by .

Spice is in the air, my nose is starting to twitch, I may even sneeze… transfer Scoble level is moving up a level.

The Portuguese press is reporting that Arsenal is interesting is moving for left-back Grimaldo, who was ahead of Nuno Taveres when he was at Benfica. The fee is €7m, which would represent at a €42m saving on what we were being asked to pay for Lisandro Martinez.

There’s a great article on the player here.

As touched upon previously Grimaldo has an excellent appreciation of space and how best to access the space in the attacking phase to bypass the defensive block.

This also extends to an ability to accurately play the diagonal pass across the field for his opposing fullback or winger if they have been left isolated against an opposition defender.

Having the ability to run with the ball, play short combination passes to advance up the near side of the pitch or switch the focus of the attack with a diagonal pass makes Grimaldo exceedingly difficult to play against.

I don’t know enough about the player to give you a deep run down, but it’s clear he has different attributes to Kieran Tierney. The player grew up in La Masia, he’s 26 years old so he’s experienced enough to deliver from day one, and he’s kind of an all-rounder left-back. He’s great in tight spaces, tactically astute, with a wide range of passes. He’s also a bit of a dead ball specialist.

This is where I kind of expected Arsenal to be with the back-up left-back, Lisandro Martinez was the dream, a super-specific specialist, but it looks like the deal was getting expensive, and we need to move on that position with urgency. This looks like a very solid plan B.

Also… Mikel Arteta sniffing around a Spaniard? A true rarity.

So let’s imagine these rumours are real, that puts additional funds back into the mixer. So… we’re once again being linked with a Brazilian. This time, it’s internet fan favorite, Lucas Paqueta. The fee is apparently £55m. He’s an 8, has all the flair you’d look for from a Brazilian, he’s a very Bang-Bang type of player. The journo that had the Gabi Jesus story is apparently behind this one, so who knows, it just seems like a lot of money when Youri Tielemans is there for £25m.

… but who knows. I said at the summer that there’s every chance that you could see an unexpected exit.

Player sales are going slow.

No movement for Hector, Bernd, Lucas T, Reiss, Ainsley, Runarsson… or any notable loans yet.

Ok, short one today, we’ll be back with a podcast at 9pm EST, so tune in!

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Jump to comment form ↓

  1. Positive pete

    Karim.Would be interested to hear your take on Paqueta & Arsenal suitability?Also could it be we’re after two CMs? The delay with Tielemans possibly a ploy by Arsenal to prevent a bidding war with Manure/ Newcastle & waiting to see if Leicester blink on the fee by leaving it late or by matching any bid?Hard to tell.
    On a brighter note hopefully a deal can be struck for The Grimster this wk as Benfica apparently training in England till Thursday.I’d expect some movement on this front.

  2. Ishola70

    “The point is to illustrate how highly regarded he is by our current coach and every single one has ever played for”

    He’s played for Basle and Moechengladbach.

    If Arteta highly regards him it should be irrelevant to you as well as myself.

    You have already admitted that you would like to see an upgrade on him.

    This is where your defence of him completely breaks down.

  3. Ishola70

    Xhaka as captain and our main midfielder going into this coming season?

    It’s got Europa League at best written all over it I’m afraid.

    Fans scream all pre-season for central midfielders but when the realisation starts sinking in that these central midfielders may not be arriving then it becomes the case that Xhaka is actually a good bet.

    It’s the hope that kills.

  4. Mr Serge

    For me flipping us off was worse than his brain farts and I don’t care if he had a great game here and there he threw our shirt on the ground told us to fuck off, he can do one

  5. raptora

    “This is where your defence of him completely breaks down.”

    And Pedro saying how Xhaka is the least of our problems.

    LCM, or whatever the position is that Xhaka played last season in, is currently absolutely our weakest starting position, that we still haven’t recruited in. And by a margin too.

    CF was garbo too but we got Jesus in. After that our LB and DM reserves are not of the required quality and we also have space for 1 more quality winger.

    But in an ideal starting lineup Xhaka’s position is absolutely the weakest link in our team by far. He cannot be qualified as “the least of our problems” when he is currently our worst starting lineup performer.

  6. Bob N16


    Do you not acknowledge Xhaka’s limitations as a player?
    Do you not accept that Arsenal could spend money on various, obtainable CBs that would improve our starting 11?

    Stating that he had several good games last season is simply stating the bare minimum requirement for a first team player. For every ‘outstanding’ game it would be easy to counter by saying he had a mare in at least as many games.

    More to the point he is too static a player, his lack of speed is easy to expose by opposition players and coaches.

    I haven’t an issue with him playing EL, League and FA Cups and sitting on the bench! I’m sure he can contribute ‘leadership words’ during PL games in the changing room as well as being able to point passionately from a sitting position! Thus we’d enjoy his strengths and avoid his weaknesses.

  7. Ishola70

    We have also heard in the last few days that Elneny is also a “good” player.

    Then it’s Xhaka is just fine.

    It’s only done to back every club decision whether it be good or bad.

  8. raptora

    Bruno G came and showed the type of quality we’ve been missing in CM for 6 years, got 4 MotM awards in 11 starts, Xhaka has 6 in 250 Arsenal games. Bruno G absolutely schooled us, how many times have we seen Xhaka take the game by the scruff of neck in a similar fashion? Isn’t that what leaders do? Tony Adams did it from CB position. Vieira absolutely immense leader took the responsibility on his shouders game in game out. Where is Xhaka in that company? Nowhere. It’s a joke.

  9. Mr Serge

    Xhaka can also be pressed like a ripe tomato his press resistance is zero and he has no recovery speed once he gets dispossessed rubbish player

  10. Ollie

    But yes, we should sign a CM as the highest priority. Not sure why Tielemans hasn’t been signed yet, are we squabbling over £5m? The later we leave it, the more likely Leicester are to dig in their heels as they won’t be able to find a replacement, in my opinion. Also, perhaps keeping Tielemans will be worth more than £25m to them.

    Even if it’s not him or SMS as has been stated a few times on here, surely the club are making moves on CM’s this summer. Would be gross negligence if not, regardless of your feelings on Xhaka.

  11. China1

    Un he was our best player and true difference maker in all of 2 matches. How many did he play? He was also poor in virtually every single match when the team was off colour (of which there were a lot)

    And now you’re giving him credit because the team was better this season than last? Right so we improved on 8th (an embarrassing position which he was also a part of, where was his leadership then?) and we’re going to pretend our improvement wasn’t down to us spending 150m on mostly good players and the ridding of several poor ones? Right.

    This is exactly what I mean about Stockholm syndrome. People will bend over backwards to find something that isn’t really there. It’s the emperors new clothes

  12. China1

    Being a good captain is not what you do a few times a season or on your best day. It’s what you do week in week out and is especially visible when the teams

    Nobody said Adams, cesc, Henry, RVP, Vieira etc were good captains because of a few games a season when they played well. They were *expected* to put the team on their back on a game by game basis whenever needed and the large majority of the time they did that.

    Did you ever hear one person say after a season that Cesc is good because of two great performances? Never. Because it was 30+ great performances.

    Why are we still apologizing for our players shortcomings I’ll never know

  13. Un

    Bob n16

    Yes I do
    Read back a little
    I’ve been quite up front that I want a high quality left 8 above all else in this team. How many more teams do I have to say this?
    I just don’t agree that xakha is a liabilty or has no leadership qualities
    Both are incorrect

  14. China1

    Well I run a team of 16 people but do go on.

    Also By the same logic you better not have an opinion on anything football related because safe to say you were not an elite player yourself. What gives you the right to comment on football eh?

  15. Un


    Didn’t see Gabriel stepping up in the second half of last season
    Shipped more goals than any other player in our squad and 2nd most in general league
    Was was he?
    Is xakha the only guy who needs t stand up and be accountable? Not saying Bruno G isn’t a better player. That’s not the discussion. He’s better than pretty much every midfielder in the league outside of city and Declan Rice

  16. Bob N16


    I appreciate you have said that you’d be happy if a LCM came in and with respect to our views, what you or I say about whether Xhaka should start many matches is not going to have too much of an influence on Arteta or Edu’s decision making!

    He has qualities but the package doesn’t add up to a CL player. An argument could be put forward that he is a manager’s favourite, Borussia M, three Arsenal managers and no doubt his Swiss club side al picked him relentlessly. That said and he is only one player in a team game, how many times has his team got into the CL?

    If we are ambitious as a club we need our best 15/16 players to be CL quality, he’s more 5-8th, Europa League level.

  17. China1

    But as well I speak from experience about leadership because I know what it’s like to be a lame duck leader like xhaka because I was once when I first took on this role.

    It was bigger than me and I didn’t have the knowledge, ability or experience to do a good job of it. My team suffered due to the uncertainty I offered, by the lack of genuine insight I brought, they had to literally work overtime almost daily to compensate for the mess that came with my disorganization. My team liked me because I was nice to them but there’s no way any of them could believe in me when we had fuck up after fuck up and I would have to stand before senior management and talk of how we’re learning our lessons or how it wasn’t really our fault or how team members had not pulled their weight. I put a good face on it though and senior management always took my side and believed in me when I didn’t necessarily deserve it

    Sound familiar? I was granit. I was literally granit.

    And it’s taken me 11 months in the role of struggling to overcome issues and learn from mistakes and grow into the role now to the extent I was nominated for an award this month. And it only happened because I stopped being a granit and started actually fixing my copious shortcomings and worked on adding more value and making life better for the team around me.

    Doing lots of pointing and arriving to training on time is not leadership. It’s that simple.

  18. Bob N16

    Gabriel had a poor patch with Nuno Tavares on his left and Xhaka in front of him. Be fair, most 23 year old CBs would probably have a wobble in that scenario!

    He was just about our most consistent player in the first half of the season(TT and Ramsdale may be in the conversation). He certainly had more MoTM performances than our friend Xhaka! Only Saka played more than him 36-35 PL games.

  19. Adams

    Arsenal seriously need central midfielders, but pinning the team shortcomings on xhaka is not fair. He gives his 100 percent on the field and shows that he truly love the club.

  20. China1

    No one is saying everything wrong with the club is because of xhaka

    We are saying he’s not good enough as a player or leader to be a starting 11 player at a club that wants to win big trophies and until we get a real upgrade we will continue to feel that vulnerability in our midfield

  21. Karsa

    Xhaka is part of the problem but not the whole problem. Replacing Xhaka, whilst a necessity, will not solve all problems overnight,

    The team needs to mature, and learn to cope more effectively with situations that aren’t going to plan.

    There’s no way I’d be selling Gabriel. He has shown season on season improvement, as will White I’m sure.

    Holding is a useful back up. Being happy as a back up may show a lack of ambition, but maybe his family are settled in London and he doesn’t put career advancement before his families quality of life.

  22. Un

    ESR ramsdale tomiyasu Saka and tierney were all better performers
    Even Ben white outperformed Gabriel as the stats reflect. Only slightly but still superior

  23. Bob N16

    Karsa, fair point about Holding. He also gives the impression that he’s a decent, likeable squad member who has leadership qualities. Still nervous if he’s starting matches in the PL unless it’s an old school team who like to lob it into the box – he’s an old school CB!

    I have bad memories of the FA cup game where as a team we were poor and he was terrible. Nottingham Forest were backing off when he was running out of defence and he was like a rabbit in headlights!

    He was great coming on with 15 minutes to go when we were desperately hanging on for a win by a one goal margin. I’d hope next season we have more control over those games and don’t play ‘rope-a-dope’ style with Holding heading it out!

  24. Bob N16

    Un, ‘stats reflect’.

    I’m surprised you don’t use the ‘eye test’. Not saying my perspective is better than yours but I missed probably 3 home games last season and Gabriel does not fill me with dread at all. He’s powerful, quick and commanding, heads well particularly in attack.

    I’ve already explained why I think his form dropped off last season. With KT and a Xhaka upgrade (sorry) he’ll be as good as gold!

  25. Vintage Gun

    I personally think Xhaka is a leader. I also think that he is tactically superb and has a excellent passing range when allowed time.

    However, i think his flaws such as his lack of pace, mobility, tackling temperament and respect for the fans clearly outweigh his positives in my book.

    I’d love to move on from him but if he’s here to stay we should at least have him as a backup until he takes over as manager and then CEO and finally club owner.

  26. Ishola70

    “In regards to the newcastle game, xhaka was the only positive in that match.”

    The whole central midfield was shit in that match so I’m not sure what game you were watching or if you were watching the correct match your standards are low for players.

  27. WengerEagle


    You seem to have a hard-on for Gabriel and never waste a moment in criticising him.

    Is it all an attempt to make White look better? Because he isn’t. Not saying that Gabriel is the second coming of VVD or anything but the idea that he is a weak link is hilarious. Imo he’s clearly our best CB at present.

  28. WengerEagle

    Xhaka did fuck all against Newcastle other than an impression of a statue, bitching and moaning with some ferocious finger-pointing and making Bruno Guimaraes look the second coming of prime Luka Modric.

  29. Marko

    Look the Xhaka stuff needs to stop we know how bad he is we know that Pedro is now going to bat for him because he’s an Arteta fav and we know that this coming season like the last one he’ll flip flop on Xhaka everytime he has a bad performance. It’s nothing new

  30. Samesong

    Gabriel is still only 24 and still has ample of time to improve. Give us a consistent back four and let’s see how he gets on.

  31. China1


    ‘ I’d love to move on from him but if he’s here to stay we should at least have him as a backup until he takes over as manager and then CEO and finally club owner.’

    I read your post and did not see that conclusion coming but it got a good chuckle out of me haha

  32. WengerEagle

    I have a feeling that Tets will continue to take the piss with Saliba.

    He’s an incredibly stubborn individual, we already know that with all the ‘non-negotiables’ stuff and falling out with more players than most experienced managers.

    He won’t get credit for Saliba flourishing in the way he would with White/Gabriel as they are his signings. I hope that I am wrong here because I would love to see a Saliba-Gabriel partnsership. Both 6″4, powerful, fast and Gabby is the more aggressive of the two while Saliba has that composure to his game.

  33. WengerEagle

    How do Barca have €60m to sign Raphinha when they are binning their best MF in FDJ for €65m to Utd which by all accounts is a purely financial decision?

  34. Marko

    WE I have the same feeling. I’m hoping that Saliba sticks around for the next manager cause he’s a talent and I hope he realizes that here

  35. Un

    No. I’m not convinced by white either
    Garry has had two seasons and I’ve made my feelings quite clear
    He’s not awful but he switches off and costs goals
    If white doesn’t take a big step forward this season then I’ll be honest in my appraisal

    I personally would prefer to start with Saliba and holding as first choice and no play such a high line or a back 3 of Saliba white and holding

  36. Ollie


    Gabriel is quite obviously the best centre back at the club. He has made mistakes but as someone mentioned earlier, was probably more to do with having Tavares at LB and him trying to overcompensate for this than due to any lack of ability. Lessons like this he will have now learned and will come back stronger for it next season.

    Don’t forget that he’s also the top scoring CB in the league..

  37. Habesha Gooner

    Barcelona are basically mortgaging their entire future in the hope that Xavi succeeds. They are selling a lot of players too. They got Lenglet out, Trincao is sold for some fee and they are hoping to sell Umtitti too.

    Plus they gave away the naming rights of Camp Nou to Spotify. And added to that they have sold 10% of their TV money for the next 25 years for 275 mil. The wages they owe their players is deferred and they don’t have to pay it now. They also owe money to a lot of clubs but they don’t have to pay it now either. That’s why they can afford Raphinha I think.

  38. Habesha Gooner

    Well it was fun while it lasted but Chelsea signing Sterling and now Koulibably has them ahead now. £35 mil for a 31 year old CB though is a huge outlay including wages. If he gives them 3 top seasons though, it is money well spent. They have replaced Rudiger as far as they are concerned though.

    We need more signings if we are going to compete.

  39. Jonko

    Liverpool are going to struggle and suffer this season..yes i know it’s pre season and i know they are playing with a weakened team but it’s not just about that. Klopps style is not sustainable. He always crashes hard. Had they won even a treble they would have had the momemtum to keep going. Gundagon and Courtois did something to them which can quite possibly be irreversible damage.

  40. Spanishdave

    Our defence let in far too many goals last year. We have defensive weaknesses .
    Often we panic and just boot the ball away and make poor passes.
    It’s players and coaching that’s poor

  41. Ishola70

    What we have learned from pre-season friendlies.

    Elneny is a “good” player.

    Liverpool are going to struggle.

    It’s not that long until the season starts proper with points to gain and lose.


  42. Dissenter

    The Frenkie De Jong transfer is a crazy at it gets
    The player does not want to leave Barca for United, it almost like player trafficking now.
    Why isn’t he keen on leaving a club that no longer wants him.

  43. Un


    Yeah I’d have Saliba and holding if white doesn’t step up defensively. I feel white and Gabriel haven’t been strong defensively.

  44. Un

    Palace home 2-2 Gabriel gets done by benteke for their first after partey gives it away

    Liverpool 4-0 home

    Misses header for first and let’s his man/zone go
    In no man’s land for third, misses header, jogsback slowly

    Let’s minamino go for the 4th

    Dec Man U away 3-2
    Fails to close down opponent for second. Literally just does nothing

    Everton away 2-1
    Let’s Richarlison go, his toe is just offside and his blushes are spared
    Gets sucked in ball watching for their first and leaves 2 men at far post with Tavares on his own.

    Man City home 2-1
    Gets sent off for being a cunt and scuffing the spot and diving in

    Seems to get caught high up the pitch this fella and doesn’t make it back in time
    So much for high line defending
    The more I watch the worse I think he is

    5 points cost so far

    Feb wolves
    Passes to wolves player who scores
    No points dropped luckily

    March Liverpool 2-0
    Lets firminho go for the second

    Palace 3-0
    Misses header for first
    Dives in and misses tackle for 2nd
    Lets zaha run into box and then penalty is conceded

    Brighton 2-0
    Let’s his man run off him, doesn’t close down, he then has simple cut back to Trossaed for their first

    Chelsea 4-2

    Let’s azpilaqueta run across him for their second
    Man U 3-1
    Let’s Ronaldo’ run off him for their first and for a goal very luckily ruled offside

    No points dropped on those two

    Spurs 3-0
    Doesn’t even challenge for header for deep cross into our box for their second
    So much for mr Ariel threat

    Gets spun & turned by kane, falls on the floor
    Spurs score their first

    Newcastle 2-0

    Let’s Calum Wilson run off him to score their first
    Let’s his runner go for their second, Ramsdale makes it but it bounces to Bruno who taps in while Gabriel watches

    That’s 17 goals I count and 7-10 points dropped if you’re bing charitable
    White wasn’t much better