Cold Monday night up north, are we ready?!

by & filed under News Review.

Been working on this new diet called ‘gym and starve yourself’… you know what, very effective at dropping weight, but you actually can’t control where the weight comes off. That’s the next phase, then I’m bringing it to market. I’ll call it G&SY, remember the brand.

BIG GAME tonight. We have the chance to make up some of that lost ground on Liverpool after they dropped points to United yesterday. We also have the chance to move further ahead of the disaster down the road. They really did make Watford look good at times.

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Scouting Report: Where we are, where we should buy

by & filed under News Review.

Today, I’m handing over the keys to Mike McDonald. He’s going to keep you up to speed with the top talents from around Europe. Jump in and let me know your thoughts in the comments!

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Where do Arsenal need an upgrade?

Are the upgrades already at the club?

Is it just the coach that needs upgrading?

Surely we need to sign someone in January and next summer, right?

We most likely do and of course we will in the summer as some will leave. Have a look at our options though and I’m thinking that perhaps for the first time in 15+ years we are ‘talent rich.’

Take a look at this…

GK: Leno | Martinez

Best collection of two keepers we’ve had in many years. One will get dissatisfied so a purchase will no doubt happen this summer.

RB: Bellerin | Maitlind-Niles | Chambers | Osei-Tutu

No obvious need to upgrade. Interestingly, many at the club see Osei-Tutu as having the highest ceiling.

LB: Tierney | Kolasinac | Medley

Have a feeling Tierney is gonna rock it. Is it fair to suggest that Kolasinac is about as good as you’ll get as a willing backup?

Medley must be the most athletic looking player in England. Needs a loan and may establish himself as a LB or CB. I’ve got a sneaky feeling he could be a fine CM.

CB: Holding | Saliba | Luiz | Chambers | Sokratis | Mavropanos | Mustafi | Medley

This is the debate…. there’s an argument that if Saliba hits the ground running and Holding is what we think he could be, then these two are a great pair. Supplemented by Luiz, Sokratis and Chambers then our options are rather good.

Totally depends on whether our first choice are ‘good enough,’ I’d say.

DM: Xhaka | Torreira | Guendouzi | Chambers | Luiz | Ceballos

Not all of these are true DM’s, right? True, but if you want your DM to be a playmaker rather than a destroyer then Guendouzi and Ceballos become options. I would’ve loved to see Chambers and/or Luiz used in the cup as DM’s to see if they can be options.

We all see Xhaka and most pine for Torreira.

CM: Guendouzi | Willock | Ceballos | Xhaka | Torreira | Maitland-Niles

Continuity players, creators, accelerators, destroyers and possession specialists. A good blend.

AM:  Ceballos | Ozil | Willock | Nelson | Smith-Rowe

If we were to play 4-2-3-1 then there is plenty of talent as you see

LW/RW: Pepe | Saka | Nelson | Aubameyang | Martinelli | Smith-Rowe

Big stench of talent here too.

CF: Lacazette | Aubameyang | Martinelli | Nketiah | John-Jules | Balogun

Goals for the present and an exciting group offering goals for the future.

I look at this squad and I feel good.

Hope for the present and hope for the future.

I believe it rests on one word though….’if’.

If Holding continues on the trajectory he was on. If Saliba can play PL at 19 and ifhe’s as good as we hope. If we find/select the athleticism in midfield to destroy and play the athleticism to accelerate the play too.

If Saka, Martinelli, ESR and Nelson work out we don’t need a ‘Zaha’ too.

If Nketiah and/or Balogun continue the way they are then we may have saved ourselves £100M+

Pete has kindly given me the opportunity to write periodically about possible signings. So, my eyes go first to the centre of the park as I feel that the other areas might well become ‘wants’ and not ‘needs’ IF all the ‘ifs’ come to fruition.

I see a good balance of youth and experience EXCEPT in one area: midfield, specifically a DM.

We have almost all the pieces needed except two. Experience and height. I’ve thought for a while that these are the two reasons that Xhaka plays. The others are all young and/or inexperienced and don’t offer aerial help at set plays.

Below are some potential DM targets to consider

The perfect choice… Thomas Partey 26 (Atletico Madrid)

There aren’t many DM’s in world football that can destroy, create and accelerate the play. Partey can. Mid 20’s, CL experience but due to recent upsurge in form his club are trying to up his release clause.

Potential fee: £75M

Specialist destroyers….. Wilfred Ndidi 22 (Leicester)

When you have some of the best tackling and interception numbers in the PL two seasons in a row you can’t be ignored. If you think he’s not good enough because he plays for Leicester then consider that Idrissa Gueye (formerly of Everton) had similar numbers and is now being considered as the vital cog at PSG.

Potential fee: £45M

Denis Zakaria 23 (Moenchengladbach)

Xhaka’s mobile, powerful and athletic partner in the Swiss midfield. Young and cheaper.

Potential fee: £25M

Destroyer/Playmaker combo: William Carvalho 27 (Real Betis)

Remember the Arsenal rumours?

In his prime now but never played for a big European club. A fridge of a man who specializes in intercepting and adds supreme composure to dictate.

Potential fee: £40M

Danilo Perreira 28 (Porto)

Carvalho’s competition for the best Portuguese team in decades.

Very similar player but taller, added line breaking dribbling and aerial ability.

Potential fee: £40M

Almost perfect except….. Axel Witsel 30 (Dortmund) / Sergio Busquets 31 (Barca) and Javi Martinez 31 (Bayern)

These next three will no doubt be familiar to you but are all 30 plus and do not seem to be interested in leaving their clubs (who are all doing better than Arsenal).

If I was Sanhelli I’d inquire though.

All three can destroy and create. In fact they are next level so it’s fair to say that they can dominate a midfield. For those wondering if they can ‘do it in the PL at their age, I’d suggest that their class would say yes and their age isn’t far from two in a similar position at the European Champions in Henderson (29) and Milner (33).

Frenkie DeJong will soon limit Busquets minutes at Barca and Martinez has spent his entire Bayern career in and out of favour.

Other hope lies in Sanhelli’s ties to Barca and that all three of these guys may want to play in the PL.

Potential fee… never know how much aging brilliance costs. £30M/40/50M??

The trendy, modern, athletic, powerful and young.

Ibrahim Sangare 21 (Toulouse)

A frightening talent. Everything I’ve said on the tin and a 10 year player with huge potential resell value.

Legs that go on forever and a ‘Vieira-like’ ability to carry the ball.

Check out the video and you’ll find him hard to resist. Step back and you’ll wonder if he needs to play for Southampton first to see if he is as good as he looks.

Potential fee: £30M

Boubakary Soumare 20 (Lille)

Could be Sangare’s twin brother playing style-wise. Played at a higher level with Lille.

Potential fee: £30M

Play Torreira at DM and upgrade Xhaka and buy goals and assists….

Bruno Fernandes 25 (Sporting Lisbon)

Got buckets of goals and assists last season and drew close attention from Utd and City.

An all round natural footballer who senses opportunity. Similar potential to Ramsey.

Potential fee: £50M

Young and brilliant, Dominik Szoboszlai 18 (Red Bull Salzburg)

My favourite young player in Europe.

Remember that Dutchman that graced Highbury? He was a natural footballer. Made it look easy.

Szoboszlai is a CM/DM and he’s not Dennis but his ease reminds me of him. Joyful to watch him.

Needs to bulk up but that’s an easy fix.

Alternative plan:

I live in the US. I’ll find Stan and ask him for £200M for N’golo Kante 💪🏼

What would I do?

I’m of the belief that if we simply remove Xhaka we will improve 40% as the other current options are better.

I’d try both Luiz and Chambers at DM in cup games to see if the answer is found in-house and I’d use Torreira as first choice until he proves me otherwise.

I’d sell Xhaka (£35M) and put that towards a bid for Thomas Partey.

If he won’t come then I’d go for Axel Witsel.

I’d also buy Dominik Szoboszlai and loan him out to build his strength.

What would you do?

@mike_mmcdonald (give the lad a follow😉)