Getting All Defensive and Other Transfer Rumours

Arsenal’s new regime has taken the old footballing adage that all good teams are built on a strong defence to heart. And old habits die hard as well. Signing a 15-year-old from Barcelona isn’t anything new and certainly not worth getting excited about; it’s not an immediate solution to our problems and carries no guarantee of being a long-term one either.

Caglar Soyuncu’s agent confirmed he talked with Arsenal but, shock, horror, no fee is agreed with Freiburg. His Mr3% also let slip that Sven is a big admirer of the player and scouted him when he was at Dortmund. If anyone wants to know what BVB might have looked like had Sven got his way, watch Arsenal this season.

At some point, we need to say that’s it with the defence; job done. We have two specialist right-backs, two specialist left-backs, and half-a-dozen central defenders if this signing goes through. I’d prefer us to replace Mustafi with a better centre-back but that’s personal opinion. That he wasn’t anywhere near the final 23 to go to Russia for Germany says it all. Given his form since moving to Arsenal, is his international career over?

However, with a new coach and defensive training, maybe he will surprise us all. Certainly, he’s among those who need to improve or be sold. Somehow, I think we’d struggle to recoup the £30m+ we paid for him. However, any contribution to transfer funds is welcome.

The question of who we’ll buy further up the pitch gets answered once negotiations with Aaron Ramsey get going. They aren’t going to be quick but the English transfer window hamstrings us to a point. I guess we’ll judge how they are panning out and act accordingly. The incoming player will be comfortable in the same XI or replacing him.

Walk in Silence

It’s an expensive punt. With Juventus reportedly willing to offer Jack a deal if he doesn’t stay, we’re seeing the folly of previous contract mismanagement. Last summer was his ‘sign or sell’ moment; we did neither, bumbling along as we always did.

With few saleable assets, we can’t afford the same mistakes with Ramsey. That’s one of the aspects the new dynamic at the top is in place to stop recurring. While football is a sport demanding instant results, this is a long-term project. There can be immediate results but changing the culture of a club takes time.

It’s not quite the same balancing act as last season’s Ozil and Sanchez fiasco but not far off. If we’re honest, we won’t lose as much money if Jack walks away as would had the German told us he was going to do one. Nonetheless, it’s money down the pan.

After missing out on the World Cup, he needs to get his career back on track. Apparently, he’s seeking assurances from Unai Emery which surely can’t be given? Everyone is starting from scratch – although some are further along the road than others – with a new coach and with Aubameyang and Lacazette to fit into the line-up, there’s more competition for the midfield roles.

Looking at PSG, I’d guess Aubameyang will notionally fill a wider role given Lacazette’s more ‘static’ style. With Mkhitaryan on the other wing, we’re down to a central trio. One’s Ozil, one’s Xhaka; two into one won’t go in this instance. Bar a dramatic loss of form or injuries, it’s difficult to see Jack playing that often.

At the top clubs that will be his situation wherever he goes. If Wilshere is looking for a guaranteed starting place, the likes of Palace or West Ham are his solution.

Don’t Walk Away. In Silence.

They aren’t the only two with plenty of thinking over the summer. Decisions must be made on whether the likes of Maitland-Niles and Willock would benefit more from a loan spell than spending a year on the bench, with occasional cup appearances.

Loans can often be the death-knell for a career but both players showed enough in the Europa League to suggest they will make a good fist of a career at Arsenal. However, we need to get them ready for first-team action on a regular basis if that is to be the case. That may come quicker with a loan.

Elsewhere, the lad Aldi is hedging his bets it seems. He’s “considering a dramatic change of heart” and may stay in Paris. Don’t think, just do; one way or the other.

’til Tomorrow.

43 thoughts on “Getting All Defensive and Other Transfer Rumours

  1. If Jack wants assurance, he needs to leave Arsenal and surely doesn’t need to go to Juve because no offense to Jack but Pjanic is twice the player Jack is.

    Midfield, well I think it will be made clear sooner rather than later. Torreira, Seri(though I don’t see him leaving now that Vieira is on board), Sanson,and the pleathora of other pivots we have been linked too…makes you wonder if re-signing Jack and Ramsey are Plan B.

  2. Soyuncu for £35m would be fantastic. He and Mustafi could be very promising and with Sokaritis as the veteran experience and a couple of kids then we are good to go.

  3. Torreira, we need to get this deal done asap. Sampdoria playing one of the quickest tempo and was one of the high pressing teams in Europe and Torreira was at the heart of that. Also, since his debut for Uruguay in March, he has been a critical piece with many tipping him to be one of the best young talents at thr World Cup bar none.

  4. C:
    If Jack wants assurance, he needs to leave Arsenal and surely doesn’t need to go to Juve because no offense to Jack but Pjanic is twice the player Jack is.

    Midfield, well I think it will be made clear sooner rather than later.Torreira, Seri(though I don’t see him leaving now that Vieira is on board), Sanson,and the pleathora of other pivots we have been linked too…makes you wonder if re-signing Jack and Ramsey are Plan B.

    I agree with you about jack

    If we sign a couple of players like seri or Sanson then it’s unlikely that either elneny or Maitland-Niles
    make the bench and their only chance for minutes is early round cup games. I would much prefer we sign those new players even it means blocking Maitland-Niles, willock, iwobe etc but you often talk about wanting a bigger role for elneny and Maitland-Niles. You can’t have it both ways

  5. C:
    Soyuncu for£35m would be fantastic.He and Mustafi could be very promising and with Sokaritis as the veteran experience and a couple of kids then we are good to go.

    I am all for signing Soyuncu but if we do it means very few minutes for chambers and probably no minutes for Holding and Mavroponos. Kos will probably be back by mid season which will be the end of chambers minutes. I think we should send mavroponos and holding on loan for at 2 years

  6. As far as the attack, I think Emery will bring out thr best of our front 4 because if you take a look at Aubameyang/Ozil/Lacazette/Mkhitaryan, they are all players who have high futboling IQ’s and flourish in a quicker tempo with runners and that is exactly what Emery wants. The other thing is that people need to really have a look at Emery’s past sides, he wants his front 4 to play and attack freely and stay high up the pitch and not do a lot of tracking back and thata exactly why he also demands his pivots to sit and if you look they are more sitters and dictators who cover loads of ground in midfield.

  7. Bill,

    Not so sure about that mate, Maitland-Niles and Elneny will feature and get more mins simply through the sheer amount of matches we play and having followed Emery, he doesn’t mind rotating based on the opposition. They will make the bench unless Maitland-Niles goes on loan.

    I’m not convinced that Ramsey and/or Jack will stay and think a lot of it will be based on who we bring in.

  8. Bill,

    Kos might not feature at all next season because he isn’t even expected back in training until Jan. I was always of the mind that one of Chambers or Holding will be sold between this summer and next. Mavropanos will feature for the U23’s next season and then feature quite regularly in the CC and early FA Cup matches and that is exactly where he should be in his development next season as a 20 year old only entering his 1st full season with Arsenal.

    Kos is finished, he was showing signs of it the season before and really started to show it last season as injuries have robbed him of his pace and quickness. His Achilles and back are two things that will last especially after doing you Achilles and the other thing that you HAVE to remember is that this is and will be a different Arsenal under Emery, no more loyalty to past warriors (though I imagine Kos will get a proper send off) walking back into the side. We are buying Sokaritis and Soyuncu because somebody, possibly Emery, Mislintat and Sanllehi all think we need CB reinforcements because what we have isn’t good enough.

    There is a player in Mustafi he just needs to be coached up after a very inconsistent season last year.

  9. C

    At the start of project youth Arsene always said that buying experienced players blocks your prospects and he was right. We see that in all of the other big teams in Europe in this decade. Like it or not building teams where you are counting on getting minutes for your inexperienced prospects and trying to go toe to toe with the other big teams are competing objectives. Its the big team conundrum. If we buy Seri and Torreira then Maitland-Niles is blocked for several years but if we build a squad that gives Maitland-Niles chances then we can’t really expect to compete with Liverpool when they buy players like Fabinho and Keita.

  10. Bill:
    C

    At the start of project youth Arsene always said that buying experienced players blocks your prospects and he was right. We see that in all of the other big teams in Europe in this decade.Like it or not building teams where you are counting on getting minutes for your inexperienced prospects and trying to go toe to toe with the other big teams are competing objectives. Its the big team conundrum. If we buy Seri and Torreira then Maitland-Niles is blocked for several years but if we build a squad that gives Maitland-Niles chances then we can’t really expect to compete with Liverpool when they buy players like Fabinho and Keita.

    As much as investing in project youth gives the club a huge sense of fulfilment and pride in promoting from within, it’s highly counter productive in the increasingly more competitive football environment and demands for almost immediate results. So, it’s either here or there. Looking at the best teams world over today, how many were hell bent on project youth malady. With the look of things, I think we have more to be happy about regarding the arsenal than otherwise

  11. I think we have all hoped Jack would be better than what he showed last season. As things stand losing Jack is a good thing now, while we might have sold him for a profit, his absence frees up some funds on the wage bill.

  12. C

    From Yesterday. I agree that Bellerin is not going to beat out Carvajal for quite a while but you would have thought if the Spanish coaches rated Hector as a top player and one for the future then they would have given him a squad spot as Carvajal’s back up. No?

  13. Bill,

    It pains me to say it, but after Spurs we’re we’re the current poor relations at the top of the table, well top quarter of the table. With the fifth-highest wage bill, and not coming close to selling a player for the fee LFC received for Coutinho, our best give hope is to give playing time to younger footballers, without burdening them with full responsibility. I’m talking fourth cm, 3rd winger, 3rd/4th striker 4th/5th cb.

    Provided they’re talented, it’s obviously cost-effective to have hungry lower earners waiting in the wings, where an older, more expensive player like Debuchy or Podolski will become unsettled and under-perform.

    I think we’ve missed a step in development in the last two or three years.

    And as if to prove it, none of the superclubs want our players.

    LFC’s rise has partly been paid for by good coaching i.e. developing Coutinho and Sterling and reinvesting. How could they have afforded van Dijk or Fabinho (or even Naby Keita) if it hadn’t been for Coutinho, knowing that he was on his way as long ago as last summer. They got him as a 20 year-old and Sterling came from QPR for almost nothing.

    We can’t afford 20 experienced players – not at PL fees and wages. But that’s part of the rationale for overhauling scouting, backroom, senior management etc, because our supply line has dried up IMO. If Spurs and Liverpool can give plenty of minutes to younger players, there’s no reason why we shouldn’t. They’re our peers at the moment, like it or not.

  14. Of all the prospects on the books Ainsley MN looked by far the best last season. If he is coached into the defensive midfield role, that Wenger said was his natural position (but played him at left back)he could make it his own. There is very little competition for that position outside Elneny at the moment.

  15. And Joy Division in the subheadings. Plus I didn’t say how much I liked the Fall playlist, YW. My favourite track is Lie Dream of a Casino Soul. I think it just about sums them up at their best.

  16. Never mind potential player signings, how about this deal with TIDAL???!!!!

    Wait…what?

  17. Yogi

    Another top post. Thanks for your daily efforts on our behalf.

    Obviously there are differences in the way they play but in the big picture I think Mkhitaryan, Ozil, Wilshere and Ramsey all have a skill set which fits best as flair players and attacking midfielders. They are all attack minded players but none of them score a lot of goals and none of them add much on the defensive end. Its best if you only have 1 of those on the pitch. Using 2 at the same time is cutting it close. However, we have 4 high profile players who all fit that same mold and we only need 2 or at most 3. For better or worse that leaves no room for Jack Wilshere and if Ramsey does not sign his contract then he needs to go also. My self I would love to see us off load Ozil but that will never happen.

  18. Bill,

    There is a massive difference between giving youth a chance and project youth. For instance, at PSG Emery started Lo Celson in midfield, Aerola as his first choice GK and Kimbempe at CB who were ALL youth products that he used regularly. Bringing in Torriera doesn’t block Maitland-Niles because there are loads of matches and he will still play.

    Making blanket statements like big clubs don’t buy or use U23 players is madness. Again, your comparing project youth ans building a whole youth XI and I’m talking about incorporating a couple U23 players that clearly are comfortable and good enough to play in the first XI.

  19. Birdkamp

    Everything you say makes sense. However, the problem for me is that we have already tried what you are suggesting at least twice in the Emirates era. The first project youth in 2006-10 and then the young English core early in this decade and in both cases we invested several years into building for the future and in both cases we fell short. Unfortunately, it takes several years before you know that you have fallen short. I think we need to show real success and improvement fairly early in the Emery Era. If we embark on another 4-5 year plan that may not work again and then we start over in 2022.

  20. Birdkamp

    You made the point that big teams sometimes have to sell players and reinvest to build themselves. Liverpool, Spurs, Chelsea and even Barca and Real sell players. I was campaigning for selling Jack W a few years ago when there were rumours about a transfer fee of $50M. We missed a big chance to improve the club back then. We don’t have many over rated players right now but we should take advantage of the opportunities as they present themselves.

  21. Bill,

    I think your mistaking Arsenal for a club that can sell players and if we are tired of square pegs in round holes and to really give Emery, Mislintat and Sanllehi a chance, we must keep talented players, sell those that don’t want to re-sign and buy wisely. Bellerin just signed a new deal and I actually think we should wait for casting judgement on any defender we havr given Arsene’s non-chalant at best attitude towards defending.

    Lets also not act as though Lichtsteiner is 30-31, he is 34 and has played 300+ matches in the last couple of seasons and there was a reason Juve bought a new RB.

  22. C

    The problem is that next season we almost certainly will be in a dog fight if we hope to climb back to 4th place and every point will be important. We don’t have wiggle room to try things which might not work. If we buy 2 new defensive minded midfielders as you suggest then we have 3 experienced players for the 2 pivot positions. It potentially would be suicidal in regards to our chances to finish 4th if we rotate any deeper then those 3 players for the 2 pivot slots.

  23. We have the same issue at CB. I know people will want to see Mavroponos, Chambers and Holding get minutes but if we buy 2 CB’s which is something we should do then we have 3 players for 2 positions and most teams don’t rotate CB’s especially if they are in danger of falling out of 4th place.

    We also want to find minutes for Nelson and Willock and potentially Jeff if he comes back. I understand the concept but the devil is in the details. Its possible that Emery will want to win a trophy early in his era and the league cup is the low hanging fruit. We have not won the league cup in this century. He might now be willing to write off the league cup as a chance to blood youth.

  24. Could we sign Gelson Martin for free? If so then Mislintat, Huss and Sanllehi need to make that happen right now!!!!

  25. The last sentence was supposed to say: He might not be willing to write off the league cup and use it as nothing more then a chance to blood youth.

  26. Bill,

    When have I ever suggested buying 2 new pivots? Torreira comes, Elneny, Xhaka and Maitland-Niles would do just fine especially in a high pressing uptempo passing style that Emery likes to employ. Right because having a 24 year old bought from a relegated side and and an 18 year old as your starting FB’s won’t help you get to the CL Final right😂

  27. Vieira , the new Nice manager will ensure Seri is not sold, particularly to Arsenal if sale is mooted. Youth development is good, but it appears that this new emphasis is to tighten up Kroenke purse strings. We should never trust this man spending money to buy players. In the short and medium terms, we need to climb back to top 4 as a big club, be in the CL and provide challenge to other top clubs; that means buying talents. The youth development then could be a long term plan.

  28. If we end our summer with Lichtsteiner, Coyuncu or Pavard, Sokaritis, Martin and Torriera that would be a summer were I would say…’well fucking done Mislintat, Emery, Sanllehi and Huss!’

  29. I forgot about iwobe. If we are going to give youth a chance then he is going to need significant minutes unless we are ready to write him off.

  30. Bill:
    I forgot about iwobe. If we are going to give youth a chance then he is going to need significant minutes unless we are ready to write him off.

    I wrote him off months back Bill…

  31. C

    It’s going to be difficult to climb back to 4th no matter how we divide the minutes. Its going to be even more of a struggle if we build a squad where Maitland-Niles and Iwobe and chambers all get significant minutes. If we do that then it does become another project youth.

    If we decide to work just 1 player like Maitland-Niles into the rotation then it will take at least 2 seasons to see how it works and what happens to the Iwobe and Chambers and Mavroponos etc etc etc during that time? Perhaps the worst part is we could give Maitland-Niles 2 years and he is likely to turn out to be the next Frimpong or Denison and during those 2 years we are potentially sacrificing points we can’t afford to surrender because we dont buy anyone who might bury Maitland-Niles

  32. C:
    If we end our summer with Lichtsteiner, Coyuncu or Pavard, Sokaritis, Martin and Torriera that would be a summer were I would say…’well fucking done Mislintat, Emery, Sanllehi and Huss!’

    Yup, me too. Shame they couldn’t get adli over the line, though Lopez looks set to sign.
    I’ve missed the days when we were involved in signing elite potential. It slightly irritates me that throughout a period where silly money is bein spent we’ve let our best players go for nothin. But hey, we back baby.

    Vaguely remember reading sportings training ground got attacked which triggered a clause in his contract.

  33. Every team in the world wants to give youth a chance and build its own star players. If developing players and winning things at the same time was easy then every big team would be doing it. The reality is that they are competing objectives and if you try to mix the 2 then you don’t do either as well.

  34. If we are going to decide to put a build for the future plan in place and leave squad spots own for Iwobe Maitland-Niles chambers etc then I doubt Ozil, PEA Lacazette, Ramsey Mustafi Cech Nacho etc etc will be very happy with a team involved with a several year rebuilding project.

  35. YW–
    I am thrilled you’ve stated the Mustafi Conundrum in print.
    Would like nothing more than to see him moved now– get what we can.
    As one of the few salable assets– and with cover of all sorts, ages, and sizes?
    Really do not want his style in the middle of a trio of on-the-cusp CBs.

    jw1

  36. Not wanting to change the subject but USA USA USA looked solid against France and almost won. I am not sure it means a whole lot in the long term for the USA USA USA. However, it does provide a model for the way England could manage games against teams with more talent. I think England will make it thru the group stage and hopefully they can surprise everyone and go deep in the tournament. No worse then top 8 and perhaps even top 4 if they can keep a clean sheet in their round of 8 matchup. Anything better then the round of 8 would be a smashing success and certainly unexpected.

  37. Colts,

    Yup, I’m with you, even during project youth we had a blend of mid-20’s talent and youth that were brimming unfortunately Arsene couldn’t adapt but under Emery, Mislintat, Sallehi and Huss there is a renewed sense of things to come.

    Yup, Sporting’s training ground was attacked with both players and staff ending up in the hospital. Interestingly, I just read that Carvalho is one of those whose contract potentially will be terminated, have to say I wouldn’t mind him on a free; might mean the end of Xhaka though so I’m a bit torn.

  38. Bill,

    2 things mate:
    1. at NO POINT did I significant mins, I said more which is two drastically things.
    2. How can you say it will take 2 years for us to know the results, when you don’t follow anything but PL futbol and don’t realize that young players are brought though 1-3 at a time then either carry on in the first team or loaned out to see what happens. I mean Madrid let Pepe go because a young 20 year old CB was showing promise, PSG dropped their first choice GK and let Matuidi walk because they have U23 players showing promise, Bayern didn’t buy a RB because Kimmich showed potential, Barca didn’t buy a RB because they had Sergi Roberto who fits and is adaptable enough to play in their system.

  39. Bill,

    You do realize that Aubameyang and Lacazette came from sides that brought through, developed and won with youth players right? Lyon is widely thought of as one of the best in Europe amd Dortmund since the days of Klopp always bought and developed young players and turned them into diamonds.

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