Arsène On Signings, USA & A Lot More…


I had never previously thought of Arsenal as a subversive club. Indeed, with a previous nickname of “The Establishment Club“, why would you? That’s all changed in the week that the club departs for the USA with the announcement that there is a new Huawei club phone being released. This after the company was recently deemed a security threat by the House Committee On Intelligence. Fair play to Ivan for sticking it to The Man although is it, I wonder, some kind of clever Manchurian Candidate plot? I doubt it but if anyone sees him playing solitaire on the flight…

That’s if he is going to the USA, of course. With so much transfer talk, it would be no surprise if he stayed behind for the same “general business reasons” that caused his Manchester United counterpart, Ed Woodward, to return home from their tour. You have no idea how disappointing to see he looked like the lovechild of Ian Hislop and Roland Rat rather than his more illustrious namesake; more Lonely than Callan.

Talking of the upcoming fixture in Noo Yawk – as risible an attempt at a New York accent as any Arsenal player tried – Arsène tried hard to sound enthusiastic but ended up with what sounded more like an advert for a holiday company, “It is the perfect time to go. I always wanted to go with Arsenal to the United States, so I’m personally very happy to do it.

You just know the unspoken part was that he would have been happier had he and the players been flying to Austria to hold their training camp so that he could get on with the business of conditioning them ahead of the coming season. Travel is a necessity as Louise Taylor’s article in The Guardian at the weekend confirmed, although it is interesting to ponder why Arsenal are travelling to the USA now and for one game only. The former and the latter both revolve around the manager no doubt, a recognition on his part of the commercial necessity for the football business whilst the latter the business of football impinging on the commercial aspects of the game. Fair play to Gus Poyet if his stance with the Sunderland board was correctly reported. There was a time when such tours were deemed to be detrimental to a club’s preparation but with the champions in recent years all having crossed the Atlantic, that viewpoint has long been dismissed. Had it not been a World Cup summer, would Arsenal have embarked on a longer trip?

At least this time they are turning up.

Squad strengthening is the talk of the summer, this morning is no different except it’s more a case of who isn’t joining. That will be Sami Khedira who will find his €150k salary per week net of tax is €150k per week in Monaco whilst Loic Remy is about to find out the hard way that hubcaps are not legal tender anywhere other than Liverpool. Another forward Arsenal didn’t want is Mario Balotelli, some of the papers have taken the hint and finally written off the deal but the reliable as ever Heil continues to push it even though Milan have once more played the tape recording of Galliani denying a bid from Arsenal has been received. Probably because one has not been made and at the salary quoted, never will. But, and it’s a big BUT, Milan are in New York at the end of this week so…

Arsène mentioned that there was likely to be some activity before the season begins, David Ospina is one whose decision to walk from Nice to London rather than flying, might be one he regrets. That the Colombian is first choice for his country is an interesting choice of signing if it happens. The pressure will be on Szczesny like never before; whatever heroics Fabianski pulled off, he was never going to regain the manager’s favour again unless disaster struck. Ospina is different; 25, just a year older than the Pole but brimming with confidence after a decent World Cup. It is an eye-opening signing because Szczesny was always perceived as untouchable, even though he was dropped a season and a half ago. Wojciech was the future; now that’s not so clear.

With money to burn, Arsène has set about filling the gaps pragmatically but unlike rivals has two international goalkeepers of a similar age. There is no succession planning going on, one is not nearing the end of his career; this is a case of fighting for the goalkeepers jersey in the starting line-up. It’s good competition to have and welcome to. Personally, I think Szczesny improved last season but still some are irked by his confidence. Show me a meek goalkeeper and I’ll show you one with backache.

The competition is something to replicated throughout the squad. Talk of another midfielder is quashed in some quarters because of Diaby, Coquelin, Flamini or Arteta’s careers being stalled. The latter pair know it is coming at some point, perhaps sooner for Flamini because of his combative style requiring bigger energy reserves but age is against the duo. The former? Well, one has to prove fitness over a number of seasons before anyone is sure of him in that sense – talent can only delay conversations turning to injuries for so long – whilst I don’t think Coquelin is perceived as being Arsenal’s future any more.

Defensively, the central pairing are quite comfortable which is something that needs a little incentivising as does the forward line. In the past, Arsenal have had a culture of patience although once it wore thin, there was little hope of redemption from Wenger. His patriarchal style underpinned by ruthlessness. Now, that is baring its teeth more often, in terms of selling players quicker or not re-signing his favourites. I don’t think it’s a new Arsène by a long-shot, just the same one with money to rectify problems. Perhaps last summer was more of a watershed than was perceived at the time.

Another double-post day with Arsenal In The USA returning with previous visits to the USA; yes, there have been some…

’til Later.

154 thoughts on “Arsène On Signings, USA & A Lot More…

  1. Miami.

    He seemed a breath of fresh air in the same way our players have made England look more dynamic at times.
    Maybe I’m reading too much into one performance but I was a little surprised how much ability he had.
    4 mil seems like a bargain….for now.

  2. Reports saying Ospina will sign 4 year deal worth 60-70K/wk.

    Must say, he will be a very good Cup GK and will push Sczny to potentially be as good as we all think he can and will be.

  3. I can’t disagree with that Bill. We need more from the transfer market at this point, though I have no doubt you and I could find disagreement over the perceived numbers 🙂

    I still think an athletic DMC would be a huge boon for the club, someone adept at moving the ball from back to front in a pivot role whilst still demonstrating the positional nous to be the central shield to the back 4. Names have been slated on here already, a number of those would make a fine addition. If Tv5 is to depart we need another CB, no question. The keeper situation also needs resolution, hopefully we’ll know more soon.

    That aside, additions start to look more like gravy. Could we use another striker? maybe, but then if Arsene is true to his word you would have to assume that Giroud and Sanchez will be filling in that role. They are very different types of players, one more direct the other more physical. One blessed with pace and guile, the other robust and adept at bringing others in to the game. Their strengths speak to two different tactical styles. If Podolski and Sanogo are not really in the managers mind then I understand the view that we should be looking. However, both are capable of fulfilling the role to a greater or lesser degree.

    Perhaps I’m simply being to pragmatic in my view of the club. I see the last summer and this summers window as a pointer to a different approach to the way Arsenal is now conducting business. We are spending money. It may not be all the money, but we getting stronger as we add world class talent during these windows. We have some catching up to do after a period of lets shall we say, penny pinching. But, finally we are moving in a direction we were told we would, so I’m happy with the start and hopeful that the continued course see’s us better prepared as each season flows in to the next.

  4. @Colts

    He’s 32, which has a pretty significant impact upon his fee. I’m not saying he is awful at all, what you get with him is exactly what you see. He’ll be our Giroud, albeit, not quite as good.

  5. @MA

    I think now more than ever we need an athletic CDM that can cover for not just Gibbs but Debuchy as well due to both of them truly enjoying getting into the attack as much and as soon as possible. Not just that but with the likes of Theo, Sanchez, Ox, Podolski all more than capable of attacking with pace and quickness off of Ozil, Ramsey, Jack and Santi; we should allow that to happen with bringing in said CM/DM type.

    There isn’t a way that I can see us being a top side with just Arteta and Flamini next season even if Diaby finally comes good and shakes the injury even for a season.

  6. @C

    “There isn’t a way that I can see us being a top side with just Arteta and Flamini next season even if Diaby finally comes good and shakes the injury even for a season.”

    I can’t agree with this mate. Arteta and Flamini are definitely declining from a physical stand point, both are however seasoned professionals that for the most part demonstrate keen positional value (mostly, I’m looking at you there Flamini). What is more, if Diaby were to get through a season (which he won’t) then I think you’d see a significant amount of praise for the player at the end of the season. He can be a pivotal figure, has the ability to stamp his foot on the game, the issue is he’ll never ever ever stay fit for a season.

  7. @MA

    I get what you are saying about Flamini and Arteta, unfortunately we have also seen that Arsene seems to favor Arteta for the big matches which to be honest isn’t what we need as we saw last season and he will only decline more this season. The biggest thing for me is that both Debuchy and Gibbs enjoy joining the attack, well at present I just don’t see Arteta or Flamini at a high level, I mean table topping level being able to do it this year.

    Diaby is the wildcard, if he is able to have an injury free season and allow Arteta and Flamini to be the squad players that they are at this point then yea that’s one thing but it also shouldn’t be the reason why we don’t bring in an athletic CDM. If Diaby is able to come good though, that would be massive to be honest and I think he could be a potential match winner for us in midfield paired with Ramsey and Ozil.

    I’m not saying that we sell Arteta and Flamini but I will say that I would prefer they be squad players and not sure starters.

  8. Nothing wrong with Arteta and Flamini. Apart from a couple of high profile games where Wenger got his tactics wrong, we were defensively solid last season.

    yes we could do with some rejuvenation in DM but that can wait next summer.

    There is something to be said as well for continuity and familiarity particularly for Meterscielny and considering we will be adapting Debuchy (which is why no we do not need Manquilo)

    Priority right now (presuming we have Ospina in the bag) is a Cback above all.

    We need a good enough player to rotate through Meterscielny. Being a back up isn’t good enough. Preferably this player must have some physical attributes of Per (height) and Koscielny (speed). It would help if he is between 23-25 being that our central pair are now 27 ++

    Beyond that whilst Wenger does not see another striker, I think the ball is up in the air with regard our striking option.

    As mentioned today buy Cox, Sanchez is not a number 9 so if Giroud gets knocked, our next back up to his attributes is Sanogo who has yet to find his feet.

    Campbell is a different option up front and I for one am a bit amazed no one seems to rate him. He has had an excellent season at Olympiakos and a very good outing with the world cup in an overachieving Costa Rican side.

    He holds the ball up well considering 5’10 frame and has speed plus a good first touch and vision.

    @22, I think he is close to the age where Walcott, Ramsey and indeed the great Henry came good.

    If Wenger does not give him a berth in the starting line up this season, I suspect he will be gone to another club very quickly.

    I would think the gaffer will keep a close watch on both Campbell and Sanogo in pre-season but it is Sanogo that concerns me bc of his relative inexperience.

    if he is still struggling, I would think that the gaffer will still secretly hold an option for a buy up front late on providing opportunity is still there.

    this player does not have to be a top billing (on account we have Sanchez to liven up the front) and would likely be an economical buy (stop gap) for Sanogo to develop over another season or so.

    someone like Michu who is versatile but retains (some of ) the height of Giroud and has a bit of nuance to his play could be useful up top. he won’t cost much as his price has cooled plus his age would dictate his use. he can be re-roled next season to LW should Podolski leave or further into midfield in lieu of Rosicky retiring.

    No Mitrogolou please. Struggling at Fulham where in Jan many were bleating on about him being better than Giroud.

    Just like no Wanyama, Gustavo or MVilla. Tall bruising DMs we supposedly need but where are their careers now?

  9. C:

    I think positional sense, avoidance of individual mistakes and team ethos are much more critical then talent for a teams defense. It was not the players we had but it was the lack of team pride in our defense and attack at all costs team ethos that were the biggest downfall during all of those years we played such miserable defense. I don’t think it takes nearly as much talent or pace to play well at DM. In short I agree with Miami and I think Flamini and Arteta can hold the fort for another season if needed and I would rather see us concentrate on getting another scorer. Our transfer team does not seem to do multitasking and they prefer to do this one deal at a time so for me one more scorer should be a bigger priority.

  10. @Bill

    Its interesting how people have been clamouring to add power, athleticism and strength to our midfield because its something we so deperately lack but are okay going into next season with Arteta and Flamini. I hear what your saying but lets also add to what your saying about defending that at some point you need to not just protect the back 4 but also the FB’s and we saw last season that Arteta simply can’t do it against the top sides anymore. How many times was the space behind the FB’s exposed because Arteta or Flamini simply couldn’t cover it? Liverpool, Everton, Bayern, Chavs, Shitty, Dortmund just to name a couple. Again I’m not saying Arteta and Flamini can’t do a job, but in the system that we currently play and played previously, CDM has to be able to cover for both FB’s as they join our attack freely and if we are truly to mount a serious title challenge, we need to nab a CDM.

    We may have to agree to disagree on this.

  11. + tactically Arsene got it wrong with the big games.

    Did not help that some of our speedy assets in Walcott and Chamberlain were missing for the later half of the season plus we lacked nuance up top with Giroud as our only option.

    This season with Sanchez, we are more effective and able to play a 4-4-1-1 if need be.

    Last season we sat too high against certain opponents bc we were afraid to hold a deeper line due to their quality.

    Some teams like City took us apart through the middle not bc of Arteta or Flamini’s lack of quality but bc we were overloaded and Wenger did not react quickly enough to stem the issue.

    On occasion Flamini was used singularly to hold and was overwhelmed (I believe it was City). In this game, it would have been better to have had two holding players.

    Later on, Wenger tried playing chamberlain centrally next to the DM and we were again taken apart. As I mentioned, Chamberlain is more effective (at the moment) out wide where a Rosicky would have been a better choice to hold alongside Arteta is need be.

    This season of course, there is the possibility of Diaby albeit I don’t think any of us will want to rely on that. But if he is fit for certain games, he can be a tipping point for us.

    Plus the threat we add up top will reduce that against us at the back with the ability to break quicker having assets available like Walcott, Ox and Sanchez (not to mention Gnabry)

    Khedira IMO was an opportunity buy for Wenger but did not necessarily dictate that he would be in the market for lesser names such as bender or Scheniderlin (god forbid for the price quoted)

    Wenger will feel we have enough to hold till next summer or at very least with injury to this position, he can visit it in Jan.

    We will deifnitely visit the replacement of Arteta next summer.

    Finally, there is also the issue of Coquelin. Likely he will not make the grade but he seems eager to press a point and will be watched critically over coming weeks. He isn’t as bad a player as many think but trouble is he hasn’t hit the heights yet either at 23. Could be a stop gap cover till next summer.

  12. @c

    Against the top sides with overload to our middle, the prescription is to play two holding mids in Arteta and Flamini. For that matter Diaby or Coquelin could feature.

    We lose creativity from the middle in this instance but with Sanchez( and hopefully Walcott), we gain it on the flanks.

    also we have to be more efficient with our transitions.

    We have demonstrated an ability to hold deeper which suits the older players in Flamini and Arteta as we stay compact with less ground to cover.

    point of transition (Mourinho’s fav) is where we need to spring out quickly and be able to hit the ball to an outlet up top to take out the opposite side before they can regroup. here distribution from Arteta is important but also Giroud’s a bility to hold the ball or a quicker outlet in Sanchez, walcott or indeed Campbell.

    Too many times I see us defending corners without intent to attack. We need to defend every set piece as an opportunity to hit on the counter like a coiled spring ready to striker 9which was back in the day with Pires and Henry). I believe we are nearing those assets again.

    The familiarity and strength in base that Arteta (and Flamini) gives this season must not be underestimated. there is merit to understanding amongst the back 4 and the holding mids ahead. Particularly with the intergration of Debuchy, we have to be careful not to have too much flux unless of course the player coming in is of the quality of a Khedira which is a long term solution.

    Bender and Schneiderlin in particular seem like band aid solutions to an eventual Arteta succession at this point.

  13. C / Bill / santori

    Another aspect to needing to address CDM is that we are expecting to be playing with more pace and on the break from the wide forward areas? Sanchez and the return of them, ox and maybe gnabry?

    If we turn over possession on an advanced break that period of transition will be a vulnerable phase of play. As we try to stretch opponents, we will ourselves be stretched and gaps will appear. You may think otherwise, but I anticipate to see it more often next season. It’s why peps Barca were drilled to work damn hard to immediately turn a transition back to their possession (or maybe foul)

    This is going to put pressure on all areas of defends, but particularly FBs In the modern style of that position.

    A solution to that problem and allow our pace players, midfield box to boxers and even full backs to attack with freedom is to employ an athletic, tough tackling, game reading CDM. Arteta and Flamini are excellent squad players, but they are not quite up to this job in my eyes for an entire season anymore

  14. Plus we have to utilise our assets better with the proper set up.

    He has players who can provide vertical ability dribbling through the middle in Jack and Diaby. Or Ramsey and Rosicky who are more pass and move merchants but who possess better vision.

    We will also have options behind the striker in Santi and/or Ozil or Sanchez in a 4-4-1-1.

    There are practically 3 options for most of our positions right now. Midfield particularly is fluid and flexible.

    4-2-3-1 is the conservative way to go against certain teams with huge talent assets.

    But the 4-4-1-1 could also be very useful hitting on the break. As we have seen on numerous occasions 9particularly recently in the world cup), possession does not necessarily mean anything. The sort of threat that Sanchez (or Walcott) will pose will also in many ways make certain teams think harder about comitting too far forward into our area which will make space more manageable for us where we lacked that on numerous occasions against bigger teams, being particularly predictable at times for them.

  15. @Damon

    This depends how effective our front assets are operating with restricted numbers and how much we have to deploy to support from holding midfield areas.

    BC we were not as efficient last season due to Giroud being our main outlet, our central midfield had to come up to provide numbers thereby leaving gaps.

    If we are better able to work through the lines with less assets and (if we can) catch them quicker on the break, we can keep one of the holding assets (likely an Arteta) seating deeper for cover where the second mid will move closer in support toward the action and press high should we be turned over.

    We lacked that option last season for many games without our wide assets. Our midfielders were too slow and tentative on many ocassions providing support for Giroud or in other cases too stretched out bc of lack of pace.

  16. @Damon

    You are stating exactly what I’m getting at! You said it much better than what I was able to and in a lot less characters 🙂

  17. New signing alert…

    “Arsenal have signed central-midfielder Georgios Spanoudakis from Barcelona” (15 years old)

  18. @Santori

    The way you are talking it sounds like you want us to play exactly like the Chavs play. I think you are also failing to remember that Ramsey ISN’T going anywhere and will start the vast majority, especially the BIG matches as one of the pivots. So the other pivot must be able to shield the back 4, we saw it to many times even when we started midfielders on the wing.

    I mean do you not remember the 1st half against Southampton prior to Arsene taking off Flamini I think it was. We had both Flamini and Arteta with I think Ramsey on one flank and our midfield was COMPLETELY overran and that isn’t the only example. Liverpool put Suarez on the flanks because Arteta simply couldn’t cover for the FB’s, Roberto Martinez put Lukuka on the flanks simply because Arteta couldn’t cover for Gibbs and how did those matches turn out for us 😉

  19. @MA

    I just saw that, I think they say he is a CM that plays the pivot and is a deep lying playmaker from what I read.

    Arsene loves poaching them from Barca young!

  20. Atheletic and tough CDM means nothing if he has no positional sense.

    The game these days is more technical. Many of the top ‘DM’s at the moment are not particularly tall.

    The likes of Wanyama, MVila and Gustavo all meant to be solutions to our midfield problems have gone no where with their career nor have they answered any questions to the modern holding role.

    Arteta’s job is not just to hold the ball and shield the back 4 but also as a recycler much like Pirlo. BC he use to play as a playmaker for Everton and is a good distributor, he is able to move the ball forward with a good pass which is faster than any speed merchant trying to break out from the back.

    Thereby if we have the assets for him to hit at (Walcott, Ox, Gnabry, Sanchez), his passing skill set is as equally important as his positional sense, granted his legs are slightly more worn due to age.

    Khedira is a top asset bc he combines the recycling skill along with height and power to dribble through the middle. There aren’t many out there to be frank like him therefore I am certain Wenger will not bother with second options at this point. It would be a band aid fix and not necessarily an upgrade.

    One asset that is of course a massive IF for us is Diaby. He has improved in his understanding of the game and positionally over last 3 seasons (sadly interrupted through injury). He now combines both the defensive awareness and the ability to devastate forward (IMO better than Khedira). But his availability will always be a question mark. Fingers crossed, he will stay fit. It is a risk but if we have Arteta, Flamini and possibly Coquelin (pending review this pre-season) as 4th choice, we have plenty of cover.

  21. Arteta and Flamini against Southampton was and over articulation. Southampton’s strengths are from the wide areas.

    But the same may not be said against City for example who powered through our middle. In this instance, a solid wall of Flamini and Arteta would have helped somewhat.

    There is nothing wrong with being pragmatic. This is the issue with Wenger as at times, he is too much of an idealist. If something is not working out, things need to change quickly (which yes, is a Mourinho trait)

    Wenger plays with flair (well not recently as he has been more pragmatic and gained results) but too often he is not quick enough to realise tactical disadvantages in a game and does not switch thing around quickly. Thereby the team is left to flounder for an answer and we are then 2-3 goals down and its all over. This has been an issue against the top teams last season. With respect to Wenger, he was also restricted to choices in assets up front for large parts but some of his set ups were completely befuddling, yes including the one against Southampton.

    There is no one magic pill in terms of set up in midfield. The midfiield (and I am sure this is what Wenger is striving for) must have sufficient flexibility in assets to meet different threats.

  22. @Santori

    Pirlo and Arteta play 2 completely different roles for their sides. PIrlo is actually shielded by Pogba and Vidal. The thing with Pirlo though is that he is constantly looking to play the quick counter and push the side forward.

    If we are truly looking to play with more pace which is the reason Sanchez was bought to play with Ozil, Theo, Ox, Podolski, Ramsey, Yaya then we need a player that wants to play the ball forward and with pace to Ramsey and Ozil, Jack and Santi not play the ball back to Mert or Kos and slow down and stop play.

    Don’t get me wrong I understand that they need to have positional awareness but the players that I think would do well have exactly that to be honest. Watch players like Khederia, Javi Martinez, Bender, SChneiderlin, they all are not just athletic but also have the positional awareness while also being able to cover for the FB’s.

  23. @C

    regards Liverpuddle.

    Bear in mind we got more joy out of Liverpool and contained Suarez in other games too.

    Gibbs would need to be positonally sensitive. No point blaming Arteta for that and attributing it to a lack of speed.

    Koscielny is also covering at left side.

    More likely if we are not balanced centrally, the opponents can make an issue of us out wide. thereby if arteta has to cover both areas (or any CDM for the matter) it will be a stretch to get to Suarez if he breaks out left.;)

  24. @C

    And don’t get me wrong I am not adverse to a more robust presence in midfield and as mentioned have said that Arteta is likely to be replaced.

    But I don’t think it is a priority this season.

    We have more pressing issues at CBack at the moment.

    If Khedira was available, I think Wenger would have pulled the trigger (granted correct pricing) but otherwise, he will likely wait till next summer. Scheiderlin is a band aid much like Wanyama, MVilla, Gustavo. all those names (which also came with ‘attractive price tags’) represent the tall bruising CDM school. none of them have impressed particularly.

    Schneiderlin? Nah.

  25. Pirlo does not play with Pogba with Italy and is still effective (if we discount the last world cup of course…cough cough)

    I’m not against a tall and strong asset. But it is not the only way of playing these days.

  26. @Santori

    The thing is that you, me, MA and everybody else needs to either realize or remember is that Arsene is going to play the way he wants to play which is with Ramsey/Ozil/CDM with wide players that have pace and like to finish, with Sanchez/Giroud/Yaya as our main strikers and with FB’s that like to join in the attack but are more than capable of defending at a high level. Now in that system the key is that we need our midfield to boss matches and dictate play, with that said, we need a CDM to make it all work or teams will just simply overpower our midfield. Our CDM needs to be able to cover for the FB’s, he needs to be able to at times stand as a one man wall infront of our CB’s and say “Thou shall not enter”, he needs to be able to be athletic and add power(something that has universally been admitted that we lack in midfield), he also needs to be able to play futbol and start our quick counters not slow the play down when we have an opportunity to break.

    So you can say and preach that Arteta and Flamini are more than capable of doing that but as we saw last year its good enough to get us into 4th and win the FA Cup which is more than has happened and I am thrilled to see happen but at the same time I want my club to lift the EPL, CL, FA Cup(again), CC trophy and in order for that to happen we need to constantly keeping getting better and bringing in quality and if that means players like Arteta and Flamini become nothing more than squad players, so be it.

  27. a big physical midfeilder is what weve lacked for a while..
    we have one already but hes always crocked and cant stay fit long enough to reach potential…
    and hes almost at testimonial level!!!

    time to replace him…
    should have done it last year, should have done it the year we sold song..

    i dont expect us to make the same mistake again this year, diaby needs replacing…and if he stays fit for a bit then great it helps us but if hes crocked again and weve not done anything about it then it just hinders us..

    a midfielder wasnt as high up the priority ladder as a striker a gk or a rb but on the priority ladder he was and i expect us to bring him in.

    last seasons windows saw us bring in a freebie stop gap and a loanee in midfield, wengers fully aware of whats needed and apparently this time weve got the money to do it properly and not botch it..

  28. @Santori

    For Italy he plays with Marchisio, De Rossi, Motta, Montilvo just to name a couple that do the same thing.

  29. @Santori

    Lets make no mistake, in the FA Cup if you remember correctly, before we got a foot hold into that game, Suarez was terrorizing us for the majority of the first half before we eventually got a foot hole into the match and Ozil, Ox, Yaya and Podolski really started finding joy getting at their back 4.

  30. @Santori

    At present we don’t have an issue at CB because Verm is still at the club unless you have some insider information that we all don’t 😉

  31. we dont play a pirlo formation..
    our playmaker plays behind the striker not in front of the defence its a totally different set up

  32. and yeah, you can see the calls for a CB becuase with sagna gone weve lost our 4th choice and we needed it last year..

    now madrid have started going for it and going for it early we could well snatch a few from them..

    varane anyone??

  33. I would take Di Maria too. Imagine a front 3 of Di Maria/Sanchez/Theo, thats something that just got a rise out of me 😉

  34. So James Rodriguez is officially the #10 at Real Madrid!

    Maybe they need to get rid of Khederia or Di Maria on the cheap!

  35. i think they’ll both be sold to accomodate their new shiney arrivals but unfortunately i dont think we’ll go for either..
    i personally would but you let me loose on our finances and i’ll give IG nightmares in a day…..


    For the benefit of C :

    Vermaelen will leave.

    Priority after Ospina is : CBACK.

    After that likely still a striker over a DM.

    Phil Jones or Smalling rumoured as make weight.

    Personally, ex United players have never come off well for us.

    Likely United would part with Smalling as he is the weaker of the two last season.

    Jones is the (slightly) more versatile.

    Smalling fits the bill otherwise at 24 and 6’4, he has some of the height of Metersecker and some of the mobility of Koscielny.

    Plenty of promise but he was a frustrating player for United I believe last season. Wenger will have to turn him around.

    The United move for Vermaelen is likely.

  37. With regard Arteta, no he isn’t a Pirlo

    but Pirlo isn’t a Pgba or a Martinez or Khedira and he works out just find for Italy.

    the point of comparison between Arteta and Pirlo is that they are both deep lying playmakers in a sense. Both have good tehcnique passing from deep 9Pirlo of course the better).

    Arteta is used to recycle the ball from deep rather than to merely be a hatchet player which was the old definition of a traditional DM. this is the current trend.

    As mentioned Khedira combines both hence Wenger’s specific interest if available.

    Sans khedira availability, Wenger’s main priority will be Cback reinforcement.

    If either of Meterscielny gets knocked, we are up shit’s creek.

    Dm we have Arteta, Flamini (the odd) Diaby appearance and Coquelin if need be. It will hold.

    Thereafter the Cback, i would still be more nervous with our striker situation than with DM (albeit it will be a tough call). Giroud injury would revert us to dependency on Sanogo. frankly i would prioritise Dm as third after we seal ospina. 😉

  38. Khedira may not be sold depending on how much Di maria goes for.

    Wenger will likely not take Di Maria. We jus bought Sanchez who if I have to remind you again at 5’7 is about an inch taller than Santi Carzola. As mentioned by Cox on the Arsenal website (if you don’t want to take my word for it), Sanchez is more effective out RW or as a second striker playing off a big man.

    Some of you have your priorities slightly off kilter. Its good to dream I suppose but reality is slightly different.

  39. I only count one signing so far and that’s Sanchez.

    The rest are replacements for players we’ve lost.

  40. Still not seeing this Pirlo/Arteta comparison. As JJ said, our playmaker usually plays behind the attack not in front of the defence. Pirlo does not have to do the heavy lifting as he has bruisers in front of him for both club and country who can protect both him and the defence. One of the reasons Pirlo is so successful is that he gets time on the ball in that deep role and the players screening him do such a good job. If Arteta were to be in that role he would need a CDM to protect him and he certainly hasn’t got that at the moment.
    May be my memory plays tricks on me, but I thought that the Arteta/Flamini pairing was one of our worst last season. Not only did it slow down the movement of the ball through the midfield, but I didn’t feel that they were the solid wall that has been suggested. I’m sure there are a raft of statistics to prove me completely wrong on that.

  41. Wavey

    I’m with you on that. I thought Flamini and Arteta started as a great pairing in the last season. Napoli at home being stand out?

    Towards the end of the season my heart sank a bit when I saw them start together. Not sure if it was fatigue, if they’d been found out a bit or a blend of the two. Either way……..

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