by .

So we’ve gone from being very sad at the lack of activity, to me and Johnny dropping a miserable Patreon about how anxious we were, TO ACTION!

Fabio Vieira is in for a medical today, the story around the silence of the deal is that he only wanted to play for Arsenal, despite interest from a host of other clubs. Kind of knocks the idea Europa League being an impediment on the head, right?

It’s also expected that Eddie Nkeitiah is going to sign a new deal, Fabrizio Romano saying it’s a 5 year offer, there was interest from Germany and England, and there are also strong rumours he’ll be our new #14. I like that because why the fuck not? He was treated poorly by Arteta last season and when he was asked to play because Lacazette picked up covid, he absolutely smashed his chance with goals and gut busting contributions. He has earned that new deal and if you don’t like it, keep quiet, because he will deliver next season. Most of the slander around him is because Premier League fans still can’t accept that it is really hard to make it as a young player in the hardest league in the world, especially as a striker. BIG season from him incoming.

A lot of the big papers are leading with the Gabriel Jesus deal. I doubted the move, I inadvertently slandered the good name of David Ornstein, and it appears the tallboy summer I had hoped for was NOT on the cards. So you know what I’m gonna do? Delete all the evidence that I ever suggested this rumour wasn’t right. The story is £50m, but I think that’s a hopeful fee from City. I reckon it’ll be lower, but who knows, hardly the best negotiators of fee, are we?

The Youri Tielemans deal is also looking like a goer. This one has been all over the training ground for a while, which means the players have been gassing like old ladies at a greasy spoon, and that means agents have probably been swapping rumours. You are going to look VERY foolish if you doubt his ability, just look at some of the bits he’s been doing for Belgium the past couple of weeks. He’s top talent, our Thiago, he will make us MUCH better.

I was asking a Technical Director about the Tielemanns move and what he thinks. He basically said he’s an exceptional passer, he’s great in tight spaces, and he reads the game well. I asked about the pace worry and he was adamant that you don’t need to speed to excel as a deep-lying midfielder or a box-to-box because you are rarely running at someone one v one. Teams pack out the midfield, you almost never get to stretch your legs and run, so the main attribute you need is the ability to operate in tight spaces and find passes for… the fast players out wide and up front. Add to that the dead ball abilities of the Belgian, it really is hard to understand why anyone would be criticizing the signing. Experience, pedigree, specialist skills, elite character… perfect.

If you assume we have about the same money as we did last season, net £130m, we can start to see how the summer is shaping up.


-£30m Vieira

-£40m Gabriel

-£25m Tielemans

-£35m full-back coverage

That’s a pretty decent summer that covers off goals, end product in the final 3rd with coverage of Saka and Odegaard, competition for Thomas Partey, and cover for Kieran Tierney.

Then factor in we have the best keeper in MLS giving competition for Aaron Ramsdale and we have Europe’s best young centre-back dropping into the squad… well, it’s hard to argue our summer hasn’t been needle-moving.

All of the players we’ve added give us high levels of technical ability throughout the squad. We’ve added depth, we’ve added new options we didn’t have before, and all the players come with character.

The Fabio Vieira signing just gets better by the minute. I wondered what his character was like, then heard he’d been made Portugal U21 captain, which is all I need to know. He was being kept out of the Porto side earlier in the season by Luis Dias, he was told he needed to add more aggression to his game, and now he’s a much more complete player.

Did I ask someone if this skinny lad could handle the Premier League bullies? Yes I did. Then someone showed me this video.

Reading the tea leaves, I wonder if Mikel Arteta has looked at his striking options, seen that they are not the biggest of players, and decided he needs a City-like player to unlock his forward line. Fabio Vieira looks VERY much like the sort of player Pep has been pulling out of Portugal for years.

I do love that so many people have been whining to me that they don’t see the Arsenal strategy, now we’re seeing the dust settle on what this window is trying to bring, how much clearer could it be?

We’re signing hungry young players, with extreme levels of technical prowess, and this window has added goals and final product.

Is it time to stop doubting the vision of Arteta and Edu? I think so. We seem to be moving out of the banter era at great speed now, so we should all be happy.

The fixtures rolled pretty well for Arsenal as well. Is that down to me? I asked my guy with a PHD in statistics and he said 100% yes.

There is no such thing as an easy run in the Premier League, but opening against Palace, in the summer, on a fresh pitch, with all our first team players ain’t the worst. We don’t play a top 4 challenger until we meet United away in early September. The best bit of news for our horror show of an October is that Manchester City play Liverpool 3 days before we meet them at home. You won’t get a better advantage than that.

Did I like that printed who we were playing after our European games to make it easy for me? Yes I damn well did.

The Premier League matches we play immediately after the UEL group games are at home to Everton, Brentford away, Liverpool at home, Leeds United away, Nottingham Forest at home and away to Chelsea. These are all due to be moved back to the Sunday (or Monday if selected for live TV coverage).

Yes. We have two big teams after they’ve played BIG games in Europe with their first teams. Let’s hope Arteta leans into the squad so we have fresher players for those games. Can’t be having any of that Arsene Wenger mindset where he’d play Santi against Ludogorets in a game we’d win with a reserve team.

Not that I want to pump KSE too much. But they have got to the playoffs in basketball, they have won a Super Bowl, and now their hockey team is in the Stanley Cup Final. I think we need to give them some credit, they’ve gone from not giving a shit about winning, to being VERY successful. I like what they are doing at Arsenal. It takes a bit of time for truth to catch up with reality… but what is going on at Arsenal is very smart, more people are going to tune into that reality next season.

Finally, before I go, I tapped @ZachLowy, an expert on all things Portugal, for a quick download on our new signing. Check it out, subscribe to the channel, and join our Patreon if you’d like to. (Check out his excellent write-up on Fabio here).

Become a Patron!


Jump to comment form ↓

  1. Naija+soccer


    Yeah I thought so too when I saw his highlights. If he’s slow then I don’t know what to call Xhaka and Odegaard. Whoever called him slow must have been comparing him to Usain Bolt in their mind.

  2. Nigel Tufnel

    To everybody (many grovers) fretting over :

    “what happens when Partey gets injured?!”

    If we are lucky enough to get Tielemans, you can calm down… for God’s sake.

    Tielemans can play CDM .. maybe he’s not Partey quality DM, but who is?

    In his last 50 games, Tielemans started 27 as CM, 18 as CDM.

    Partey also sh1ts all over grover dreamboat Buffouna in skill, passing anyway, just one of the reasons we were never in for him.

    The big athletic dm destroyer is an anachronism. Ask yourself, would Pep or Klopp buy Bissouma? Never.

    Posters here talk about technical ability of Man City and Liverpool, and then scream we need one dimensional Bissouma.

    … anyway, with 5 subs, elneny can be used to come on in the right situations for Tielemans.

    With Vieira able to play 8, and Mo for emergencies… we’ll have our best midfield quality in many years… I think we might even let Xhaka go.

    Tielemans is better than rated here. I hope we get him in.

  3. Habesha Gooner

    Mr Serge
    No idea. Fabrizio keeps confirming that Tielemans is a top target and Arsenal are in talks with Leicester.

    Meanwhile some Sky reporter named Rob Dorset wrote that Arsenal have cooled their interest on Tielemans.

    Plus the Athletic are reporting that Jesus and Lisandro Martinez are priorities. And Tielemans will be signed if Xhaka leaves. And Raphinha is also a target if Pepe leaves.

    The stories are confusing. The truth isn’t clear. We just have to wait and see.

  4. raptora

    I really, really, really, really hope that if Tielemans deal off it’s because something better lined up. If we leave our midfield the way it is, regardless of whether you call me a doomer or not, it will be a failed window. I really, really hope we going to bring a starter in Xhaka’s place. I can’t go through the same BULLSHIT yet another year. He’s a waste of space and not good enough.

  5. China1

    Naija yeah I don’t know if he’s unremarkable over 70+ yards or something but football is more acceleration than top speed heavy. If you can be first over 8m and if you have the mental sharpness and agility to react early then for all intents and purposes you are in fact very quick

  6. Habesha Gooner

    Fabrizio Romano
    Been told Youri Tielemans is not considering to sign a contract extension with Leicester now – could be an option in September in case he doesn’t leave, but not now. #AFC

    Arsenal are working on it since long time… but no official bid yet. Other clubs are also interested.

    He is kind of retracting too. So the truth probably is that we will only sign Tielemans if Xhaka leaves. It will be very stupid if we don’t pull this off and Xhaka is still our starting CM when the season starts.

  7. China1

    I myself am the opposite. Give me a bit of distance and I’m faster than 90% of people.

    But I have less than zero acceleration and zero agility (xhaka syndrome is the scientific term) so i can’t beat anyone over 10m

    It’s something which I absolutely love about saka is his ability to stop on a dime, react to the smallest of changes instantly and burst towards his top speed almost immediately. That explosive start is the main way he savages his man. All those moments where both players stop and then bang he’s off and the defender is in his dust. Love it every time

  8. WengerEagle

    Well said China, on the money.

    Messi was never rapid over long distances but it is more important to have quick feet, agility and reactions not to mention low centre of gravity to be an exceptional dribbler/mover than a straight-line sprinter like a Walcott.

  9. WengerEagle

    Obviously you need some good baseline of sprint speed but it is of secondary importance to acceleration and agility for a midfielder in congested areas imo.

  10. WengerEagle

    Don’t mind if we’re passing on Tielemans in favour of another target. I prefer Aouar myself anyways to Tielmans.

    Would be very concerning if there is no other midfield target though and Tielemans even if not my favourite walks into our CM as the 2nd best player.

  11. raptora

    I don’t even think Tielemans is all that but he still makes it in top 5 of the CMs we could realistically buy, sitting in 5th but still. I’ll take Tielemans at Arsenal ahead of the misunderstanding that Xhaka is any freakin day of the week.

  12. Pedro

    Raptora, if we get all the players we have been linked with it will be one of he most exceptional summers of the last decade.

  13. MidwestGun

    Well Tielemans wouldn’t have been my first choice.. So Im not gonna lose my shit if we don’t get him.. but I was encouraged that it looked like we were doing a complete midfield rebuild and update as well as adding depth.. But I do want somebody and I don’t want that somebody to be GX like a new signing. So still a lot of time and negotiations to take place. And I don’t trust the media at all.. so.. stay tuned.. I would say. For example, What media agency had the itk on FV ?

    I can’t believe we would go from red hot to frozen on Tielemans just because, though. Does Tielemans really want to stay at LC and hear Brenda’s voice for another season? .. if so.. good luck to him. He is a better man then me.. nails to a chalkboard, for me.

  14. Nigel Tufnel

    Sudden disappointment about Tielemans. All the contact and groundwork with him and his people seems odd to pull back now.

    Big mistake, and might mean we were never going to get 2 possible 8s to move out Xhaka.

    Or maybe a ploy by us to get the player to push Leicester to be more reasonable on the price. That’s my wishful thinking, but that would be something we’d do to save a few million.

  15. Nigel Tufnel

    By the way, forget about Raphina. It is not happening even if we sell Pepe. Drop that name from the dream list.

    We need a Xhaka replacement, and I’m the only one who defends the guy here.

    There has to be a backup plan if we can’t get Tielemans. I might go full hater mode if we blow the window and Xhaka starts in midfield next season.

  16. China1

    Nigel even if we sign Tielemans I’m not convinced that xhaka won’t start at least 60% of games next season lol

  17. China1

    It may be that vieira is seen as the Pepe replacement anyway

    I doubt we’re signing him and raphinha

    Focus has to remain on CM and CF as well as LB

    I know this is controversial but regardless of the injuries I actually thought Tierney was really average last season. His entire game was just safe passes back to Gabriel and on the few times he got forward it was just gormless high crosses towards CFs who will never score a header (also known as the Cedric special)

    If wasn’t good enough at all if we’re being honest. He needs to refine the form of his first season. If he can’t then even when fit he needs to be upgraded on

  18. raptora

    Question is whether we wanted to have 2 physically strong CMs or just 1 with 2 technical players ahead of him.

    If we wanted to have the option to play 2 strong CMs, then one can hardly go wrong with Bissouma and our boy Anguissa. Another one is Sangare who is too good for the Dutch league and is a serious player imo. Koopmeiners again great physique and actually similar game to that of Xhaka which is probably not ideal.

    If we wanted to have playmakers in there, then Milinkovic-Savic clearly my favorite with Zinchenko behind him. his versatility could be of such huge help and I’ve seen him dominate games in midfield mainly international games where he always plays CM for Ukraine and he’s actually really good there. Something that even Pep admits too that he was bought as a CM but because of City’s left back problems he had to adapt to that role instead.

    I’ve been really impressed with Carlos Soler from Valencia – 25 yo, scores and assists a lot – 12 goals, 5 assists this season, 12 goals, 9 assists last season.

    Fabian Ruiz is a baller.

    Heard good things about Mikel Merino, 25 yo Real Sociedad, he was very young when he played for Newcastle, now he’s a leader on the pitch and a serious player.

    Matheus Nunes another one, 23 yo, from Sporting. Read Wolves are about to smash their transfer record for the player Pep called “one of the best players in the world today”.

    I’m probably forgetting someone but really solid options in here I believe.

    Gundogan ideally but kind of unrealistic.

    Hard to trust the likes of van de Beek and McKennie as they haven’t played much this season.

    Tielemans is around the middle of the pack for me, not as current skills but as what he could give us and the potential he has to improve. He’s not too fast, not too slow, not too weak, not too strong, not bad in defence, not bad in offence. He’s the definition of jack of all trades for me. But as I don’t rate him that highly, I can see how having a solid, already developed and settled player in the league makes sense.

  19. Dissenters

    It’s reasonable to say that no one has any clue as to what Arsenal is trying to do this summer
    The signing of Fabio Vierra proves that
    We are just going to have to wait.
    Preseason doesn’t start until July 7th and the players involved in this stupid international games won’t resume until mid July
    There’s still plenty of time left.

  20. Dissenter

    I just hope we get the balanced between project youth and ready to go players

    Fabio Vierra will need a season before coming up to speed with the league. We need a central midfielder that can challenge Xhaka and Partey for starting spaces

  21. Naija+soccer

    Dissenters lol

    I think he’s ready to go once the season kicks off. To be honest I m surprised he only got 19 starts at Porto last season, like Porto acting like they Madrid.

  22. Moray

    Looks like some good business for us. I haven’t seen much of Vieirra live as CL football is on too late in Asia, particularly when we aren’t playing in it.

    That’s a crazy strong generation of Portuguese midfielders though.

    As you say, Dissenter, he will need time to bed in and get some strength in that frame, but for once we are starting to build a proper squad. If Tielemans also joins, then we have some good options in the middle of the park. Hopefully then Xhaka can finally exit and a new era begin.

    I also think we will look to move Tierney on, but probably next year unless an offer comes in. I think he would be overvalued if we went to market now, and we can’t really carry an injury case, this we know.

    I’m dying for us to go back to being a counterattacking team like the Wenger early days. With some steel, skill and speed in the middle, that would be the pivot. Jesus, Saka, ESR etx running the channels. Anything but this dull fuxking press we see these days.

  23. GD4

    I love how people are claiming that Viera has baller status based on YouTube clips. If that was the standard then ESR and Odegaard would be rated as peak Iniesta and Xavi.
    This was a stupid buyZ
    It’s peak Wenger idiocy.
    We need steel and Edu has given us a sugar cane.
    This kid will be devoured by the EPL for at least the next 18 months. He’s not ready for this. And it’s not fair to him.

    Mark my words

  24. DivineSherlock


    You are the finest example of whats called an armchair expert. People in Portugal who have seen him play , FC Porto’s management , the countless of reporters who analyse the matches . All have said that Arsenal have got one of the finest talent of Portugal . Every transfer is always a gamble but as long as we are going after the right quality I am satisfied .

  25. Naija+soccer


    I think we ll buy a CM too before the end of the window. Also, I think what you described in your last post is Vieira going thru a transitional stage which is pretty standard. The great David Silva struggled in his first season here too so lets hope at worst, he ll be in good company.

  26. TeeCee

    Signing just one striker? Very brave, if we sign Jesus and he ends up getting injured for 3 months we just have Eddie the Feather to play every game??? I’m not counting Balogun because he’s so far from being ready for the first team. It’s madness, we need two strikers this summer

  27. Emiratesstroller

    It will be interesting to see how Arsenal offload unwanted players this summer once they have completed signings.

    Lacazette will join Lyon next season. Marseille have exercised option to buy Guendouzi and
    Stuttgart will almost certainly exercise option to buy Mavropanos and then sell him for decent profit.

    Other likely departures will be Leno, Runarsson,Mari, Bellerin, Torreira, Maitland-Niles,Pepe and Nelson. My guess is that all these players will leave on modest fees probably not exceeding £10 million apart from perhaps Pepe. Arsenal will accept by end of the window what it takes to get them off the payroll.

    Pepe will be the major issue, because Arsenal are still paying annually under instalment
    plan around £12 million. Our loss on this player is going to be massive. Otherwise Arsenal
    will take losses on Leno and Torreira.

  28. Wicked Willy

    There is no doubt we are pushing hard for Tielemans. The main issue is convincing the player. With one year on his contract there must be a strong argument to wait it out. Let’s see if we can work our magic.

    If not, we’ll have to go for our backup option, and then maybe he, or someone like De Jong, can replace Xhaka next season.

    Also, whoever called Eddie a ‘feather’, is it really necessary to insult our players? Eddie exceeded expectations when he was finally given a run, and he has stuck by us even though we have constantly overlooked him for others. Whilst we may well need to replace him in a year or two with someone truly world class, I think he makes an excellent bridging strategy and I would love nothing more than for him to kick on and prove that unnecessary.

    One things for sure, making snide comments about players who’ve done nothing wrong is unbecoming of anyone wishing to call themselves a fan. I think we could and should be better than that as a fan base.

  29. The Bard

    An overly optimistic post based on the signing of a young player and lots of rumours. I’m happy he’s signed but to suggest it debunks the notion that players won’t fancy the Ropey league is rubbish. He is a young allegedly talented player, he isnt a worldie. Good luck to him.

  30. Berg10kamp

    I think we will sign midfielder whether xhaka goes or not. Plan is probably a squad role for him same as holding and Mo.

  31. Siddeeq

    After watching our target Lisandro here is the conclusion.

    1. Our new signing Viera is a Pepe replacement.
    2. Xhakalson is here to stay, the plan is Not to play Wengerball.
    3. Lisandro is good at long balls, like White is supposed to be. So the plan is long balls to our forwards

    Expect more of Moyesball.

  32. TR7

    “Lisandro is good at long balls, like White is supposed to be. So the plan is long balls to our forwards”

    His long passes look very similar to the ones Xhaka makes. Let’s hope he is signed as a Xhaka replacement. I don’t think we will pay 40M for someone to be a back up to Tierney.

  33. Ishola70

    Did I hear that Tielemans coming in is dependent on Xhaka leaving.

    Oh well no Tielemans then.

    Xhaka is an immovable object in this team.

    Very positive piece from Pedro and nothing wrong with that.

    It will be interesting to see though if Arteta lives up to these high expectations this coming season.

    If he doesn’t live up to these high expectations then I expect Pedro to want to see him beheaded.

  34. DUIFG

    For me the summer rests on getting tielmans as well. I don’t see vieria as a cm, we cannot roll with xacka again.

    Jesus vieria tielmans is good business. I worrry we are blowing the. Nah again on a cb when we have saliba there. Priority should be tielmans not another cb.

    Of xacka starts next year we won’t get top 4

  35. Distanced hairline

    I hate hearing all these Gabriel jesus talk, if laca or auba was in mancity they’d be having minimum 20 goals, let’s get scamacca, 40m aight, Gabriel is a fraud, not even better than our own Gabriel in general play. Over hyped player, iheanacho better than him, he can’t shoot, we got skillfully passers and dribblers now, our striker gotta know how to just strike the ball in the net

  36. Matt B

    WW: One things for sure, making snide comments about players who’ve done nothing wrong is unbecoming of anyone wishing to call themselves a fan. I think we could and should be better than that as a fan base.

    Couldn’t agree more, well said …

  37. TR7


    Many reports suggest that we are still pursuing Tielemans and his signing is not dependent on whether Xhaka goes or stays.

  38. Gbat

    I like this Lisandro Martinez link. Aggressive, front footed defender with excellent passing. Could be trouble for Gabriel. Surely means Holding will be sold.

  39. Ishola70


    ” Eddie exceeded expectations when he was finally given a run, and he has stuck by us even though we have constantly overlooked him for others. Whilst we may well need to replace him in a year or two with someone truly world class, I think he makes an excellent bridging strategy and I would love nothing more than for him to kick on and prove that unnecessary.”

    This is another schizo comment regarding Eddie N following on from Pedro’s.

    If he is good enough then he should be seen as a first team starter and for years to come starting from this coming season..

    Either back him fully if you truly rate him or don’t bother rather than this mish mash we keep hearing about him.

    If you are not really sure about him like many of these contradictory comments signify then just admit that you are not sure of him.

    If he does indeed do very well next season then you can say you called it.

    Instead we are getting comments that are hedging your bets comments. He can be very good ……………..where is our striker signing?

  40. Ishola70

    “Many reports suggest that we are still pursuing Tielemans and his signing is not dependent on whether Xhaka goes or stays.”

    Believe it when I see it.

    Said before I think Tielemans is more a final third midfielder rather than an overall central midfielder and we could just get away with it maybe with him alongside Partey. One significant injury again to Partey though and it will all fall to shit.

  41. Pierre

    “His long passes look very similar to the ones Xhaka makes. Let’s hope he is signed as a Xhaka replacement”

    Since Arteta arrived , Xhaka has gone from hitting 5/6 long balls per game to no more than a couple a game on average.
    It’s also noticeable that Xhaka is not on the ball as much, last season average 57 passes per game compared to mid 70’s on average when he first arrived.
    Also had 7 assists in 2017/18 compared to a couple a season on average now.

    Basically, since Arteta arrived Xhaka’s influence in games has become less and less, whereas when you hear some talk, the belief is that Xhaka is a better player these days …the stats tell a different story.

  42. Ishola70

    “Aggressive, front footed defender”

    That’s the criticism of Gabriel though isn’t it.

    That he needs to calm down as a defender and ease up a bit with his over zealousness.

    So we would be replacing like for like.

    I don’t know why folks seem to be so enamoured with “aggressive” defenders.

    Probably because the action of aggression looks good on the pitch but history tells us many of the best defenders had very much controlled aggression when defending.

  43. Freddie Ljungberg


    Saw some stats yesterday and Tielemans was top 10 for tackles made in the prem last season. Only a few behhind Bissouma.

    It doesn’t paint the full picture of course but made me feel a little better about signing him.
    Anything to get Xhaka out of the starting XI

  44. Siddeeq

    Xhakalson is going nowhere, Lisandro is to fill the gap left by Tierney who i suspect will be unavailable till next year.

  45. Pierre

    Regarding Eddie, it’s down to Arteta to trust him.

    A large percentage of le groaners didn’t rate Eddie at all , now it’s about 70/30 in favour after his very good performances last season.

    They said he couldn’t do it in the premier league , they were wrong.
    They said he is only a tap in merchant…they were wrong
    They said he couldn’t link the play…they were wrong
    They said he wasn’t strong enough physically for the prem …they were wrong.
    They said he was lazy …they were wrong .
    They said he wasn’t mentally strong enough …they were wrong.

    If Eddie doesn’t score at least 20 goals next season I’ll be surprised, give him the service and he will do the business.

  46. Ishola70

    Freddie L

    “Saw some stats yesterday and Tielemans was top 10 for tackles made in the prem last season.”

    It’s the old debate again though isn’t it stats vs the eye.

    Plenty have commented that they have seen Tielemans get bypassed and look a little lost when the opposition have the ball including myself.

    Were all these tackles clean, hard and excellently excuted on these stats or were some of them a bit airy fairy? Remember all tackles are included in the stats including ropey ones.

    For example I’ve seen Xhaka make tackles and quite a lot of them have been horrid and akward tackles but of course they will still be included on the stats numbers for tackles. The stats are not going to tell us whether it was a good tackle or not and this applies to so many other aspects of play in football where just stats are blindly followed.

    This is the obvious glaring weakness regarding stats vs the eye.

  47. Ishola70


    “If Eddie doesn’t score at least 20 goals next season I’ll be surprised, give him the service and he will do the business.”

    Good to see you not sitting on the fence Pierre regarding Eddie N.

  48. Freddie Ljungberg


    I haven’t watched Leicester enough to be sure how good he is defensively. Won’t take much to improve on Xhaka though and he’s obviuoulsy much better in attack.
    I’d prefer someone like Sangare in that position but whatever we do we need someone in there that is going to oust Xhaka so whoever that is I’m behind 100%.

  49. Bob N16

    I’ll have to admit I’m not that up on statistical analysis. What I can see is the lack of fluidity and ability to drive forward in our midfield last season.

    Do what the opposition don’t want you to do – quick one/two touch passing, players who can receive the ball under pressure and drive forward with the ball, players who can see and make the progressive pass.

    What the opposition is happy to face is slow build ups and predictability.

    Without Partey in our CM, we are too predictable and unable to overcome tight marking easily.

    Xhaka should be replaced!

  50. Ishola70


    “Do what the opposition don’t want you to do – quick one/two touch passing, players who can receive the ball under pressure and drive forward with the ball”

    That’s always been the main criticism of Xhaka along with his suspect defending.

    His incapability to play fluid pass and move football between his team mates.

  51. Markymark

    Sotongunner – the way I’m reading it , could be the ref is in trouble . It takes two to book a player , the players failure to adhere to a rule and the refs decision. If the ref is intent to book a player he’s in a very strong position to help a betting ring. Of course no suggestion of guilt or otherwise until process is completed

  52. Un

    Had sir Alex mentored Pogba for his first few years as a senior pro around the likes of scholes Giggs Rio evra and the rest, Pogba would now be the greatest midfielder in the world

    Roila ruined his career and turned it into money and publicity over focus and dedication. All the talent but sadly he became a massive prick which was encouraged by his entourage. People like this are killing the game and prioritising it as a multi million dollar business over being a sport.

  53. Gbat


    I wouldn’t say Gabriel is particularly aggressive. White, Martinez make a lot more interceptions. Gabriel is more clumsy than anything. And he’s not as dominant in the air as people think. And on the ball I find him shaky. I wouldn’t have a problem if those Juventus rumours were true.

  54. Un

    I keep seeing this talk of replacements
    Vieira is replacing xakha or he’s replacing Pepe
    I think we need to see this as much more fluid than round pegs in round holes

    Look at city. Their players have a starting position and a defensive zone. But they are interchangeable. Same with Liverpool. First they learn their own job/task comprehensively, then they begin to Lear their team mate’s roles and instructions comprehensively. It then becomes muscle memory. And then it becomes fluid and interchangeable
    Kdb foden and B silva all drop and move and change along with Jesus and Sterling and even gundugan.

    I think we are going to see big strides towards that this season. More passing and moving. More fluidity I’m attack and hopeful nicer football with more goals and excitement.

  55. Un

    GbatJune 18, 2022 09:46:30
    Ishola70I wouldn’t say Gabriel is particularly aggressive. White, Martinez make a lot more interceptions. Gabriel is more clumsy than anything. And he’s not as dominant in the air as people think. And on the ball I find him shaky. I wouldn’t have a problem if those Juventus rumours were true.


    Finally!! Someone who sees and admits the realty of Gabriel
    I’d be fairly happy with him going to juve and Martinez coming in as primary left centre half
    Everyone saying this spells the end of Holding. Arteta clearly trusts holding. He’s got rid of 5-6 centre halves but kept him. Must be a reason

  56. Ishola70


    “I wouldn’t say Gabriel is particularly aggressive.”

    For me he commits himself too early a few too many times in challenges.

    This can look clumsy but would also fall into the over aggressive category for me.

    It’s also about him being able to read the game better. Know when to come in on opponents and knowing when to hold or back off slightly.

  57. Un


    You too? Good man. I don’t understand why so many le groaners fail to admit this man’s faults. He does dive in but for me that’s not the biggest issue, it’s concentration. He ball watches in the box and let’s players run off him, just enough to get a yard and a vital touch. Usually with crosses, low and high. He just watches the ball and forgets his marker. By the time he’s checked his man, he’s gone and got across him

  58. Wicked Willy


    It’s called pragmatism. For where we’re at, Eddie makes a fine backup striker.

    However, I like Arteta, have aspirations to challenge for the PL and the CL. That’s going to require two absolutely banging strikers. However, we don’t currently have the status or the budget to make that happen whilst filling all the other gaps in our squad.

    If we have a cracking summer, then we can compete for 3rd next season and will have a good shot at Europa and the two domestic cups.

    However, to get to truly elite levels, we will then need to assess next summer, and buy upto 4 elite level players, unless Patino, Cuffey, Lokongs or Nketiah prove they are worthy of filling those shoes.

    To be clear, it’s not hedging. It’s called having a practical strategy for achieving your goals.

  59. Un

    John Terry said whe he was a trainee Zola used to take him out and practice the art of staying on your feet. That’s how they teach young defenders in Italy. Never dive in. Terry still to this day believes it is the most important bit of key advice he’s ever had or could give a young defender
    Zola would run at him and run at him over and over until it was habit. We are talking about a legend and a teenager here too. Good man Zola. This club could do with a bit of that.

  60. Ishola70


    “That’s how they teach young defenders in Italy. Never dive in”

    Yup. And I’ve seen Gabriel dive in too many times but of course some like that aspect in a defender but in the long run it spells trouble.

    We had the same situation with Vermaelen. Fans loved him. Action man. Diving in. When it came off it looked marvellous but he was causing as much chaos in the overall defence with his diving in then looking great when it came off for him.

  61. Un

    The art of defending is severely underrated in this country at the minute, actually the world. Italy continues its conveyor belt of top drawer centre backs though.

    If Rob Holding had a bit more pace he’d be absolutely brilliant. He’d be perfect for Italian football.

    On Gabriel though, yes I agree, I’ve seen 2 seasons now and I’m thinking he’s not the right ma for the job as left centre back. Far too many faults in his game.

  62. Gbat


    I’m not a big fan of Gabriel. He just doesn’t fill me with confidence. And with the direction we look to be moving in, I think his technical deficiencies will see him replaced as first choice.

    I really like the type of player we’ve been linked with. We’ve been really lacking in technical players who will help us dominate the ball.

  63. Ishola70

    “Italy continues its conveyor belt of top drawer centre backs though.”

    Yes and it used to be also Argentine and Uruguayan defenders in the past that also had the pedigree for good defending.

    Colombian defenders for example are over-rated. They rely too much on the physical. Brawn without the brain a lot of the time. That Colombian defender Spurs signed Sanchez set them back all said and done. Physical and not a lot more about him. They dropped him and it saw the team improve coincidentally.

  64. raptora

    Gabriel is one of our better players and I’d take him ahead of the Rolls Royce defender.
    Saliba is kinda passive still, similar to White really, and in a way Gabriel might perfectly balance it out with his more physical approach as neither White or Saliba is as physical as Gabriel.
    Gabriel finished the season with 5 goals, 5th place in the team, wanna know how many goals the RR defender scored? Yeah, you got that right – zilch.

    I do believe that we can do better than Gabriel but before we touch him, the overall quality of the team has to jump a notch.

    We haven’t had interest from a big club for any of our players in how many years, Juventus are supposedly admirers of Gabriel, crowd in here goes -> let’s sell him?! Anyone thought about why a huge team will be interested in Gabriel but not in Whitey or Holding? Ye, let’s sell one of the few players that big teams acknowledge how good he is. Makes perfect sense innit…

    Like if we were buying Skriniar then sure sell whoever there is interest in cause Skriniar is top class.

    But we’re buying a player coming from a league where his team finished with 98-19 goal difference.

    He is a 1.75 m 5 ft 9 in or 1.78 m 5 ft 10 in according to other data. He might be the new VVD or the new Davinson Sanchez who dominated the league and spuds paid nearly £40m for him. Selling our best CB for a shorty young CB coming from a pony league is actually galaxy brain.

  65. raptora

    As much as I rate the defensive work in a CB ahead of their goal scoring skills, Gabriel scored the winning goals vs Wolves, West Ham and Leicester. 9 pts right there. We can’t act like it didn’t happen. It’s quite massive and should be taken into consideration when rating players.

    Like we can’t say how unhappy we are with him and we should sell him then not say a word about the RR defender who has provided neither the passes of David Luiz we were promised, or the dribbles to open up the opponent’s midfield, or the goals that don’t actually feel like coming at all. Add some balance to the opinions please, not just personal dislike.

  66. Bob N16

    Un, I understand your criticism of Gabriel when you worry about his over commitment on occasions.In his defence, I would say that he did look a good CB for a lot of the season and I don’t think it was a coincidence that his effectiveness appeared to suffer when Tierney was injured. He couldn’t trust Nuno T. He’s still relatively young, his best years are surely ahead of him and Brazil seem to think he’s half decent too.

    Would I be wrong in thinking you’d prefer to see Holding ahead of him in the line up? If so, do you not worry about Holding’s obvious deficiencies or do you believe that he is sufficiently good at penalty box defending to accommodate his weakness further up the pitch?

    If somebody wants pay as much (or more) for Gabriel for him then to be replaced by a quality, left footed CB who could play LB if needed ( Martinez) then I could see the sense in that.

    I would like to know whether Holding is happy to potentially be the 4th(5th if you include TT) CB at 26. He’s got 2 years left on his contract – a good time to sell?

    If we had Martinez, Gabriel, Saliba and White (with TT as back up if need be) I would be really happy.

    Still would need to sort CM!

  67. Tassos

    With Arsenal you don’t need vision ,you need a coach who has the ability to
    form a team that plays simple football (Brighton ) and scores goals .
    I’m afraid the problem is Arteta and you are going to have the same
    inconsistencies next year !!

  68. GD4


    Again you’re making little sense except adopting a sheepish mentality. “Oh I trust the club and the propaganda, so they must know what they’re doing.”
    This is almost as bad “Arsene Knows” or “If Comrade Napoleon says so then it must be right.”

    At the conclusion of last season no one in their right mind would’ve said investing 30 mill in an unproven fledgling show pony would’ve been wiser than signing a proven midfield enforcer like Bissouma for less than that amount.

    To think we paid double for Ben White than Bissouma who was key to Brighton’s success makes it even more irritating.
    And sadly Auba are all big money signings that we haven’t, and in Pepe’s case never recoup anything for … it’s an unwise investment … especially given that we have young talent in those areas and many other pressing areas of need.

    Again mark my words.
    This kid is nothing more than a Portuguese Lokonga

  69. Bob N16

    GD4 ‘This kid is nothing more than a Portuguese Lokonga’ – a young player with loads of upside? Are you writing Lokonga off are you willing to give a young player from the Belgian league a little more time to adjust and prove himself in the PL?

    We can’t afford to buy too many players of the quality that we’re after, who are ready to take a first team place immediately.

    Viera looks like he’s got quick feet, can turn on sixpence and has a great eye for a pass. Of the clips I’ve seen, his sub appearance and effectiveness against Liverpool gave me great hope that he’s a quality addition.

    Lacking in faith GD4? Just mentioning players who have proved historically ineffective doesn’t necessarily mean that Edu/Arteta’s choices will be doomed too.

  70. Un


    I rate holding as a much better out and out defender but he’s not suited to a high line ;as the spurs game demonstrated) unless he’s in a back 3 or has a capable right back (so he’s protected)
    If we are going to be playing most of our football in the opposing half then holding is not the man who should start. However Arteta’s arsenal us usually retreats into our box immediately after going ahead so as things stand, yeah I’d play holding Saliba nd white over Gabriel if this trend is to continue.

    Let’s see how Gabriel does in his third year. I’m not one to totally give up on a young player until they’ve had bedding in time, which does vary from individual to individual but if the same mistakes continue then yes, I’d have him off.
    I know the loss of Tierney and Tomi affected him as they were key elements in stopping so many wide balls coming in and to me this is his main weakness as he switches off on wide balls for some reason but seems far better at defending stright passes through the lines

    I didn’t know much about Martinez at all but I’d us been brought in to play leading left centre back and Arteta sees him as superior to Gabriel then I wouldn’t cry if we sold him to juventus.

    That’s my take

  71. Topside Northbank

    Tielemans will not be signing a new 1 year contract with Leicester makes no sense for him he either moves somewhere during the window or he goes for a small fee in Jan or a Bosman.

    Last few days shows again some transfers are agent/player leaked to media but some like the Vierira and Bissouma deals they are done quickly with no links.

    Any top 6 club in England and now Newcastle as well will be linked with hundreds of players it’s mostly clickbait and the added caveat of a ‘battle’ between clubs for a player normally rival clubs as well.

    Truth only the people in charge of clubs know and even then targers can change quickly for any number of reasons.

  72. Wicked Willy

    I’ve just looked that Vitinha up on youtube (never heard of him before), holy shit, he is very Santi. I think I wanna have his babies…

  73. Gonsterous

    Didn’t we already sign marguenhos? Isn’t he a forward?
    So we have nketiah and him along with another FW for the ST role.

    Should we maybe go for a player who is good in the air with decent footwork? Someone in the mold of DCL (not exactly him).

  74. Bob N16

    Un, fair take on CBs. Holding is your man if the opposition are desperately lobbing balls into our own penalty box in the last 10 mins or so. I question whether it is worthwhile for Holding or for Arsenal to keep him simply for that role? I accept he comes across as a decent pro and is in the leadership group in the squad.

  75. Bob N16

    Gonsterous, Marquinhos is not a CF. As a 19 year old fresh to PL, it’s unlikely that he’ll get too many minutes in the PL, maybe a sub in EL as a RW. Dare I say it a succession option if/when Saka gets bought for loads!

  76. raptora

    Vitinha could become a superstar. Has all the ingredients. We’ll see how he does at PSG cause that deal is happening very soon.

    Just saw that Rabiot wants to leave Juve and has 1 year left on his contract. I’m down!

  77. Un


    He’s meant to be a great personality around he club
    Everyone loves him and he keeps spirits high
    Never complains and does his thing
    Pretty underrated qualities in the modern game

    If I were him I’d be thinking of Italy
    I bet he’d do well there
    Have you seen his Mrs too? Oh my god….. lovely

  78. Double Double

    Even if this new Vieira turns out to be rubbish, it will be almost worth the 30mill for the song for the fans.

  79. Double Double

    WW that guy looks unbelievable, why have haven’t we signed, we always seem to sign the poor relation

  80. Un

    They defend deeper in Italy and play on the counter
    Holding is like a fish in water In and around the penalty area. Fish up a tree when you get him in a high line

    Gets a nose bleed at the half way line

  81. Un


    Yeah I’m saying if I were him that’s where I’d go. His style would suit their game and he gets to live in Italy, eating that food, drinking that wine, living that culture and enjoying the sunshine

  82. Un

    There was an interesting line in the The Athletic’s latest Arsenal transfer round-up (£), in which we’re linked with Ajax’s Argentinian defender Lisandro Martinez:

    Signing him [Vieira] does not necessarily mean Arsenal will stop chasing other targets, or that Vieira’s arrival replaces others in their sights, such as Raphinha, Gabriel Jesus or Lisandro Martinez. Rather, they are keen to press on. The plan, ideally, is to recruit them all.

    No mention of Tielemans.

  83. Un

    Why oh why would Vitinha go to PSG? 🤦🏻‍♂️
    Scum club. Why not go somewhere he will showcase his talent? Somewhere with prestige. Barca, the Milan clubs, arsenal, Liverpool, United. Dortmund or Bayern.
    Psg disgusts me.

  84. Un

    Hahah yeah I make no secret that it’s what I would do in his shoes but hey, I’m sure they do chips with gravy somewhere in Italy

  85. Double Double

    That’s good news with Eddie, but does nobody else think we need a bit of height in there, reminds me a bit of a Wenger team that always got bullied

  86. Un

    I do like Italy
    Never understood why French food is considered superior. Always found French food hugely disappointing but Italy? Never. Except their steaks are a bit raw for my taste. Not that I’m Gordon Ramsey or anything

  87. Un

    Cesc ready to start coaching
    Get him in. Give him a start. What h could teach Odegaard and ESR and vieira
    Next level

  88. Wicked Willy

    Double double

    There’s no doubt that vitinha is the sexier player, but I’m not sure calling someone with a goal contribution every 66 minutes a ‘poor relation’ is particularly fair! Our boy also got player of the tournament at euros ahead of Vitinha. Maybe its like Xavi and Iniesta. Xavi was far more eye-catching, but was he really better than Iniesta, or was it that they were just different, and both were equally of value?

  89. Un


    In Pedro podcast the guy said Vitinha is considered the Xavi to vieira’s iniesta in playing style.
    Portugal have some fucking serious players coming through for this generation

  90. englandsbest

    All of us are concerned about the lack of height issue upfront – all those high balls in, and nobody tall enough to reach them. But maybe the days of the Andy Carrolls and Grays of this world are over, the offside rules have changed. And let’s not forget that with corners and free kicks tall defenders can be moved up front.

    But I guess I’m old-fashioned. My preference is still two fast wing men crossing to a big CF who rarely misses.

  91. Un


    So did I. More eye catching
    Xavi was the conductor. He would just pop pop pop pop pop pop balls around, knit it together then iniesta and Messi would spring the trap

  92. Bob N16

    Ideally there would be a Plan A CF and also a Plan B. Trouble was when Giroud was with us he was always Plan A!

    Jesús does score with his head although we are slightly dependent on Gabriel and TT to provide height at set pieces- where we incidentally had a good season.

    More goals from crosses are scored with the feet than the head anyway( I’m guessing!) so mobility and anticipation as well as clinical finishing are more important than height.

  93. TheLegendThatIsDennisBergkamp

    but does nobody else think we need a bit of height in there

    Hence why I’m not feeling the Jesus thang…

  94. Bob N16

    Un, I remember watching Barcelona at their peak at the Emirates, it was wonderful to watch. I seem to remember a first half where my mates and I were shaking our heads in awe of their football- Almunia had a half which made him look like a world beater.

  95. Bob N16

    TLTIDB, I understand your feelings about height in a CF but height doesn’t trump, technique, speed, work rate, finishing. If there was a CF who has all the attributes we need and is tall and is willing to come to us then sign him up by all means.

    Jesus, PL experience, technique, work rate, finishing at a price that appears value £40-45m and who has worked with Arteta happily already ticks a load of boxes! I’d be delighted if we sign him.

  96. Bob N16

    Un, not surehow old you are but I also have a soft spot for the AC Milan 88-94 teams – Van Basten, Rijkaard, Gullit, Maldini, Baresi, Costacurta, Rossi etc were wonderful to watch as well.

  97. Mulerise14

    Rabiot you say Rap……has he finally grown up? not tied to Momma’s apron again? Tets spent a lot of his braincells in getting short of shady characters, he is not going to buy one for company now, not likely……I like this team..nah I love this team… don’t want any primadonna to disturb the silent chemistry brewing…. let get in Martinez, Viera , Gabriel J( though I prefer that Salamanca guy)and possibly Tielemans….then we gonna explode this season

  98. Naija+soccer

    Wicked willy

    Or even Cazorla and Cesc. Xavi and Iniesta were preferred over them but you wouldn’t call them ‘poor relations’.

    It’s whether a player got it or not and Fabio looks like he got it. Only 22 years old too I love it.

  99. Wicked Willy

    That Milan side was the one that really turned me onto the Beautiful Game. I was a committed Arsenal fan, but that team totally took my breath away, and Van Basten was next level. I can’t even begin to imagine how good he would have been if his ankles had held up. When Martinelli made his debut in the League Cup I thought I was seeing the Second Coming of Marco, but alas, I’ve had to revise my hopes somewhat!

    Baresi remains to this day my favourite ever Centre Back. He was so head and shoulders above everyone else it was sick!

    Speaking of which, a heartfelt nod to Niccolo Galli, who everyone said would be the next Baresi. I think the whole trajectory of our post Invincibles history would have been completely different had he been at the heart of our defence. RIP Nic.

  100. Mulerise14

    Wicked Willy surely one would be on a pin to choose between Xavi and Iniesta….. what I know is,am already in love with this young Viera….16assists while playing 27 games is surely top drawer. Vintinho is good so is our boy…..if we’d gotten in vintinho,I betcha someone would be brandishing Viera’s video, saying he is a better buy.
    I won’t celebrate the transfers yet….let Edu earn his stripes and I will surely pay for all the barbecues he can hold…..I sure like the coincise planning behind our transfers

  101. andy1886

    AFC Members can leave a voice message for Eddie following his new contract. Let’s hope that Pierre doesn’t leave anything too X-rated and embarrass the lad!

  102. Useroz

    Midfield not quite conplete without some height that could win us some air duels.

    Similarly, no much height in the striker department so who would meet Fabio’s crosses that look pretty good in YT clips?

  103. Double Double

    Un, I agree those teams weren’t vertically challenged, but the later ones would need a ladder for the higher apples so to speak.
    WW, have to agree with Bob I always thought Iniesta was the one. Kante and Drinkwater!

  104. Wicked Willy


    Really? That is a staggering fact. Anyone saying Lisandro is too short can put that in their pipe and smoke it then!

  105. Bob N16

    WW, not saying that Martinez has the ability of Baresi but I would match him up with a tall CB- Saliba and having TT at RB gives us enough height for set pieces. White and Martinez would be a ‘ no’ from me.

    The way Martinez can hit long balls would compensate for one of Xhaka’s strengths if he were to leave.! Having said that if I was a betting man I’d suggest that he’d play more often at LB. Much as I like a fit KT, how likely is it that he’s fit for 3/4 of our matches?

  106. Jonko

    Eddie getting 14 is perhaps the most embarrassing event in the clubs history. And given our history, that’s saying something. Absolutely digrace. Anyone who thinks this guy is talented clearly should stop watching football. Just shows the level that the club has dropped too. Even the so the called fans are under this mediocre spell. Unfuckingbelievable.

  107. Double Double

    WW haha it was tongue in cheek, but if you’re happy for Kanté as Iniesta need I say more.
    I read somewhere Xhaka maybe caught up in a betting scam……., s o you never know we might be losing him

  108. Bob N16

    Spanish Dave and Jonko – are you seriously that bothered that Eddie has got the No14 shirt? We’re not in USA – we don’t retire shirts. I’d like to think Eddie will be inspired to follow an undoubted hero of his. On the shoulders of giants and all that.

    If you think it’s somehow disrespectful I think you’d be in the minority. It’ll be Nketiah on his shirt not Henry after all. Personally I think Nketiah made serious progress last year and if that trajectory continues he’ll be a top player.

    ‘ Most embarrassing event in the club’s history’. – embarrassing hyperbole I’d say.

  109. Sotongunner

    Bob N16 agreed re nketiah. dont know all why the bother.
    its not like Henry showed deference reapect when he buggered off to Barca. As for nketiah good luck to the kid. he showed whats he made of at the end of the season doing what he was meant to eg score goals.

  110. Jonko

    “Personally I think Nketiah made serious progress last year and if that trajectory continues he’ll be a top player.”

    That right there is the problem. Arsenals fans and club have gone soft and resigned to mediocrity. A few good games is considered “serious” progress which is enough to warrant a life changing contract. But only life changing for the player, not the club.

    I seriously want to ask the Eddie supporters – What is that inspires you about his game?

    His touches are poor
    His dribbling is bang mediocre
    He can’t score headers
    No agression
    Average at link up play
    Mostly scored jammy scrappy goals

    When I see Odegaard I feel inspired. When I see saka and Martinelly I feel inspired. But this guy is the type of player you see and are hoping and praying he doesnt screw up the flow or make a mistake.

    Unless Arsenal.sign two strikers, the next season will be very similar to the last one. Bang average.