On Transfer Rumours and Pressing Matters

A new era and maybe one day we’ll be in the Champions League final. Qualifying for the competition is the first order of the day.

Shoring up the defence is the order of the day and Sven’s taking an unusual approach to resolving it. King Stephan of Liechtenstein is bringing his 38,000 or so subjects with him. It’s a new line of thought in packing the defence but I foresee a problem playing the offside trap.

Signing a 34-year-old full-back, with all his experience, is as underwhelming as Perry Groves arriving from Colchester or Gilles Grimandi from wherever. I wonder what is driving the signature; a cheap back-up option or one whose experience will do Hector Bellerin the world of good?

He made 21 Serie A starts under Allegri – including three as wing-back – last season so he doesn’t appear to be a Silvestre-type of signing. The Juve boss isn’t noted for his sentimentality and with Napoli breathing down their necks, there was no room at Juve for it.

I’m sure his stats are good but I wonder what Mathieu Debuchy makes of it all over at Saint-Etienne?

How much input has Emery had in the decision to talk to Lichtsteiner? Did he negotiate the ultimate veto on signings? The news emerged quickly after the Spaniard’s appointment which suggests he had input into the news.

It’s easy to dismiss the deal because of the nature of the signing. While the Swiss international can play on a reasonably regular basis, it seems unlikely that he will usurp Bellerin on a permanent basis. Lichtsteiner might deliver a short, sharp shock if there’s a drop in the younger full-back’s form. That kind of ‘punishment’ wasn’t acceptable under the previous regime, so it will be interesting to see how he and others react to that change in approach.

The Plan

The first test of Emery’s appointment is Jack Wilshere. His contract expires at the end of June and despite the recent claims, there’s no announcement about him signing da ting. Once that’s decided – one way or the other – there’s the issue of Ramsey and Welbeck. Those two are the test of whether we’re in a new era. After all the palaver with Özil and Sanchez, do we let this dynamic duo run down their contracts or sell them this summer?

Certainly in Welbeck’s case, I’d argue it’s sign or sell; no messing about. He isn’t – and won’t ever be – an indispensable player. He is a good squad player, but no disrespect, not outstanding enough to warrant throwing money at. The club’s bread-and-butter is the Premier League and he has never reached double figures in one Premier League season. Two injury-wrecked seasons didn’t help and maybe Emery’s favoured style of play will help achieve that. I doubt it, somehow.

Ramsey is the interesting case. Stories of him being one of the players Emery wants to build the side around make for good copy. Maybe they are true but such is the untrustworthiness of msm reports that you can’t be sure if there’s a shred of truth in them.

The Welshman certainly has the stamina to play the pressing game. Of all the central midfielders, he and Maitland-Niles offer the least concern in that sense. Mkhitaryan and further forward, Aubameyang, know the style from their Dortmund days, thriving in that environment.

But for the pressing game to work, the midfield is vital and must be disciplined positionally. For some, that last aspect will be a new concept, almost alien under Wenger where they were given lattitude to make positional decisions themselves. Emery demands the plan is followed.

Growing Pains

The cull of the coaching staff makes sense as well. They must transmit intensity in sessions, getting the players to buy into Emery’s plan. I am not convinced those who left would have done so; Lehmann and Bould? No such qualms; I think both are coaching chameleons.

Bould may be weighing up his options but as he saw from Pat Rice’s time when Arsène took over, having a familiar face makes transition easier for the squad. Other managers have noted it gives them a conduit to the squad, someone who can judge whether the ideas are sinking in.

For our molicoddled bunch, that’s no bad thing. They need time to grow up into the adults Emery will expect them to be.

’til Tomorrow.

52 thoughts on “On Transfer Rumours and Pressing Matters

  1. both are a about as useless as a cock flavoured lollipop, dukes.
    but at least the football team have a geniuine reason to be shite – because they just are.

    the cricket team – well, theres plenty of top cricketers around – they just cant seem to get their heads around test cricket anymore – too many versions of the game now where the only skill required is to smash the ball as far as you can. as a test nation we are diablolical – roots a top batsman but hes no captain.

  2. Great post Yogi

    Signing a 34 year old is underwhelming in and of itself. However, if allows us to sell Hector and use the money to buy a really good DM and/or a GK then the move suddenly becomes much more exciting. Historically full back is the easiest position on the pitch for a player to learn and switch into and maybe the plan is for Lichtsteiner to hold the position for a season or 2 while Maitland-Niles gets ready.

    Dukey, Jon Jon.

    England is not the most talented team but anything can happen in a knockout tournament that only has 6-7 games. Realistically, I don’t expect them to win but I think England is going to surprise everyone and do well at the World Cup.

  3. Bill you think a 34 year old defender can play three matches a week in the physical PL. And why should we selll a young defender when a bit of tutoring on positional awareness could help him reach the potential that Bellerin obviously has

  4. I am sure he is being bought to be back up for a season before we promote someone from our youth ranks next year

  5. Nw9gooner

    I think we heavily over rate Hector. He has been highly underwhelming on both ends of the pitch for 2 seasons now. I have no doubt that he can improve with better coaching but he has not shown any sign of potential greatness for 2 years. We as fans always over rate our own players and the idea that he is a world class talent is off target. We could certainly replace him for a lot less money.

    However, the bigger reason is we need to raise cash and we have very few assets who could bring in significant cash. if the rumors of potential transfer fees are true then Hector is easily our best option to raise cash. Chelsea built 2 title winning teams with a very similar net spend to Arsenal because they were smart enough to sell over valued players and use the cash the cash to improve the team. $40-50M could buy us a very good DM. I think don’t there is any doubt we would be a much better team with Lichtsteiner at RB and a world class DM compared with Bellerin at RB and no DM. That seems like a no brainer.

  6. Ideally we want top players at every position but clearly fullback is probably the easiest position on the pitch to fill. Fergie built great teams with players like John OShea as his RB. Liverpool is in the CL final this season with an $8M fullback plucked from Hull when they were relegated. Madrid has reached the final playing Vasquez as their RB when he has been a forward and midfielder all of his career but never good enough to get minutes at his preferred positions. Barca covered RB this season with a player who has been a central midfielder all of his career but he was never good enough to regularly make their starting lineups in the midfield.

  7. Bill I never said he is world class. But a bit of tweaking and he would be very good. What would be the difference between selling him and getting a replacement- not much . If a team is willing to pay the sums quoted then he must have something you don’t acknowledge? There are still players like Ospina Welbeck Perez Apkom Chambers who we can sell, won’t impact our squad and get enough for the midfielders and cbs we need

  8. Emery on his system of choice:

    “For me, the 4-1-4-1 is the system which facilitates that type of pressing. The 4-4-2 is designed more and more for zonal positioning. It’s less aggressive, but is more difficult to get past. That’s the case with Marcelino’s teams, Quique Sanchez Flores’ teams, Saint-Étienne when we last played them…

    “I am not ruling out the possibility of a 4-4-2. That’s not the idea that I privilege, but if it allows me to be more competitive, then I’ll go towards it without hesitating. We sometimes used it in Sevilla. I would put Banega in a playmaker position, and have him move to the second striker position without the ball.

    “In my case, the idea was not to win the ball back and counter as quickly as possible, but rather to equip ourselves once we had the ball. What Guardiola’s Barcelona did magnificently.

    “We win the ball off of them, but those bastards always won it back. And Pep is doing it with City now. High pressure and win the ball back to start again once in position.”

    Sounds like if both Aubameyang and Lacazette play together one will play wide with Ozil behind the CF and two pivots sitting.

  9. Bill,

    Rubbish, absolutely rubbish about Sergi at RB not being good enough. Lets make it PERFECTLY clear, Busquets is by far the best DM in THE WORLD bar none and NOBODY would play ahead of him. Raktik is a top class, right behind world class pivot who is in his peak year, a more complete and higher futboling IQ Ramsey for reference and Sergi has the athleticism and technical ability to play in Barca and he simply didn’t play RB but he would regularly play more in midfield with Barca going to a dynamic back back.

  10. Bringing in Lichsteiner would be to help Bellerin develop and bring out the potential and player that we saw prior to this season being mentioned about as one of the best RB’s in Europe. It makes loads of sense.

  11. The most interesting thing about all the players rhat we are linked to is that they are all pivots whether its a DM or box to box type which spells bad news for Jack and leaves Ramsey in an interesting situation because I would imagine that Emery plays Ozil behind the striker (where he is most devastating) and two pivots who sit abd boss the midfield.

  12. Personally, I want Madrid to destroy Liverpool, unless its Arsenal I wouldn’t want any PL club to win the CL.

  13. If, as Emery suggested in his first press conference, we are to play a tiring, hard working, pressing style and compete on all fronts (i.e. possibly not play joke teams in the early rounds of the league and Europa cups), might not Lich reflect the need for a second player in one of the more hardworking positions? M-N can play there but might be given a chance in his favored position.

  14. C

    Sergi Roberto is 26 years old and has been around the first team for years but when Barcelona needed to replace central midfielders they have bought Rakitic, Dennis Suarez and Andre Gomez and now Coutinho and moved Sergi Roberto to RB rather then giving him the minutes in central midfield. The only reasonable conclusion is Barcelona did not think Sergi Roberto was not ready or not good enough to play regularly in their central midfield

  15. If we had the choice between a really good RB and and underwhelming DM or an underwhelming RB and a really good DM I suspect that almost everyone would choose the latter option.

    If we had the choice between 1) really good RB and an average CB or 2) average RB and really good CB I suspect 100% would choose option option #2.

    If selling Bellerin is the best option to bring in cash to upgrade the squad at CB or DM or even GK then it should be a no brainer.

  16. Liverpool has been the more dangerous team so far but if they don’t take advantage and score a goal then Madrid will find a way to score against the run of play and win the game.

  17. Can’t stand RM or Barca – too many favourable or even down right crooked refereeing performances in their games for me to ever wish them well even against Liverpool (who if you grew up in the 70’s or 80’s were the team to despise). Hope Liverpool smash them, arrogant Ronaldo and cheating Marcelo et al.

  18. Bill,

    Sorry mate but your wrong. Sergi Roberto is a DM through and through, so unless Busquets get injur edd he isn’t playing. Raktik was bought as the heir apparent to Inesta because, like our Ramsey, he likes to dirve forward and get in the box. Gomes was bought and at NO POINT has Gomes established himself hence why Barca have made it known they want to sell him. The other thing is, Barca managers have made it known that its not because Sergi Roberto can’t get into midfield but they want to ensure that he is on the pitch and since Busquets again is the player holding him from getting in the first XI they put him in a hybrid RB CM role.

    Again this is something you clearly know nothing about.

    FYI, Madrid just broughy on Nacho who has been with them since he was 11 years old.

  19. C

    Nacho is 28 years old and never been able to win a regular spot in the team. Whenever Madrid needed a player they bought someone instead of giving the minutes to Nacho.

    Busquets is 29 and not going anywhere for a while so I guess if Sergi Roberto can only play as the deepest midfielder then he will never be a regular central midfielder for Barca. If he wants to be more then a squad player he needs to be a RB and hope Barca does not buy anyone or he needs to push for a move to another team.

  20. andy1886,

    As much as I don’t like Madrid, I dislikr Liverpool even more and especially their crooked owner who constantly claims foul of other owners but those that actually know about him, knows he as crooked as they come. Plus, I couldn’t stand Liverpool supporter for a full year boasting.

  21. Bill,

    Again your wrong mate, Ramos was one of the best RB’s in the world and played there for Madrid and then moved to CB and once he moved to CB Dani was brought back from a year or two basically on loan(they sold him but all intentions were to bring him back) and they brought him back and he has been there ever sense. Nacho has always been around but hard to break through when Ramos and then Dani is the players in front of you.

    The other thing with Nacho is that he has REGULARLY been call on as RB2 for Madrid ofr years.

  22. Bill,

    Honestly mate, there literally isn’t one DM in THE WORLD that is a better and more complete DM than Busquets. You can name Kante or whoever you want but they are NOWHERE near the player Busquets is.

  23. Benzema, that is a MASSIVE mistake from Karius who has been so good for Liverpool. That is brilliant work fr the CF

  24. Will the narrative with Klopp continue to be he can manage player but they fall short in the Final…

  25. Equaliser. Excellent.

    Karius shows again that Liverpool need a top class keeper. If I were Klopp that would be my #1 priority.

  26. C

    Busquets is really good. Sergi Roberto knows that as well as anyone. He is now 26 years old and if he was really that good you would think he would want to move to another big team and play regularly rather then be a lifelong squad player. I understand wanting to play for Barcelona but you would think the chance to play regularly and get a huge wage increase would be important. No?

  27. Bill,

    Sorry mate but Sergi Roberto is Barca born and only wants to play for Barca, he has had opportunity to leave and has told them to fuck off as has Barca because they know he is thr heir apparent to Busquets and saying Busquets is really good, clearly you pay no attention. Busquets could literally play any positions on the pitch outside GK and CF.

    Think about this, Pep and Del Bosque built their teams around Busquets, barca and Spain weren’t nearly the sides they were until Pep brought through Busquets.

    Please, honestly just stop because you have no fucking idea what you speak of.

  28. Isn’t it funny how people question Zidane as a manager and all he keeps doing is getting it right.

  29. C:

    Ox wouldn’t have made a difference and honestly, fuck Ox!

    You are probably right. I still would have liked to see him play. He was my favorite arsenal player for most of this decade.

  30. Bale and Benzema, two players written off and both shown confidence by their manager and without them Madrid doesn’t lift their 3rd straight CL trophy.

  31. Bill,

    He might have been but honestly instead of putting in a shift when he was on his way out in 2 straighy matches, he barely put in a 2 effort, so again, fuck him.

  32. it looks like we are going to have competition for a gk this summer.
    just wow.
    madrids second goal was something special but the other two?
    to lose a game like that?

    liverpool fans must be feeling sick right now

    oh well.

  33. I can see us overtaking Spurs next season. However, I can’t see us finishing above Man City or ManU or Liverpool who already have a good central midfielder signed for next year and they will strengthen elsewhere. Chelsea is also going to regroup and get a lot better. Climbing back into the top 4 is going to be very very difficult for Emery especially if he can only spend $50M this summer. Like it or not I think we need to raise some cash to rebuild the defensive side of our central midfield and get better CB’s and a GK. Madrid sold Ozil and Higuain in one summer and used the cash improve the team. Liverpool sold Coutinho and got better. We can do the same if management is willing to ignore the emotional attachments to current players and make the tough decisions.

  34. Agreed Bill Niw with AW gone I think all sentiments will go( at least I hope) and we should sell without really affecting the squad

  35. Bill,

    You must remember who Madrid ans Liverpool bought, Bale and van Dijk in basically 100plus deals, do you see Arsenal doing that? I do think though there will be players sold, no way we are linked with this many midfield pivots and keeping all the ones we have.

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