“There are no easy games in the Premier League”
That’s always been a thing. In the past, the challenge for teams like Arsenal was overcoming the ‘smaller clubs’ work ethic, physicality, and direct style.
The challenge has changed. The team most likely to come last play some of the best football when they click, are often the lower placed teams.
What does this mean for Arsenal? Well, I’ve found 24 players from the teams below Arsenal that we could look at for the next transfer window. I’m particularly thinking of those that could get relegated.
As you’ll see, they would either improve our squad and most of them would improve our starting 11. Three will be relegated as we know, so those players price should drop too.
Let’s do this based on Arsenal’s needs rather than by team.
Back-up/3rd choice goalkeepers
I was convinced that Martinez would leave before Leno got hurt as he’s perfectly capable of being first choice at a good club. He may be encouraged to stay now if he keeps up his good form. Not sure how this will go so let’s assume we may need one.
I’d love to pick Fabianski as he’s greatly improved but he’s not coming to be back up again.
Matthew Ryan (BHA), Ben Foster(Watford), Freddie Woodman (Newcastle-currently on loan at Swansea).
Ryan is a good keeper but gets no press. Foster has improved with age and has great distribution. Arsenal have an interest in Woodman already. He may come as a package with his father who is a talented Academy coach. As you’ll see in the video, Woodman is a specialist PK saver and seems to have a strength in reaction saves.
Random fact…. Woodman is the Godson of Gareth Southgate
Hector Bellerin may stay at Arsenal. My thought is that if he does it will be based on patience for a guy who has been through a big injury and/or because we need his leadership.
It’s becoming hard to justify his demise. I’ve never been a big fan as I think he limits himself. It’s driven me crazy for years watching a laser fast player run down the wing, stop and pass it backwards. He could’ve pushed himself to use his pace to learn a trick and change of pace and added the embarrassing deficiency of not using the outside of his foot. Breathe, Mike. I’m just bothered by those who underachieve and because he’s such a good guy, it’s overlooked.
I’m thinking that there is a reason that Cedric got four years. He would’ve accepted two. He’s probably better than we realize.
Jeremy N’gakia (WHU) and Max Aarons (Norwich)
N’gakia is a new name to most. It will come as little surprise that he fits the profile of many young defenders… fast, quick, athletic and strong. He’s refused to sign a contract and he’s free this summer.
Like many under 20’s he will need space to improve his decision making.
Max Aarons will end up somewhere other than Norwich. He’s likely the hottest young PL right back. I’ve got a feeling City will see the Walker/Cancelo duo as ageing/unsettled. Could transform our right side, but do we have the funds to rebuild our midfield, get a CB and afford a RB too?
Everyone talks of Max Aarons. Rightly so.
Jamal Lewis (Norwich)
Do Arsenal need a LB/LWB more than a RB? I’ve come to that conclusion (see end of blog).
Jamal Lewis, like Aarons, is a modern full-back with a similar toolbox. Would probably cost the same as we’d get for Kolasinac and cost 50% of wages.
So far, you’ve probably looked at the options above and been somewhat underwhelmed.
This list will change that. Most of these players start for Arsenal.
Tyrone Mings (Villa), Nathan Ake (Bournemouth), Ben Godfrey (Norwich), Issa Diop (West Ham), Jamal Lascelles (NU), Lewis Dunk and Ben White (BHA)
Mings and Ake would start for Arsenal and no doubt be our best CB’s. Mings is underrated for me. We are told these days to watch and judge our CB’s firstly on their ability to play out from the back. When I watch football I see CB’s passing to each other 50 times a game and forward’s three times. I see blocking, heading, organizing, tackling etc..
Tyrone Mings loves to defend. He loves that list.
Nathan Ake can do everything. If we matched him with Saliba you can defend 20 yards higher.
Dunk and Lascelles might be more industrial but as I said above, aren’t those qualities used more often anyway?
Diop is not a favourite of mine but I think I look at West Ham defenders the way the market looks at Arsenal defenders!
Godfrey and White (did you know that the highly-rated Leeds CB is on loan from BHA?) are younger and like Saliba, potentially top class. Do we look to partner Saliba with another youngster though?
One of these is an interesting thought. The other probably too expensive and the third, off to Spurs.
Phillip Billing (Bournemouth), Declan Rice (WHU) and Pierre Emil Hojbjerg (Saints)
Rice is an ever-improving ball-winning DM. His improvement is seen in his ability on the ball as his move from centre back has needed time.
Don’t stick your nose up at Billing. He’s better than you may realize. Oh how we could’ve utilized a tall, quick, athletic ball-winner this season.
Hojbjerg, like Billing, is a consideration as a very good squad player for Arsenal. A natural and highly impressive leader in an era when there are few. Simplistic yet effective modern midfielder.
Arguably the biggest need of improvement at AFC.
We currently look like a midfield put together by an executive who spends too much time on YouTube and has the life issue of falling in love too easily.
Arsenal didn’t need Ceballos when they had Guendouzi. They didn’t need Torreira because they needed a taller, more athletic DM.
If the Thomas Partey rumours are true, I doubt we get Doucoure too.
Probably could’ve/should’ve signed Doucoure two years ago.
Another area of desperate need at Arsenal. Doesn’t have to be a number 10, but as we know there are wingers who stay wide and others who drift from wide into central areas. This is the ‘drifters.’
Jack Grealish (Villa), Todd Cantwell and Emiliano Buendia (Norwich) and Miguel Almiron (NUFC)
Here are four different options for the same role.
Grealish would be a huge upgrade for Arsenal. I think most of us realize that he will go to City or Utd and that we can’t financially compete or in current stature. Shame.
Cantwell is a Gooner. Like that. Personally, I don’t think he’s our level. That’s a pivotal role with much expected. Buendia is a different beast though. A diamond in the rough. Two footed, highly creative and great stats for a team bottom of the league.
I’m also a big fan of Miguel Almiron. As a Brit abroad, I’ve got to see him often when he was at Atlanta.
His acceleration is elite as is his directness. Much like Theo, he will get better results if he learns to slow his wheels before he passes or shoots.
Do Arsenal need a winger?
If Aubameyang leaves looking at rumours (Kluivert, Veron etc..), it looks like perhaps we are going to sign one.
My thought is that Arteta wants one wide player inside (Auba) and the other on the paint (Pepe) and that this doesn’t suit Pepe. If Auba leaves, Pepe plays inside forward (phew!) and the wider player is on the left.
Allan Saint-Maximin (NUFC), Ismaila Sarr and Gerard Deulofeu (Watford) and Jarrod Bowen (WHU)
Bowen has electric speed and potential but like Cantwell, not sure he’s Arsenal level.
You may not like Deulofeu. I don’t know many that rate him. I think he’s got fantastic feet. Some players are average at average clubs. Some stay average at bigger clubs. Some just needed to be around better players. I think Delefeou falls into the latter category.
I have a theory on Sarr. Do you remember when the equally fast Adama Traore showed up in England? Lacked end product but huge potential. Just wondering if Sarr will figure it out like Traore, as he is a wonderful last twenty-minute option.
I was amazed when Saint-Maximin went to Newcastle. His take on numbers at Nice were second only to Messi. Unless NUFC improve quickly, he will end up at a far bigger club.
I can’t see Lacazette staying. No way. His ego has been damaged by Eddie, he has some value in the market and honestly, it’s just not working.
Danny Ings (Saints)
The questions are being asked now. Is Ings capable of repeating this seasons stats at a bigger club? His Liverpool career was hampered by injury and lack of opportunity.
I’m a believer that players are unfairly judged by their look and name. Maybe he should get a hair transplant before people start noticing and believing he’s older than he is. Change his name to Danielo Inglo?
I really don’t know if he’d work at Arsenal. Undecided.
I’ve picked my Arsenal 20/21 squad already. It’s changed three times then again after I scouted Teun Koopmeiners at Alkmaar. I’ll let you check out his elite passing ability!
My 20/21 Arsenal squad includes one of the 24 listed above…. Nathan Ake.
I considered 12 of the list.
I kept all of current GK’s. After seeing our right back inverted as an extra CM, I kept AMN as first choice. Perfect role for him. I wonder if Osei-Tutu will be a factor?
I spent the money I think we will raise from sales on our midfield in particular and preferred Partey, N’didi and Koopmeiners, but thought hard about Billing as a back up DM.
I would’ve loved Grealish or Buendia but money sent me to West London to get Willian on a free, as it did when I chose free signings, Edinson Cavani, Malang Sarr and Santi Cazorla.
Would you buy from the clubs below us?
Hard to argue that the list of 24 isn’t very interesting!