THE 3 YEAR PLAN TO CHALLENGE THE BIG TWO (LONG READ)

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Jurgen Klopp tied himself to Liverpool until 2026. That’s a big move. He’s basically going to attempt a huge rebuild at Liverpool without the genius of Michael Edwards sitting behind him. A huge ask. I suspect this is his final deal and I also think Pep G will duck from Manchester City before 2026.

So that leads me onto what Arsenal Football Club is currently up to and how we’re going to attempt to ask questions of the Big Two over the next 3 seasons because make no mistake, that is the plan.

Firstly, accept this: We have a finite amount of money – and at some point, those sugar daddy cash injections are going to stop. That means two things: You have to de-risk every signing (deep scouting and specificity), you have to find long-term value (no 26+ players)

Stan K via Josh recognized that there are two ways Arsenal could do business in the post-Wenger world.

1. You bring in someone with connections and you become a ‘contacts’ shop.

Raul Sanhelli went on record as saying he liked to do the contacts scouting, he fired Sven Mislintat who was our proper scout, then oversaw some of the worst transfer business in the history of the game.

He invited the grimmest of super-agents into the club, things got so bad, we unveiled a terrible signing at the house of one of them. He would organise agents at both ends of the deals (Iwobi). He’d pay over the odds for players with release clauses (Lucas). He would lifeline dead players with long contracts (Cedric), he’d pay questionable fees (Pepe), and he made some mad decisions (Saliba @ 18) without a clear vision for where we were going as a club.

It ended abruptly with all the mess swept under the carpet.

We’re not rich enough to operate like Chelsea in the early 2000s and even if we were, without a vision and a strategy, you’ll always be a nearly club.

2. You go all-in on a sustainable model of football

I’m not sure if we ended up where we are because of clarity, necessity, or a bit of self-preservation, but whatever landed us with our current strategy was a blessing. It is, without doubt, the only way for a club with Arsenal resources to get back to the top.

A few things I’ve gone over in great detail in the past are now clear, we won’t rehash them:

The Playing Style: JdP (implemented top to bottom at the club)

The Manager: Mikel Arteta, young coach, shit hot reputation in the game, tutored under the king of JdP

The Transfer Strategy: Find young players with experience, give them the best coaching, make them elite at Arsenal.

The Academy Strategy: Coach every young player the same way and continue to feed kids into the system

The Loan Strategy: Loan players to clubs that will give them minutes, work to their strengths, and send them back ready to compete, or get sold for actual money

For the first time in a decade, the club is rowing in the right direction, top to bottom, all feeding into the mission of winning big trophies.

Now, the transfer strategy is something we need to talk about, because I think there’s a lot of ignorance to how we’re operating or why we’re doing things the way we are.

Firstly, age profile.

We aren’t at the elite end of the transfer market.

Each season, there are 10 or so young players in each position, between the ages of 21-24. Clubs like Manchester City, Chelsea, and United can purchase the players that are in the top 3. City will sign Haaland, we can’t do that.

However, that doesn’t mean we’re left with duffers. The 7-8 players in the lower tier could very well reach Haaland levels, but they need more coaching, more playing time, and things to go right for them. Arsenal plays in this category of player. Ben White, Ramsdale, and Odegaard have very high ceilings… us signing them represented more of a risk than some of the other players in their age group, but that was all we could afford. To deliver on this approach, you need great analysts, top scouts, very specific profiles, and a little bit of luck that you find more Tomiyasu’s than Pablo Mari’s. It doesn’t always work out, but that’s the transfer game at every level.

To make this transfer strategy taste a little sweeter to the fans that don’t like it, remember this, Liverpool played in this range of players when they were building back to the top. They still dabble there now. Diego Jota, 23 years old, 2 seasons of Premier League experience, sub £25m (CORRECTION: £45m, still a steal).

Intelligent clubs recruit like this because they are trying to build a sustainable model of football. Arsenal are unlikely to rock the City / Liverpool dominance boat for 2 more years, they are too good, but when those two clubs have to deal with the inevitable shock of losing their managers or key players who have aged out, we need to be ready to strike.

Ramsdale > Allison

Saka > Salah

ESR > Firmino

Where is it better to be with your squad age when the opening arrives? With The 29-year-old you signed at 27? Or your 22-year-old that is now 25? Arsenal cannot be in a situation where we are having to rebuild when the clubs above us are.

On signing 25+ players, because I know a lot of fans were miffed we didn’t move for older players… we have played in this market. The properly elite players in that age bracket are out of our price range, anyone else is a big risk with limited sell-on opportunities. We tried the ‘this looks like a Champions League player’ approach and we ended up with Auba, Mikhi, Sokratis, and Ozil. Expensive duds in the end.

Older players don’t have the same mindset as the young ones. They don’t want to learn. They have different priorities. We need players that only think about improving.

We had a January where we slimmed down our squad to just the players of the right character and mostly of the right quality. Our window, as it stands, looks like one of the better windows.

We go into the summer with a crystal clear brief.

We likely need two forwards. One that can offer us a brutal bully-boy presence, one that can offer us goals and maybe slot across our forward positions.

We need a central midfielder that can compete at the same level as Thomas Partey.

Those three signings alone give us at least 10 extra points over the course of a season. Instead of being on 60 points right now, we’re on 70 points, chasing down third.

We’ll also get better naturally because all our kids will have a rough season of hard learning under their belt.

Everything we’re doing right now is looking towards a title challenge in 3 years’ time.

3 top-class players this summer make us a top 4 guaranteed next season. If we make the Champions League, which will still be very hard, we’ll add more.

The hope is that by the end of next season, what we need is painfully clear. Then we’ll go big and add the cherry on top players like Liverpool did with Alisson and VVD.

Then you are ready to role with a team that has an average age of 25/26 years old. You then have a team that has been perfectly cooked so that it can compete for 5 years, not half a season. It’s robust because it’s young. You then have a group that can compete for the actual Champions League trophy, not just exist like we have done in the past.

You achieve all of this by being patient, not jumping at now fixes, and continuing to progress the squad the hard way.

The best part about all of this? Look at the counterpoints to clubs that basically did what popular fan sentiment suggested was the smart way.

Spurs went shortcut all the way, they did the obvious move, they went with the failed idea of tried and true. They have an arsonist manager, their two best players will never have an injury free season like this one, and their two signings from the summer are long-term loans. What has their strategy been since the Champions League final? Short-termism that majority of fans applauded as ‘genius.’ What have they been left with? A big pile of shit and an expensive rebuild when they have the guts to admit the last three years have been an unmitigated disaster.

Look at Manchester United. No strategy, no philosophy, and a load of mismatched signings that look like they were picked by Twitter. They can get their house in order faster than us because they can afford to buy the best two 23-year-olds in every position, but even their board is cautioning against the revolution they need from Ten Hag. United, more than any club, proves that even the richest cannot compete against disciplined strategy and clarity of vision.

I don’t even know what to make of Chelsea. They have been run well in the sense that they have lots of young talented players to sell, but it’s turmoil over there, they need to replace big players without an owner in place, and they haven’t made progress this season. I think they might be in for a rude awakening over there.

There is an opening coming in the Premier League. The only way Arsenal can make a beeline for it is by continuing to do what they are doing. Shut out the noise. Take the pain. Grow fast. Bring the fans along for the ride

No shortcuts.

No punts on stupid January signings that block the path of a better player or a young player.

No deviation from the long-term vision.

So what do we need to do as fans?

More of what’s been going on inside the stadium this year, less of the online stuff.

The journey we’re on now is how it’s meant to be. The hard way is always the best way. When we reach the promised land, it’ll feel amazing.

We have to accept there are going to be bumps in the road because none of our kids have been through this sort of thing before. There will be amazing highs, some horrendous lows, but as long as we’re making incremental progress and learning… it’s ok.

The great thing? This isn’t just theory like maybe it was when I was writing about this in September.

We have proof points.

We’re 4th outright with 5 games to go. No need for a half-season table. We have been a consistent 4th place operator for 18 months now.

Even if we don’t make top 4, you can see the changes needed to get there next season and they are not massive.

Someone asked me if I could prove that young players get better at the start of the season… take a look, have you noticed?

  • Saka, 16 g/a, better than Mane. 2nd most shots in the league. Top 5 for chances created.
  • Odegaard, top chance creator in the league since November, top 5 for the season.
  • ESR, double digits goals and assists in his first full season.
  • Ben White, England international
  • Aaron Ramsdale, 12/13 clean sheets, one of the best distributors in Europe, England international
  • Thomas Partey, post-Christmas, one of the best midfielders in the league
  • The football, spectacular at times, defensively sound mostly, now producing 3rd most shots per game, 4th most shots on target per game.
  • WE HAVE NO STRIKER
  • We have the youngest team in the Premier League

It’s not propaganda if it’s true.

Arsenal has finally found a formula that has a chance at getting us back to the top. All we need to do is think long-term like the club is. The better we support the players, the faster they develop… it is no coincidence we are where we are this season when the support has NEVER been this strong in the post-Highbury era.

So, to conclude. This is the only way to get back to the top. You don’t need to theorize that its working. Look forward to a smarter future, with players you love, playing football you adore, challenging for trophies you didn’t think possible 18 months ago.

Right, that’s me done, jump on our midweek podcast!


86 Responses to “THE 3 YEAR PLAN TO CHALLENGE THE BIG TWO (LONG READ)”

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  1. Nigel Tufnel

    Pedro,
    Many people on legrove scoff at our form in the 18 months….(I say starting from the NLD)…

    Those are the haters that I say don’t understand the game they are watching.

    Your list of improvements at the end of the article is indisputable…..
    You listed a stat for each player… but even that is not needed. Just watch Ødegaard, Saka, Esr, even Martinelli.. if you don’t see clear improvement, then you’re just a doomer.

    You didn’t even mention 2 midfielders who have clearly become better players under Artetas regime… Xhaka and even el Neny. I can’t wait to see what we’ll get out of Patino under Arteta. Could be the next Saka level youth player. (Elite).

    Lots of reasons to agree with Rich.

  2. BacaryisGod

    Overall good post, Pedro and I agree with most of it.

    Yiou should mention the primary risk factor that we have all learned from our previous focus on youth. Can you keep them at the club if you are not delivering Champions League football on a consistent basis? What if Madrid come calling for Martinelli? What if Saka gets his head turned by Liverpool or Man City? The latter is unlikely but even a 10 year contract couldn’t keep Cesc with us or RVP from putting personal ambition ahead of the club.

    Jota wasn’t sub 25m btw. He was still a steal but cost a lot more than that.(41m)

  3. raptora

    I imagine the manure fans have a very warm feeling when they see their great manager being at the stadium watching their club.
    Kind of sad that neither our great Wenger or our owner SK ever visit the Emirates to watch our games.

  4. David Smith

    Thanks Pedro, good read and makes total sense where the club are now.
    I wonder if the tide will turn with prima donna managers and players, especially if the likes of Arteta and others can show a way out of that rabbit warren for many clubs.
    Will be interesting to see who they sign this summer.

  5. TheLegendThatIsDennisBergkamp

    Good result for us. West Ham will be chasing the win next week to get into the final. A nice distraction for Moyes on team selection on Sunday.

  6. Pedro

    Bacary,

    1) The previous project youth was assembled on the cheap. It failed because Wenger didn’t push KSE to take it to the next level
    2) Arteta wants the league. That’s the prize he’s chasing. He gets the money he wants because he’s ambitious and there is a plan
    3) KSE are winners now. They took the NFL team to the next level and won big. They want more of that.

  7. Gommit

    I was looking at the league table.. It is amazing fact that we have only lost 3 games fewer than Burnley.. And the same as Crystal Palace. Not a punt on anything or anyone.. Just a fact I decided to share..

  8. Nelson

    Kurt Zouma is obviously still injured. West Ham risked playing him today. The only defender left is Ben Johnson. Rice ran a lot today. Can’t see he’ll start against us.

  9. bennydevito

    Great post Pedro, couldn’t agree more.

    Evening Grovers, excited for the West Ham match, I think we’ll win which will set us up nicely for another win against Leeds at the Emirates whilst Spurs are away to Liverpool. By the time we play them at the toilet we could already be 5 pts clear. Get a draw and we’re 5 pts clear with just Newcastle away then Everton home.

    As far as I’m concerned, 4th is ours.

  10. BacaryisGod

    Pedro

    You are contradicting yourself a little. You say Arteta will get the money he wants but in your post you say we have a finite amount of money. Which one is it?

    I agree with your post over your comment.

  11. curse

    You forgot to mention, we have also axed the below par puma, upgrading to Adidas.
    Who, have prepared a classy collared graduation number plus an assassins uniform with gold accents.

    Who doesn’t like pink?…

    Getting that stretch goal this time around though would be insane. Even if we don’t and it’s just europa, the team’s around us aren’t silly. They’ve been paying refs all season to stop us getting forth and after those three games I thought; decisions add up eventually. Then Mr Art, lying naked in a pit of wild boars, slashes the neck of the jailer that has come to mock him with a shank made from the teeth of his room mates. Boom. Tommy fit, Saka fit, Partey running about, dam… they just might pull off the greatest All or Nothing of all time.
    That. would be Arsenal cementing its place back in the top four for the foreseeable, I’d even say top three tbh. There isn’t another team better placed and if we get say, Jesus, Nunez and Neves. Entirely possible with having CL, I’d expect us to give pool and city something to think about next season.

    it’ll be the chavs, tots and manure fighting for that forth spot next season.

    Just a shame the English are so chummy with the Arabs. Renaming the stadium would be a nice touch after the renovations. Along with a badge less canon and swapping out the shirt sponsor for Bae Systems…

    Up the full circle.

  12. curse

    L.A Ramsdale
    Tommy Benny Gabby Tierney
    Partey
    Neves Odegaard
    Saka Jesus Martinels

    Turner
    Spence Saliba Holding Tavares
    Mo
    Xhaka Sambi
    Pepe? Nunez ESR

    Eddie
    Patino
    Omari

    That would do me

  13. Nigel Tufnel

    Bacary I would take the Arteta funds comment as… finite meaning exactly that… not unlimited like PSG, Juventus, Man City, Chelsea.

    But it can still be a very healthy budget.

    People make a big deal out of us spending 150 mil last summer to start a total rebuild …. that’s 2 players for Man City or United… more if you include crazy wages they pay.

  14. Nigel Tufnel

    Raptora,

    It is quite sad about Wenger not feeling comfortable visiting yet.

    According to Arteta, he and the club are keen to change that in some way, and they’ve probably made overtures already.

    Note that in recent TV appearances…. Arsene being asked about Arsenal, constantly referred to the team as “we”.

    Fans definitely don’t care about Stan. We would know he doesn’t enjoy it. Josh came to the game late I’m sure, but young enough to really appreciate it now.

  15. BacaryisGod

    Nigel

    I agree but Pedro is saying that Arteta will get the funds he needs to go for a title. That’s just not going to happen in the foreseeable future. The goal should be to cement a place in the Top 4 because at least overthe next 2-3 years our resources will be much more stretched than they were this year.

    Which brings me back to my original point. With Liverpool and City so dominant, consistently making the Top 4 will be an achievement but it might not be enough to keep our best players.

  16. LoveSausage

    The strategy makes sense but the proof will be in the pudding. Many teams have tried it but few have made it work. The only example I can think of where a club has succeeded at sustaining this approach is United under Ferguson. They were able to consistently feed young players into the system and develop them, while augmenting the team with high impact signings. The transfer strategy will be key.

    This season’s transfer business has been a success. IMO, Liverpool at still better than us at buying relatively young players at a great price who have immediate impact. But we’ve probably been better than the rest.

    The other huge component of a successful transfer strategy is selling. Ferguson was a genius at this. Liverpool haven’t been great at it and will probably take a hit because they’ve waited too long to cash in on some of their assets. We’ve been an unmitigated disaster at it, paying players to leave. And the upcoming Pepe sale will be painful. This should be a big focus area for improvement over the next few years.

  17. Pedro

    Bacary, you are so weird with nitpicking.

    Arteta isn’t going to ask for £150m is he? He’s asked for a top class striker, he’s getting £65m. He wants a top class midfielder, he’ll get the money he needs for that. But he won’t have it unlimited.

    ‘He should concentrate on top 4 for the next 3 years’

    Why? What is the point in being happy with 4th for 3 years straight. That’s what Wenger did. Football is about winning.

  18. China1

    Enough time has passed since wenger has left. It ended badly but the club should be reaching out to him to feel really welcome again and be an ambassador for the club. I’d very much like to see him at games

    I like to think the specter of him hanging over the current manager/players and negativity of the fans will no longer be possible. He’s now very much part of the past and I’d like to see him welcomed back in any role that doesn’t involve him having influence over the first team affairs

  19. LoveSausage

    Pedro,

    Yes, there have been a couple of teams who’ve made it work over a 4-5 year period. I’d add Dortmund to that list as well. But I was talking specifically about sustaining it. And you need to sell and replenish well to do that. Spurs shit the bed. So did United after Ferguson left. Liverpool probably still have time to make it work but I suspect they won’t. I have a feeling Klopp is too emotional to sell Salah and Mane just before they start declining (the way Ferguson would do) even though he’s already brought in two amazing players in Ratface and Diaz.

  20. BacaryisGod

    Pedro

    You’re a smart guy.and good writer so you know not to put quotes when you are paraphrasing .

    Funny how when someone is realistic you call it lacking ambition but when you are being realistic you call it a stretch goal.

  21. Goobergooner

    “Ben White, Ramsdale, and Odegaard have very high ceilings… us signing them represented more of a risk than some of the other players in their age group, but that was all we could afford. ”

    We spent 80 million on white and Ramsdale when Saliba was on the books and we still had Martinez.

    So if you mean all we could afford was to pay the absolute premium then yes I agree.

  22. Goobergooner

    Also surely the youth teams playing style mirroring the first team”s and the ‘aims’ of loaning out fringe or young players has always been the same. It’s not a new thing under Arteta or the kroenkes or even gazidis.

  23. Goobergooner

    Another thing, why can’t there be some ‘negativity’ or opposing views on an Arsenal fan site?

    Unless the players (xhaka and maybe Nuno), the kroenkes and Arteta are reading this blog then how does it actually affect the team??

    Every one of us internationals, if given the chance to actually be in the stadium, would cheer the absolute hell out of the boys.

    So good on the Matchday fans for bringing the positivity when it’s actually needed. Keep it up!

    But to say having a differing view on a blog affects the team is a bit of a shite take.

  24. Nigel Tufnel

    Quote:

    “We spent 80 million on white and Ramsdale when Saliba was on the books and we still had Martinez.”

    We didn’t still have Martinez when we bought Ramsdale. Runnarson was the back up. The whole team and stadium was holding their breath whenever Leno was playing out, or when a cross or corner was coming.

    White has been a great success… and a fact underplayed by everyone including Pedro is that Artetas vision of a keeper and center half playing out from the back has been a thing of beauty.

    Criticism is fine and I hit Arteta for that horrible mess against Brighton. I’m behind him though.

  25. Dissenter

    Pedro is really funny with the WE HAVE NO STRIKER” statement IN CAPS

    Pedro emphasizes that point with gusto like a defense attorney pulling out exculpatory evidence to save his client from capital murder in court. Let’s not pretend that Arteta had no hand in what transpired.
    Arteta pushed the owners to give an aging striker with questionable professionalism [from all accounts] a mega deal…then discard him when the the leopard showed colors that were never hidden before.
    Thern he failed to give budding talents like Eddie real opportunities or meaningfully try players like Martinelli in that position.
    Instead, he decided to persist with Lacazette. it was not until Laca was unavailable due to covid that he eventually rolled Eddie out.

    WE HAVE NO STRIKER …because Arteta didn’t manage his squad right and made poor decisions to push the board to give Auba the mega deal.
    Arteta partly bears responsibility for the striker malady

  26. Nigel Tufnel

    Arteta miscalculated a couple important things regarding strikers.

    Aubameyang was terrible in the system he was implementing… and Lacazette doesn’t seem able to get a shot off anymore. Very sudden drop off in his skills.

    Then as dissenter says, no chances for Eddie or Martinelli or Pepe. Arteta admitted himself he wasn’t brave enough about that.

    Good news is we had a really strong run with Lacazette not scoring anyway. He assisted and linked up well enough for most of that period.

    I had been open to extending Laca as insurance next year… now, no way. Forget it.. Time to say goodbye. Class act, but takes too long to get a shot off.

    180k reported salary off the books to help in the summer.

  27. China1

    If we beat west ham and Spurs don’t win then on paper the odds get stacked very much on our favour (still can’t relax).

    Liverpool will beat Spurs so if we get two wins in the next 2 games we’d have a really big advantage

  28. China1

    With PSG circling Conte, you really hope his heart is really not in it.

    Draw against Leicester followed by defeat against Liverpool and his head will be long gone going into the derby.

  29. Goobergooner

    And my Martinez comment was more to say we had a quality keeper who could play the way Rambo does, yet Arteta let him leave. We could have kept him and used 30m to actually fix a hole is all I’m saying

  30. China1

    I think the point re Martinez was he only needed replacing because we didn’t back him and we’re willing to let him go

    Ramsdale has been a great replacement tho. I’m very happy with him. But let’s be clear that Ramsdale was very expensive for a keeper and was required to rectify the mistake made with losing Martinez. If we had backed and kept Martinez, we’d have had an extra 35m towards getting a quality CM over the line last summer which would’ve likely allowed us to have already wrapped up our CL place this season and be able to focus elsewhere this summer

    But it’s done now anyway and at least ramsdale is really good.

  31. Goobergooner

    This season has been one of the biggest roller coasters for an arsenal fan. For where we sit, primed for 4th I’m actually stoked at this point considering I was very disheartened the last few seasons. There is a long way to go yet but Arteta and the boys do deserve a lot of credit.

  32. China1

    Likewise Ben white is a good player with a high ceiling. I’m not bagging on him these days.

    But if we had kept saliba instead that’s another fat chunk of change we could’ve spent elsewhere. Another alternative could’ve been to sell holding and keep saliba even if white came in. This way Holding could’ve probably brought in 15+m last summer, Saliba would be third choice CB and would’ve had some chances to impress and fight for his place in the starting 11 – meanwhile we’d have had an extra 15m which again would’ve been nice going towards the pot for a CM

  33. Pedro

    Diss, nothing more beautiful than watching you claw for a dagger in the mud after all that has gone on this season.

    You’ll not find it when coming for me my man.

    x

  34. Time Up

    Pedro,

    All this plan is because of Edu, NOT Arteta. If it hadn’t been for Arteta averageness as a coach, we’d have been third above Chelsea now. Partey was coming from WC deciding match agains old rival Nigeria, physically and emotionally drained. Any sane manager would have rested him against CP, not break him.

    Laca was running on empty, he didn’t rest him. KT for the third season running missing half a season, Tavares should’ve given more minutes and KT more rest.

    The plan is good, the writing is good. The not problem we’ve is Mr attitude average to mess up the plan with his stubbornness and horrible squad management.

  35. Markymark

    Raptora – Fergie is partially responsible for UTD’s woes in the here and now. Too much influence on management decisions
    Wenger should be kept at a very safe distance where he can cause no harm apart from advocating for world cups every 2 years . If you let Wenger get his toes under the table it’ll just be the start of it. Any drop in form and the present manager whoever that be will be under intense pressure.
    We’ve finally got some sort of working model together after the ‘What is a Director of football?’ Days. Let him rest in his Paris hideaway and globe trotting extremely well payed hand shaking roles

  36. The Bard

    Excellent post Pedro. However there are 2 bits missing that need articulating for the fans. This approach means we may well have to sell off our crown jewels Ajax like to sustain the model and we won’t be challenging for titles. But we an get to top 4.

  37. Gonsterous

    My main concern for next season is that we have a very thin squad to go deep into the CL. I hope we don’t fill it eith average players just to bulk up the numbers but get actual talent.

    Need another 2 world class players in the starting 11 and another 2 decent back ups

  38. Gonsterous

    Pedro

    I thought it was arteta and edu that gave Cedric and mari 5 year contracts. The year he bought in willian. Or am I mistaken?

  39. SurferX

    One thing that is not said enough when it comes to money is the revolution of getting the average squad age down is the impact on salaries. This was the key driver. People look at Ben White’s transfer fee- 50m- and say that’s a premium (it was- he was probably worth half that). However, his salary (90k pw) is well below top-tier players (Varane- 275k; Stones 200k; VvD 240k; etc). But, arguably he is not as good as those guys- yet- but he also has a longer shelf life.

    So what? Two key things; transfer fees are amortised over the term of their contract- so the impact is spread- providing you can manage the cash impact (deferred payments etc) you are not weakening your ability to generate profits (or minimise losses) in the same way a free-transfer player would (so paying someone 200k pw on a ‘free’ transfer- its never free because of the golden hello- leeches an additional 5m pa that is straight off the bottom line). You have more financial room to manoeuvre if you keep control of the salaries.

    Secondly, at the end of that contract, you have room to move him up to the mega wages point if he is integral to the squad (key point being he will have proven his worth to the team, rather than theoretically improve the team in the way you evaluate an incoming transfer- its a less risky transaction). And, if he is not worth it or is not integral, you have time to sell him- recoup the fee / cut your losses in the way you dont if you bring in a 28+ high-earner even on a free.

    This is key; Arsenal’s strategy needs to become being as good at exiting players as bringing them in. The clear out the deadwood was an absolute strategic necessity, but- lets be clear- that was a massive reset (reduction) of our operating salary costs. Financial sustainability doesnt repeat that reset without external investment (not going to happen) so Arsenal WILL need to have its Coutinho moment- maybe Martinelli does go to Real Madrid. But its on a 100m+ deal that funds the next generation of <23 players. That's part of the process if we wish to emulate those clubs that have built success on a self-sustaining model.

  40. Fedda

    “William Saliba wants to return to Arsenal this summer and plans to fight for his first-team place, sources close to the player have indicated to TEAMtalk.”

    Not the best of sources, but we will know soon enough seeing the season is coming to an end.

  41. China1

    Let’s be real west ham are there for the taking.

    Tho we all know if there’s one club you want to face when you are down and out it’s arsenal. It’s fate

    I’ll take a messy 1-0 win frankly. We should smash them but we will possibly make hard work of this despite having done a number of Chelsea and utd recently

  42. China1

    It’s like when before the game they read out some stat that they have a 48 year CM who has been out injured for 12 years, can’t remember his own name, has never scored a professional goal and is 53 stone

    Guy starts and scores.

    Every fucking time they read out those stats it happens. As soon as I hear them now I’m like OH DO FUCK OFF

  43. Habesha Gooner

    Westham losing that semifinal home leg was the best result we could have hoped for. Bow they have to go for it in Germany. So we won’t be seeing the likes of Bowen and Rice. More of Yarmolenko and Noble. This is very much set up for us to win.

    Pedro’s piece is full of twisted facts to back a narrative that he has been pushing. There a lot of truths in there. But there is a lot of stretched truths. Ben white is a good CB. But he was signed for 50 mil. Ramsdale is in the top 10 expensive keepers in the game. We aren’t getting these playera for pennies. We got them at a premium and thank God they have worked.

    Liverpool don’t sell well???
    Coutinho for 140 mil, Solanke 18 mil, Benteke 32 mil, Jordan I be 15 mil. These are only from the top of my head. They sell very well.

    I also want to shit in spurs. But Romero, Kulusevski, Bentancur all are under 25. They haven’t exactly signed old retirees.

    I love where we are going with our team. I don’t believe Arteta will make us title challengers because of the obvious glaring mistakes he and the team has done in the past. But I do agree we can become permanent top 4 fixtures with 3 or 4 quality signings.

  44. Gonsterous

    Its good that west ham lost. They will have one eye on the return leg next week.
    Let’s grab 3 points this weekend. Cmon you gunners

  45. Pierre

    Habesha
    ” Ben white is a good CB. But he was signed for 50 mil. Ramsdale is in the top 10 expensive keepers in the game. We aren’t getting these playera for pennies. We got them at a premium and thank God they have worked.”

    Actually we have conceded more goals this season than last season so I’m not sure it has worked.

    Personally, i think Holding is our best defender as he is a proper defender in the tony Adams /john terry mould although not up to their level..

    I would also prefer Martinez than Ramsdale between the sticks, in fact at this present time i would prefer Leno than Ramsdale as Ramsdale looks decidedly shaky in his kicking , decision making , and handling and it could cost us 4th place if he is punished for his errors.

    It has been said many times before that the 85/90 mil woukd have been better spent on a quality midfielder and striker and that is still the case.

    If Arteta wants to see us over the line and qualify for 4th, he won’t go far wrong than play Holding , Leno and Elneny and although they are not always the flavour of the day on Le Grove , Holding, leno and Elneny are dependable and disciplined and at this stage of the season we don’t need players who are looking more and more susceptible to making errors at the back as been the case with Gabriel and Ramsdale in recent weeks.

    I’m not saying that Holding, Elneny and Leno are players for the future but they could be the answer for the here and now.

  46. Nigel Tufnel

    “Need another 2 world class players in the starting 11 and another 2 decent back ups”…

    Exactly how I feel, and think that’s the plan because we were going for one big one in January and we’re working on a few targets already.

    I really like the Jesus story because he fills a couple roles.. very versatile and fits right into Pepteta ball.

  47. Nigel Tufnel

    Time up,

    The comment about overplaying those specific players into injuries really reads like someone who just hates Arteta and is looking to blame him for everything including the Ukraine.

    I always complain about Arteta not rotating enough, or not giving minutes to players like Sambi and AMN earlier in the season. Pepe and Eddie too.

    But sometimes injuries just happen, freak occurrences even, and no amount of rotation would help.

    If you list every injury and blame the manager for al of them, it’s just a grudge against the guy and looking to blame him as much as you can. We get it. You don’t like him.

  48. LoveSausage

    Habesha,

    Good point on Coutinho. I’d forgotten him since it was a while ago. But that was a world class piece of selling business. Peak Ferguson-esque.

    We’ll see if they can sustain it. Selling Benteke to upgrade with a better player is one thing. Finding the right time to sell Salah, Mane or VVD to replace them with a younger player that will likely deliver 70% of their output is something else. This is where mistakes are usually made. Auba and Laca being prime examples of that.

  49. Nigel Tufnel

    Reiss Nelson is another that I think Arteta didn’t give enough chance to. A young talented player.

    He’s quietly having a very good loan. 10 goals/assists in 15 starts.

    He won’t want to relegated to Carabao cup games. Will he walk away like Eddie? By the way, those 2 were great together in the youth team.

  50. Nigel Tufnel

    I know it’s not popular here, but calling White a 50 mil “good cb” is a little downplaying.

    He’s been very good for us. He’s good enough to get into the England team. Southgate talks about his pressing, even high pressing and getting into players backs and causing turnovers….

    He’s better than Mcguire and Stones in my book.

    White’s quickness is special and also has great skills in passing and distribution that nobody here EVER mentions, it’s really what we identified and paid for.. what sets him apart.

    Scouts watch the guy play. Some of the stats you guys use are barely relevant to the particular player.

    It’s like how you were all crying about his height and how we’d be getting destroyed in the air. Nothing but agenda.

    Also whinging about 80 mil for Ramsdale and White….

    Admit it, all of you would have taken Sancho over them both. Or Mcguire at the time… or Pogba.

    You all would have been wrong.

  51. Goobergooner

    Nigel,
    Can’t deny white fits Arteta ball. He’s had his shoddy moments though, but all round been very good.

    Will definitely say I never ever wanted Maguire at any stage