What if Arsenal bought no new attackers but promote Gnabry and make Theo CF?

Theo in front of a proper nr.10 could be realised next season?

Theo in front of a proper nr.10 could be realised next season?

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.

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90 Responses to What if Arsenal bought no new attackers but promote Gnabry and make Theo CF?

  1. Tony says:

    What if Arsenal bought no new attackers but promote Gnabry and make Theo CF? 4th place again or worse.

  2. TotalArsenal says:

    I think you are wrong there Tony.

  3. Admir says:

    Nice ending of series, TA.

    If reports regarding Yaya Sanogo are true, we already signed an attacker. Wenger said in January regarding whether we need a new striker or not: “Quality-wise, no. But number-wise we are maybe a bit short.” Of course, I can come up with million reasons why Wenger would say that and act otherwise this summer out of which the most important is Giroud’s and Podolski’s confidence.

    I believe…no, I hope that Wenger will do the best possible move in terms of footballing quality and finances to sign Fabregas from Barcelona and keep current squad (except deadwood like Chamakh, Bendtner, Denilson, Santos…). I might write a text about Fabregas’ possible return to where he really belongs in a few days. 😉

  4. TotalArsenal says:

    Hi Admir, make that ‘will’ instead of ‘might’ in your last sentence! hahaha 🙂

    Sanogo I see as a long-term investment and not somebody who will make a difference this season, but of course, I could be wrong!

  5. grenio85 says:

    This is one of the rare seasons where the team will not see any key members from last season departing, which if no serious injuries happen means they can only get better next season. I agree with most of your article, because in between this last season the team showed WITH added belief they can beat anyone on their day but i want additions none the less to reassure most fans as if fans are not convinced early on the stadium will tend to get too tense quickly which affects players on field

  6. TotalArsenal says:


    That is a very valid point and it also goes for the players. The psychological impact of buying at least one quality player might be bigger, at least initially, than the technical/tactical impact of that player on our performances. In the mid to long term it is of course important for that player to be a real success on the pitch as well.

  7. Highbury Harmony says:

    TA brilliant stuff mate :). This was by far my favourite article of the 3, because there was a clear, articulated understanding that we DO need to add, yet the typical hint of promise that there may be some solutions in house and through our academy. It’s interesting how it all comes back to the type of football AW would like us to play and how the current pieces fit into that puzzle too!

    My analysis on Theo for the article I’m writing is quite outstanding. I now have faith that Theo will score between 18-20 goals in the league next year and just needs to work on his strength and to shoot more. He really is quite an outstanding finisher and together with more minutes played and shots taken, I feel that Theo could be the CF we are all craving for. However, as typical with Theo, he needs to diversify/evolve his game and not heavily rely on his speed to get through balls for breakaway opportunities.

    My only point of contention would be if AW saw the success from playing in a defensive set-up and permanently depended on that. I would see it as an excuse to not purchase the proper quality of talent in the TW and a significant shift away from the philosophy the club has become renowned for. Sure silverware of some sort is to be valued and a sign of progress, but long-term is backwards movement for our club’s image?

    Promoting Gnabry is certainly a tantalizing prospect. On the one hand, he has an abundance of talent and the world is at his feet and I truly believe that he will be a world beater some day. On the other hand, part of me wants AW to bring him along slowly to ensure that he will be given fair playing time and have every possible chance to succeed. Either way, I’m sure AW will do what’s best and it’ll be nice for Gnabry to spend one more season in reserves to work on his all-around game, while getting first-team exposure in domestic cup competitions. Without the new found stability of our main players being signed long-term, keeping Gnabry in the reserves may not have been possible!

  8. Highbury Harmony says:

    is it backwards*

  9. bc says:

    I would like to think that ryo and campbell are ahead of gnabry. Campbell could still get his permit this summer as he is currently in a position where he has played in enough of costa rica’s matches us their ranking is high enough. Now would be the best time for the club to apply.
    However that said NOT buying players this summer is not an option and wenger should be looking to strengthen all lines. By that I mean the 5 lines keeper, defence, holding mid, attacking mid and striker. As much as I would like to see a real gem of an under 19 player realistically we cannot afford to wait and hope. We need to only consider the.players currently at the club that can realistically hold down a first team place. If there are players out there better than say our first 3 options in each position then we must go for them. For example is julio cesar better than any of szczesney fabianski mannone and martinez? Well I am certain he is better than at least 3 of those players. Is fabregas better than cazorla rosicky and eisfeld? Well we all know he is better than 2 of those players and quite possibly all 3. Is rooney or higuain better than giroud park bendtner chamakh and afobe? Well of course he is better than all 5. Is williams better than mertesacker djourou and boateng the 3 right sided cbs well of course he is better than at least 2 of them. These are just some of the decisions that wenger should be making. All those players are available at the right price and that train of thought needs to be applied right through the team and squad if we are to achieve something this season. There is no point us getting rid of players like sagna just bcos we might not get anything for him next year. We should only get rid if we can buy a better right back than both. But also if a right back is available that is better than jenkinson we should buy him and keep sagna. Jenkinson can be patient or go on loan.

  10. Highbury Harmony says:

    Admir, I believe a lot of transfer activity largely hinges on what position AW feels is best for Jack AND is contingent on his health for the upcoming season. If he believes Jack’s long-term role is at the CAM position, he’ll buy a more defensive minded CM. If he believes Jack’s long-term role is at the B2B mid position, he’ll buy a creative mid/nr.10 type ST.

  11. Glic says:

    In answer to HH from previous post.

    HH, it may only be £4M and lets guess £50K per week, but that fee and wages would probably help us get a SQ player we need, not someone we don’t need !.( and judging by less goals conceded this past season compared to the previous, stats are on my side ! )
    We are rumoured to have £70M and will save £350,000 per week on wages. With a goalie imo we don’t need, that takes the sum down to £66M and £50k per week wasted on another average player !.
    How many of these sort of fee players do you want ?. All these little fees and wages start to add up, do we want 5/6 average players or 2/3 SQ players, the average players will win us Sweet FA ,but SQ will give us a fighting chance !. The last time I looked, it was, Manu, City and Chavs winning trophy`s and it wasn`t by buying average players !.

    Thanks Totes. Your ” what if ” trilogy has for me brought up to me that we have some great talent in the squad and some great youngsters coming through, but without the injection of some real SQ, we will be fighting for 4th again, so I`m glad it is just a ” what if ” scenario, as there will be more chance of N17 freezing over than us not bringing in some new additions. I just hope it`s something more tantalising than a relegated goalie as you can bet your finest klompendildos our rivals ( the ones above us and below ) will not be sat twiddling their fingers.

  12. Highbury Harmony says:

    Very interesting points bc and I do agree with a lot of what you are saying. If there is an opportunity to bring in a player, at a reasonable price, better than what we currently have, there should not be a hesitation in bringing them in (unless there is an even better player than said player).

    On the other hand, we must be careful to not bring in too many new players as well. It disrupts the balance of the current squad and the mentality/confidence they built towards the end of last season. It’ll also require a bit of transition since the new players will disrupt the on-field chemistry and take time to adjust to both our playing style and the players currently in our starting 11.

    That said, we should definitely be looking to bring in some new players this summer. If reports are to believed to be true, Cesar is close to signing with us and his comments suggest he will be moving to another club in London, while the Sanogo confirmation is a mere formality as signing on fee, wages and bonus etc. have all been agreed on. I have full confidence that this is just the beginning of signings for us and I fully expect to see 2 more after the aforementioned moves go through.

  13. TotalArsenal says:

    Evening HH 🙂

    I still think it is unlikely that Wenger will not revert back to Wengerball next season, and he will therefore invest to make it happen.

    If it was just for one season, in order to build believe and evolve the team further, I could live with a more conservative set-up again next season. And if Maureen is indeed coming to the London-Oilers it might be our best strategy.

    Either way there would be pluses and minuses but like you I prefer beautiful flowing football, and hope Arsene will invest wisely and effectively this summer.

  14. RK says:

    Hi TA – good “hypothesizing” series 🙂 If the scenario comes to pass (i.e. we do not end up adding anyone who might automatically make it to the starting 11), I think that your assessment is spot-on. From the little I have seen of Eisfeld I thought that he was impressive and very opportunistic in front of goal. I found it surprising that neither he nor Gnabry were not included more in the “garbage time” CL and Carling cup games or even on the bench for the PL. Given how the Ox has been used (and him being a relatively known quantity and all that), I am a bit doubtful that Wenger would use either Gnabry or Eisfeld in key PL games. Where I am going with this is that I feel that we may not have the players to step up if say Pod/Giroud/Theo get injured. Gervinho may be it…and that is not one that inspires much confidence presently (here’s hoping that he surprises everyone in his 3rd year). So, while AW will not buy anyone for the sake of it, I have a feeling that he will definitely add to the forward line over the next 92 days.

    While the conventional wisdom is that we desperately need this “beast of a DM” the signs are not there that AW shares this opinion, I feel. We have the curse of having a massively talented Abou who cannot take the field for most of the season :-(. My impression is that AW does not bucket people into roles before selecting them. If he is impressed with their technical skills he gets them and then sees how they might be able to influence the overall balance. Exhibit A would be Ramsey, Alex, and Arteta and multiple other shufflings. He has also hinted in the past at the wealth of midfield talent at his disposal. So there are days when I wonder if the Grenier story was a diversion or if he is re-evaluating due to Diaby’s problems. If I had to take a guess, he may be planning to utilize Arteta/Ramsey/Ox/Diaby as the twin pivot with Santi/Jack/Rosicky ahead of them leaving a forward line of Pod/Giroud/Theo/Gervinho/Santi*. This leaves the door open for Gnabry / someone new and others to provide depth.

    What do you think?

  15. TotalArsenal says:

    bc 🙂

    We could really do with a couple of new quality signings but not more than that. A team needs to grow from within mostly and that is exactly what’s happening. Add a bit of quality to that and we are ready to go.

    And even we don’t, this team will make further progress with what we have.

  16. TotalArsenal says:


    Serious question: do you think Arsene is capable of winning the PL again as long as he can keep what he builds and develops for a number of years? Or does he really need to buy big players to achieve this?

  17. Highbury Harmony says:

    So Glic, what you’re telling me is that you are 100% comfortable with Mannone as our back-up keeper next season? In case you haven’t noticed Fabianski’s contract is up and he is a free agent. Even if we re-signed him, he’d want to be guarantee some first-team football and his wages would be between £40-50k/week.

    Is Cesar an average player?

    – 346 shots faced (10th most in the league) in 24 starts (5-12 less GP than any other keeper in the top 10 of shots faced). That works out to roughly 14 shots per game! 37 goals against in 24 starts is nothing to write home about and is in fact pretty poor. However, when you consider the amount of shots faced to goals conceded, he only lets in a goal every 9 shots faced for a relegated side! Thus, one can come to the realization of just how good a GK Cesar really is.

    – Szczesny in 25 starts faced 231 shots and conceded 24 goals. That’s 1 more start and roughly 9 shots faced per game. Still, Ches does quite well in only conceding a goal in every 10 shots faced. What I’m saying is that Ches can still largely improve and that Cesar’s numbers will get even better with a stronger squad in front of him.

    – Aside from a statistical analysis, one may wonder: what else does Cesar bring? He brings PL experience, a composed veteran presence to provide competition for Ches and the nerve and understands what it takes mentally to win (CL and Serie A).

    Again, if spending £4-5 million on an experienced GK is going to be a considerable drain on our resources, who statistically was one of the best shot stoppers in the league (especially considering his team was absolute crap), then we have much more to worry about than Cesar.

  18. Highbury Harmony says:

    nerve and understanding*

  19. TotalArsenal says:

    Hi RK 🙂

    Re your last paragraph: in a way I would like to see how our current squad would cope next season and your ideas re players and positions would be mine as well.

    But I do believe Arsene can see that if he isn’t to buy a DM beast he will not have much opportunity to reintroduce a box to box midfielder who supports our attack better (and improve the quality of our football in general). So I would be surprised and a bit disappointed if he did not get a proper DM this summer.

    Re Diaby – I am pretty sure even Arsene is not counting on him anymore.

  20. TotalArsenal says:

    Julio Cesar joining us is a mouthwatering prospect, also for you Glic: his anagram is Oral Juices 😛

  21. Highbury Harmony says:

    TA @ 23:53, hahaha well done mate, well done. So the anagram confirms that Cesar’s got more in common with Glic than just always coming up behind the “d” and handling balls well hahaha!

  22. TotalArsenal says:

    HH 🙂

    Exactemento! 😀

  23. Glic says:

    Only if FFP works !. As I`ve said, we have some quality players in the current squad and some (imo ) gems coming through the youth system, but that is a reflection of the past few years and we won nothing, this year is different that it is unlikely that we will lose any top talent, but we will need further injection of SQ to take us to the next level !. Imo, no GQ, no further than 4th.
    If our rivals start to splash the cash, we will be a step further behind again !. After my Monaco question on previous post , how are they getting all these players on a pittance of generated revenue ?. It seems nobody is taking FFP serious !.
    So the answer is yes, we need some SQ to win EPL !.
    I now ask you a question, do you think we will win the EPL with our current squad ?. Can I expect an answer which finally sends you to the nutty farm with the company of Stretch !. hahaha

  24. Glic says:

    SQ…not GQ !.

  25. James Bond says:

    great piece, TA

    it would be ok if it happen but it would be better if we got an experienced old fox (david Villa) and our own boy Cesc back home to help both Theo and gnabry deliver the goods with better returns 😉

    now coming back on the piece itself, gnabry is no doubt a player with massive potential and x factor, however, he is injury prone as you would expect from any young lad, so even if we were to promote him or use him sparingly we would need that right side well patrolled …and knowing Theo’s injury record, i expect him to get injured vs Brazil (i hope i’m wrong but if he comes back fully fit to AFC then it’s going to be nothing short of a miracle i tells you)…so if i was to put this bluntly i would have to say that in my opinion it would be a huge gamble to take, one that may backfire big time thanks to our biggest nemesis (no, not the likes of Giroud and Ramsey winks @ HH) injuries have been our biggest nemesis believe it or not over the years i reckon.

    based on the above i wouldn’t mind making a double raid on barca for villa and cesc, 25 million for both good business !

    4-5 million on Cesar

    i’m gonna be generous and leave you all with the remaining 40 mills to spend on a decent DM…(i could have got Fellaini for 23 million but if i am to spend the entire budget myself then all of you may want to kick me out from bk 😀

  26. TotalArsenal says:


    Keeping the current squad together and starting again with them next season under Wenger has big benefits, especially now that the Mancs, Northern and Southern Oilers are all going through a transition/change of management.

    So yes, I reckon Wenger could do it with the current squad.

    But we could really do with some quality in midfield and in attack/nr10 and it would be silly not to add quality if and when we can.

  27. TotalArsenal says:

    JB – Cesc, Villa and Alonso it is then – can we go now?! 😛

  28. James Bond says:

    for a moment i thought you were gonna say Cesc, Villa and Song back for 35 million, ha

    since you have Alonso on there i reckon it might be closer to 40 mills, alright you can have Alonso …start the engine time i reckon…and while we’re at it, don’t forget to put the PL trophy in the boot 😀

  29. Highbury Harmony says:

    Hahaha JB, if the budget were left entirely up to you, you’d spend 70 million on Rooney alone!!!

  30. Highbury Harmony says:

    Wayne Rooney seen donning an Arsenal kit, confirmation and presser to come tomorrow!!!!!


  31. allezkev says:

    Interesting post Total…

    Not buying a quality striker this summer, is not an option, not if Wenger wants to take advantage of the managerial merry-go-round in Manchester and SW London…

    But not buying a quality striker, would not suprise me in the least…

    David Villa, i’d be happy with him…

    Serge Gnabry, imho, will be playing League Cup footie initially, but could work his way into the squad, later in the season as fatigue/injuries, take their toll…

    I hope Miyaichi will be given a chance.

  32. James Bond says:

    that’s one handsome son of a gun , looks right at home in our colours 😉

    theo to play as a striker up front vs Brazil with Rooney behind him and ox on the right ?

    TA you might enjoy it if England try Theo up front on his own 😉 will be very timely with your article!

  33. TotalArsenal says:

    hahahaha HH – you just deboinged poor Jambo! 🙂

    Before I go I leave you with a bit of interesting news re Louis van Gaal. Today he announced he is going to stop his current role as national manager of Holland after the WC next year. He is planning to retire unless a club of the Premier League will knock on his door….

    Most of you will know how high I rate LvG as a manager (not so much as a human being) and if Arsene was to go he could be a fine replacement…

    Night all 🙂

  34. TotalArsenal says:

    Allezkev – I would be very surprised if Arsene bought a top striker this summer, but Vila is a possibility.

    Jambo – it could be


    Would be very interesting indeed. Theo on his own would really only work with Rooney in the hole. Cannot wait to see the game!

  35. James Bond says:

    It does not bode well for England or Hodgson but, with a year to go until the World Cup finals begin here, Walcott – who scored 21 goals for Arsenal in the season just ended – is determined to grasp his chance.

    Walcott said: “It will be fantastic. I said I wanted to play up front.

    “People say I have played up front, but I have had limited opportunities this year I have played on the wing and got most of my goals from there.

    “Playing for England in any position is a dream.

    “The manager picks the team and whoever plays will go out and do a job and hope to win. I have had a go in training, so we will see.

    “I think I am the top English scorer in the Premier League, my confidence is good and that was from playing on the wing. I will play anywhere for club and country and the goal-scoring side of things have got much better.”

    is it me or Theo seems to be full of confidence and belief lately, well done lad !

  36. malaysian gunner says:

    It is a probabilty.In such a case ,depending on the players ,whether it be be defence or attack,if the gunners can’t challeneg,then Wenger has to pay the price. When you see how Chelsea have axed eight managers and won eight trophies,it makes you wonder whether Wenger is indispensable.

  37. Highbury Harmony says:

    JB :), I love it and Theo is quickly becoming one of my favourite players. Just a matter of evolving and improving his game, while getting him to care about the finer aspects such as defensive responsibility etc.

  38. Bobby Sure says:

    I think we are all in acknowledgement of the harshness of arsenals youth policy and how difficult it is to make it. If wenger is even remotely unsure about a youngster he gets shipped out. He demands to be 100% convinced of each players ability, especially youngsters. He’s been on record about serge before but I’ve seen him wax lyrical about players like fran merida, nacer barazite and it remains to be seen whether or not serge will be another one in that vein. To be honest I think merida was more talented than serge but serge may have the mental edge and persistence. Serges fate could well coincide with that of wengers. Now is the season for serge to breakthrough if past wenger trends are to be followed. There is a small window for him to seize. Unfortunately wenger needs results. This is really his last chance, with his contract running down. And playing an 18/19 yr old winger might just not cut the mustard. In other words; if serge succeeds it may be at the expense of wenger, and if wenger succeeds serge may be on his way out.

  39. Highbury Harmony says:

    BobbyS, while I do agree with part of your point (AW needs 100% conviction in his youngsters to promote them and Serge having the mental AND skill quotients to succeed), I disagree with your over-arching point that it’s either AW or Gnabry.

    If Gnabry were 18 turning 19 this coming season, you may have more of an argument. However, Gnabry is 17 years old, turning 18 this July, which is basically the commencement of the new PL season. He will slowly be brought into the team next season, largely through the CO and FA cups, with the odd PL substitute appearance. If he really impresses, AW will keep him with the first team. However, even with Ox, he was a bit-part player when he was 18 and only started gaining fairly regular minutes in the second half of the season, before becoming a sub once again near the end of the 2011/12 campaign.

    Also, the trend becomes less trackable when you consider that AW only bought Gnabry at the beginning of the 2011/12 season. He has not been with the club for very long and was at the very ripe age of 16 before joining our academy (equating to time needed for adjustment to a new country, our system of play, new teammates etc.).

    In sum, even if AW walks away from the club at the end of his contract, Gnabry will at the very least get a long look from the new incoming manager. If AW stays and extends his contract, hopefully Gnabry will have proved himself enough through his performances in the CO and FA cups to warrant being in the first-team squad come 2014-15 (when he will be 19 years old).

  40. Highbury Harmony says:

    Whether you hate him or love him Glicster, he’s still top quality (better than what we have). Might not be super quality like Cavani or Falcao, but he’d certainly be a good addition if we can get him.

  41. David says:

    Well, in my humble opinion, we as a fan have to decide what we expect from our beloved Arsenal and stick to it. What I am trying to say is if we want Arsenal to play beautiful football, we have to stick to it and accept that the risk is we would not always be the winners. Just look at Barcelona. How long were they playing beautiful football before they actually won the La Liga or Champions League. If we want to win something, based on the last few matches where as mentioned we play more defensive, it will not be as beautiful as Wengerball. We have to decide. Let Wenger do his job. The club will always be there. It’s just whether we will be with them always.

  42. Gerry says:

    Morning all, I am up earlier, Derby Day and all, so I thought I would just add my a slimmed down version of what I have been thinking for this window, whilst you are still around.

    Agreed on points about gradual development of Gnabry. I don’t think AW wants to get another situation like JW? Hence he slowly, slowly approach with the Ox?

    The ‘age divide’ blog also come into this attack blog – well written TA, but I am doubtful that you convinced yourself writing it?

    Briefly on the DM thing. I am not sure AW is against that positional play, as much as he is paying £20-25m for one? The Cesc thing does cloud the issue too. Part of me says we should have himback, if we get 50% of our own fee back – if that really is the case? – because it would be a bargain. Or do we take 50% of somebody else’s fee, and boost our war chest for someone special(Cavani?), but then have Cesc possibly playing for our rivals? The thing is, how does the Cesc/Grenier square the DM beast signing. there only being so many you fit into the team? I would rather have the creative deep lying creative mf to be the DM, and have a proper AM behind the striker(s).

    Striker choice. For me that is what it comes down to. I would go out on a limb and get two more strikers; one your alternative to Giro, the other to play alongside. If they bridge the age gap, and help integrate the likes of Akpom, Gnabry, even Sanogo into the side, mainly by scoring goals and getting in comfortable winning positions, then we can say we are on our to a bright future. You could get away with the glic model, one sq one who can play alongside Giro or replace him, of course?
    Not to add to our current choices up front, particularly in this TW, would be an opportunity wasted. As for Gnabry leaving, given his age and availability for the Next Gen series, that is not what we have to worry about this coming season. How he sees his opportunities thereafter is another matter.

    HH – Much as I like the idea of using Walcott as a variation in the middle, but more within games than as a starting point? His main problem is close ball control, which he may improve upon, but he never going to be a Messi type, imo.

  43. izuchukwu Okosi says:

    Arsene Wenger should buy top stars, at least, emphasis please, at least FOUR experienced players if really he wants to break the title drought! With all the sponsorship and commercial successes, what excuse would he give? Wenger talked of cup-tied players and lack of top stars in January; how about now?

  44. Highbury Harmony says:


    Great addition re: your final comment about the caveat about Gnabry staying being contingent on how he views his first-team opportunities with the team (I forgot to mention that).

    In the case of Walcott, his ball control has greatly improved. However, it’s still a matter of his feet working too fast for his head. That’s a part of my criticism of Theo which is that he relies too heavily on his pace and tries to do everything at full speed, but he would be better served slowing it down a bit and working on his weaknesses (dribbling, ball control, strength etc.).

    He’s your typical player who tries to do everything at once and takes matters into his own hands, opposed to letting the game naturally come to him (Santi is a shining example of the latter). This hit or miss strategy by Theo is obviously then met with mixed results (trying to out dribble/run 3-4 opponents when the easy pass could have been made or never giving up and going past 3 defenders and scoring a wonder goal re: Newcastle this year or Chelsea last year). I’m hoping that as he continues to mature, he’ll settle down and learn to appreciate the finer aspects of the game (ones that generally only come from experience unless you are a young prodigy/world beater).

    Anyway, perhaps my hopes are too high for Theo, but I truly believe that if he can improve his strength, hold-up play, dribbling and general awareness, he could pot 20-25 goals a year and be in a similar class of player to Bale (I think his finishing is already better, but he lacks the strength and ball control Bale has).

  45. Highbury Harmony says:

    My upcoming article(s) will examine Theo, Ox and Gnabry vs. Bale in-depth and how each one compares and differs to one another and with Bale :).

  46. Bobby Sure says:

    Hi HH, I think its all or nothing for wenger this season. The likelihood of gnarby breaking through and wenger staying are far less likely than one or both of them not making it. I see your point about his age but its kind of rebuffed by the fact that wenger bloods players so young. Look at frimpoing, coq even lansbury. If your 19/20 the ships already sailed in my opinion. The best outcome for both would obviously be if wenger plays gnarby as much as he does ox and gnarby does his job well and arsenal win or challenge for the title this season.

    Failing that, either we do well without him or we do bad with him, neither are beneficial for his career. New manager coming in is unlikely to pick gnarby ahead of a clutch of internationally proven wingers and if wenger stays someones taken his spot. Nows not the time for gnarby unfortunately. The best he can hope for is wenger stays and delays blooding him untill next season. If this was 06/07 i’d say the kids got a chance to start or play a bit part but not right now wenger has to go for it. I wouldnt be terribly surprised if he doesnt make the grade. These guys look sensational at age grade but the leap is tremendous. I like the look of him but I also liked barazite, merida, nordtveidt, ebecilio etc. Maybe he is severely better than those guys but its extremely hard to tell. Lets hope he is.

  47. Highbury Harmony says:

    Hi Bobby S,

    I do agree that it is largely circumstantial, although I do believe Gnabry is a bit of an exemption in seeing that he’s only 17. The majority of the players you mentioned that have failed (Coq, Frimpong and Lansbury) were at the academy for relatively long periods of time.

    Gnabry is still relatively new blood in comparison to those three and already has experienced his first taste of first-team football and looked rather impressive in his cameo appearances vs. Norwich and Schalke. He has that something extra special that other young players do not and on top of that there’s a maturity and composure to his game that far exceeds other young players the same age (IMO of course).

    I understand that better talents have failed, but there’s just something about this kid that I feel strongly about that I haven’t felt since I saw Jack with the academy. He has that mental strength to persevere through anything and embodies the spirit that AW has been slowly constructing within the squad.

    Now of course, I could be entirely wrong but it is just my opinion. I believe that if Gnabry does ultimately leave us it will be because he, personally, desires more first-team opportunities (not because AW does not believe in him like other youngsters that have been sold or released or because he isn’t better than some of the more established players blocking his transition). I guess only time will tell.

  48. Bobby Sure says:

    Mate, I’ve felt this way before with merida most notably. Thought he looked the part and just a touch more special than any other player we’d had in a while. Compounded by the fact that atletico madrid wanted him and were hailing his signing at such a young age. The only upside being; wenger knows best. Hes now playing in the Brazilian second division. Other than nordtveidt and possibly vela I dont think wenger has made a mistake yet and those two arent giuseppe rossi, paul pogba or pique just yet.

    I’m reserving judgement. Past experiences tell me its more unlikely than it is likely. OX, theo, podolski, gervinho all with at least 4 or 5 more years in them. Someones gotta go. Is gnarby better than them at 17/18 ? who knows, but my gut feeling is no. Not to mention santi playing sensationally as a LW, the task is monumental for gnarby. I think santi and walcott start on the wings and play the majority of next season backed up by poldi and ox and gerv. This is all predicated on my belief of the wenger tolerance and tiny time frame for a youngster to appear on the scene. He either likes you or he doesnt and it doesnt take him long to figure out. Past graduates have started playing regularly very young, ches, song, fab. Im sticking my neck out and saying its this season or never for serge. The competition is too deep. If he doesnt make it probably means someone else is playing well.

  49. Gerry says:

    Bobby Sure – if I might add to this. Earlier prospects have not had the luxury of exposing their talents at a higher level, but within their own age group, like the current ones in the Next Gen series. Not only Gnabry, but Yennaris, Akpom, and Bellerin have all shown they are really good. All bar Yennaris will still be eligible for it next season too, so they get plenty of games to play and improve.
    It will be interesting time for Yennaris though. He will get some opportunities as the season unfolds, from the bench and in early rounds of the Cup games. Useful to have as DM or RB cover from the bench too?

    As for the rest, I think it depends on how well the squad improves after the TW closes. If we can get into a winning habit of scoring early goals it opens the door for youngster’s to get some game time without having to worry about dropping points. That is what I am looking for this coming season. We have proved we are better than 18 teams over the long term, and those are the teams we should be beating every time. Leave the strongest possible 11 to do the business against the top 3.

    Exciting times ahead!

  50. TotalArsenal says:

    Morning all 🙂

    Fine overnight comments: very interesting reading.

    Gerry 🙂

    I have convinced myself that if we keep the core players and buy nobody we will make further progress. I am happy with the defence and with our attack, but if we want to play Wengerball footie again we need a top quality DM and nr.10. Let’s see whether we get them this summer. Either way I am totally cool about it.

    Next season could be like this

    ——-same GK/Defence——–
    ————Jovetic or Cesc——–

    Let’s sort it out next week and we can all have a nice hoilday! 🙂

  51. Bobby Sure says:

    Gerry i’m hoping you and HH are right on this one but i’m more than sceptical. When you look at it, the players their playing against are going to struggle to be full time professionals yet alone play premier league or top division european football. Plus add to that the relatively young age of our squad with most first teamers having at least a good four more years of prime football and the challenge grows bigger. Add to that one or two signings every season and you can see why scepticism is rational. We’d be lucky if one of them makes it through to the first team permanently. Gnarby looks the most likely but again is he any better than OX, theo, gerv etc. etc. Or will he ever be ? He’s certainly obviously not at the minute.

    For once wenger doesnt have a monopoly on time. Contract expiring and the discontent growing. Actually come to think of it the stage is set for wenger to defy all logic and launch gnarby into stardom. Heres to hoping.

  52. jnyc says:

    Im really enjoying these “what if” articles TA. I want Theo to be happy, but i think its a bonus to have a guy on the wing who scores alot, still think we need an upgrade at striker brought in. I like giroud as a second choice. Not strong enough for a team that wants to fight for titles.

  53. Highbury Harmony says:

    Bobby S, you have every right to be skeptical; we are talking about a youngster after all!

    In the scenario you listed of players being forced to play earlier, I believe it was out of necessity because of our precarious financial situation and not desire. When Cesc first arrived on the scene, you could tell he had talent, but needed a ton of work and it was AW’s faith and confidence in him that made him the player he became.

    What Gnabry does have on his side is age and already being exposed to the first team. Add in the fact that AW has learned from past mistakes (Jack, Cesc etc.) and will bring him along slowly.

    Of course, none of us can accurately project Gnabry’s career trajectory, but I do believe Ox will be playing in the center of the park sooner rather than later and depending on who we buy this summer, Poldi could even be playing ST instead. Gervinho will likely be sold at some point too, paving the way for Gnabry or another youngster hopefully.

  54. Highbury Harmony says:


    Hmm, Grenier has already made up his mind on who he’ll be joining this summer. Very interesting indeed given AW’s confirmed interest in the player.

  55. Highbury Harmony says:


    Perry Groves has urged Arsene Wenger to beat out rivals for Victor Wanyama 😀

  56. JM says:

    @TotalArsenal June 1, 2013 10:38

    ” if we want to play Wengerball footie again we need a top quality DM and nr.10. Let’s see whether we get them this summer. Either way I am totally cool about it. ”

    Next season could be like this

    ——-same GK/Defence——–
    ————Jovetic or Cesc——–

    *Switch Wanyama to Luis Gustavo, the experienced Brazilian international (Bundesliga and CL winner as well). With Pep managing BM next season, Javi Martinez would start mostly alongside Schweinsteiger in their engine room (They have Germany U-21 international Emre Can as a backup, and they are courting Sebastian Rode as a potential signing). Next season leading to WC2014, every international player will like to play more games for their clubs to enhance their chances to get into their respective national squad in the summer tournament. (esp. hugely competitive teams like Brazil, where even their first 11 places are up for grabs)

  57. JM says:

    @ Highbury Harmony June 1, 2013 14:35

    Ramsey would welcome arrival of Victor Wanyama.

  58. Highbury Harmony says:

    JM, either Gustavo or Wanyama will do just fine for me. Both have experienced success against the top clubs on the biggest stage (CL) and have made sides alter their game play just to avoid them in the center of the pitch.

    Gustavo may make more sense only because he’s the more established, finished article that could step in right away.

  59. JM says:

    The summer, at the most, we will be looking at the progress of both R.Miyaichi and J.Campbell and see if either one/both shall be moving a step up and getting their regular places in our 1st team or their future lies elsewhere.

    There is also a case for the incoming Yaya Sanogo (perhaps seen as a backup plan to J.Campbell if the Costa Rican fails to receive his UK work permit and remains on loan @Betis).

    Miquel and Yennaris should also be in the loop of things to see if they could make their steps and integrate into our 1st team as able deputies in defence and midfield.

    All 5 players mentioned above are at 20 years of age.

  60. Highbury Harmony says:

    Enjoy 😀

  61. Rohan says:

    @JM Joel Campbell looks like the real deal to me. I watched a couple of his games at Betis and his dribbling skills are very impressive, His inability to finish really is a problem though – I saw him miss a few sitters in the matches I watched. That said, i’m interested in what wenger can do with him, especially after watching the astronomic rise in Walcott’s finishing ability.

  62. James Bond says:

    that’s interesting re- Ramsey welcoming Wanyama,

    usually when a player from a team talks about a player from the other team in admiration and says “all the right” things then that usually means the player in admiration is already snapped up by the club…

    the last example of this was when Rio ferdinand admired Zaha…

    right, so that’s the DM signing most gunners be happy with i assume or do we have a divided opinion on this ?

  63. James Bond says:


    you just made Joel.C sound like a carbon copy of Gervinho 😀

  64. Highbury Harmony says:

    Or Giroud…

  65. Highbury Harmony says:

    Oh wait, he said JC was the real deal and had impressive dribbling skills. Nevermind then hahaha!

  66. Rohan says:

    Bear in mind the kid is only 20. He was also voted one of the top youth prospects in spain.

  67. Glic says:

    Afternoon Arsebanditos 😆

    I`m still peed off we didn`t activate Billy`s release clause !. 👿

  68. James Bond says:


    if true then that’s one of my transfer targets already in the bag with cesc being the next one 😀

    it would make a lot of sense for Villa to join us instead of spuds or liverpool as well, considering we can offer him champs league .

    i can see him scoring 15-25 goals depending on his fitness.

  69. James Bond says:


    re- your question on Monaco and FFP in the last article, i can only agree with you…FFP is nothing but a mere joke ….i guess there goes Gazidis sweetener, he’ll have to find something else to sell to us fans i reckon.

    so far the only club to have seen to be suffering are the spanish clubs, malaga most notably but that was all to do with their mega rich owner refusing to give more money.

  70. Glic says:

    I sincerely hope it works 007, with the head of UEFA pushing for these rules to ( rightly so imo ) stamp out the likes of Chavs and City running amok, we now have two French clubs taking the piss, as the head honcho, I think he needs to explain to everyone how AS Monaco can pay such money out ( yes , I know it`s the rich Russian ) with such low revenue coming in !.
    It only makes me want Uzmanov as owner, ready to pounce if FFP goes tits up !.

  71. Highbury Harmony says:

    That’s good news JB, Villa would be a welcome addition and we all know he could effciently lead our line even at 31 years old. The prospect of Santi feeding Villa is absolutely mouth watering!

  72. Highbury Harmony says:


  73. James Bond says:

    agreed, Glics

    here’s one for all of you , some of you may find it rather funny i reckon

    hitler’s take on spuds .

  74. max says:

    ‘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.’

    I’m an athiest who believes that religion is childish codswallop consumed by gulliblle individuals so desperate for a crotch to take them through life that they are unable and unwilling to question the tenets of their beliefs. Are you a Christian?

  75. Glic says:

    Non Believer !!!…….may Dennis strike you down !. hahaha

  76. Highbury Harmony says:

    Glic, how would you feel about Villa?

  77. Glic says:

    That’s very kind of you HH, it must have a swimming pool though and I would prefer one in Spain as to Mexico !.

  78. Highbury Harmony says:

    Hahaha Glic, coincidentally this Villa is in Spain, has a ton of experience and is world-class!

  79. Glic says:

    Hahaha HH…this is the 1st TW for a few years when we are not selling our best players, so that’s a good start !, but imo, with the rumoured £70M to spend ( I personally think it`s could be 50% than that ! ), I would love us for once to make a statement of intent !. Billy Goats has gone, Neymar looks gone, Falcao has gone, Cavani will go and we`re rumoured to be after Villa….31 years old and on the decline !. Jovetic not a statement either !.
    I just have a feeling some of us are going to be disappointed !. There are some SQ players out there and they all cant join one , two or three clubs, we are The Arsenal !, bigger than Chavs, City, PSG, Monaco and any of the other rich boys toys clubs !.
    FFP !, if that is working, then City and Chavs must have about £3.60p left to spend !.
    I haven`t seen one player linked to Arsenal who has given me a semi, let alone a f**king BOING factor !. hahaha

  80. Highbury Harmony says:

    Glic, were you honestly expecting us to compete with the likes of $hitty, Chel$ea, Real, Bayern, Barca, P$G and Monaco in the transfer market though? Despite an increase in transfer funds (whatever it may be), AW is still a man of principle and sustainability.

    We do not have the players in place to full support a SQ player imo. Also, from all the comments I’ve read from AW about Santi and our team this year, he’s been stressing about the spirit that these players have and how they come to the training ground with a smile each day and are ready to work hard without complaining. With the majority of SQ players, they often feel entitled to special treatment and can disrupt the balance/chemistry within our squad. From that perspective, I fully understand why AW would further not want to overspend to bring in a world-class player.

    Villa would easily be able to knock in 15 goals for us, but likely would be in the 17-22 goal range if he started 80% of our games. He’s a prolific finisher and at 31, still not at a decline just yet (I’d give him another 2 more years).

  81. Highbury Harmony says:

    Also, why would players like Cavani, Falcao, Isco, Gotze etc. choose Arsenal over clubs like $hitty, Chel$ea, Real, Barca etc. that can guarantee them higher wages and a higher percentage chance at silverware (higher table finish, do not need to enter a playoff to qualify for CL and have the funds and willingness to even better their current squad in the TW)?

  82. Glic says:

    Your right HH, he is a quality player, but at that age, I hope it`s for no more than £10M !.
    As for the players coming to work with a smile on their face, if some bastard came to my work place with his chin on the floor after picking up his £50k per week wage packet, I would…..well I`ll leave that to you to think of some despicable way of torturing the Khunt !. hahaha

  83. Highbury Harmony says:

    Glic, I don’t want to imagine what you would have done to Shava hahaha!

  84. Glic says:

    HH…..But why are these clubs…and I will only talk about City and Chavs as they are in our league……..able to pay more than us, when our revenue is higher !….if FFP is supposed to be working , why are they not left with about £3.60p for transfers ?. When is it going to kick in ? and when are UEFA going to kick their butts ?.

  85. Glic says:

    I want/demand f**king answers ! hahaha

  86. Glic says:

    Where are the bloody BK accountants when you want them for the FFP answers ?. Probably ripping off some poor old grannie and extracting her last gold tooth whilst rodgering her from behind with an abacus !. hahaha

  87. Glic says:

    Thanks for the vid 007, I have seen so many variations of it mocking the spuds and it still manages to give me a good laugh !. What is it….18 years and counting !….no wonder when you watch the BBC London weather forecast, there is always a deep depression over N17 !.

  88. Highbury Harmony says:

    Glic, it’s not our capacity to spend that is holding us back from competing in the open market, but our willingness to spend. AW earned his degree in economics and I’m assuming that he largely evaluates all moves based on how they’ll affect the long-term vision/sustainability of our club.

    Every move he makes today undoubtedly has a ripple effect in affecting our squad in one way or another later on. For example, if he spends big on a player in transfer fee and wages, what do current players then start to demand when their contracts are in line for renewal? How does the new player make the rest of the squad feel if their salary is exorbitant compared to the rest? Or what happens if we do not achieve our desired results of silverware? Will the player then request for a move away from our club? What effect will that have on the mentality/stability of our squad?

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