ADDING STEROIDS TO THE PROCESS (LONG READ)

by .

So…

Do Technical Directors take the weekend off?

Or do the ITKs go to Church and hit up family time?

‘Honey, I know the rules, no tweeting transfer gossip on the lords day’

It’s been quiet… but, if you want RAW conspiracy, how about Manchester City posting a goodbye video for Gabi J?

OH MY WORD HE’S COMING TO ARSENAL!

Listen, I wanted a tall boy, but you cannot argue that this is a blockbuster move for Arsenal.

The player is a winner, he’s powerful, he’s aggressive, he has a big fat CHIP on his shoulder, he’s coming to Arsenal to help us find the next level.

If we’d had him as our striker last season with Eddie, we’d have finished with 79 points. It’s that simple.

I love that Arteta is attacking the brief this summer, I love that Josh K is leaning into the progress with investment, and I am SHOOK that we seem to be spending so much money.

Remember, it’s the selling club that leaks the fee, so here’s my estimate on outlay if it all comes off.

  • Jesus: £40m
  • Vieira: £30m
  • Lisandro: £35m
  • Tielemans: £25m
  • Raphinha: £50m

That’s £180m.

I suspect we’re going to try and recoup at least £80m. Here are the top candidates.

  • Holding: £18m
  • Xhaka: £15m
  • Torreira: £15m
  • Ballard: £5m
  • Bernd: £12m
  • Ains: £5m
  • Nico: £15m
  • Pablo: £5m
  • Nelson: £2m
  • Hector: £8m

That’s £100m

If we exit this window with a net spend of £100m, we’ll be in great shape.

In the space of 2.5 years, we’ll have exited majority of the dregs of Wenger and Emery. We’ll have no massive financial weights sitting in the squad doing nothing. The squad will have a beautiful balance. The project will be ready to hit the ground running, and say it quietly, prepare to attack the league to make a run for the title in 2 seasons’ time.

… and to REALLY drive home how exceptional this rebuild is looking. Our 30-player squad will have an average age of 22.5. Our first-team squad of 24, as it stands, will likely have an average age of 23.5!

What does that mean?

3.5 seasons of time to move the average age of the squad to where title winners Manchester City are.

The average age of Liverpool’s starting 11 was around 29 last season.

Let’s talk about the opportunities opening up on Merseyside.

Their two best players are/were:

Sadio Mane: 23g | 5a

Mo Salah: 31 g | 16a

Combined 54g | 21a

Those two players alone were involved in 14 more goals combined than Arsenal scored in the entire Premier League season. Sadio Mane has exited the building. Mo Salah isn’t going to get the £400k a week deal he seeks, they will probably sell him. It is going to be VERY difficult to replace that level of end product, regardless of how good Liverpool are at transfers. It’ll be tough for them not to dip. Also, their generational defender VVD is 31 in two weeks, last time he picked up an injury, Liverpool dropped 30 points. There is an opening coming, it might not land next season, but it’s coming there.

Chelsea sold as a distressed asset. Their new owner Todd B has annointed himself Technical Director with ZERO experience. Marina G has exited the building. David Ornstein thinks CFC are going to move for CR7. That is not good news.

Manchester United kicked out Ralf R. They have a manager that has never worked in the Premier League. Their summer rebuild has stalled and when it starts up, it’ll be panic stations.

Back to Arsenal. How good does it feel to have done the hard part of the rebuild? How good does it feel to have stability, vision, and strategy that is being well-executed?

We’re building a title-chasing team. It won’t be ready to do that next season but I expect it will be in 2 seasons’ time.

It’ll be difficult though.

Arsenal will spend. But so will Newcastle, United, Chelsea, City, Spurs, and Liverpool. There are no guarantees. Which is why I’d like to put all the folk saying ‘NO EXCUSES NEXT SEASON’ in the bin.

Like, mate, do you think Arsenal is run on excuses? Is your idea of football so immature that you can’t understand the difference between an excuse and a process?

If someone tells you a house will take 2 years to build, do you head to the site at the end of year one and say, ‘guys, the house isn’t here, NO MORE EXCUSES.’ You don’t, because you’d get a slap from a man with coarse hands.

If you think Arsenal are letting Arteta do his thing because he has good excuses, you don’t get the football space.

He’s lighting up our summer because financial backing is a reward for a job well done.

This isn’t the same as Unai Emery finishing 5th, if you think it is, you need to rewatch where we were under him.

Arsenal are spending £180m on players this summer because:

  • Arteta took the youngest team in the league to 22 wins, more than the European Champions
  • We banked 69 points, enough for top 4 the last two seasons
  • The team generated the 4th most shots
  • The team generated the 4th most shots on target
  • The team basically did all of this without a goalscoring striker
  • Arteta has the fans in the ground BOUNCING for the first time in Emirate history. The mood around the club hasn’t been this good since peak-Wenger years
  • The mission last season was to get back into Europe.

Arteta didn’t exit the season needing excuses.

We exited the season wounded because the team confounded expectations and made an argument they were a top 4 team.

Arsenal don’t have excuses, they have areas of improvement to address:

Squad rotation: Arteta needs to listen to his fitness folk and bring more players into the mixer next season.

How we solve:

  • Arteta will be more experienced next year and learn from the pain of what happened with Partey, Tierney, and Tomi
  • The club might look to the dark arts of Liverpool and be more aggressive about protecting the club from international friendlies
  • Arsenal are adding more weight to the squad. We’re not buying filler, we’re buying KILLER (you like that). Bukayo is easier to rest if you have Raphinha. Tierney can be benched for Lisandro. Odegaard can be rested for Vieira.

End Product: Arsenal struggled with end product. Be that the killer pass or the killer strike.

How we solve:

  • We’re adding a Premier League-proven talent to our striker force
  • We tied down one of the sharpest young strikers in the league, giving Eddie a new deal
  • We’re adding goals and assists in attack, tying down Vieira and chasing Raphinha HARD

Weak links at fullback: Both Tomi and KT are injury prone, cover has been weak

  • We’re signing a player to compete with Kieran Tierney who has showed poor fitness over the past 3 seasons
  • We have more options at right-back with Ben White and William Saliba. There might also be an option for Ainsley to come back in an be cover

Bravery under pressure: Arsenal fell to pieces in some crucial games where wins would have taken us to the promised land

  • I don’t want to hear ‘chokers’ when it comes to young players. These kids will learn from their experiences and have more tools to pick from when pressure time comes next season. There aren’t many players born to deal with pressure, it’s a learned experience, don’t buy into anyone that tells you otherwise.
  • We’re adding monster characters to the dressing room that will set the tone for the dressing room mood. Raphinha, Jesus, and Vieira all have winning mentality and experience. Tielemans and Lisandro have games built on bravery.

None of the above counts for excuses unless you are of a childish disposition or you’ve never built something in the real world.

Too many people that write about football don’t understand that sport is a process, there are ups and downs, progress is not linnear. People don’t understand that spending money does not guarantee anything. Just look at Chelsea and how they stagnated under Thomas Tuchel last season. Look at United who spent money on pure winnertivity, only to drop right out of the mixer. Look at how well Leicester have done a season after Arsenal fans said they were a better place to ply your trade than Arsenal: they found mid-table mediocrity. All of those clubs had managers Arsenal fans banged the table for, all of them have struggled.

Arsenal has one of the best projects in Europe. We have owners that are now certified winners. We have investment that looks very, very promising. There is momentum and we can all feel it.

If you are sitting there, looking at this summer thinking… if Arteta doesn’t get to X position, we should sack him. Then you are not doing football right. I worry that there are kids that think shouting STANDARDS into the ether means they have them. That behaving like that is progressive. That not having a better idea but shitting on one that is working means you are a cut above. But… who really gives a shit, because the ground is rocking and the folk that feed off of rage are not making much money off the algorithm these days.

Fuck the bores. Let’s crack on and enjoy what is set to be a blockbuster week and potentially the best transfer window of the last 20 years. Arsenal are MASSIVE.

Podcast coming later my darlings.

9pm NEW YORK time
8pm MIDWEST TIME

6pm LA time

309 Responses to “ADDING STEROIDS TO THE PROCESS (LONG READ)”

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  1. Rich

    WW

    In fairness I’ve had a good record of predicting how our seasons will go over the last 4 seasons, i predicted 5th- 6th in 2018/19, and didn’t think 5th and a Europa League final was the disaster some made it out to be.

    I predicted the downturn of our squad in 2019/20, and was on the opposite side of the fence to Pedro and many others,

    I predicted that sacked Emery would solve little in the immediate to medium term, as our problems ran much deeper.

    I predicted we’d struggle for goals + creativity in 2020/21, and would likely struggle again, (we went into the season with 8 centre backs, but no fit or registered attacking midfielders)

    I predicted 69-74 points + 5th, spitting distance of 4th, after our first 3 games last season, and the upturn of our squad, and pretty much everyone laughed at me.

    Obviously we’ve got to see if we get these deals over the line first, and see how our competitors evolve their squads.

    But if we get Jesus, Raphinha, Tielemans, a quality left back, and secure our Crown Jewels

    I’d fully expect to see a significant upturn in results + performance.

    £400 + million in 2.5 years, alongside time + patience to develop a young team, and put a foundation together, that’s a lot of backing….

    The club was right to ride out the storms and stick to the plan, but at some point we need to see results, and if we do spent £200 million, that time will be next season

    If £150-£165 million on 3 new forwards, as well as 2.5 seasons to develop the young talent on our books, doesn’t produce a 50% uptick in the goal column…..

    Then heads should rightly role, and I’m not talking the lunatic overreactions we see from the usual bedwetters after a bad result, but across the season there needs to be significant visual progress, certainly CL football, a piece of silverware, more than a 6 point increase, and more than a 10-15 goal increase

  2. Pierre

    Rich
    “In fairness I’ve had a good record of predicting how our seasons will go over the last 4 seasons, ”

    So it’s your fault we have been so shit, how about predicting something more positive .

  3. Tom

    Jesus’ motivation behind choosing Arsenal in no particular order:
    Money, Arteta, assurance of being top dog.

    Not sure how important his motives are because he’s a professional and he’ll give his best for the club, but if making believe the love for the project was what swayed him is what one needs in order to sleep at night, then why not.

  4. Mr Serge

    RichJune 27, 2022 17:52:44
    WWIn fairness I’ve had a good record of predicting how our seasons will go over the last 4 seasons, i predicted 5th- 6th in 2018/19, and didn’t think 5th and a Europa League final was the disaster some made it out to be.I predicted the downturn of our squad in 2019/20, and was on the opposite side of the fence to Pedro and many others,I predicted that sacked Emery would solve little in the immediate to medium term, as our problems ran much deeper.I predicted we’d struggle for goals + creativity in 2020/21, and would likely struggle again, (we went into the season with 8 centre backs, but no fit or registered attacking midfielders)I predicted 69-74 points + 5th, spitting distance of 4th, after our first 3 games last season, and the upturn of our squad, and pretty much everyone laughed at me.Obviously we’ve got to see if we get these deals over the line first, and see how our competitors evolve their squads.But if we get Jesus, Raphinha, Tielemans, a quality left back, and secure our Crown JewelsI’d fully expect to see a significant upturn in results + performance.£400 + million in 2.5 years, alongside time + patience to develop a young team, and put a foundation together, that’s a lot of backing….The club was right to ride out the storms and stick to the plan, but at some point we need to see results, and if we do spent £200 million, that time will be next seasonIf £150-£165 million on 3 new forwards, as well as 2.5 seasons to develop the young talent on our books, doesn’t produce a 50% uptick in the goal column…..Then heads should rightly role, and I’m not talking the lunatic overreactions we see from the usual bedwetters after a bad result, but across the season there needs to be significant visual progress, certainly CL football, a piece of silverware, more than a 6 point increase, and more than a 10-15 goal increase

    alright nostradamus

  5. Un

    Another great post Rich. I’m enjoying the discussion with wicked Willy
    I can see both sides of the argument and both are fair but it comes down to personal choice/belief and it is my belief that with the money we are spending there must be an improvement in line with what Rich has laid out
    Yea the squad is young but it is hugely talented and for me, on paper is the 3rd best in the league right now, never mind if we add Raphinha, lisandro and tielemans
    We should have finished 4th/3rd last season. We had the players available to do so and we shot ourselves in the foot through squad management
    Again this can be chalked off to inexperienced players and staff but this season there will be no such allowances made unless we win the Europa while playing a brand of football more in line with the great teams of the recent past.
    For me it’s not just about results. It’s about arsenal DNAz that matters. If Arteta has us clunking to the line Mourinho style, eschewing flair and playing pragmatic football to achieve results now then results must be delivered. I’d be willing to cut more slack if we saw some of that’s slick exciting football we were told is coming as it means we are heading in the right direction but we’ve fallen short while playing boring stuff.
    Again, that’s something many of us are willing to accept this season but next season is crunch time
    We have to judge Arteta as we did emery now. It’s sink or swim time.

  6. Terence

    The articles on here are just some form of self confirmation and not realism. Last season we blew a CL place because we didn’t have the quality and experience when it counted. Also we lacked bottle. This summer as in the previous we are buying potential not talent. We cannot attract established talent. Jesus is an exception in that he’s older but I don’t think he’s the striker we need. He will not get us 20 goals a season. At the end of the day we will never progress with Xhaka in the side and this is why I cannot respect a manager who doesn’t see replacing Xhaka is an absolute priority. Losing out on Bisouma was criminal.