he was a month ago.

    He’s played him on the right a few times and Saka looks uncomfortable there.it has been noticeable that Willock plays the right channel much better as he looks comfortable in that area of the pitch.

    It’s pointless playing Saka as a CAM as at this present time nothing goes through the middle due to the fear of losing possession and getting caught on the break.

    to be effective , Saka has to play either left wing back , left midfield or in Xhaka’s position left/centre mid.
    His immense talents are not being utilised to the full potential at the moment…give him the ball in the left channel and he will cause maximum damage.

    No doubt some on here will misinterpret this as me knocking Saka and rating Willock above Saka as a player, which couldn’t be further from the truth.

  85. Aussie Gooner

    Valentin

    Agreed

    Loaning him out again is ridiculous. We paid good money for him, he needs to get into the team now and start learning the system.

    I hope to God that Saliba hits the ground running – if he is not better than what we have at the moment – sell him now and get someone who can play NOW not in 2 years time! Despite his injury problem, I have high hopes for him

  86. Valentin

    8 CBs may seem excessive, but we have 2 longish term injury: Mori and Chambers. So until the winter TW, we have only 6 CBs with first team experience on our books: Mustafi, Luiz, Holding, Saliba, Sokratis, Mavrapanos.

    So if Arteta continue with 3 at the back and we qualify for Europe, 6 players for 3 positions does not seems too much.

    Once Pablo Mori has recovered, Kolasinac will be gone. His only advantage is that he is left footed and can play both left CB as part of a back 3 and LWB.

    I expect Sokratis to be gone once Chambers is available again.
    Mavrapanos may fetch some money from the Bundesliga, but why get rid of potential long term CB in favour of a short term player such as David Luiz.

    Of course thing will change if Arteta decide to switch back to a Back 4, promote some of the U23 players or purchase another experienced CB. The last option seems unlikely sis we can forget about Upamecano coming this summer.

  87. Sid

    Pukki is average

    Buendia is the sixth most creative player in Europe’s big five leagues
    In the EPL he is behind KDB and Trent only,
    put him next to Pepe Auba teams will be cautious
    The best defense is controlling tempo rather than having a CM chasing the ball around

  88. Emiratesstroller

    Pierre

    As I posted yesterday Saka is at the moment a “utility” player in squad with no
    set position in the team. This is no different than how Sterling was used in his
    formative years.

    It will take Saka and Arteta at least a couple of years to find the best position for him in the starting lineup. I think that Saka understands that very well,
    because he is an intelligent player and wants to play regularly in team.

  89. T

    Sid so you want another go with a younger version of ozil?? Sure buendia can dribble and pass. His defending is shit thou. 1 good stat doesnt make a good player. Pukki was voted the best player in championship 1 year ago btw. He is well above awerage.