by .

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.

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…


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.

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.


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.

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.

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.

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?

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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Captain Tierney


Even Afcbell is saying we are interested in him. But he isn’t our first choice and we aren’t his first choice.
Any deal if it happens will most probably take place near the end of the TW.


Fuck me I was being trolled by some Villa fucktard last night about this Buendia nonsense. Not a nice feeling


Also Charlie I don’t get what irritates you here Ofc people will be unhappy if arsenal replace an average player with a similarly average or barely better one. Xhaka is not one of the better CMs in world football. Why on earth would arsenal fans be comfortable with us replacing him with a player who isn’t better? Why would that be necessary when there are plenty of better CMs out there? If arsenal replace xhaka with a player who isn’t much better it’s because arsenal are just rubbish at transfers. Why should anyone be ok with that? That would be… Read more »


China People still don’t understand that getting control of central midfield aids the attack. It gives the platform. These long “progressive” passes were not done that regularly anyway tbh. Long progressive passing doesn’t get you the necessary control in matches. Playing passes deep only gets you passive control What gets you proper control in matches is showing up in central midfield despite the new fad merchants who think central midfield is no longer important or a necessity. Central midfield control has always been key and always will be. We have been operating a man down in central midfield for 5… Read more »

Danny Morales salazar

Arsenal do this every year, bypass great players to then lump us with a silvestre, kim Kalstrom, David Luiz, Willian.

Wake up and smell the deceit!


Good post. I love the Ajax lad. Right profile of player we should be investing in.

Lol Ishola, do you have any midfielder you actually like?

Mr Serge

Left testicle leave it out with the Martinez chat and video you are the guy that’s going to post on here very time buendia changes his underwear ffs


Anyone notice the rumour on Buendia to Villa is dying out?


For the Euros of course I’m all on for Italy. Love that no one really mentions us favorites. Really hope Immobile has his shooting boots on all tournament


Fascinating write up. Shame the club’s people by comparison seem to base their decisions on match of the day reruns from 2017



Can never count Italy, potential to win any major tournament entered. Same goes for Germany, Spain and France.


Can never count Italy -out.


The silence on transfers might mean 2 things:

The club is either working on a couple of deals under wrap in a very low key move and planning to make announcements shortly or they have absolutely no idea what to do and are just waiting for deadline day to make a couple of panic signings

I know which is more likely

Champagne Charlie

“It’s not only n10s and wingers and strikers who create and score.“

Goal contributions for the CM pairs in the big 6 this season in the PL:

Xhaka: 1 goal, 2 assists
Partey: 2 assists

Fabinho/Henderson: 1 goal, 1 assist.
Rodri/Fernandinho: 2 goals, 4 assists.
Jorginho/Kovacic: 7 goals, 2 assists. (7 penalties)
McTominay/Fred: 5 goals, 1 assist.
Hojbjerg/Dier: 2 goals, 4 assists.

Conclusion: the overwhelming majority of goals come from attacking midfielders, wingers and strikers in every big side.


Anyone notice the rumour on Buendia to Villa is dying out?

Yeah cause they already got him


Isnt KDB a CM #8?


Isnt leicester more top 6 than spurs?


I usually take posts but this post was great!!

Champagne Charlie

China Not sure why you think you’ve any authority on what irritates me, that’s poor reading on your part. Literally said ‘I’m fine with Luiz and Xhaka leaving’, but I won’t sit and pretend they were useless and there isn’t a need to replace what they offered. Luiz was our best defender when it came to playing from the back, we were noticeably better with him in the team and far less prone to turning the ball over. Xhaka is the exact same thing in CM, we were noticeably better moving the ball through midfield to the front with his… Read more »


Why is wijnaldum missing from liverpools list?


Thanks mate for denying my right of reply to the slanderous bullshit Rich said about me. I really warmly appreciate your one sided censorship in this issue. After all I started it didn’t I. Not.

Checking out for a bit. I don’t enjoy being called a traitor by a cowardly cunt like Rich.

Champagne Charlie


Include Winjaldum if you like, I compared the players who typically ‘sit’ in more tradition CM roles at their respective teams (or as close to). But given Fabinho actually played a good amount at CB this season he’s probably a better inclusion.

Winjaldum brings with him 2 goals and 0 assists from his 30 games at the heart of Liverpool’s midfield. Super prolific.


Brings 3 goals, could be the difference between anything between 0 and 9 points


* 2 total sum of partey and xhakalson



Agree w/ you on both fronts, Luiz and Xhaka pretty solid metaphors for past 2x seasons, notably last. Both integral to our side in a season that saw us finish mid table for first time since mid 90s.

Not diminishing job they did but clearly upgrading imperative.



You’ve attacked my wife

in the past you’ve applied opinions to me, on things I’ve never even commented on

You always take sly little swipes

And now in typical snowflake fashion, you want to play the victim card

If what I said wasn’t true, you wouldn’t be so upset….

I’m delighted you’ve missed me over the past couple of days, but even more delighted I’ve been living rent free inside that big empty head of yours


Champagne Charlie

Sid Everyone knows the value of a goal in football. But arguing that CM is significant contributor to it is fundamentally untrue as the list above shows. Their direct influence is being wildly overstated, and the function of such midfielders getting skewed. CM is about control, possession, advancing the ball through traffic to the danger men, and being diligent/capable out of possession to regain the ball and prevent attacks. Winjaldum scored 2 goals in the league this year. PSG haven’t just signed him so he bring his 2-goal haul to Ligue Un, it’ll be because he’s good at pretty much… Read more »

Champagne Charlie


You’re such a Xhaka and Luiz fanboy


So now that Aulas knows we bid 30 million for the player of the year in the championship
He will definitely wat more than that 30 million for Auoar

Nice way to show your poker hand, Sr Edu


Technically an ultra.


Arteta comes in for a load of criticism for selling Martinez. It’s not that Leno is a bad keeper, more that Emi suits the Arteta style far better. Arteta must have been aware of that. So why didn’t he sell Leno? The truth is that Arteta wanted to keep both of them. And, quite rightly, neither wanted to play second fiddle. That gave Arteta a headache: he had to sell one. or the other. At the time, so far as we know, no Club was showing any interest in Leno, whereas there was a bid on the table for the… Read more »


I swear to Jah. whoever can mediate peace between Rich and Kroenkephobe will deserve to be shortlisted for the Nobel peace prize.


I’d go for bissouma(partey cover), Neves(xhaka replacement)adept as an 8 and Aouar as an 8



“‘I’ll kiss Arsenal goodbye’: Ainsley Maitland-Niles makes a stunning public admission as he asks Mikel Arteta to play him or SELL him… and says he’s ‘done enough to have other clubs interested in me'”

Atta boy
Nice way to reduce your transfer value, everyone knew you were on the way out.

The Bard

Interesting piece but not sure what its got to do with,Arsenal. I gave up Xmas lists at 7 or 8. I slightly lost interest when he mentioned De Jong. Why not Messi or Lewendoski or Sancho.

Vintage Gun

Atta boy
Nice way to reduce your transfer value, everyone knew you were on the way out.

The bigger question is why hasn’t anyone from Arsenal spoke to him about his future?
And why did he feel the need to tell the Independent about the situation?



Matteo Guendouzi will be a Marseille player. Arsenal will exercise the option to renew his contract for an extra year & then loan him to Marseille for one-season with a mandatory buy-clause for €10m.

What a shit show. Guendouzi might not be a world beater but the shitty non negotiable thing has considerably reduced his value. Unless we sell well we won’t have enough to get the players we want. AMN will also be sold for a pittance.

Captain Tierney

I read somewhere Edu embarrassed himself in front of the Rhine squad during the whole Guendouzi saga. Or. Guendouzi embarrassed Edu( dont know how true this is). Reportedly something of that sort happened and Arteta didn’t like Guendouzi’s attitude anyways.

Regardless of that 10 million is just unacceptable, especially after lending him on loan for 1 season. Need to do better than that. Hopefully there’s a big sell on in there, because if Guendouzi wants he can easily be a 50 million player.

Captain Tierney

whole* squad


Really good long read..
Followed him n all

Buzzing for new year


So central midfield is only about goals and assists.

Off the ball is not important in central midfield.

This is so Wengerish this solitary focus on just goals and assists from central midfield.and dismissing off the ball play.

Liverpool’s midfield was renowned for their off the ball work in their title winning season but let’s forget about that.

Let’s just focus on goals and assists.


Captain Tierney
I disagree
10 million is a very appropriate fee for Guendouzi, it’s more than we paid for him 3 season ago and he has only one year left on his contract.
Provided we add on a sell on fee, then it’s a good deal.

We wouldn’t be in trouble of we operated on buying for 8 million and selling for 10 mil with add-ons, even if it don’t work out.


I think it’s a shame regarding Guendouzi because he showed attributes that could have seen him be a good player for the club.

But I’m not going to argue about his bad behaviour.

Even before he signed for Arsenal I read that he had temperamental issues so it all sort of ties in with what we see.


You don’t think we could havbe handled it better
Who do you think was leaking the information about non-negotiables?

It was likely Arsenal, they wanted to use Guendouzi to set the tone for the rest of the squad

When the club did that, it gave the Hertha Berlin dickhead of a manager an opening to trash a loaned player in the media.

Vintage Gun

If we have to sell before we can buy any players the what was Mikel talking about when he said the board are fully backing him in this window?

I get we have to make room and sell deadwood but im hoping if we have a target ready to join, we don’t have to put them on hold while we go round smashing coin jars.



“off the ball movement is essential the positional system Arteta is trying to execute. Of course it’s going to be important.”

Well I hope you don’t mean that just in an offensive sense.

We have been poor off the ball in midfield when pressing or trying to press or not pressing at all when the opponent has the ball and that has got to improve.

Mr Serge

I have said this on here before Matteo is a 20m player max he is shit headless chicken player that’s main attributes are enthusiasticly running after the ball
As long as he is gone i am happy

Mr Serge

Man our recruitment has been hit and miss KT and Martinelli the only great signings in the last 3 seasons Gabriel Maghslles gets a pass as i reckon there is a player there

Guns of SF

Pepe and Bissouma are pals.
I think that helps. Look at Emi and Emi at AV

I hope we get Bissouma. A superb athlete and able to cover space and put a bit of nastiness in our midfield. We certainly need that.

If not him, Anguissa, a 6’4 dribbling machine. I would stop short of comparing to Vieira but physically a similar player.

Aouar ok, I can live with that if Aulas does not fleece us. I do think he relishes schooling the nutless wonder, Edu tho


Both Partey + Gabriel need to step up next season Gabriel was 22, new league + language, not that experienced He was bound to have a few teething problems, I think there’s a player there, next season I expect him to be better, he was always a year 2/3 player before we really started seeing the best of him Partey showed flashes, but was generally a disappointment He’s got Lacazette syndrome, looks out on his feet after 70 minutes, and then his passing becomes erratic The injury, and no pre-season could be a reason, hopefully it’s not a reoccurring theme… Read more »



We are suffering offensively because this defensive strength you keep on about entails getting men behind the ball and men deep behind the ball.

We have to start defending from the front more which includes central midfielders coming to meet opposition players in their own half pressing.

This in turn can aid the offense with turnovers high in opposition territory.

The Liverpool midfield that won the league is the template.

Guns of SF

Rich Good pts on Partey. This summer the CM we are trying to sign really depend on if TP can step up and play the B2B much better. If the idea is for him to be our DM, then I have some questions over that… Would prefer a true DM if that is the case. TP is good but not his real forte. I think Eduteta ( new nickname) want Aouar as an 8, likely bc both feel hard done by last summer to some extent as well. But we really need TP to step up this season… being rushed… Read more »


What do you want to see from Partey in this step up from him Guns?


Partey getting sacked by Ghana, so he doesn’t have to leave us for the African cup of Nations in January.

Arsenal legend in the making!

Guns of SF

To stay healthy for one, to work on moving the ball better with his passing into the final third. Late in games, and some games in general his passing has been really off. Also, shooting, he needs to shoot for the goal instead of the apartment buildings outside the stadium


Ishola Our problem is Arteta rightly doesn’t trust our centre half’s in possession, and the reason he favours Chambers at right back, is because in spite of his athletic limitations, Chambers can actually play Xhaka + Luiz are the only players to provide any penetration, and they both come attached with big red warning signs and a lack of mobility Ceballos was really good when teams stood off, but struggled when the tempo got turned up a notch, and Elneny is average at best Xhaka playing deep wasn’t through choice, it’s was a necessity Wenger moved to playing 3 at… Read more »


Good man Partey.

Hopefully Auba and Pepe can learn a thing or two from him and Kevin Prince Boateng back in the day.


Tend to agree with gambon about CM, would rather we get a player that brings different qualities to Partey if we are only bringing in 1 sole CM.

If two then I would opt for an Anguissa/Bissouma as well. In an ideal world we really do need x2 new CM to go along with Partey, Elneny, Willock and AMN (if we opt against selling the latter two) with Toreirra, Ceballos, Guendouzi and Xhaka all leaving.

Seriously short on numbers in there. No CAM besides ESR too with Odegaard gone.


Pedro “, publicly criticised for behaviour in Germany” The most criticism of Guendouzi i have read about from Germany is that his manager said he is going through football puberty. A couple of months later , the Hertha sporting director said , and I quote ““He’s a fantastic player. We are very, very happy to have him here and he’s worth every penny.””. Lots of positive comments from Germany but Pedro focuses on one throwaway line that was more an analysis of his present situation than a criticism. Then again, I suppose Pedro has to go into jackanory mode to… Read more »


Guns I agree, we might sign 2 central midfielders if we can clear the books, and one of them might be a ball winner But I’d be surprised if our main purchase in midfield wasn’t a real technician like Aouar I’m not suggesting we sign him, because he’d come with big red triangles attached to him, I just think stylistically that’s the profile of player we’ll go for Charlie Patino is expected to train with the first team next season, still only 17, but Arsenal are apparently hoping he’ll be another out of Hale End academy and into the Arsenal… Read more »

Guns of SF

Anguissa is a beast . Would be good on set piece defense and attack. Always good to have a player that size in the team aside from our CB’s. Outside of them we dont really have tall players. If its Anguissa, TP and Aouar I can live with that. I like Aouar game… but yes he comes with baggage and we all know how Mike handles these players. Also dont know if Aouar really wants us. I remember reading he was waiting for the big boys to get him… ZIdane at RM I think was interested in him at some… Read more »


With Guen, I think we want to make our own little KDB and Salah mistake like Chelsea.

That boy, under a mature coach, will excel.

By the time he’s 25, he is sure to become a 10 goals 10 assists bold defensive midfielder. Gold!

Habesha Gooner

If it was possible I would go for Anguissa, Aouar and Pereira at this point. Anguissa and Aouar being different profiles would give us an edge. Aouar is a gamble but one that might pay off. At 20 to 25 mil he would be a good gamble.


Aouar is absolute quality, would be very happy if there was any truth to the 25m rumour.

People on here don’t seem to be as hot as on him anymore as he is a supposedly mercurial character but I think for a player that supremely gifted and young that you give it a real chance. At worst he doesn’t work out and he has resale value.

Not every maverick youngster turns into a Balotelli, many of them morph into some of the games best players once they mature.

Champagne Charlie

Our outgoings will influence a lot of what we are willing/able to do. So many warm bodies at the club offering very little: Torreira, AMN, Guendouzi is a lot of fluff in the same area of the pitch. Then you have Willock who can easily be classed as expendable given his more unique circumstances. Would welcome a player like Neves because I personally rate the need for someone proven alongside Partey. Feel if we cull the lot then another player is sensible, though I’m not sure big money is wise for that player – maybe better looking for a 21… Read more »

Guns of SF

I think a TP and Anguissa combo can also do the DM work in tandem as well as move to ball forward. Good size for both, and strength. IF the talk is of a Hybrid CM that Mike likes, then Anguissa fits the bill. Also, Aouar- got to agree with you, the talent is there… if he can get stronger and keep his head focused he can really help us. To be honest, I kinda like players with a bit of attitude. Sometimes that little bit can make a difference on the pitch…we really need someone with a bit of… Read more »


Rich “Emery moved to 3 at the back, something he’d never done anywhere else Arteta started with 4, but then moved to 3, until he changed again at Xmas I don’t think the pragmatism is through choice, it’s through necessity” I may be wrong but I believe our 22 game unbeaten run was achieved with predominantly a back 4 .. I may be wrong but I believe our 2nd best team since Christmas was achieved with a back 4. I may be wrong but I believe our pre lockdown record of being the only unbeaten team domestically in europe in… Read more »



Aouar game changer for me, huge miss last summer. Was pretty mental we went into the season not adding creative to MF, Receding and I did quite a few laps debating Aouar.

Have to think with the Orn tweet its done knowing Mik’s unbendables or whatever the fuck were calling them now.



What enabled Arteta to move to 4 at the back was the return to fitness of Smith-Rowe

Our form turned around with Smith-Rowe and then Odegaard, because we lacked technicians in the final third

Partey was injured, for some reason Arteta didn’t fancy giving Willock a run, and our other midfielders were Xhaka, Elneny, Ceballos, who all want the game played in front of them

Your pal Ozil rightly wasn’t registered, because he’s a big sulk, a relic of the past, and way way past his best



I would prefer Aouar to Odegaard if I am honest, I am a fan of Odegaard’s too but I think that Aouar has the higher ceiling and is soon to be truly elite.

He was more than holding his own with two of Europe’s best CM units in Bayern Munich and Man City as recently as last August.

I think that Pep would have taken him to City only for the fact that they literally already have De Bruyne, Gundogan, Foden, Bernardo Silva that all play in similar areas of the pitch. He is a known admirer.


I may be wrong , but it appears to me that over the past 3 seasons, our most impressive runs have been whilst predominantly playing a back 4.

And yes, as you mentioned Ozil , he was heavily involved in our 22 game unbeaten run and our pre lockdown unbeaten run domestically. …it is difficult to deny that the team clearly missed his creative influence on the pitch..

Smith rowe coming into the side was to me confirmation that to play without a no.10 was detrimental to the team’s performance.

Guns of SF

So the question now is the same one.
Eduteta needs to move fast. I think Aouar will move this summer. I do hope we have been doing our homework and making contacts weeks ago. We need to commence fire asap.
Id love our new additions to get in soon, have a good pre season and ready to go. none of this last minute shit we are know for.


“Your pal Ozil rightly wasn’t registered, because he’s way way past his best”

Being past his best he was, but that was still better than what replaced him, which is difficult to deny.


Eagle, I’d take Aouar, De Paul or Ødegaard, likely in that order. But thats moot if mentality an issue with this manager as we’ve seen. How you feeling about Neves, dude absolutely bossed the Arsenal mid on every encounter. Yet I keep reading he’s not good enough or right profile for this club with Partey in side. I’d love peak Pirlo to step forth and join the Partey but that may prove tricky, ideally we get a Barella type but I could definitely see Neves do the job if i’m honest. Love that Inter mid, Eriksen couldn’t touch it with… Read more »



Xhaka regularly drops in as a 3rd centre back

So even though we’re starting with 2 midfielders, Xhaka operates very deep, either centrally, or as the left sided centre half in a 3

The reason I think that happens, is because our centre half’s outside of Luiz, struggled to get the ball into the final third

If we had two mobile, ball playing centre backs, Xhaka could either have played further forward

Or we could move to 1 screening midfielder, and play with 2 No8s

It’s not through choice we don’t do that, it’s through necessity



“”””And yes, as you mentioned Ozil””””

Have no doubts.
Arsenal and Germany have not been as effective since Ozil left these teams. Results speak for themselves.( see Pierres post)

If these amateurs in charge, can not man manage tricky characters like Ozil,Gendozy, AMN and Saliba they should look for other employment.

And Quick.



No Xhaka could not consistently play further forward.

People have short memories.

He was badly exposed when he first came to the club operating higher from the deep position.

The reason Xhaka plays deep is not only because of passing. He is played deep to protect against his weaknesses.


Sal Brozovic? He is quality. Remember you touting him on here back when Moses wore short pants. Lukewarm on Neves, definitely not on the hypetrain around him. He’s a definite upgrade on Xhaka (wouldn’t be hard mind) but he doesn’t quite do it for me, not a particularly inventive or dynamic player although he is reliable and a nice metronome type passer as well as being hard in the tackle and intelligent. Have a feeling if he was playing in Italy or Germany though that nobody would be game for him, PL proven is the flavour of the month on… Read more »


Ishola I’d argue that both were true Xhaka plays deeper to protect him from his weaknesses To maximise his strengths, and to nullify the weaknesses of our defenders Certainly a marriage of convenience, rather than a blissful one If we want to move our defence 10-15 yards up the pitch, and get our midfielders into the final third, then we need centre half’s who are much better on the ball, and a lot more mobile than this current lot And a sweeper keeper to cover the space in behind We also need well drilled technicians in the final third, who… Read more »


Gabriel is definitely athletic enough to play higher up and cover the space left in behind.

The question marks around him are based on his lack of on-ball ability and consistency. Started the season very strongly but fell off hard.

I still think that he has a lot of potential but he needs a partner that is more comfortable with the ball at his feet, a younger David Luiz type without the moments of madness. Also needs to be able to produce week in and out, can’t go missing for spells.


Haha love Bronzovic (sorry Bati), had a very good season as well, zero links to him from this crack unit though.

Neves money would land him as well.


The point about Guendouzi isn’t the fact that we’re ultimately selling him for £10m, the point is that when we need every £££ this summer we’ll be getting exactly £0 in the coffers. A few more duff deals like that and we aren’t going to be able to afford what we need to fix the midfield let alone any other positions.


Sal Aouar is a beautiful player to watch, skips past people like they’re traffic cones. What I love about him as well is that he is a technically superb dribbler against low-blocks and can slalom past bodies in tight areas as well as having a change in gear and a turn of pace in him that makes him effective beating players on counters too. Rare to see a player with both of those qualities, it’s normally one or the other. Cazorla never had the legs to beat players in space, he was magic in tight areas. Whereas somebody like Bale… Read more »


And again no to Aouar. Everything I’ve read about him suggests that he’s a d1ckhead and that his brother, who is his agent, is an even bigger d1ckhead. Why get rid of Guendouzi and bring in an even bigger problem? Makes zero sense.



Aouar actually has top shelf talent unlike Guen who is average.

Average + bad attitude= a player that is more hassle than he is worth.

Whereas with Aouar there is just so much potential upside that it merits the possible headache. I also have not heard much concrete in the way of him having this supposedly terrible attitude, so much bollocks gets written in the papers.

Robin Van Persie was an enfant terrible when he joined us and had a prior rep, elite talent is always worth taking a punt on imo.


No comparing Guendouzi and Aouar, like putting a Volkwagon up against a 911 and wondering where it went.



“”Robin Van Persie was an enfant terrible when he joined us and had a prior rep, elite talent is always worth taking a punt on imo.”””

Yes , but who was his manager?
The one and only A. Wenger.

If Arteta had a young RVP sulking in training- he too would have gotten the ‘ Saliba treatment’ and loaned out to Utrecht or Genk or somewhere ASAP.

Nothing must get in the way of the Non Negoats.

He only wants clones.(Ode, Neves etc)
And we are getting clones.

Guns of SF

Aouar, low center of gravity, powerful legs, can break the press, and take off in open field… SImilar to Buendia in style… and height although Buen seems stronger.





Honestly I don’t see Arteta being the manager past this coming season.

Another one like the one he just served up with the fans back in the ground and he won’t survive.

We would have had 2.5 seasons of the ‘project’ by then and anything short of top 4 (unlikely) will probably seal his fate.

Champagne Charlie

Second Ek bid imminent apparently. North of 2bn this time.

Guy seems most serious threat to Stan. Will, if anything, keep this summer’s activity under a microscope. Any genuine feet dragging and Stan knows there could be more protesting.

Needs to land a fish soon to set the tone.


Lovely team that Guns SF.

I would have ESR and Aouar playing together though, the latter likes to drift left and is more mobile than ESR who is better centrally.

Anguissa/Partey can cover the space left down the left flank on counters.

I would worry about Gab and Saliba at CB as partnership too. Not much composure there, also blow hot and cold.

Guns of SF

Bless you EK!
Keep the pressure on KSE…..!



Could see KSE sell up, been a few rumours floating around as well. Kroenke;’s free ride not feeling so jolly at moment. No indication Ek will spend big, but ones things clear he seems to have the pashun and we know what typically follows that from money men.

This summer could ramp right the fuck up.


Kroenkephobe You alright there? Watching another crap Irish match,seems I missed all the action here. You and Rich would have this sorted in a pub in no time,a pint or a punch,either way it’d be done, that’s the problem with the internet, cant really get finality. I really hope you just ignore each other,life is too short for that constant friction and I’d say you know that better than most, I’m only reminding you mate,not patronising you. As for the rules of engagement on here,it seems to me that it’s a bit like the film ‘fight club’ ,the first rule… Read more »


I can see why we’d take a punt on Aouar But after the Willian, Soares + Runarsson debacles, Arteta doesn’t have much capital left Partey seems to gas out at around 70 minutes, Aouar completed 90 minutes only 6 times last season, and was regularly subbed early in the second half Having 1 midfielder that can’t sustain 90 minutes is a concern, having 2 would be a recipe for disaster The red flags with Aouar are potential stamina issues, and Lyon calling his application and desire for the smaller games into question His upside is he can beat the press… Read more »