Arsenal miss the Invincibles, but let’s meet the Possibles: January targets examined


While being linked to world-class talents like Edinson Cavani of Napoli, Marouane Fellaini of Everton and Radamel Falcao of Atletico is flattering, Wenger has stated on numerous occasions that he will not overspend in the transfer market.

  “I totally agree with Cruyff (on not needing to splash out millions to win the Champions League – and I won’t change…I could have left 10 times to join another club but I didn’t because I have worked with the same vision and philosophy at Arsenal for the last 16 years — and that won’t change.”

“The game is not all about money.  We have to continue to believe that it’s not only about that.”

Let me make it clear that I don’t buy the media hype surrounding all the players we’ve been linked to or any of the deals for these players being “as good as done”.  If you’re convinced these deals are guaranteed to happen in January, let me remind you of past failures like Mata, Cahill, Ibrahimovic, Drogba, van Nistlerooy, Hazard, Pato, Ozil etc.  I only approach the rumours with cautious optimism that Wenger recognizes our squad needs further strengthening to truly compete.

The following list is meant to be a comprehensive analysis of the abilities of some of the players we’ve been linked to.  All scouting reports are based on games and individual film I’ve watched on each:

Isco – One of my favourite current footballers, the game seems to slow down when he is on the pitch.  It seems as though there are endless possibilities for the Malaga starlet when the ball is at his feet; his first touch is sublime, he can dribble around you, take on 3 defenders, take a devastating curling shot or play give and go in the traditional Spanish way.  In addition, he has a very good center of balance and pace reminiscent of Wilshere.  Not only that, but Isco has the on-field awareness to know when a defender closes in on him when receiving a pass.  He effectively turns or moves into space or creates a foul from the opposing player.  Isco has the balance to stay on his feet and the pace to play out wide.  He represents another option to offer our attack a more direct approach and has an eye for the final dangerous ball.   His 2 goals, 2 assists, 2.5 key passes per game and average of 4.8 successful dribbles per game in 4 Champions League appearances are proof of his ability.  His La Liga stats, while not as impressive as his CL ones, are still noteworthy for his age (20) and from a hybrid CAM/LW.  1 goal every 5 games, 1 assist every 15 games, and almost a shot on goal every game.  His game still needs further refinement but there are no doubts in my mind that he’ll make a seamless transition if purchased, much like his Malaga counterpart that we bought this summer.

Rumoured transfer fee before wages and agent fee: £ 16.9million

Etienne Capoue – Arsenal are often criticized for lacking character and a fearless leader that can motivate and rally others.  Wilshere can eventually be the unequivocal leader for us, but currently it’s too big of a burden to place on the shoulders of a 20 year old that just came back from a 16-month layoff.  The 6’2 product from Toulouse represents everything Arsenal is sorely lacking: a presence who can strike fear in the hearts of the opposition, a no-nonsense tackler and prowls around the field until he gets the ball back.  Naturally one would question if this breed of player would lack the required skill to play Arsenal football.  However, Capoue can control the ball relatively well, makes the simple short passes and can run up field and link up with teammates.  If acquired, he would represent the first purchase by Wenger to replace what Vieira was to this team (outside of his immense talent) – a player who could give vocal leadership and hold others accountable.  The entire Arsenal squad has become complacent and a brittle level of confidence is plaguing the squad.  Arsene has always been renowned as a passionate coach who encourages his players to express themselves on the pitch.  What he’s missing is the link that can inspire others to push forward and to never give up.  Despite not being known for his offence, Capoue’s statistics in Ligue 1 are quite impressive, registering 3 goals and 2 assists in 14 games this year.  He was also named to Ligue 1’s team of the year in 2011-12.  His 2011-12 statistics show that he conceded about two free kicks per game, but was only booked with 7 yellow cards and 1 red card over the year.  It’s evident from watching him that Capoue is a hard tackler who is capable of shutting down the opposition’s skilled players.  Combine all that with his 75.2% success rate in aerial battles and you have quite the talented holding midfielder.  It’s not all good news though as Capoue needs further refinement in his offensive game and learn to be more effective with his passing (only a 76.5% pass completion rate).

Rumoured transfer fee before wages and agent fee: £ 10-15million

 Jesus Navas – He was heavily linked with Arsenal in the summer transfer window but the whispers have been non-existent ever since.  Navas is an orthodox right-winger and a true world-class talent.  He has the pace to burn defenders out wide, the ball control to match his speed and supreme delivery both on crosses and passes the ground.  He can finish if given the opportunity too and his style is very direct and does not need much space to produce extremely dangerous in-swinging balls (79 successful crosses last season alone).  Being a Spanish international, his ability to play beautiful tiki taka football has been well documented and he’s firmly entrenched in Vicente del Bosque’s side.  Over the past 4 seasons (2008/09-2011/12), Navas has established himself as one of the best distributors in the most technical league in the world with 45 assists.  Of greater importance, he is rumoured to be high on Cazorla’s list of players that he hopes Wenger will pursue.  Keeping our top players happy will help in retaining them for years to come.  However, much like any other player, Navas isn’t without weaknesses.  The greatest fear would lie outside of the pitch, where he has a history of struggling with homesickness, anxiety and seizures.  He blocked a move to Chelsea in August 2006 and was only able to make his international debut for Spain in 2009 due to homesickness.  On the bright side, he has taken measures to overcome this condition and has now traveled internationally with Spain and joined a US tour with Sevilla this pre-season.  Other concerns would be his strength as he has a slight build and to be more clinical with his finishing.  Due to Sevilla’s current financial situation, it is believed that the immensely talented winger could be had for a discount price despite holding a buy-out clause of £ 35million.

Rumoured transfer fee before wages and agent fee: £ 15-20million

Adrian Lopez – A player heavily scouted by Arsenal the past couple years, Adrian broke onto the scene with Atletico Madrid last year.  He was especially impressive in their Europa League championship run with 10 goals and 2 assists in 15 appearances.  Adrian is in a similar situation as Walcott, refusing to extend his contract, which currently has a £ 14.4million buyout clause.  As a result, his playing time has suffered and he’s been a disappointment with only 1 goal in 6 La Liga starts.  People are quick judge Adrian on his production this season, but it’s difficult to find form without any continuity in playing time.  What Adrian does offer is incredible pace, is outstanding in the air, has great ball control and dribbling and is comfortable playing tiki taka thanks to his Spanish football development.  In addition, he’s versatile enough to play anywhere up front whether as a striker or on the wing.  Possible weaknesses include over dribbling and no prior history to suggest that he’s a clinical finisher.  However, Adrian is considered to be a late bloomer who is only starting to realize his vast potential and has represented the mighty Spanish giants nationally at almost every level since the age of 16.

Rumoured transfer fee before wages and agent fee: £ 14.4million

Kevin Strootman – At 22 years of age, Strootman still has bags of potential and is a prototypical box-to-box midfielder.  He’s versatile enough to play as a holding midfielder, but is at his best galloping up and down the pitch (similar style to Diaby) in order to capitalize on his blossoming offensive instincts.  When watching him play, he has an elegance and flair that reminds you of a certain Dutchman who recently departed the Emirates, is left footed and even slightly resembles him in height and appearance.  Just like van Judas, he shows bundles of emotion within reason and isn’t afraid to be in the thick of any battle on the pitch.  Strootman is quite clinical for a midfielder, scoring 5 times for PSV Eindhoven this season in only 9 games (albeit in a less competitive Eredivisie).  He’s quite physical and uses his strength to tackle the opposing team, maintain/create space and shield the ball from opposing players.  He also would be able to offer Arsenal that vocal presence on the pitch and is not afraid to hold players accountable for their play.  Strootman can also spray the ball all over the field and is comfortable with both short passes and those over the top long balls that we have sorely missed since Cesc’s departure.  Downsides to Strootman’s game include inconsistent intensity, lack of defensive concentration and average acceleration/quickness.  Despite having strong character, he is victim to drifting in and out of games and can get caught watching plays develop.  The inconsistent intensity is especially evident in his approach to his defensive responsibilities.  He often jogs back to his own end of the pitch and can be accused of lazy, mistimed tackles that result in him being out of position.  His ability to read opponents’ movements and break up plays could also stand to improve.  Strootman has a very powerful running style and once he gets going is difficult to catch up with, but he still lacks the acceleration and quickness you’d like to see from a top end midfielder.  He is definitely not a finished article and would need some seasoning (especially his speed) before he could comfortably adapt to the EPL.

Rumoured transfer fee before wages and agent fee: £ 20million

Remy Cabella – All you need to know about Cabella is that Pires is a big fan of the young lad and believes that Cabella is just like Wenger’s summer signing, Santi Cazorla.  Much like Santi being forced out wide due to circumstance at Malaga, Cabella’s long-term calling will not be as a right mid, but be centrally as an attacking midfielder.  Cabella is a small technical player who is very quick and adept at creating space.  Evident in our Champions League clashes vs. Montpellier, Cabella displayed great touch, remarkable ball control and dribbling, decent crossing ability and the confidence to shoot from distance.  His ability to execute at top speed is very important since fast players have a tough time making important decisions at top speed.  Cabella caused problems for us in both games down the right side and really spread out our defense with Podolski constantly needing to track back to support Gibbs when he was in possession of the ball.  He is currently tied atop Montpellier’s scoring leaders with 5 goals in 16 games and leads the team with 4 assists.  There’s also the added bonus that he played with Giroud during Montpellier’s title run last season and is only 22 years of age.

Rumoured transfer fee before wages and agent fee: £ 5-10million

Hatem Ben Arfa – A player renowned for his flair and ability to take on defenders in tight spaces, Ben Arfa is also capable of producing some beautiful crosses, score from range and can occasionally play some deadly long balls.  Last season, he finally turned the corner on his career after being out of action for 11 months with a broken tibia and fibula, in addition to a surgery that was not allowing his shin to heal properly.  This season was supposed to see Newcastle and Ben Arfa establish themselves among the Premier League’s top 6 clubs again, but they have seriously regressed.  Whether it be because of the drain the Europa league schedule has had on the squad, injuries or Pardew’s stale tactics, it’s clear that Newcastle is in need of change.  HBA is most effective when played slightly more centrally, where he can harness his creativity and link up with teammates.  Currently, Pardew has Ben Arfa playing out too far wide on the right in a 4-4-2, limiting his effectiveness and offensive production.  In a 4-3-3, HBA is much more effective on the RW and can cut into the middle on his left and produce dangerous opportunities on goal.  He’s the type of talent that can truly create something special out of nothing, but realizing his full potential is hindered by his selfish attitude and penchant for over dribbling.  He’s certainly grown as an individual since joining Newcastle, but glimpses of his poor attitude occasionally resurface (issues were well documented with the French national team this past summer).  In terms of his over dribbling, he often takes it upon himself to try and change the outcome of a game; in the process leaves teammates frustrated wondering why he never passed the ball to them when they were wide open.

Rumoured transfer fee before wages and agent fee: £ 20million

Demba Ba – The Senegalese striker has been quite prolific his whole career and has continued to prove his worth since joining Newcastle in 2011.  16 goals in 32 games last season and 10 goals in 16 games this year are impressive in such a competitive league.  Much like Ben Arfa, Ba’s success is dependent on the formation that Pardew uses.  Ba is most productive as a lone striker leading the line and this was evident when Papiss Cisse joined Newcastle in the January transfer window last year; Ba only scored 1 goal after his arrival and was pushed out to the LW.  Ba has great power and strength, is an aerial threat, has good ball control and is a great finisher.  At 6’2, he’s got decent pace but could stand to have better acceleration.  He doesn’t offer versatility in attack and needs good delivery from the wings and midfield to score goals.  Despite needing delivery, Ba can link up well with teammates to create space for himself to shoot.

 Rumoured transfer fee before wages and agent fee: £ 7.5million

 Klaas-Jan Huntelaar – (already analyzed in previous article, “Beckham, Huntelaar, Strootman and the 4-4-2 show can truly begin”)

Rumoured transfer fee before wages and agent fee: between £ 5-10million

Wilfried Zaha – (already analyzed in previous article “Wilfried Zaha: Arsenal’s Missing Link is Holloway’s Precious”)

Rumoured transfer fee before wages and agent fee: £ 18million

It’s difficult to choose exactly whom I think Wenger should buy in January, as adaptation to the English game and Arsenal’s system is unpredictable.  However, I am convinced that any world-class talent should succeed in any environment.  With that said, I believe Klaas-Jan Huntelaar and Jesus Navas (homesick free) would be the ideal additions.  Arsenal currently has many quality talents, but is lacking game changers of top quality outside of Cazorla and Wilshere.  Huntelaar would provide the clinical finishing that we’ve been sorely lacking this year and allow Santi to be more confident in expressing his creative instincts.  At 29 years of age, Huntelaar is in the prime of his career and should not be seen as a long-term replacement threat to Giroud.  He can act as a mentor for Giroud and give him more time to adapt to the English game.  Giroud will still get all the Champions League starts given that Huntelaar cannot represent any other team after already appearing for Schalke in the tournament.  The dream acquisition of Jesus Navas should be straightforward.  A winger who can produce deadly crosses, has pace, ball control and a direct style of play are in dire need at Arsenal.  The right side would be so tantalizing with the link up play and innate understanding of movement between Cazorla, Arteta and Navas.  He’s also an extraordinary distributor, which would only see Giroud, Podolski and Huntelaar (in my scenario) benefit even further.

Another missing element in this team is a destroyer in the midfield who is fearless and brings leadership, heart and “spine”. 

Etienne Capoue would certainly appear to be the ideal solution, but I’m not convinced he’s the type of top quality player Wenger will be looking to buy in January.  However, if Wenger opted to beef up his midfield with such a player, I would not be opposed to the move in any way.

Any quality reinforcements would be an improvement over players like Chamakh, Santos, Squillaci, and Ramsey etc. and should be welcomed at this point.

Of the aforementioned transfer targets whom would you identify as the suitable option(s) to right the ship?  Can of any them improve our team’s current output?  Are there any other realistic targets you’d like Arsenal to buy?

Written by: The Gooner.

110 thoughts on “Arsenal miss the Invincibles, but let’s meet the Possibles: January targets examined

  • My Goodness, that is brilliant TG, absolute class!! 🙂

    I have only managed to speed read it because I was greedy to move from line to line.

    That Post needs another leisurely read to luxuriate in some of the ‘might be’s’ and to give your work a deserved measure of time to digest! 😀

  • Boy what analysis from a star writer. So enjoyed the indepth comments.

    It’s interesting that you only select one out of ten that is English.

    A position that I feel needs addressing is left back and there is no mention in your line up of such a player. Unlike yourself, I haven’t the knowledge of European footballers so I would leave the suggestions to you, but my thoughts are we need three positions to be filled. They are left back, tough minded/tackler midfielder and striker. All three I feel is within the budget Arsene Wenger has.

    The same drum will be banged though. wenger will simply not pay out for cream, he will be content with a drop of semi skimmed instead.

    Wish I had more time to read through a spiffing post right now. Will have to catch up latterz.

  • VCC,

    That incorrigible rogue, the Glicster, was remarking about the similarity between your avatar name and Roman numerals. 🙂

    I see where the comedy czar is coming from! (V = 5), (C = 100) = VC = 95. [100 – 5 = 95]. But the one hundred and ninety five means that 100 has to come first. 🙂

    In Roman numerals 195 is as follows: {C = 100} + {C – V = 95} = CVC = 100 + 95 = 195.

    So, 195 = CVC

    Alles klar?? 🙂

  • Holy smokes what a post. I’m guilty of absolutely loving the transfer windows (except of course when we have lingering doubts over our players) so loved reading it.

    I doubt the afro from Everton is world class though.

    Not a fan of Ben Afra. I remember when we were heavily linked with him around 07/08 but it didn’t materialise due to his behavioral problems (or so the media said). So i can’t see it happening considering it’s the apparent reason as to why Arsene didn’t buy M’Vila.

    For defensive midfield i’d like to raid Montpellier and get Yanga-Mbiwa. He was great against us, a good leader and can also fill in at CB. Other than that i’d like to see Frimpong given the role when he comes back in January from his short loan spell. No one would put skids in the oppositions pants quicker than he!

    While we are raiding them lets knick Belhanda too. He and Giroud were a monumental pairing last season so why not reunite them again.

    In regards to CF I’d like to see Podolski be given the job because he has the ability. He needs to pull his finger out though and stop sulking, if he doesn’t i’d rather ship him off now because it’s a piss poor attitude to have!

    At LB we suffer from ‘diaby-syndrome’, which causes us to not buy a replacement because Gibbs is such a good player…when he’s on the pitch! Can he be relied upon? I’m not sure. If not bring in Baines!

    18 million for Zaha, I’d never want to spend that much on potential because it’s just such a risk! He didn’t do it for Hazard or Goetze so I don’t see him doing it now. Although like most players they go through a ‘new toy’ phase with over inflated prices. For example AA after the Euros was supposedly worth 30 million and going to Barca, we waited a bit and got him for half that. Ox was the same. 7 million with 3 million in add ons sounds about right I’d imagine.

    I’d like 2 players with two promising players brought in also (then again is there a point if they don’t get played?). Draxler from Schalke would do nicely!!!

    Top notch Gooner!!!

  • Also Gooner, you may not know this about me but Arsene listens to my transfer targets! I plucked Giroud out of relative obscurity thanks to stringent searching and sent Arsene the youtube link. From there Arsene told me to “F*ck off” and that I don’t know anything because I’m an Australia w*nker. The slime ball ended up buying him anyway robbing me of my finders fee! Penny pincher!

  • VCC,

    The order of the numerals is key. VC = 95; (-5 +100 = 95)

    If you put the order as per your name (and the Romans would not), it would read (95 – 100) = 5.

    Lesser numerals immediately to the left of a greater numeral are subtracted. Lesser numerals to the right of a numeral are added. For example IV = 4, whereas VIII = 8

    ¿Entiendes ahora, mi pequeño pollo? 😆

  • An epic Post by TG! And a theme is developing! 😛

    Invincibles 🙂 —> Now 😦 —> Potential Targets 😛 —> the future is bright, it is red and white? 😕 🙂

  • Oz 🙂

    That is a very fine comment you made earlier. It is great to have a few European transfer experts on BK (you, Henrychan and TG), so we talk about these prospect with knowledge rather than having to rely on the lazy gossip nonsense spouted out by most of the tabloids.

    I can confirm you spotted Giroud well before he came to Arsenal. Also agreed on Podholski as back-up CF, but would not mind us to buy another CF in Huntelaar to have full cover.

  • TG,

    You have sold them all to me! 🙂

    You have been very thorough, and the post will surely remain a reference point for us for many months to come!

    My very first priority is an alternative to Arteta, and ideally a more physical specimen.

    I like the sound of Caboue but also Oz’s Yanga-Mbiwa. We need a battler in there with added footie qualities. Strootman is class and Arsene would surely get the best out of him: he could be the new Pirlo as he can operate from deep and more forward and can pick a pass really well (from anywhere on the pitch), and he has great vision. Strootman also has strong verbal skills. He is not an athletic/ overly physical player though, and if I had a choice I would go for Caboue or YM at this stage.

    Second priority is a quality, dedicated winger. I like Cabella very much as he is also a decent tackler, has a great engine, and helps out defensively. He could be the new Pires in a few years time. Also like Navas, and Lopez sounds good too; and Zaha could also be a big success. I also rate Oz’s suggestion Draxler, and then there is Narsingh at PSV Eindhoven who could be just the fit on RW.

    I think Arsene should also try to get Stekelenburg from Roma. He would be the ideal back-up keeper or first choice: a bit of healthy rivalry is just what the Pole in goal needs imo.

  • TG (and other BK’ers)

    As per our email discussions, here is an old video / analyse of both Strootman’s vision and long distance passing ability. He was 18 back then and the football analyst is in total awe with his ability to play with his head up and passing accuracy.

  • Hi guys..
    I was very busy this last few days..
    To tired to even wrote some reply.. hehehehe..

    I need to make my guess first.. hi VCC..
    Chelsea, MU and Liverpool home win..
    Arsenal away win..
    WBA draw WHU..
    And I hope Spurs-Swansea also draw..

    TG.. Who will Wenger buy will hardly depend on what kind of formation Arsenal Play..
    Although I was a fans of 4-3-3 scheme.. but I will accept if we going back to our “history-victory” form 4-4-2..

    I assume that we will still play on 4-3-3 scheme..
    Than the first thing to do is keeping Walcott stay..
    But if not.. then buy a damn-good RW..
    Hatem Ben Arfa is good stuff.. but 20 million.. Are you kidding..??
    Why must buy a 20 million guy.. just give walcott another extra income.. then he will stay..
    100k/week is oke.. compared to Podolski for 90k/week.. isn’t it..??

    Zaha maybe is good.. but never in a million years that Wenger will buy a ‘unknown’ youngster for 18 million.. TG.. you are overrated him..
    Howcome his price is more than Isco and Lopez..??
    And If I have to choose Demba Ba for 7,5 million to Zaha in the same price.. than I will choose Demba Ba.. even though Demba Ba is not a winger.. hehehe..
    So if Walcott leave then Isco, Lopez or Narsingh (22 yo – PSV) is my first choice.. TA had already give some good review about Narsingh..

    In the Left winger.. if we must sell Arshavin then bring some good one there..
    Gervinho is good there.. yes not as good as before.. but still okay..
    And I don’t really understand why Wenger – in some games – played him as a CF..
    Podolski is not a LW.. And he beeter play as a CF than LW..
    If we need a LW then I suggest we go after Jeremain Lens.. 25 yo (another dutch PSV) player.. He is strong, speedy and good feeder.. he can cross verywell..

    And Huntelaar can also come.. if we sell Chamakh, Park and Bendtner altogether..
    He is cheap.. and hardworking striker.. And Lens – Hunter – Narsingh used to play together for Netherland.. And match each other.. hehehe..
    But for now no dutch striker is better than RvP.. sorry TA..
    And I prefer Adam Szalai or Bas Dost as our new CF target..

    And I agree to bring someone to subs Arteta.. And I think M’Villa is the man..
    Moreover if we play 4-1-2-3 formation.. the one I said as a trophy scheme.. hehehe..
    We need a strong DM.. One is enough.. More attacking football is what I like most..
    And I think M’Villa is not to expensive nowaday.. and selling squilaci, djorou, fabianski and Santos can give us 12 million.. to buy M’Villa..

    And if we have money.. sure Isco, Lopez and Stoortman will be great..
    But if not.. Holtby, Belhanda or Cabella is not bad either..

  • Excellent stuff TG

    The two players i would like are Huntaler and Zaha, but i dont over indulge to many fantasies. Ime to busy doing that i other areas.

    I believe Arsene and the Board have devised a new strategy to go forward, it is to procure as many young British talents as possible and then with improved finances attempt to pay them the going rate in the hope that top wages and there Britishness will be the antidote to players leaving.

    It is a policy i applaud and find logical.

    People should get off Arsenes back. He is making every effort to produce another top team and if the new strategy works his ambition will come to fruition.

  • Good to see back here Henry, but I knew TG’s post would make your mouth water! 😛

    Very good point to look at our formation/system of football as a guiding point of who we need to sign.

    No need to say sorry re van Judas: he is the best Dutch striker but Huntelaar is just behind and a stronger and fitter option for us long term (far less injury prone)!

  • No comment.. Strootman is a class.. And he is dutch captain.. so he must be a class.. hehehe.. non of them (dutch player) is bad.. hahahaha..
    I see the other video about Eljero.. I forget to mention him as another LW that we could go for.. Eljero was verygood winger.. but Juve make him so messy.. (not messi.. hehehe..)
    And I don’t like Walcott to have the same fate as Eljero if he goes to Juve..

  • i heard Arsene mention it yesterday TA. hahahaha

    To be fair, it is logical.

    What we do if we were all gathered together around the Boardroom discussing how we take the club forward. The major obstacle has been the failure to keep players so surly the strategy would be how in the future we can keep them.

    This does not mean the policy is one dimensionl. On the contary, its multi layered. The club will continue to scour the world for the best foreign talent avaliable, that will never change

    I feel its time some people got off Arsene and the Boards back and realised the difficulties they have faced the last 7 years. They are working there best, under trying circumstances, to turn the clubs fortunes around and i have faith that they will succeed.

  • Terry, I reckon that would be a mistake. The British market is expensive and does not offer the best quality in many positions. I guess a core of British players would be good but only if they are the best around (for what we can afford). The idea that we keep players better because they are British might also be flawed.

    So, yes a mixture of British and the world’s best would be the best way to go. 🙂

  • I agree TA, we need a mixture. We have players like Wilshere, Gibbs and Ox and it would not surprise me in the slightest if we push the boat out for Zaha and Will Huuges of Derby.

    A combination of a British core with top foreign talent is the new goal.

    Not easy, but we will get there.

  • Hi to everyone, I am making my 1st post here.

    Realistically (1) & (2):

    (1) Henrikh Mkhitaryan (Shakhtar Donetsk) – AM/Second striker/winger. In 17 league games and 6 CL games (2012/2013 season), he has 20 goals and 7 assists, and is only behind Messi, Falcao & Ibrahimovic currently on strike rate (while being on level with C.Ronaldo and El Shaarawy).

    (2) Maxime Gonalons (Olympique Lyon) – DM/CB/CM. Lyon currently seats on top of Ligue 1 (with no star players), in the expense of PSG. Maxime Gonalons (in 16 league and 4 Europa games) has a pass success rate of 89.8% (1164/1312 passes), 163/196 successful long-balls to team-mates, 77 successful tackles, 64 successful interceptions, only dispossessed 17 times and only made 16 turnovers.

    With hope (3):
    This last one …. might be a little difficult. However, his stature as a previous Ballon d’Or winner, having won everything at club level in his time with Milan (Serie A title, CL title, Copa Italia, FIFA Club World Cup) and R.Madrid (La Liga title, Copa del Rey) and country with Brazil (World Cup), being a model professional on and off the pitch and a classy person as well, will do well to command respect from fellow team-mates, supporters of the club, management and coaching staff. He still has a lot to offer (currently having limited playing time because of the presence of others playing in his position at his current team)

    (3) Kaka (Real Madrid) – AM/LW/RW.

    I could visualise him (if he arrives) having the similar impact and status of the following 2 legends of our club in recent times:

    (A) Dennis Bergkamp (1995-2006)

    (B) Thierry Henry (1999-2007, 2012-loan)

  • I’ll take one! god how i miss seeing passes like that! Damn you cesc, we should just kidnap him and brain wash him into thinking his dad is Tony Adams…I know a guy!

  • Didnt forget them Oz baby, they are always on my mind. That reminds me of a song.

    “you were always on my mind, you were always on my mind, wished i had said that i loved you, all those many many times, but ime so sorry babe i was blind”

    “you were always on my mind, Ramsey you were always on my mind” hahahahaha

  • Lets get some videos to show off TG’s post a bit more!



    Jesus (could market he and God (Dennis):


    Ben Arfa:




  • @ Terry 13.44

    haha Willie Nelson! you’d be a great karaoke singer Terry. “and performing tonight we have special guest performers…Telescope Nelson and his Pigeon singing ‘Ramsey you’ve plateaued, but that’s okay you’ll come good. Oh and Ramsey, baby…you are always on my mind!’

  • Total, I’ve said before I’m not too keen on Huntelaar, but I’ve seen a bit of MBwia, and he looks the nuts. Just what we want. Lets send the hat round BK and see if we can muster up enough to put a deposit down.

  • I love the targets but as with comments in the last post my reaction is “If Only” With the Chav’s, Manuer, and Oily MC’s all in for many of the above (and that’s only the English clubs) our hopes remain slim, because we can’t compete in a bidding war for any of them. Not with the big boys anyway. I know that reality is a big problem for some Gonners because they hate to think we ain’t one of the big boys, but it’s a fact. Its ok saying £30mil or even £50mil to spend but when that package includes a salary it ain’t massive. I’m one of those who doesn’t think big buys are the only way, but for many of our own, they do because they eat every word the papers say, and drink in one swallow the lazy pundit sensationalizing opinions. How many times over the years have they flashed up a name saying “X” can save Arsenal? I’ve lost count.

    @ TA from yesterday I don’t agree, it’s been 7 disappointing years. I certainly haven’t suffered. Disappointing years were the 7 before 1970
    The 7 after 71, the 7 after 79.

    In those sets of 7 not only didn’t we win anything we played crap and a top 4 finish was a pipe dream. We may not have won anything since the Manu’er penalty shootout, but we’ve still played some wonderfully entertaining football. In the sets of seven above wonderfully entertaining football and Arsenal could not be uttered in the same breath unless we’d got a pasting I know because I suffered them in the cold, and the only thing that kept me warm was the crowd of locals in the north bank.

  • No worries Emir of Londennium, Richie

    The main thing that will save us is Arsene getting back to winning ways; and getting the players to play the way he wants them to is key. Nevertheless, we are missing quality in certain areas and it would be hard to deny that one or ideally two of the players mentioned in TG’s post would make a significant difference to team. It does not look like we have the quality to replace Arteta and Walcott adequately at the moment, unless we are all prepared to give Wenger a few years to get there with his youth players. Can you see that happening with the current level of continuous expectations? I might as well believe I will be sleeping next to Nigella tonight! 🙂

  • I couldn’t agree more any 2 from the above would probably give us the boost we need but we’ll have to wait and hope we get any!

  • APOLOGY to any concerned!!!

    I just do not get this double Dutch cap thingy!! 🙂

    I write a comment, oblivious to the fact someone has already used the reply button to say something to me ages back that I have not seen because I am in the here and now!!

    I cannot be doing with all this backward and forward. Glic confuses me enough already.
    As for Terry Nibblecake, he must be back with his Mrs, because he has gone back into his super-enthusiastic mode for a couple of days now!!

    Get a grip Tazzer, or Oz will be replying to me before I have had the chance to ask the question! 😀

  • Afternoon Gentlemen,

    Before I respond to each of your posts individually, let me say thank you all for the kind words! I really enjoy interacting with each and every one of you and hope that my articles have given you more to think about.

    In regards to the article, I chose to not examine goaltenders, defenders and players from lower leagues. Also, I left out a few like Diame, Llorente because of injury or similarity to current players on the team (I had to draw the line somewhere or else my article would have never ended :)). However, I do agree that we could use a defender, especially at left back, depending on who we sell in January. On the left back front, we haven’t been linked to enough defenders that I’ve seen a lot of, since the names mentioned are very young (Shaw, Willems etc.)

  • Cheers VCC, as always thanks for the amazing compliments!

    As you can see from comment below, I couldn’t address every player we’ve been linked to or else the article would have never ended! Mbiwa is actually a center back and rarely plays in the midfield. He’s versatile enough to play anywhere along the back line and has strong leadership skills, a never say die attitude and is a no nonsense defender. He’s got great pace for a defender, decent aerial ability, ball control and passing and has the physicality to play in any league. His offensive instincts could definitely use some work though.

    It’s just difficult to highlight exactly who Wenger should buy as everyone has differing opinions on what our weaknesses are. The one constant is Wenger’s comments that he’ll only chase “top, top” quality players to compliment the players he already has and the youth coming up through the academy. In my opinion, any targets will likely not be young talents and will be established stars, who’s either in the last year of their contracts or whose club is a dire financial situation. Despite lacking depth at left back, I think Meade is on Wenger’s radar as a suitable back-up and both himself and Gibbs are young and need playing time, opposed to being blocked for 3-4 years by an experienced vet.

  • Hi Oz,

    Again thank you for the kind words and I’m glad you’re as enthusiastic as myself about improving Arsenal in the transfer window!

    The afro may not be world-class, but he’s certainly out of our reach. With the right exposure, coaching and consistent production there’s no reason why he couldn’t become close to that level though.

    HBA definitely has some attitude and behavioural issues that are a concern, but he’s definitely matured in his time since leaving Marseille. He’s a really dangerous talent that can change a game on his own, but is also very inconsistent. I agree with you that he might not be the best option for us, however you cannot deny his talent.

    For the Mbiwa comment, look above at my response to VCC (it was meant for you). He’s a defender who rarely, if ever, plays in the midfield. Versatile enough to play anywhere on the back line though!

    Belhanda would be an excellent purchase but he just vowed his allegiance to Montpellier and extended his contract with them in the summer. He’s a talented player with a bit of selfish attitude about him as well, and with Santi on the team he’d be a luxury. I wouldn’t want to convert either himself or Santi to the wing because we have enough unorthodox wingers currently playing out wide. The only way Belhanda would make sense is if we switched our formation.

    I agree on Podolski, he could be an alternative CF to Giroud but I’m not convinced that Wenger will play him there consistently. Whenever he does play Podolski centrally, he seems lost and ineffective. I guess it’s difficult to find form there if there’s no continuity in playing time in that position.

    Despite Baines being the ideal left back, he would block our young players in Gibbs and Meade. Yes Gibbs is injury prone but it’d be a huge blow to learn that for the next 3-4 years you’ll be making spot appearances after being a regular starter. For the case of Meade, he’d receive no playing time aside from injuries and maybe the odd cup game for the foreseeable future.

  • Also oz, loved your insight and your knowledge on Arsenal’s transfer targets. As for Zaha, I’m not convinced he’ll help us enough from January onwards. He’d be better as a summer acquisition if no teams approach him now and I’m content with Ox playing out wide as long as he doesn’t complain about being played there.

  • Lol Oz, great story. If I had Arsene’s e-mail he’d probably block me because I’d send him 100 e-mails in the span of 1 hour on how to improve the current squad…good cal on Giroud, always liked him at Montpellier!

  • I believe if it came to a vote, TA, I would come out in favour of a chronological format, so that dopey people like me know where I am, as i am not around all the time, and miss some good ‘replies’. 🙂

    (A slightly ironic view, given that BK employs an American time system). 😳

    But I will be happy with whatever the Master of the House wishes!! 🙂

  • hahahaha yes Redders, and i have a song for you

    No women no cry, no women no cry
    Oh my friend Redders, dont shed no tears
    No women no cry

    You said, i remenber when we used to sit round the Bergkampesque site, Wenger burning through the night.

    Your feet are your only carriage
    So youve got push your telescope through

    But while were mid table

    Everythings gona be alright
    Everythings gona be alright
    Everythings gona be alright

    No women no cry
    No, no women,no cry
    Oh my friend Redders dont shed no tears

    No Wenger no cry


  • VCC, what I like about Huntelaar is the desire to better RIP, his age not being seen as an threat long-term for the striker role, and the fact that he’s a clinical finisher. Mbiwa would be great though, I think it’d likely signal the end of either Mertesacker or Koscielny though (preference is Mertesacker to leave because of his pace and age but he’s been very reliable this season).

  • Redders, I have thinking the same recently. If it’s chronological nobody has to miss out on comment or has to read back all the time. I will have a look at it. 🙂

  • TA,

    You’re an absolute class act mate! If it weren’t for you asking me to write, I would have never been involved in the BK community, so big thanks!

    Yanga-Mbiwa is a defender, definitely not an adequate midfielder. As per my long comment in response to Richie’s article, he’s been likened to a young Sol Campbell. Would be a top notch position but one that would signal the end of either Mertesacker or Koscielny (which I’m fine with). In reference to Strootman, himself and Pirlo have very different styles. Strootman’s got more spine, likes charging up field more and plays a more physical brand of football where Pirlo is all about flair on the ball, astute passing and techincal defending.

    If we’re going to take a look at a name not rumoured to Arsenal for the wing, I think Jefferson Farfan would be a quality addition. He looked great against us and his crossing, pace and ball control are close to top notch. He’s also an orthdox right wing which helps. Cabella is another solid option, but my #1 choice would be Navas since he’s already world class and we all know what we’re getting. I think he’s one of the best wingers in the world.

    Back-up keeper would be nice, but I can see Arsene only bringing in 2 players in January and maybe a loan for the king as Gervinho cover. I approached the article as if he’s only going to address two positions and right wing and striker were at the top of my list. We have a ton of midfielders and I’m sure he’ll want to give chances back to Frimpong, Coquelin for the holding position and Diaby might actually stay fit now that Jack’s back and he’d be rotated more.

  • Hi JM 🙂

    Good to see you here, Sir!

    Thanks for your comment and I am intrigued you still think Kaka could do if for us. There is a player totally ruined by the self-declared special one. He went for money and he paid with never reaching immortality status!

  • Strootman certainly has potential with his long range passing, but it’s not always present in his game and he seems to have evolved more into a prototypical box to box midfielder opposed to the deep lying playmaker. That video is excellent in showing his long ball ability though!

  • Hi TG, I think AW would use him in the Arteta role and his long distance passing could re-flourish again. I strongly believe he can develop into the next Pirlo if managed by the right man. He is perhaps a more allround midfielder than Pirlo as De Stroot can also defend well.

  • Henry,

    Thanks for the insightful feedback.

    My post doesn’t include all the names I’d like to see Arsene target but simply the names of players he has been linked to. HBA is not my first choice and neither is Zaha. Both are overvalued since they are either English or currently playing in the EPL. International transfers always come at a lower price, quoted prices of each player aren’t on my valuations…It’s based on what the press are reporting. As you can tell from my post, I’d prefer Navas or Isco over Zaha, HBA etc. any day (not quite sure where you got that I have an intention to do otherwise).

    Have you seen M’Vila play this year? He has been absolutely awful. In fact, he’s been consistently reported by the French press to be one of the worst starting players on his squad and his passing and defending have all seemingly deserted him. He’s largely overrated because he made a debut for the French national team at such a young age. He was brilliant then but has only seriously regressed since that debut, eventually developing a very poor attitude that has seen him banned from the French national team for a full year. Capoue is already widely regarded as better than him, evident by his play this season and his calling to the Ligue 1 team of the year last season.

  • 100% agree Richie, the article was only meant to inform others of the targets we’ve been linked to as I watch a lot of other leagues and was asked to share some insight on them. I approach all rumours with cautious optimism based on past dealings. Even if we acquire players in January, there’s no insurance that they’ll be successes. I’ve done my best to try and include players Wenger could actually afford in my analysis. Hopefully even with the wages and agent fee, he could afford 1-2 of these players!

  • Cheers Terry! As always, you contribute a great deal to the discussion :).

    Both the options you prefer would be great for Arsenal, though Zaha would likely need more time to bed into our system and adjust to the top level. Bundles of talent and potential though!

    That strategy also seems feasible to me, as he’d have a better chance of the squad staying together since they’d have a bond beyond Arsenal and like-minded team mentalities. Will be interesting to see if it ever works and if there are enough affordable English talent that AW could buy and that could also play at the top level.

  • Certainly could be the case TA, but he’s more comfortable with less defensive responsibilities. He can defend, but it’s undisciplined and sloppy at times. I guess with more refinement to his game, he could play a holding role. However, I think that would prevent him from realizing his true potential as he’s really excelled in the box to box role the last two seasons. Charging up field on Diaby like runs are his bread and butter and suit his aggressive nature perfectly. He loves to run up field and contribute offensively, which has seen his long ball passing take a back seat lately. He’s very comfortable in the final third and isn’t a fan of taking a back seat and watching the play develop from deep. Again, I guess it would all depend all what the coach’s ask of him would be, but I really think it’d be a waste to develop him into a Pirlo type player since we could also use a Diaby replacement!

  • TA, what we can agree on is that Stroot is absolute class and would be a very welcome addition to Arsenal, no matter which style he plays for us. I just didn’t include him in my final picks because I feel as though Utd will outbid us and we don’t have the leverage there with all the midfield depth we already have. Navas is more plausible because of the Spanish influence already in place and the brand of football we play, while Huntelaar has been relentlessly linked and we could use a clinical finisher.

  • VCC,

    My long-awaited picks:

    Man $hitty

    All to win 🙂

  • Last thing on Strootman. Any player who can play with his head up and deliver such long range passes should be cherished and a team should be build around that skill set. Jack has it and Strootman has it too. If we could have them both…

    I still believe that if the Hunter joins us we will play 4-4-2 soon, with Cazorla on the LM and a new purchase on RM (one of your options would do fine and for 4-4-2 I would to see Cabella! 🙂

  • Thank you Terry Baby, I have been moved to tears by your beautiful song, telling me not to cry. Absolutely marvellous! 😀

    Not sure what caused you to think of me, but it is very welcome — I still think you are bonkers tho’!! 😀

  • Hello All
    Long time no speak.
    Total said if I didn’t send in my predictions he would set GLiC AND VCC on me… so here they are:
    Toon v Citeh: A
    ManUre v Sunderland H
    Stoke v Everton A
    Norwich v Wigan D
    Reading v Arse A

    Sorry I’ve not been round much. I’ve hardly done any blogging lately cos of work and travel. Should start getting a bit easier next week.

    Nice list of players TA.

    What do I want in January? Top strike and MF enforcer.

    What do I expect to get in January? Frostbite.

  • Sorry The Gooner
    I’ve just realised you wrote the Post and not that lazy moonlighter TA (aka Bergkampesque).

    Fine job my friend.

  • Cheers Rocky, hope to see you on here more mate! Haha frostbite is a very real possibility given our transfer history…either that or Santa Claus, the illusion and promise of something that exists that we can never actually see!

  • TG……..I have to blow my own trumpet here. Ages back when we were said to be interested in M’Vila I said I did not get it…..He did not show me he was better than we already had. In fact I thought he looked extremely ordinary.

  • Henry…….Henrychan…………you have selected Chelsea in the UMF League……they are not playing in the premiership this week end………..please select another entry…….thanks

    TA….if you around can you contact him before Saturday noon please, cheers.

  • Evening Buttache`s 😆

    If you cant be bothered to look up my daily different greeting on Urban Dictionary, then be surprised, it`s an insult !. hahaha But in a nice way, it takes me back to my footballing days when I would deliberately be the last in the changing room just to utter the words, ” alright , you bunch of wankers “!. hahaha It still tickles me !.
    Believe it or not, but not only was I the handsomest bastard and best player, but also the joker in the pack. If only we had you tube back then, a 5 min vid of me, would have had you lot creaming over your ” Tug Toners ” !. hahaha

    Fantastic post by our other Canadian, The Gooner. Pity the other one couldn`t spend less time being mounted by The Mounties and spend more time on here !. hahaha

    I`ve looked at all the vids apart from Huntelaar ( as I dont want another Pod, I wanted them when they were younger ) and all I can say is, if Isco is only going to cost £16.9M then dont f**k about with the long drawn out negotiations. Arsene and Ivan should sneak into Malaga disguised as a couple of trannies on honeymoon, stick Isco in a trunk and give Malaga £25M, no beating about the bush ( well Arsene can beat Ivan`s terrible bush ! ). job done !.

    Alas, we will end up with TH14 on loan and some out of date player we will be moaning about weeks later !.

  • Zero schmero.

    Ever heard of the tortoise and the hare?

    Well I’m neither. I’m the cheetah. Playing dead. But ready to pounce.

  • I thought we had plenty of players who can play with their head up………..their arse`s !…….ok you want names………Arshavin has a massive arse and a few players can be found up there during games……….like , the other night against Bradford and he wasn`t even in the squad….or even in Bradford , yet Podolski still managed to hide in there for 69 mins !. hahaha

  • How did your exam go today ?. I hope you remembered to write all the answers as graffiti on your zimmer frame !.

  • I was ok with the questions but I got stuck where it asked for my name.

    And where it said sex…….I put yes please…….I don’t think that was the right answer either.

  • @ RA

    I agree with the comment thing, I’m used to scrolling down to the last part so god knows how many comment gems I miss here and there!

    @ VCC 20.48

    Don’t forget the part where you had to have a nap half way through because you were tuckered out, and when you woke you shouted at the teacher to get off your lawn!

  • Oz….I have plenty of moments like that .

    The worst one was ….I got to the middle of the stairs and stopped for a second. I then thought to myself, now, was I on my way or on the way down. 🙂

  • OK guys your wish is my command. All comments are chronological now and you cannot reply to individual comments directly any more, other than the ‘Leave a Reply’ box at the bottom of the post. This way, every time you refresh the page, you will be able to see all NEW comments directly at the bottom of the page, rather than having to read through all the comments again.

    Hope this makes sense.

    Good night to you all and a good morning to Henry, Oz and anybody else in Asia and Australia! 🙂

  • Date of the posts have also been adjusted: still months first to make RA feel at home, but there will no more be any ambiguity! 🙂

    Planning to issue a new post early in the morning: between 7-8am BST.

  • perfect TA cheers. Bloody RA with your months first haha, you’ve got it all back to front!

    Don’t worry VCC I’m sure it has it’s advantages too. When you end up in your next door neighbours Jacuzzi and get sprung you can just say “this isn’t where I parked my car!”

  • @TheG@15:39
    The Gooner
    December 13, 2012 18:29
    He has to show that he’s willing to be more flexible and take this team forward (after the 7 years of misery that we’ve endured).
    Sorry G but it was this quote of yours in brackets I replied to not Herbs!

  • The immediate need is for Arsenal to get players who can help the senors to climb the table and challeneg for third place.There is the danger being 4th will be relegated to the europa league especially if MU win the cl.It’s no use getting someone making waves in the lower .division.Is there any guarantee he will deliver in the epl,the biggest pond swarming with predatorsafter dominating in a smaller pond with herring.

  • I know Norfolk is as close to Holland as you can get and about as flat and there’s water everywhere you look but you are still in Europe and only the mad cousins over the pond who can’t even spell their own language start with the month. In Europe we start with the day, I’m not comfortable giving in to the Shermans, do the right thing, do the right thing.

  • Fair enough richie, I’ve only been an Arsenal fan since ’97 so I haven’t experienced the pain in the 70’s as you have. The past 7 years have been as bad as it’s been for me as an Arsenal fan. We had the talent to win the league and other titles, yet have always fallen short. If we were just a crap team with no talent, I’d probably be more understanding. The fact remains that we claim to be a top club yet our history in the transfer market and current form suggest that we are nothing more than a mid table club. I’m hoping for a turn around since we certainly have the talent to come top 4 (definitely not win the league though).

  • Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, children of all ages…today we have a post from none other than our fearless leader…the one…the only… descendant of Gaius Julius Civilis himself…T….A!!!!!!!!


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