by .

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

So, Thomas Partey needs a partner.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Double Pivot with Partey

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

Aurelien Tchouameni Monaco (21)

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

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

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

Ruben Neves Wolves (24)

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

Sambi Lokonga Anderlecht (21)

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

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

Zambo Anguissa Fulham (25)

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

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

Nicolo Barella Inter Milan (24)

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

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


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

Frenkie DeJong Barcelona (24)

I have a hunch.

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

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

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

Maxence Caqueret Lyon (21)

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

Matheus Martinelli Fluminense (19)

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

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

Hybrid versatile

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

Marcel Sabitzer Leipzig (27)

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

Eduardo Camivinga Rennes (18)

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

Manuel Locatelli Sassuolo (23)

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

Federico Valverde Real Madrid (22)

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


If we go 4-3-3…..

Houssem Aouar Lyon (22)

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

Ryan Gravenberch Ajax (19)

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

Joey Veerman Heerenveen (22)

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

Xhaka replacements/Lefties

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

Fabian Ruiz Napoli (25)

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

Saul Niguez Athletico Madrid (26)

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

Teun Koopmeiners AZ Alkmaar (23)

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

True DM

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

Yves Bissouma Brighton (24)

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

Guido Rodriguez Real Betis (27)

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

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

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

Young and potentially elite

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

Credit to @footballtalentscout for some of this info.

Carney Chukwuemeka Aston Villa (17)

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

Lesley Ugochukwu Rennes (17)

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

Illaix Moriba Barcelona (18)

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

What I would do?

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

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

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

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

Net spend = 45M to upgrade our midfield.

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

What I think Arsenal will do:

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

Thanks for reading!

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



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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.



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


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.


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… Read more »



You may get his right leg for that.

He is still a top talent, Aulas won’t give him away for less than 30m.


“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.

Guns of SF

Aulas will not leak anything negative. HE is a smart bizness man
Will squeeze every drop out he can get.

Guns of SF

Pepe, Auba, Laca and our other French speaking bros need to get in Aouar’s ear. He can join the bro man ship

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.


Edouard going for a fish supper, no risk at all for that money, disappointing.


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.


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


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.


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.



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

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… Read more »

Champagne Charlie


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.



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


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… Read more »

Nik Schoenmakers

Thought that was a great read, although i could never see de jong being let go.

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… Read more »


‘ 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…


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… Read more »


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… Read more »



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.

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.


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.


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.


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… Read more »


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


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… Read more »


Also Mike,

Nice post mate. Thanks for the scouting update! That I’m assuming is more thorough than what edu/tets have got 😂😂


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… Read more »


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.

Mike McDonald


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!



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.


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: Back to the important stuff here’s another ditty immortalizing Arteta’s crappiness and current news: 2-4-6-8 Motorway song Watching Arteta’s teams is always the same losing too often just compounds the pain Arteta’s process is on… Read more »


Yeah Mike McDonald, it was an excellent piece! Really interesting!


Mike thanks for the meticulous report; I appreciate the time you took to compile it.

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.

Guns of SF

Great work… A + stuff

Thoughts over Bissouma vs Anguissa?
Is Anguissa to similar to TP?

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.

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


“”””””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


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


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… Read more »


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

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… Read more »

Captain Tierney


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


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… Read more »


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


“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… Read more »


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… Read more »


China 1

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

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.


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


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… Read more »


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



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.


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… Read more »


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… Read more »


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!


You’re a prince. Stay cool out on the courses and keep on having a great time with junior. See you later mate.

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.

Luteo Guenreira

Tony and Kroenkephobe are so gay for each other haha.


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… Read more »


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

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.


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!

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.

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… Read more »

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 😁

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.

Mr Serge

So true money talks


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… Read more »



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.


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.


“ 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.


We all know that if Matteo was a Chelsea player they’d be cashing in a good £25m right now. God, we sell so shit at Arsenal.


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.

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… Read more »

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.

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


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… Read more »


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


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.


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.

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.

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… Read more »


‘I want some clarity!’ – Maitland-Niles ready to ‘kiss Arsenal goodbye’ if not given assurances over his future

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.



I did that and got a reply

“Edu has his own way of dealing things. Ruthlessly.”


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’… Read more »


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… Read more »


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.

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… Read more »


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!!

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.


I would appoint Mike in place of Edu!



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… Read more »