by .

Here we are people, welcome to Friday. It’s been a fun week.

There’s not a lot of news doing the rounds. David Ornstein set tongues wagging when he suggested Arsenal might not have the funds to finance a Maddison deal.  Honestly, that sounds about right… Arsenal dropping £70m on a creative midfielder felt a little bit wild to me. If we went to £35-40m for Buendia, that seems closer to the number you would expect. That said, odd that there are so many strong stories that the player wants Arsenal. Surely Edu wouldn’t harass a player without knowing the costs?

There’s a lot of general angst in system about how we’re spending money we haven’t spent.

I don’t think Arsenal will pay £32m for a backup keeper if Bernd Leno stays this summer, that would be a wild amount of cash to send to a club that has just been relegated… who cares what they paid for him in the first place. There can’t be a recession in football with the only club not benefitting from it being Arsenal.

There are still plenty of bargains to be had around Europe, Houssem Auoar scored a cracking volley for Lyon last night, and we know they are looking to move on talent to raise funds.

Quite incredible how slow transfer business everywhere seems to be dragging.

Granit Xhaka still hasn’t moved. This Roma negotiation is painfully boring considering the hype started before the Euros. I can’t blame Edu for standing firm on a decent fee. The Swiss was in the team of the tournament and he’s only 28 years old. He’s literally at the peak of his powers and we can only squeeze £20m for him.

Ralph Hassenhutl made a point that seems to be very on point.

“At the moment, in the transfer market, it’s always the same,”

“Everybody wants players; nobody has money.

“Everybody wants to have the most money for his players when he wants to sell it and that keeps everything on hold.

“Therefore, a lot of players are running down their contracts and finally leaving for free. This money is what smaller clubs are missing then.

If Stan K hadn’t tried his luck at the super league, we’d be in the same boat this summer, because there’s no way we’d be raising enough capital to splash properly

The interesting thing is that no one is accepting the deflationary realities of the game for almost everyone. If all clubs just operated at a lower level, things would move, but it seems like no one wants to blink first just in case other clubs are hoarding pots of gold.

Arteta has been talking about what he wants from players at Arsenal and I like it.

“Absolutely there is another character in this dressing room that transmits every value that I would like to transmit to the club and our fans [and it is Kieran],”

“Again, it is young, hungry, talented, and people with huge desire and again he has all four ingredients – and he didn’t want to talk about anything other than staying here.

“That character, I think it shows on the pitch – when anything happens that is not going for us, you don’t give up, you just raise your level, try to be better and transmit that to the rest of the team so they all believe.

“Kieran has this capacity, and Emile as well, to lift the crowd with an action, Gabi Martinelli has this capacity – and this is something you either have or you don’t have.”

The vision is coming out piecemeal, but this is something I think most of us wanted to hear heading into the new season.

  • Clarification on what sort of players Arteta wants to take us to the next level.
  • Confirmation that there’s a type of player he loves.
  • Some certainty that young/hungry players are the future of the club.

Well, it’s all there. We’ll see more Gabi next season, ESR won’t be a bit part player replaced by a clogger, and KT is probably in the running to be our next captain at some point.

There’s still plenty to do this summer, but tying down the future is an achievement, and signing players at a lower age profile is exactly where we want to see things head.

Right, see you in the comments. Watch the additional content below. Have a GREAT Friday night.


We dropped another podcast that we recorded for the video creeeeew. Enjoy. Find my co-host @iJohnnyCochrane.

Spotify | Acast | Google | Audible


Jump to comment form ↓

  1. Elmo


    I guess that’s why players generally push for transfers for more money. Alderweireld was at one point rated the best CB in the PL, was constantly pushing for a better contract, but never forced his way out, so never earned more than £80k pw. Now he feels compelled to make the early move to Qatar for money, when if he’d forced a better contract in his peak years, he could have stuck around at good clubs in Europe, and finished with a year in Belgium. .

  2. Pierre

    “From the video compilations I watched, Lokonga is more skillful than willock – he holds and move with the ball well and a great passer of the ball.”

    Do yourself a favour and watch this link and watch a player who can do it in the Premier league in just a small sample of games …..very impressive..

  3. Rich


    Where would you play Willock in this current team?

    Do you think it could work with Willock + Smith Rowe as 2 No8s ahead of Partey?

  4. Tee

    “Do yourself a favour and watch this link and watch a player who can do it in the Premier league in just a small sample of games …..very impressive..

    I don’t need to waste my data on that. I have watched willock enough to know he is all about strength and sprint. Though, he is young and enough room for development but he will have to do what he did at Newcastle again to prove it’s not just a purple patch.

  5. Chika

    Lokonga plays 6 and 8. I don’t think Willock has ever played as a deep lying midfielder neither do I think he has the skill-set for it.

  6. Tee

    “Lokonga plays 6 and 8. I don’t think Willock has ever played as a deep lying midfielder neither do I think he has the skill-set for it.”

    Exactly, willock could become a good no.8 but if he lacks the ability to win the ball back then it will ultimately affect our midfield. Also obvious he isn’t built for the no.6 role.

  7. Tee

    They are not even comparable skill-wise.

    He should be sold if a good offer comes in or loaned if another cm comes in which could reduce his number of appearances.

  8. Pierre

    “Lokonga plays 6 and 8. I don’t think Willock has ever played as a deep lying midfielder neither do I think he has the skill-set for it.”

    Do yourself a favour and watch the link and you will see that 90% of his actions came from deep areas.

    It’s just that he can get from a deep lying position to the final 3rd in a blink of an eye.

    As i have said many times , Willock just needs to get himself involved in the build up more, which he will do as his confidence grows, and we will have a player on our hands …trust me.

  9. TR7

    Willock is an off the ball player whereas Lokonga likes to keep and run with the ball. Not passing a verdict on either of the two but Arsenal need a player who likes to be on the ball and can help in possession and transition.

  10. Pierre

    To let willock leave would be criminal…he is a potential game changer.

    Lakonga is making runs from deep against Europa level ( or below) teams in the Belguim league, Willock is doing ot FROM DEEP in the premier league …a world of difference.

    If anyone thinks that Lakonga has the body strength to play his way in the premier league , they are in fo a rude awakening.
    You can already see that he goes to ground easy(Guendouzi like) at the mearest touch, whereas Willock has the strength and power to brush them off and never looks to go to ground.

    Selling Willock for me would be up there with the sale of Martinez for major cock ups inthe last 12 months.

  11. Pierre

    It is wrong to think that Willock is just an off the ball player when you look at what he can do on the ball.

    I can’t think of another midfield player in the premier league who can turn defence into attack when he breaks the opposition midfield line, he just needs to do it more often

  12. Tom

    If Willock were a Liverpool player there’d be a handful of PL clubs trying to buy him right now for £20-25m after the season he had with Newcastle.

    And if his name was Willongakembe and he spoke French people would be wanking themselves over his 10 minute you tube reel.

  13. TR7


    Bernardo is a highly technical player but he is one paced and doesn’t score goals. He holds on to the ball a tad too much. Very easy on the eye but his output is not great. Plays in the same position as Saka too. We shouldn’t spend 60M on him.

  14. Tom

    I don’t watch Arsenal academy players but I remember vividly posters who do claiming just two seasons ago that Arsenal academy was in tatters and producing nothing of value.

  15. Pierre

    “The ability to dictate play from deep is the hallmark of a DLP, Willock is nothing close to such.”

    Tell me something new, i said a high percentage of Willock’s actions come from deep position.

    Some just don’t want to believe what they see with their own eyes..
    They made up their mind that he will never be good enough for the premier league , championship level is always aimed at him.
    The evidence is there for all to see….he is a very talented lad who just needed to be trusted by his manager and he will deliver…

  16. Chika

    I think we should just go ahead and sign Neves as the Xhaka replacement. Seem like a player Arteta would like.

  17. Davi

    An analysis video I saw on lokonga suggested his big skill was his passing ability; he’s apparently really good at finding openings to hit the forwards quickly, rather than simply trying to keep it with easy/sideways passes (a common criticism of most of our midfielders).
    Willock has always been known for getting into goalscoring positions, he’s fast, strong and pretty skillful, and I could see him becoming decent defensively, but it’s always felt like there’s something missing in his build up play? Not sure.

  18. IQ

    It’s great news that all our young players are signing but how is Arteta going to play them all? Unless our new formation is 5 1 5 I can’t see them all getting enough game time to develop and progress, especially with no Europe.

    Even if we play 4 2 3 1 that’s four forward positions for Saka, ESR, Pepe, Auba, Laca, Balogun, Martinelli and the fabled number 10 we’re buying to make us great again. And I forgot last year’s saviour, Willian. This is if we manage to offload Reiss Nelson and Eddie who are actually great prospects if given play time to develop.

    Going with four up top means we can only play two cms who need to be highly mobile and press resistant as they will usually be up against either three midfielders or two highly mobile ones. We have Partey and one of Xhaka or Elneny. Elneny is a 4 or 5/10 player and ok as back up in a pinch and whilst Xhaka is a decent player, his mobility is severely lacking and he is susceptible to a high press due to his being so one footed as well as slow.

    I would have thought going with this system our pressing need would be to replace the one player that made this system work for us and that was Cazorla (before him Fabregas) whose ability to turn both ways made him immune to a press as he could turn out of trouble against nearly any single player and in the case where he was pressed by multiple players was good enough to pass it to the spare man.

    Not replacing him has been our biggest error as it means our forwards who could before push up on the opposing team’s defenders safe in the knowledge that the ball would get to them have had to drop deeper and deeper to either get the ball themselves or at least be in a position to help recover the ball when it is lost (which is frequently).

    That’s the reason why Ozil’s numbers deteriorated and now Auba’s. Both of them sacrificed their own game to drop deep but instead of being commended (some of us) we threw Ozil under the bus and now we’re doing it to Auba. Last year after Ozil and before Auba it was Pepe who we blamed.

    The blame lies squarely with the manager (Emery before Arteta). If we’re going to stick with Xhaka then we need to play three in the middle to offset his weaknesses and utilise his strengths. But then we have only three spots and 8/9 players for them.

    Maybe Lokonga is the answer but if we don’t replace Xhaka with a more mobile midfielder I can’t see us improving much at all this season and we’ll be wasting all our young signing’s time.

  19. Chika

    “Tell me something new, i said a high percentage of Willock’s actions come from deep position.”

    You mean making constantly runs from deep into opposition box like other renowned DLPs?

  20. Pierre

    I wouldn’t play Willock too high up the pitch as he does more damage coming from deep areas , i don’t see him as a CAM/no.10.

    A 4-3-3 would suit him with either Partey sitting with 2 either side , maybe willock and lakonga.
    This will give the team great energy in midfield as both are ball carriers.
    Alternately, play lakonga alongside Partey and allow Willock to break the opposition midfield line with his pace .

    Wing backs is an option with willock in the side or a Christmas tree formation ( 4-3-2-1) with willock one of the 3.

    Contrary to opinion , i believe Willock can play a disciplined centre midfield role with ease..

    Will just add that I’m not saying Willock should be a nailed on starter every week at the start of the season but i do believe he has a very high ceiling.

  21. IQ

    If we were truly challenging for top four I could understand the hesitancy to play people like AMN and Willock but given that we’re supposed to be building for the long term and no one really believes we have any realistic chance of top four it’s criminal that we’re buying in young talent instead of playing the ample young talent we have.

    If we can accept mediocrity for a couple of years (which we have already) then giving AMN, Willock and Reiss a chance is not going to make us any worse than we already have been.

  22. Pierre

    “You mean making constantly runs from deep into opposition box like other renowned DLPs?”

    Obviously you are being deliberately stupid I’ll leave it there .

  23. IQ


    I do think they are good enough given time but not right now. And I don’t think we’re realistically going to be able to spend enough to improve the squad to get into top four right now.

    You’re a fan of RBL and such but they give their youth s game time and allow them to grow and develop and I think we should do the same. Give up on the pipe dream of getting into the top four this year or even the next but look to build a young team that will grow and mature in a few years to really challenge.

  24. Pierre

    Nothing wrong buying young players , they just need to be better than the one’s that we have sent out on loan in the last 6 months

  25. Pierre

    ” Give up on the pipe dream of getting into the top four this year or even the next but look to build a young team that will grow and mature in a few years to really challenge.”

    This is what i would like to see , the fans will show more patience with the manager and players if players like Martinelli, Willock , Nketiah, Saliba were given the chance to play and develop.

    Let’s face it , we cant do amy worse than the first 3 months of last season with the experienced players , thankfully youth hot our season back on track.

  26. S Asoa

    Talk at Metro Sports that Arsenal is putting up Lacazete for 15 million to make funds available to get Tammy Abraham for 40.
    Strictly sounds like our frustrated manager is set loose in a brothel with the Club assets or other wives in his knapsack. Similar irresponsible behaviour

  27. Chika

    “Obviously you are being deliberately stupid I’ll leave it there.”

    lol says the eternal dense cunt. Cry all you want, Willock and his hanging lips should be shipped out for 20 – 25M. Next to be flogged is Nketiah!

  28. Moray

    What is crazy is that we are apparently looking to offer Abraham a delta of some 45k per week to sign.

    This is a player who is not wanted by his own manager and is desperate to get out (and no doubt to stay in london). Is he really worth over 100k?

  29. S Asoa

    Of course sell Laca, but we have better player, Balogun, a natural No 9., currently being Artetized to shoehorn into a winger , where we have plenty and Martineli a natural.
    But , in case of perverted minds it assumes a different dimension

  30. TR7


    My idea of an ideal midfield is having a Busquest or Carrick type player sitting deep who can recycle the ball playing alongside a box to box midfielder like Partey. If Partey could play in a deep position Willock could have been tried as a box to box mid alongside him. But I am not sure about Partey as a deep lying mid as he loses the ball too much for my liking.

    All said and done I am fine with Willock being kept as a squad player and see whether he can really kick on.

    I think out of Nelson, Nketiah and Willock we can afford to keep only one, the other two will have to be sold for generating funds.

  31. Rich

    Willock is a brilliant player with a very high ceiling, but football is often about styles of play

    We can fit Willock into our system if we put the right players around him, but he’s certainly more suited to a counter attacking team than a possession based one

    Nelson is another youngster who’s development we’ve handled badly, could easily become another Gnabry situation

    People say he lacks mental strength and all this nonsense, but Henry told Wenger he couldn’t play as a No9 when he arrive from Juventus

    So many people have gone so much further than they ever thought they could, just because someone believed and placed their trust in them, whichever manager places their trust and gives confidence to Nelson, will have some talent on their hands

    Nketiah has wasted 18 months of his development, looks likely he’ll leave when looking at his contractual situation, and how many players we have in that position

    He’ll develop into a top PL striker over the next couple of seasons with regular football

    We need to learn to manage and read the trajectory of our players much smarter, peak Wenger was the master of knowing when to let a player go, and recognising when a players career was about to take off

  32. Pierre

    “lol says the eternal dense cunt. Cry all you want, Willock and his hanging lips should be shipped out for 20 – 25M.”

    That’s a little harsh on Willock, you would get more respect if you talked about his football ability than his facial features

  33. Rich

    Arsenal apparently beat Millwall 4-1 at London Colney this afternoon, goals from Chambers, Lacazette, Pepe & Balogun.

  34. Bill

    You’re out of order with your nasty little dig “Willock and his hanging lips should be shipped out”.

    Keep to football and lay off the shit talk.

  35. JayJay


    Selling Willock for me would be up there with the sale of Martinez for major cock ups inthe last 12 months.

    And guendouzi as well

  36. R.S.P.C.Arsenal

    No club in the world will play 15m for laca…
    Realistically were talking 8m at a push, will probably end up paying him off.

  37. Terraloon

    “Also tielmans and Lukaku came from the Belgium league they never had an issue adapting to the prem”

    For every player that comes from Belgium and done ok that number is trumped and them some

    Remember Wesley at Villa. Worth every £1 of the £22 million they paid in 2019. In two seasons scored 6 goals .
    Or what about Matz Sels at Newcastle cost £6.6 million in 2016 lasted 14 games before being shipped out on loan. Or how about the memorable career Dodi Lukebakio had at Watford. Signed a four and half year contract in Jan 2018 filling his transfer from Sporting Charleroi made his debut 10 days later and led to a , well no more games.

  38. Elmo


    If it’s <15m, I'd just keep Laca for the season. He's still the most rounded CF at the club, and I get the impression he will end up playing ahead of PEA for many games.

    It really depends what Laca is expecting as a wage on his next contract. If he'd settle for 100k pw (from current 175k pw), a buying club this summer could expect Arsenal to drop the asking price by 3.9m (75k x 52). The problem is while there would be mid-table PL teams willing to pay 15-20m fee + 100k pw new contract, he rightfully won't want to drop to that level. That leaves overseas teams, who don't have that money / wages for a 30 yr old.

    All the media this summer has said we've tried very aggressively for months to drum up interest, but there isn't any, so I think he stays, and we hope he can have one great year like his second season (19 goals, 13 assists).

  39. Elmo

    “Arsenal are streaming today’s friendly against Millwall for free at 16.00”

    Thanks for the tip, Rich

  40. R.S.P.C.Arsenal


    Agree for a small fee ain’t worth it if we could pick Tammy up on a free next summer.
    Laca does a lot of tutoring with the kids as well…

    Maybe it’s the captain who should be sold bigger profile more cash

  41. Sly

    Willock is good in a counter attacking role
    I haven’t seen the characteristics of a deep lying midfielder or play maker with him ie ball retention, creativity with pass distribution from deep, ball winning/tackling etc
    He has a singular talent with making powerful runs and shooting on target. Not enough to be our next CM imo
    I think he and Nketiah/AMN should be sold if the opportunity arises
    I think Nelson has potential and should be loaned out if we can’t give him enough minutes

  42. Gentlebris

    It’s so le grove to dismiss Auba so quickly after a bad season despite single handedly dragging us to a cup win and finishing a joint top highest scorer just the season before that.

    Arsenal are run pretty awful, but imagine if we were run by the hotheads here.

    Now to the transfers(and the lack of them):

    If the three musketeers don’t sign a new striker after going after Aguero(as confirmed by his daddy)and don’t sign an attacking midfielder after going after Buendia, then you would know they are just pissing against any wall in front of them without having a clear vision of what must be done to take this team forward.