WHY HAVEN’T WE CANCELLED SALIBA LOAN? + INBOUND DEALS GOING TO THE WIRE

by .

OH MY WORD CAN SOMEONE STOP THE LEAKAGE.

You spend 10 years saying off-the-cuff things like, ARSENAL SHOULD JUST BIN THE DEADWOOD, then someone gets the keys to Arsenal and just does it, and it is TERRIFYING.

Edu has lost his damn mind this month, he’s handing out P45s like the club is going into liquidation.

Cal Chambers was sent packing to Aston Villa. No rumours, no ITK links, just BOOM, see yah later Cal.

There was talk that we let him go for nothing, but apparently, that’s not true, we landed a fee for him and obviously, they are paying his wages. He’s a top human, everyone likes him, but he never clicked at Arsenal. Mad to think he’s 27. He’ll forever be 22 in my mind.

This morning, there’s talk that Eddie is going to Newcastle. This is a crafty move from him. The player is looking for £90k a week. Arsenal were probably squirming at the number because it’d make him hard to sell if he didn’t improve… Newcastle won’t give a shit. They need goals, they are the richest club in the world, Eddie could be the difference between relegation and staying up.

You do have to say it’s a weird move for him outside money. He hasn’t been able to make an impact in our side, how is he going to deal with Mbappe in a couple of seasons?

Who cares, if there’s a fee, we’re laughing.

Well, laughing until you look at the state of our squad.

Now, you can’t call Arsenal a circus. You can’t call this window shambolic. The club cannot be accused of anything incompetence… until we see where we land.

As it stands, we’re moving on players that don’t play. They are bodies, sure, but don’t confuse the situation… not one of the players moving on is good enough or fits the system.

Ainsley is a body, not the difference between a win and a loss against Liverpool.

Eddie blew his chance and cost us points at Everton and the next round in the FA Cup missing 6-yard opportunities.

Cal Chambers just isn’t at the level we need. Ben White gets the nod ahead of him at right-back and he’s not good enough at centre back.

We have shifted on bench security, not players that could help in the run for top 4.

That said, we are very, very thin right now.

I’m struggling to see where the internal promotions come from. Bierith, Patino, Hutchinson, and Salah all look like fantastic talents, but it’s a huge ask to expect them to deliver right now. Rekik has never played in the Premier League.

Matteo G is no-go because of his previous with the coaching staff and backroom team in general.

William Saliba should absolutely, 110%, without doubt, be recalled this instant. We spent £28m on him, he’s been in 8 Ligue 1 team of the weeks, he absolutely fits our system, and we need him. I don’t give a shit if he plays 5 games, he is a better option off the bench than Rob Holding right now.

… but if Marseille made sure he was there all season, then we are screwed. If we’re screwed, that feels like a lack of foresight from the club.

How much business can we do in three days?

How far along are we with deals?

What is the plan?

We are playing a very high-risk game right now. I don’t disagree with any of the exits, but I think I speak for everyone: If we don’t sign anyone, we have done some damage to our chances this season. Even psychologically you have to wonder what the players are thinking right now.

Still, there has always been action with Edu. There has always been a plan with Arteta. The two of them haven’t ever exited a window without the goods. Even if the goods are not that good.

… and remember, Mikel Arteta is extremely ambitious. He wants to win the Champions League with Arsenal. He wants to manage at the highest level. I’m not sure he flew out to America to tell Stan to bin half the squad to save pennies.

We have to trust the process right now. Put the THIS IS RIDICULOUS tweets in draft mode. Save the doom for 4 days time. The players are on holiday right now, we have 2 weeks until our next game, there’s plenty of time to do deals.

… I am calm. Honestly. Totally ok and stuff.

Right, before we go, let’s talk about Spurs. Look at this tweet.

That’s why you don’t hire Conte. He’s not a team player. Imagine spending £15m a year on a manager and having to worry he’ll throw a hissy fit if he doesn’t get exactly what he wants. He’s only worried about himself. What a child. I mean, I like it, but more fool Daniel Levy for signing a manager that basically laughed off Spurs in the summer.

It’s also amusing that some of the fan base spent last season saying, ‘if Arteta is so generational, why does he need to recruit to make Arsenal work?’ Conte is literally one of the greats of a generation and he is threatening to walk if he doesn’t get some players.

Honestly, I couldn’t think of a worse combination in football than Daniel Levy and Anotonio Conte. MAD that they hired a chequebook man child.

Right, see you in the comments.

 

391 Responses to “WHY HAVEN’T WE CANCELLED SALIBA LOAN? + INBOUND DEALS GOING TO THE WIRE”

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  1. Bob N16

    Habesha, I don’t accept that AMN will be a big miss. You could argue that he wasn’t given enough of a chance in CM but it’s a major stretch to say he’ll be a big miss when he barely ever played for us there and when he did I can’t say I ever felt that he particularly shined.

    Partey and Lokonga would be my choice as starting CM partnership, the fewer the minutes Xhaka gets the better as far as I’m concerned!

  2. TR7

    Marko/Ishola

    The idea of Arteta turning out to be a great manager is so romantic and fascinating that people support him despite his major obvious flaws. Some people desperately want him to be our own Pep Guardiola.

  3. Steg

    Marko – I thought Emery was the wrong appointment but equally wasn’t given the backing he needed. Thought he deserved more time.

    As for spending, if you’re referring to Our transfer and salary spend over the past 5 to 10, or whatever timeframe you care to look at I imagine it pales in comparison to Chelsea, City, United. So that leaves us playing for 4th, which oddly this season is where we have found ourselves briefly.

  4. TR7

    Bob

    *when he did I can’t say I ever felt that he particularly shined.”

    AMN was man of the match the last time he started for Arsenal and for some reason unknown to everyone else except Arteta he was never given another start.

  5. Bob N16

    Could it be Marko that they have seen potential in a novice coach and accept that his and the team’s improvement will eventually prove significant? I wouldn’t have chosen a novice but they did and therefore have, I assume, factored in a ‘learning curve’.

    He may be ‘unworthy’ but I can understand why they have ‘changed the criteria’ – can’t you?

  6. Matt B

    Marko: I think the fanboy thing is some sort of misplaced deviancy thing for you and others to fantasise about. It’s clearly taken a hold off Graham62 because he can’t stop talking about him, hour after hour, day after day

  7. andy1886

    ES, let’s take a factual look at your comments:

    “There is today a lot more competition than in the Rioch era”.

    Not true. Competition is defined as more individuals (clubs in this case) competing for the same goals. Let’s look at the reality:

    Number of different league winners in the decade prior to Rioch: Six (Liverpool, Everton, Leeds, Arsenal, ManU, Blackburn)

    Number of different league winners prior to Arteta: Four (ManU, ManC, Chelsea, Leicester)

    Number of different teams to achieve a top 4 place in the decade prior to Rioch: Fourteen (Liverpool, Everton, West Ham, ManU, Spurs, NottsF, Norwich, Villa, Palace, Leeds, SheffieldW, Blackburn, Newcastle, Arsenal)

    Number of different teams to achieve a top 4 place in the decade prior to Arteta: Seven (Chelsea, ManU, Arsenal, Spurs, ManC, Liverpool, Leicester).

    I’m not sure how a title or top four place is ‘less competitive’ when more sides achieve it – that’s the very definition of more competitive (double the number in the case of top four).

    Then there is “We are competing today with clubs who have been able to spend significantly more than us over the last 15 years.”

    First of all fifteen years is nonsense and a convenient period for you to drag in Chelsea’s early spending. How many players are still at those clubs 15 years later? None.

    I’ll give you ten years (note that our longest serving player is now Elneny, since 2016)

    Here are the net spends of the top clubs over the last decade:

    ManC £1022M
    ManU £944M
    Chelsea £498m
    Arsenal £471m
    Liverpool £338m
    Spurs £168m

    Figures from Transfermarkt

    So the reality is that only the two Manchester clubs have spent significantly more than us (and we may well overtake Chelsea if we spend this January), and two of our competitors (Liverpool and Spiurs) have spent much less.

    So sorry, your argument doesn’t bear scrutiny.

  8. Bob N16

    TR7, ‘one swallow doesn’t make a summer”. I accept he may not have been given enough of an opportunity in CM but we all watch all the games. I’m lucky enough to get to all the home games and I cannot recall that many games where AMN played in CM and in turn played well. The MotM may well have been deserved but it doesn’t stick in my mind in the way it does yours.

    I’ve always thought there was a really good PL player in AMN trying to get out- I guess Italy can start judging him now. I, like many others, felt that RB was there for the taking but he wanted to play CM. Saw him start at RB for Roma, head slap!

  9. Sid

    The Diet Pep fanboys like to talk about positivity, its a passive agressive tactic, they are cowardly like their idol.

  10. Marko

    Could it be Marko that they have seen potential in a novice coach and accept that his and the team’s improvement will eventually prove significant?

    What have they seen? Does anybody actually know or can actually make a worthwhile argument instead of a bunch of buzzwords when it comes to this “improvement” or “potential”. The football game to game is inconsistent and varies from average to awful, his in game management is awful, he plays players out of position, the players he targets/signs in the transfer market doesn’t define a clear identity or style…oh and the league finishes and lack of European football suggest the opposite of improvement. Unless people are factoring in our current league standing as it is right now as improvement or showing potential? Well in that regard the league doesn’t finish in January and there’s still plenty of time for him to balls it up.

  11. Steg

    Andy1886. Net spend takes into account incoming fees received too? I’ll take your other stats as true. I’m not a fan of comparing era’s but it was a drastically different footballing landscape. Norwich beat Bayern Munich.

    Point is the Arsenal squads from that era were so good. The club from top to bottom was run extremely well

    Either way – yes we’ve spanked cash but still not to the same degree as Chelsea, Man U and Man City. So 4th sounds a reasonable expectation if the club wasn’t a total shambles for the past 5-10 years.

  12. EdTheRed

    TR7

    AMN wasn’t on speaking terms with Arteta by the time he left for Roma, transfer which he organised by himself.

    The alarm bells should be ringing that we can already make solid starting 11 from players who had fallen out with the manager.

  13. Habesha Gooner

    Bob
    I am not saying AMN is the best CM in the world. But if had an extended run at CM like Xhaka has had since Arteta came in, then he would definitely bench Xhaka. It is the same for Sambi too. Arteta has this blindness when it comes to Xhaka. If Partey has an injury like before then AMN is needed. I don’t count on Xhaka. As far as I was concerned we had 1 quality CM, two young decent CMs, Xhaka and Elneny. And I want someone to come in that will make Xhaka never see the pitch until the end of this season. So much so that he will squirm to leave. And that is why I said AMN will be a miss. Now we have only 1 good CM and one decent CM.

  14. Bob N16

    Marko,’buzzwords- potential’. Unless you have an endless supply of cash, Chelsea(previously), City and now Newcastle, it is not an unreasonable strategy to buy younger, more affordable players who have the chance to develop and improve as a group- in other words you are buying potential.

    It does mean we have to show patience or not, Marko – as you like.

  15. Marko

    Anyway it’s pointless the back and forth cause we know how it’s going to end he’ll fail but because it’s arsenal we’ll prolong the suffering and keep kicking the can down the road and after alot of money wasted and potentially a new contract which will cost us more money to cancel he’ll eventually get sacked. By that time a lot of people around here will have changed their tune and try to reimagine their past opinions. It’s so inevitable

  16. Steveyg87

    Might be a bit late to the party but I noticed JW is training in nr. 12? Am I missing something? Give the lad a deal already Mikel you heartless man! If we sign him then that would save Mikels transfer window

  17. Bob N16

    Jamie, three results, a great performance but a bad result against the top team in the league and a disappointing 0-0 against the bottom team. We also beat Norwich 5-0(not sure if you included that result!)

    That’s like saying we were going to get relegated after the first three games of the season.

  18. TR7

    Ed

    I don’t know if you remember but I had posted a non negotiable 11 a few months ago 🙂

    Martinez
    AMN Saliba Mavrapanos Kolasinac
    Guendouzi Torrera
    Nelson Ozil Willian
    Auba

  19. andy1886

    Steg, of course but you can hardly blame our competitors if we spend badly and have to release big money signings for nothing while they make profits on theirs. In fact I’m sure that you can recall Arsenal fans celebrating Wenger buying low and selling high for many years. We used to glory in being ‘the best financially run club in football’. You can’t have it both ways.

    And if our squad was so great prior to Rioch why did we finish 12th before he joined? Actually I can answer that with a list of our MF options: McGoldrick, Selley, Hillier, Jensen, Carter, Hughes, Helder. Stefan Schwarz was probably our only decent player in that area and he left that summer (replaced by Platt).

    To be fair Rioch did very well to make 5th given what he had to work with.

  20. Bob N16

    Marko, you may well have a point about Arteta. Where I might disagree ‘a lot of money wasted’ is that I think that our last TW was decent and we got reasonable value for money and a new manager has the basis of a really promising team.

    This new back up for Ramsdale looks like good business too. I imagine we should get some change when we sell Leno in the summer.

  21. Marko

    it is not an unreasonable strategy to buy younger, more affordable players who have the chance to develop and improve as a group- in other words you are buying potential.It does mean we have to show patience or not, Marko – as you like

    I’m so glad you brought that up cause under Emery we signed up Martinelli, Pepe, Leno, Guendouzi, Torreira and Saliba and they’re all young and had potential but he wasn’t afforded time to develop or improve the group so that argument kinda falls flat especially when you consider that most managers buy up young players and desire to develop players with potential but they’re not allowed that time if performances and the football aren’t good enough.

  22. Marko

    Where I might disagree ‘a lot of money wasted’ is that I think that our last TW was decent and we got reasonable value for money

    I’d be thinking more of we’ve spent hundreds of millions in recent years and we’re not better we’re worse and we’re so shockingly light in quality in attack and midfield it’s unreal. And I don’t necessarily agree with the last window being so great considering the clubs needs and what we ended up with. We spent about 150-170 million during a pandemic with pandemic prices and clubs desperate for cash and ended up with a squad utterly unbalanced and STILL in need of major work and investment

  23. Berg10kamp

    Just get Toney and wilshere through the door and let’s be done with it. We can sign superstars in the summer.

  24. Bob N16

    Fine Marko, you win, we’re f*cking doomed and we should all find a new obsession to fill the gap – any ideas?

  25. Gentlebris

    When Arteta was being hired, the odds were like mountains against him; an assistant manager to come rescue a big club from a big mess. It really looked like irresponsible gambling. But the lots on le grove were just cool with it.

    Then Arteta came and tanked it hard after the FA cup honeymoon, and some of the lots here turned against him. Now the guy seems to know what to do to progress the club now, but the lot that already openly turned against him can’t back down. You know why? Ego!

    Le grove is a place of little egos finding a space for expression.

  26. DivineSherlock

    Habesha/Ishola

    Utd wont loan a player that they deem not good enough to play for them to us in case he hits top form for us ? What kind of logic is that , we just had to open negotiations and offer better terms than Palace/Everton , I thought we were an attractive project ?

  27. andy1886

    Bob N16, I know, I recall we used to bypass the midfield a lot back then, funnily enough we do that a lot again now.

    Seems a simple lesson, don’t neglect the midfield!

  28. Kroenkephobe

    McGoldrick, Selley, player in that area and he left thatr, Jensen, Carter, Hughes, Helder. Stefan Schwarz was probably our only decent player in that area and he left that summer (replaced by Platt).

    Hi Andy
    I’d add Siggi Jonsson to that list. I’ve got a soft spot for Eddie McG as we grew up in the same town and I played against him I think from past conversations you were at that 0-7 Liege game too but I was pleased to see him score that night. I also rated Stephen Hughes and think he was a little fucked over by the management. Selley and David Samsonite Hillier never quite had the quality did they? I like DH on the Arsenal.Com commentaries though (he doesn’t bring any baggage to the role – I’ll get me coat). I loved SS too – a terrific tackler. Platt was mentally and physically shot by the time he arrived in N5.

  29. Positive pete

    Sidney spouting verbal diarrhoea again.Oh dear.Shows a constipation of ideas.Take a break Sidney.we’ve advised this before.

  30. Dissenter

    I just saw the cruel statistic that we are 18th in rhe league in tackling since December 2019 (under Arteta) and yet we are numero uno with red cards.

    It beggars belief that tackle-shy style would yield so many red cards.

  31. Terraloon

    Karsa

    Significant

    Depends what you define as significant..My guess would be that fact the Watford have bought in more players than anyone they would probably hope that the signings turn out to be significant using their definition

    Isholola

    And how many players on that in list so far would be worth having for Arsenal or really needed and absolutely required?

    Ah there’s a question. Long term I don’t know but to get to 5he end of 5he season is a whole different kettle of fish.

    My point is still valid in that clubs signing in this window normally do so because of a plan, a hope, or quite often panic

  32. CaliGooner

    Wait did I just read someone say jack wilshire saves the transfer window????

    Championship clubs aren’t even interested but he will save the Arsenal??

    If there were still newspapers I’d have to see what year I’m in.

  33. Nelson

    “How can someone compare us to Man City, Liverpool, Man Utd, and Chelsea.

    These are the teams you expect us to compete for top 4 against.”
    _____________________________________________________________________________
    We are talking about the need to sign player. Our squad depth is no where compared to those four teams.

  34. Kroenkephobe

    Graham
    I like your stuff on here mate. It’s honest and emotional which makes it worth reading. There are lots of us with views similar to yours so keep on keeping on. If you do take a wee hiatus though, now is a good time to do it, but get back on here in time for Wolves.

    I’m taking my son and his mates up to Anfield next week to see the Bluebirds get a new one ripped by the bin dippers. At least its not against ‘us’ I suppose. But you never know – I’ve already made a cardboard silhouette of the FAC and covered it in bacofoil.

  35. Bob N16

    Positive P, my pedantic crown was slipping so I thought I’d pick you up on the sheer contrariness of your last post, diarrhoea and constipation is one hell of a mixed metaphor!

  36. Karsa

    We are talking about the need to sign player

    Wait till the end of the window then. 90%+ deals are done in the last couple of days.

    No point getting bent up over something that hasn’t happened yet.

  37. andy1886

    Kroenkephobe – yeah I liked Siggi too what little we saw of him. Ruined by Injuries and retired at 25 years old. I had to check, did you realise he only played eight games for us before having to pack it in at the end of 1991?

    He did make a comeback later at lower level clubs (sorry Dundee Utd) but another player that we never saw the best of like another of my old favourites Valdimir Petrovic.

  38. Bob N16

    Dissenter, we’ve already got ESR and Odegaard who plays where Ramsey likes to and more importantly Ramsdale has inherited his song which makes his re signing completely unreasonable, can you imagine?

  39. CaliGooner

    Of we signed Ramsey he would hurt his hamstring getting off the plane and be out two months.

    We’ve seen that movie no?

  40. DivineSherlock

    Karsa

    We are talking about the need to sign player

    Wait till the end of the window then. 90%+ deals are done in the last couple of days.

    No point getting bent up over something that hasn’t happened yet.

    Lets see Arsenal’s outgoings in January so far : Kolasinac , AMN , Mari , Calum Chambers . So yeah pretty shit argument that 90% transfer deals happen at the end .

  41. Dissenter

    BobN16

    I get your points. It’s just that we need experience and control in the middle for every one of the 17 premier league games left.
    We have to get in some know-how; Partey-Xhaka-Lokonga-Elneny won’t get us 4th place. We may even drop out of top-6 with that midfield options.

  42. Raulishuss

    Arsenal will finish fourth and marko,graham,cg,tr7 etc will take a break from legrove cause the shame will be unbearable for the. I didn’t include sid cause his longstuff swallowed up his ego. Add pierre and raptora to that shameful group too

  43. Bob N16

    Dissenter,

    I’m not saying we don’t need CM signing, I just don’t think Ramsay plays in the position that we are in need, he’s an AM. he did play box-to-box but it always felt that it was a share peg in a round hole.

  44. Terraloon

    Karsa

    “Wait till the end of the window then. 90%+ deals are done in the last couple of days.”

    Last seasons winter winter was distorted but based on history around 30% of PL transfers in the winter window happen in the last 2-3 days but then the bulk of that 30% involve players going out from PL clubs on loan.

    For what it’s worth I would expect a forward to arrive from somewhere, but the worry is tha5 whoever comes in won’t be one for the future it will be one who is being eased out where the6 are.

    One name I will throw in and one that fills me with fear is Morata . He it is being reported has been offered.

  45. Karsa

    Terraloon

    No to Morata from me too.

    I’ve said all along I would prefer not to get anyone this window, rather than go with desperation signings.

    I’ll give the transfer team the benefit of the doubt until the end of the window.

  46. Habesha Gooner

    I would take Morata on loan if that is the choice between signing no one and that. His overall game is fantastic. He is an aerial threat too. But don’t expect him to finish chances though. He will not score enough. But he might help our attacking midfielders score more goals because he is a better focal point. I would never touch him permanently though.

  47. andy1886

    Wouldn’t touch Morata with a barge pole. Mediocre in the PL with Chelsea why would he be any better this late in his career? No thanks.

  48. Habesha Gooner

    I prefer other strikers too. But if it was a choice between having Eddie and Lacazette or Morata and Lacazette I would choose the latter. I am not talking permanently but on 6 months loan. He has been one of the better Juve players this season. He just isn’t deadly enough. If he had the scoring ability 9f Aubameyang he would be on par with the likes of Benzema. Anyway, I don’t think he is coming. It’s just rumors.

    In another topic the agent fees in the Vlahovic deal is monstrous. 10 mil for the agent? Why are these agents being paid by clubs anyway? Vlahovic is just starting to become a big name too. It is mental.

  49. kjelli

    Arteta is imo not a flawless manager, nobody is, but I sincerely hope Arsenal can make
    right by W. Saliba and even M.Guendozi as they are good footballers and prospects for
    the future benefit of our club..

  50. EdTheRed

    I love character assassinations and deep psychological inquest into motivation of those who dare question the manager in his third season, after the team hasn’t scored in seven hours of playing football.

    Must be an ego, shit life etc etc

  51. Samesong

    A couple is a loose definition can mean two or a few depending on context.

    If I go to the shop to get a couple of things doesn’t mean just two

    Look at that lovely couple (two)

  52. Nelson

    Morata’s header is not bad. He is taller than Laca and physically stronger than Eddie. He could team up well with Tierney’s many crosses. I would sign him up for 6 months and sign a young striker in the Summer.

  53. Kroenkephobe

    Sidney spouting verbal diarrhoea again.Oh dear.Shows a constipation of ideas.

    Positive
    I agree with Bob. You’re a numpty. I had egg-bound dysentery after reading that. Maybe have a extra swig of ‘turbolax’ (pat. pending) cet apres midi?

  54. Bob N16

    ‘Must be a deep psychological inquest into motivation’ – ‘Must be an ego, shit life etc etc
    Psychologist in waiting with that diagnosis, Ed the Red?

    Blimey we are bored, discussing the definition of a couple!

  55. Steveyg87

    “Morata’s header is not bad. He is taller than Laca and physically stronger than Eddie. He could team up well with Tierney’s many crosses. I would sign him up for 6 months and sign a young striker in the Summer.“

    We need a target man so badly

  56. Bob N16

    Kroenke, just to clarify, I didn’t have a go at PositiveP, I simply questioned his rather unpleasant mixed metaphor of simultaneous diarrhoea and constipation with my pedant’s hat on!
    Moving swiftly on….

  57. Kroenkephobe

    Andy
    I’m surprised that Siggi only played 8 games. I seem to recall him being around for a year or two. He was hot shit at Sheff W but never really hit the heights for us. Petrovic was a properly stellar name wasn’t he and was seen as the heir to Brady IIRC. Maybe Yugoslavian players are unsuited to massive quantities of chips, courtesy of the Arsenal Fish Bar on Blackstock Road.

  58. BacaryisGod

    Not sure what’s wrong with Pedro saying wait until the window closes to assess our transfer business. Makes perfect sense to me.

    However, it’s wrong to pin any potential failures only on Edu. You can’t give Arteta credit fir being deeply involved in last summer’s mostly successful window and then claim he’s an innocent bystander in this one.

  59. Bob N16

    I don’t Samesong, just looked him up – died at 23! Would no doubt have gone up in the weights. Ring magazine had him as the 24th best fighter in the last 80 years – surprised I’d never heard of him.

  60. Killroy-TM

    The phrase “to buy younger, more affordable players who have the chance to develop and improve” is usually associated with feeder clubs. Is that what Arsenal has become now a Dortmund 2.0.

    Oh wait Dortmund are in 2nd place in the Bundesliga so has Arsenal now become the Diet Dortmund? Would go well along with the manager’s moniker.

    The total disgrace and laughing stock in the footballing world that Arsenal has become, “lads it is only Arsenal”. What has Arsenal become under the ownership but more so because of the inept DofF and manager.

  61. izzo

    You know who we’re signing???
    Fookin Nowan
    Heard he’s better and Laca/Auba and buries every single chance! Can score blindfolded too. Touted as a cross between Messi and Ronaldo.