BILL SALIBA STRATEGISING + STRIKERS + ROUND-UP

by .

You know what I needed today? Liverpool to just deal with Villareal so we could chalk that out-of-control-Unai-narrative off the whiteboard of ‘things Arsenal fans moan about, despite the fact we’re doing well.’

I don’t miss that Emery football, I really don’t, but at least I don’t have to deal with him lifting the Champions League this season.

You know what else is going to grate me? Karim Benzema winning the Balon d’Or this season. Sure, he’s been incredible, but why do we insist on putting that award to players in a much easier league? It should be Mo Salah this season, no question about it, he is the benchmark for all footballers globally. It would be really cruel for a player of his consistency to never win the award because we’ve all got nostalgia for Madrid.

There is still no update on Bukayo Saka and his injury. Mikel Arteta keeps his injured player cards close to his chest for tactical reasons, so we probably won’t know until later in the week, but it really would be ideal to have him for a West Ham that are going to deepblock like it was 2009 and Tony Pulis was in the dugout.

Let’s be real though… Arteta will be thinking about the Spurs game. We absolutely need Saka for that, so let’s not take any silly risks against a B team West Ham or Leeds at home.

Bill Saliba stories revved up after I told you 10 days ago it was Arsenal’s intent to have him at the club next season. His agent says he doesn’t know what is going on, I wouldn’t worry too much about that, his main job is to get the best deal for his player. He knows every time he puts something ambiguous into the ether, 4 million teenagers flood Edu’s BBQ-themed DMs with ‘PLEZ DNT LET HIM GO BRO.’

Things to note:

Saliba is an Arsenal fan

He chose Arsenal over France at 18, he’s not going to want to be in Marseille for another season, despite the delights of south France.

Arsenal is the hottest project in world football for young players right now

He has the perfect profile for Artetaball and if he’s a real competitor, he’ll fancy his chances after the last 3 months

We might have Champions League football, which means loads of game time, and too much for Bob Holding, Gabriel, and Benny Blanco

Arsenal do not have much money to replace him should we decide to sell

The club knows full well how poorly an exit would reflect on them. Arteta needs to make things easy for himself, it’s clear Saliba is good enough, so get over yourself, and bring him in

The biggest black mark Arteta could put on his name would be to let him go to Dortmund, only to see him bounce back to the Premier League for £80m in a few years time. The Arsenal hierarchy have to protect him from himself if that’s his plan.

The Josk K strategy is young players, this kid is a star, Edu cannot be seen to let another kid go for a pittance

Now, there’s always a chance that a Technical Director that likes ballplaying centre backs, like Dan Ashworth, at Newcastle, might chisel out a fat bid… so who knows. But as it stands, Arsenal want to keep him, because that is the least dumb thing to do.

On the striker front, as promised a couple of days ago, the transfersphere is being flooded with names linked to Arsenal. Why? Because we have big money and a chance creation machine ready for anyone that wants to blow-up in the league. This works for Arsenal better than it being clear there’s only one name we’re after.

Broke clubs in Europe want our money + there are not many rich clubs splashing cash this summer.

Names linked in the past 5 days:

DCL: 2 goals in 10, Gooner, has leaked he wants Arsenal. Why might that be interesting? Everton might get relegated.

Richarlison: A bit of a fallen star, but a Brazil international with high potential. Doesn’t score a lot tho.

Oshimen: 16 goals in 28 games, BIG BOY, fast, shades of Drogba, still only 23 yrs old. Big worry here is he’s exLille and we had bad agent experiences there. He probably has a big group of reps, so that might be deal killer.

Gabi Jesus: One year left on his deal, playing like it right now, top talent, lacking goals, but always in great positions. I think his preference is a City deal, but if that fails, and he doesn’t get assurances, getting together with Arteta could be a shrewd move. He’s a top quality fixer-upper… a bit like Odegaard in that sense.

Darwin Nunez: City loves Benfica, so therefore, Arteta must. This striker is 22, he has it all, even if a little raw (all 22 yr olds are raw). I think he has 23 goals to his name this season, he has Uruguayan blood (aggressive, hardworking, fierce), and he is TALL. He might be on the list above where we will shop, but nice to be in the mixer.

Tammy: Roma wants £67m for the English striker. Arteta wanted him last summer, but we couldn’t shift anyone. He’s done well in Roma, breaking the record for most goals in a debut season in a TOUGH league. He’s talent, he’s still raw (24), but he is what we are looking for. I do think the price is a bit… pricey.

I told you not to fall in love with any rumour this month, Arsenal know what they are looking for, there will be plan a, plan b, and plan c options. But one thing you can be sure of, we won’t spend for the sake of it, the talent will be top, top class.

Continuing my own propaganda, I was brutally savaged for supporting Ivan G back in the day, I thought he’d blossom when Wenger left. What did he do? He just left when Wenger left and he let a fox into the chicken coup. What I can pretty much guarantee… we’d be in better shape now if he’d stayed. What I can now say for sure is I was right to think he could take us to the next level, why? Because he has Milan top of Serie A with 4 games to go.

Back in your hole internet trolls.

Right, short one today, if you want some EXTRA content, check me out on Touchy Gooners LIVE podcast below. I talk with Dan and Shabs, two elite Arsenal analysts. Give their Youtube a SUBSCRIBE.

Then, if you want MORE content, check out The Arsenal Opinion with Johnny and man like Matt Kandela for a midweek special. We will get better at scheduling so you can watch live, but basically, we’re experimenting with preview pods to see if it’s worth making it a PERM fixture next season on a Patreon. So far, so good… if you want to make it perm… get your eyes on it RIGHT NOW, 5* rating, subscribe, blah, blah, blah.

xxx


115 Responses to “BILL SALIBA STRATEGISING + STRIKERS + ROUND-UP”

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  1. Goobergooner

    “cheers sauce. nice to have an actual conversation/debate for once!”

    This from Zach made me laugh.
    Zach you’re the one having a go at other posters usually, so it’s not hard to have an “actual conversation” more than once if you actually tried.

  2. Rich

    Vlahovic having a few teething issues at Juventus, dropped to the bench on Monday, Allegri going with a bit of tough love, and not being very complimentary….

    We should take another shot, if you don’t shoot, then you don’t score….

  3. Rich

    Goobergooner

    I have no idea, but if there’s trouble in paradise? Then it can’t hurt to at least test the water

    I don’t see Juventus making a loss, but there’s always a chance that if there’s an uneasy relationship, that we could potentially capitalise on that.

    The worst thing that can happen, is they tell us to fu*k off…

  4. Gommit

    I am just terrible at this throphy thingy… Reading the post, watching the videos.. Then scroll down to see 1 comment…

  5. Goobergooner

    Pedro, good read as usual.

    “What I can now say for sure is I was right to think he could take us to the next level, why? Because he has Milan top of Serie A with 4 games to go.”

    Milan is one of Serie a ‘s biggest clubs.
    Do you think Ivan really could have got us on city, Liverpool Chelsea or even Chelsea’s cl level?

  6. Leedsgunner

    Am I the only person who is a bit sceptical about Osimhen?

    He’s Napoli’s big star right now and their president, Aurelio De Laurentis is notorious for not letting his prized assets go until he’s finished with them, case in point? He’s managed to fend off suitors for Koulibaly even though he probably could have easily sold for £80m to £90m a couple of summers ago.

    Therefore, it makes me very suspicious; why is the normally hard nosed De Laurentis willing to let their most valuable player go so soon? What’s he not telling us? Why is he trying to cash him in? It’s like he doesn’t want to be left holding the bag…

    I might be reading too much into it but still…

  7. WengerEagle

    ”Sure, he’s been incredible, but why do we insist on putting that award to players in a much easier league?”

    I find it pretty bizarre that you now consider La Liga a weak league Pedro and are dismissing Benzema’s case for the Ballon D’or because of it.

    He has been head and shoulders above Mo Salah in the CL, a competition that both play in. 14 goals in 10 apps and 8 goals in 5 knockout games alone, absolutely stunning goals at that most of them.

    Salah has had a great season but didn’t he recently go 10 or 11 games without scoring a goal?

  8. Pedro

    Goober, Ivan picked Milan up when they were in the mud after defaulting on a loan. He’s done an amazing job. Since he left, we’ve been shit.

    We’d be title contending by now if he’d stayed and Raul would have been fired early

  9. Pedro

    WE, La Liga is weak, there are minimal tough games, Barca are shit, Atleti are shit… what Salah does in the Premier League is ridiculous.

    … but Madrid has pull because it’s a sexy brand.

  10. WengerEagle

    Didn’t Osimhen have a serious injury this season? Maybe his knee is fucked.

    No thank you, they never tend to heal to be the same player unless called Bobby Pires and they get even better afterwards.

  11. WengerEagle

    Pedro

    6 goals in 3 matches vs Chelsea and City in the CL QF/SF do nothing for you in the Benzema respect stakes?

    Salah also plays on a FAR greater team which no doubt aids him for goal count, Benzema has single-handedly dragged Real to the CL SF and pretty much has won them the League through his own efforts.

  12. Pedro

    WE, it can’t keep going to Spain. Salah has 30 goals and 13 assists, is he not dragging Liverpool to a quadruple playing in a far better league?

  13. Pedro

    It’d also be easier to accept ‘dragged’ if Madrid weren’t 15 points ahead of a terrible Barca side with 5 games to play.

    Madrid are just a better side than everyone else.

  14. WengerEagle

    Pedro

    Salah since returning from AFCON has scored 6 goals in 11 PL apps, 3 from the pen spot.

    Besides the Man United drubbing he hasn’t looked even close to the level he was playing at up until January.

    Benzema has been great throughout the entire season and has been the star man and top scorer in the most elite club football competition. That’s the Ballon D’or winner for me.

    Let’s not pretend that Liverpool don’t brush 90% of PL sides aside with ease.

  15. LoveSausage

    Pedro,

    In Benzema’s case, there’s a “lifetime award” aspect to it. He’s been so close so many times that it will probably tip things in his favour.

  16. WengerEagle

    ”It’d also be easier to accept ‘dragged’ if Madrid weren’t 15 points ahead of a terrible Barca side with 5 games to play. Madrid are just a better side than everyone else.”

    Didn’t say he dragged them to the title, said in the CL which he has. He pulled a hat-rick out of his arse in the space of 15 odd mins to dump PSG out and did it again vs Chelsea who were the vastly superior side in the last 3/4 of their two-legged tie.

    You’re right about La Liga but Liverpool are pretty much the Real Madrid of the PL with City being the Barca (Messi/Ronaldo days).

    I mean they are putting up multiple 97+ point seasons in the PL, that is literally as good as the best Real and Barca sides were ever putting up in La Liga.

  17. WengerEagle

    I’d disagree strongly with that LS.

    I love Benzema but I would say he has never been close to winning the Ballon D’;or in his career. Messi/Ronaldo had the award locked down up until last year basically with the stupid Modric year aside.

  18. Leedsgunner

    Wenger Eagle

    Who’s your top three strikers to bring in? (Apologies if I asked you this previously.)

    Me? It’s changed over the past few weeks.

    Gabriel Jesus
    Darwin Nunez
    Jonathan David

    I was leaning heavily towards Alexandre Isak earlier but he’s had a terrible season this year. Although I suppose that might also make him more attainable – and he also had a marvellous year with Odegaard when he was at Real Sociedad on loan. Plus Isak is young enough to make a comeback… although he did also struggle in the Bundesliga… I think Real Sociedad picked him up for £10m after he was inconsistent at BvB.

  19. LoveSausage

    WE,

    He’s been in that “best of the rest” category for a long time. I’m not suggesting he was seriously considered. No one has as long as Messi and Ronaldo were dominating. Those people voting haven’t really known what to do with the award since.

    Modric’s win has some parallels with Benzema. He too dragged an ageing Croatia to WC final and has been in that beat of the rest group for a while. Was he really the best player in the world that year? Probably not. But he got his lifetime award.

  20. WengerEagle

    If City and Liverpool win their remaining 5 PL matches each which we all expect them to, they will finish on 95 and 94 points.

    So that will be x3 of the past x4 seasons that both City and Liverpool have amassed at least 94 points in the PL. You have to go all the way back to 2012/13 to find a La Liga season where 94 points wouldn’t have been enough to win you the title.

    What does the European picture look like, a Man City vs Liverpool CL Final awaits.

    It’s safe to say that at this stage, Liverpool and City are now the modern era’s Barcelona and Real Madrid. PL competitiveness is massively oversold as it is a x2 horse race each season.

  21. WengerEagle

    LS

    See that’s the thing, over the last year who can you honestly say has played better than Benzema? Salah or Lewandowski would be the only two even in the conversation and imo Benz has been the best of the three.

    Modric won the Ballon D’or in a year when Messi was still head and shoulders the best player around.

  22. Dark Hei

    “The Arsenal hierarchy have to protect him from himself if that’s his plan.”

    Yes to this. Mangers are not infallible. The boss sometimes need to step in stop the manager and in so protect them.

    If Josh was older back then, maybe Wenger wouldn’t have such a tarnished legacy.

  23. WengerEagle

    Leeds

    I like x2 of the x3 ST’s on your list mate in Jesus and Nunez.

    My wildcard option would be Amine Gouri off of Nice who is a nice LF/ST hybrid or Gerard Moreno/Luis Muriel/Duvan Zapata as a stop-gap for a couple of seasons.

    I unlike most others on here am not adverse to signing a vet as long as they are not on stupid money or contract length. I still believe that Martinelli long-term will be our man up top so we just need that x2 year stop-gap that will come in and provide us that goalscoring edge till Martinelli is more seasoned and polished.

  24. LoveSausage

    WE,

    For me, Salah is the slightly better player but his output is less spectacular because he’s on a team where the burden is more shared. Either way, I won’t complain if Benzema wins it. He’s been great. Plus that award is a bit of a joke anyway. I mean, Messi won it last year.

    Btw, good point on the PL competitiveness. We think it’s extremely competitive in much the same way that Valencia thinks their league is competitive. The one difference though is how the TV money is split. I don’t think it’s realistic to hope that any top league will ever be more than a two/three horse race. The clubs that win establish too much of a gravitational pull for the best players. But the fact that the money is split more equitably at least opens up the possibility that one club might replace another when a new cycle starts.

  25. Leedsgunner

    Amine Gouri, nice. Although I heard he’s been scoped by Palace… due to the Nice connection and Vieira

    Isn’t Cody Gakpo a similar type of player?

    What about Adeyemi? I heard BvB looking at him to replace Haaland if he leaves for Manchester shores…

  26. WengerEagle

    LS

    Agreed on it being a joke and it was a joke that Messi won it given how poor he was for half the year for PSG.

    Don’t disagree on the advantages either with relation for PL and success in general. It’s how United were able to go from title winners to forming a virtual monopoly on the league until Wenger showed up and constructed a team to challenge.

    Bayern have it in Germany and Juventus had it in Italy. They have a iron-fist on dominating those leagues (well, Juve from 2011-2020) and they don’t just have the TV money/strongest core team to fall back on, they hoover up all of the domestic talent as well as rivals best players at that.

    Bayern snuffed out any kind of threat from Dortmund by signing Gotze, Lewandowski and Hummels. Juventus to this day can sign the Vlahovic’s of Serie A by reputation alone.

    Other clubs are just constantly trying and failing to play catch-up. The only caveat being these are also extremely well-run clubs.

    Manchester United in Fergie’s time were incredibly well-run as were Juventus for a decade there, Bayern have been, etc.

    And you see on the other side of it what happens when clubs even with all of those built-in advantages and expenditure on the other hand do everything wrong from player/coach recruitment to club culture, etc.

    See United since Fergie left, Juventus of the past few seasons, Barcelona of the past 4/5 seasons.

    Imagine telling anyone that all three of these giants who have outspent everyone in their own leagues would be struggling and in some cases failing to even finish in the top 4.

  27. WengerEagle

    Leeds

    Adeyemi looked electric whenever I saw Salzburg in the CL. Ripped Bayern to shreds on the counter.

    Gakpo is an interesting shout but I am always wary of buying from Holland because for every gem you find you also get about 4-5 flops.

  28. WengerEagle

    I like Gouri because he is the right profile in that he is 22, can play LF/ST, is 5”11 and not stick-thin and has mobility/dribbling ability to go with very smooth passing/combination ability.

    He has 36 G/A (22 goals, 14 assists) in 60 apps in Ligue 1. 4 goals in 5 EL apps last season.

  29. Rich

    In the last 10 PL seasons including this one, we’ve had 5 different winners

    City, Liverpool, United, Chelsea, Leicester

    Arsenal + Spurs have both finished runners up within the last decade.

    Now compare that with Germany where Bayern have won 10 in a row

    Barcelona + Real Madrid have won 17 out of the last 19?

    Celtic had won 10 on the bounce until last season, and are on course to retain the title this season.

    Juventus had won 7 or 8 on the bounce until last season

    I think PSG have won something like 7 of the last 9

    City + Liverpool will dip, perpetual success isn’t realistic in this league, on a long enough timeframe, everyone’s survival rate drops to 0%

    The PL isn’t like the other leagues, where the top clubs can pick off players from any domestic clubs they want, there’s too much money at stake, staying in the PL is worth £100+ million, so why sell off your best players? Qualifying for the CL is worth £40-£100 million

    It pays in the PL to keep your best players on the pitch.

    Only a matter of time before Newcastle join the party at the top

    The PL has the best infrastructure, the best coaches, they now have the best academies, teams from 8th-20th can pay better wages than any other teams outsides 10-15 in mainland Europe.

    Someone over the next 2-3 seasons will likely break the City + Liverpool axis, and then create a cycle of their own, hopefully it’s Arsenal.

    Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, United, Spurs, have all had recent seasons outside Europe, or without CL football, when did that last happen to Real Madrid, Barcelona, Juventus, Bayern Munich, or PSG?

    The PL is much more competitive than the other leagues, it’s much more unpredictable

    This season there’s a real scrap at the top in the PL, whereas PSG, Bayern, Real Madrid, already have their titles wrapped up.

    City + Liverpool need each other, in the same way Messi needed Ronaldo, and Man United + Arsenal needed each other during the late 90s and between 2000-2004

    Direct competition is a good thing, it what drives people to be better, it creates a need to innovate and push the boundaries of what’s possible

    Without that direct competition, people naturally switch off, I’m convinced that’s what happened to Leno, who went from Martinez pushing him in training, to Runarsson challenging him, he fell asleep, and his standards dropped through the floor..

    Man City + Liverpool are the benchmark, we don’t sit around waiting for them to drop off, we set about executing a plan to overtake them, and regardless of how the season ends, that should be our focus over the next couple of seasons

  30. Pedro

    WE, awarding a World Player of the Year trophy based on recency bias ain’t it…

    Rich, Arteta thinks we can be PL contenders in two seasons. They are waiting for that dip.

  31. SAGG

    Maybe Im thr only one that think Mane should be Ballon D’or. Liverpool star, similar stats that Salah without penalties, AFCON champions beating Salah, WC qualified beating Salah. Dont know at least should be part of the convo.

    Saka is out for West Ham 100%, Leeds very likely to be out too. Partey will be back against Spurs, there is hope that he make a comeback against Leeds.

  32. Habesha Gooner

    I think Salah deserves it as much as Benzema. But you can’t say it out right between the two. I don’t know why but I still am not entertained by watching Salah play. Some of the things he does is brilliant. But it all looks chaotic and messy. Like kick and run football. Benzema though is more vital to his team than anyone is to theirs. The form he has shown this year is fantastic. Whoever wins their team the CL will deserve it for me. We can’t say laliga is a weak league when 2 of the CL semi finalists are from Spain. That also with Sevilla, Barcelona and Atletico having poor seasons.

    Sadio Mane also needs to be in the conversation for me. He is the one who is also contributing massively to this quadruple run. He has won a title with his country for the first time ever too.

    As for our striker search, Abraham and Osihmen are way too expensive. Darwin Nunez is as expensive as Tammy Abraham but I think he is a better player. He would give us a lot of variety in our play. Jesus is the smartest deal we could make out of all 4. Low price, PL ready and eager to prove he is a main man. I also like Gouiri as other have mentioned. Looks a talent. But none of the rest of these David, DCL or Isak for now. They don’t look ready. I wouldn’t be too annoyed with Richarlson. Good player up for the fight. Bit we don’t know if he scores enough though.

  33. Naija+soccer

    Re-Benzema, what if it was Ronaldo who deferred to him as opposed to being the other way around ? Would he have been able to go toe to toe with Messi like Ronaldo did for over a decade ?

    Watching him carry Real Madrid on his back since Ronaldo left, you have to wonder if he held himself back too much while Cristiano was in Madrid.

  34. azed

    I really don’t get into transfer rumours but Jonathan David should be our guy. Young, agile with decent pace and can play bully ball.

  35. Batistuta

    On Gazidis turning around the fortunes here at Milan lol.

    Such a repeated myth that’s so far from the truth even it’s repeated a thousand more times

  36. MidwestGun

    Jonathon David has only scored 1 goal in the last 4 months in the French League .. not good enough for me. He might fit the age/physical profile but not consistent enough. For the kind of money we would have to pay as well.

  37. Pierre

    Rich
    “City + Liverpool will dip
    Man City + Liverpool are the benchmark, we don’t sit around waiting for them to drop off, we set about executing a plan to overtake them, and regardless of how the season ends, that should be our focus over the next couple of seasons”

    Rich , a few weeks ago you disappeared from le grove when we lost to palace, brighton and Southampton because you thought you had made an idiot of yourself after getting carried away because we had been on a good run of results.

    If i have learnt anything from Arteta’s time at Arsenal it is to expect the unexpected, in that when one thinks he is clueless , he manages to find a way to string a run of good results together, and when it looks like he has it sussed , the team produces a run of performances that would have even yourself and pedro doubting he is the right man for the job..

    A week ago after the 3 defeats , you wouldn’t have dreamt of coming on here talking about benchmarks and competing against city and liverpool , we had just lost to palace , brighton and Southampton ffs.

    But here you are now after a couple of good results and performances trying to convince everyone that getting to liverpool and city’s level is attainable under Arteta …dream on.

    As i said previously, it’s a matter of waiting for pep and klopp to leave before we can even think about the title , in fact it will be easier to win the champions league than the title.

    All i can say is don’t be surprised to see Arsenal under Arteta cock it up, we could just as easily lose our last 3 games as win them.

  38. Pierre

    Rich
    “In the last 10 PL seasons including this one, we’ve had 5 different winnersCity, Liverpool, United, Chelsea, Leicester”

    And in the last 5 years ( including this season) we have had 2.
    If city buy Haaland or kane and liverpool find another Diaz then why would anyone think any other club will break the dominance of these 2, I’ll be amazed if we can reach the level of those 2 anytime soon..

    Liverpool are a brilliant team and have only won the league once , that shows the quality of city.

  39. NORG

    Pedro

    You were always right about IG – unfortunately he was always fighting a losing battle.

    When Stan attended his first AFC game and as he was taking his seat he noticed the many banners with ‘Arsene Knows’ and in ‘Arsene we trust’. Stan commented ‘ we gotta make sure we keep hold of this guy’ . He stood by that statement for way too long.

  40. Dark Hei

    IG – cough

    AC Milan is living off 2 strikers, one in the mid 30s and the other in the 40s.

    They might be top of the league but it doesn’t look like what works there would have worked here at Arsenal.

  41. The Bard

    The striker question is the wrong way round. It’s not a question of who we want its who is willing to come to us. They are very different questions. If we don’t get CL that will rule out a number of top draw players.

  42. englandsbest

    Mo Salah is magical, akin to Messi. He does things that defy comprehension. Likewise, Bukayo Saka. The two far-out players of PL. If Liverpool win CL again (ugh), Mo will be given the Ballon dOr.

  43. Ray+in+LA

    My take…

    TH will win their two home games against Leicester and Burnley and beat Norwich away, but lose away to Liverpool

    We will win our home games against Leeds and Everton and Draw away to West Ham and Newcastle

    If we do no worse than draw at the Toilet Bowl, fourth is ours

    Your take?

  44. Pierre

    Englandbest
    “Mo Salah is magical, akin to Messi. He does things that defy comprehension. Likewise, Bukayo Saka”

    I would say Saka has the potential to become elite.

    What i have noticed is that the elite players are not too hard on themselves if they mess up , it’s a shrug of the shoulders in the knowledge that their quality and ability will mean they succeed next time.

    Saka plays with a smile on his face , if he misses a chance he rarely beats himself up over it, it’s normally a case of smiling to himself.

    You rarely see the likes of Harry kane beating himself up when he misses a chance , or salah/messi.

    To be able to play with such confidence and freedom is a rarity as it takes all the pressure off the player and saka has that inbuilt confidence that will help him achieve whatever he wants in the game.

  45. Leedsgunner

    Conflict of interest?

    If Everton go down, players that we have been looking at for a long time like DCL will be more attainable because players will want to move out of clubs that move down to the Championship.

    Some players have release clauses that are activated if a club goes down allowing a player to leave the club for free. As one of Everton’s star players it wouldn’t surprise me if DCL had a clause like that. Let’s suppose, for the sake of this thought experiment, he does.

    Imagine this scenario.

    Our top 4 status is secured.

    Our last home game is versus Everton.

    If Everton go down, Arsenal may get a free transfer in DCL which will add depth to our squad for nothing. He isn’t my first choice but the potential risks are hugely lowered.

    Let’s suppose Everton needs to win to preserve their top flight status.

    Logic says as Arsenal manager, Mikael will and should put out a competitive squad to win the last home game of the season.

    However, he was also a huge Everton fan favourite. I wonder if he would be tempted to heavily rotate to give his former side a hand in staying up.

    As a comparable, it would be like asking PV4 to relegate Arsenal.

    He wouldn’t would he? Especially at the Emirates?

    An interesting thought anyways.

  46. Positive pete

    Personally would prefer Big Benz to pick up B d’or. Couldn’t stomach the mickey mousers picking up another award.Besides UEFA already did them a favour the year the midget Owen won it.& remember TH14 didn’twhen it was pretty clear he was best player on the world.( I don’t want to hear about goofy,by the way).An utter disgrace.& never set too much store on the award after that snub.Besides it’s usually a carve up between Madrid/Barca.

  47. Positive pete

    With regards to the forward targets.Word on the street is that Gakpo & another is a cert.Abraham,Nunez or Jesus would be great.

  48. Goobergooner

    Weagle it’s also funny Peds is bigging up Serie A in the post to reinforce tammy.
    Which is fair to say, it is definitely a decent league.
    Just funny la liga isn’t good enough but Serie a is

  49. WengerEagle

    How is it recency bias though Pedro?

    Benzema has been great for the entire season while Salah was great from August-December and has been ok since January.

    He also had a terrible AFCON while Benzema has also been brilliant for France.

  50. WengerEagle

    Goober

    Haha yeah La Liga ia now shit (x2 teams in the CL SF) and Serie A is a legit league because Tammy plays there.

    The reality is that both are top 5 Leagues and he has also been bigging up Darwin Nunez who is plundering in goals in a shit Portuguese League.

  51. WengerEagle

    Agree with Pierre too that Rich is delusional to believe that we can go toe-toe with City-Pool while Pep and Klopp are there.

    We have 20 points to make up in ground and then you factor in that we have been playing once a week since January and they are both competing on all fronts and are one foot into a CL Final together.

  52. Tom

    “If city buy Haaland or kane and liverpool find another Diaz then why would anyone think any other club will break the dominance of these 2, I’ll be amazed if we can reach the level of those 2 anytime soon..”

    Exactly right.
    All this talk about back room and front office set ups, or clubs eventually having a dip in form is fine, but elite management + top level spending usually = top four placement.
    Anyone who thinks City and Pool are experiencing an out of top four dip while Pep and Klopp are around is dreaming and doesn’t know the PL history very well.

    SAF’s United dominated the league or stayed near the top right through Wenger’s best years, Chelsea and then later City’s cash influx, all the way until he quit.
    They haven’t recovered since, while having spent more on players than any club in the world.

    Klopp was hit by a catastrophically high injury bug last season and still managed third.

  53. Rich

    Pierre

    I “disappeared” because I’ve got a few things going on, and couldn’t face a barrage of ridiculous negativity, just because we lost a few games of football…

    I slept 2 hours last night, and hardly slept at all in the last few weeks…

    Please forgive me for avoiding the hysterical overreactions of a few over emotional cry babies, while I try dealing with more important things….

    I’ve been posting all season about the positive direction of our squad, after our first 3 games when the overreactions were ridiculous, after we lost 3 difficult away games at the end of November, and again after a disappointing January, I’ve always maintained we were a team that would lose games, but also capable of stringing 4-5 consecutive results together, that’s pretty much what you get with talented but inexperienced players.,.

    i’m not in the least bit surprised it’s tight, that there’s been twist + turns, anyone expecting us to power over the line, isn’t paying attention, do we currently play like a team that’s going to win every game? I’ve said all season the race would likely go to match day 37-38, it usually does,,,

    As it goes, I’m not confident we’ll get into 4th, not unless we solve the issue at left back, I hate digging out young players, but Tavares is currently nowhere near the required level defensively, positionally he unsettles the whole team, he’s beyond erratic, and is an accident waiting to happen…

    Tavares at left back is the equivalent of running across a busy motorway blindfolded, it’s exciting + terrifying in equal measures, getting away with it once or twice, might even embolden us….

    But it’s inevitable that sooner rather than later, we’re going to get splattered, and with 5 games to go, and the margins so fine, that’ll likely prove fatal to our top 4 chances..

    He’s a young player with a lot of the raw ingredients, but he needs to go and learn the game at a lower level, I’m not writing him off, but he needs a backwards step before being introduced to football at the top level..

    That doesn’t change my opinion that if we secure our talent, then get our next 4-5 signings right over the next 3 windows, that we can assemble a squad that begins maturing over the next 16 months, and can produce a cycle of being competitive at the very top…

    I’ve been consistent all season, after our first 3 losses in August, I picked 69-74 points + 5th, and most of you laughed at me, I also picked 59-64 points last season…

    In Saka, Odegaard, Martinelli + Smith Rowe, we have 4 elite young talents, inconsistencies are the price we pay with even the best young players, particularly when we don’t get the balance between youth + experience right through the spine of the team.

    Ultimately we’re roughly where I’d expect us to be, I don’t buy the argument we’re overachieving, we should be finishing in the top 6 and competing for 4th this season, as it goes I think United are currently underachieving, and we’re hitting par….

    But I do buy the argument that there’s a huge difference between finishing 5th in 2018/19 with a mature team at the end of a cycle, and finishing 5th this season with the youngest team in the league, some of the most exciting young talents in world football, who are largely at the beginning of a cycle…

    There’s currently plenty to be positive about Arsenal, I’ve just come to the conclusion that many on here just enjoy being in a perpetual state of chaos + misery, and that type of environment can be difficult to deal with when you’ve got other things going on….

    I’m glad you missed me though…. 😘

  54. Tom

    “I “disappeared” because I’ve got a few things going on, and couldn’t face a barrage of ridiculous negativity, just because we lost a few games of football…”

    That’s pretty funny Rich since I remember you were dishing out some serious banter while we were winning.

  55. Rich

    WE

    Remember the media narrative around Klopp? That he was defensively naive, couldn’t organise a defence, and that you couldn’t play a high pressing game for 38 games in the PL?

    He then signed Van Dijk, Alisson + Fabinho, had time to work with his full backs, and destroyed that ridiculous narrative

    Remember Pep in his first season at City? The “experts” saying you couldn’t play pep’s style of possession based football in the high octane nature of the PL?

    City made up 22 points from 2016/17 – 2017/18

    Liverpool made up 22 points between 2017/18 and 2018/19

    Hardly impossible, you just need a bit of vision, some exceptional decision making around recruitment, squad planning + contract management

    We’ve got a fantastic foundation to build from, much of our improvement should be internal, not external, there’s plenty of room for internal growth + development

    We’ve not even scratched the surface of the overall potential of some of our elite young players

    The noises around this summer are promising, the majority of the players we’re linked with are aged 24-25 with plenty of PL experience.

    We need another top left back, a top class box to box midfielder, top class striker, and maybe a striker/wide forward type, if both Nketiah + Lacazette leave.

    We get those signings right, and then secure the futures of Saka, Saliba, Martinelli, Patino, Gabriel, Norton Cuffy, we’ll be smoking a pipe

    My preference would be to keep Eddie, if not Laca on a 1yr deal if possible, and then loan out Balogun for another season

    There’s absolutely no reason we can’t assemble a squad over the next 3 windows, that’s capable of competing at the very top with astute decision making.

    Sitting around waiting for City or Liverpool to implode, isn’t a plan, we need to execute a plan to overtake them

  56. The Bard

    Rich according to you we need 4 more top players and we’re fine. I agree. Unfortunately that translates to a figure north of a couple of hundred mill + wages so it ain’t going to happen.

  57. Tom

    “We need another top left back, a top class box to box midfielder, top class striker, and maybe a striker/wide forward type, if both Nketiah + Lacazette leave”

    £200m should just about cover that.

  58. raptora

    Fact is that since Guardiola had his introduction season in the EPL when he finished 3rd with a team that was 4th the year before him under Pellegrini (the Leicester year), he has lifted the title 4 out of 5 times with Klopp winning the other title.

    Bring 10 years back as much as you want, it’s been all City since Pep came and now also Liverpool as Klopp has managed to challenge Pep and City.

    The level that those 2 teams have shown makes it really hard to think about winning the title anytime soon as long as they remain in charge of their clubs as they are absolute world class managers, possibly #1 and #2 in the world and will not let their teams to have even 2 bad years in a row.

    We need to have a similarly talented manager to have any hope of achieving our title dreams. The manager is the most important figure in the sporting side of a football club.

    Between Sheikh Mansour’s takeover and Pep, City had a total of 2 titles in 8 seasons. With Pep at the helm they’ve managed 4 titles in 6 seasons.

    Needless to say where Liverpool would be right now if they didn’t sign Klopp. It’s very obvious they’d still be waiting to win the title for the first time since 1990.

    A world class manager makes such a big difference. We won’t be able to compete with the other 2 unless we have as good of a manager as them. Or until at least one of them is out of the picture so we could light candles that the one that stayed in the EPL, gets the rare bad year and we’ll be waiting to pounce on the occasion.

  59. Nelson

    Pierre
    “Rich , a few weeks ago you disappeared from le grove when we lost to palace, ”
    ——————————————————————————————————–
    Our team started to win when Rich stayed away. For the good of Arsenal, he shouldn’t come back so soon!

  60. Dissenter

    Klopp has signed an extension to stay at Liverpool till 2026

    Maybe that “5-year plan” can become a 10 year plan if we are to win the league again. Thrust of the plan is to wait out Klopp just like we were hoarding money for FFP to kick in.

  61. China1

    Klopp is the best manager in the world bar none but he’ll be fired before his contract is over

    Nothing to do with his ability, just that every great football manager goes that way sooner or later. He left Dortmund after a really poor league season.

    I think if he can evolve this squad and maintain the current levels give or take and keep winning titles/competing for the CL it will be as big an achievement as building the club up when he first joined.

    Building success is really hard. Maintaining it as players leave and get replaced is just as hard

  62. larry mccarthy

    Pedro , How many titles did win under Gazidis, thats right none . This is the man who kept Wenger on well past his sell by date. He saw what was coming at our club and did a runner.

  63. James wood.

    Player recruitment required.?
    With Leno on his way we have Ramsdale and a 20 year old Okonknow
    a 20 year old lad urgent we recruit in that area.
    Eddie evidently is not certainty to sign and that does not worry me.?
    Saka also is considering his future.?would be no surprise if he left for big money one thing for sure he cannot keep getting the heavy tactics by opposing players his legs will be shot after another season of that and
    any form of European football won’t help him either he is a target.
    I see us needing at least 3 midfield players?
    With XHAKA leaving and as much as he get’s stick he will be a big miss.?
    Smith Rowe has the game where he is likely to get a bad knock at any time a bit like Jack.
    Shame Lamptey is predominately a right back.
    Ward Prowse 27 would be a good asset.
    Forwards I have not got a clue so much shit demanding top money
    it’s a bit of a lottery
    Look at Odsonne Edouard we nearly signed him you really have to do your homework on these one minute wonders.
    I just hope we get it right but I see problems ahead.

  64. Karsa

    James.

    We’ve already signed a keeper.

    Saka isn’t going anywhere next season. Xhaka has said he’s staying and, whilst I’m pretty certain we’ll sign a replacement, I wouldn’t be averse to keeping him on as a experienced squad palyer.

    With Tomi, White and Cedric as right back cover I doubt we’ll be buying anyone to block the potential path of Norton=Cuffy.

    ESR does seem fragile but has been managed pretty well this season.

    A Striker, a wide forward, two midfielders and left back cover would be the max requirements I would expect.

  65. Nigel Tufnel

    Klopp till 2026? Ugh.

    I’m hoping to see Man City finally win the champions league because Pep might be more likely feel he’s achieved his main goal and look to take a break before taking on a new challenge.

    Rich is right about our trajectory and youth, I have been saying that regardless of top 4 for this year, next season we’ll be in fighting among the top 4. Meaning… not scraping into 4th, but able to beat Chelsea, taking points off Man City and Pool possibly.

    Still think that if 1 of Pep/Klopp left, we could be the main challengers to the one that remains. Never going to be easy with Chelsea, Newcastle around.

  66. Nigel Tufnel

    One of the reasons I like G. Jesus is that he can be the wide forward and 2nd striker, plus a great false 9 option.

    If City can get Haaland and still afford a raise in salary for Jesus, it will just show how unfair the system is… I’d love to see DeBruyne agitate for more money because of Haalands salary.

  67. Robert Pires

    Another comedy post. Sorry pedders.
    Spain is an easy league so Benzema wins ballon d’or because of THAT, but Italy is a TOUGH league?? LOL

    Also, for someone who claims to know serie a, you seem to have no clue that Milan’s success is not down to Gazidis at all. In fact if you look at their business, it’s not been that good. They’re just lucky Pioli worked out, which was far from guaranteed.

    So Emery thriving after leaving Arsenal is no indication of how we would have fared had he stayed on, but Gazidis’s Milan doing well (after spending a TON) is an indication Arsenal should have kept him despite HIM, and I repeat H I M being the cunt that gave Xhaka, Ozil, and Mustafi extensions.

  68. bacaryisgod

    Pedro

    I know you’re convinced that Saliba will be in the squad next season and I hope that’s true. We were also told he would be given a chance to compete for a place this season but that clearly wasn’t the case.

    As for Saliba, here’s ESPN’s list of 39 Best players who are 21 and under. Arsenal have 4 entries and English players comprise 3 of the top 6 positions.

    https://www.espn.com/soccer/blog-espn-fc-united/story/4627276/erling-haalandpedriphil-fodenvinicius-jr-lead-the-39-best-male-players-age-21-or-under#39

  69. Habesha Gooner

    Plenty of players would want to come to Arsenal.
    Ny first choice list of targets would be expensive, but it would turn us in to permanent top 4 holders for the next few seasons.

    Darwin Nunez, Rapinha, Tielemans, Turner since he was already signed. Saliba needs to stay and I hope we can convince Eddie to stay as a backup too. Cedric can stay one more season. We can use White and Tomi alternatively as RBs if we feel it is neccessary.

    Out goings, Mari, Bellerin, AMN, Leno, Pepe, Elneny (free), Lacazette (free).

    I would also be very pleased with
    Gabriel Jesus, Diaby (leverkusen), Ruben Neves, Turner.

    If we can get one of each from these two lists, we are golden. Eddie needs to stay. If he doesn’t, I wouldn’t mind if Jesus was signed to play a CF and RW rotation option plus a new CF too. We can give Omari Hutchinson some minutes of we have a full on injury crisis. I would give Tavarez 1 more season. Cedric can stay because we have Saliba and White can shift to the right if Tomi is out for a significant period of time.

  70. Killroy-TM

    @Pedro
    Regarding your Saliba comments that you expressed is what many of us here have said in the past and what we fear:
    “The biggest black mark Arteta could put on his name would be to let him go to Dortmund, only to see him bounce back to the Premier League for £80m in a few years time. The Arsenal hierarchy have to protect him from himself if that’s his plan.”

    You did not mention IMO the deciding factor whether he will sign a contract or not. For any young player the dream is to represent his country in the WC, because who knows if Saliba will even play football 4 years from now. So, therefore for Dechamps to select him in this years French WC squad he must be a regular starter at his club. If Arteta will not agree to that he will not sign an extension and will push for an exit either through sale or loan and as rightly deducted we may have let a generational CB slip through our fingers.

    If he is on Arsenal’s bench he will be an extremely unhappy player and no matter how much he loves Arsenal if it is because of the manager that he will loose his place in the WC squad we have a disgruntled player on our books who will be a free agent in 2024.

    As far as the striker choice is concerned, it will be a slug fest this summer as too many top/elite clubs are chasing a prolific striker and even my crystal ball refuses to give any hint on the top talent that is either available or is willing to switch clubs.

  71. WengerEagle

    Hopefully West Ham get the bollocks run off them tonight and are sluggish on Sunday.

    I feel great about our top 4 chances if we can beat West Ham. Spurs away is the bogey fixture but we do not need to win that, just not to lose.

    And they have to travel to Anfield still which will be an L.

  72. LoveSausage

    United are f-ing awful. They’re lucky Chelsea have such useless strikers. I’ve been a bit intrigued by the idea of trying to rehabilitate Rashford but he gets worse every time I see him play. The work rate, decisions, body language – terrible.

  73. Dissenter

    Westham have to throw the kitchen sink at Frankfurt next week
    They have to rotate massively on Sunday against us.
    Hope we can knick those three points because Liverpool is going to give Spurs a cold shower next weekend.

    We could be 5 points ahead of Spurs by the time the NLD is played.