HUNTING FOR STRIKERS

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The Champions League starts this evening, and I’m quite excited. Madrid plays Leipzig and City plays… Copenhagen. The season seems to be rolling quite nicely for dear Pep and his boys. No injuries, easy fixtures, and outrageous form, all combining at the exact right time again.

Arsenal has a pretty decent run going as well. Burnley away at the weekend should be a fairly straightforward occasion; then we take on Porto on Wednesday away from home.

The squad really should be starting to take shape by then. Jesus, Partey, Tomi, ESR and Fabio should all be in the mixer. Arsenal are finally getting into the sort of shape where we can use unpredictability as a weapon. I’d start to get excited about the possibilities of Thomas Partey, but the fact he can’t get into shape despite threatening the starting 11 for over a month tells you his return is likely to be exciting but swift.

I’m more excited about the returning fullbacks. Zinchenko breaking down just in time for another stretch on the sidelines is par the course. The good thing is we now have Tomi who can rotate and a Kiwior who seems more than capable of stepping in at any level to offer above adequate support to the team. Then you realise we’re only a month away from seeing Jurrien Timber back in the team. That’s a set of fullbacks deep enough to give everyone enough minutes and enough rest. Having a full complement of right and left backs is something we haven’t been able to shout about for a number of seasons.

Just pray Arteta doesn’t revert back to Thomas Partey as a fullback… let him be free in the midfield.

It’s interesting to hear the striker talk heat up. Arseblog predicts the summer signing will be a project-like striker over someone like Ivan Toney, who has zero resale value. I have no idea who the final name is, and I’m sure Andrew is way more connected to this than I am, but my view on the position is that this project needs a striker who can score 25 goals right now if it wants to bang. The craziness of the Premier League and world football, in general, is the project strikers cost more than the players who can actually do the job right now.

£106m for Antony. 1 goal. 1 assist. 1341 minutes.

£25m for Trossard. 9 goals. 2 assists. 1214 minutes.

Projects cost more money, are often bought outside the league, and they rarely offer NOW output. What you do get is huge potential upside. Everyone wants to be on the ground floor for an Isak, Haaland, or Darwin Nunez.

Arsenal has a busy summer ahead, they need to recruit for a number of big positions, and the players they bring in have to be ready for the first team. We’re not in squad building mode, we’re at the final pieces stage. Everyone has to be able to carry their weight because everyone in the City squad can.

Ivan Toney will likely fetch about £60m this summer. He scored 21 goals last season. He has 3 in 4 games so far this season. I don’t think it’s a stretch to say that he could replicate that form for Arsenal next season. It’s clear that he has eyes for Arteta and just like with Declan Rice last season… those eye-flutters tend not to be all one way.

The problem? It’s not on strategy for the club. There’s no resale value. If he doesn’t work out, he’s not going anywhere. He’s also a different type of personality. Not quite a nice boy. He’s the type of personality Chelsea usually has by the bucketload (good Chelsea).

In some respects, I would love a project striker. Evan Ferguson is 19 years old, he gives me Harry Kane vibes, and he looks a sure bet to play a part in the 2026 World Cup (believe, Ireland, believe). Sesko in Germany looks a talent, Vlahovic has rekindled his form, there are players like Cunha and Joao Pedro who could all have levels and higher ceilings, you could even convince me that Zirkzee could bang under the right conditions.

… but they’ll all require time, coaching, and love from the fans. For every Isask (who was still expensive), there’s a Richarlison, Brennan Johnson, or a Nico Jackson.

Arsenal has a choice this summer: Do they roll the dice on a project striker and risk losing ground next year? Or do they bet on ready-made and miss out on a future transfer fee to get the title under their belt heading into year 5 of Project Arteta?

There are benefits to both ideas, it’ll be interesting to see where the club takes it, plenty of time to make a decision.

Right, short post today. Jump on the latest podcast is you so desire.

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China1

Yeah mark it’s never a good thing when a keeper is always the talk after the match Either he was under pressure (not good situation) or he fucked up (not good). Even good feedback can only happen if there are saves to make usually – but a good defense is supposed to limit opposition chances, so that’s still not good Best thing is if you can forget the keeper is even there because everything in the defensive unit (including the keeper) is really calm and stable. An uneventful defensive unit is a beautiful route to a clean sheet and worthy… Read more »

Pierre

Brighton’s Joao Pedro is the player I’m surprised teams are not showing interest in, he interests me a lot . Looks a player to me who makes a difference in the final third of the pitch. 22 years of age , knows where the goal is, 19 goals in 20 starts this season. Brighton still have some serious talent at the club in mitoma, Ferguson and Pedro, the problem they will have is holding on to their top players and manager. History tells us that the supply line will eventually run out and similar to Southampton will probably struggle to… Read more »

Marbellaron

Northbanker, I am still not convinced that Raya adds anymore to the team or that he has an understanding with the defence or the other way round. and that is extremely crucial.Watch him when we are being attacked his positioning is often awful and learning to throw the ball out Ramsdale could easily have learnt. Ramsdale isn’t world class but isn’t any worse than Raya. It’s a loan deal(he earns a fraction of Ramsdale) but sure we will buy him and Ramsdale will be off.

Karsa

I’ve had Pedro in my fantasy team this season. Very good player.

Sadly injured at the moment.

Pierre

I’ve always thought that Raya is a better keeper than Ramsdale and nothing I have seen this season has made me change my mind. Ramsdale has many supporters still so of course they will jump on any minor error from the keeper that is replacing him, they are no different to the Gary neville’s of this world who was desperate for Raya to fail with his derogatory comments aimed at Raya when he first arrived at Arsenal. Neville is quiet now because Raya’s performances have silenced him , Raya’s handling has been almost impeccable and we are now seeing the… Read more »

Davey

I played to a decent level won’t bore with details but the way Pierre talks Pep must have him on speed dial to ask for his in depth knowledge of football

Tom

“if Raya stops making himself the story for the wrong reasons I’ll lay off him. ”

Raya making himself the story for the right reasons, according to Marky:
– growing in height by six inches
– applying for British passport
– taking lead pipe to the goalkeeper coach’s knees

WengerEagle

This is a pretty poor Porto side for anyone paying any attention to the Portuguese League this season. Vastly inferior to previous ones that were dusted by Klopp’s Pool sides.

It’s not arrogance to predict we’ll take this one fairly comfortably over 2 legs. But then again, this kind of attitude has cost us in Europe under Arteta many times like Villarreal and Olympiacos. So we ought to treat the 1st leg with complete focus and respect.

gunnerman

Maybe Mbappe would willingly take a pay cut after all the money he’s made because he’s enamored with the project and has affinity with the club.
A dream but one can hope. He’d be a guaranteed legend.

Josip Skoblar

Mbappé could be an even bigger AFC legend than Henry if he decided to join our club. He’d be scoring for fun. He is not a disruptive influence in the dressing room. People have to put this boring rumour to bed once and for all. He is very popular at PSG with other players and fans. He has had issues with the Qatari owners of the club because they are a bunch of incompetent thugs.

Rich

When we get into the business end, it’s about keeping key players fit, and having as many options as possible available from the bench. We can get away with 7 absences when we’re playing a game a week, after a 2 week break, followed by a 10 day break… But we haven’t had what’s required to hit our targets in one competition at the business end in the last 2 seasons… That’s the reality. Partey, Jesus, Tomiyasu, Smith Rowe, Zinchenko, are all quality players, but we need them consistently available to contribute once the schedule picks up. Teams can always… Read more »

jwl

Tierney interview, enjoying life in Spain. ——– “See, just me saying this, I can see my mates saying: ‘You’ve changed, man.’” Kieran Tierney starts laughing. He knows but he can’t help it and if they were where he is, they wouldn’t either, he’s sure of that. The defender is talking txuleton, the Basque T‑bone. “I’m not big on taking pictures of food but every time I get one of those, I do: it’s different class. And there’s a dish that’s rice and clams,” he says, which is when he checks himself and cracks up, imagining pals back in Scotland shaking… Read more »

Frank Mc

Another series of GoT would be good too Tom…

jwl

Orbinho –

Bukayo Saka (41) has now scored more Premier League goals for Arsenal than Aaron Ramsey (40). Only 12 players have scored more than Saka for Arsenal in the competition.

TheBayinhMob

“Burnley away at the weekend should be a fairly straightforward occasion”

Nothing like a bit of complacency …

allezkev

If Arsenal’s interest in Zubimendi is kosher then maybe some kind of deal with Sociedad involving Tierney part-ex is a way to go?

Ramdas

“He (Mbappe) is not a disruptive influence in the dressing room. People have to put this boring rumour to bed once and for all. He is very popular at PSG with other players and fans.”

Very true. Labelling Mbappe as a disruptor is so lazy when you notice he gets along with virtually every player both at PSG as well as France NT.

Ramdas

I just want to say that Sesko only started training in a pro environment at age 16, when he joined Salzburg. Which means you shouldn’t compare him to English 20-year-old players but rather English 17 or 18 year-old strikers. I am sure he will be an excellent striker, but instead of another 2, 3 years, it might take another 4, 5 for him to reach his peak (as it used to be before players started at top academies very early). Don’t think Arteta will have that much patience, so I’m sure we’ll go for someone who is peaking within the… Read more »

kpankulu

I’m getting the vibe that all those who hated Raya being at Arsenal are adopting the silence stance now instead of praising him the way Ramsdale is almost deified by some here. If Raya is playing well, be consistent and praise him, and stop being disingenuous to cover yourselves!

Pierre

Davey
” played to a decent level won’t bore with details but the way Pierre talks Pep must have him on speed dial to ask for his in depth knowledge of football”
.
Ha ha, I love the way my ” in depth football knowledge” gets under your skin ..

rollen

Raya is poor classic goalkeeper but great at distribution and playing from the back.Arteta developed a system where our goalkeeper faces very few shots so that is perfect for Raya. I’m not a big fan but it was working in last 2 games so no complains.
Why would anyone prise Raya when he didn’t have to do much at all in last 2 games? He didn’t help us Mach in previous 5 or embarrassing Looserpool goal.When we have total controll he is big asset, when we will get outplay and facing many shots he wil ba a weak point.

rollen

Tets should immediately hire Pierre and Nigel to be a part of his Galaxy brain Trust!

rollen

I think if we win ine of big cups this year, maybe Mbappe would like to come to Arsenal. With some success Arsenal would be best club to be at.

Graham62

Rolled

That would be either the CL or PL then.

Graham62

Sorry, rollen.

Rich

The West Ham game is a freak result, their biggest home defeat for 61 years, our biggest ever PL away win. There’s been 238 games this season, and only in 4 games has a team scored 6 or more: Sheffield United 0-8 Newcastle Villa 6-0 Brighton City 6-1 Bournemouth West Ham 0-6 Arsenal We played well, but West Ham were a disgrace, they downed tools at 0-1, lacking anything resembling urgency, desire, or aggression… Against Palace we were well worth the points, but 5-0 slightly flattered us, 0-4 at half time flattered West Ham… They were lucky it wasn’t much… Read more »

Bob N16

I think there are elements of Raya’s game that are top quality like his distribution but I’m not sure that he’s a reassuring presence yet.

The goal conceded against Liverpool is a case in point. Saliba was at fault but Raya needed to either dive at the ball or shout commandingly for Saliba to get rid, he did neither. I’m not wanting a Mad Lens type of keeper but he needs to be more confident. Our defence allows so few shots that he can’t show off with that many saves.

Bob N16

New post

John

“Mbappé could be an even bigger AFC legend than Henry if he decided to join our club. He’d be scoring for fun. He is not a disruptive influence in the dressing room”

😂😂 What are you smoking?