Arsenal Land First Deal Of Next Summer & Emery’s Plan Is Vital For His Future

In days of olde, when knights were bold, so the playground rhyme began. The version I knew proceeded to ‘discuss’ the absence of portaloos on what passed for roads in those days. Other parts of the country told different tales while Billy Gilbert (I think) used the phrase on the opening lines of a song. Do not confuse this with the BBCs dreary Good Old Days music hall variety show. That dampened the atmosphere ahead of Match of the Day, make no mistake.

It feels that in days of olde, Arsenal were brave in the transfer market. No longer; Raul went in hard for Willy Saliba and spent £26.9m of next year’s transfer budget on the young centre-back. No Free Willy from Saint-Etienne this year.

That the club is thinking ahead is commendable, particularly since the fee is being ignored in terms of this year’s budget. Brickbats are equally deserved; two transfers this summer, neither of which strengthen the first team next season. Martinelli is a long-term project, while Saliba is a marketing tool for BT Sport if they have any sense. Quite a few of Les Verts matches will be televised if they have any sense; we lap up anything Arsenal-related.

As of yet, the weaknesses which derailed last season remain intact. None of the transfer activity addresses the dismal defending, eradicates individual errors or provides inspiration in attack. We are, at the moment, the same old, same old.

Promoting youngsters is good, don’t get me wrong. However, relying on them to solve problems caused by experienced pros is naive at best, a gross dereliction of duty at worst. It is too early in the transfer window to reach a definitive judgement. Not that it will stop that happening.

They Seek It Here, They Seek It There

This season is big for Unai Emery. His army of critics grows even when we’re not playing. The summer’s failure so far is being laid at his doorstep, even though he appears to be a relatively minor cog in the process.

A fair assessment of his season in charge is that we don’t have a particular style of play. In itself, that’s not necessarily a bad thing. We complained for years that ‘Wengerball’ was a one-stop shop; there was no Plan B, C or most just no plan.

Emery had a plan, certainly in the early part of the season, with full-backs bombing on. It’s not much of a plan but he was willing to change it early in a match if he didn’t see it working. The problem is that plan went by the wayside as the season wore on and he ran out of ideas while the team ran out of steam, heart and most stadia with their tails between their legs.

This is what must be addressed this summer. Steve Bould paid the price of last season’s failure and returned to the academy. It’s amusing to see Freddie Ljungberg lauded for developing youth, exactly the same reason that Bould was promoted to the first team coaching staff all those years ago. Does the same fate await the Swede?

Ljungberg’s reputation may prove more durable because in the electronic warzone, his playing career ended more recently and as a goalscoring midfielder, was more exciting. Which is ironic given Arsenal is a club which thrives when the XI has a solid defence. ‘Boring, boring Arsenal’ wasn’t always an ironic chant.

Replacing Ineptitude With A New Attitude

And we desperately need it to be a serious chant once again. We must rediscover the ability to defend a lead rather than the ineptitude which culminated in throwing them away time and again. Arsene in his heyday recognised the value of a strong defence; Emery after a couple of years on Ligue Un’s easy street must also appreciate the same.

It’s hard to do that with Shkodran Mustafi in the squad, I know, but sometimes we must overcome adversity in whatever shape or form it comes.

Elsewhere, Krystian Bielik is the latest Arsenal player lined up by Ivan Gazidis. If we are to sell anyone to Milan, we must insist that Mustafi is part of the deal. Payback, Ivan, is a bitch…

’til Tomorrow.

14 thoughts on “Arsenal Land First Deal Of Next Summer & Emery’s Plan Is Vital For His Future

  1. C says:

    Saliba is a good signing, once its completed, and will certainly be one for the following season.

    I would love to see Bielik get a chance, he has developed well and he could certainly be part of the Cup defense.

  2. Bill says:

    Great post Yogi

    I understand the concern about the lack of a defined style of play. However, I think the reason that happened was Emery had a plan coming into the season. When he looked at his squad on paper during his hiring process he thought he had had a very strong group of attacking/creative midfielders with Ozil, Mkhitaryan and Ramsey. Unfortunately both Ozil and Mkhitaryan were highly underwhelming and Ozil and it became clear relatively the system he hoped to use was not going to work out the way and he was left to scramble and find plan B and then plan C. The best creative/attacking asset he had in midfield was Xhaka’s ability to spray passes to the wings and he was forced to go that direction. It looked like we had finally found something that was working for the couple months Ramsey dominated the midfield and for a short time we were favorites for a top 4 spot but unfortunately as always happens Ramsey pulled a muscle and that all quickly crumbled and the last few weeks of the season were a total disaster.

    The thing Emery has to take full responsibility for is the lack of defensive improvement. It was clear to anyone that defense was the cause of Arsene’s demise and fixing that had to be job 1 for any new manager. We even brought 5 new defensive players into the club but we still conceded as many goals as any of Arsene’s teams. Torriera and Guendouzi started really well but both faded as the year went on. Jury is still out on them and Leno and Socrates but we certainly did see any defensive improvement in their first season. Emery deserves heavy criticism for that. If he does not do a better job in year 2 then I will be jumping on the Emery out bandwagon.

  3. C says:

    Bill,

    Question for you, like I have with many, how was Emery suppose to fix a defense that basically had the same players as the season prior plus the losses of Holding and Bellerin both of whom were really showing good? We had a make-shift Maitland-Niles, Kos and Sokaritis were hit or miss, Mustafi was capable of a good game and then capable of costing us a match and then Nacho started to show his age and Sead struggled at times defensively.

    I mean even when Emery set out to defend and counter, the defenders still let him down with stupid mental mistakes. That’s not on Emery, thats on players who need to stay focused and avoid mental errors. Everybody knew we needed a new spine and we got Leno, Torriera and the strikers, just need CB’s.

    As far as Guendouzi and Torriera them fading, again, you dismiss the fact that it was their 1st year in the PL and one of 22 and the other is just 20.

  4. C says:

    Maybe I am being overly patient but calling for Emery’s head after 1 year at a club where he is trying to change 10 years of decaying culture left by the previous manager on a budget that would make even Leicester laugh. It took Klopp 3 years and loads of money lets give Emery at least 3 seasons.

  5. C says:

    If we are working on a shoe-string budget, I would not be opposed to bringing in Lemina to pair with Torriera.

  6. C says:

    It looks like the Saliba deal is done but he will stay at his current club for next season. That works because he will not only be loaned out, but be comfortable in a place that has seen him develop into quite a player.

    I wouldn’t have minded another CB but getting him now, with his talent is good business.

  7. Woolwich Freddie says:

    Given our inability (or unwillingness) to compete financially and the fact we need to fill multiple positions, you can see the appeal of youth (whilst conceding the possibility of winning anything for a couple of years). My main concern is that we have had an unbalanced squad for years. For example, we still lack more physical, athletic players and Emery’s system would benefit from more battling personalities like Laca and Socrates. The other issue is: how to keep them if they come good and City come calling?

  8. nicky says:

    Woolwich Freddie,

    The trouble Freddie, is that today, contracts in the professional game are meaningless.
    Greedy agents, the curse of the game, encourage their players to move in order to line their own pockets. In my view they should be banned from the game. 😎

  9. Bill says:

    C

    We brought in 4-5 new defensive players last summer.

    For years you were saying our players are talented enough but all they needed was to be “coached up”. If that was correct almost any manager should have given us a significant improvement in the number of goals conceded. Now after you seem to be suggesting the real problem all along was the players. Which is it? You can’t have it both ways.

  10. Blue Yonder says:

    Interesting that Sanllehi calls Edu’s hiring, “the final piece…of the jigsaw puzzle”. Assuming that means with regard to the brains trust, does it now mean attention might be directed to the actual squad? Because I see no mention yet of Saliba’s securement on Arsenal.com.

  11. C says:

    Bill,

    4-5, name them? Torriera, Leno and Sokaritis yes and they all grew and had their ups and downs as they adjusted to the PL. Lichtsteiner struggled with the pace at his age. If you remember correctly, Holding and Bellerin played huge roles in our early success and then both got injured. We do have talented llayer but a manager simply doesn’t come in and change everything. You would point to Klopp but he was also given SIGNIFICANT funds and after a couple windows he had his players and style and made his mark. Hell, even Pep after his 1st season finished 3rd I think and that is despite, yet again, SIGNIFICANT funds. Emery can coach up players, his CV says so: most points ever at PSG, EL crowns, but he needs time.

    The other thing worth noting is that he is also changing culture of 10 years of decay. So its not having it both ways especially when you consider in Klopp finish 8th and lost in the EL to Emery then the following season they finished 4th; so no way was it instant success. I mean when you consider Emery finished 5th(only after a bunch of player mental collapse) and a EL loss. That is why I say, lets see what happens after year 2 and despite limited funds.

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