This is the third and last post about the potential scenario of Arsenal not buying any new players this summer. The first post focussed on not buying any new defenders and the second one on no new midfielders arriving during the transfer window (TW).
Like almost everybody else, I would like us to buy a couple of quality players this summer. However, I am also excited about the team that we have, and I have been writing these posts to evaluate, together with fellow BKers, both how strong our current squad is and how much potential for further growth there is within the squad.
I am a big believer in Arsene’s ability to build a team from scratch through coaching and making everybody play a particular style of football. Furthermore, I believe he has been severely hampered in recent season by the continous loss of the juicy fruits he produced from his hard labour.
This summer it should be different. Nobody should be leaving and there is no WC or Euros. Wenger has both a young group and an experienced group of players, and a part of me would like to see how far Wenger and Bould can push these two groups into something special next season and beyond.
In the first post about defence, I concluded that if Arsenal were not to buy a new defender or goalkeeper we would probably be fine, although a PL experienced back-up keeper would be ideal. In the second post I concluded that if we were to stick with the end of last season’s more defensive playing style – with Arteta and Ramsey focussing mainly on protecting the defence – we would be ok in midfield next season.
However, if Arsene wants to return to Wengerball footie, he would need to invest in a DM and a nr10 sort of AM.
How would we fare, though, if Arsenal were not to buy any attackers this summer?
For me, this depends once again on what sort of football Wenger wants to play next season. If he were to stick to the two defensive midfielders scenario (with a strict remit), I feel he will need to invest in a 20 PL goals a season striker. With such a formation we will not dominate play all the time and often also not produce many chances – as was evident in the previous ten PL games. So we could really do with a Centre Forward who can do effective link-up play as well as having a high chance conversion rate. We could also do with a very effective, natural winger who can both score and produce a large number of assists.
So, if we were to stick to a more solid but conservative formation, we don’t necessarily need to buy defenders or midfielders, but we could do with a classical CF and Winger.
If, however, Arsene wants to return to Wengerball, I reckon he should be concentrating on midfield. Get a beast of DM so Arsene can release Jack, Mikel or Ramsey as a full-on box to box midfielder, and get in a typical nr.10 midfielder/attacker of a similar mould as Bergkamp once was: somebody who is the focal point in attack (for which he needs both stamina and physical strength), can shield the ball really well, finds the through-balls, and finishes off changes really well. Ideal candidates for this role are Fabregas, Jovetic, Rooney; whilst Cazorla has many of the required qualities, but not all, and Jack is likely to grow into that role gradually.
I don’t believe we would need to buy any attackers if we bought a DM and AM/nr.10 this summer. Say we got Jovetic to play in the hole, we could play any of Giroud, Podolski or Theo in front of him. I have a gut-feeling that Arsene is looking for a nr.10, Bergkamp kind of player, at the moment, and will try Theo to play in front of him.
But if it is not Theo then it will probably be Pod or Giroud and that would be fine too.
Under a new Wengerball formation/line-up we would create a lot more chances than we did recently, and I reckon that Pod, Giroud, Cazorla, Theo, new Nr.10 would score a lot of goals between them.
No doubt, I would prefer us to return to Wengerball footie, but I would also be happy to sacrifice our style/beautiful football for a whole season if it would mean we have a better chance of winning something, whilst building the team into something really special for years to come during next season. A switch to more attractive, typical Wengerball footie can be made mid-way through the season or even in the following season.
But what if Arsene would buy nobody this summer (other than a few youngsters): would we cope?
I honestly think we would cope and even make further progress, but we would have to stick to our ‘defensive midfield’ formation.
A whole summer with the same squad and Wenger and Bould working hard could get our current team to step it up again next season.
We would need a bit of luck: Jack and Pod having an almost injury free season would really help for example. We could also do with Ox properly breaking through next season, and Giroud making a big improvement in his second season in the PL (as he did in his second season at Montpellier).
We would also need our engines in midfield and attack – Arteta, Ramsey, Santi, Giroud – to stay fit and as committed as they have been in previous season; and we could also do with the likes of Gnabry, Coquelin and Eisfeld forcing themselves into the first team on a regular basis.
Especially Gnabry could be a fine wild card by Wenger next season: somebody who has a lot of promise and could be very effective on the wing for us.
Wenger could also work hard to get Theo ready for the CF position and make the team work towards providing him with the best service.
But if we want to see a return to Wengerball again next season, investments will have to be made; and for me the first priority would be a beast of DM. The second one is a nr.10, so Santi can play on the wing – in a free role – and Jack can develop further in the box-to-box role. We would need to see real quality added to those positions in order to get back to playing another variant of total football again.
Arsene has the money and I genuinely believe he is looking for the right players to come and join our team this summer. But as we all know, he will not spend for the sake of it and if he cannot find/get the quality he requires, we are likely to fall back on how we lined-up and played towards the end of season, and maybe add a top striker towards the end of the TW.
That’s what I believe will happen this summer, but what do you say?
Written by: TotalArsenal.