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Let’s talk about left-backs today because we’re at the phase of the transfer window when Arsenal fans start to get flustered about fees and who we’re buying.

David Ornstein said Arsenal is going to the mat with Manchester United over the signing of Ajax defender Lisandro Martinez. The fee is around £40m, the player likes both clubs, and the decision is up in the air. I think most of us reckon he’s going to take the United move, but who knows, he might fancy a more adventurous/pivotal/trendy position in the Arteta system as a left-back that builds play.

The fee is big. Arteta loves defenders that have specialist moves. Lisandro is one of them.

‘BUT HE’S NOT A PRIORITY’ is something I keep reading.

Firstly, as humans, we derive much pleasure from the idea that things happen in order. It’s easier on our primitive brains to imagine the thing we see as most important is the thing that is addressed first. We like dinner served in order, no ice cream as a starter, sustenance before a sugar coma. The milk goes into the cup after the hot water has been served when making a tea unless you are a psycho. No one puts a shirt on before their socks. Simple things.

I guess from an evolutionary perspective, when we were hanging out in caves, prioritizing things like food and fresh water over a new cave couch were probably beneficial to our survival. We might not worry about catching food now, and plenty of folk will buy a new DFS couch over more important things, but our desire for order is still the same: but now, we layer that quirk over football transfers.

This is wrong.

The order of transfers doesn’t matter. Arsenal will be working on lots of deals, with lots of clubs, all at the same time. If you worked in order, you would miss out on players, and it would be incredibly inefficient. Teams of people work on these things. Teams are collections of people built to withstand the burden of multiple tasks. A left-back moving up the queue doesn’t mean we’re ignoring other positions.

There are people that don’t think we need a left-back at that price, again, I would disagree. Kieran Tierney is a monster player, we love him, his attitude, his character, and his Tesco bag for holding training gear.

… but, we need to think in a more ruthless manner because we have struggled at left-back over the last 3 seasons.

Firstly, the numbers. The last 4 seasons (one from Celtic) have not been good for Kieran Tierney in the league. He has only played 48.5% of the league minutes available. His best haul was his second season at Arsenal where he clocked 2300 minutes. Joao Cancelo clocked 3200 EPL minutes last season in the league, 4200 overall. Trent managed 2800 last season, 4200 overall. KTs best minutes total over the last 4 seasons has been 2900 in 20/21.

What makes his injury issues even more problematic is that in 2 of his 3 seasons, there has been more than one breakdown a season. Take last season, he missed the first batch of games, which went to Nuno Tavares. Came back for a chunk, imposed himself on the style again, made himself important, then we lost him on international duty. Why is this important? Because our back-up players haven’t been ready to go because they’re either not at the level (Kola) or too young (Nuno). When KT breaks, so does the team, has tended to be the pattern.

If you want to be like the best two teams in the league, you have to find full-back solutions that can hit 3800+ minutes. Trent 4200, Robertson 4000, Cancelo 4600, even Kyle Walker at 32 is delivering 2700 minutes. 4 seasons’ worth of data would suggest it’s going to be unlikely that Kieran will be that player.

Arsenal has a history of not making moves when it’s clear there are weaknesses in players. I remember Arsenal waiting year after year for Abou Diaby to recover so he could replace Patrick Vieira. It never happened. We suffered for it.

The need is clear, you have to have a left-back at Arsenal that can manage more than 48% of the Premier League minutes. Would Arsenal have found an extra 3 points if we’d had Kieran T available for those 51.5% of the minutes? Absolutely.

… but, key with this window is that we are making the mini-crisis work for us. The question going around at Arsenal will surely be: ‘Do we need to find a like-for-like backup, or could we do something more innovative?’

Arsenal is doing the latter. Don’t listen to those that think a setpiece obsessive manager is signing a 5ft9 centre-back, no, Martinez is a left-back option for Arsenal. What is the motive? We’re a little one-dimensional with Kieran Tierney at left-back. We have a power move where we catch him on the overlap and the delivery isn’t always to level we need. Lisandro Martinez is a full-back more in the shape of Joao Cancelo. He’s a build-up player. Signing him will mean Xhaka doesn’t need to drop into a deeper position to build the play. It means we have a player that can invert, join the midfield, and contribute to our attacking play. It means we have someone that can find long accurate balls to release our pacy frontline. He’s also a monster in the air, which adds an additional shield of cover if the opposition counter with hoofs over the top. If your fullback can step into midfield, you can blitz with your forwards.

Now, is this move a guaranteed win? Absolutely not. There’s a huge difference between the Premier League and the Dutch one. There are a lot of examples of players that looked the real deal, only for them to land in our league, and totally tank. Just look at Donny, he looked like Ramsey on steroids, but he’s been dreadful. It ain’t the system, it’s the reality that it’s hard to adapt here.

The price is high because there aren’t many defenders that can do what Martinez does. If Arsenal are moving for him, with the money they have at the ready, it’s because he’s been heavily scouted and analyzed and the club think he’s a gem. There are too many people that spill their views into the ether when they don’t watch anything bar youtube clips. Unless you have an Ajax avatar in your bio, or you’ve been talking about Dutch football consistently, I can’t listen to your views on the player.

Let’s see where the deal goes, if we don’t get him, there will be other targets, and if one of them looks like Zinchenko, I’m not going to be sad, because we know he can do it in the Premier League.

Right, that’s all I have, I’ll see you in the comments.

Later on today, we’ll be rolling with a Sunday Post-Season special with a special guest appearance from Sophie over at the excellent Highbury Squad Youtube Channel. Subscribe to the channel below, click the little bell, and tune in, it’ll be a cracker!

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I dunno if it’s true but I read utd are close to signing some LB from Feyenoord

If that’s the case it means they’re not after Martinez anymore? Or they see Martinez as a CB?

Not sure how much substance there is to this but if it’s true and if arsenal are serious about Martinez it would leave the door open


I have a feeling we are going to get some very close scrutiny of Jesus and perhaps criticism from the off from certain posters because of Eddie N.

Pierre lol and maybe Dissenter as well.


Eddie N will get games.


If we sign a quality Cm and LB I will be *officially* hyped for next season. We’d have a really good CL quality team.

If we sign a LB and no CM I’ll be excited but but still a bit disappointed

If we sign a LB and a winger I’ll be disappointed about the CM but the hype of being one player away from having an amazing team would be genuinely great

Come on arsenal. Make it happen. Next season could be the one we’ve been waiting for for ages


I think Eddie said he was promised games as part of his contract renewal.

I desperately hope he gets plenty as I’m in the Eddie fan club.

But ofc Jesus is going to be first choice


Apparently arsenal not interested in signingGnabry but are looking at Dybala on a free
A few years ago I’d have gone crazy for Dybala
Still very talented and obviously cost effective
I think it makes sense if we are looking to bring in Tielemans and Lisandro


Hopefully, everyone doing wing permutations for Jesus can rest now.


Ultimately you need good players to be successful, and our team or squad hasn’t been at the very top level for a long time now. When we were one of the best teams on the planet, back in the late 90s to 2005 We had Henry, one of the 3 best players on the planet. Vieira, one of the top 5 central midfielders on the planet. Ashley Cole, the league’s best left back, and one of the best left backs on the planet. Sol Campbell, world class centre back, signed just as he was entering his prime. Bergkamp, one of… Read more »


China. Man utd see Martinez as CB. They have holes to fill there. Bailly, Jones and the swede are up for sale. Malacia is coming to provide competition for Shaw.


Some Arsenal fans be like “Back in my days supporting Arsenal was never about winning titles as we had won 1 title from 1954 to 1988. Younger fans are spoiled brats, you don’t know what it is to be a real fan.”


Reports we’ve put in a £47 million bid for Sergej Milinkovic-Savic from Lazio

I’m not familiar with the player, but I know he’s a favourite of a few on here


SMS would be a stunning signing.


So Leeds are changing RW Raphinha with LW Luís Sinisterra, one of the highest rated players, if not the highest rated player, in Eredivisie. Interesting to see if we’re missing a trick by not going for him.


And it is official….. Gabriel J has joined our growing list of Gabriellinoes …….we now have two strikers that love to answer the call to goal…😎


Haha Johnny, I did see that actually. My bad


Reports we’re trying to send Torreira to Lazio at the same time.


Correction, he’s probably not the highest rated offensive* player with the likes of Gakpo and Antony in the league but he’s thereabouts.

I’ll be happy when I see Fabio Vieira in action instead of wearing a protective boot just couple of days ago.



Reports we’ve put in a £47 million bid for Sergej Milinkovic-Savic from LazioI’m not familiar with the player, but I know he’s a favourite of a few on here

Was only reading about him an hour ago seems that he wants out and Sari is suggesting a swap with Chelsea with two players going the other way.

He is a decent player and at 6’3” can play any position accords midfield

Freddie Ljungberg

SMS would be a great signing. Would much rather we spent the Raphinha money on him than on a winger. Finally bye bye Xhaka.

Just an Italian paper linking us so far though so not holding my breath.

Gunner 14

What a great signing Sergej Milinkovic Savic would be a real midfielder right there


I don’t mind the time it took to announce Jesus, kinda happy they’ve taken the hype out of the situation. We don’t need a Sanchez on a piano situation, why put unnecessary pressure on yourself?

I’m still buzzing though, he’s on a different level to what we’ve had to endure over the last 5 year’s or so.

“I’M A 9!” mm…💥🔫


I like Christian Eriksen as a person and I think he is a great footballer but his taste in football clubs is absolutely atrocious.


Eriksen won a title with Inter although he was just a squad player. Ten Hag’s revolution firmly in motion.

Freddie Ljungberg

If we can get SMS and Grimaldo for around 60m it’s money well spent and all our must fix positions sorted. Anything above that is just a bonus imo.

Should ensure CL and we can go hard for 1 or 2 top players next summer to complete the squad.

A Partey + SMS CM pairing has all the potential to be pretty spectacular.


Fantastic to see we have addressed the CF position, now lets kick on and start filling out this team. Gabriel Jesus is a marquee signing no doubt. A premiership proven player in his prime years, hungry for the challenge, and get this, actually wants to play for The Arsenal. Tremendous coup Edu, well done. He’s a versatile forward but as he has said in his interview, he is our number 9 and has come to score goals. His mobility will see him out wide on occasions, but his job is to be in the box. Tim Vicary and the like… Read more »



“Tim Vicary and the like that keep questioning why we are going for a wide player now need to shut up and take note.”

Why do folks take the word of someone like him as the gospel.

Just because he is/was based in Brazil or a so-called “expert” on Brazilian football?

His view on Jesus was just his opinion.

And as we see opinions can be correct or wrong.

Anyone’s opinion.

Even Mr Vickery.

Gunner 14

Totally agree Freddie a Thomas Partey+ Savic pairing would be super spectacular,throw in a LB and a winger and we could easily finish 3rd


Yes very true Ishola, of course he has credentials but the last few weeks every time they’ve called on his opinion(TalkSport, The Athletic for example), he’s acted confused at the idea of G.Jesus playing up front. He doesn’t owe anything to the Arsenal fan base and yes is entitled to his opinion, but the bafflement has all been a bit much for me.

colonel mustard

Tierney has to put Arsenal before Scotland this season. That idiotic decision to plat x2 games when injured was very costly to him and us. Management and medical team need to sit him down and explain this plainly.


Col Mustard

Tierney has to put Arsenal before Scotland this season. That idiotic decision to plat x2 games when injured was very costly to him and us. Management and medical team need to sit him down and explain this plainly.

Alas if Scotland want him then there is nothing the club or the player can do other than to play for them.


Savic is worse than Xhaka…Arsenal should stay clear


“Savic is worse than Xhaka…Arsenal should stay clear”

Not a chance.

He is actually a cohesive player for Lazio unlike Xhaka at Arsenal.

Don’t know how good he is off the ball though but worse?

Hard to believe.


We’re being trolled again regarding Xhaka anyway.

A Serb replacing an Albanian……………Swiss.

We know the history there don’t we.

Naughty troll that started this rumour.


Eriksen (Pierre) going to Manure, Spence (Samesong) to Spuds, only one left of some of the posters favorites going to a rival is Tielemans (Habesha). Manure backup of Frenkie de Jong maybe?

Habesha Gooner

Savic is a truly top player. If it is around 50 mil I can be on board with that. It is better than spending that amount of money on Raphinha to be honest.

Tielemans is still value at 30 mil than Savic at 50. But we will be serious team with either. We could potentially have the best CM pairing and the best defenders on paper if we get Sav8c and someone like Grimaldo.

But I doubt the Savic rumors are true.

Gunner 14

Who is this Jonko fella thinking Xhaka is better than Savic🤣 Pedro should ban him for saying this


So if we sign Martinez who is going to be a our starting LB, we aren’t paying $40M to sit him on the bench as backup


Downundergunner, Apparently we were about to do that with both Raphinha and Lisandro. Arteta clearly think we’re at that stage where our starting positions are in pretty good shape that he’s spending money for backup players to raise the competition. It’s not bad in general but has he taken a look at our CM? The rest of the midfielders look like wet fart compared to Partey’s class. But other than CM our team does look good as far as starting 11 is concerned. I just hope the plan of the huge investment we’ve been going for in a winger and… Read more »


Partey, Odegaard, Fabio could work with the help of our mobile CBs, Saliba included this season, and full backs with good defensive education like Tomiyasu and Lisandro. If we’re following Pepball then Partey would be Rodri in their system and he has KDB plus either Bernardo or Gunda. Partey would do very well with KDB and Gunda who are both tough players by default and know how to take care of themselves and how to be hard on the tackle. Partey with Odegaard and Fabio.. I’m not sure that either of Ode and Fabio has the defensive abilities of KDB… Read more »


Not sure about that Rap, Partey’s the only ball winner there and from a defensive perspective it would leave him with an awful lot of work to do.


Yeah andy especially seeing how Fabio looks like a teen girl with an eating disorder. Google has him at 58 kg, 128 lb…


raptora, not convinced either. KDB and Gundogan have also the ability to drive forward with the ball at their feet. Ødegaard is more a passer of the ball and not as incisive as KDB. I have seen enough of Fabio to pass judgement on his ability avoid pressure and still go forward. But unless he is as good as Cazorla was, putting pressure on those could completely blunt our attack. We would end up with a triangle of recycling the ball backward with the occasional brilliant pass. If as expected (no break from the world cup) Partey has his bi… Read more »


Meant. I have NOT seen enough of Fabio.


United going for the mid of de Jong, Eriksen, and Fernandes showing pretty much how ridiculous the statement ten Hag would need six years to make them competitive again was.

If we are competing for players with them, then we better be prepared to meet the selling club’s valuation, or just forget about it and move on to the next option down the line.


Ornstein reckons Chelsea are intrigued by signing Ronaldo, Tuchel apparently admires Ronaldo, but not sure if he’d approve of the transfer

Would be interesting if it happened for many different reasons.

I’d see it as a plus for United, and a crazy move by Chelsea….


Fabio looks very clean with the ball and pacier than Odegaard. It’s just that his final third quality looks so good that it’ll be a waste if he’s moved to a CM position. But we did that with Cazorla, Bernardo is similar as well. But Fabio should be the one with more freedom to attack if there was a midfield three of Partey, Odegaard and Fabio. If Odegaard drops slightly back to a LCM or RCM maybe we’ll have better use of his skills as he is pretty allergic to going inside the box, he is a safe passer and… Read more »


From my point of view Arsenal need to make one more major signing in central midfield to
rotate with Partey and Xhaka and a second string left back to replace Tavares.

What Arsenal should not do is over recruit in this transfer window, because that becomes
unsettling for the squad.

The other priority is to get Saka to sign a new contract.


Fabio Vieira has less than 3,000 minutes as a professional, I’d be surprised if he was a regular starter from the off.

Unless we have absences, I think he’ll be integrated in the cups, and used as an impact player from the bench to begin with.

I certainly think we’re about to see a shift to playing with 2 No8s though.

I’d be really surprised if we didn’t at least sign a left back, and someone for that left sided No8 role,


I like this Frenkie de Jong fella. He wants to stay in Barca at all costs but he’s not willing to renegotiate his obscene £285k salary per reports. Barca want to sell him so he could get a very similar salary at Manure, but he doesn’t want to leave. What is the solution?!?!

NJ Gooner

If signed, Martinez might well start in a double pivot alongside Partey, and serve as a back-up for KT. That would certainly curtail the nightmares I experience whenever KT is injured or Xhaka tries to tackle someone! I think he would be the most important signing of the summer because, like Partey, he is press-resistant. It would release the forwards from having to crowd back into midfield just to get the ball but also allow them to press without worrying that a ball over the top will expose Xhaka’s lack of pace. So, we’d benefit at both ends of the… Read more »

Positive pete

With Tom on that one “ if up against Manure,we’d better be prepared to meet the selling clubs valuation” .Spot on.aid add the caveat that if the valuation isn’t “ crazy” then why not.Forces the selling clubs hand & Manures.


Rap Contracts work both ways, why should he agree to a huge pay-cut? He’s contracted at Barca until 2026, they offered him that contract in a freewill exchange, they have to honour it, in the same way he’d have to honour it, if he wanted out, and they didn’t want to sell. He’s one of my favourite non Arsenal players, he’s a real joy to watch, unfortunately his wages wouldn’t be realistic for us We could likely afford them, but it would ruin our wage structure, Saka+ Odegaard would rightly demand parity, as would Martinelli + Smith Rowe in 12-24… Read more »


I know that Savic is crazy good at times in the serie A. But I would still much rather Tielemans. He’s premier League ready and honestly, from what I have seen from SMS, no much difference. They are as good as each other


Middle 3 of Partey sitting and double 8 of Tielemans and Ode feels me with hope.


Raptora Interesting that you make reference to the time period between 1954-1988 – (just another of those ‘lost years’ episodes the club have inflicted on themselves time after time), but what is equally important is the club Arsenal were between 1929-1939, and the one that emerged after the war, that extends your historical reference. The version of Arsenal from 1946 is what we have today. After the war, it’s like our dominance of the previous decade was a distant memory, and the drivers and innovators of that unparalleled success were nowhere to be seen, for Arsenal, ambition was replaced by… Read more »


Still not convinced with Partey “sitting”

I think he needs a more solid all round midfielder alongside him if Odegaard is also in the equation.

Tielemans for Odegaard wouldn’t bother me too much.

Mr Serge

JonnygunnerJuly 4, 2022 09:23:58
Mr SergeJuly 4, 2022 09:14:58
Mr SergeJuly 3, 2022 23:23:33
Jesus to be announced tomorrowAs I said yesterday Rich how come you never predicted this ? 😜Maybe because he’s got a life mate….

Not sure how I offended you but it’s a running joke on here regarding Rich ,but you seem to always comment t negatively towards my posts move on and don’t comment on what I say anymore you waster


Hi Herb, nice comments as usual and yes both Man Utd and Liverpool have shown great ambition since 1946, they’ve both been relegated in that time as well.

For me the biggest difference between the three biggest English clubs is their respective records in Europe and that not easy to explain is it?
I mean under early Wenger we had amazing teams with historically great players but did bugger all in european competition…