Pepe Talk, It’ll All End In Tierney & Other Transfer Thoughts

You are about to enter another dimension, a dimension not only of sight and sound but of mind. A journey into a wondrous land of imagination where £45m allows you to spend over £100m. Next stop, the Twilight Zone!

Sometimes when you wake up, it feels like the world is out of kilter; there’s something wrong and you can’t quite put your finger on why. Unlike when I woke in hospital recently and had no idea where I was; a quick dose of morphine, to keep the levels topped up, soon put that right.

I don’t want morphine this morning. Not yet anyway. The kids are still in bed so haven’t started bickering and demanding, and to be honest, watching Atletico dick Real 7 – 3 is more comedy than one man can take; it’s funnier than Monty Python and the Holy Grail.

There’s something Pythonesque going on with Arsenal’s accounting as well. A signing for next season not coming out of this season’s budget? An $80m-rated winger being genuinely chased when Wilfried Zaha is £20m cheaper? No sign of a central defender?

Nicholas Pepe, it seems, is a genuine target. The Sage of Salford spoke and we listened:

“24/48hrs”? Isn’t that when the Emirates Cup takes place? “Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls! We’re not as f*cking useless as you think – all the way from Lille…Nicholas Pepe!”

Can he play centre-back though, that’s my question.

Good work, if it happens. And that is a big IF; this is football and jumping the gun in a celebratory fashion, whilst understandable, does have a habit of leaving you with an omelette on your face. One created in a battery farm as well; an entirely unpleasant taste in the mouth.

Cult Hero

Yet, this is football and you can’t live in denial. The simple truth is that we’ve decided to get points by scoring bucketloads of goals. We can’t defend for fig so expect a plethora of seven-goal thrillers throughout the season. Will we go a whole campaign without a clean sheet? It can’t be ruled out; Arsenal, first Invincibles of the Premier League era, the first team to qualify for the Champions League without a clean sheet.

I’m resigned to that. For a club whose success has always been built on strong defence, it’s an anathema. Or is it? Success is, after all, relative and the top four isn’t particularly successful; it’s a means to an end.

I have made no secret that I want us to sign a new centre-back. Even before Laurent Koscielny’s treachery – and let’s call it for what it is – we were low on defensive quality. Unai admitted recently that Nacho Monreal as a central defender in a back four is not making best use of the player’s qualities. That leaves us shuddering at the prospect of Mustafi playing until Rob Holding is match fit. Please god, let that be soon.

Kieran Tierney’s impending arrival strengthens us on the left. Recent events gave Kolasinac something of a free pass for the early part of the season, elevating him to cult hero status. I’m sure he’d rather acquire that some other way but beggars can’t be choosers.

BTW, you know that the two herberts he confronted are going to turn out to be Arsenal fans, don’t you…

More Questions Than Answers

If they happen, do Tierney and Pepe make this a good window for Arsenal? It’s only part of the answer. We have players to shift on. I find myself sanguine about this. With the exception of Jenkinson – and possibly Bielik – most will be sold to European clubs.

Elneny, Mustafi, Koscielny, Mkhitaryan; none are going to Premier League clubs in my view so there is no immediate need to shift them off our books. Most continental transfer windows close well after the English clubs commit hari-kari before the season begins.

And when you look at the list of players, it’s not hard to think they are all – without exception – panic buys. Maybe not Bielik if he goes to a Championship club. It isn’t easy to believe that the quartet of ‘Europeans’ are strategic buys; they aren’t players around whom you’d build a side, for example.

This area is one which is more testing of the Transfer Window Action Team’s abilities than buying. Negotiations are tricky when you want to find a buyer without making it look like you are desperate for them to leave.

Frighteningly, Mustafi’s future is directly linked to us getting more central defenders in. Zech Medley is training with the first-team and he may be part of the solution. Maybe it is time to give youth a chance?

We aren’t pinning our hopes on Medley as a starter, after all. Chambers is surely ahead of him in the queue for that slot, on experience alone. However, I’d want to see Medley given the chance in the Caribou Cup, as well as the Europa League group stages. I’m sure Unai has that idea in mind, so he doesn’t need advice for us ne’er do wells.

There’s still much work to be done in this window.

’til Tomorrow.

26 thoughts on “Pepe Talk, It’ll All End In Tierney & Other Transfer Thoughts

  1. Good morning gunnerfolks……am i the first on here?exciting time please let pepe n tierney news be true.Juniour told us to be excited,right? and Emery hinted about expensive signing,hmmmm? Idare say two steps at a time and as the proverbial Oliver twist ask for a centreback( loan of course @stan,don’t want to puncture your pocket…..lol)
    ……then it would be a perfect summer,the likes of which i have never witnessed in all my two decades of supporting Arsenal

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  2. Errr what’s going on indeed Yogi. I don’t know much at all about Pepe although I read he’s a left footer who like to play on the right which I think works better than Zaha as Aubameyang seems to do better on the left. We’ll have an amazing front three if it does come off. And who knows maybe a £50m CB is around the corner.

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  3. If we end our transfer window with Tierney, Saliba(for next season), Ceballos and Pepe…that would be steps in absolutely the right direction. I do think we will buy a CB(I still think we should go get Rugani from Juve) though but players will need to be shifted out.

    Elneny(reports have maintained he is off to France), Mustafi, Kos could all be moved along with Jenks. What will be interesting for me will be to see what happens with a player like Xhaka who could be moved on especially when you consider we have Ceballos, Torriera, Guendouzi and I wouldn’t be shocked to see Iwobi feature centrally.

    The one thing that is starting to take shape knowing how Emery likes to play, is these are players that fit better into Emery’s preferred system.

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  4. Medley and Bielik would be my choice for youngsters who get the call to be promoted to the 1st team.

    The CB situation presently is Sokaritis, Mustafi, Mavaropanos, Chambers, Holding, Medley and Bielik. That will be interesting but I could still see somebody coming in.

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  5. Or, C, to put the CB situation another way:

    Sokratis, Dear God Please No, Needs A Loan, Not Good Enough For Fulham As A CB So Why Is He Good Enough For Us?, Holding, Promising, and Over-rated.

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  6. YW,

    That is why I think we will still see a CB brought in this window. Chambers for me was always a midfielder and I do wonder what is going on with Mavrapanos, physically there but certainly needs match time.

    I disagree about Bielik being over-rated. I do think some fans have gone a bit overboard saying he goes straight into the 1st XI but having him as say our CB4 would be ideal especially if we are able to bring someone in.

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  7. YW,

    Then again, everything can’t be solved in one window but we are, based on the signings and potential signings of Tierney and Pepe, getting younger and more talented. Isn’t that what we wanted?

    Everybody said it would take several windows, this is window 3 the start of year 2 so lets see what and how the team looks come January.

    Leno
    Bellerin—-CB——CB——Tierney
    Torriera/Ceballos/Guendouzi/Ozil/Willock/Maitland-Niles(some combination)
    Pepe—-Lacazette—-Aubameayng

    Iwobi, Nketiah

    I would fancy us to make a real push for top 4 given nobody knows about a Hazard-less Chelsea, Manure seem to be in even worst shape than us and none of the others having the firepower we have.

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  8. Hello!

    I’d be happy enough with a Socratis-Holding partnership behind an improved central midfield but
    1/ Holding is injured at least for August and is unlikely to come back at full strength.
    2/ Guess who is likely to play until Holding is fit…
    3/ I’d keep improving the central midfield

    I wonder if Mustafi needs to be sold before a replacement maybe bought in. Or will we simply follow our current model and buy Van Dijk in 100million installments of a quid every time we get our pocket money?

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  9. Whether Bielik is over-rated or not remains to be seen. What we do know is that he has received positive reviews while at Charlton. That, and being an Arsenal man, entitlles him to a chance to compete and show his worth IMO. And it’s an area where we are desparate for improvement.
    Ditto for Chambers, although I’m not sure where as DM seems quite crowded.

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  10. If(I hope its more of a when) Pepe comes, we are going to be frightening on the counter. Pepe is known for working his socks off and carrying the ball up the flank and with Aubameyang and Lacazette both with plenty of pace and quickness, it will be a joy to watch.

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  11. C,

    I always enjoy your cultured optimism, C. And I often enjoy the optimistic pictures you paint for us – as in this one. Right now the concentration on attacking firepower and absence of a CB arrival does seem unbalanced, but if I had a choice of imbalances to watch all season, it’s no contest – give me an overload of attacking wizardry and goals over a solid defence and no goals any day! This game (for us fans at least) is all about feelings when it comes down to it, and I’m feeling a lot less gloomy than I expected to be a couple of weeks back.

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  12. Shame we sold Amachi but I understand why we did given the likes of Nketiah, Saka, Nelson and even John-Jules seemed to be infront of him. Plus with Iwobi and Pepe being young, it was going to be hard for him to get much match time. I hope we put a buy-back clause in it though.

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  13. Noon Gunner,

    Well thank you. It does seem unbalanced but it also feels like Emery and management are waiting to see what we look like with Holding, Bellerin and possibly Tierney playing alongside Sokaritis. With that said though, I would gladly take Rugani off of Juve’s hands even if its a loan with obligation to buy next summer.

    Our midfield and attack has the potential to be loads of pressure and score goals, especially if we can finalize this Pepe deal. There will be plenty of versatility in midfield and attack so we won’t have to count on 1 player for creativity or our FB’s nearly as much.

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  14. Well, well!

    If this comes off, we actually start to look fairly well set – if the defense has an addition or two?

    As YW and C have both said, we have a rather limited and poor choice of CB’s currently. Basically, Sokratis and Holding. Who isn’t fit until at least September and expecting him to pick up where he left off is either hopeful or fanciful. I can’t quite decide.

    So, where does that leave us? We’ve already added next season and I imagine the hope is that he’s an upgrade on Sokratis, who’s already a bit slow across the turf and won’t be getting any quicker. Do we give a couple of the younger guys a chance this season?

    The situation is a bit weird for me, because we’ve added for next season already. It makes me think that a year long loan would be a clever consideration. But then when you think more closely on that, what is the calibre of a loanee going to be?

    Alright, alright YW, better than Mustafi!! But I think realistically, it’s more likely to be akin to the Lichtsteiner kind of level. Decent quality, once upon a time, but probably not enough pace across the turf for the PL. Something we don’t have loads of through the centre of our defence

    If Tierney comes in AND we keep hold of Kolasinac (is that likely?) I could live to Nacho at CB until Holding is fit. But I think it still leaves us pretty short of numbers. We need one more top signing this summer, a quick CB.

    If we can unload Mustafi with one more coming in at CB, assuming the other proposed deals all happen, I’d say we’ve had a great window. I hope it is that and not another case of nearly, but not quite.

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  15. Not sure if I’m excited about Pepe or worried that we’re going all Keegan/Ardiles next season. Without an improvement in our defensive set up I can’t see us scoring our way to the top four, that rarely works. If we can sign Tierney then I’d feel a bit better, regards Mustafi he can play R/B which we need but would he be less of a liability there? Tough to decide. But for me the biggest issue defensively and the one least likely to be resolved is the Xhaka shaped blancmange in front of the defence that the opposition can penetrate at will. Without any steel in that part of the pitch, or at least without a player who can turn faster than an oil tanker, we’ll always be vulnerable.

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  16. I haven’t followed the carjacking furor very closely (I’m trying to cleanse my mind of the extraneous). But the basic rule for armoured car drivers is that, if one of them is bailed up outside the truck, the truck driver MUST immediately drive off and leave his pal with the bad guys. That is the safest course because it prevents the guy outside being used as a hostage. Of course, lots of armoured car drivers hate that rule. But it is the smart play. So, really, Ozil should have got behind the wheel and driven away from Sead!

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