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.

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.

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.

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.

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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348 Responses to “SCOUTING BLOG: SUGGESTIONS FOR THE MYSTERY MIDFIELDER (LONG READ)”

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  1. 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

  2. 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

  3. 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

  4. Rich

    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 with him, because there’s definitely a player there

    For all the talk of transfers, it would be nice if we could develop the players we’ve already got

  5. Ishola70

    Pedro

    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.

  6. 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 back by Mike for the Tott game was a disasater and set us back quite a bit.

  7. Avi

    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!

  8. Guns of SF

    Ishola,
    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

  9. Rich

    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 the back after 20 years

    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

  10. WengerEagle

    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.

  11. Pierre

    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 defend Arteta.

  12. Rich

    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 first team

  13. 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 point. Now ZZ is gone so who knows….

    If Aouar really wanted a move I think Aulas would have let him go last summer. I dont think Aouar really cried that much to leave.

  14. Gentlebris

    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!

  15. 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.

  16. WengerEagle

    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.

  17. 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 year old who is more about potential, or someone like Marc Roca on loan who hasn’t gotten the games at Bayern.

  18. 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 swagger

  19. Pierre

    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 2020 was achieved with a back 4 .

    Now, if I am right then turning to a back 4 pragmatic approach appears to be more through choice than necessity.

    Emery and Arteta were doing very well with a back 4 until poor decision making made them both turn to a pragmatic approach

  20. salparadisenyc

    Eagle,

    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.

  21. Rich

    Pierre

    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

  22. WengerEagle

    Sal

    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.

  23. Pierre

    Rich
    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.

  24. 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.

  25. Pierre

    Rich
    “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.

  26. salparadisenyc

    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 his lack of defensive desires.

  27. Rich

    Pierre

    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

  28. CG

    Pierre

    “”””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.

  29. Ishola70

    Rich

    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.

  30. WengerEagle

    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 here.

    Poor lads have been traumatised by our foreign transfer business since 2016, not without good reason too.

    Doesn’t mean that it is a trend that has to continue.

    I really do think that you can do better for 40m myself.

  31. Rich

    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 can make the ball stick, and apply continual pressure and penetration like Odegaard + Smith-Rowe

  32. WengerEagle

    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.

  33. andy1886

    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.

  34. WengerEagle

    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 is is the opposite and more of a power dribbler than a finesse one.

  35. andy1886

    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.

  36. WengerEagle

    Andy

    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.

  37. CG

    Weagle

    “”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.

  38. 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.

    Imagine

    ________Leno_______
    Aarons__Saliba__Gab__KT
    ______TP–Anguissa______
    Saka/Pepe_____Aouar____Saka/Pepe
    _________Auba_______

  39. WengerEagle

    CG

    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.

  40. 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.

  41. WengerEagle

    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.

  42. salparadisenyc

    CC

    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.

  43. Almuniasaynomore

    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 of fight club is there is no fight club. No point trying to understand them I’d say, drive you mad. This place has plenty of characters to bounce off but your sense of humour is hard to find, don’t leave me hanging here!

  44. Rich

    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 and create overloads, extremely agile, can get the ball out of his feet quickly, pops up with a few goals, can play as a No6 + No8 + wide left, and he’s reasonably experienced for a 22yr old, so we wouldn’t be signing a complete novice

    The payoff could be massive, but so could the disappointment

    Bernardo Silva next to Partey, would be by far the safer option, he’s got everything to play at the base of our midfield, would hit the ground running, and also offers good versatility

  45. Dissenter

    Charlie
    I agree that Daniel Ek has been a tremendous boon to the Arsenal sphere
    He’s putting the Kroenkes under the media spotlight at a very crucial transfer window, they have have to shop up this window to avoid looking like bigger c**ts.

  46. Ustyno

    Mike

    Your post was up there,very detailed and objective,I like how you ended it,what you would have done and what Arsenal would do,the truth is that neither will very likely happen

    Thank you

  47. Dissenter

    I hear Auoar is a prima donna and Arteta does not deal with that type of player well

    If Jean-Michel Aulas had leaked disciplinary stuff about Auoar, maybe we will be getting him for 15 million this summer.

  48. Almuniasaynomore

    Wenger Eagle,
    Can you understand why Rice is not in the conversation? Is it price? It cant be wages cause I’m pretty sure we are up there with the most inflated wage payers in the business. Everything I read that is used to criticize targets, too slow, poor technique, too old, ceiling not high enough, poor temperament ,Afcon,not prem ready,I could go on, are all irrelevant when it comes to Rice. He’s a genuine ball winning, ball playing com who will have the brain to play the dm role when needed/when older. He’s captain/ leadership material which we desperately need and I think most would agree that cm is the ideal spot for your captain. He has 10 years at the top ahead of him. And he plays at West Ham,not like we’re trying to buy him off city. And yes i know where West Ham finished and no I’m not some elitist Arsenal fan who doesn’t recognise our decline but i can guarantee two things. We will be back ahead of West ham in no time with any half decent manager. And secondly Declan Rice is moving on from there. So why not at least try to get him? If the club is going to try to pacify the fans with a big signing or we sell more than expected or we are looking to make a statement, then why not? What is the risk?

  49. salparadisenyc

    “Bernardo Silva next to Partey, would be by far the safer option, he’s got everything to play at the base of our midfield, would hit the ground running, and also offers good versatility”

    Someones certainly convinced Ek is coming with his pack of horses.

  50. Champagne Charlie

    Or how about Laca can go the other way and soften the blow. Auba isn’t going anywhere on that contract, and Laca is in his final year so would be better served as a bargaining chip.

    Idk if they’ve recruited a striker, but Depay is out and Dembele is on the market.

    Yea Sal, would be a really watershed moment if it were possible to do this summer. Stinks of a protracted deal, if at all.

  51. Dissenter

    Some of the abuse Xhaka is getting from gooners on the internet is unbecoming

    Same people rejoiced when Giroud left Arsenal for Chelsea, see how that’s worked out for the player.

  52. Rich

    Not sure we need a striker

    We can sell Lacazette + Nketiah, move Aubameyang central, and then have Martinelli + Balogun fight it out as understudy

    If we don’t create space for Martinelli, I think we’ll lose him

    There’s a few rough edges to iron out, but there’s the making of a really top forward there

  53. Dissenter

    It seems that we are a bit undecided about what we want from this window and are just shaking trees in the orchard to see what fruits fall off.

  54. Dissenter

    Rich
    We need a Mandžukić or Fernando Llorente type of striker; one that brings out more from all the wing play we suddenly have access to.

  55. Rich

    Dissenter

    I’d probably agree, but we’re likely stuck with Aubameyang, so we have to try and extract some value out of our considerable investment

    We’ve then got Lacazette, Nketiah, Balogun, Martinelli, numerically we’ve got far too many strikers

    Unless we shuffle the pack and manage to get shot of Aubameyang + Lacazette, or further block the path of Martinelli + Balogun

    Then numerically I don’t see how we move for another striker

  56. Champagne Charlie

    Almunia
    Good transfer for Leicester, low risk with potentially high yield. Certainly a player I’d have liked to see us add if we’d more room.

    Think Laca being in limbo and Balogun fresh off new terms has stifled any activity at CF until something gives. Disappointing maybe, but not unsurprising.

    Auba is the CF next season, likely with Gabi and Balogun competing for minutes to offer freshness/alternative. Though I cannot, and will not, get on board with the Martinelli worship at this stage. Loads of talent, but fuck off that he should be in the first XI. He’s the definition of understudy

    Don’t think Balogun should be near the first team next year either if honest, much rather he get a good loan and guaranteed time elsewhere. But understand we can maximise value in other transfer areas if we ‘replace’ Lacazette internally – even if the guys are very raw.

  57. Champagne Charlie

    Dissenter

    Comparing Giroud and Xhaka is very apt, saw someone compare him to Chamakh which was about as typical as it gets re:Xhaka.

    Ultimately neither good enough to build a team around, but both provided under-appreciated value to the side and saw criticism that in reality came from the failure to build a better XI.

    The internet always needs a fall-guy though, be interesting who steps into those shoes moving forward.

  58. Rich

    CC

    If we can’t find a taker for Lacazette, then loan out one of either Balogun or Martinelli

    Let them iron out their creases elsewhere, then when Laca walks out the door for free, we’ve got a more rounded internal solution to come back in and compete

  59. Almuniasaynomore

    Charlie
    If and I know it’s only an if,but if nketiah and laca are sold, auba, Martinelli and Balogun aren’t enough. Martinelli should be featuring even if from the bench but Balogun cant be depended on surely, for his own sake as well as the team’s. That leaves us well short unless they’re thinking of converting Pepe for example. I’m beginning to think laca will be staying, would be nice if the extension was only for a year though,these long contracts to over 30’s aren’t working out for us,( but I think some players in their 30s deserve them, just no one at Arsenal at the moment).

  60. Champagne Charlie

    Rich
    Has to be a Balogun loan for me, Martinelli has enough to be a difference maker, he just isn’t first XI material for any length of time until he learns to be wayyy more efficient with his movement.

    Almunia
    Yea I don’t think Balogun is ready, but the trouble is we need to buy elsewhere and he’s a very highly rated youngster with a good physical frame. So he might offer us something bit-part, just would sooner see him land 20 starts for a Brighton.

    Laca is a big contract this summer, unsure how that’ll go but you might be right. How we handle him and Willock will say a lot imo. Would like us to bin both and extract as much value as possible, but can understand reluctance on the part of Laca. Him and Auba are basically our goals in the league, be very bold to let Laca leave and not directly replace.

  61. China1

    ‘ The internet always needs a fall-guy though, be interesting who steps into those shoes moving forward.’

    Whoever fails to do a good job most likely…

  62. China1

    Giroud was a flawed player but considerably better than Xhaka

    But again he wasn’t the level expected of a nailed on starter after the likes of Wright, Bergkamp, Henry, RVP etc. if the club will buy any player and put them in the first team every week they’re going to get compared to those who came before them. Even for France, he has only been a starter because Benzema got himself booted out. At Chelsea he’s won the CL whilst being in and out of the team. Giroud is a good player tho, but his trophy cabinet is more in line with what you’d expect from a slightly better player

    We can either choose to take solace in the fact they’re ‘average’ ‘not bad’ ‘decent’ or whatever or we can remind ourselves that arsenal claims to have ambitions of winning the PL and CL and there’s literally zero justification for us repeatedly signing such players and leaving them in the first team.

  63. WengerEagle

    Almunia

    Sorry for the late reply.

    Re Rice, I think that he’s a quality player but because of his profile [English, young, leader/captain] as well as his on field performances that he would cost a fortune, West Ham aren’t in dire financial straits so would have no real need to take a lowball offer on him.

    He’s best mates with Mason Mount and Chelsea have been heavily linked with him for a while now, he came up through their academy after all [until he was fifteen]. Think that he is more likely to move there or to United than he is coming here.

    I wouldn’t completely rule us out as a club that he would be interested in but I can’t in a million years see us stumping up what West Ham will want for him.

  64. WengerEagle

    China

    Giroud was just dead unlucky that he came here as a replacement for 37 goal season prime Robin Van Persie.

    He only cost us twelve million pounds, absolute bargain for the return that we got on him. He would have been appreciated a lot more if he came a few years earlier as they were the dark Bendtner and Chamakh years post Adebayor and while RVP was still struggling with injuries.

    We even managed to sell him at a profit in his thirties.

  65. Champagne Charlie

    “Whoever fails to do a good job most likely…“

    Bold of you to consider yourself capable of that. Not like you’re a few online motm awards away from declaring a player mustard or anything.

    Had Torreira on a par with Kante inside 6 weeks, and Ceballos was Cazorla reincarnate on his home debut. Proper down the middle stuff.

  66. Moray

    Chelsea get goals from midfield and have done for years. So Giroud and his misses don’t hurt them as much as they would this Arsenal side.

  67. Moray

    Ward Prowse is an interesting call. We do offer very little threat from the dead ball. And in right games that could make a difference. Not a hugely exciting signing but it could work for us.

  68. China1

    Lol Charlie everyone was very impressed with ceballos’ excellent debut except you. Probably felt threatened that he could be taking xhaka’s place if you’re honest with yourself

    I’ve not backed ceballos or torreira for ages. Both failed over the long term for various reasons. Signing ceballos would be a big mistake and torreira needs to be sold. Unlike you my loyalty lies with seeing arsenal move towards being one of the best teams in the world, not pandering to a weird fetish for average unlike you.

    It’s also funny that you’d mock players winning MOTM or POTM awards. Two things Xhaka has been nowhere near in 5 fucking years in the most influential position on the pitch.

    Almost everyone will have a great game (ceballos debut) or purple patch of form (ceballos end of artetas first season, (torreira in Emery’s unbeaten run). Xhaka has managed fuck all of either in 5 years. Desperately, painfully average.

    But he has great hair. That’s apparently enough for some.

  69. China1

    Aouar I’m good with if it’s 25m. The talent is there. The risk lies with his mentality and adapting to England but at 25m I’d be fine with it

  70. Goobergooner

    It’s nice we conceded less this season.

    But is that worth the lack of offensive output? Especially considering our mistake ridden squad.

    We still lost 13 matches in the EPL despite our defensive progress”.

    Saying that Saliba didn’t need to play for us this season because our defence improved is utter BS.

    Also Pedro from a couple of posts ago (too busy and trying to catch up 😂).

    I duno if parteys injury was down to just “bad luck” and acclimatizing to the league.

    If anything the bad luck was that he had tets as manager to rush him back to fitness then push him back on the field when that early game time broke him. Too much pressure on tets for the Derby made him hurt himself the most.

  71. Leedsgunner

    People losing their minds over the fact that we’ve missed out on Buendia but who turn up their nose on Reuben Neves contradict themselves.

    Why?

    Reuben Neves was the Wolves equivalent of Buendia when Wolves was promoted in 2017 but he was 5 years younger.

    In the year that Wolves was promoted he won their Young Player of the Season, the Players’ Player of the Season and the Goal of the season. Then when he was challenged to make the step up to the EPL from the Championship he did that easily.

    I’m not as negative about this signing as some.

    Then if we sell Xhaka for about £20m to Roma we’ve purchased a decent player for a decent price.

  72. Leedsgunner

    Or to put it another way, when Wolves came up in 2017 he had a season equivalent to that Saka just had for us… he was the subject of massive massive hype.

  73. Mike McDonald

    Everybody,

    Hi, this is Mike McDonald (author). Just wanted to say thank you for reading and especially for those who took the time to say such nice things about my piece.

    I hope to write another one soon!

    Cheers!

  74. Leedsgunner

    Hopefully we did some clever business if Neves comes in like a swap for AMN and a little cash…

    £10m plus AMN seems fair for someone like Neves in his present form.

  75. Tony

    Almunia/Kroenke
    Having worked in the music industry for 9 years during my misspent youthful years, I’d say eclectic would sum up my music tastes perfectly.

    Anyway, rain season hit with a vengeance yesterday that had my son and I looking on the horizon for the ark. 90 minutes of biblical proportional rain where golf buggies needed changing for canoes and pedalos.

    Seems appropriate:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fSs-LxLInVs

    Back to the important stuff here’s another ditty immortalizing Arteta’s crappiness and current news:

    2-4-6-8 Motorway song

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ar_saHB60qU

    Watching Arteta’s teams is always the same
    losing too often just compounds the pain
    Arteta’s process is on the wane
    it’s never going to be His claim to fame

    2-4-6-8 Arteta will seal his fate
    when the fans come back and show Arteta their hate
    Passionately screaming they want him gone
    They knew this rookie was useless all along

    Ceballos stating Arteta will be great in a few year’s time
    Now he’s left he can say anything and be safe and fine
    The fans won’t let Arteta stay that long
    Because it’s now that they want Arteta and his crew gone

    2-4-6-8 Arteta will seal his fate
    when the fans come back showing Arteta their hate
    Passionately screaming they want him gone
    They knew this rookie was useless all along

    Daniel Ek have an improved offer over 2 billion
    Wiggy Stan and playboy Josh would prefer a trillion
    Arteta now looking for a toilet because he’s shitting himself
    Because Ek, and his invincibles will fire Arteta for his own health

    2-4-6-8 Arteta will seal his fate
    when the fans come back showing Arteta their hate
    Passionately screaming they want him gone
    They knew this rookie was useless all along

    Some say here Aour is really a prick
    Some say he’s what we really need
    Though Auor will loathe Arteta’s rigid, boring play
    Where Arteta will put him on the bench to stay.

    2-4-6-8 Arteta will seal his fate
    when the fans come back showing Arteta their hate
    Passionately screaming they want him gone
    They knew this rookie was useless all along

    Now we’ve all heard about these non-negotiables
    But really they’re Arteta’s poor foibles
    We’ll stop writing songs after Arteta’s gone
    And thank fcuk it’s not going to be that long

    All together now………..

    2-4-6-8 Arteta will seal his fate
    when the fans come back showing Arteta their hate
    Passionately screaming they want him gone
    They knew this rookie was useless all along

  76. Guns of SF

    I hope we get Aouar… just watched his you tube again and he is money. The type of player we need in the middle – I think he will settle fine if he makes friends with our French speaking lads.
    Then again, he might already be friends with Guen, so that might not be good for us.

  77. Mike McDonald

    In response to Bissouma vs Anguissa….

    Bissouma would hold the back door shut allowing Partey to open up the attacking side of his game.

    Anguissa is more of a ball progresser with sharp, quick passes or on the dribble. He would be a rotational option and can play any of the mid positions. He isn’t as strong in the final third but very good bringing the ball to the final third. Anguissa is more similar to Partey. Both would be huge signings for AFC as they have what we lack.

  78. Guns of SF

    Thanks Mike
    A midfield of Aouar, Bissouma and TP would seem to be more balanced… 1 DM 1 CM to play B2b, 1 CAM- that likes to attack/dribble, create

  79. Sid

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

    From where im standing this looks like lack of patriotism/mercenary tendancy

  80. Sid

    As long as we have midfielders that cant pressure the ball, it doesnt matter whether we have the fastest CBs in the world we wil struggle.

    On the other hand with proper midfielders all you need is CBs that read the game well.

    Case in point Arsenal 2015/16 vs Arsenal 2016/17

  81. Kroenkephobe

    Almunia
    To misquote Oscar W, I won’t belong to a club that has Rich as a member. He’s like a lot of people over here – a post-brexit self legitimised bigot who wears his ignorance as a badge of honour and for whom lying is a coping mechanism to disguise his charmless misanthropy. An unwelcome reminder of the worst of Trump. I don’t need it. I know what Rich’s beloved British establishment think of me because I literally have a medal to prove it. He, on the other hand is a self obsessed wrong un with a chequered past by the sound of it.

    Frankly, I’m more irked with Pedro for tolerating someone who willingly and casually goes off (the Arsenal) message to spout venal political nonsense on here. But as you found to your cost recently, it’s his baby and he chooses what it eats and wears, and when it shits itself. And in fairness, it can’t be an easy job controlling prolific thickos.

    I really enjoy Arsenal talk and the therapeutic nature of this site brings solace after a season of doom and an opportunity to relive some brilliant personal memories. I’ve already said this but you bring a great deal of calmness and wisdom to this site, not to mention considerable charm and good humour. I’m going to have a self-imposed hiatus. Keep on keeping on mate.

  82. Lewis

    Great read. Can’t see moriba coming to us, he’s the future of Barca and on tiny wages. They’ll give him a new deal and move pjanic on. Would love that transfer though. Like the sound of the Monaco lad. Midfield is definitely the area to improve for me. Agreed with the bissouma shouts and aouer. Would also want a striker. Every summer I look at Leicester with jealousy, they do it right

  83. Captain Tierney

    WE

    Agree on Aouar. Supremely gifted. A player Wenger would go all out for. But there are question marks around his application He looks very as well and we know what PL does to weak players.
    .
    He reminds me of a young Ozil, hybrid winger and #10, elite talent. But at 21-24 Ozil was producing unreal numbers. 30+ Goal contributions. Aouar is not even close. And with Mourinho at the helm, Ozil was putting in the hard yards as well even though there were issues between them.

    Aoaur falls in similar category. Elite talent known to pick and choose his games. He’s no Ozil but I’d definitely take a punt on him if I can. The only question I have is will Arteta be able to handle another maverick.

    So far Arteta has shown he can’t deal with mavericks ( Ozil, Amn, Guen, maybe Saliba) and he loves his Yes men.

  84. Captain Tierney

    Diss

    We have option to extend Guen 1 year which is what we are doing before sending him on loan ( if the report is to be believed).

    He has 2 years left in his contract

  85. Emiratesstroller

    Pedro has focussed correctly on the intrinsic weakness of Arsenal’s midfield and what he perceives is needed and the options which we could buy.

    Frankly I have not seen enough of any of these options to make a personal judgment and in
    any event if they are half as good as being suggested they are going to cost a lot of dosh.

    What I do know is that Arsenal have a requirement in short term to buy at least two new central midfielders and that is not going to come cheap. We need a partner for Partey who
    will replace Xhaka who is clearly leaving and of course an Attacking Midfielder to replace
    Odegaard if he is not returning to club.

    What has not been discussed too much is that Arsenal have already on their books two very
    good midfield players in Saka and Smith-Rowe. Both are at the start of their careers and look
    to be outstanding prospects.

    Coming down the line in the Academy are two other excellent prospects in Azeez and Patino. Azeez is already on fringe of first team squad promotion and Patino is rated by many to be the best midfield talent since Fabregas and better than Wilshire. The boy has played
    at both Arsenal and England two years above his age group and was made captain of England U16 at the age of 14 so is clearly both an intelligent footballer as well as very talented.

    So our long term prospects in this department appear to be quite promising if you have “patience”

    The problem at Arsenal is that we are seldom producing equivalent talent in other departments of the team.

    When was the last time that we produced an exceptional CB or FB who is home grown?
    The answer is Tony Adams [pre Wenger era] and Ashley Cole almost 20 years ago. The
    explanation always made is that defenders need longer to mature and most clubs are reluctant to wait.

  86. China1

    If we’re exercising guen ectention then either play him or sell him imo

    Not sure what benefit we get from kicking the can down the road. If he goes on loan and has a good season he will fetch a low price with only a year left on his deal. If we loan him out then call him back we risk him leaving on a free one year later as well.

    Extend then sell. Or extend then play him. No other point in this

  87. Tony

    “I’m going to have a self-imposed hiatus”

    That’s a bit disingenuous of you Kroenkephobe. You’re depriving many here who enjoying your passion, humour and thoughts on the club and game.

    You even got me writing silly songs that really cracks my son up laughing at how bad they are. In reality you bring much emotion with what you write and that is transferrable through Pedro.

    Well not physically but wouldn’t that be cool if it could?

    I mean fcuking hell mate you got Pierre on the song sheet with a blinder.

    Switch on the skim filter and erase people you don’t want to read and enjoy reading those you connect with.

    Anyway mate back to my son, but as I was walking round the links I came up with the beginning of another song:

    To the red nose reindeer music.

    Roundy the brown nose assistant coach

    But I decided the next line including Arteta was probably enough to send me to the bin.

    Just laugh brother and be around for the good, some bad and skip the ugly.

  88. Terraloon

    CT

    The PL as we know is far more physical and yes brutal than probably any other of ye top European leagues

    Yep Aouar is a tricky and talented player but for me many of the situations that appear in his best moments video just would not have been allowed to develop. He would have been fouled far further up the pitch.

    What strikes me is that clubs in French football just doesn’t press as aggressively nor is their anywhere near the quality at the lower echelons compared to the PL

    I am far from sure that his engine is PL ready nor have I seen enough in terms of his desire to cover the counter.

    But the one thing that is niggling away is if he is such a talent, such a bargain why aren’t mor3 clubs in for him?

  89. Emiratesstroller

    China 1

    Guendouzi and Torreira have no future at the club. For a start there is a mentality issue with
    both.

    Guendouzi is a “pain in the arse” and that is not just down to immaturity and Torreira and his family have clearly found it difficult to settle in London and England.

    Neither is good enough to merit keeping them on the books. You do that if they are exceptional talents, which they are not.

  90. Steveyg87

    Providing Arteta can get his shit together, I’m not too phased about who we bring in. He already has his hands full with players we have on our books. How he deals with Willock,Gwen and Martinelli is essential as they are all ready to be starting for us. Heck, get AMN back and post off Chambers as he is not a long term solution,not fast enough. While you’re at it, get rid of Holding too, not good enough to be playing for Arsenal. Cherry on the cake is if we can find somebody stupid enough to pay Aubas wages

  91. Northbanker

    ES – agree on Azeez and Patino – it’s possible by next Summer we will be raving about Azeez and wanting to lock in him under a longer contract

    Even if both are options (Patino is too young) we still need an athletic powerhouse in midfield to partner Partey. There are some interesting names in that post but I’d love to see Bissouma bought. He comes Prem ready .

    A more interesting gamble would be Lokonga.and he would be perhaps the right way forward for Arsenal – buy him relatively cheap with the right age profile.

    Lokonga would represent a more thought out transfer strategy with an age cap set low.

  92. Steveyg87

    Leno also needs to bugger off, for all his good saves, he is a piss poor distributor of the ball

  93. Emiratesstroller

    Northbanker

    I agree Arsenal have “short term” problems to resolve in midfield department. We need to recruit players with “athletic” ability as well as creativity, assists and goals.

    The real problem when you read “Le Grove” is that understandably most poster no longer have the patience what might come down the line in 2-3 years time.

    They want “oven ready” solutions.

  94. Terraloon

    China1

    The Guendozi situation is odd to say the least. I am far from sure that €10 million will be the final fee , it will be less than that.

    The sort of money being talked about is at best a break even situation in terms of fee but the likelihood is the one year extension won’t be on the same wages as the original terms.

    It’s a catch 22 to a degree in that there is nothing to force the player to go out on loan nor can there be an “ obligation to buy” clause inserted in any loan unless the player themselves agree.

    I keep banging the drum about Webster transfers but there is another rule in the rules that allows a player to ask to have his contract cancelled if they haven’t played a set % of first team games in any one season for their parent club.

  95. China1

    ET torreira must be sold and we should be selling Guen too, unless arteta has a way to make him work as a 4th choice, which is frankly unlikely

    Sell both as far as I’m concerned

    But extending his contract then loaning him out is 100% pointless and will actually cost us money. Because if we extend then sell we have some leverage as he will have 2 years remaining. But if we extend, loan out then sell next summer he’ll have one year remaining and the player/buyer will be the party holding the cards in any negotiation. We’ll probably get a worse price for him

    Extend then sell this summer is best

  96. China1

    Kroenke don’t let people get to you, focus on the good ones

    The interesting chats and people sufficiently out way the pseudo intellectual contrarians to make it worth coming back!

  97. Luteo Guenreira

    What are people’s thoughts on the rumours of Hakan Calhanoglu on a free transfer? Heard this one a few times.

    In my opinion completely unfit for the Premier League, not athletic enough, would be a set piece specialist with no one to deliver the ball to, and someone who will require large wages to come.

    Since it absolutely sounds like it shouldn’t happen, I fear it’s pretty nailed on that it will happen.

  98. Emiratesstroller

    China 1

    Arsenal are clearly finding it difficult to generate transfer fees in the current pandemic.

    The club made the decision to “write off” the contracts of Ozil, Mkhitaryan, Sokratis, Mustafi
    with no prospect of generating a transfer fee. Luiz contract was not renewed and I suspect
    that Kolasinac and Willian will also be written off in similar fashion.

    Torreira is a problem difficult to resolve, not so much because he is not potentially in demand, but clearly because he wants to go to Boca Juniors who don’t have a pot to piss in
    when discussing a transfer fee.

    Guendouzi is a young player who may come good somewhere else in next couple of years, which is perhaps why Arsenal are gambling with a one year extension. They may also take
    the view that a club like Marseille will find the money to “buy him” if they see Arsenal willing to extend contract.

  99. China1

    Kroenke people here will tell you black is white if you let them but for everyone who does that you’ll find 2-3 people who have a lot of good shit to chat with you whether about football or otherwise

  100. Luteo Guenreira

    Rich is a joke of a human being based on most of the things he shares. Has no sense of humour about it either, complete bore. Decent football analysis though.

  101. China1

    Luteo it’s ok if you are having difficulty in the closet. Times have changed and we won’t judge you for coming out. Projecting your insecurity onto others won’t solve it for you!

  102. Luteo Guenreira

    China my closet is huge I can spend weeks in here. I only step out when Pierre saves up enough lucre to afford me for a night or two. I put on an Arsenal number 10 shirt and a pair of fake googly eyes and we go at it in a way that would make Tony and Kronk blush.

  103. Captain Tierney

    Terra

    Ozil was the same when he joined, so were Cazorla, Silva, Cesc, Hleb, Mata, Modric, etc. And the PL was far more break brutal then.

    I think it depends on the player really. If a player wants to succeed he will put in those extra hours in the gym, with the coaches, with the analysts and the dieticians.

    Thats where the mentality comes in. Lacazette was top tier in France, but he never physically transformed himself to suit to the PL. There are so many other examples. Silva, Hazard, Ozil, Cazorla, etc built more muscle and adapted their have to the league.

    If Aouar wants to be a world class player ( which he can be ) in the PL he will have to put in extra work too.
    Will he do it ? Can Arteta manage him properly ? Will he get distracted by London’s nightlife after bagging that big contract?
    Questions that only time can answer.

  104. Mr Serge

    Captain aouar won’t have to worry about nightlife in London right now clubs won’t open due to the pandemic
    Hopefully he does not develop a nandos fetish though 😁

  105. Captain Tierney

    Mr Serge

    I’m pretty sure these big guns are still enjoying parties and whatnot. Remember the Kyle Walker model party recently.

    When you got the €€ everything is possible.

  106. Almuniasaynomore

    Kroenkephobe
    I get it,mental health comes first,avoiding conflict is a good thing. Has to be weighed up with what you lose out on though, Tony and China giving you some solid advice there. Personally I’ve never been on Facebook or Twitter in my life,not really sure how people deal with the stress of trying to maintain an online persona,the real world is hard enough. I am addicted to le grove though, I know this cause I even take the time to read strollers essays every day! It’s like going to the pub isn’t it,you know there’s a few tools in there but if you find the lads you connect with it can be great craic. Time outs are good but only for short periods,mind yourself.

  107. CG

    Captain

    This Neves, simply Wolves’ version of Harry Winks ?

    Athletic just done a piece on him.
    Dynamic he aint.

    I like Granit more than most, but after 5 years of Xhaka , we need something different surely?

    Not just a right footed version of him and not at £35 million.

  108. Almuniasaynomore

    Tony,
    You’re really getting the hang of this lyrics craic,fair play. At least you worked with a tune I’d heard of today! I had a song ready to go there myself two days ago and same as you reckoned it’d cost me a ban so I know what you’re saying, Sid Vicious never had to put up with this. Good advice you’re doling out this morning, pleasure reading it as always.

  109. Tony

    “ I put on an Arsenal number 10 shirt and a pair of fake googly eyes and we go at it in a way that would make Tony and Kronk blush.”

    And not long a father, China! Have to feel for the little mite. I mean what’s Luteo going to upgrade to in 10 to 20 years?

    Brilliant minds you 2 got, had me lol in a 12th hole.bunker.

  110. Tony

    Thanks Almunia it’s also a good dose of nostalgia for me remembering the weeks and months spent in rehearsal studios with bands song writing.

    In the end it’s harmless fun except for the AKBs who go apoplectic with the name calling.

    Seeing what they’re like here I can’t imagine any tet a tet on Arteta ending well.

    Government health warnings spring to mind.

    Avoid the bin mate or you’ll find yourself sitting next to Don at some stage.

  111. Captain Tierney

    CG

    You could say that he is a right footed Xhaka with an ability to turn and play exquisite long passes. He also doesn’t make silly mistakes but is considerably weaker than Xhaka in the air. I think this will be a big area of concern because Partey is poor in the air and Xhaka is one of our best headers. He is quite important in defensive set pieces. If we don’t buy a powerful CM then we will only have 2 good headers of the ball in our team, our 2 CBs. We should have at least 3 imo to anchor the zones when defending set pieces
    Oh and Neves’s tackling, interception and pressure numbers are surprisingly very high ( top 80 percentile)

    Personally I would prefer other players over Xhaka. The game is moving to a PnP model. Its okay to have 1 or 2 lightweights in the team granted we can cover it with athletes around them.
    Currently the balance we have is not good imo.

    That said, I loved Neves in his first season (strictly eye test ). I haven’t watched as much of him this season.

  112. Luteo Guenreira

    Tony mate that laugh was all me you’re giving China way too much credit. The “you said ‘gay’ so that means you’re a closet gay” retort was barely fresh in the 90s, not creative or original in the slightest.

  113. Captain Tierney

    I would go as far as 25+5 for Neves. Not a penny more.
    We can nab Locatelli for 35.
    Even someone as good as Soumare bought by Leicester for 23 mil.
    Now they are looking at another smart buy in Edouard.

    While we are contemplating a 35 mil for a right footed Xhaka

  114. Almuniasaynomore

    Wenger Eagle
    I knew you were the man to ask. That whole Chelsea angle regarding Rice had totally passed me by. I know the footballing world is far more cynical,greedy and pretentious nowadays but I’d like to think that there are a few players who allow a sense of loyalty to take root somewhere in there( I’m not going down the rvp little boy speech here I hope). Most people accept that the business side is priority, you know,short career,need to make the most of it,money talks etc,etc. But if we’re honest we’d all like to think that the players who wear the jersey of the club we adore at least have the capacity to empathise with our passion if not actually share it. Hence the love for the hale enders,whether it’s consciously or not,most of us see in them our best chance of being represented on the pitch by players who might just care in the way we do.
    Looks like we got the Donnarumma move wrong, read yesterday PSG giving him 60 mil contract over 5 years and Raiola pocketing 20 mil for himself. Free transfers eh? Pity Navas is 34,really like him, always underrated. Had a look to see if there was another keeper at psg that might become surplus,you should see the amount of keepers they have,I thought we had a bloated squad! Anyway, window opens today, even though I don’t trust our management it is nice to know we are going to be heavily involved (I hope).
    Last thing, that article on midfielders yesterday by Mike McDonald was brilliant,that could be you writing like that, you’re good enough,no idea if there’s money in it though but I’ve been reading your posts for a long time now and you’d be well able to entertain and inform like that. And I know there’s prob a list of players you’ve backed wrongly, but trust me,everyone else’s list is longer!.

  115. Gentlebris

    ‘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.’

    We are not hiring for boys scout, we are hiring to win.

    The reason Balotelli faded out was his talent faded out….people would work with him at the highest levels if he still had it.

    Eto’o, Ibra, Rooney, even RVP were/are not exactly your model gentlemen, but people managed them well and brought the best out of them.

    When a guy had gold inside, you dug with respect, patience and understanding.

  116. Tony

    A laugh is very much appreciated especially these days so thanks, Luteo.

    As for the football I’ve been in this position for far too many years hoping that this time the club will know what they’re doing.

    Add in the Arteta and Edu dream team to this mix with Mr. G with his notepad, and I’m going to pass being worried or angry – most probably a mix of both.

    My take is to wait and see where the chips fall and what Arteta does with those chips.

  117. CG

    Thanks Captain.

    (Leicester City ‘know the game’ despite the fact they seem to run out of stamina in their league campaigns.)

    They look ready now for season 21/22 with x 2 smart looking signings while we are faffing around for next season not having a clue.

    (Not even relayed to the likes of AMN whats happening )

    No surprise whatsover if the Foxes finish above Arsenal 3 seasons in a row next season.

    Leicester City clearly following the mantra.

    Fail to Prepare.
    Prepare to Fail.

  118. Vintage Gun

    A good versatile attacking Mid that has not been mentioned much is Christopher Nkunku. Excellent player who can perform in a multitude of positions and has end product. Good age also.

    RB Leipzig are not broke though so the might price him up for silly money.

  119. Captain Tierney

    CG

    Leicester until this season only had a good first 11 thats why they run out of juice by the end. With Soumare, Edoaurd, 1 or 2 more good signings and their RB pereyra returning to full fitness they’ll have a very good squad and just a good first 11.

    The competition for top 4 next season is going to be even harder. With Chelsea looking to drop another 200 mil, Liverpool getting Van Dijk and Allison back, the Manchester clubs looking to break their banks for the likes of Sancho and Grealish, Leicester improving season after season, Everton going after Potter ( and I’m sure will look to invest heavily), its hard to see us finishing top 4 next season unless Arteta really is a generational manager.

  120. Left Testicle

    Also Mike,Nice post mate. Thanks for the scouting update! That I’m assuming is more thorough than what edu/tets have got 😂😂
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    Yes, can somebody forward Mike’s scouting report to Edu.

  121. raptora

    Just read Maitland-Niles interview.

    First he says:
    “It was a difficult one for me to swallow,” he says, “because the back end of last season, I put in a couple of performances in the cup, in the final, then after that break we had another final [Community Shield] which led to my England call-up not too long after that. Then a couple of months after that, it all died down, I wasn’t playing anymore … so it was strange, very strange.”

    Then he says:
    “I am not going to put that on Gareth saying ‘I need midfielders who score goals’ as the reason he didn’t pick me. He just felt he needed more goals in the team to help him win the Euros which is what he went and did. I think the squad he picked is still a great team that can do great things. I was gutted when I didn’t get picked. That was the whole reason for me going out on loan. To not even make the 33-man squad was … ‘Okay let’s start from square one again. Let’s go back to the drawing board and see what the plan is for the next World Cup.’ It did hurt but at the end of the day I went out there and gave it my all.”

    Like, dude. Clearly the problem is that you want to play midfielder and you are not rated as a midfielder while you are rated as a full back, except that you don’t want to play full back…

    Other than the obvious, that I already mentioned, the lack of communication from Arsenal is nothing short of shocking. As Marko said yesterday, Arteta and Edu don’t have a clear plan. If they had, they would have called AMN and Willock, and Nketiah, and whoever we want to sell to raise money for incoming transfers, tell them about their intention – that they are going to put them in the market so if they get a good offer that suits both Arsenal and the player, they will accept it.

    Right now it’s more than obvious that Arteta and Edu are going at the transfer without a clue of what they want. Bidding for Buendia who wasn’t their first choice proves it. Not telling the players who they obviously want to sell is another proof. It all leads to this type of inverviews that in the end lower the value Arsenal could have gotten.

  122. Emiratesstroller

    Arsenal have on their books Bellerin, Xhaka, Guendouzi, Torreira,Maitland-Niles, Willock,
    Nketiah and Nelson who could be sold.

    The only issue with these 8 players is the price which I suspect would be low during the current economic situation.

    Bluntly I think that it would be optimistic if they generated more than £80 million in sales and most likely an instalment plan as well.

    Nevertheless the money would pay for a couple of decent players. So the money needed for
    additional players would have to be found from within club or the owner.

    My view remains the same that Arsenal don’t need a squad larger than 22 for next season
    factoring in that we are not in Europe. I would factor in recruitment of no more than 5 players including Ryan as second string gk who should come back on a free transfer.

    In other words each position in lineup should be covered by 2 players.

  123. raptora

    Bidding for Buendia but failing could be use as a plead of poverty. Unfotunately it rarely works in negotiations. When you come out with that excuse and you are not willing to pay the required money usually there is another buyer who just outbids you. And even if there isn’t another buyer, clubs will just not sell to you, as proven in our efforts to land Aouar last season.

  124. AFC Forever

    Pedro/Mike

    That was a really interesting read. Appreciate the effort because I know how hard it can be to create fresh content.

    As we know, the team is under development and team building takes time. It isn’t building fantasy league team, so there are many variables involved. It is about the sum of all parts. We need to build combinations in key areas of the pitch and recruit players who fit the playing style of whoever the coach is at the time. Different coaches need different ‘types’ of player. At the moment we have players recruited by previous managers which means compromise. That has to be addressed. As discussed before, Klopp decided to bring in something like 23 players to win the title, adding another 4 or 5 since then. Crazy numbers but he decided that was what was needed because the players he inherited couldn’t deliver on his plan. He was right. We don’t need to do that but we do need better players. He pushed the boat out for Van Dijk, built a defence on which would allow the rest of the team to get on with trying to score goals and bought in players in other areas who could work hard and suit his high press. Mane, as an example, was perfect for that. We don’t have a Mane, Aubamayang doesn’t have the same desire.

    The first thing we need to do is sort out the centre back pairing. That has to be a combo. Pretty decent options but the two best defenders might not be the best pairing. Is it Saliba + Holding, Holding + Mari, Saliba + Gabriel or permutations thereof? That has to be decided for next season. As we play from the back, they have to be comfortable on the ball. Mari is my pick for that particular ability, he also stays on his feet, Gabriel worries me in those aspects. Holding has a great clean sheet record and wins most aerial balls and Saliba looks to have everything – except we haven’t seen him step up to the PL yet. We don’t need to recruit here, we just need to agree on a pairing.

    Be interested to see what centre back pairings you guys all prefer or think works best?

    We need a right wing-back, an energetic, pacey player who can mirror what Tierney brings, Chambers is a great cover for a number of positions & he’s good with the ball but he’s not a Tierney. That is one top-quality player we need right there. But who?

    In the midfield/forward areas we need to build fluidity and recruit players who can play at the tempo we need, that’s what players like Xhaka and Elneny can’t do, their slow play allowing teams to get back into position and force us to play in front of them. That’s no good. It was why Odegaard was bought in, to play quicker and break lines. ESR too. If you’re going to play with movement and with players interchanging, then you really have to have technical players with energy and vision. I slightly disagree with Gambon, who makes some other valid points, but I don’t see Partey as the same as Bissouma; Bissouma is more of a Kante type, high energy pest who runs all game and wins ball back for the team. Partey isn’t the same high energy, he’s bigger and stronger and would be a good fit with a Bissouma type because he would have more freedom. He’s a far better player with the ball than Bissouma but they would compliment each other. Allowing Partey to play a bit further forward would be a good move. For me, at the moment, Partey is being asked to do too much, covering for what we lack through the middle of the team, on occassion he looks like a square peg in a round hole. The team balance is off, we know that, so we need to get this sorted.

    I would rather go big and recruit less, we can fill squad positions with the youngsters. Good quality competition is better than too much competition of lesser quality. I suspect that is the way we will go because Arteta complained about the size of the squad he inherited & hinted at the lack of quality for competition. We had problems with senior players not getting game time and that is a problem, especially with young players still learning the game. We mustn’t fall into that trap again. This is where we may have to take a view on Aubamayang because at times he has had the touch of Bendtner and the attitude of Nasri. If he doesn’t sort himself out then we have to get rid because we really can’t carry players, especially those on big money. Let’s hope he’s over his personal issues but I’m on the fence about him.

  125. Northbanker

    I have now got over my anger at not buying Buendia and new resolve to ignore transfer gossip. So much better to only focus on what has happened. So no more Googling ‘Arsenal transfer rumours’ – it isnt good for my health!!

  126. Positive pete

    Mike McDonald- Excellent bit of scouting.In all seriousness.Should Email it off tonArteta/ Edu.Seriously doubt their “ scouts” are doing as thorough a job.Who knows,might give them some food for thought.It goes to show that there’s a small army of options out there for midfield.Lots reasonably priced & obtainable.There should be no excuses or trolley dash at end of window.My personal choices would be three( which I know will never happen)Bissouma,Anguissa & Aouar.perfect positivity.

  127. raptora

    My opinion of Aouar is the following:

    He will add goals and assist to his game in time. He already made an improvement in that regard this season.

    He is 22 yo and has a very high ceiling.

    He could certainly be the Santi we’ve been missing.

    What is worrying me is:
    1. I’ve heard he’s had disciplinary issues which means Arteta and Aouar will have a clash before the Winter comes.

    2. PSG, City, Bayern, Madrid, Barcelona, Atleti, Manure, Chelsea, Juve – all of these clubs could use a quality midfielder on the brink of being world class which looks like a certainty and just a matter of time. Even the likes of Leicester and Villa are now players on the market. They know his interviews, they know he’s said he’ll leave if the right offer arrives. That’s been known for 2 summers now. Yet no one has made the big step.

    Of course this suits Arsenal in a way that we have the actual chance to land a player who we missed on last season. Can’t help but wonder why no one is looking at a player who looks capable of playing for almost any side out there and is available for a reasonable amount. Covid market maybe, but Covid market didn’t stop Chelsea drop 200m or Villa now 35m. Clubs have enough money to splash. It must be something else and I don’t know what.