by .

via @Arsenal

Omari Hutchinson was one of the players Arsenal fans were quite to watch next season. The young attacker has been at the club for 7 years, there was a lot of hype around him, he found the bench a lot towards the end of last season, we were hoping he’d be the next Bukayo or Emile.

Well, he’s packed his bags for West London, signing for Chelsea.

Firstly, let’s just say this: The byproduct of an elite youth system is that not all of the kids can make it / will even want to try. It is a compliment that we now have a system good enough to have other big clubs sniffing around it. This is probably the first big ‘oh shit’ moment we’ve had. Edu and Arteta have been really good at tying most of our gems down to deals. Shit happens.

Secondly, it is perfectly fine to look at this situation with WTF tinted Raybans.

Chelsea had a real crack with young players under Frank Lampard. Why? Because they had a transfer ban and used that period to try something different. It worked. The players that came through won the Champions League in yr 1 of Tuchel.

What has happened since then?

Last season, Thomas Tuchel shipped out Tammy Abraham to Roma for £37m, and signed Lukaku for £90m

Connor Gallagher spent the season at Palace.

Livramento and Broja spent the season at Southampton.

Levi Colwill wants out after a good loan at Huddersfield.

Fikayo Tomori was sold to Milan and won the title.

C-HO hasn’t developed at all.

I don’t even know what’s going on with Billy Gilmour.

Chelsea is trying to re-sign Nathan Ake who they bombed off the Bournemouth

Thomas Tuchel, for all the rockstar adulation, had quite a poor year, and talent ID was at the core of it.

Historically, always remember this: Chelsea binned Salah, KDB, and young Lukaku.

Now look at their transfer policy under Todd Boehly. They’ve just lost Christensen and Tony Rudiger… and they’ve spent £37m on a 31-year-old in Koubilaly.

Policy-wise, they’ve spent £50m on Sterling and tried to spend another £60m on Raphinha. Todd B tried to convince Tuchel on Cristiano Ronaldo.

Why raise this you say?

Well, how the hell do you sell that sort of project to Omari Hutchinson unless money is the driver?

If the player wanted minutes and didn’t believe in his ability to break at Arsenal, surely, surely, surely you’d go and work under Patrick Vieira at Palace, head to Dortmund, or try and sneak a move to Leicester City?

Getting a starting place at Chelsea is a 2% chance at 18 years old. He won’t play in Europe at all. It’ll be hard for him to break into the cup line-ups because there will be talent there that needs minutes for the emergency moments in the league.

Kids at clubs around Europe are double-taking offers from big clubs these days because they know they are being stockpiled as U23s to be sold on. Do you go to Bayern to play for the u23s or do you go to Monchengladbach and get minutes? Do you stay at PSG or do you go to Le Harve? One of those directions gives you a better chance of making a career out of the game. The other has a case study from Arsenal. Marcus MaGuane was killing it at Arsenal, he took a move to Barcelona, now he’s slumming it at Oxford City after failing with Nottingham Forest.

This move looks like a weird revenge move from Kia. You think he’s not petty enough for that? Remember the Bruno Newcastle video where they popped off at Edu with one of the welcome video frames?

I wish the player the best of luck, I really do, but this move doesn’t pass the logic test, and I’m not sure it gets the boy to where he needs to be. It didn’t have to be Arsenal, but surely, it shouldn’t have been Chelsea?

What will be interesting now is to see how Marquinhos does. Clearly, the Brazilian is the solution to whatever Omari was going to be for us this season. I just hope Omari doesn’t look back in 2 years time and see this new boy smashing it in Arsenal’s starting 11 while he’s on his 4th loan with FC Charleroi.


Arsenal are in negotiations with Manchester City over Zinchenko. It’s heading in the right direction. Johhny Cochrane messaged me earlier to point out that it looks like we’re getting preferential treatment from them, an especially pertinent point when you consider this deal might be at the expense of Chelsea signing Nathan Ake.

The player is quality, he’s competition for Xhaka and Kieran Tierney, this is how you move when you are trying to get back to the top of the game.

There’s a great video doing the rounds where Kyle walker gives his view on who the 3 most technically gifted players at the club are.

“Not in any order, my top three are Zinchenko, Mahrez & Silva. Two touches, head tennis, so good. You’re leaving De Bruyne out, Foden, Cancelo, but they don’t come close to those three.”

Being singled out as one of the most technically blessed players at City is quite the accolade when you consider the outrageous talent on offer.

We are getting ourselves a top player here, he’ll want to impose himself on our starting 11, we’ll be signing another 4 time Premier League winner.

In other news, now Raphinha has moved to Barcelona, talk is on the winger.

Leroy Sane has entered the conversation. The player was absolute mustard when he was at City under Mikel Arteta. 57 g/a in 90 appearances is top tier. He’s dipped at little at Bayern, with 48 g/a in 111. But whatever, he’d be an electric signing, though a little bit older than the profile we’ve been chasing. The fee is rumoured to be around £60m. He’s an end product merchant. You just worry that a player of that reputation might mean less time for Martinelli who could find that level. His Champions League record is 29 g/a in 39 games. So, so elite. Suspect he’ll be picking Madrid before us, but whatever, I like that our name is in the mixer, and once again, it’s the City connection.

William Saliba, according to some reports, is not going to extend his deal. This is a weird one, because GFFN is oddly taken as a serious voice in football, but runs with very clear agendas that are quite immature. They don’t want Saliba to stay at Arsneal, they’ve been wrong at nearly every turn, so I’m not sure why we need to take this too seriously.

If Saliba has said he won’t sign a new deal until he sees how he’s used this season, that would make absolute sense professionally and from a business perspective. If his season goes badly, he’ll get a more favorable exit with one year on his deal than 6. So logically, I get the contract situation, but again, who knows. He might just want to get more money right away and feel secure that the club really wants him to be in the mixer next season.

I am calm regardless. There’s no better place for him to be at the moment. If he does what he did last season in the Premier League, he’ll be getting plenty of minutes this season.

Ok, that’s all I have.

P.S. I am on the wait for childbirth. We’re back and forth with pre-labour stuff. So I’ll be in and out on content

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  1. Leedsgunner


    Personally I think there’s a greater chance Gabriel going more than Saliba if anyone does go imo. If Saliba wanted to go he could have said so clearly when he was on loan (especially with Guendouzi whispering sweet nothings in his ear about how great he was.

    The reality is Saliba hasn’t played a minute of EPL football. He should keep his mouth shut and do his talking on the pitch.

  2. China1

    If he wants to play in the World Cup, arteta should tell him of course you do. So if you want to play in the starting 11 for arguably the strongest team in international football I believe you can force your way into this arsenal starting 11.

    If he can’t rise to that challenge (assuming Arteta treats him fairly and doesn’t ignore him again) then it’s his problem.

  3. Leftside

    “The reality is Saliba hasn’t played a minute of EPL football. He should keep his mouth shut and do his talking on the pitch.“

    Leeds, if you look online and not just believe what a divisive journalist with little ties to the club has to say you will see that Saliba hasn’t been running his mouth. He’s spoken about watching all of our games whilst on loan last year so he can learn everyones game for when he returns etc.

  4. China1

    Selling Gabriel also makes no sense unless there’s a crazy offer

    Really don’t know why people think we can or should consider selling valuable assets unless we receive a truly valuable offer (we haven’t yet)

  5. Marko

    (assuming Arteta treats him fairly and doesn’t ignore him again)

    You know what they say about assuming. I feel like that’s where this whole thing stems from.

  6. China1

    Ofc marko, Arteta has repeatedly shown an aversion to working with some players and Saliba was one of the worst examples unfortunately

    That being said it doesn’t stop it being the case that arsenal hold every single card when it comes to the idea of selling CBs right now.

    We’ve just spent the last season trying to bed in white with Gabriel. Both are good players who we would hope will kick on. We now have one of the biggest young talents in the game back from his loan in the same position. That’s a *wonderful* position for the club to be in. I can’t for the life of me see why anyone would consider the need to break up this situation unless arsenal are offered exceptional transfer fees (of which there’s no suggestion of any forthcoming)

    We finally reach a point of having really good depth in certain positions and immediately the conversation turns to selling. I don’t get it

  7. NJ Gooner


    My wife was in labour for 27 hours with our first……. and three hours with our third.

    The lesson? Be prepared, young man. be prepared. 🙂

    Best of…… that’s heartfelt. And remember that fatherhood is a marathon, not a print.

  8. Terraloon


    Nobody is offering us the going rate for a top young CB right now 45-55m.

    The market continues to massively impacted by COVID.

    Other than Barca’s crazy approach who outside England and say PSG and Bayern are paying close to £40 million for players let alone defenders.

    Saliba is in the last two years of his contract and was it Edu that said players entering the last two years would be sold if they would sign a new deal ?

    Every time I read something about Saliba is sort of suggests he doesn’t really want to be at Arsenal and of course Arsenal can decide to just hang on to him but does any club really want to keep a player who wants out or in the case of Saiaba wants to dictate. ?

    Clubs and Arsenal in this instance have to be hard nosed and if appropriate sell to the highest bidder but that I very much doubt would be close to £40 million

  9. Marko

    That being said it doesn’t stop it being the case that arsenal hold every single card when it comes to the idea of selling CBs right now.

    Sure I don’t think anyone is saying otherwise. It’s also likely this whole thing is a nothing burger and it’s just idiotic fans making it a Arteta vs whoever argument again. We’ll see if he gets a fair crack though I personally hope so cause I rate him as probably our best CB or soon to be but you know there’s White in there and who wants to spend 50 million on someone and then not play him.

  10. Rich

    Saliba doesn’t hold all the cards, he’s got a strong hand, but the club has got cards it can play.

    He’s got a 2yr contract at Arsenal, the club don’t have to sell him.

    Sometimes opportunity doesn’t knock twice, if the club are offering him a 5yr contract, on 100-150% increase in wages

    Then he has to consider that, he could later get injured, have a drop in form, struggle to adjust to the PL

    There’s no guarantee his stock is as high as it currently is in 12-24 months time

    Say he’s currently on £40k p/w, and the club are offering him £100k

    Over just the 2 years thats £6,240,000 additional, and a guaranteed

    An additional £15,600,000 million guaranteed over 5 years.

    Yeah he could gamble, run down his contract, aim for a lucrative Bosman, but the idea that doesn’t come with some level of risk, stands up to no real type of scrutiny

    If you want to play at a top club and compete for major honours

    You have to move past the idea of fixed starting elevens, players aren’t going to play 60 games + international

    Direct competition is a good thing, it pushes players to be better. sets higher standards, it keeps them on their toes.

    Saliba gave an interview on yesterday that was contradictory to what we’ve heard in the media.

    I think he stays, takes on the challenge of becoming a first team regular, and signs a new contract.

    There’s risks for the club of course that they could lose a valuable asset, and risk going into the last 12 months of his deal

    But there’s always risk, and there’s risk on both sides, it’s ultimately in both parties interested to get something sensible done, if they both want to navigate those risks

  11. Valentin

    Does anybody genuinely believe that Arteta will bench Ben White in favour of Saliba?

    Ben White would need to lose a limb before Arteta does not start him. Any player not in Arteta’s initial plan knows that that need external lucky break to be given an opportunities by Arteta.

    It took Willian’s COVID and injury before ESR was given a chance. Even after Lacazette complete lack of form and effectiveness, It took Lacazette’s COVID, injury for Eddie being given a chance.

    From Saliba’s perspective he and his agent have to look at HIS interest. He does not need to sign an extension now, at least not without written assurances and exit clauses. From the club’s perspective they want him to sign an extension but are they willing to give those demands knowing that Arteta is unlikely to accomodate those playing time assurances?

  12. China1

    Exactly we agree that no one is going to offer the market rate for saliba

    So we’re going to undersell? Again. In this case one of the biggest prospects for his position in world football. And we’ll pay more money for a probably inferior replacement.

    Some of his recent interviews and quotes have been very positive. His talk of unhappiness was from a while back, not that recently. The only negativity right now is he may not sign his contract yet. Probably a good call for him. That in no way forces our hand. This is not a case of a star ego in the dressing room who everyone has to listen to. He’s never even played for us, and he’s young. What is there to fear? Is he gonna badly influence (the consummate professional) rob holding? Unlikely. Will he get in the ear of white and Gabriel? Not likely if they’re the ones in the first team…

    The club is improving and growing and we’ve added a great professional in Jesus and hopefully another in zinchenko. Saliba as it stands has no realistic way of hurting the club even *if* he moans and groans.

    And as I said the probability is *very* reasonable that even if he is unhappy, sooner or later he gets his chance, takes it and then kicks on in the first team. All the positivity of that could lead him to sign a new contract. It will be a bit later in the year and he can claim he’s worth more money? So be it, that’s a separate conversation.

    But we need to stop falling over ourselves to undersell players. There has to be a basic policy of for valuable squad players – we sell at or above the market rate unless there are genuinely exceptional circumstances. I can’t see any such circumstances with Saliba right now at all (and Gabriel as well)

  13. China1

    I think as much as anything we’ve just become so accustomed to seeing any player who isn’t falling over themselves with joy as a problem that can only be resolved by selling them ASAP and for whatever we can get

    This is exactly why we suck at selling and undersell in literally every transfer.

    Some players, even if they are a bit unhappy or difficult, can be resolved by other means. Is it really beyond us to put our arm around a top player/young talent and say ‘I’m listening to you, I value you and let’s work together on how we can give each other what we both want’ rather than the default to ‘he’s unhappy???? Selllllll I’ll literally give said player away if it just gets him off our books!!!!’ Approach we have taken for the last handful of years

  14. NJ Gooner

    Don’t forget that Saliba and White are also options at right back in a 4-4-1-1 or 4-4-2 with Jesus and Eddie up front.

    And those options expand if we go with three at the back with a 3-5-1-2 formation. That would accommodate White and Saliba in defense.

    All those configurations could give Saliba plenty of minutes.

  15. Useroz

    Well, so far, it’s just media reports Saliba this and that… who knows?

    It’s not unreasonable to think if Saliba would flare better than White over time if given a fair chance? All I’d like is the club plays the better players to win.

    The club can’t keep on letting go massive prospect and lose out on financial just because a coach /manager wants to play boss. Heaped praise on Mari when we signed him., ditto Willian, Aubas new massive contract, Runnerboy etc

    Pepe hasn’t adapted well but surely we’d use him more … did he not score 10+ goals season before , and promptly relegated to bench? AMN , Nelson,Xhaka ,Bellerin, Kolac et al had half decent offers and someone allegedly ruled against and we are stuck with most of these….

    Many interesting decisions lose in the club a lot of money.

  16. Omozuafo Frank

    Nice piece. Zinchenko will be a good addition if we can sign him. And for that amount being touted a steal buy. Let’s now get the player to fix the midfield. A very good transfer window in my own opinion. Congratulations on the expected baby.

  17. Un

    Freddie bati raptora

    What the fuck are you dopey arse holes talking about?
    Arteta has played 3 youth team products consistently throughout this season plus Willock AMN and neslon in previous seasons. ESR and Nketiah got their first runs as arsenal first teamers under Arteta. Didn’t matter why or how. The fact remains he did and now both a scoring regularly in the league
    When Arteta got Saka he was bing talked about as one of the best young wing backs around
    Now he’s the best wide forward in the england squad and scoring regularly from the right

    Would you cocks play patino when we only had vital league games? Would you fuck

  18. Un

    Premier league appearances

    Mount 34
    James 26
    Loftus cheek 24
    Chalobah 20
    Odoi 15


    Saka 38
    Smith Rowe 33
    Eddie 21
    AMN 8
    Neslon 1
    Balogun 2


    Chelsea nick it by 15 odd appearances
    So yhis means Arteta doesn’t give youth a chance
    Fucking wasters

  19. Abiodun

    Remember the Willock clan, Matt and Chris too. Omari saw himself behind Saka and Marquinhos, and shrunk.

  20. Terraloon


    If you are going to rely on numbers get then right.

    You keep missing of Christensen from the Chelsea numbers .He joined Chelsea academy at age 15 the same age as Eddie joined Arsenals