Izzy Wizzy Let’s Get Transfer Busy and Sell As Well

Something’s coming. I can feel it, and it’s coming right around the corner at me! It’s the new season, silly. The Community Shield threw up zero surprises. Manchester City played well and won. Chelsea were distinctly average and lost. So far, so expected.

Let’s make no bones about City. Later today, I’ll look ahead to the new season but it’s City’s title to lose and Liverpool’s to win. The latter invested heavily and reasonably well over the summer – you can read why there’s a qualification to the statement this afternoon.

The reality of our situation is that we’re in a four-way fight for the two remaining top four places. If we can get into the Champions League by winning the Europa League, so be it. I’d enjoy that more than a top-four finish but putting all your eggs in that basket is risky.

Anyway, we’re not title contenders and it’s no use pretending we are. The stars aren’t aligning as they did for Leicester, so it’s top four at best. Unai Emery is rebuilding, and my guess is there’s a lot more work than we thought.

The centre of our defence is weak and not improved by loaning Calum Chambers to Fulham. It’s not weakened significantly either. If we get to the point where we need two inexperienced centre-backs on the pitch, no disrespect to Chambers but he’s not going to pull the team together. None of them will; it’s part of the learning curve.

City are a good side. We’ve got to play at our best to get a result next weekend; we know that from the 3 – 0 gubbings we received earlier in the year. Our hope is that Unai Emery instils more spirit and fight in the players than we showed in those matches.

Ditto!

It’s never an enjoyable experience to watch Arsenal outclassed. I don’t care what you think of the manager, finding any pleasure in a thrashing is impossible. Unless you’re a public schoolboy or Tory MP, of course. The sky won’t fall in next weekend if we lose.

If you think that is me trying to prepare myself for that outcome, you’re absolutely right.

The transfer window for buying players closes on Thursday. Do I expect us to strengthen the squad before then? No. Will I be happy if we do? Yes. We have a bloated squad, we know that. There are whiffs of a story here and there, but most of the ones about us adding to the squad are too outlandish to be believed.

Andre Gomes for £40m? Not happening. Ricardo Rodriguez? Not happening. Vida? Ditto.

As for those who may leave, I don’t believe for one minute Aaron Ramsey asked for over £300k per week. He wouldn’t turn it down if offered; neither would in his position. But it’s a red herring, designed to paint the player into a corner.

Whether you believe he is greedy largely depends on your view of his value to the side. He is a good player but I don’t think the elite clubs will be clambering over dead bodies to sign him next summer. He has a very specific skillset and to get the best out of him, needs a particular style of play.

Could he make a difference to Barcelona or Real Madrid? I don’t think so right now. Who knows in 12 months time though. More likely, Atletico, Juventus or maybe a German club would be interested in a player whose strengths are ideally suited to the English game. If it wasn’t Chelsea, £35m now might be considered a good offer.

Happy Days Toytown

Another vexing minds is Lucas Perez. The move to Sporting found itself hit by footballing fly spray as the Portuguese club knocked Arsenal down on the fee but failed to convince Perez he was only worth half his current wages. Fair enough, and with West Ham throwing money around like confetti, maybe he’ll have more luck convincing them he’s worth it.

He’s got more chance of that than convincing Unai Emery to give him one places for the 25 players in the Premier League or Europa League squads. I know I wouldn’t give him one of those places, that’s for sure. Even if there was enough room to do so.

The club needs to be ruthless. Accepting a dismal fee showed their willingness to sell, but maybe the situation isn’t being made clear enough to players who are surplus to requirements? You can’t force players to leave but you can make it pretty damned clear that they won’t be sitting comfortbold two square on their bottys.

Finally, a missing persons appeal. Has anyone seen Danny Welbeck?

’til Tomorrow.

95 thoughts on “Izzy Wizzy Let’s Get Transfer Busy and Sell As Well

  1. Great article as a reader at 3.30 am feeling jet lagged in Vancouver!! Welbeck is allowed extra time off for all his world cup contributions!

  2. Defense is a big worry and loaning Chambers our really doesn’t make much sense. Mavro or Holding make more sense. But the big mistake was Sokratis to pair with Mustafi. That is just not a balanced pairing, in my view. Jonny Evans would have been a better option, I think.

  3. I agree, Bill (from yesterday) that many of City’s goals come on quick transitions and counterattacking pace. I’d like us to be more ruthless and decisive with the ball when our press gets it back too.

  4. At least we have seen Perez and Emery has spoken about him….I haven’t seen Welbeck since Sky put his face up when Southgate selected him for the World Cup back in May.

  5. Chambers to Fulham makes sense to me, he gets a season where he will start match in and match out at CB and with Kos looking done, Sokaritis basically a year and a half player….Chambers can come back next season a year further developed and ready to take a starting berth.

  6. Limestonegunner:
    Defense is a big worry and loaning Chambers our really doesn’t make much sense.Mavro or Holding make more sense.But the big mistake was Sokratis to pair with Mustafi.That is just not a balanced pairing, in my view.Jonny Evans would have been a better option, I think.

    Couldn’t agree more LSG, it’s madness. We have very few CB’s with any pace. Chamber’s was one of the few, whilst not blessed with over abundance in pace. Still had enough to cope with the demands of the Premier League outside of the top 6. I’m afraid if UE thinks going into the Shitty game with a CB pairing of Sok and Mus then we will be on the end of a demoralising defeat which won’t bold well for the start of the campaign. I think UE is going to be finding out the hard way that you need to adapt quickly in the EPL.

  7. Afternoon,

    I think this season is going to be all about how well we do against the mid-table teams. In theory we should have a strong enough squad to handle the strugglers (which we didn’t last season) and our games against the top of the table teams will be a mixed bag. It’s likely to be damage limitation against City and Liverpool, but games against Chelsea, United and Spurs are going to be about who is up for it on the day. Games against Everton, Burnley, etc are going to be ones that will count.

  8. Wavey,

    I know Liverpool are a strong side but I think when wr face them it will be about if we are up for it. On their day Ozil, Aubameyang, Lacazette and Mhkitaryan are as talented and as dangerous as Keita, Salah, Firmino and Mane the difference was last season(sans Keita ofcourse) they were able to play to their strengths with a manager who was perfect for them in Klopp. If Emery is able to put in the system that I have seen him play when he was at Almeria then Valencia, we could see him unleash those 4 players.

    Think the other thing is how will our midfield shape up. Torriera will be brilliant for us, that I have no questions about but who will partner him could shape out season.

  9. great post yogi. I agree with all of your sentiments.

    I would have thought Chambers was ahead of Mavroponos and Holding in the pecking order so I am surprised he is the one sent on loan. Either our decision makers don’t rate him as highly as we do or he was the only one that we could find a decent landing spot. Hopefully the new regime will make better use of the loan system and use it to develop players rather then using it as the first step in getting rid of them and part of using the loan system properly is finding a good landing spot where they will play regularly at the positions we want and they are likely to succeed. Another player that really should go on loan is Maitland-Niles. It looks like Guendouzi has leapfrogged him on the depth chart and he isn’t going to be getting a lot of minutes in the midfield. Unfortunately we need him to play LB. AMN should be playing regular minutes at the position we hope to use him in the fixture be that midfield or fullback and a loan spell would give him needed experience and it would give us a chance to get a much better idea of how good he might be without having it cost us points. Other players who should go on loan are Nelson and Nketiah. They both probably should spent a year playing for a team in the championship and then move up the ladder if/when they prove they are good enough to thrive at level.

    Hopefully the Perez to West Ham rumors are real. The issue of his wages is still going to be a problem. My guess is that we send him on loan to somewhere and subsidize his wages.

  10. The other thing to watch with Chambers is where exactly does he play at Fulham. Emery has played him both as a CB and midfielder as a DM. I think he is still ahead of Marvapanos and Holding in the pecking order but sending him on loan allows him to develop while playing regularly instead of what I envision both of Marvapanos and Holding doing in playing sparingly but featuring more in the U23’s.

  11. Perez’s agent has spoken:

    “I know that West Ham want him and they have made an offer,” Lucas’s agent Rodrigo Fernandez Lovelle told ESPN FC. “It is an option. Lucas is happy at Arsenal but he wants to play regularly and West Ham is an option for him.

    “There are other clubs interested but joining West Ham would allow him to continue in London and in the Premier League and Lucas wants to continue in London.

    “In Spain there are also interest from some clubs, but they are not willing to assume the transfer.”

  12. C,

    I would be starting Chambers over one of Mustafi and Sokratis right now. He would get plenty of matches as the most developed of the three young players and the best to balance the more mobile tackle high up CB’s of Sokratis and Mustafi. Plus Europa and cups. Who is to say he is going to be first choice at Fulham and that they will play defensively in a scheme or style that prepares him for what Emery plans? How will that help him be ready to slot in next season?! I think we should be selling if Emery doesn’t want to use him and getting another mid/later 20’s starter who partners well with one of Sokratis/Mustafi. But since we signed him to a long extension, he probably is making too much to sell to Fulham and their ilk. I hope we are buying a big CB because we need one.

  13. I see there are reports Welbeck has been told he’s surplus to requirements.

    I’m a little sad about that (I really like him as a player who always puts the effort in and seems cheery and upbeat most of the time), but not surprised. We do have to have a bit of a clean out and the writing was on the wall when he didn’t come back early to join training seeing as he didn’t do much in the WC. I suspect he already knew he wasn’t in the plans at that stage.

    Just a bit of a question though, what’s our local quota looking like at this point?

    I wouldn’t be surprised if we’re at the point that we shouldn’t actually allow Ramsey to leave, but that would be criminal of the club if they’ve not only allowed the player to put them over the barrel, but gone and lubed up for him too.

    That said, if I was Ramsey I’d be rubbing my hands together in glee.

    You really cant begrudge a player for trying to get the most he can out of what must be one of his last deals, but I personally don’t think he’s anywhere near good enough to be called “one of the best players in the club”.

    If there was any truth in the Chelsea rumour and if he showed any inclination to leave I’d pack him off faster than you could fart, but I doubt it somehow.

    Anyway, good luck to him, if he stays he’s going to have to change his game quite a bit. We’ll see if he’s capable of that soon enough. Hopefully I’ll be pleasantly surprised.

    I also quite liked Perez, but it looks like he’s pretty much surplus to requirements so if West Ham are prepared to give him pay equity (or perhaps trade it a bit for a longer contract), the club would probably be wise to take a knock on their initial investment to ship him out.

    I must confess to being a little nervous about the Citeh game, but perhaps if we can shut them out we can try for a draw.

    I like the idea of 3 CB’s, but we haven’t seen that during pre-season at all to the best of my knowledge? I’m open to correction on that as coverage has been hard to find so I’ve missed most of it.

    I tend to agree that we might as well have a bit of a go with something different, but I’d like to see (quite sure we wont though):

    ———————Cech——————–

    Lichtenstein———Mustafi——Mavropanos——Monreal/AMN

    ———————Torreira——–Gouendouzi—————

    ——————————Ozil—————————

    Mikitaryn————–Aubmeyang—————Lacazette

    I think if we pull off the press anywhere near decently and the deep midfielders stay relatively far back to cover our CBs, I think we might manage to keep them quieter than Chelsea did and might even grab a goal on the break.

    Depending on Bellerin’s fitness and state of mind he might need to be included if his pace is still there and there’ve been other factors slowing him down so far.

  14. Wavey,

    Sadly, Wavey, I think you might be right. Slow rebuild. It will be a major success just to get into CL. I like our purchase of Torreira and Aubameyang but this squad needs further quality to compete with the better teams. We need to have done what Liverpool did. Keita, Fabinho, Van Dijk. These are exactly the sort of players we needed. Without CL football and real ambition from the board, we will have to take it step by incremental step now. Anyone who thought a simple managerial change would be enough to catapult us to the heights was in fantasyland. We should be ready for 5/6th as a possibility next season before we hopefully start climbing the table.

  15. Linestonegunner,

    Chambers won’t be sold, he certainly seems to be in the plans moving forward. I can see both sides because I would have loved him to stay as CB3 possibly even next to Mustafi or Sokaritis but I also see the point in sending him on loan for a season, letting him play match in and match out then developing and coming in. Maybe Fulham don’t play the same style but if they play like they did last season then it will be good for his development. Holding and Marvapanos will get the odd match. I would love to get another CB.

  16. C,

    Maybe we are in for Vida. Boateng moving but out of our range, alas, now that we are a Europa club.

  17. Any word on the blog memory situation? I’m thinking of changing my handle. Too long to keep typing this one out. Lsg? Quickest option.

  18. Ramsey for £35m, it might be ruthless but I would do it even if it was Chelsea. The thing is, I would take Brozovic from Inter or call Madrid and see about a year long loan for Kovacic with option to buy next summer.

  19. Chambers loan to Fulham is to reduce the wage bill, I suppose. Welbeck , if one remembers was a panicky buy when at that time a few years ago, on the last day of transfer window, Wenger was happily refereeing a match at Vatican insisting that although Giroud was injured any winger in the team can be centre forward. But, seeing fans howling and parading at Emirates, he hastily contacted Man U, and Van Gaal who despised Welbeck was happy to unload him. With the £15 Million he got Van Gaal was able to offer more for Radamel Falcao. Welbeck is not a striker, and his finish is no good. Offloading him to Everton may be the best option.

  20. C,

    I don’t want to sell him and we probably can’t anyway—wages. I would have been starting him pretty frequently. Of course, I’d rather we had a top CB who complemented Mustafi/Sokratis in a good partnership.

  21. I would sell Ramsey if the money rumored is there, but can we really get someone in? Higher priority for me is CB. Plus we could really use a wide player who can score. But I’m ok with selling him. He’s been here all summer training and getting ready and his calf has acted up again for our big opener c City. He just misses too many games to pay such massive wages.

  22. The blog has swallowed two posts as LSG. Oh dear. Back to typing the long name or changing the email and losing my picture. ACLF purgatory!

  23. “I would have thought Chambers was ahead of Mavroponos and Holding in the pecking order so I am surprised he is the one sent on loan. Either our decision makers don’t rate him as highly as we do or he was the only one that we could find a decent landing spot.”

    Bill

    Decent landing spot is what I’ll go with as well. Everyone else we are trying to offload is just too expensive for anyone else to be interested, unless we subsidise their wages for a loan deal to be done after the window closes.

  24. Yes, LSG was the problem. If you change your username, it holds you back, treating you as if you are a newbie. Should be OK now they are free.

  25. C,

    We needed to do more in this area but I think we need a Per/van Dijk/Evans type not another Kos/Mustafi/Sokratis type.

  26. Limestonegunner,

    Personally, I don’t rate Evans even at the prive bantered around. Diallo(who went to Dortmund as Sokaritis’ replacement) or Söyüncü would have been a superb signing. Sokaritis will bring that leadership and organization to me so I get that part. I still wouldn’t have minded Mina.

  27. C,

    I’m more concerned about type than the quality or merits of the individuals. We need a more organizing, positional, covering defender—preferably a left-sided CB (van Dijk absolutely ideal)— to partner Sokratis/Mustafi who are aggressive, quick, tacklers attacking the ball.

  28. LSG,

    Yup, what about Rafinha at Barca who is a brilliant player but just happens to be behind Vidal, Coutinho, Raktic and Busquets.

  29. Lsg,

    I get what your saying about style and Sokaritis is an organizer. It will be interesting to see what Emery does with those too because part of me thinks he wants them to be aggressive and attacking and pressing and then allow Leno to play the sweeper keeper role which he does very well because he is quick off his line. Van dijk would have naturally been superb but I think at our current level, I would have even given PSG a call to enquire about one of Kimpembe or Marquinho who fit that bill but Mina is that type of player.

  30. LSG,

    I mean even taking Rafinha on loan and pocketing the money from the sales of Welbeck, Ramsey and Perez.

    Rodriguez at LB only makes sense to me if Nacho is being sold before the window or Emery doesn’t rate Sead and sells him in the Winter.

  31. It’s really about reducing the squad and not wages, I think. Welbeck was never doing himself a favor by going on holidays, when he did not play a major role at the world cup. The coach has made up his mind and the business of squad reduction is underway. Welbeck might have had a chance at playing wide forward, but Iwobi just had his contract renewed, Nelson is available and Mhkitaryan can also do the job. That’s 3 players for 1 spot on the left or right of a 4-3-3, so there is no way he is getting games this season.

    More interesting is the way Iwobi seemed to be playing more directly and Mhki turning up the style in the final preseason game.

    I think Chambers going on loan is good for him, because he gets an opportunity to play regular football and then he can come back in Unai’s second season ready to become an integral player.

  32. The apparent failures of the Ospina and Perez jettisons continue to show up the failures of the later Wenger years – over-paying for players brought in who failed (for whatever reason) to establish themselves. Now the club can’t move them without taking a bath. Reminds me of my own investment strategy: buy high, sell low.

  33. I found the Lazio game enjoyable – (I know, I know — just a bit behind the times, but circumstances dear boys, circumstances) — but the new style pleased me with changes from major to minor — umm make that from 4:4:2 to 4:3:3 because the first tactic was not working.

    Almost fell out of bed t the boldness of it! 🙂

    There can be little disagreement that these ‘friendly’ games are useful training exercises to get players into a better physical shape, and to run thru some drills to be used in the ‘real’ games, altho as the teams are made up mainly of newbies and youths, many of whom have zilch chance of playing in the 1st team it would be pointless to take too much notice of the outcomes.

    But ….. the Lazio game and the B’Wood game (seems like months ago for the latter) made me think that midfield and the forward line could be really good in the Premier, however, perhaps because of all the changes in personnel, I thought the defence still looked ‘iffy’. [Was that something I pinched from one of your Posts, YW? If so, great minds etc …… if not?—- just as well — you are better than that! 😀

  34. Who are they, C, these guys, Awol, Cypriots? 🙂

    I thought he was going to RM. 😀

    I thought Sari said he would not stand in Courtipus’s way — he only wanted players who want to play for the club. [Heard that a few hundred times.]

  35. C,

    I like Marquinhos for example but would PSG sell and the player be interested in coming to us. That seems quite doubtful. Mina is intriguing. If he is that type, why are Barca selling so soon and why would we let Everton get him instead of gazumping them?!

    I’m not so sure Sokratis can play the Per sort of role. We’ll see. But it is an area of concern to me. He and Mustafi seem too similar in approach to defending to me.

  36. C,

    I don’t really rate Sead and never have as a defender. He can be a LWB but as LB? I don’t think he has the defensive nous, pace, body. Plus he’s injured again. I trust AMN more but it isn’t his position. At least he has the pace and fitness to keep up with Salah/Sterlings on that side.

  37. HenryB,

    Afternoon Henry, didn’t realize my typing went all crazy.

    Courtious went AWOL, sure Sari said that but we know who runs that club.

    Maybe they can have Cech back

  38. LSG,

    Marquinho probably wouldn’t come but who knows because he could have helped fund Boateng. Mina, the thought is he wants to leave because Umtiti(just signed a new deal) and Pique are undisputed in that team and he wants to play. I would gladly take him and who knows why we don’t go after him.

    It will be interesting to see how Mustafi plays this season next to Sokaritis because I don’t think he is nearly as bad as people make him out to be and that there were times last season he was doing too much causing him to have mistakes.

  39. LSG,

    I actually do rate Sead because he has pace, power and actual skill but he needs to be properly coached up and we know defensively he wasn’t going to get it last season. A friend of mine made an interesting comparision with Sead and Walker and how most thought Walker couldn’t defend and was all pace but then under Pep he seemed to flourish with proper coaching and what not.

    30m for a LB right now wouldn’t even cross my mind.

  40. C,

    That’s a good point about Walker. Is Emery as good as Pep? Let’s hope he can improve our defenders both individually and collectively. So far in preseason we still look pretty vulnerable defensively. Just preseason, of course…

  41. LSG,

    Between Torriera shielding and Leno in goal, I think we could be better than people think because Emery also coaches up players. Judging purely based on last season under Arsene is tough.

  42. LSG,

    Emery is good at creating a solid defense and coaching them up. Naturally he isn’t on Pep’s level(who is actually) but I think one thing is clear, he understands how to coach players and get the best out of them. We have to give him time because there are so many bad habits that he has to coach out of them.

  43. C,

    Wages. But who would want to play with Mourinho these days? Takes all the joy out of it, doesn’t he?!

  44. I’m just not as optimistic yet. I think we are most likely to finish 5th. Depends on whether Spurs, Chelsea, MU spend well in final days, but that seems most likely to me. But 4th isn’t out of reach at all but equally we could finish 6th again if Chelsea get players in and keep everyone besides Courtois but replace him reasonably well. Jorginho will have an adaptation period. If Ramsey is fit, he should press him constantly when we meet.

  45. I do think we are improved but by how much? At the very least it will be interesting to see what Emery does with the team.

  46. LSG,

    Maybe its just me but I’m not as high on Spuds or Chelsea as others are. Spuds are basicall Kane and Ericksen as Yogi points out and lets be honesy, the decay under Arsene played a massive role in them ascending and us descinding but our squad is more talented than theirs. Chelsea, are in trouble right now because they don’t have a striker (I like Morata but I wonder if he isn’t suited to the PL but that doesn’t take away from his quality), their GK wants out, Hazard wants out and we know when he sulks he’s shit and quits on the team by being a passenger at best.

    I honestly feel like people are propping Spuds and Chelsea up a bit too much. Manure could be in trouble too.

    Over the past couple of seasons, very few have argued that we don’t have a talented squad, we just lacked somebody to coach them up and actually be good at it and not past their sale by date.

  47. C,

    I think Chelsea could be in for a rough start. But it looks like they will spend. But they seem most vulnerable. Spuds have continuity. I would have hoped someone would have poached Kane or Eriksen by now and maybe the manager. But it is 3 for 1 or 4 for 2 if MU have trouble with Mou wreaking emotional havoc.

  48. I think we underperformed but I have not thought we had such a talented squad. Our defense and midfield are underwhelming. Front 4 is real quality. Hopefully Torreira will be good, which would make a difference.

  49. I agree with Limestone. PEA and Kacazette have the potential to get 40 goals between them and that is really good. However after that the talent level drops way off. I think Mkhitaryan has a chance to be influential if he can help speed up our tempo and turn defense into attack quickly.

    Ozil is well past his prime and he can’t influence the tempo or control the game. Ramsey has not been a difference maker. As units our midfield, defense and GK are all underwhelming.

  50. LSG,

    I think we have underperformed but I think a large part of everything has been the toxic decaying culture coupled with Arsene getting shown up by most managers and not having a plan. I think our defense has been an issue between not being organized under Arsene and Kos being held together by pins and needles, we would have had to battle with 1 of those things but all of that happened.

    I disagree with Bill about a major drop off because I do think that players like Iwobi, Mhkitaryan, Ozil have struggled because of the tempo ans style of the club. Ramsey, I would sell and bring in a pivot (Rafinha or possibly Weigel now that Dortmund just bought Witsel). Spuds have continuity but are basically Arsenal of the 10 years when we won fuck all, Everybody says we are one player away and continuity counts but literally EVERY time came up short.

    Fucks Spuds, fuck Chelsea who could spend(I would be more than willing to give Ramsey to them for 35m) but are in trouble (isn’t it interesting that everybody says Chelsea doesn’t have a striker completely dismissing the fact that Giroud is still on their books 😂) and if they get off to a slow start then we have seen the likes of Hazard fold mentally really quick especially since he wants to leave, Mourinho’s Manure all seem to hate each other and I doubt Mourinho lasts the season.

  51. Bill,

    Thats funny you say that about Ramsey now because when I have said it for the past 2 years you have said he is a difference maker who scores goals and we should build our attack around….🤔😂

  52. C,

    I hope you are right about Mou cratering and the Chelsea problems. I do think with better organization and discipline, some tactical adjustments etc…, we should get past Spurs but they have been consistent and we can’t really predict what our new era will be like.

    The one thing I am sure of is that our squad is 3-6 level apart from our strikers and AM’s. So we need to find a way to make chances for Auba and Laca to finish.

  53. C

    I think Ramsey is the best “attacking” midfielder we have right now and I think he could be effective if he played as the central midfielder of an attacking 4. However, not everyone agrees with me and he divides opinions because he has not been a real difference maker over the last couple of season. Unfortunately

    I realize that a player like PEA would have probably gone to the World Cup if his team had qualified but there is a reason that so few Arsenal players were in World Cup squads. Most of the our players who did go to Russia were not very good or they did not play very much. The fact that Lichtsteiner was probably the most impressive Arsenal player at the tournament says something about the level of talent in the squad and how the rest of the world rates the talent of the players in our squad. Its not just Limestone and I who are underwhelmed by the talent level in the squad.

  54. I think Torriera was actually the best Arsenal player in the tournament but he wasn’t an Arsenal player at the time so I guess we had 1 player who was impressive.

  55. Bill,

    I liked what I saw from Torreira, so I think he could work out well. He has top level experience but is still young and can improve on his two good seasons in Serie A. I think Lacazette deserved to play for France over Giroud but unfortunately Deschamps didn’t know what else to do with all the incredible forwards he had. But beyond that, I would note that Xhaka was decent for Switzerland. We need to build up the quality of the team over the next 2 windows to have a chance of competing for the title if everything goes well: CL next year, consolidate that and recruit well next summer. Unfortunately with the age profile of Auba, Mkhitaryan, and Ozil, we need to be competing now! We have a very narrow window.

  56. LSG,

    We can’t predict but I would imagine it will be much better than the past couple season. I agree that Lacazette, Aubameyang, Ozil and Mhkitaryan are more talented than our defense but Leno is a massive get, I think we will see Bellerin get back on the trajectory that saw him as one of the best RB’s and I think Torriera’s addition will be massive. He isn’t just a shielder but he also is very technically gifted as a passer.

    Personally I am looking forward to Citeh to see were we are because I do think that the one thing we have always done is create and now we have 2 class finishers.

  57. I think the biggest problem that Arsene left us was a poorly designed squad that was undertalented. He filled the squad with players like Elneny, Xhaka, Mustafi, Kolasinac, Iwobe, Welbeck, Holding, Perez, Giroud, Campbell Sanogo etc etc. You might argue that a better manager could have gotten more of those players but in reality they are not the sort of players who should be getting regular minutes on a PL team whose objective is supposed to be competing for the top of the table. Arsene did a poor job of squad building and it got worse as the decade went on.

    I know we have heard a lot about the computer program that helps to select players and is supposed to give us an advantage. However, I think that program has been around for most of this decade and its performance to date has been highly underwhelming

  58. Limestone

    Its hard to criticize Deschamps decisions given the results but I agree that Giroud was not all that great and he was lucky there was so much talent around him. Lacazette was up and down but overall he did not have a great season for us last year.

    Your comment about a short window to rebuild the squad is something I had not thought about. Ozil is already in the downward part of his career arc and PEA and Mkhitaryan and getting close to the age where that might happen. Emery and our brain trust has lots of work to do. Chelsea did a masterful job of rebuilding when their core group of players in the Lampard Drogba era faded away early in this decade and they did not spend huge amounts of money so there is a model to follow .

  59. In the World Cup Xhaka did exactly what he does for Arsenal. He hit one stunning long range shot but mostly he pinged hundreds and hundreds of short passes around the midfield for a team who had a lot of ball possession

  60. Bill,

    True, Xhaka wasn’t great but he wasn’t a poor performer.

    As far as the Chelsea example, that’s a good one to consider. One thing Chelsea has done well is sell players for big fees to help finance rebuilds. We got good money for the Ox but generally haven’t been able to get big fees.

  61. Elneny, Iwobe and Welbeck did exactly what they do for Arsenal which is nothing of note. Ozil basically did the same thing as Xhaka minus the long range shot.

  62. We bought players to get us back into the CL. But if we want to compete for trophies we need to surround Auba, Mkh, Laca and Ozil with some top quality in midfield and defense fast or we will squander the peak talents of our attackers. We have two seasons before the attack has to be rebuilt.

    We need to get into the CL and then spend big on players like Leon Bailey who can be good for years and hold value.

  63. The Elephant in Defense….

    I really have jitters thinking about Sokratis in defense, playing against the Premier League speedsters like Aguero and Mo Salah, et All.

    He may have the experience to position himself, but he lacks the Premier League pace and I hope it’s not going to be a horrible Crash in Slow Motion.

    ***

    At least, I’m happy the we can actually change plans mid-game. Something Wenger probably can’t sleep at night watching.

    He’s on the touch line and talking to his players all the time, something Wenger may have done when we are already 4/0 in 20 minutes but not before.

    ***

    Ramsey…..

    I wish he would stay, but we have to remember some players signed for Arsenal because of Wenger. Maybe he feels he will not have the loose freedom play of Arsene Wenger’s years.

    Koscielny is another Wenger child, that will probably follow.

    ***

    In any case, let the Premier League Saga begin……..If we can get some decent results against the big 6, and snatch the points playing the mid and lower teams, we may have a chance of fourth with a tad bit of the really good luck.

    We shall see….

  64. Kroenke makes an offer to buy the remaining AFC shares:

    A KSE statement says taking the club private will help to further Arsenal’s “strategy and ambitions”.

    The buy-out announcement was made to the London Stock exchange on Tuesday.

    The statement added: “KSE’s ambitions for the club are to see it competing consistently to win the Premier League and the Champions League, as well as the major trophies in the women’s senior game and at youth level.

    All bullshit of course, potentially the end of AFC as a sporting organisation as it morphs into a profit orientated business organisation (if it isn’t already).

  65. Andy

    I’m not well up on Stan’s business, but isn’t he getting sued over his throwball team? If he buys the Uzbecks shares any further dealings would surely be private. Is it possible he can then use the club as collateral to increase his already obscene wealth?

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