SCOUTING BLOG: SUGGESTIONS FOR THE MYSTERY MIDFIELDER (LONG READ)

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Today we have a @mike_Mmcdonald dropping another one of his fantastic scouting reports. Enjoy!

So, Thomas Partey needs a partner.

Xhaka is apparently leaving, Ceballos has left and many wish ElNeny would too. Willock has the goals we need from midfield but does he fit? Maitland-Niles has the modern profile but it’s doubtful he gets the opportunity. Azeez looks like the profile, but is it too early?

There is, therefore, a need for at least two new additions.

Ideally, all clubs want an all-rounder. A modern player that is strong, athletic, quick, safe in possession yet deceptive to create when needed. In particular, Arsenal needs goals from midfield as this deficiency has been stark.

Alternatively, would we accept a less athletic player who had elite ability to dictate play much like Fabregas did or a player that didn’t contribute as much in the middle but consistently scored 10+ goals a season?

Also, we need to be mindful of the African Nations Cup. Partey and ElNeny are already involved. Enough of the chat. You get the picture.

I’ve broken these options down into categories. Some you will know, some you will have heard of and some you will think I’ve made up 😉

Double Pivot with Partey

If we continue with the 4-2-3-1 or go 3-4-3….

Aurelien Tchouameni Monaco (21)

When Arsenal signed Thomas Partey, I made the comment that our first observation would be that we’d want his twin brother to partner him. I still feel this way even though he has been inconsistent and his shooting resembles bonus points from another sport. I took my time to research who this person might be and then I stopped when I found Tchouameni. Oh my! Click on this video if you only click on one.

Tchouameni (pronounced Chow-main-ee) is Partey’s long lost younger brother. Where he lacks in the experience that Partey has, he equalizes that with the impressive stat of being the midfielder in Europe with (by far) the most tackles in a season with 127. In a game where transitions are king, it might be smart to take a look at the best tackler in Europe. His interceptions are top 5 in France too. Beyond the defensive side of his game, his main strength is his ability to accelerate play with a deceptive ability to turn.

With such a well-rounded game, Arsenal could use Tchouameni in any midfield formation. He has played as a DM, CM in a two or three man midfield. His athleticism would also allow Partey to go forward without fearing the back door. A fantastic option but one currently being pursued by Chelsea. If Arsenal bought a more Premier League ready midfielder as well as Tchouameni this would give him time to settle and take the pressure off a 21-year-old.

https://youtu.be/pZb9ExjTPbU

Ruben Neves Wolves (24)

There are rumours of Ruben Neves attracting our eye and even a bid being imminent. The short story is that it might cause us the same athletic issues that Xhaka does but adds the potential for goals and set plays that our midfielders currently don’t offer if he’s played further forward than Wolves have recently. I think in our minds eye we are wanting a powerful athlete. With the potential exit of at least 2 first team midfielders (plus those on loan), we may get the athlete we wish for. So, beyond this thought what is Arsenal’s other main need? I think Arsenal have to provide goals from midfield and Neves certainly offers this threat. His age profile and experience is perfect as he wouldn’t have to adapt. The fact that he isn’t African helps in January too. Capable of sitting or pushing on I see Arteta liking his versatility in this shape. Neves checks more boxes than you’d initially think and if he is the only signing I think it’s a mistake. If an athlete arrives too, it may be a very good combination.

Sambi Lokonga Anderlecht (21)

Much like Tchouameni, Lokonga is the athletic profile that Arsenal need. Lokonga is currently a hidden gem but could come out of the woods soon. Axel Witzel may not make the Euros and this may elevate Lokonga’s opportunities for Belgium. A long legged, powerful central midfielder with impressive ball-winning ability. His passing range is equally impressive both short and quick and long-range too. His game reminds me of Diawara at Roma who I am a fan of.

Arsenal could use Lokonga as a DM but that might be a lot of responsibility for a 21-year-old. A CM in a double pivot would suit better, I feel. I’d use him as a rotational player who would gradually earn his starting spot. My concern is that Thierry Henry has recommended him. I’m not concerned about Henry’s scouting tip but more Arteta’s stubbornness and a feeling that I have that he wants to come across as his own man.

Zambo Anguissa Fulham (25)

Sometimes I feel that a kit can distract from an opinion. I watched Zambo Anguissa many times for Fulham this year and I found myself arguing over whether he was good enough for Arsenal. When I do this I try to imagine a player in the Arsenal kit. When I did this with Anguissa I felt good. I saw his line-breaking one-touch passes and reminded myself that Arsenal simply don’t have this option. I saw his incredible dribbling stats of which he is elite. I see his power, technical confidence and strength and I start to pine for him.

His age and PL experience primes him for this opportunity and would be an intelligent signing. Perhaps his greatest asset is his versatility giving Arsenal the choice to use him as a DM, CM or even AM. He can also play in a two or a three as a more conservative or ambitious midfielder. With Fulham going down his price will be attractive too.

Nicolo Barella Inter Milan (24)

Ordinarily, this would be impossible as Barella has had a great season at a club that won honours and will be in the CL next season. Conte left Inter as they are having to sell and so a player like Barella may become accessible. The risk with any Italian player is that they don’t tend to travel well.

Regardless, Barella is a top player. A tigerish CM who has elbowed his way into a very competitive Italian national team due to his all-round game and reliability. A technically excellent midfielder who will remind you of the much loved Cazorla as he switches the ball from right to left with such natural confidence. At Arsenal he could play as a playmaker or likely in a two but with his elite technical level he could play anywhere. Such fun to watch so take a look…

Playmaker

Do we match a physical player with an elegant player….?

Frenkie DeJong Barcelona (24)

I have a hunch.

Barcelona are hugely in debt and may well have to sell a big name. Beyond Arteta’s apparent powers of persuasion, I have no idea why DeJong would choose Arsenal. I do however think that Arsenal think that they could get this level of player and would try.

DeJong is the poster boy for modern-day possession football. Schooled at the best school at Ajax he not only passes and moves with such fluency but he has the most important ability that separates the good from the great… scanning. Cesc had it. All the best midfielders scan for color and have a picture of their next move. Some see DeJong as just a DM but he’s played CM/#8 and Centre Back at Barcelona as he reads the game so well.

If Arsenal were to snag him, he would be the quarterback, the centre of it all. He’d bring a tempo that is currently absent and we’d be getting a player moving into his prime years. Wishful thinking.

Maxence Caqueret Lyon (21)

This starlet is likely going to the very top. A delightful playmaker who matches intelligence with youthful energy and a fearlessness that ignores his small physique. He reminds of Modric, similar physique and abilities. Caqueret offers versatility which would suit our hybrid coach. He has played in all of the midfield positions but favours the playmaker role. As willing as ElNeny is to always be available but has far more desire to be progressive. I’d see him at Arsenal in a two with Partey or as the DM in a three. His versatility will make him a favoured pick in modern football. Oh, and he looks like Tintin.

https://youtu.be/GBue1g-z5-g

Matheus Martinelli Fluminense (19)

You may have heard this name. He has been linked back in May. He would be a project player much like his namesake or even seen as a Brazilian companion for him.

MM is a deep-lying playmaker with superb vision, range of passing, ability to read the game, tactical intelligence and elegance on the ball. He matches these eye-catching qualities with a modern work ethic and most certainly a very reasonable price.
He would likely be 4th or 5th choice or loaned out but one cheaper project player is always welcomed. Only major concern is whether his development would be prioritized ahead of Azeez. Fine, but he’s got to be better.

Hybrid versatile

Arteta seems to prefer hybrid players so as to confuse the opponent…..

Marcel Sabitzer Leipzig (27)

If there is a player in World Football that has played as many positions as Saka, it’s Sabitzer. He’s been seen at right back, DM, CM, #10 but mostly as a #8 with freedoms to use his full skillset. I find describing Sabitzer difficult as he can largely do everything but doesn’t seem to have a standout skill. One that probably fits the description as simply ‘a very good footballer.’ Due to this reliability, he has a high level of consistency. If one area of his game is temporarily deficient then he can lean into another area. Similar to Ramsey he offers a true goal-scoring threat both in and out of the box. Arteta would love his hybrid profile and could use him as an option to ESR or in a midfield three or a two with Partey. Moving into his prime years, do we give a four year contract to a 27 year old though?

Eduardo Camivinga Rennes (18)

You will have heard of Camivinga as the rumours started back in April or you will have seen Camivinga and wondered why he’d choose Arsenal. Arsenal might be a smart choice for Camivinga as we would be the next level for him as he is clearly got the potential to play at the elite level. He is a bouncy midfielder with a skillset that often looks more suited to the wing. A rapid change of pace as he frequently beats opponents to burst between the lines. A highly impressive list of defensive numbers with both his ability to regain and retain as well as intercept. I’m sure Arteta would like his left foot as if we lose Xhaka this would offer balance. If Arsenal were able to beat out the world’s elite to this supreme talent, he could play either as a true DM, CM in a two or three. I’d favour using his abilities to accelerate play as an 8 as the PL might be a test for a DM wanting to run with the ball.

Manuel Locatelli Sassuolo (23)

This guy has a fan club. There are many educated fans that I know that put Locatelli at the top of their wishlist. He is a bombastic midfielder. The type that gets the crowd to their feet. Tall, fast and with a love for slide tackling. Not just any slide tackle though. The one where he wraps his foot around it like Vieira did and run off with it. His versatility is more in his skillset than in his career path to date as he has been either a true DM or CM. Beyond the defensive side to his game, his offensive game is equally impressive. He has the most progressive passes per 90 in Europe with 12.89. 2nd was Cesc who is still threading the needle at Monaco. Much like Barella it is often hard to see an Italian translating his levels abroad and Locatelli is high on the list for Juve. If Arsenal were to snag him he would be a trusted lieutenant next to Partey in a two, I believe.

Federico Valverde Real Madrid (22)

Valverde is another that falls into the category of possibly being on the market to raise big money for a club in big debt. There is no way otherwise that Real would sell him. They will try to get money for Hazard and a few others first but they may have to sell a younger player. Valverde is a powerful central midfielder with a small yet explosive stride. A strong guy whose build would see him comfortably compete in the PL and add the needed power and athleticism to our midfield. His fee would be high and the fact that his Uruguayan international colleague struggled at Arsenal may be against us, but his versatility to play in all the midfield positions would make him very appealing to Arsenal.

https://youtu.be/KZjCYTHNx3w

8’s

If we go 4-3-3…..

Houssem Aouar Lyon (22)

A player from the Wenger era. Could we go back to a diminutive technical player? Aouar didn’t have the best season for Lyon and does have a tendency to hide when the going gets tough. He did however score 7 goals in 23 appearances and these are goals that Arsenal may need. He can play out wide left as a floating 10 or as I prefer, as an 8 in a 4-3-3. Arsenal do need a technical upgrade in midfield and Aouar was favoured last summer, so there is a decent chance that we go back, especially for the lower quoted price of 25-30M.

Ryan Gravenberch Ajax (19)

Gravenberch is a left 8. Watch the video and you may well see Pogba in his Juve days. He is tall and narrow and describes himself as a ‘snake’ and watching him you can see why. He is the king of evading challenges and married with his delightful touch and elite passing range, it is no wonder that he has been trusted at such a young age. Gravenberch has the necessary athletic ability to be a big upgrade in this area on Ceballos and Xhaka. He is also a set piece expert. With his broad skillset, Arsenal could move him into a two man midfield but it is as an 8 that he has flourished as he feels the freedom to accelerate the play.

https://youtu.be/keufdvvrDLg

Joey Veerman Heerenveen (22)

Veerman will be a new name to most, but like Koopmeiners and other players playing in the Eredivsie, they are becoming increasingly valued. Veerman is ordinarily an attacking midfielder and may prove to be an ideal backup to ESR, but I see qualities that would play him as an 8. His 17 goals and assists are eye-catching, albeit in a weaker league. What is more eye catching however is the video below. I always look for a players instincts, their first thought. Veerman’s is to create. This is how I feel about Buendia (tear) too. Veerman has such glorious composure and passing range too. At a price below 10M, he would make a good rotational option for both a three-man midfield option and as an AM.
My prediction is that Joey Veerman will end up being a top player.

https://youtu.be/89IccmHGSUg

Xhaka replacements/Lefties

If Arteta wants a left footed CM to compliment a rightie…..

Fabian Ruiz Napoli (25)

Many have seen Ruiz as a Xhaka upgrade for quite a while. Similar passing ability and aggression but with a little more pace and goal assistance. Ruiz also possesses quicker feet and is more skillful. He has a greater turning ability and hips that allow him to turn and accelerate, which is something Xhaka simply doesn’t have. Arsenal could use Ruiz in a double pivot and could comfortably have him hold in the back four as Xhaka does, but you lose his goal threat this way. In a 4-3-3, he would likely sit on the left but could play deepest.
Even though Napoli to Arsenal isn’t too much of a stretch, there would be others interested with a higher current standing.

https://youtu.be/fal6qEBbgUU

Saul Niguez Athletico Madrid (26)

Even more of a long shot than Ruiz due to price and stature, but I’m thinking that Arsenal will actually go big on one or two players. Awaiting disappointment, I know. Niguez is an old fashioned player in my eyes. Back to the days when your central midfielders had to be all rounders. He can do it all…. Defend, quickness, dribble, pass, strength etc… An added advantage would be immediate chemistry with Partey. Arsenal could use him in any midfield configuration and in multiple roles. A bit of a dream signing.

Teun Koopmeiners AZ Alkmaar (23)

The closest Xhaka replica in Europe. A natural leader. Great passing range (outstanding in fact), strength and commitment. Unfortunately, he is slow like Xhaka but quicker to turn as his hips aren’t as wooden. Been captain of various teams. Played CB for 1/2 a season too. I’d be ok keeping Xhaka if we added another athlete so I’d say the same for Koopmeiners. He could play in a two or three but would have to have legs next to him.

True DM

I think the original ‘Partey plan’ was to get a DM so as to make him box to box….

Yves Bissouma Brighton (24)

Why are so many Arsenal fans pining for Bissouma?
I’d say because he is the closest to perfection that we need. He’s motivated to join, has outstanding regain and retain ability, understands where space is, has ability to move the ball rapidly and win it back with the same adjective, has great feet (used to play AM at Lille) and is in our price range. Perhaps the biggest benefits for me are the fact that he doesn’t have to adapt to PL football and the fact he’d give wings to Partey who could trust his athletic ability and go forward. Only downside is that currently he is going to the AFCON in January (as is Partey), but that would be up to the club to secure coverage rather than a reason not to buy. Although he’s a true DM, his experience and feet could see him play in any midfield formation at Arsenal.

Guido Rodriguez Real Betis (27)

I like the look of Rodriguez. I just wish he was 25.
A very well balanced athlete with anticipation to match. Will be the fittest player in your team too. His right foot is like a 5 iron and his defensive posture is unmatched, allowing him to win more tackles than most. Arsenal will need to regain aerial ability as Xhaka is good in the air and Partey, although tall, isn’t. Guido is strong in the air and built like a CB which helps.
Arsenal seem interested in him and so I wonder if we move 4-3-3 as he is almost exclusively a true DM.

Florentino Luis Monaco (on loan from Benfica) (21)

One you likely haven’t heard of. One you likely will very soon. Luis is a hidden gem much like many that start in Portugal. A true DM and the closest I’ve seen to Bissouma. Nicknamed the ‘Portuguese Makelele’ Luis is a tenacious tackler, a wall. He matches this with elegance and vision and a natural engine. Arsenal, in my opinion, need to invest in one of these many younger central midfielders/DM’s either way, and Luis would be a wise choice. With his rounded skillset he could also play in a two.

Young and potentially elite

A project player or maybe another player of Saka’s quality….

Credit to @footballtalentscout for some of this info.

Carney Chukwuemeka Aston Villa (17)

Many who follow Academy football will firstly know that Villa have a good team. They may also share the opinion that Chukwuemeka may well be the best young Academy player in England.
Chukwuemeka is a powerful, skillful and creative box-to-box midfielder. A player with physical strength, power and stamina.. An absolute all rounder. A midfielder who can perform at all of the midfield positions and plays particularly well after the pass and between the lines. What separates him from many others is that he impacts the game at both the ends of the pitch. It would be bold for Arsenal to immediately trust a 17 year old at CM but maybe a purchase then loan may suit.

Lesley Ugochukwu Rennes (17)

An imposing midfielder at such a tender age playing on the same team as the widely lauded Camivinga. We are all aware now that France have the most depth in talent than any other nation. So, it may be a while before we hear about Ugochukwu. The smart scout identifies this and buys a handful of French talents as they are cheaper because there is a backlog of opportunities. A modern, aggressive player with impressive calmness and decision making in the hardest area to play. Like Chukwuemeka, a purchase then loan would be the best for his development.

Illaix Moriba Barcelona (18)

The last player but maybe the one we see at the Emirates. Moriba is being tracked by Arsenal. His contract is up in 2022 and could represent the bargain of the window as he has the ability to become the best of the best. This is evidenced by the trust he was given this season in playing in 14 games. His style is much like Pogba’s, a mixture of the physical attributes to defend with dominance and attack with skill and flair. Arsenal are trying to take advantage of his contractual situation and Barcelona’s financial mess. If he came to Arsenal he would be trusted as a starting CM, most likely in a double pivot with Partey.
Is Moriba the reason we are stalling on Bissouma?

https://youtu.be/e603zhNazgY

What I would do?

I’d rebuild the midfield. Every other area of our team has been modernized in most areas except midfield. If it meant sacrificing other purchases, I’d do it. I’d sell Xhaka and Elneny alongside the exits of Torreira, Guendouzi and Ceballos. I’d bring Willock back as an option. Even if we didn’t play the 4-3-3 to suit him, I’d keep him as a hugely useful impact sub when exposing your central areas isn’t a priority and have Willock making deep runs into the box. The money we could get is tempting but Arsenal have almost zero goals from midfield so I think it’s crazy to sell the one who can provide this. If we had goals, maybe different. I’d bring back AMN into pre season to see if he can provide an option as a CM or try to convince him to be my starting RB rather than play for Watford.

My first purchase would be Yves Bissouma. No doubt. Would give Partey wings.

My second purchase would be James Ward Prowse. A far better player than given credit for but the main reason for the signing is his world class set plays. Arsenal average 12 set plays per game either corners or free kicks in the final third. His delivery is so good that it would give you 8 more opportunities per game if we can sign a new set piece coach to work with him. With a player so deadly it would give more dribbling freedom to Pepe and Saka etc.. as opponents would be wary of fouling them.
Depending on whether AMN shows me he can be an option or not, I’d sign Aurelien Tchouameni. I’d bleed him into the PL slowly with a view to starting him in January when Partey and Bissouma go to AFCON.

That’s a re-modelled midfield of Thomas Partey, Yves Bissouma, James Ward Prowse, Joe Willock and Ainsley Maitlind Niles or Aurelien Tchouameni.

Net spend = 45M to upgrade our midfield.

I’d also sign Joey Veerman but as an option to ESR, allowing Smith Rowe to be the alpha which he deserves.

What I think Arsenal will do:

I think Arsenal will sign Ruben Neves and Iliax Moriba. I think we will also sign Houssem Aouar as an option to ESR and as a movable piece in the three behind the striker.

Thanks for reading!

If you enjoy my transfer pieces, you might enjoy my post-match reviews, Arsenal quizzes and writing for The Gooner Fanzine. You can follow my work @mike_Mmcdonald

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348 Comments
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Northbanker

1st

Northbanker

now I’ll do what everyone else seems to and read the post second

raptora

Okay

raptora

Lul

Mark S

Good morning

S Asoa

7 Closest to heave

OCGooner

8th is the new 4th, ugh

Champagne Charlie

Nice speculative bunch. I think Arsenal need to be mindful of what they lose with Xhaka and replace the passing volume and progression he offered – the ‘goals from midfield’ is overblown imo. Mikel Merino or Ruben Neves to replace Xhaka for me. Both PL-proven and with a profile that fits our needs. Second to that we should have options to allow us varying approaches, whether that’s a double-pivot or lone #6 type. For that I can see Bissouma being the sort of player to come in, or the Belgian fella recently linked for less. That way we’d have two… Read more »

DivineSherlock

Mike

Thats a very well written and researched piece of blog ! Well done. What you present as what we should do and what Arsenal will do is both fine by me personally . I’d still send Azeez on loan to Brighton/Leeds type team on season long. My worry is that Arsenal would go for Pjanic from Barca and Bring Ødegaard back and retain Willock.

Ollie

I actually think Pepe is going to explode next year. I think Arteta has (finally) worked out how best to use him and it’s always been obvious that he’s a talented player. I’m very excited about what he can bring to the table next season. With a better midfield (hopefully) by the start of the season, I think we can be cautiously optimistic about our chances of a good season.

Useroz

Thanks Mike for the write up. Some sensible options there that address our dire needs in MF.. Watched 2 clips in the past and will find time to see the others….

Sadly though, I bet the piece covers way more than what the ruthlessly process-centric Edu and Artera know. Let alone Vinai and Richard G…

Danny

Thanks @mike_Mmcdonald, a long and interesting read plus a lot of food for thought, here’s hoping for some good solid transfers.

S Asoa

Thanks Pedro for the research you have done to put up a scholarly piece today

MidwestGun

Good write up Mike. Informative.
Except one thing.

“Arteta seems to prefer hybrid players so as to confuse the opponent…..”
_____________
Arteta seems to prefer hybrid players so as to confuse, himself.

There fixed it for you. 😀

andy1886

WEagle, like your summary of England’s prospects. Agree entirely, that Stirling and Rashford are weak points, both very average at the international level. The other thing that people forget is that the winners of Group D (England’s group) play the second team from Group F in the last sixteen. That would be one of France, Portugal or possibly Germany. England are too dumb to contrive to finish second so if it all goes according to the seedings I expect us to be out at the first knockout stage. Other prediction – Kane to be rubbish and see his transfer value… Read more »

salparadisenyc

I’d like to see: Lacazette and Nketiah sold with Martinelli and Balogun played thru middle. Rodrigo De Paul, Aouar or Ødegaard. I’d love Barella to partner Partey or play further up but he’s going to a bigger club if he goes, Bissouma looks a no brainer which greatly reduces odds well see him, big love for Anquissa. Got lots of stick for proposing Brozović last summer, he certainly didn’t disappoint this season. Bellerin replacement- Mukiele , Aarons or Centonze. CB has to be massive priority, we have many but not the standout leader, Denayer looks a real unit having progressed… Read more »

salparadisenyc

Great post by the way Mike!

Champagne Charlie

Nabil Fekir getting mentioned as a player we “like” by the twitterati

S Asoa

CC
Might be a coincidence, but the decline of Arsenal was accelerated since Xaka was signed. His attributes were to pause, think, think again, lose the ball and foul. Or to pass backward after taking 2 steps fore. The guy made Arsenal predictable and ponderous.
Let us see how the future finally unfolds. We lost the opportunity 2 seasons back.. The first mistake of Arteta seeking a comfort blanket

WengerEagle

Fuck me that is a fantastic write up, give yourself a pat on the back Mike.

Pedro’s best guest writer imo.

Dream10

Thanks Mike. Different array of CMs.

My choice would be two: Tchouameni and Anguissa. They can both play with either Partey, Elneny or together.

Mr Serge

Ok I would take any 4 of the players above lol

Mr Serge

What a scouting report top work now go get us them

Dream10

Keep Willock and Niles in the squad. Sell Cedric and Kolasinac. Let Niles and Saka be the backup wingbacks and fullbacks.

Partey, Anguissa, Tchouameni, Anguissa, Elneny, Willock and Niles is a nice complementary CM unit which is affordable. Next summer go for Caqueret to replace Elneny

DivineSherlock

Van de Beek should be in that list too. Absolutely hate how he is wasted at Utd.

Moray

Interesting review.

I do hope, if we have some funds available, we will look to invest in some future talent at bargain prices.

Dream10

Tchouameni has a higher ceiling than Neves. Better paying 40m for the one who will wanted by PSG and Real at 25

Vintage Gun

Good write up Mike. Some real food for thought there.

I too think we need at least two CM players this window and that Bissouma should be one of them regardless of a 4-2-3-1 or 4-3-3 formation

If Arteta does decide on a 4-3-3 then i could see Aouor as the other CM signing. Bissouma central with Party to the right and Aouor to the left.

Very interesting to see how it all unfolds

Dream10

Chelsea were linked to Tchouameni a couple of months ago. Probably a Tuchel recommendation. Haaland and Tchouameni is a quality window

WengerEagle

Andy Yeah haha they will top the group. Tough ask to beat one of those sides, give them the best chance of beating Germany. France are everyone’s favourites and rightly so but they traditionally are prone to self-implosion/in house tournament shithousery every couple of tournaments which is interesting to note. Could anyone really imagine before the 2002 World Cup that they wouldn’t win a single game and finish bottom of the group? World and European Champions/holders. Prime Zidane, Henry, Vieira, Makelele, Thuram, Trezeguet, etc. Wouldn’t shock me in the least if Kane struggles, Rooney always did. Funnily enough Michael Owen… Read more »

Leftside

Great read this work, good work Mike and Pedro for facilitating it

WengerEagle

Charlie

Still have love for Fekir.

I wouldn’t pay out the ass for him though, would have to be a bargain deal.

WengerEagle

Dream

What does your ideal summer ins look like?

Dream10

Wenger Eagle

Arteta and Fekir will clash on Day 3. By November we’ll be linked to 323 creative players after the club briefs Ornstein that the recent arrival is worse than the plague

CG

Supermac must have been read my post yesterday.

Ward Prowse all day long.

Natural leader, don’t get injured , takes the best set pieces since Beckham and good old fashioned pro.

Kaz

Nice write up Mike.

Glad to see Anguissa was mentioned, he’d be phenomenal for us.

A lot of good names there but we all know Arsenal will disappoint us. It’s nice to dream.

Vintage Gun

“Keep Willock and Niles in the squad. Sell Cedric and Kolasinac. Let Niles and Saka be the backup wingbacks and fullbacks.” The problem there is the fact that AMN doesn’t see himself as a full back. Hence he went to West Brom-the only team in the division that would entertain the idea of playing him as a CM. The outcome??? Fat Sam telling him to pipe down and play FB upon your return to Arsenal. Get rid and move on. Same for those saying bring back Torreiea not understanding that he hates it here. Since his dream move to Boca… Read more »

Dream10

WE
– new manager

– RB (someone fast and athletic), sell Bellerin

– new CB (sell Holding, sell Gabriel, keep Saliba & Mavropanos)

Two new CMs, Partey, Elneny, Willock and Niles

New #10 to replace Ødegaard

(Wide guy to replace replace William/Nelson)

How about yours?

China1

Very good article

I didn’t watch all the vids but that Barca kid looks a bit special. Something about that lad. Considering his age on contract and Barca being fucked I’d test the waters tbh

Obviously not only him but if he could be got for sub 20m I think I’d be for it. Then put more money on an established player like Bissouma

DivineSherlock

China

Ilaix Moriba is a baller , press resistant and very good at interceptions . Gem , I should say we should be all over him .

China1

I like your claim that camavinga looks like a winger

If he wasn’t constantly winning tackles you’d be convinced he was a wing forward. He looks hilarious out of place at CM. Then comes another great challenge lol

China1

How much are we talking for moriba and camavinga combined

That midfield would be fire lol. With camavinga and moriba’s offensive threat combined with ESR, saka, Pepe and Martinelli we would be fooking dangerous and we’d also have a nice bunch of options in terms of how we choose to set up and formations

If both could be had for 60m all in I’d probably say fuck it and do it lol. From selling xhaka and any combination of amn, willock, torreira Guen or el Neny you could quite easily break even or be quids in haha

China1

Neves may or may not be a decent player. But he sure as hell isn’t a very exciting one considering the players out there. All seems a bit uninspired if we go for him, even tho I won’t judge the guy properly without giving him a fair crack

The thought of it is pretty meh, tho I have to say. It would be very arsenal to pay a solid chunk of money for meh, so it’s probably to be expected

Dream10

Villarreal interested in Bellerin. Good move for him to CL club. But problem is they don’t big transfer fees.

WengerEagle

Lol Dream at #1 on the list, would be dreamland I am afraid. – New CM x2 Anguissa and Gravenberch would be my ideal two. Also like Bissouma, Locatelli (looks Juve bound), Pellegrini. – CAM Rodrigo de Paul my top pick. Would also like any of Aouar, Mattheus Pereira, Nkunku, Raphina (pipe dream). – RB Any of Mazraoui, Baku, Mukiele, Dubois, Aarons fit the profile. Back up LB- I like Antonee Robinson off of Fulham. Athletic, young, good on both sides of the ball and decent delivery. Would love another wideman too but can’t see us signing that many players.… Read more »

Tom

I’d take England’s talent and put it against anyone in Europe, but Southgate and the weight of the whole nation’s expectations is against them.

WE, shocking on the surface but if I remember correctly France lost Zidane and Pires to injuries, both Vieira and Henry had just completed the Arsenal double and were spent, and some of the other key players were on the wrong side of 32.

Left Testicle

Nice work Mike.

Rich

De Jong seems optimistic, there’d be a line around the block if he became available, there’s no way we’d get a free shot, and there’s surely no way he’d choose us Nice dream though…. Bernardo Silva is apparently leaving City, he’d be a brilliant partner for Partey I’d rather a press resistant technician, rather than a ball winner Someone who can take the ball in tight areas, beat the press, and create overloads, and who can also dictate the tempo from deep when teams cede possession Bernardo Silva is at a good age and level of experience, could be ripe… Read more »

WengerEagle

Valid points Tom and I forgot about Zizou but not to win a single group game? It was shocking with their talent and experience.

gambon

I like most of the options mentioned, but you lost me at “keep AMN”

Hes a very average player. Wants to be a CM, but as a CM he is relegation/championship level.

Best to let him go before everyone else realises this.

Captain Tierney

Excellent report. Top top work. Also reiterate the points I have been making about Neves, Locatelli and Bissouma. Would have loved to see Mike’s take on Neuhaus. One thing we , the lovers of the beautiful passing game tend to underestimate the importance of set-plays. Managers have won trophies relying heavily on set-pieces to score. And James ward Prowse is a CHEAT CODE. Probably the best set piece taker in world football. We’ll have to change our style of play a little bit but the threat he offers from set pieces is phenomenal. A Midfield 3 of Partey, JWP, ESR/Moriba/Aouar… Read more »

Dream10

WE

De Paul is a name I always forget. Seen you and Batisuta mention him on here regularly. Quality player.
I like Mukiele. He is a versatile defender and athletic.
Gravenberch is one of those Dutch wonder kids?
———–

Rich

Atletico want Bernardo and City like Saul. They could do some sort of swap

TT

It will be between Germany, Spain and France. England haven’t a snowballs hope in hell. Over rated by the English media and hyped up by their own fans. The talent simply is not there. As you can see by English players being a minority in their own top league.

Of the 3 I hope France win it. Best players all around and exiting to watch. But as someone wrote earlier the French sometimes defeat them self’s like the Dutch do all the time.

WengerEagle

Warde-Prowse doesn’t quite do it for me, good player but Southampton will want a fortune for him.

Rich

Apparently Villa looking at James Ward-Prowse

If they get Ward-Prowse + Buendia from the same of Grealish, then that’ll be clever business

Almuniasaynomore

Mike McDonald
I thoroughly enjoyed that,thank you very much. I’m not sure opening our eyes to the wealth of talent is going to be anything other than a painful tease for Arsenal fans,but it is comforting to know that options are available should we accidentally do anything right. Fair play,that was a huge undertaking and a very easy read.

Ishola70

This line “give Partey wings”

It can give him wings in the sense of operating more freely in CM and a bit further up but anyone hoping that he is going to be an offensive weapon with another midfielder added are going to be disappointed.

Arsenal are still going o have to lean on the ACM heavily for that.

Tom

Arsenal signing more than three players in key positions and that’s a ready made excuse for getting off a slow start next season Pedro and other generational brigade members would use.
Sorry Pedro but you know it’s true.

Ishola70

Tom

The season just passed has shown that excuses can be made continuously for ultimate failure.

It’s never ending and exhaustive.

gambon

Yeah, Im not sure where this narrative that Partey is a B2B comes from.

Hes a very good DM that has a passing range. He’s no Gundogan/Ruiz type.

For me, Partey is our Fernandinho. Our other CMs should be ahead of him.

If you want Bissouma, then sell Partey. They would do the same job.

Kegunner

Great post. Locatelli is superb can cover Ceballos and Xhaka. Reality is Ceballos is good at passing and possession. Xhaka is great at progressive passes. Locatelli does both and is good at passing with both feet. He also plays like Pires by rolling the ball on the touch line plus has Viera’s engine and his shot technic keeps the ball low. Perfect player just hope Arsenal notice.

englandsbest

Can’t comment on likely or recommended additions because I know nothing about any of them apart from Willock and AMN. Fully agree we should keep them both.

Certainly a re-balancing of midfield is top of the list. But, for me almost as needful is a GK comfortable with the Arteta style. A safe pair of hands who can also distribute the ball swiftly and intelligently.

Guns of SF

Excellent piece. A+ grade.

Leftside

Do we have to sell to buy? If so we’re probably waiting for the Xhaka deal to go through before we see any movement. Must be noted that the window officially opens tomorrow.

Left Testicle

But, for me almost as needful is a GK comfortable with the Arteta style. A safe pair of hands who can also distribute the ball swiftly and intelligently.
>>>>>>>>>>>>>
Martinez at Villa would fit the bill! Just saying. 🙂

Marko

More than a few on that scouting list that are too good for us/don’t have a chance of signing

Almuniasaynomore

Kroenkephobe You lost me this morning, had no idea where you and Sid were taking that musical conversation, I thought I had an eclectic taste but you guys and Tony make me feel damn ignorant. Even the John Brown’s body had me stumped until I realised I had learned that song as ‘the battle hymn of the republic’ many years ago. Liked it, well done. Can you expand on the reference to GG’s mother or was it a rival fans chant in which case you can leave it be? The scouting report is class, isn’t it, Rice was excluded, presume… Read more »

Tom

WE
It was shocking but that can happen when you fail to get a result in your first group game , and Senegal were tailor made to give France problems in 2002.
Young, athletic with a lot of talented and hungry players that just burst on the international scene.
Once you lose the first game the pressure is on.
Henry’s red card in the second game didn’t help, but Zidane and Pires were just too big of misses ( Pires had a monster year for Arsenal) to overcome.

Marko

I’m going to go out on a limb here and suggest that there’s no actual plan for the transfer window. Seems very scatterbrained the targets don’t really fit a proper narrative or style. Very Wenger esq

Guns of SF

Bissouma along with any of those would be an upgrade. Still not excited about Neves or JWP- both of these are lightweights and slow.
We need to super charge our CM’s with highly athletic types. Most listed check that box. The Barca kid looks promising.

I do think Aouar is someone Arteta fancies. Not sure how much Aouar wants us, it at all tho

Tom

“For me, Partey is our Fernandinho. Our other CMs should be ahead of him.“

Yup

Champagne Charlie

“Might be a coincidence, but the decline of Arsenal was accelerated since Xaka was signed. His attributes were to pause, think, think again, lose the ball and foul. Or to pass backward after taking 2 steps fore.” He progresses the ball better than any player in the team, he does so at a rate up there with the best in Europe. When you have to invent faults you should just stop short because it’s a piece written in spite. David Luiz will also be missed by Arsenal unless we replace his ability to build from the back. Again, you can… Read more »

Hoksilato

Salparadise

Following eagerly FC Metz in NYC ? (re.Centonze)
Made me laugh : my boyhood club / region …

Vintage Gun

Do we have to sell to buy? If so we’re probably waiting for the Xhaka deal to go through before we see any movement.”

Good question. If so then the “Summer of investment” by KSE is the usual ‘Be excited’ BS just rebranded with the same results.

If they don’t invest after the last season and ESL fiasco then they never will.

TR7

Don’t know about incomings but at least we are getting rid of players that we absolutely needed to offload – Willian, Xhaka and Mustafi.

Marko

Xhaka’s shite good riddance says alot about him that during his time at the club that we’ve gotten worse not better and that when it came time for him to leave the only clubs to come close to signing him were the likes of Hertha Berlin and Roma. Garbage player onwards and upwards hopefully now that he’s gone

Ishola70

The thing is Partey hasn’t really impressed defensively either. May have to just see him as a CM operator bang in the middle and a little further up. There is a huge fixation now with athleticism now I see. It’s understandable because of having Xhaka all these years but most of these players mentioned are going to give better physical attributes in the middle than Xhaka even a Neves. And remember a player that runs around a lot isn’t necessarily the most effective over a more efficient player with the ball. People kept going on about that boy Zakaria and… Read more »

Tom

CC, Xhaka at this rate probably gets blamed for global warming and his exit is the only solution at this point…..both parties need a fresh start.
Having said that , I blame him for Arsenal losing to Villarreal.
He plays that game at LB so painstakingly masterminded by Arteta and Arsenal win 10:1

DigitalBob

Great informative piece Mike, thanks very much!

A lot of food for thought! Some ambitious options in there with De Jong and Camavinga.

I’m also a fan of keeping Willock and pursuing Ward Prowse, especially if he can be had for the fees being touted in the media.

AFCON is certainly a factor and may be the reason why we’ve gone cold on Bissouma.

Ishola70

We definitely suffered with Xhaka despite his “progressive” passing.

Then main suffering was that Xhaka was not capable to step up to centre midfield in traffic from his deep areas.

You can play deep midfield but you also need to have the ability to step up to the middle as well and Xhaka couldn’t offer us that to anyway near what is required if you want a competitive midfield.

It hurt the team badly.

Guemboozy

Breaking news. Arsenal bit 24 million for Aouar https://twitter.com/john_potts1/status/1402256656025665547?s=19

salparadisenyc

Hoksilato

Haha my moms family comes from Strasbourg, always kept up with French leagues to certain extent.
Some real ballers have come out the Metz academy, Pires for starters!

China1

This England team will probably win fuck all but nothing much to do with a lack of talent. You don’t need a 30 awesome players like France to win. Only 15 or so will actually play in any given competition. Teams like France having so many great players doesn’t help at all once the number breaks 25 or so. It’s a law of diminishing returns. Our best 11 is probably winning nothing but it’s not THAT far behind Frances best 11. Sancho sterling and Kane as a front 3 for example with grealish and saka off the bench. It’s *capable*… Read more »

Marko

Wow John Potts… with all them followers and credentials it must be true

Vintage Gun

“I’m going to go out on a limb here and suggest that there’s no actual plan for the transfer window. Seems very scatterbrained the targets don’t really fit a proper narrative or style. Very Wenger esq”

No sooner have you said that, AMN has gone to the Telegraph saying that nobody at Arsenal has spoke to him regarding his future and he would like clarity on what they have planned for him.

Sounds scattergunish…

Ronald

So the world didn’t end with Buendia

Marko

No sooner have you said that, AMN has gone to the Telegraph saying that nobody at Arsenal has spoke to him regarding his future

I saw that. I mean are we surprised? They’ll spend most of the summer not making a decision on the likes of AMN Nketiah and Willock while we need money coming in for transfers

Gentlebris

The only reason Guen and Torriera are not topping the list above is because we already have them. People would keep throwing up average all summer long and then wonder why we are so average when the season begins. Our rivals are looking at Haaland, Sancho and the likes…and we are suppose to be looking at Tchouamani to take us forward? We have no right to complain when fans from other clubs call Arsenal a joke cos they don’t do it as much as we do it ourselves. This is no time to scout…this is time to invest in proven… Read more »

Champagne Charlie

Tom

I don’t disagree, just not about to play this game where we’re ridding the club of “useless” assets (who actually provided value to the first team) only to cry foul a year later because the improvement isn’t meteoric. It’s embarrassing.

We’ve scored 56 and 55 goals the last two PL campaigns, and that isn’t because we had Luiz and Xhaka at CB/CM. Both of them excel at getting the ball into advanced areas, where we’ve managed to do fuck all else but return mid table numbers of chances and goals.

Bertie Mee

Very fine article Mike . Loads of ideas and food for thought . I saw Barella play for Cagliari when I was in Florence and was very impressed. He was more gettable then. Bissouma is a perfect partner for Partey but I also like Gravenberch and Moriba . Arsenal need to become a stepping stone to acquire top players and hope their financial clout will increase to keep elite players happy . That might be too subtle for KSE TT Not sure what country you are from. England ( in some positions) is overflowing with top talent – Grealish ,… Read more »

salparadisenyc

“Breaking news. Arsenal bit 24 million for Aouar”

Not that his word is golden but didn’t Pornstein say Arsenal have gone off the Aouar boil, alluded to poor mentality?

Which really has Arteta written all over it.

China1

I’m not sold on Aouar but at least if it was 25m then the potential upside could make it worth the risk. I’d take that if it’s true

Guns of SF

Aulas will screw Edu again.
will want close to Buen money

China1

Charlie having a rubbish midfield has absolutely made a difference to our goal scoring and chance creation. It’s not only n10s and wingers and strikers who create and score. They don’t exist in a separate universe. What they can do is heavily influenced by what happens behind them massively

I’m actually very curious about these xhaka ‘progressive passing’ stats. How is the word ‘progressive’ defined in these stats? How many meters forward does the ball need to move in order to be ‘progressive’? For example

jack

Great article! My picks would be the same. Bissouma and JWP. Camavinga instead of Bissouma if we could get him might be more impactful in the long run.
Willock shouldn’t be sold at less than 30M. If we can get AMN to play RB, I think we can also get a 10 to compete with ESR.

Captain Tierney

Looks like Xhaka will be gone before the week ends. Good move. Watts saying we are interested in Fekir. Good player but if we are looking for that time type of player there is a guy called Matheus Pereira at WBA. 11 Goals and 6 assists for one of the poorest attacking sides in the league this season He scored a belter against us iirc. Last season in the Championship he had 8 goals and 16 assists. Recently turned 25 and is entering his prime. Fekir playing in a weaker league and a stronger side only had 5 goals and… Read more »

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