On New Arsenal, Hipster Signings & Other Gossip

Well, this is pleasant. Sunshine begats sunshine as the bible says. Who needs a summer holiday when you’ve got sunshine at home, eh? And whodda thunk of travelling on a ‘World Cup free day’?

The tournament returns to the forefront of our minds today with the first two quarter-finals and another chance to scout Lucas Torreira. He turned down the chance to undergo his medical in Russia, but fear ye not for Papa Torreira says his son just wants to focus on winning the World Cup.

Is it a sign of ‘new Arsenal’ that we even suggested the medical during the middle of a tournament? It’s a step further than when we signed ‘Rock on’ Tommy in 2006 immediately before the World Cup began.

Everything is ‘new Arsenal’ these days and I don’t doubt that there are changes behind the scenes. What’s more ‘new Arsenal’ is the collective enthusiasm for the club once again. Pre-season training videos are devoured and body language experts are telling us who is happy, sad, or otherwise. Who knew the Arsenal fanbase contained so many psychologists? I thought everyone was an accountant.

Mesut Özil is ’10’ which someone somewhere will be making a ‘1Ö’. If Arsenal have done it, they missed a trick and given the care players give to their ‘brand’, that seems unlikely.

The ‘reset’ button is pressed and that’s the most important aspect of this summer. We’ve seen the recruitment work already completed this summer and it’s hard to find a negative comment, beyond those who expect us to bid for ‘world class’ players for every position.

Which misses the point really. The biggest problem is that we’re not at that level right now; reaching/returning to that is the biggest aspect of Unai Emery’s rebuilding job this summer.

Maradona Airlines

There is plenty of work to do in terms of rebuilding, not least of which is the selling part. On dot com, the squad is split between the main group and an ‘on loan’ section. It sends a strong message that those seven loanees aren’t coming back.

You can’t help but look at the rest and think there is work to be done on the midfield. Torreira is one addition, but not Ever Banega – or ‘Forever BangAverage’ as he is now known. No bitterness in any player turning down the ‘new Arsenal’, that’s for sure. No siree, Bob. Or Frank…

Also not flying ‘Air Diego’ to London is Cristian Pavon. We haven’t lodged a bid according to his agent, but he wants to stay with Boca Juniors anyway. That’s until someone like Real or Barcelona comes calling.

Interesting stuff surrounding Yerry Mina, who is the hipsters’ centre-back of choice. Barcelona are listening to offers with Fenerbahce and Everton bidding €24m for the Colombia international. Three goals at a World Cup and an orderly queue is forming.

If we had a buyer for Mustafi, the football hipster in me argues Arsenal should look at him. The realist thinks it might be wise to let Everton play a part in developing him. There’s a good reason why Barcelona are selling him six months after buying him and it may be sensible to let someone else find out the hard way what it is.

Equally, €24m can be better spent on the midfield. We’ve got four central midfielders who are very similar types of player and Torreira strikes me that it now becomes five. Is that signing because one of the quartet has itchy feet? I wonder who that might be?

Curse this talent for body language.

The Short Hop to the End

Steven N’Zonzi handed in a transfer request but at 29, he’s not considered good value for money. Ivan, all sunglasses and Novichok jabs on the shoulder at Colney yesterday, doesn’t hide the fact that resale value is a key marker in recruitment and nobody particularly disagrees with that.

Occasionally, expediency means it gets ignored but where we finished last season highlights we’re in a short-term phase with a long-term outlook. We need to get back into the top four to attract the ‘better’ players, but when we’re there, not slip backwards due to a lack of quality supporting the ‘stars’. Age catches up with us all; expediency can only take you so far.

Look at that; the season hasn’t started – we haven’t even had a pre-season friendly – yet there’s a new optimism abounding.

’til Tomorrow.

79 thoughts on “On New Arsenal, Hipster Signings & Other Gossip

  1. Of course there is optimism, its new, nothing gone pear shaped, how could we not be excited.

    On another note same picture as the other day, standards falling or just an equally cryptic clue?

  2. Hmmm Mina and N’Zonzi?

    I can’t say that either of them pique my interest much.

    Once the World Cup ends, I expect the usual bullshit frenzy will ramp up considerably.

  3. Boom or maybe not.
    Truely there’s optimism in the air.
    I have never been this eager to see arsenal play in all my years in the Goonerverse. Its truly amazing how a positive change can extract so much positivity from a club on a declining stream.
    Can’t wait to see how emery would mould our defense into an effective and efficient working unit, transform our midfield into a wolf pack chasing, pressing and covering every blade 🔪 of grass in an attempt to win back the ball ⚽ and finally transforming our forwards into a very lethal attacking unit, capable of sniffing a chance from a million miles away, Aubameyang my eyes 👀 are on you.
    Unai emery, do this things for my darling ARSENAL and I will be forever indebted to you.
    Arsenal in my blood

  4. Michael

    > On another note same picture as the other day, standards falling or just an equally cryptic clue?

    Erm, it fits so well that I couldn’t think of anything else to use…*coughs*

  5. Thank you Papa Torriera for telling us that everything is done but the medical. What a joy he is going to be and I personally do not care about size because some of the best pivots weren’t some big athletic freak futboler but cerebral technical fightera who know how to do their job.

    The midfield puzzle will be interesting to see after the World Cup, we seemed to be linked with plenty of midfield pivots and while under Arsene I might call bullshit, things now seem to be are what they are when it comes to players. Somebody is leaving, who will it be, we don’t know.

  6. Great post yogi

    For the first time in this decade there is a palpable excitement about Arsenal. Something new and unknown. I still think we have some rebuilding to do and some question marks but I am confident things will be different and better under our new regime.

    Both games should be good today. I think we are all looking forward to Brazil vs. Belgium. France and Uraguay will also be interesting.

  7. I am going to record and watch at least some of the Uraguay game today. I usually listen on the radio while I am doing things outside and they rarely mention Torreira on the radio broadcasts and I watched him. He must be the sort of player who does not catch the eye which is often good for someone who is primarily a defensive minded player. The fact that he has impressed the manager enough to work his way into the starting 11 is certainly encouraging. Hopefully no one will offer him a better wage and try to steal him from us.

  8. Bill,

    He is the type of player you won’t hear on a radio broadcast but when you watch the match you will hear his name quite a bit because he is not only winning tackles, intercepting passes and regularly winning the ball back and pressing but also his link play and ability to dictate tempo is a joy to watch. Given the fact he JUST turned 22 years old and only made his Uruguay debut in March of this year.

  9. Bill,

    Some claimed to be very excited and optimistic at the start of a new season but it struck a false note. The last few years have particularly been so distressingly predictable. I am not necessarily wildly optimistic about our chances at getting back into the top 4 but I am at least interested in what Emery will do. That is a positive development.

  10. “Who knew the Arsenal fanbase contained so many psychologists? I thought everyone was an accountant.”
    Pension plan administrator here!! and an amateur psychologist (with a degree)

  11. Bill:
    I usually listen on the radio while I am doing things outside and they rarely mention Torreira on the radio broadcasts and I watched him.

    We he IS quite short.
    I’ve been impressed with him in the games I’ve watched. Definitely an energetic and engaged player always concerned about his positioning. He is short so he appears to be quite fast. Haven’t decided if he IS fast or just seems deceivingly fast for a small guy.

  12. Limestone

    I am excited about the new and I expect Emery to be a significant improvement but I don’t think he is going to be a miracle worker.

  13. C

    With xhaka and Elneny on our roster we have 2 ball possession midfielders who are a threat to lead the world in short passses and turning our attack into tippy Tappy. The fact that I don’t hear torriera’s name on the radio very often probably means he does not touch the ball that much which is exactly the thing we need in our midfield

  14. Interesting that Torreira takes the corner kicks. Seems like he would be better as one of the deep players to prevent counter attacks

  15. Torreira seems like exactly the opposite of the type of midfielder that Arsene preferred. We need a few anti-Wengerball players to compensate for Xhaka and Ozil

  16. YW

    Good point. For me the difference is the technical skill and ball possession and psssing are not the dominant part of his game. He does not touch the ball that much. Perhaps the best comparison is Flamini in 2007 or may be Scotty Parker

  17. In the second half Torreira was more involved when Uruguay was trying to get everyone forward and he was sitting deep and trying to lob passes forward. Looked more like the xhaka role after France went up 2-0. Unfortunately Uruguay could not make anything happen and France easily saw the game out. I like him better as energy player chasing down loose balls and breaking up counter attacks.

  18. Feel for Uruguay as their normally very relaible GK’s mistake change the complexion of the match as well as not having Cavani. Lloris’ save was massive but Torriera again showed brilliantly.

  19. I wouldn’t at all be surprised to see quite a few leave and maybe 2 (excluding Torriera since his arrival will come shortly) coming in. Clearly their will be another midfielder, too much smoke for there not to be fire somewhere.

  20. what amazes me the most about Torreira is the speed of his lateral movement…for a short guy, of course.

  21. Uruguay looked good for part of the first half and the save by Lloris was brilliant but France was clearly in control of the game in the second half. Uruguay did not look dangerous at any point in the second half.

    I am not sure I would call Torriera’s game brilliant but I am excited for him if he plays the role of energy player and breaking up the oppositions attacks. I was not as excited about the second half when he morphed into the role of a deep lying playmaker and was lobbing passes from side to side

  22. Ornstein has spoken:

  23. Hi YW, I was about to embed the tweet and as I opened up the blog, voila you have done so already. Salut YW. The interesting part of the tweet is the mention “finishes first team recruitment”.

    Arsenal hope to complete Lucas Torreira deal next week. Agreed with Sampdoria & 22yo. Medical + signing imminent – depends if he flies straight from #WorldCup to London or via #URU Finishes 1st team recruitment but a younger player for future also likely before window shuts #AFC pic.twitter.com/LHkXid7Rda— David Ornstein (@bbcsport_david) July 6, 2018


  24. philmar:
    “Who knew the Arsenal fanbase contained so many psychologists? I thought everyone was an accountant.”
    Pension plan administrator here!! and an amateur psychologist (with a degree)

    And no mention of any statisticians…………

    Talk about offsides!

  25. Go Belgium!! 2-0. Fingers crossed this will be the end of over-hyped cheating South Americans.

  26. If it stays like this I can see it getting nasty later one, a red card or two wouldn’t surprise me. If it is to be Belgium v France in the semi that could be a fantastic game.

  27. wonderful

    its now the european championship…

    who would have thunk at this stage the brazilians, argies, spanish, portugese, germans are out and the english are still in it…wow

    great summer of footballing fun…arsene wenger got sacked and little old england are outperforming most at a world cup…

    i quite fancied belgium for this one…..aside from the diving cheating neymar, brazil dont get anywhere near their sides of the past, but neymar spends that much time rolling around on the floor nobody knows when hes been fouled or not – even VAR wont help him now.

    the french sent uruguay home as well – bad tournament for the south american teams really.

  28. So I was right about the English liking Brazil then??

    Seriously though its neymar ruining the traditions of the great shirt…I still like Brazil and I m not going to let the actions of one cheating play acting pathetic player ruin it.(or the actions of certain anti English Brazilian posters!! ). and it would be great to see Belgium win this, what a side they are. Unlike Spain who bored their way to the cup a few years ago Belgium play a great brand of football.

    Why the hell did the Brazil manager not play Douglas Costa from the start?? What a tit.

  29. andy1886,

    Hazard does his share too , I thought that var recordings might reduce it but it seems that the man in the van is half asleep most of the time.

  30. Goooooooooooo England!!!!!!!!

    Sweden is going to be well organized and difficult to break down. We need a clean sheet and I predict a relatively slow paced game with a 1-0 win.

  31. If England go out to Sweden, that would be yet another upset. But not a huge one. At this point I am rooting for all those PL, especially Spurs, players to go a little further so their clubs don’t have them ready for the season.

    So to parrot Bill’s line: Goooooo England!

  32. Bill, regarding Torreira’s performance: I watched closely as much as possible even when the action was elsewhere on the screen. I think we have to be encouraged by what we saw. His positioning was generally really good and disciplined, especially in the first half. He took all the corners from both sides as well as free kicks for headers into the box. Almost all of these deliveries were really good and well-placed. He intercepted and tackled pretty successfully while facing big athletic midfielders like Pogba and Tolisso. By and large he kept Griezmann very quiet through the game before the structure of play changed and Uruguay had to chase. Notably, the Uruguay coach made three changes and despite needing to score, he didn’t take off Torreira because he was too valuable and suited the tactics he wanted—retrieving the ball and quickly getting it forward to the wings or putting long balls in and around the box from deep. Torreira might have seemed less effective at shielding the back 4 but he was clearly playing a tactical role asked of him and had to operate higher up the pitch to participate in recovering the ball early and supporting the attack. I think he looks an intelligent, relatively skilled but super determined, fit and strong, defensively sound player who will really improve our midfield. I think he can play with Xhaka and Ramsey in a 3 man midfield or take over Xhaka’s job while still defending much better if we need him to pair with a more attacking player in a two. He seems a rounded player with a special strength in ball recovery and defending who can play the ball forward quickly. He could be really good on a counterattacking side. That would be exciting to see, I think.

  33. Limestone

    Thanks for the impressions of Torreira. I will get back to you whe I have a chance.

    England is going to be in big trouble if they fall into the pattern of methodical buildups and Sweden counterattacking

  34. Sweden are turgid in their operation. Only think to counter and I personally can’t stand teams that play this way. Only hope is long ball and over the top. Sheesh how did they make it this far?? Solid D and a goal every other game.
    Well, now they are going to have to come out and play now!

  35. New England team? Seem to play an awful lot like the stereotypically old England way. Two crosses for headed goals. Effective. Forsberg was a non-entity. Sweden needed him to have a great game.

  36. Limestone.

    I hope your impressions of Torreira are correct. I think our most effective DM’s in the Emirates era have been Flamini in 2007 and Le Coq for about 12 months in 2015/16. In both cases neither had great technical skill but both had a ton of energy and they understood their job and that was the type of player I hope we have. If we have Ozil and Xhaka in our central midfield that last thing we need is another center mid who is technical and tries to spend time on the ball. Its not that having the technical skill is a bad thing but if our objective is to have an effective pressing, ball winning central mid field then Torriera is going to have to be superhuman and put his effort to make up for the defensive liabilities of Ozil and Xhaka. I think the DM should be sitting deep on corner kicks in order to prevent counter attacks and not taking set pieces. The only thing Ozil still does well is set pieces.

  37. Bill,

    Obviously for us he wouldn’t be the primary corner taker or set piece delivery person. Players don’t always play the exact same way for national teams as they do for their clubs but we learn what their talents, skills and capabilities are. Since we know little about him, those are the qualities I gleaned and I think your criticisms of his second half role really are not specifically Torreira’s responsibility but the coach’s tactical approach and nevertheless show that he has dimensions to his game that can be useful. A DM has to be able to pass the ball off quickly and effectively, deal with the press sometimes as well as all the defensive work. He seems like he can do those things. He doesn’t dwell on the ball—he moves it quickly. I think those of us who have been pining for a good DM for years should be encouraged by his qualities. I’m hopeful he will improve us. The other signings will help some but I think this signings will likely have more impact for us. My hope anyway.

  38. Good afternoon YW et All. To coin an old adage It’s a funny old Game Football.

    England are into the Semi finals. Let’s be honest Sweden were not up to much and the England team beat them without truly having to get into gear.

    Thus far in the Competition England have been tidy as a Team but being truly honest they have not been soectacular, free flowing as a Team.

    The Brazil v Belgium game last night was worthy of a final in itself in my humble opinion.

    The capitulation of so many Teams during the qualifications has made one half of the draw a lot easier than the Other.

    The Game v Croatia ( I have them to beat Russia) will be a sterner test for England.

    Praise has to be fiven to Southgate he has done it his way. England still lacks a play maker in the ilk of Riquelme, Iniesta, Modric, Santi a player who can run and dribble with the ball from mid field.

    I take Belgium to win the Competition

    Torreira is a gem. Can’t wait til he’s at work with Arsenal Playing hopefully alongside Nzonzi. This Arsenal Team needs a player of the nature of Nzoni.

    Liverpool have just brought in Keïta and Fabinho. Man U Fred, City Jorginho .

    If Ramsey don’t sign sell and get rid. It’s business no time for sentimentality.

  39. Limestonegunner,

    I’d Agree with your assessment on Torreira.

    As I noted in my post I think we have got a gem in our hands. Can’t wait to see him v Kanté Et La nouvelle season.

  40. Limestone

    I did not criticize Torriera’s second half against France but I just noted that his role changed to more of deep playmaker and I thought his effectiveness decreased. Part of that may have been my heavy predetermined bias telling my brain what to see. Technical skill and playmaking and defensive effectiveness and focus should not be mutually exclusive in theory. However, I think its hard for any player to try and do both at the same time and I hope his focus will clearly be on the defensive side. I hope that makes sense.

  41. Limestonegunner:
    New England team?Seem to play an awful lot like the stereotypically old England way.Two crosses for headed goals.Effective.Forsberg was a non-entity.Sweden needed him to have a great game.

    England is not a highly skilled team but we have seen during this tournament that its very hard for the even the most technically skilled teams have really struggled to break down organized teams by passing the ball on the ground and headers are often the only way to score.

  42. Some psychic follower of football (can’t recall who but I read it on this site) forecast early on, an England and Belgium Final with the latter triumphant. It’s getting ever closer!!!! 😉

  43. Interesting to note that Ramsey could be sold in order to bring in either Gomes from Barca or Nzonzi to partner Torriera(who confirmed he is coming to Arsenal in an interview). Again, it shows Emery wants his pivots to sit and boss the midfield and his front 4 to attack and get goals.

  44. C,

    The thing is, who would we sell Ramsey to? Can’t see it being one of our rivals in England. Who would want him from Europe and would he want to leave the UK?

  45. I think you’re somewhat wrong about the swedish team.
    They do defend a lot, but when they win the ball, they counter attack as a team. Rarely do they hit long balls – due to their slow forward players – but move forward with quick zig-zag passing.
    Do they lose the ball high up the pitch, the whole team stays high, pressing.

    Today they tried a few unsuccessful long balls as they were simply outnumbered and even outmuscled in midfield.

    England played smart, exploiting the space the swedish 4-4-2 left on the wings.

    Sweden totally lack any star players, the most prolific one being Nilsson-Lindelöf, but the sum of the team is far superior than the sum of individuals.

    In the end it was actually some astonishing saves from Pickford that helped England go through.


  46. My goodness.

    That Croatia goal reminds me of the George Graham, ‘ahem’, equaliser in the 1971 FA Cup Final.

  47. consolsbob,

    Honestly mate, not sure anybody in England outside of midtable sides would want him. I think, liKe Jack, not many sides want either of them.

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