Forget about buying 5 top players – Put your trust in Arsenal’s Evolution!

Arsenal's 'Russian Dolls of Evolution'

Arsenal’s ‘Russian Dolls of Evolution’? 🙂

There is a lot of hope, or should I say expectation, in Goonerworld that Arsene/al will go all out and buy five or more top players this summer. I have heard this so many times in previous seasons, and yet, it has never happened. It will also not happen this summer; of that I am absolutely sure.

I am also hoping it won’t happen, and the reason for this is that I am sick to the teeth with ‘being in transition’ constantly. Transition sucks: teams in transition are constantly looking for cohesion, form, consistency, and they don’t win anything. And after two seasons of full-on, consecutive transitions, with a large number of players going out and coming in; what I want most is for all our key players to stay put this summer.

I don’t believe it is possible to buy success, other than winning the odd PL title or a cup. Real, sustained success, is developed and based around solid foundations. Being financially strong and powerful is definitely a prerequisite, but vision and values, long-term planning and consistency in key personnel – managers and players – are just as important. And success is built iteratively; layer by layer, and through trial and error. The best metaphor I can  think of are the ‘Russian Dolls’.

The five Russian Dolls, or expanding building layers, of developing and maintaining a successful football club:

The smallest doll – the very core of the club – is all about having a great history, a fantastic stadium and training facilities, and a loyal fan-base. Arsenal have a state-of-the-art, 60,000 seater stadium and a truly fantastic and loyal fan-base, both in the UK and the rest of the world. Without these there simply would be no football club.

The second smallest doll is about having the right people leading and governing the club, with a long-term vision and who want the very best for the club; about running the club in a financially sustainable way AND about setting ourselves high, yet realistic, targets; taking into account the strength of our opposition and the financial and economic realities of a particular period. Arsenal have been, and currently still are, good at this and we should be grateful for it.

There is of course a risk of becoming a bit too risk averse, but I will come back to this later. There is also a risk of our club being sold, at any time, to a new major shareholder who could put the long term future of our club at risk, but let’s park this for another time.

The third smallest, or middle, doll – probably the most important ‘layer’ for short to mid-term success – is about having the right team management in place; not just the manager, but also the coaches and assistants. The manager is key though, and he should be the sporting embodiment of the vision, values and style/character of the club on the pitch. Sustained success at a football club usually goes hand in  hand with consistency in team management, which does not necessarily mean the same manager is in place for a long time, as good internal and/or external succession planning can safeguard style and quality of management.

Unless a football club lives outside normal economic realities – soon to become a lot more difficult, thankfully – recruiting and retaining a top manager who remains loyal to the club is key for sustained success. MU, Everton and Arsenal are built around consistency in team management, Man City and Liverpool are now trying to do the same, and I also expect the Spuds to hold on to AVB for a long period.

The only exception currently are the Chavs, but even their owner might now opt for consistency by re-recruiting the self-loving Maureen.

Wenger has stayed loyal to us when he could have gone anywhere else, and by doing so he has helped us tremendously. Arsene has not been without fault in recent years, and it is fair to say that the club needs to be competing stronger now for silverware; and as our financial position is currently a lot more sound than it has been in recent years, Arsene is to be expected to get us now to the very top again.

The fourth smallest, or second biggest, doll is all about the quality of our squad of players. There are three sub-layers to be considered here: the (best) first-eleven team, the wider squad, and the main factor in winning silverware; a super-core of four to six players who are either world-class and/or are total on-field representatives of the values of the club.

I have argued recently that our squad is very good and I also believe that our strongest first-eleven team is close to something special; especially if they stay together for at least three more years or so. I also believe that we are starting to get a core of four to six core players together again around which we can build a super-team once more – and we could have been there now if we still had Cesc, Song and van Judas, but let’s park this as well.

It is of paramount importance to hold on to all our key players now, including Sagna, Vermaelen, Mertesacker, Szczesny: all should not be sold in order to ‘balance the books’ for new arrivals. It would set us back again as we would start another round of transition, which should be avoided at all costs.

I believe the core team of four to six players; who will make the biggest difference in our team going forward is still developing, and hopefully, between now and the start of the new season, we will have we have a strong one in place.

I reckon the core of top quality/Arsenal through-and-through players will consist of: Wilshere, Cazorla, Arteta (at least for one more season), and Sagna; and one or two of Mertesacker (if he improves his role/importance to the team further), Jenkinson, Gibbs, Koscielny (ditto to Mertesacker), Podolski, Theo and Giroud, and possibly even Ramsey or Szczesny or Ox, could further be added to the core.

And that’s why I don’t believe we need to, or even should, get 5 new top quality players this summer.

Instead, I feel that recruiting one or two ‘core-quality’ players is all it takes now: it will improve the first team as well as the core team, and yet leaves a bit of space for the above mentioned players to work themselves right into the core of the team.

Recruiting a carefully selected, quality DM and an additional attacker of real class (ideally one who can play on the wing as well as centrally); at least one of whom could join the very core of our Arsenal team, should make all the difference now.

If we get any more than that it would be, in my view, simply counterproductive.

The biggest doll, or outer ‘layer’ is all about bringing the first four dolls – layers – together and maximizing on what the club has built up; and add a bit of courage, bravado, financial entrepreneurship: taking the bulls by the horn and move forward in a decisive way.

The coming summer, Arsene and the BoD have an opportunity to make that final step forward: not, though, by blowing things up now through buying a large number of new players and balancing the books to some extent by selling some of our current first team players.

Instead, we should keep all our key players, and add two max three (top) quality players, who fit in straightaway. Spend the available money without wanting to balance the books straightaway: simply speculate to cumulate a bit and trust that the good guys always win in the end.

Arsenal have a fantastic fanbase, stadium and facilities; a great history, vision, style and values; a loyal, experienced and visionary manager, and excellent coaching staff and youth development system; and an almost great squad. Two new quality players and a bit of guts by the BoD, and Arsenal will go all the way.

Written by: TotalArsenal.

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193 Responses to Forget about buying 5 top players – Put your trust in Arsenal’s Evolution!

  1. skr says:

    Even if you consider Vermaelen good enough (I guess we have to, he is the captain), we’re still short a deffender. Squid and Djourou should finally be gone and Miquel obviously isn’t good enough (yet). Also we do need a new keeper. Unless Fabianski shows some brilliant form by the end of the season, him and Mannone should be sold, so we need at least a backup, but I’d preffer a 30+ year old to be first choice for a few years while Szc matures enough. So that’s 4 already and that’s if no one important leaves. We have actually been lucky with injuries this season. An injury to a CB or Giroud could have been disasterous

  2. AFC says:

    TA, very good analysis on Arsenal. 🙂

    I do not want us to get rid of any of our squad players. That is obviously excluding the deadwood. However I feel we need 4/5 players. Not 4/5 top players though. We need a top DM and CF/ST who would be first team players. Buying more than two players to play in the first team would mean that the team would struggle. But if we but if we have these two players as first team players and add 2/3 more players to be squad players that could work.

  3. soul says:

    So you play with Dolls? 🙂
    Arsenal Arsenal Arsenal

  4. AFC says:

    * But if we buy if two players as first team players and add 2/3 more players who would be squad players that could work.

  5. Milo says:

    I feel Arsene WILL buy this summer, but not bring in more than two players. This would be ideal for me. One defensive and one attacking player, and that will be it. I’ve felt this way for a while, so I’m not going to change my tune now. We don’t need many players, ESPECIALLY, if Oxlade-Chamberlain can fulfill his potential!!! He can play in multiple positions, and can play well in each of them. I still feel he is a midfielder, not a central striker. People see his shooting ability and assume he should fill in for Giroud. WRONG. He needs to play JUST A BIT deeper than that, so that he can run at the defense, AND perform one two’s with his mates, that he likes to do and can pull off. He shouldn’t play as deep as Wilshere, but if he is playing in the middle, he shouldn’t be a striker. I think a lot of the transfer activity depends on how well he will be able to perform at the beginning of next season, and even through to the end of this one, if he is given the opportunity.

  6. C says:

    Agree with this article to a large extent. Personally I think those world-class, core players that we need to add to the squad are Victor Wanyama (DMF), Isco Suarez (AMF&WF) and either Higuain or Stefan Jovetic (CF) (and we definitely need a more experience GK that can challenge Sczezny) – with that caliber of players, plus the players that we have now (not to even talk of the players we have coming through youth development and loanees), we would assuredly be challenging for top trophies. We should only offload players that are permanently on the bench or on loan e.g. Squillaci, Djourou, Santos etc.

  7. AFC says:

    Of course Milo, OX will never be a striker. He would be perfect as an AM.

  8. Highbury Harmony says:

    TA, masterful article and I absolutely loved the analogy to the Russian doll. For the most part, I agree with everything you say and see eye to eye on levels 1,2,3 and 5 of your analogy.

    I still feel that the fourth layer is severely overrated and when broken down, we do not have four to six top class core players. Depending on how define these top class core players of course. Your list demonstrates that we have several candidates that embody the Arsenal spirit and are good to great squad/first-team players.

    However, I feel we are lacking the other half of the equation, which is the top class players to complement the group we already have in place. Of course, if two of these types of players are bought this summer, suddenly we become quite a formidable side, teetering on the edge of greatness (hopefully). I agree that any more than 2 and we’ll likely have difficulty finding chemistry and will be stuck in yet another year of inconsistency and transition.

    Now, why do I feel that the current group of players we have is only good and not great? Well, we have failed to beat teams that are better than us all season (save for Bayern, but they were only playing to not lose at that point) and these clubs will also undoubtedly be improving next year (whether it be further chemistry or buying more talented players). How many of our current starters would walk into any of the domestic top sides? Definitely 2 in Jack and Santi and maybe one more in Theo. Aside from that, the rest of our squad probably wouldn’t get a look into any of the other top sides’ starting elevens.

    This then, begs us to ask the difficult question. Is the current group the proper one to be building on? Are there truly pieces in place to help bring us to new heights considering our record against clubs better than us this season? Or have we simply committed and settled ourselves to building on an only average to above average group? I feel as though we often overrate the players at our own club due to our blind faith and optimism, but only time will tell this summer to see what direction we move in.

  9. AFC says:

    HH, agreed. I too do not see 5/6 top core players. Santi is one. Wilshere you could argue needs another year to become a top core player and only at times Walcott is a top core players.

  10. Pat says:

    Julio Cesar, Capoue (because he can also play CB), Jovetic or Benzema.
    I hope Sagna stays, thats the perfect way to develop Jenkinson further. If Sagna leave Caseres (don´t know if the spelling is right) from juventus would be my joice, because he can like Capoue also play CB if needed. Gnabry could have a go in the first team and so does Aneke. The rest of the more promising youngsters (Eisfeld, Miguel, Yennaris) need loans. I am not sure about Miyachi and Afobe. Both looks promising but already injury prone as hell. Last one i will mention: Zelalem. Maybe some outings in the Capital one cup.
    But i agree with you, keeping the core of the squad now is important!

  11. AFC says:

    Looks like Spurs match is going to penalties.
    They seem tired which could help us in the league because of their lack of depth and injuries they already have in the squad. 😉

  12. Highbury Harmony says:

    I forgot to add, with the proper luck and momentum AND the right purchases this summer, I believe we could contend for silverware next year. Whether or not that comes down to luck or true team long-term ability cannot be answered in one season. I think if we do buy the right players and challenge for trophies that it won’t be sustainable because the core we have in place is not good enough.

    Granted, I very much do enjoy that we finally have a stable core to build on – it just doesn’t happen to be one that I have full faith in, in terms of being top, top class (I’m talking competing with the likes of Bayern, Real and Barca). Santi, Jack and Theo are the only three core pieces that I’m particularly fond of at this point, with Ox and Gnabry as long-term potential pieces if they can fulfill their vast potentials.

  13. Highbury Harmony says:

    Agreed AFC, outside of those three and the vast potential in some youngsters, I think everyone else is great to have in the team and are all mostly complementary players to the core. If we can buy two more top, top core players this summer, it’ll go a very long way.

  14. AFC says:

    HH, I think we will win silverware with the right signings. However I do not feel we will win the PL or CL. I we will win either the FA Cup or League Cup.

  15. AFC says:

    HH, that is why I say we buy two top players which would be a DM and a CF/ST. And then we buy 2/3 squad players. A cheap or free experienced GK, a defender and maybe another quality but cheap striker or a box to box midfielder to make up for Diaby being out for a large chunk of next season.

  16. Highbury Harmony says:

    AFC, my only issue with buying more squad players is I feel that we have a good complement of squad players in place already. We have to remember that the playing time for these players can only be distributed in so many ways. Buying more squad players may restrict us from buying another top, top player next summer is the way I approach transfers :).

  17. Highbury Harmony says:

    At this point, the strategy should be building on the true core of Santi, Jack and Theo. Maybe one complementary player in an experienced GK, but other than that I believe we have good depth at every position.

    GK: Szczesny & New Signing*
    LB: Gibbs & Monreal (Meade if Gibbs gets injured)
    CB: Vermaelen, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Miquel
    RB: Sagna & Jenkinson
    DM: New Signing*, Arteta, Ramsey, Coquelin and Diaby
    AM: Wilshere, Cazorla, Rosicky (Ox if anyone gets injured)
    LW: Podolski, Gervinho, Cazorla (Gnabry if anyone gets injured)
    RW: Walcott, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Gervinho (Gnabry again if anyone gets injured)
    ST: New Signing*, Giroud (Podolski & Walcott can get looks at ST too)

  18. AFC says:

    HH, I just feel we need more than two players. I think me and you can agree we need a top quality DM and CF/ST. We also agree on a cheap experienced GK. I think where we are disagreeing is on another defender and maybe another squad players?

    Damn it, Spurs are out. Saying that it could ruin the plaers mental state for the rest of the season.

  19. Highbury Harmony says:

    Also, at RB Coquelin has proved capable of filling in if there are injuries and Yennaris a capable DM/RB is waiting to be promoted as well. A lot of the squad players one might seek could be promoted through our youth academy, or else what is it there for??

  20. AFC says:

    Only thing I would argue with HH is Miquel. In my opinion he is not ready which is why I suggested another defender. He has very little PL experience and no European experience (I think).

  21. Highbury Harmony says:

    AFC, it’s not that I don’t want another defender, it’s that I don’t want another squad type player on defense. I believe that our back four is not in need of as much immediate attention as ST and DM for a top, top quality player. If we don’t sell any of our defenders this summer, I do not see where a new signing would slot in.

  22. AFC says:

    HH, what you have to understand is that any DM and CF/ST will be a replacement for Song and Van Persie. So these signings will be players we should have brought last season. So I am also expecting Wenger to add two more squad players.

    A top DM and CF/ST, an experienced GK and a defender will do me.

  23. Highbury Harmony says:

    AFC, there’s a reason why Barca tried to buy Miquel last summer. He just needs some first-team training and experience for a full year. He’s got good technical qualities for a defender, has great pace, is a good passer, is good in the air and can be assertive in his tackling. The only thing lacking with him is more of a challenge, maturity in his game and improved decision making. He’s often the victim of taking unnecessary gambles, which leads to us conceding goals. I think his development will stall or even regress if he’s not promoted as a full-time first team player next season.

  24. AFC says:

    Well for me you need 4 CBs. Miquel is not ready for me. So sagna moving to CB and a new) would make our defense truly complete.

  25. Highbury Harmony says:

    AFC, if you add Song and RVP to this squad, we are most certainly at least in 2nd place and likely would have won at least the COC. We would have at least drawn with Chavs earlier in the season, probably beaten Sunderland and $hitty in the first half of this year and not have lost to Norwich either. I understand you can’t look at results like that, but I’m convinced we’d be 15 points better in the table with both in the line-up.

  26. AFC says:

    Miquel should get some game time as. Our 5th CB. I think Man U have 5 CBs. Maybe put him on a short loan for the first part of the season at a PL club and then he will be ready for the second half of the season. I think Wenger will sign a defender. I think he will buy a GK, DF, DM and CF/ST.

  27. Highbury Harmony says:

    AFC, by that logic no player will ever be ready. People said the same thing about Jenkinson this past off-season after being horrible in 2011-12 and what did he do? He came out and took the full first-team opportunity by the horns and proved to everyone that sometimes all you need is more training with the first-team and experience.

  28. Unknown C says:

    I’m C btw.

    “At this point, the strategy should be building on the true core of Santi, Jack and Theo.”

    I kind of disagree with you HH actually on that last point. I’d say that a key difference between Wenger and Fergie for the past few years is the fact that Wenger buys only when there is a “need” while Fergie buys more based on “wants” (e.g. RVP 2012, Zaha 2013, rather than MFs, and some signings in the previous years), the reason being because he would not want to let sheer talent escape him, no matter the cost.

    Looking at this season alone, Man Utd’s defence has been appauling, yet they have still summed up 12 pts about Man City by the acquisition of that single striker – I wouldn’t have been surprised if we had been 2nd or possibly 1st this season if we didn’t lose him. Similarly, the effect Cazorla has had on our team this season has saved us from being in the lower half of the tables.

    I believe that as good and experienced as Wenger is, if there is a page that he should take out of Fergie’s book it’s this: he should never shy away from bolstering the squad with world-class talent even if it is not the most critical need. I think that some of the talents are found in any of the following, amongst others: Isco, Gotze, Higuain, Jovetic, Wanyama.

    It’s always natural to focus on strengthening the key weaknesses of the squad, but one should never pass up the opportunity to snatch sheer talent and skill when it arises, which also has the secondary effect of stopping other teams from getting a hold of them.

  29. AFC says:

    HH, and do you see my point. We would be scond. With another GK or CB we would definitely win the league.

  30. Highbury Harmony says:

    AFC, the only reason why Manure have 5 CB is because Vidic, Evans, Jones, Smalling etc. can’t stay healthy if their lives depended on it. SAF needs the quantity in order to cope and compensate for the number of injuries his defense receives.

    For the most part, Verm, Mert and Kos are very durable. The 4th CB rarely gets starting minutes as is, so having Miquel there is not an issue for me at all. If we start hitting injury problems then Sagna can move to CB and Yennaris can back-up Jenkinson, problem solved.

  31. Highbury Harmony says:

    AFC, I doubt that. If you take away RVP from United, we’d be top of the league. I’d go as far to say that 15 points more would make us tops and not them. They’d probably have 12 points less without him.

  32. Highbury Harmony says:

    The league would still be close, but with Song and RVP I think we’d be in first.

  33. AFC says:

    HH, you are probably right. What I do not understand is why Wenger did not loan out Miquel in preparation for next season. If Barca wanted him back he must be ready. However I have said that I would like to see Sagna at CB. So for me if Wenger does not put Miquel in the first team squad Sagna should move to CB with a new) brought. If Wenger feels he is ready then we do not need another DF. 🙂

  34. Highbury Harmony says:

    And no, I don’t think a 4th choice CB would help us win the league. It would have to be a 4th choice option because there’s no way Kos, Mert or Verm shift to that role.

  35. Highbury Harmony says:

    Agreed AFC, but I think the time is right to finally promote youngsters. How much more can one develop against inferior competition? At a certain point, it becomes counterproductive and players become restless and disgruntled. In theory, the hopeful new stability in our squad means we can risk our 4th choice and 3rd choice players being promoted academy players (we know in the past that sometimes Arsenal will sell players for no particular reason aside from gaining a profit).

  36. AFC says:

    HH, my post on Sagna for CB will come out on Monday and I say we should buy a new RB. But I am only saying that as we cannot be sure if Wenger will put his trust in Miquel and Bellerin. If he says he will then that changes everything. 🙂

  37. TotalArsenal says:

    Evening guys 🙂

    Thanks for some fine comments already. 🙂

    Hi AFC,

    We have more than enough squad players and in my view it would be waste of both available talent and money if we were to buy more of them – with the exception of an experienced GK (although looking at Friedel tonight….. hahahaha 😛 )

    Hi HH,

    I reckon the core is indeed a bit small but there is potential to grow it this summer: through internal promotion/growth and purchasing a couple of players, of whom at least one should be top, top quality.

    You mention Jack, Santi and Theo, but why not add Sagna and Arteta?

    There are also a few players who could move into the core through development: Podolski and Koz are close, and so are Gibbs and Monreal, and there is real potential in Jenkinson and Ox.

    I would take Ramires and Mata from Chelsea – the rest has potential or is average in my view.

    MU do not have more than three players I would take into our team, but MC have the strongest squad – and are stronger than us

    Luckily we agree on the premise of my post and let’s hope we see the addition of two really good players this summer, so we can move one more level upwards.

  38. AFC says:

    The benefit of having 4 senior CBs is twat would be able to play with 5 DFs supposing we have a lead to defend in the CL and still have a senior CB on our bench.

  39. AFC says:

    TA, 3 players (a top DM and CF/ST and an experienced GK) would do me. But IF Wenger does not trust Miquel and Bellerin then we do need another defender.

    TA, are you sure MU do not have more than three players I would take into our team?

    Van Persie

    Are all players I would take.

  40. Willy young says:

    Great article and your right we don’t need transition. All we need is to promote Eastmond and Watts to the first team !

    Why do we need new players when we have core quality players like Gervinho / flappy and Santos coming back too

  41. TotalArsenal says:


    We have spoken about CB and Right Back cover recently and I reckon we have more than enough cover.

    Re the Mancs – as in walking into our team: vanJ, their Left FB, and maybe Rooney. Ferdinand and Vidic are too old and injury-prone, and I like Valencia but is he top, top level? …..

  42. Highbury Harmony says:

    TA, all agreed on buying more squad players being unnecessary, glad to see we see eye to eye on that.

    I would take de Gea, Evra, van Pursestrings, Rooney and a healthy Vidic over anything we currently have. At Chavs, I wouldn’t say Cole is average, but Hazard, Oscar and Luiz definitely flash more potential than anything we are showing not already part of my aforementioned core three. $hitty is definitely the one squad head and shoulders above the rest, but is a first hand example of how it’s tough to be sustainable when integrating so many new players into a squad.

    I’m hesitant to add Sagna because I’m already seeing a slight decline in his game. In no way, would I want to get rid of him but I question whether his days of being the best RB in the EPL are over. However, we could just as easily see a resurgence in his game if he can stay fit and gel with Theo again :). Arteta…well he’s old and slow. As RA pointed out on the last article, he’s a good player to have in our squad but not a piece I would class as top quality.

    But yes, if we can add two top, top quality players this summer then we’ll definitely be set to contend for silverware and maybe even win the league by surprise. I’d even be happy with 1 top, top quality signing as it may lead to a comfortable 2nd or 3rd place finish in the league and maybe silverware in a cup competition!

  43. Highbury Harmony says:

    Hahaha Willy, the sarcasm in your comment gave me a good laugh. Who would you recommend then as two players to add to our core?

  44. AFC says:

    TA, which LB?

    Rooney. Ferdinand and Vidic are a bit old and Vidic and Ferdinand are injury prone. I still think all of these players especially Rooney would be useful to us. Valencia is probably at the same level of Walcott. At times is a top player. At times isn’t.

  45. Highbury Harmony says:

    AFC, how could you not mention Evra? Personally, I think he’s the best LB in the league…

  46. Bond James says:

    nice one, TA

    however, i don’t agree with the notion of us putting our trust in Arsene wenger’s /Arsenal’s evolution as such … (yep, have done that for the best part of 8 years now).

    you see , since the last donkey no of years, we’ve always been or mostly been in 3/4 competitions by January meaning we’ve done fairly well since Aug….which brings me to my point, yep, not enough quality/depth in our squad.

    we need to add to it not just for the sake of adding but also adding due to the high rigours of the games, quality and so on taking into account our biggest nemesis – INJURIES.

    we need to add at least 3-4 players and not just any players, players of caliber and class, not teenagers who will come good in the next 5-10 years before they want to go back home (Spain, Germany e.t.c or move to a club which offers them a better chance of winning trophies – in short the Na$ri’s of this world).

    i am hoping Wenger does the above and come Feb 2014, we would still be in most of the competitions , looking forward and upwards unlike the past.

  47. AFC says:

    HH, that is why I said I want to see Sagna at CB. He is getting slower and soon will be too slow for). However he will be a fast CB. If he stays at CB he only has 1 year in my view. If he moves to CB he easily has another 2/3 years.

  48. AFC says:

    HH, it just was that last season Evra was pretty poor.

  49. Highbury Harmony says:

    AFC, I sometimes find myself wondering how many people said that about Ca$hley Cole too, only to find themselves eating crow to this day. Hahaha next year’s the year that he will regress and no longer be a dominant force at LB, I swear!

    With Sagna, I’d take it with a “let’s see what happens as it comes along” type of strategy.

  50. zico59 says:

    if we’d gone out and bought 4-5 real quality players from the get go 3 years ago we would’nt be in the position we find ourselves in now as they would already be bedded in by now. instead, wenger is forced to buy cheap alternatives to bridge the gap and as we know already cheap alternatives rarely pay dividends. hence we end up replacing quality players with the likes of gervinho, giroud, chamakh, park, squilacci etc etc etc. the moment we buy quality in depth is when our fortunes change for the better.

  51. Highbury Harmony says:

    The modern game is a what have you done for me lately sport though. Evra this season is the best LB in the league, hands down. Baines and Cole would be vying for 2nd.

  52. AFC says:

    TA, BJ does have a point. Gibbs is injury-prone so next season it is likely he could get injured. Sagna is also getting older and could get injured. Imagine we are in the CL and one of the two CBs is suspended. Then what seems like a strong defence then looks pretty light.

  53. Bond James says:


    agreed re- Sagna at CB , he has the heart and hunger to fight for every ball there but i suspect he will be on his way out this summer, i hope it doesn’t happen but if it does then i won’t be lose any sleep over it.

  54. Bond James says:


    our whole team is injury prone not just the ones you have mentioned – the only player whose been rather consistent and fit has been santi/Arteta (touch wood, long it may continue) , apart from that all of them have been injury prone…. (time to accept the fault lies in perhaps our medical specialists ) ? i would certainly say so.

  55. AFC says:

    HH, you are right. This season Evra has been superb. All of Man U first line of defense is getting pretty old though with the exception of Rafael.

    Cole will enter a decline soon. Some still call him the best LB in the world. I totally disagree.

    TA, on a side note. Could you shed any light on why Man U brought a certain dutch LB. I have heard he was not even the best LB back in Holland and he is not extremely young either.

  56. AFC says:

    BJ, that is the only reason why I suggested 4/5 players. Our players have a habit of getting injured at the most important times of the season and then our weird medical team make the injuries go on for an internity.

  57. TotalArsenal says:


    I don’t find Oscar a better than talent than Ox and I am not impressed with Hazard. But you have got a point about Cole: I had forgotten about him…. but then do I really want to swap him for our LB’s… Yeah maybe, but it does not get me excited.

    You wrote: ‘I would take de Gea, Evra, van Pursestrings, Rooney and a healthy Vidic over anything we currently have’. Really? de Gea – not for me. Rooney? Maybe, but he could be on the way down already. Agreed on Evra and vanJ, and possibly a healthy Vidic…. but that is the point, he is not very healthy anymore…

    Arteta has another good season in him, but I can see where your doubts come from. I reckon with a top beast of a DM next to him, he could become instrumental once again. Also, when I talk about core players, I do not always think of top top quality. For example, Frank Lampard or Carrick are not top players but they do add something special to their club teams, and as such are part of their core…. What do you think?

  58. AFC says:

    Also we should never have sold Song. If you are looking for a like for like player who is at the same point in his career it is very hard. As. One of my friends said “if Wenger wants a player like Song first he will have to find himself an African DM/box to box midfielder which is very hard to do who is good enough to play for us. Considering most of them will not be at the same stage in their career in Song, most are not proven in the PL and would need time to adapt to the PL are also other factors which make finding an African DM/ box to box midfielder like Song virtually impossible”.

    He also went on to say “and that is why Barca made it their mission to get him as they knew they would be no better replacement for Keita than Song”.

  59. TotalArsenal says:

    Players getting injured is not a reason to further extend our squad. For Gibbs we have Monreal, and for Sagna we have Jenkinson, then there are other players who can play as FB. The squad is proving right now that it is big enough. No Wilshere, Diaby, Gibbs, Jenkinson, Theo, Pod, Ox, Vermaelen, Szczesny in the last few games and yet we won them all. Keep the faith and don’t believe in shop therapy too much. Grow and develop and build further and all will be fine! 🙂


    TA, allow me thank you for writing a post, that not only i completely agree with but is also based on stone cold reality.

    What you have decribed is exactly what Arsenal football club is all about and indeed what other clubs who do not have benefactors aspire to be.

    Our major stumbling block has been the inability to keep our talents. In essence, like Ajax, Dortmund etc the last few years has seen as play the role of feeder club in the ladder of football hiarachy. This was exaberated by the influx of oil money and the commercial increse in power from our more traditional european rivals.

    Let me put t this way. The most satisying result of the season for me personaly was when Ajax beat Man City. I think you know what i mean TA.

    Without wishing to rattle any ones cage, i respect all the authors on here and have learned a lot about players that i knew very little. But for me, when i see a post turned into some fantasy football league debate about who we should buy etc i switch off and have deided not to post. Yes we need one or two players, most clubs have to purhase to refresh and also replenish there squad.

    However, Arsenals historical success has always been about building from within and buying players without fanfare.

    Keep The Faith

  61. TotalArsenal says:


    agreed we miss Song.

  62. AFC says:

    * without mistakes

    Also, we should never have sold Song. If you are looking for a like for like player who is at the same point in his career it is very hard. As. One of my friends said “if Wenger wants a player like Song first he will have to find himself an African DM/box to box midfielder which is who is good enough to play for us which is very hard to do. Considering most of them will not be at the same stage in their career in Song, most are not proven in the PL and would need time to adapt to the PL are also other factors which make finding an African DM/ box to box midfielder like Song virtually impossible”.

    He also went on to say “and that is why Barca made it their mission to get him as they knew there would be no better replacement for Keita than Song”.

    Ta, agreed. I would not take De Gea. Also Carragher who plays for Liverpool is vital part of their defence. Without him they look lost even though he is now an average defender.

  63. TotalArsenal says:

    Cheers Terry and good to see you back here 🙂

    I know that we see both eye to eye on both the appreciation of beautiful women and what is best for our beloved Arsenal 🙂

  64. TotalArsenal says:

    AFC, I don’t know much about the left back MU bought. He played for Vitesse I believe but I have not been following Dutch football closely in recent years.

  65. TotalArsenal says:

    Terry, agreed on the joy of Ajax – a club with history and class – beaten the Northern Oilers this season. That was pure bliss 🙂

  66. Highbury Harmony says:

    Agreed TA, not all core players have to be top, top quality but as I mentioned in my initial response there has to be a blend in the overall core of players who embody the Arsenal spirit and top, top quality players. I was just point out that currently, we have plenty of the former and are lacking in the latter :).

    Give me two top, top quality players and we’re easily challenging for the league and with the right amount of luck and momentum, challenging the best in the world in CL.

    Btw, de Gea is really impressing me this season. He’s probably further along his development that Ches is right now, but if Ches can balance out the mental side of his game and not let in those softies, he could maybe be as good. I was just saying that as of now (this season), I’d take de Gea over Ches.

    Chav fans are actually the highest on Oscar of all their players. His super goal against Juve is proof of his ability. I do agree with you to an extent that I think Ox will be better in the EPL mainly because while he may not be as skilled as Oscar, he has the pace and strength to allow him to succeed, which may explain why Oscar has made more of an impact in CL and Europa than domestically.

  67. AFC says:

    TA, buying above 4 players would be stupid in my opinion. We have seen this at City where Mancini has brought for fun. They have 3 RBs, guys like Sinclair and Rodwell who do not even play. So I see your point in too many additions can be pointless. City stupidly have not brought a decent back up keeper though. In I was a City fan I would want Mancini gone.


    Yes, remember seeing De Boar been interviewd and explaning how they have players in there youth team getting tapped up before they have even played for there first team, incredible. To be fair, Arsenal are not blameless here, We are a very agressive, and in some ways an immoral club when pursuing young players.

    I guess thats modern football though. More ruthless and unforgiving than ever.

  69. TotalArsenal says:


    I can well imagine the Chavs are licking their lips on the prospect of Oscar: he is a very talented player and is likely to go far.

    And like you, I am hoping the Ox will develop to the next stage this year, but then he really is only 19 Springs old and his time will come.

    I was also really impressed with Gibbs and Jenkinson, and also Koz, against Bayern in our away game. I felt that all three have real potential to get into the core of Arsenal, and rather sooner than later. I loved their drive and confidence and the way they took the bull by the horns in that match.

  70. AFC says:

    TMHT. It hurts me to say this but we cannot complain with other clubs poaching our best players. We have poached the best young players of many teams.

  71. AFC says:

    TA, and in my opinion Gibbs and Jenkinson should be first choice fullbacks for England. They have huge potential.

  72. TotalArsenal says:


    Agreed, It is our luck in a way that the MC BoD want to stick with Mancini, but I am sure they do it because they want to build something up, rather than follow the Chavs example of appointing manager after manager without building something properly.

  73. AFC says:

    Forgot to tell you guys early, it is reported that we have made enquiries about Stokes GK. It is said that Stoke have given us the price of 15 million.


    Absolutly AFC. The modern game is ruthless an unless you adapt and indulge similar methods to your rivals then you are left behind

    And its a difficult thing for me to say as a an advocate of free markets but the game needs more regulation. FFP is a good start, but something needs to be done about agents, movement of players etc.

  75. TotalArsenal says:


    What has happened to Ajax is a cry and shame. Great city, fantastic stadium and fan-base, fine history and culture and they have developed so many talents over the years.

    But they cannot keep hold of their players and were unlucky that Van Gaal was not loyal to them and left after only a few years. Had he stayed as long as Wenger did with Arsenal, Ajax would have done a lot better than they have since moving to their new stadium, I reckon..

  76. AFC says:

    TMHT, I really do not like the idea of players and managers who can leave in between their contract. They have signed a contract and should stay until their contract is up.

  77. simpdon says:

    I see that everyone agrees that we need a brute of a DM. I must ask, when will he play and will he play for? Wiltshire, Santiago, Arteata? Wenger doesn’t believe today’s game doesn’t call for a brute of a DM, an enforcer type.

  78. simpdon says:

    Who will he play for? It is not an accident that Song didn’t play as cover for the defence last year but was always forward.

  79. AFC says:

    Hi, Simpton and welcome to Bergkampesque.

    If we get this beast of a DM there are two options of where he will play. First is that we stick with 4-2-1-3 and he is plaued next to Arteta giving Arteta a bit more freedom to attack. The second is switching to a 4-1-2-3 formation where the DM holds and we have two of Wilshere, Santi and Arteta in front as our two AMs. But it is most likely we will see Wilshere and Santi as our two AMs.

  80. AFC says:

    * played.

    Simpton, I could see this DM replacing Podolski or Arteta from the starting line-up.

  81. AFC says:

    SImpdon, sorry for getting your name wrong. Those last two comments were for you.

  82. RockyLives says:

    Very good analysis TA

    Like a lot of people I find myself seduced by the idea of pulling in a top ‘keeper, a beast of a DM, a world class CF and maybe a winger.

    But you have almost convinced me that we need only half of that.

    If AW buys five, it’s more likely to be two big signings and some hot young prospects (like Oxo and Eisfeld).

  83. RockyLives says:

    UMF Predictions…

    Arse v Naaarch – H
    Villa v Fulham – H
    Everton v QPR – D
    Toon v Sunderland – A
    Orcs v Manure – A

  84. rufus says:

    Sorry TA it works again.

  85. Red Arse says:

    Morning, TA, 🙂

    Super Post, and very well explained point.

    I particularly loved the Russian Dolls allegory. “The third smallest, or middle doll” and “the fourth smallest, or second biggest doll” made me laugh.
    Were you drinking when you wrote that? 😀

    It reminded me of a comedy cowboy film I once saw where a guy is challenged by a dangerous gunslinger, and his friends give him advice, as he walks out of the saloon door for the duel;
    — “The sun is in the West, so keep him to the East ……. He stands up tall so squat down low …….. He shoots from the right, so lean to the left;

    By the time he is facing the baddie, he is so confused, he is saying to himself;

    — “The sun’s up tall, so lean to the East ………….. He squats to the left, so shoot down low …… He’s East of his right, so shoot what’s left ……….

    It had me in fits of laughter — bit like your dolls. 😀

  86. Gerry says:

    Got to be brief – I too loved the concept.

    I hope that is the way it goes. Minimal major purchases, but the odd, younger potential thrown in. Keep the team spirit into 2014 .. Way to go!

    Cheers everybody

  87. VCC says:

    cheers Rocky…….

    Odds =
    Red Arse..33-1

    There are two members conspicuous with there absence ?????????

    Von Cloggenstein has still to update the widget. Get your clogs out Total. 😉

  88. TotalArsenal says:

    Hi VCC,

    Here’s my UMF prediction – you might as well add 15 points to my total now hahaha 😛

    Eveton, Reading, Southampton, Newcastle and Stoke ALL draws

    When did you post the info for widget update?

  89. TotalArsenal says:

    Hi RA 🙂

    Saw your comment re weather in Scotland. It has been cold but also sunny during the first half of the week, but yesterday and today it is cold, wet and miserable. We still have fun though, as Henry is always up to something haha 🙂

    And Scotland always has something to offer, even in shitty weather.

    Loved the cowboy story! 🙂

  90. TotalArsenal says:

    Gerry 🙂

    That is it: keep the spirit into 2014!

  91. TotalArsenal says:

    Hi Rufus,

    Did you lose a comment last night?

    It happens sometimes; something to do with wordpress, I reckon. 😕

  92. jgc says:

    Hi TA

    Great post. I agree in general, but would add something controversial(ish). While I would want 1-2 very good players (holding largely what we have minus true “deadwood” if possible), I would posit the following for thought:

    –> We dont need better players as much as we need some “mongrel”. Are Arsenal too nice?

    Across the board, we have some very good players who perhaps could be great with a touch of mongrel. DB, Henry, Pires, Ljungberg — all nice guys but with mongrel on the field. Do the OGs, Gervs, Theos all lack some killer instinct or mongrel in the push and shove at the limit?

    Just a thought? Perhaps we need less players and a touch more ‘tude… Just a touch..

    cheers — jgc

  93. TotalArsenal says:

    Hi Rocky 🙂

    Yes, two quality signings (one bigger than the other, I reckon) and maybe a few young hot shots, who are not meant to play for the first team in a few years, looks like the way it will go this summer.

  94. TotalArsenal says:

    Hi jgc 🙂

    Are you still in Europe?

    Fully agreed. As a team we need to become a bit more beastly, and Jack made this clear to us all when he was the only one who fought against the Mancs earlier in the season. I guess that is where the new DM comes in: he should also have the pressence and character of the beast, not just the physical and technical attributes – and that is why I like Chelsea’s Ramires so much….

    But as a team we need to become more assertive and dominant, especially against the top teams.

  95. TotalArsenal says:

    Hi Simpdon,

    The Brute of a DM, should ideally also have good positioning, passing of the ball and never-say-die attitude. If we can find him, we will get a lot more balance in the team and more value out of Jack, Arteta and Cazorla (and hopefully Jovetic 🙂 ).

  96. VCC says:

    UMF…April 9th 2013….10:00
    Overall standings =
    Red Arse…….75
    Weekly scores =
    GLiC……..4 (yes your eyes r not playing tricks with you, that’s 4…FOUR)
    Well done to Highbury Harmony for getting double figures this week..10 points. Only just missing out on getting a full house, Give yourself a pat on the back. Your prize will be in the post shortly
    Oz joins the Zero club. and GLiC scores 4 points…whoooppeeeee.
    HH climbs four places with his fine score this week. Shows what all can do. Come on catch that cocky Vicky
    VCC still wears the Yellow jersey, and for his consistency, expertise and handsomeness, wins a 4 night all expenses paid holiday to Tenerife, courtesy of Bergkampesque. Post cards will follow.

  97. VCC says:

    Von Cloggenstein……..Does this mean two days of my hard graft has gone in vain? You can go off people you know 😉

    There are some clever, hardworking and highly motivated people on this site.

    I’m afraid to say, if you don’t buck your ideas up, you will be dropped from Bergkampesque tute sweet.

    Now get a grip and put the widget up immediately……… 🙂

  98. TotalArsenal says:

    hahaha Glic, that would be funny 😛

  99. TotalArsenal says:

    Widget updated!:)

    If anybody wants to write a quick pre-match for tomorrow’s game, be my guest! 🙂

    Email to:

    If nothing received, I will put something quickly together tonight; won’t be great though.

    Out for the day now, catch you all this evening. 🙂

  100. Gerry says:

    jgc – off topic, but professional question for you … sort of?

    Pigeon with broken leg – bone sticking out of leg – otherwise healthy. Prognosis if left untreated?
    Not your field I know, but it is my patient … so too speak.

  101. jnyc says:

    TA,well written. We cant make alot of changes, or we will start with the same lack of cohesion as this season and last. We need to addone or two very high quality to go with the rest of this good squad. To improve it. In my opinion.

  102. Red Arse says:


    Bird will be in pain (shock), even if not showing it. If it’s a wild pigeon it will not be able to fend for itself, and the wound will become infected. Needs to be taken to Vet — maybe, almost certainly will have to be put down.

    If it’s a racing pigeon (yours) — the same definitely applies. Sorry.

  103. Red Arse says:

    Hi, jnyc, 🙂

    Are you going to write a Post for BK? Long time since you put one out there. 😀

  104. Highbury Harmony says:

    Unknown C, I still haven’t a clue as to what you’re disagreeing on me with. If anything, you are in full agreement with me and just reinforced what I have been saying…

  105. Highbury Harmony says:

    VCC, I love the continuous updates on the UMF league, especially last weekend’s results ;). Feel free to update us again with those same comments in the next article if you’d like!

  106. jgc says:


    Yes, in Belgium, just about to dodge out of work, since there is a big shiny thing in the sky everyone is curious about..

    Regaring mongrel and the prior post on OG, one wonders if he was a bit meaner on the field if he wouldnt step up further. IMO, we need it in more than just the DM we hopefully get.

    cheers — jgc

  107. AFC says:

    Guys and that is why I wanted us to get Drogba. A striker who puts fear into every team mentally and physically. Drogba is H.A.M 🙂

  108. AFC says:

    Guys and that is why I wanted us to get Drogba. He may be near the end of his career but can still do it. Not to long ago we were linked with an injury prone Villa. Imagine we had Drogba and that beast of a DM.I do not think wages would have been to much of a problem. Gala cannot be paying him outstanding wages. Drogba is a complete striker with PL experience who puts fear into every team mentally and physically. We really missed out. Drogba is H.A.M 🙂

  109. TotalArsenal says:

    Afternoon all,

    Just had a lovely steak and ale pie with home made chips and a very tasty glass of ale to wash it all away. You know, in one of those Scottisch mountain pubs with views of snow-topped peaks and an open fire roaring in the back. 🙂

  110. TotalArsenal says:

    jgc, where in Belgium are you staying as I know it quite well?

    Jnyc, I would like to echo RA’s suggestion, as I have always rated your posts and I am sure the BK community would love to read your thoughts on anything Arsenal as well!

  111. Prince-Purrfect-Poldi says:

    G’day G’day. How are we all?

    Hi Total, great post……typical of you 😉

    I agree with you Total, but for me, the one line that you should have highlighted or posted in red was the last line, in particular “a bit of guts by the board”.

    How many times have we heard by Ivan that Arsene has money to spend, only to see another top player -that Arsene has developed- be sold off with barely a fraction of the profits being invested back into the team? Then the board go and hide off behind Arsenes puffer jacket and use him as a scapegoat and a reason why the (invisible) money wasnt spent.

    This TW will define where we stand as a club and where our board/owner stand(s) in our ambition to reach the holy grail again. There will be no excuses this time, as we all know about the extra revenue from the television rights.

    We have enough squad players (we have been buying them for the last couple of years), and Arsene is no mug, he knows what ‘top top quality’ is, i just hope the board back him this time.

  112. Prince-Purrfect-Poldi says:

    Drogba is a geriatric who needs a zimmer frame more than others i know. And how is Villa injury prone after one major injury? Name the other times he was injured since you know soooooooo much.

  113. Prince-Purrfect-Poldi says:

    sorry, major is the wrong word. It was a lengthy injury, but i just cant remember him being on the treatment tables prior to that or at Valencia

  114. AFC says:

    PPP, do you not remember how long Villa was out for. When you are out for that long that makes you injury prone until you are then injury free for a long length of time afterward, then you can have your title of be injury prone stripped.

    Sure Drogba is old, but I will give you a list of reasons why he woud be good gor our team.

  115. TotalArsenal says:

    HI PPP,

    All agreed. How is life treating you: are you down under or under down? haha 🙂

  116. Prince-Purrfect-Poldi says:


    Cheers for your comments, and i like and agree with the ‘mongrel’ point of view. Currently we have Jack who shows mongrel, and Arteta although in small doses (usually when he gets tackled from behind or is having a bad day).

    I think it comes down to leadership on the pitch. It seems like our players are all fending for themselves rather than fighting for the cause. I remember seeing that scrawny little ‘Lauren’ ark up at any opposition player who dared to stand up to any of our players. Viera showed mongrel in the tunnel and we beat the oppo even before we walked on the pitch. These days they all hug and swap shirts at half time.

    The sad thing is that football will never go back to what it was, but it doesnt mean we cant have mongrel when we go to war for the cannon.

    It could also be a confidence thing and our players seem to hide like turtles when things go sour on the pitch. Vermaelen was a beast at Ajax and would be ready to lead any army into war, yet since coming to Arsenal (sorry to say) but he seems like a pussy.

    Van Judas had mongrel, and showed it often. It works but our players wont show that mongrel till confidence is sky high and the players start believing in each other, rather than worrying ‘who will be the next to go’.

  117. AFC says:

    I will tell you the pros and cons of Drogba.

    Cons are:

    1) No sell on value if we buy him.
    2) Could become injury-prone
    3) Could enter a decline

    Pros are:

    1) He has huge amounts of PL expereince
    2) Has won nearly everything a club can so he know how to win trophies which is something we need.
    3) Would give Gervinho a boost and make him feel more at home having his fellow countryman who he looks up to
    4) Strikers fear into opponents
    5) Could help Walcott develop as a striker. Teach him the right positioning etc.
    6) Teach Giroud how to become a more complete forward. Teach Giroud how to be more agressive and how to use his huge body to the best of his ability.
    7) Could become a future ambassador for Arsenal persuading the best future talent to come to us.
    8) Could have a future coaching role at Arsenal helping to develop young talent
    9) Increased revenue from shirt sales etc.
    10) Good for PR.

  118. AFC says:

    * experience

    Drogba strikers fear into opponents. We do not have enough players who do this.

  119. Prince-Purrfect-Poldi says:

    AFC, so if a player breaks his leg once and is out for 6 months, then according to you he or she is injury prone? That makes no sense to me.
    Please, DONT need your list on Drogba, he was once great, but i want my team to move forward thanks

  120. AFC says:

    * strIkes

  121. Prince-Purrfect-Poldi says:

    Hi Total,
    Im good mate. Yourself? How is the land of Bravehearts treating you? Does your daughter think its odd that her daddy is all of a sudden wearing skirts (kilts) with his clogs? 😀

    Keep churning those posts mate, love reading your work.

  122. AFC says:

    PPP, when a player who is quite old gets a lengthy injury it could be an indication that he could become injury prone. That Is what I was trying to say.

  123. Prince-Purrfect-Poldi says:

    I said dont


  124. AFC says:

    Sorry PPP, I had already posted it. 🙂

  125. Red Arse says:


    There comes a point where you both have made your points, and there is no purpose in continuing. Let’s move on guys — what do you say? 😀

    If I had my ‘ruthers — I would rather have young Lukaku. He is a giant – like Drogba, and it bugs me that Chelsea got him. What a waste.

  126. Highbury Harmony says:

    Tempers seem to rising today, usually I’m at the center of those kind of volatile debates. Kind of weird to be on the outside…hahaha

  127. Highbury Harmony says:

    RA, good point about Lukaku. Didn’t someone say we should poach Chavs’ next transfer target who was dubbed the next Drogba? I thought Lukaku was that man already!

  128. AFC says:

    RA and HH, all I was trying to say is that Drogba offer more good than bad for the reasons I listed, as you are all about the finances RA he certainly would have increased our revenue. But I have made my point and I am happy to move on. 🙂

    You are both right. We should have got Lukaku. It would not even matter if he did not score as many goals as Giroud because he is much younger and has the potential to be the next Drogba.

  129. Highbury Harmony says:

    AFC, watching Lukaku is a real treat. The boy is a true man-beast and has a touch of skill and pace which leads me to believe that he could even be better than Drogba! Only time will tell I guess, but man is he going to take the EPL by storm soon.

  130. Prince-Purrfect-Poldi says:

    Redders, Hi 🙂

    I was moving on. Don’t forget i scored a massive 51 for sleeping on my back 😉

    Lukaku? Now we are talking. But if we are gonna keep or take on players over 32+ then i would rather have Henry and keep Rosa, rather than cream ourselves over a player who put a dagger in my heart every time he scored against us….and that happened too often.

  131. Prince-Purrfect-Poldi says:

    Hi HH, 🙂

    I believe JM made that reference to poaching Chelseas’ target. In particular that Schurrie dude in the Bundesliga

  132. Highbury Harmony says:

    Hi PPP :), actually it wasn’t JM that made the comment (I’ll have to look back to see who it was). It was in regards to the next Drogba Chelsea were after, and Schurrle is 100% not that type of player!

  133. Highbury Harmony says:

    PPP, I can confirm that culprit was Henrychan!! Hahaha he was saying that if we don’t buy Wilfried Bony that Chelsea would because he’s the next Drogba, which I was perplexed about since they already have Lukaku.

  134. Prince-Purrfect-Poldi says:

    Ah yes HH.
    I do not remember heheheheHenrys’ comment, especially the next Drogba bit.
    I jumped the gun, as i remember JM saying we should snap up Schurrie ( a possible Chelsea target) whilst they focus on Falcao and thought that that was your train of thought. Gotta stop jumping the gun 😉

    Anyway, HH i was wondering if you or anyone else for that matter has read or heard the rumour ( sorry dont mean to go all fantasy football on you guys) that Falcao to Manure is a done deal with Chikarito going the other way. Bizarre. Or how about Pep targeting Kozzer for Bayern. Even more bizarre. 😀

  135. AFC says:

    Guys, the BBC have reported that we have made enquiries about Begovic and Stoke have given us the price of 15 million.


  136. AFC says:

    HH, names for that DM beast. Let me know your thoughts.

    Mavuba. Plays for Lille is French and can pass the ball quite well.

    Guarin. Plays for Inter. Very strong. Can play DM but not sure if it is his natural position.

    Lucas Leiva. Plays for Liverpool. Could be tempted to come.

    Muntari. Plays for Milan. An absolute beast. Is truning 29 though. Not sure if Milan would be willing to let him go.

    Asamoah. Plays for Juventus. Not sure if he is more box to box or if Juventus would be willing to let him go.

    A young DM from Senegal called Kara. Very young (only 22) and absolute beast. Plays for Tromso IL. Do not know much else about this guy.

  137. AFC says:

    HH, last guy plays in Norway. Would need time to adapt but could be the beast we need.

  138. Red Arse says:


    It is also rumoured that we have asked about Sunderland’s Mignolet.

    Who knows where all this stuff comes from.

    AW said in his pre-match interview that he was not interested yet in the TW and was concentrating on the run in for the EPL.

    Of course, he would say that wouldn’t he? 🙂

  139. Highbury Harmony says:

    PPP, I’ve actually had many of my La Liga friends tell me that they think Falcao would be a bust in EPL (at his price anyway). Don’t recall all the reasons why right now, but they were quite sure.

    I think all those rumours are just that – rumours. The only way this move makes sense is if Rooney is leaving, which would be a bonus to us. I think Rooney’s more of a pest to play against anyway.

  140. AFC says:

    RA, Wenger will do his transfer business ealry. Within a week of the TW opening Wenger will announce a signing.

    Also your thoughts on the players above would be much appreciated. 🙂

  141. 17highburyterrace says:

    Hey, I’ve got a thought about Begovic for 15 million…. And it’s the same one I’ve got about Drogba (or about bringing back Bendtner or Denilson or actually playing Arshavin)….

    It will never happen.

    Don’t we have a match tomorrow (and Wednesday and next weekend, all of which we need to win and which will save our fairly woeful season, another season of transition?–and don’t we just need a bit of stability over the summer, so that we’re not a selling club making desperation buys and hoping they work out, you know, always trying to get fingers into the various holes in our leaky, leaky dikes)?….

    Sorry, I just don’t understand why such great writers cannot stay in the moment, as we (so desperately) need our team to be…. Anyway, I had written a longer post (on the topic at hand) but what’s the point….

  142. Highbury Harmony says:

    AFC, that price for Begovic is exorbitant. The only thing I want to see is AW buy an experienced one in the range of 3-5mil, anything higher than that is ridiculous since we still have a very capable Ches, who just needs to continue to refine his game.

  143. VCC says:

    I want Surrle……’s JM’s fault.

  144. Highbury Harmony says:

    AFC, I’ve thought about Mavuba before from your list, but to be honest I don’t want us to be shelling out for any of the players on your list. Mainly because they both represent opposite ends of the spectrum. Either they are unknown quantities with potential or they are older players nearing the decline of their careers, while players like Mavuba represent only minimal improvements to our team.

    I would prefer to see us sign top quality players this summer and not commit the same mistakes of past TW. We have plenty of squad players now, and I’m hoping to increase the quality quotient.

  145. 17highburyterrace says:

    Hey HH, Agree about Falcao being a (relative) bust in England. I was 30 feet away from him missing the biggest sitter I’ve ever seen (in el Estadio de los Carmenes, Granada)….I would love it if the ManU rumor was correct (and they just keep on paying our hair of gray wantaway)…. He’s good, and he’ll get his goals, but I don’t see him making a big difference for a United or City or Chelsea team. Now, if we could get him for 15-20 Million, I think he could better than (similarly priced) Arshavin….

  146. 17highburyterrace says:

    “do” better than….

  147. Highbury Harmony says:

    17HT, completely agreed. The delivery he receives at Atletico is pretty outstanding and yes he has great skill, movement and finishing but he’s severely overrated too. There’s just a lot of unnecessary hype surrounding him, when a player like Cavani is undoubtedly more talented.

  148. Red Arse says:


    Your knowledge on a wide number of players is really impressive, unfortunately I know so little about any of them, other than Asamoah who I liked, in the few games I saw him play on TV.

    I am happy to rely on your comments about them, and that is a good enough starting point for me. 🙂

  149. Red Arse says:


    Don’t be put off writing as you see fit, your input is often original and interesting to me.

    Blog chat is like the swirl of face to face talking, as it can go off at all angles depending on the mood of the correspondents. That’s what makes it so gripping. 🙂

  150. AFC says:

    HH, here is a list of well known and established players who could be our DM.

    Boeteng who plays for Milan. Is really box to box but could be a beast of a DM. Not sure Milan would let him go.

    The two Benders. Not sure if they could play as a sole DM.

    Gustavo from Bayern.

    Fellani. If Wenger is reaaly willing to spend the big bucks. But this will probably never happen.

  151. Prince-Purrfect-Poldi says:

    HH and 17HT,

    Oooh i dont know about Falcao being a flop. Firstly, i agree that there is a big chance of the rumours being tripe. But for theories sake, if there was a team in the EPL where Falcao would be a hit, it would be Manure and here is why.
    Manure play with classic wingers who can put in a decent cross. I have not seen a better header of the ball (in Falcao) since Ivan Zamora at Inter, or Bierhoff. Do you know how much quality service he would get there, and currently Manure are missing that dimension.

    In regards to him only going there if Rooney leaves, i dont agree. For me, the reason why manure have been successful this season is not solely because of Judas. In the early part of the season, Fergiescum pulled Rooney way back in midfield to play as deep as scholes used to and spray balls around and that is where Judas got all his service from. Fergiescum has been looking for an all round midfielder to replace scholes. There was talk of Sniejder, Modric etc but in a forced hand he played Rooney there and it worked. I think we might be seeing alot more of Shrek in the midfield role, sometimes penetrating as a shadow striker.

    Either way this TW coming is gonna see some fireworks and some tears. One thing that has not been touched upon through all this transfer talk is ‘Where do we stand if we dont succeed in getting a CL spot’? Does Kroenke splash the cash to get us back there, or does he tighten the strings even more in belief we dont need as big a squad? (i know that nobody wants to consider this train of thought, but as they say in football anything is possible)

  152. Red Arse says:

    Sorry 17HT,

    I should have added that TA’s wonderful Post has attracted 150+ comments, and many of them have discussed the future TW and the need to be cautious about who we buy and how many new players we need.

    TA , earlier, was asking for an author to write a pre-Match post, which would concentrate on the here and now of tomorrow’s game. Do you fancy writing it? 🙂

  153. Highbury Harmony says:

    AFC, I would take the Benders over Fellaini any day of the week. Germany is the next generation of golden footballers and there are some impressive, under the radar players there right now. EPL players are often overrated and their prices are inflated and AW is wise to not buy domestically too frequently.

  154. Red Arse says:


    I am with you on Falcao, again, from a limited viewing of his skills, but he looks the biz to me — but way out of our reach, unfortunately!

  155. 17highburyterrace says:

    Hey thanks RA….

    Maybe if it seems like TA is on-line I’ll post it….In fact, I think I just say the same thing over and over….That it’s a slow road to the top and that step one is to hold on to our best players by constantly re-writing contracts. This is the big (boring) story that the media doesn’t report (and it’s also what Gazidis does, to answer the chants….)

    Transfer plants get people (like our guy AFC, et. al.) excited. If you’ve really watched a player AND there’s a chance (in hell) that he might come to Arsenal, it seems interesting. Otherwise, I’d rather watch our matches and talk about our guys. We’ve got this match tomorrow, for example, and we lost to that team back in the Fall (Autumn, as they say….) so it would be more interesting to discuss that stuff, IMO….

  156. AFC says:

    HH, you are probably right about Fellani. If he was that good he would have been poached by a foreign club.

    What are your thoughts on Boateng and Marchisio for DM.

  157. VCC says:

    Red Arse…..get Surrle……..sorted.

  158. AFC says:

    17, What do you meam about me getting excited?

  159. Red Arse says:


    Just send your Post into the usual BK email address.
    I suspect TA would appreciate it sooner rather than later.

    You are never boring, and on the transfer speculation I veer from getting excited about the possibilities (it’s nice to dream) and being bored out of my brain by all the press conjecture!

    I’m sure everyone else has a similar reaction. 🙂

  160. Red Arse says:


    Straight to the point, my man, Schurle it is ……………………. 🙂

  161. Red Arse says:


    Where is the Todger Man today? Speaking of which, where is that Syrup of Figs philosopher today? 🙂

  162. Red Arse says:


    A friend of mine who is Everton leaning, says this is the best season Fellaini has had, and that he was pretty damn poor in previous seasons.

    Again, who knows. But not for us I think.

  163. 17highburyterrace says:

    In looking at players from Spain, I think you need to realize the quality of the defending is very poor and that most teams do not play in a coordinated manner. The fitness level of most players is much worse than in England and then there’s the diving and other play stoppages. A lot of players will not run until the guy with the ball does something interesting (like getting past his defender)…

    In the match I saw up close what was really cool was watching Falcao warm up, doing drag and spin moves. I get the point about his heading ability but there’s a lot more pushing and shoving in the box in England and I wonder. If he tries too many headers I think he’ll be off to the physio-room quite a bit.

    I also get the point about ManU needing a real AM/Creator type, which is why if Falcao does come to England the team I think he would do best at is City (David Silva–Milner can cross and even Nasri and Yaya have a good eye for a pass)….As a neutral, I’d love to see City go “small”….

    Again, for 40-50 million GBP (easy money for City….) he would be a lot of eggs in one basket, so it’s a no go for us….

    Big match tomorrow?….

  164. Red Arse says:

    HH, @ 17:18,

    I chuckled at your comment, but can confirm that you have been a good citizen today!! 🙂

  165. Highbury Harmony says:

    AFC, both Boateng and Marchisio are considered to be AM, so my interest is not too high. They are both very skilled footballers though!

  166. AFC says:

    17, You have to remember FFP. Any club looking to buy Falcao could be in breach of FFP. I would not be surprised if we saw him stay or most likely go to Real. This could pave the way for a potential move for Benzema. But I do not think it will happen just like I do not see Jovetic coming to Arsenal.

    For the match tomorrow Wenger will try not to make as little changes from the starting line-up as possible. He wants consistancy and the best way to do this is to keep the same team. I do not want to see Walcott and Wilshere back in the team unless there are injuries or a player is seriously fatigued. If they come back in it could unsettle the whole team.

  167. Prince-Purrfect-Poldi says:


    He does look the biz, but ironically not for us, imo. Im still trying to comprehend why we play Giroud as our number 1 striker. I cannot remember a time under Wenger that we played the ball in the air, until this season with OG. For me Chamack was our plan B and he failed. I believed that OG was brought in as an upgrade on Chamack , not as our number 1 striker.

    Another thing i have noticed this season (which we have never ever done under Wenger) is boot the ball up field in a hit and hope sense. Every game, from every kick off we pass the ball back to Kos or TV only for them to boot it up to the right wing. (go back and check if you dont believe me 😉 ) I thought we were a posession team? 🙄

  168. Highbury Harmony says:

    RA, I can confirm that. My neighbour a few doors down is a Toffee supporter and told me that Fellaini was awful before this season. Most fans were calling him to be an utter waste of money and another failure on the part of Moyes when given a reasonable amount to spend. Perhaps Fellaini has just finally blossomed, but he thinks this season could also be an aberration.

  169. Prince-Purrfect-Poldi says:

    also Falcao would/might be a flop at the Arsenal (dreaming again) as we are yet to master the art of crossing a friggin ball.

    Why cant our players take a leaf out of Dennis’ book and stay back to practise for an extra half hr after training??

  170. 17highburyterrace says:

    AFC, it seems you like to talk about every speculated transfer…. Am I wrong? Maybe you don’t “get excited” (sorry if I offended, etc…..) but are just being (spectacularly) thorough….(winky face, eh….)

    For me, fantasy transfer talk is OK (see discussion of Falcao above, but just because I was in Spain and I got to see him up close) but there needs to be a filter. If there’s no chance (in hell) of signing somebody (Drogba, for example) I wonder why we’re talking about it. I can see why the Daily Mail or posts these things, but here, where each post bumps the next (rather than a multi-thread forum, for example) I don’t get it. RA is right, however, that I shouldn’t fear discussions that fly all over the place. I just (maybe) have more limited time and I feel like I should read all posts (if I expect others to read mine)….

    What’s the history on Begovic? Portsmouth, Stoke, etc. He’s solid and playing well and will move up from Stoke, but I don’t see us (under Wenger) ever spending more than 3-5 Mil on a keeper, so for me it’s a non-starter. Was Lloris worth 15 million for Spurs?

    Have we already claimed the 3 points tomorrow?….(And, if not, how should we go about it?….)

  171. VCC says:

    Red Arse…….I think Glicster is learning his ABC…..and reading “The cat sat on the mat” again………..

    Terry has gone to Brentwood again, seeking out those trannies. 😉

  172. 17highburyterrace says:

    RA….from above….It wasn’t a post about tomorrow’s match, just something about the topic at hand (the Russian Dolls)….Boring, boring, boring….

  173. AFC says:

    PPP, what you have to understand is that the players we play on the wing are not natural wingers. There is not really an emphasis on them to need to cross. Walcott, Gervinho are poachers. Podolski is a false no.9. Ox is really an AM. Same with Rosicky and Arshavin and even Santi.

    Wenger diliberately plays with poachers and AMs on the wings. It is part of our formation. Our game is not abour crossing the ball. We are a possesion team like Barca. Barca do not go and buy themselves a brute of a forward so I do not see why Wenger does. Really baffles me.

  174. 17highburyterrace says:

    AFC, tell me about FFP…. I thought City was getting around it with the Etihad shirt deal worth half a billion. Chelsea players could soon be wearing a shirt saying something like “Russia, it’s a (Pussy) Riot” for a full billion from one of Roman’s buddies (Putin, himself? or maybe Usmanov….) If Russia and Qatar are the two best World Cup bids, I have my doubts about FFP and will hold judgement for the future….

  175. AFC says:

    17, You will have to forgive me. I do like having discussions on what could have been. I know Drogba will not happen but I like to use these players of example of the type of players we should be looking to bring in.

    If you read my posts which I have written for Bergkapesque, 5 I believe with a 6th coming out on Monday they are all very realistic. 🙂

  176. Prince-Purrfect-Poldi says:

    Fellaini until this season was played as a DM for Everton, and yes he failed miserably. However, this season he has obviously been played closer to Jelavic in a SS role which seems to work. He has played well this season, but in my mind if he was the real deal, he would have been snapped up by now, especially since he has a buy out clause which could be easily activated.

  177. Prince-Purrfect-Poldi says:

    VCC @19.44

    😀 Get in !!

  178. AFC says:

    17, There are probably tons of loopholes but we can only really discuss these when we see clubs in the future exploit them.

    By the way RA wrote a very intersting article for Bergkampesque on FFP. You might find it interesting. 🙂

  179. Prince-Purrfect-Poldi says:

    AFC, every professional player who earns over 1000 pounds a week should be able to cross a ball. I was doing it at the age of 14 and with both feet. We use our fullbacks in our attack and on many occassions they have sent the ball into row Z when a simple cross is required to finish a move. There is no exscuse. Why then do we play OG as our tip of attack, why put our corners into the box, why put free-kicks into the box if we cant find a man only to be threatened on the counter? 🙄

  180. glic says:

    Evening Quimbelina`s 😆

    Another fine post by Total van Rottenklompendildostein !.

    I have said may a time that the foundations are in place and I honestly think we will keep out core and it will only need 2/3 players added, but they need to be ” Super Quality ” if we are to compete for Tiltle, simple as that, anything less and it will be simply another squeaky bum groundhog season !.

    I`ve had a quick butchers at the comments, but one non related football question caught my eye and it was Gerry`s @ 14:46 about the poor Pigeon !.
    The man to ask is probably….”The Pigeon Man of Bergkampesque” …..TMHT !. He is the expert on Pigeons, fair enough, it`s Pigeon Penetration or Feathered Fornication, but he has a little hospital in his loft for the one`s that are poorly, it`s called the Microwave Hospital and I`m sure he could find room in there along side a couple of bruised potatoes and badly beaten carrots !. Sorry if this sounds distastefull, but that could be put right with some added seasoning and some stock !.

  181. AFC says:

    PPP, we are improving.

    Monreal, Gibbs, Jenkinson can all cross the ball.

    Arteta, Santi and Podolski can all take free kicks. Arteta, Santi and Wilshere can put a decent ball in.

  182. Prince-Purrfect-Poldi says:

    PPP or Poached Pidgeon Pudding. Yum-eeeeeeeee

    “Sorry if this sounds distastefull, but that could be put right with some added seasoning and some stock !.” that is classic 😆

  183. Prince-Purrfect-Poldi says:

    AFC, for every good cross you show me, ill show you 10 that have failed. That is no good for a team of internationals challenging for European proper. Sorry, we dont agree!!

  184. AFC says:

    PPP, agreed.

    Monreal is probably the only player who can properly cross the ball. Back at Malaga I heard he was pretty good at crossing.

  185. glic says:

    I know exactly what Stretch is up to tonight !.
    Same as last week , in which he donned his Gervinho syrup and strutted into the Brentwood Grab a Grannie Night Club, but unbeknown to him, it was Grab a Trannie Night !.
    Using his Gervinho moves, he cut in from the left of the bar with ouzo in hand, straight up to the Bent ( trannie bint ) and dribbled in the box before shooting to early with a floppy shot , missing the mark as usual and being shown a red card for persistant under achieving !.
    He is not known their as ….” Pervinho ” for nothing !.
    However all was not lost as he met up with a relative of Total !….. a Mr Transit van Trannie, where he was rather painfully introduced to the Dutch eqivalent to ” Dogging “….a much drug induced hybrid called ” Clogging ” !. hahaha

  186. Prince-Purrfect-Poldi says:

    I am quietly confident about tomorrow. I feel it will be a big game for Poldi with doubts over Rosickys fitness. Last time we played them Poldi had a shocker and doubts over his transfer seemed to have set in after that display. Im sure he is chomping at the bit and would want to put all the doubters at ease.

    We should and wll take em for 3points. In my opinion, if we cant take home the bacon at home, then we dont even deserve Europa league.

  187. Prince-Purrfect-Poldi says:


  188. AFC says:

    PPP, we will get into the CL. Do not forget about Spur’s star man injured and yesterday when they got booted out of the Europa League. Imagine how low they must feel. That will surely have an impact on their remaining PL matches. 😉

  189. Prince-Purrfect-Poldi says:


    Now your just showing off. That was pure gold. “Pervinho” hahahahahahahahahahahahaha, off to work laughing my tits off, hahahahahahah

    Catch you all later, have a great day

  190. glic says:

    Triple P

    I`ve just finished work , driving 525 miles !. Hope your day is less boring mate, have a good one !. 🙂

  191. TotalArsenal says:

    New Post – New Post! 🙂

    Just a quickie to get us going tonight!

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