Could Arsenal be in a better position right now to end trophy-drought?

A new era for the mighty red and white?

A new era for the mighty red and white?

Towards the end of last season, I wrote about the five things that Arsenal would need to look at if the club wanted to be serious in its pursuit of silverware.  A solid start to the new season (including a win against the “strongest ever” Spurs – which for some reason made me so very very very happy!!) and one harrowing, frustrating and ultimately exciting transfer window later, it’s a good time to go back to those five points and reassess where the club stands:

1 – Sort out the squad by the middle of July, have a consistent first team and timely rotations

When the transfer window started, the club had three objectives: a) get rid of the deadwood, b) keep our good players at the club, and c) bring in new players who would add value to the squad, ideally a superstar or two. Ivan Gazidis went out and put the cat amongst the pigeons by saying Arsene had a huge kitty to spend from, that we’d get in our players nice and early and that we could afford the likes of Rooney etc. Cue, huge expectations.

Did we achieve those objectives? A categorical yes to a) and b). We did very well with the deadwood, and we retained all of our core players. As far as bringing in new players was concerned, I felt the club struggled. Key areas to be strengthened were ST, GK, DM and defense.

Sanogo came in early, and was a victim of being a free signing. I rate him, but he is at best a third option striker, so the ST position still needed to be strengthened. Links with Higuain and Rooney arose, and Higuain was all but signed. Then came Suarez, and from what I understand, we were led up the garden path by his agent regarding the 40 mn + 1 offer. The only good thing that came out of that was a statement that we were willing to spend huge money.

Flamini came in next, again on a free, after being linked with Gotze, Fabregas, Cabaye, Fellaini, Gundogan, Illarmendi etc. At the time, I felt that Flamini was a brilliant and shrewd signing, but underwhelming when you compare him to the likes that we were being linked too. A word on Flamini before we move on: he should never have left. He was brought in to replace Viera and for a while did a great job. Seeing him back against Spurs really made me happy, because he’s one of those players who can take the bit between his teeth and push everyone around him to be better. He’s a shouter, an organizer, a tackler… and Gosh, how we have missed someone like that.

Then came the deadline day and we ended up with Oh My God… Ozil! And in that one signing Arsene showcased that he is still well respected around the world and an attractive option to superstar players. Remember, Ozil did not want to leave Madrid or come to Arsenal, he had an offer from PSG and unconvincing interest from Man U, but he signed for us after Arsene convinced him that we mean business. You can’t ask for more than that. And in doing so, Ozil became the 3rd most expensive British signing and the most expensive German ever signed. 42.5 mn… wow! Arsenal paid that!

So was the first point achieved? Yes in the sense that the team remained stable, no players important to us were sold and our first team is gelled and ready (unlike others who have spent 100 mn +) and that was on show in the last 4 games that we have played and particularly against Spurs. Spurs on the other hand looked disjointed at times and will take a while to gel.

However we did go off-track in the sense that despite ending up with Ozil, we could have planned the window a bit better, and gotten good players in early. I still find it head-scratching that we couldn’t get a striker. I’m not going to pretend to understand how a lot of things work in the transfer window between clubs, but surely in two months you can sign one striker.

Ozil should have been a bonus (he still is), the cherry on top of 4/5 players that we needed to strengthen. Having said that, we did strengthen, and the only place I feel we are light now is the ST position.

I would point out that this was the first window where Wenger, Gazidis and co. could spend big money, and talk to big players (hopefully we should have a similar kitty in upcoming windows), so to an extent it may have been a learning process for all involved. I feel Higuain and Suarez could have been handled a lot better.

Having said all of that at least we didn’t end up paying 5 mn extra for a player who could have been signed a few weeks before via the get-out clause in his contract! Guess who I’m talking about!

2 – A strong vocal performing captain

In my article I had put forward Arteta as one possible option. Arteta has been our spiritual leader in many ways, and a player that the team can look up to. Unfortunately, along with TV, Arteta too is out for now and the mantle of the captaincy has fallen upon the BFG! And I’ll tell you what, he has done a bang up job so far in terms of organizing and leading the team. However, I do not feel he can be a long term solution.

It is clear that Arsene plans on keeping TV as the club captain, so it becomes vital for a) TV to recapture his old form and force his way back into the side, and b) for all of our other leaders to make their collective mark and push the team forward. I’m referring to Per, Arteta and Flamini.

3 – Capture the fans imagination, change the press narrative

Oh how well we have achieved this is: absolutely utterly phenomenal! Not since Bergkamp has such a superstar been signed. Arguably the greatest playmaker in the world, Mesut Ozil! Dear oh dear… I still get goose bumps! However, we need to keep in mind that we were very close to ending the window with a narrative that would have been worse than where we started from. I do believe that Arsene had his eye out on a big signing, and delivered accordingly.

The narrative is now exciting, the fans are now excited! We are a team that is intent on making a statement, we are a team that is together and gelled, we are a team that has just trebled its record transfer in one go, signing the best in the world; and we are a team led by a man who may be flawed, who may be misunderstood, but one who is still well respected and who still, in my opinion, is something of a genius!

Could we possibly be in a better position right now to mount a challenge on ending the barren trophy run?


4 – Be strong against the top six, and clinical against lower half opposition

We have started off OK. A loss to Villa was a perfect example of everything going wrong, but since then we have been solid and we have been strong. That is very heartening. Add to that the incomparable form of Ramsey, Kos, Per, Scez, Ollie and Santi, and we are looking good. The win against Spurs was all about positive work going forward and being solid at the back, and as a supporter you can’t ask for more. I recall thinking during the last five minutes that I can’t really fault them even if Spurs get an equalizer, even though we deserved to win. But we pulled through… in many a season ago that win might have been a draw or even a late loss, but our team ran themselves to the ground and won the game. It may be a big statement, but its matches like these rather than 5-0 thrashings that define a championship/cup winning team and breeds the winner mentality.

5 – Do the basics right and have clear objectives

So what do we expect from this team and this squad? As much as I would love to believe that with Ozil we can challenge for the title, I feel that may be a step too far. For me in the premiership we should finish second (although we are dark horses for sure). I firmly believe that with the squad Arsenal have, we should win both the League Cup and the FA Cup, if not one of them. The Champions League we can only take one step at a time, and for now the biggest challenge is to get through the group.

Bottom line though, if someone tells me right now that we win one cup at the end of this season, I will gladly take it! If nothing, that would make the narrative more positive and enhance the winning mentality with which we can look to win the league next season, with the possible addition of a couple of more quality players.

I would love to hear what you guys think!

Written by: Umair Naeem

This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

78 Responses to Could Arsenal be in a better position right now to end trophy-drought?

  1. TotalArsenal says:

    ‘Mair, super post and really good of you to revisit your former one in order to measure how much progress we have made. 🙂

    There is little in your post to argue about with you. There have been real positives and negatives this summer, but the former outweigh the latter. Spot on though, that had Arsenal not signed Ozil we would be talking very differently now.

    Agreed on not buying a striker: this could come to haunt us in the next few months. Disagree on the captaincy though: in Per Arsenal finally have the best available captain imo.

  2. Epicurean says:

    Totally agree about Flamini, I think he could be another player who will lift those around him. Have been so impressed with BFG, I think he has qualities that are very ard to quantify. When I see pictures of him talking with Wenger, he just seems to get it. Also the thought of Ozil and Santi in the same midfield is enough to make anyone drool and the the swift right hook that is Theo just add the icing 🙂 Really looking forward to this season and with the statement made this window, it can only be easier to attract a top striker in Jan. Saying that, totally love Giroud he looks to have a touch of the magic about him as well as those fearsome good looks. COYG!!!

  3. TotalArsenal says:

    Very well put Epicurean and I would like to add the incredible depth and energy the likes of Jack, Rambo and Arteta will add to this team and the Pod and Ox will be like new signings when they come back.

    We are vulnerable to an OG injury but maybe Wenger reckons he has somebody who can step in….

  4. Epicurean says:

    Yeah totally, each time you switch a player the replacement is exciting – Sagna to Jenko and Rosicky as well as all those you mention. Hopefully with the amount of options in the middle there won’t be the same pressure on any individual and this will help the likes of Jack, Diaby and Arteta to heal properly.

  5. TotalArsenal says:

    Very good point re cover in midfield relieving pressure on some guys. A good functioning midfield will also help to keep the ball away from our defence and support our attack tremendously.

  6. Rob Lucci says:

    Cracking post Umair.

    One striker, I believe we all agree the type of striker that we want have a different quality than Giroud, which is a pacy and can drible, and cold blooded killer in front of goal. Higuain is too similar too Giroud IMO.

    Apart from VanJudas, Suarez created more chances than any striker in the league last season. Add that with 20+ goals, you see why its a no brainer.

    I think maybe its very hard for Wenger to find the top quality striker that he want in the transfer window, so he find a goal maker instead.

    And I found something interesting during the interlull few days ago. I watch the highlight of Costa Rica vs USA and Joel Campbell looks very good and he scored a cracking goal too. Now he have the work permit I wonder why Arsene let him go on loan. My opinion is that he rated Sanogo very highly and who knows, with Ozil, Cazorla and Rosicky, anybody can score.

    Remember 07/08 Adebayor?

  7. TotalArsenal says:

    Hi Rob 🙂

    Many will agree with your point re a more mobile striker who can dribble etc. I reckon, Arsene was looking for a nr.10 sort of player and with Ozil he has found him. Rooney and the Muncher were also meant to be recruited for the ‘hole’ position, and NOT ST imo.

    In Arsene’s system he wants somebody who can hold up the ball and let the midfielders and fellow attackers join the attack. He needs a striker who can function as the central hub in attack. Giroud is doing this better now and more progress can be expected – and progress is not only measured in goals and assists.

    In my view, very few strikers can play the OG role really well. I would love Lewandowski to join us, as he is probably best at it. Ibrahimovic is very good at this too. Michu could be good too, although clearly of a lesser calibre than the other two. Benteke would have been very good too. But whoever joins us will have a task to dislodge OG, the way he is playing at the moment.

  8. ronniewu says:

    Very well thought out article. Wenger unfortunately seems to be on another planet though. Mesut Ozil is a great signing but the fact that, after a whole summer window, we never signed a quality striker to supplement Giroud is almost beyond belief. We are one injury away from another season of having to come from behind. Why doesn’t he ever buy all the players we need and come from the front?

  9. Dylan says:

    I totally agree. Great post Umair! 🙂 I think that Arsenal could and will win at least one of the FA Cup or Capital One Cup, if not both.

  10. Milo says:

    I think we are title contenders, full stop!!! 😀 The spirit this squad possesses is impossible to quantify, and I think this will see us rise above the likes of Chelsea, and in particular Manchester City 😀

  11. Rob Lucci says:


    I think that’s why we only want a loan signing for Ba, maybe just to make up the numbers. In the end, Arsene didnt push that transfer through, and maybe that’s why I think he rated Sanogo very highly.

    I know many of the fans dont have the patience anymore, but I’m more than happy to see Sanogo get more chance and hence speed up his improvement faster.

  12. Glic says:

    Cracking post Umair . 🙂

    ” Could we possibly be in a better position right now to mount a challenge on ending the barren trophy run ? ”
    As from my predictions, I don’t expect much this year not even CL qualification, because although Ozil is a Super Quality signing we needed more !. We did not address problems elsewhere and from Wengers own mouth we were looking for players in the striking and defensive department and he only started looking for midfield players once we lost OX and Arteta for a long period !. Had Arteta and Ox not been injured it is imo that we may well have not looked at Ozil !.
    Having his hand forced has given Wenger a years grace imo and given us hope that he will now spend big on SQ. He still has £40m in his pocket for January and by Gazidis`s statement of having £70m every year, then the advantage is definitely in Wenger`s court if he wishes to use it !.
    I think laying out the Ozil money is “the Gareth Bale off his back ! ” and if he brings in more SQ in January or next summer then we will start to be the…. Old Arsenal….of competing for trophy`s again and I stress for my self that it`s not the trophy`s, ( although I would love one or more ) but competing, knowing that we have a chance whereas in the last few years ( and if we are all honest ) we have not competed !.
    Anyway, to answer the title question….yes we could have been in a lot better position to end our trophy drought and the buck stops with Arsene for not being more active, but if Ozil`s signing is the sign of more to come then our ” Old Arsenal ” will be back soon !.

    Ozil the first of many or one in Ozillion !.

    I like the…..” It`s more than a football game ! “….exactly my thoughts !.

  13. Glic says:

    First Interview !.

  14. jgc says:


    Great post! I’m with TA that he really wanted a great no 10, which was our real hole IMO. I.e. we didn’t create enoug chances last year compared to others. I also think the last year of RvJ he was magic and that hid this deficiency a great deal. Last year for ManU he was very good but more ordinary given the better service .. Or perhaps he simply wasn’t required to be magic.

    Regardless, I think AW got all he wanted barring some defender help and a support ST. I think I agree that the cups are winnable, and would thus say, realistically, unlike my post to the prior post that this year may be a failure if

    A. We are not in semi finals of a cup.. Preferably both cups

    B. we aren’t within 7 pts of EPL winner. Ie coud be us or we could be 5th but I think it will be that close

    Thus, bArring even more injury and other disasters we have a realistic shot at a cup and a title. REALISTIC, not probable or most likely, but realistic. Last year wasn’t a realistic shot unless you are one of those “if you are entered you have the same chance as everyone else to win” .. Wigan of course is the counter to my sarcasm of the prior sentence. 🙂

    Cheers — jgc

  15. 'mair says:

    @TA, thanks! On Per I feel he’s done phenomenally well so far as a leader, but I’m on the fence with respect to whether he should be first choice to be club captain. For now I guess we stick with TV.
    @Epicurean makes a fantastic point on Per about his qualities being un-quantifiable!
    @RobLucci I agree on Higuain. I’ve wanted Ollie to do well simply because he’s a trier and has got a good head on his shoulder… and he has talent. Higuain might have ruined his development. Purely on talent, I wanted Suarez over Higuain, and in the end I would even have taken Ba as a good under steady to Ollie. @TA also touched upon the fact that Ollie’s contribution to the team are so much more than just assists and goals, in the Spurs game he was everywhere! Can’t ask for more from a striker.
    Also I’ll echo what @TA said about Arsene wanting a creator rather than an all out finisher, hence the search for Suarez rather than Higuain. I think Arsene too believes big things from Ollie.
    @Milo and @Dylan, let’s hope we win, win and win!!

    @Glic thanks and a very valid point. I agree… I think Ozil was a bit of the monkey off his back signing. What we’ve got however is a phenomenal player in the midfield and a taste to Arsene of quality that can be bought with money. I certainly hope he’ll continue this in the next transfer window as well. We have the money now, so we can compete with the big boys. As for competing, yes, but a trophy will remove another monkey from our collective backs! let’s hope we compete and let’s hope we can win something!

    @jgc thanks! I think the best bit is the optimism that we all feel now! That’s priceless!

  16. Gerry says:

    U’mair – You have not lost your eloquent touch for Top Blogging, that is for sure. A pleasure to read, and as TA said earlier, little to add.

    I do not think we have much to fear in the absence of Giroud through injury. I think Sanogo will improve when he gets game time alongside Giroud, and it will be interesting how well he clicks with Akpom and Gnabry in the under 21’s too. In some games that trio could surprise with Ozil and Santi providing the ammunition?

    I am more confident domestically than I am about us in the CL. Each of those ties it will be must win matches? However, both Cups at home we just need the right balance and focus between the surrounding league matches. From Christmas onwards until March, when we do have a tough schedule, we have the return legs of the games we have now. That should make it easier for first 3 rounds of the FA Cup. Then we may get a fixture pile up during that tricky period in March April. For that reason, I think we will just fall short in the Championship race.

    People keep on saying what we might do in the next TW, but January is notoriously difficult to see top quality players moving in January, especially when their current clubs might still be involved in their own trophy hunt. Then you have the ‘bedding in’ period. Far better to assume that what we have now is what we will have in February also. Then anything else is a bonus (or panic buy, if we are beset with injuries?).

    Whether we are in the hunt for the No1 spot may come be down to how well we do in November, when we start playing our better rivals? Picking up points off them, or at the very least holding own with these top clubs, AND not losing to those below them has to be the aim. But when in sight of a Cup semi-final, with our recent history, I think the emphasis will change?

    Keep making progress, rather than one step forwards, two steps back, has to be the bottom line. But in a year when the league looks very open because many teams ‘on their day’ can beat any other, means, I think we will finish up higher than we should? by that I mean given the depth of our squad, and a demanding schedule. That does not mean will will not earn or deserve what we do get out of the season.

  17. Gerry says:

    JM – Can I just say I am humbled at the time you took to reply to my comments yesterday. i fear though, in doing so you have just used up what would have been another super blog Completing a really good trilogy, to boot. In fact I would urge you to get together with TA, if there is a blank day during this ‘interlull’. to edit out my comment and post it as such? I am sure many might have missed it, as I did when it got inserted in its original time slot.
    Hence the delay in my response.

    That said, I take on board everything you wrote. This whole backworld that goes on while most of us are simply arguing over the surface issues was truly enlightening, and I thank you again for going into such depth with it.

    Mind, I am still in dept to you for the One OK Rock link. Their tour date is still at the back of my mind. I just hope there is some TV coverage when it happens.

    Top man,
    Cheers, Gerry


    Thanks for the post Umair.

    I dont know about cups, but Arsenal is built around consistency so the League is the aim.

    Walking out of the ground after the Villa game if you tried to talk to someone about winning the league you would either be laughed at or punched in the face

    At the end of the 1988 season we finished sitxh, 24 points behind the leaders and had not won the league for 18 years. No body, and i mean no body, gave us a chance the following year but somehow, mainly from improvement in our young core we pulled it off and won the title.

    Simalarly, 3 months into the 1997/98 season we were 13 points behind Man Utd, looked like a soft touch, and had not won the league since 1991. A bit of tinkering however and we pulled of one of the most surprising comebacks in the history of English football.

    It would be a surprise if we pulled it of this year, but we have history of surprising dont we?

    Assesing our chances means taking into account the impact our young players can have this year, the Ozil factor, and probably most importantly the vision of how we want to play according to the Arsene Wenger blue print.

    I believe in our vison and know that History is on our side, so for these reasons believe we can do it this season.

    Taking a longer term view, if everything goes to plan we will not only be winning it, we will have a side that will also retain it, something we have not acheived for near on 80 years.

    “The Ghosts of the Thirties are Stirring”

  19. jnyc says:

    Umair, Excellent post. Some interesting comments from the group also.
    made me think, Arsene preferred a scorer who can create like Suarez rather than just a finisher like Higuain.
    But now that we were fortunate to land Ozil because of Ancelottis mishandling of him, i think Arsene would love to have either type of cf, just imagine what a deadly vP, Ronaldo type shooter could achieve with Ozil in our system and line up.
    i also think, that when Ozil and his dad talk about making Mesut even better, they may be referring to Arsenes desire to see Ozil score more than he could with the egos of Madrids front line.
    i would bet that was part of the “conversation” that excited Ozil to join also. Remember Cesc becoming a much better scorer.
    so i dont obsess about our striker position. We had four double digit scorers last year, no one else did. Thats a testament to team play, and Ozil will fit perfectly. Maybe five this season.
    my last prediction. NOBODY will benefit more than Theo. Once he starts to understand Mesuts game, he will get to be on the end of so many beautiful assists and maybe become the second best scoring right wing in the world behind Ronaldo, he is already a good poacher of goals. And i know Ronaldo will have a noticeable amount LESS without Ozil, and with Bale not helping team play at all.

  20. James Bond says:

    come to think of it, we already have all the ingredients for Ozil to be king of London and don’t necessarily need a ST/SS at the moment (even though it would have been ideal but i won’t dwell on that for now) – why ?

    imagine this ,

    Ozil feeding through balls to Theo/Ox/Gnabry cutting in from the right, i know both Theo and Gnabry love doing that, Ox can also up his goal scoring record

    and then from the left when we have a fully fit Poldi, he can benefit a lot, although the left side for me is a bit short even if we have Ryo – hence for that reason, D or S in January would be perfect, i know we have Santi, but he is one who prefers the ball at his feet instead making runs –

    i’m sure AW has already got his plans on how best to get out of Ozil, the wingers will get the most out of Ozil in my opinion.

    Terry says it best.

    on top of that, if you compare our start this season to last season then erm, we are already on fire ahahahahahahahha only 3 points from the leaders (liverFOOL) , i’ll take that

    the key for me is injuries, we could have bought like 6 more players, but all is futile if , we’re unlucky with injuries

    we can not afford to lose any more players on tuesday – hopefully some of our main players will get a breather with the likes of Fabianski/Arteta/TV/Nacho/Gnabry/Yaya/Ryo playing against West brom in 2 weeks time – sorted.

    interesting things (sour grapes) coming out of Spain today, so Ozil is an addict – a sex addict ? erm, why is that considered to be a bad thing i ask ? have you even look at the women he’s been doing – in the eternal words of my best mate “Just shut it you mugs @ Real Madrid

  21. Funminiyi says:

    Umair, what a terrific read that was! Keep it coming, BK has missed you more than we can ever admit.
    Your right with most of those points you raised but I’ve gotta tell you this; in as much as we didn’t strengthen our ST position like most of us would wanted, I still think we a reliable fallback option in NB52 ( if he can be as half as dedicated as I used to know him for) and though I don’t expect to see much of him this season but in cup games, we can integrate Sanogo and get Akpom’s sharpness up to the required level if not more. Besides, Lu-Lu is not out for the entirety of the season and in due time, he’ll be back with us doing what he knows how to do best.
    Big games don’t win the league as SAF has demonstrated sometimes in the past it is rather how seriously you handle your games against the lower opposition that defines how higher up the log you can climb. Our home and away fixtures against the likes of Everton,Stokes, Soton, Newcastle, Fulham,Sunderland, Norwich , Swansea, Westbrom, Westham and other teams in the lower echelons is what’s gonna help us. If your counting, that’s 60points home&away plus 18against the newly promoted teams plus a draw away at spuds( 1 ), away win at villa, (3), home wins against Mancs,(6), Chavs(3), and (4) against Liverpool ? What’s the tally? That’s solid 95points, even Gourdiola can’t beat that in the BPL.
    But taking a cue from your suggestion, I’d rather we win one of FA cup or Capital One coupled with 3/4th than finishing 2nd to whomever finishes 1st and not having any trophy to hoist up in air at the end of the season.
    We can now build on that the following season and there’s only one result you expect from such patience, faith and investment = Trophy laden years to follow.
    Glad to be back hommies. How’s your weekends?

  22. Funminiyi says:

    On the captain “ish”, we probably have guys in our squad who other teams can only dream about. But as I’ve learnt recently, Verminator and Teta are only weeks away from training again and in Per, Flame, Rosīçky and Sagna we have able heads and willing shoulders to carry this team as far as the way leads till Verminator regains his spot on the team or till Teta is fit again.
    I don’t wanna agree that the arrival of Ozil has suddenly turn us to challengers for the league shield, not so fast guys, we still don’t have that quality in depth yet who knows maybe by the next transfer window we can add some more quality players who will help us over the finish line but as of now, we aint close and neither are we far from it. Next weekend can’t come too soon for me as I’m bored already.

  23. James Bond says:

    great video that first one @ Glics

    anyone notice how happy Arteta was at the end with AW, while both of them were walking back in to the dressing room ?

    now that is something – 110 spent cannot buy you.

  24. Glic says:

    Fcuking Hell 007, If you`re gunner talk about the women he`s been banging at least show us some photo`s !.

  25. James Bond says:

    *110 million

    here you go, GLICS

    there are some more photos but i can’t be seen to be looking at them right now, if you know what i mean ? 😉

  26. Glic says:

    BOING !

    He`s gunner be knackered……lucky bastardo… wonder he`s eyes are nearly popping out of his head……I`ve only just put mine back !. hahaha

  27. AFC says:

    ‘mair, top post and good to see you back. 🙂

    We are in a better position but not in the best position to end out trophy drought. I agree with everything you have said in your post and I think Wenger was always on the look out to strengthen all across the pitch. He was looking to sign in the GK, DM, ST areas of the pitch as well as the CB/RB and CAM areas of the pitch to a lesser extent.

    We got the GK, DM, and CAM. So Viviano will offer Szez some competition and keep him on his toes, Flamini can now offer us that steel in midfield and is that more defensively minded player we needed in the midfield while Ozil is the long term replacement for Rosicky. We never really had another no.10. Reason being because Jack has been dropped back to the box to box role, Ramsey has also been dropped back (if you want to go that far back) and Santi is better on the LW in a free role.

    Wenger will now be offered a new contract with a minimum budget of £40 million to spend in January which makes me think (as well as Glic and others) that Wenger is not finished buying top quality players to put us in an even better position and eventually the best position to end our trophy drought.

    Wenger still needs to sign another defender (young CB or experienced) and several reports are saying we could sign Barca RB Montaya on a free transfer next summer or agree a cut price fee with Barca to take him in January, top ST and I have read in reports that Wenger is still looking to buy one of L.Bender and Gundogan probably as a long term replacement for Arteta and Flamini. Those are the three areas I think Wenger will be looking to sign players in during the winter transfer window.

    Gerry also makes a good point about how hard it will be to acquire a top ST or a top midfielder in January but I am confident Wenger will surprise us again and bring in another top players.

    One top player in January (top St or top MF) and then the signing of another DF and another top player in the summer and we will truly be a force, no questions asked!

  28. AFC says:

    ‘mair, top post and good to see you back.

    We are in a better position but not in the best position to end out trophy drought. I agree with everything you have said in your post and I think Wenger was always on the look out to strengthen all across the pitch. He was looking to sign in the GK, DM, ST areas of the pitch as well as the CB/RB and CAM areas of the pitch to a lesser extent.

    We got the GK, DM, and CAM. So Viviano will offer Szez some competition and keep him on his toes, Flamini can now offer us that steel in midfield and is that more defensively minded player we needed in the midfield while Ozil is the long term replacement for Rosicky. We never really had another no.10. Reason being because Jack has been dropped back to the box to box role, Ramsey has also been dropped back (if you want to go that far back) and Santi is better on the LW in a free role.

    Wenger will now be offered a new contract with a minimum budget of £40 million to spend in January which makes me think (as well as Glic and others) that Wenger is not finished buying top quality players to put us in an even better position and eventually the best position to end our trophy drought.

    Wenger still needs to sign another defender (young CB or experienced RB) and several reports are saying we could sign Barca RB Montaya on a free transfer next summer or agree a cut price fee with Barca to take him in January, top ST and I have read in reports that Wenger is still looking to buy one of L.Bender and Gundogan probably as a long term replacement for Arteta and Flamini. Those are the three areas I think Wenger will be looking to sign players in during the winter transfer window.

    Gerry also makes a good point about how hard it will be to acquire a top ST or a top midfielder in January but I am confident Wenger will surprise us again and bring in another top players.

    One top player in January (top ST or top MF) and then the signing of another DF and another top player in the summer and we will truly be a force, no questions asked!

  29. Glic says:

    Hahaha 007, under the photo of the first women on your link, it says they had “marathon sex sessions ! “…….is it any surprise then that he`s eyes are nearly popping out and he is knackered !…… try running 26 miles and then be expected to have sex !…….not everyone is fit like me !.
    Talking of running, this morning I was stretching in my driveway getting ready for a run when I heard clip clop clip clop…….a young lady was riding her horse up the lane, so I started to run just behind her, keeping my distance and thinking to my self…..what a lovely arse !…..I kept this up for about a mile, just admiring the lovely arse then decided to overtake and to my surprise the girl riding the horse had a nice arse too !.

  30. ProudGooner says:

    evening Dennis Bergkamp massive,
    Have you guys heard the gossip that we may be signing an out of contract striker?

  31. Funminiyi says:

    And on Flame, we’ve got a battler, a fighter and a combative enforcer all-in one type of a midfielder in him. He’s gonna repay the interest of the gaffer in him with his mercurial display and the dynamite of a shot that he’s got. How him and Cesc used to destroy teams back then. In his last season with us, he scored some important goals at Liverpool and the Chavs that got me smiling that what a gem we’ve on our hands! I just hope he’s here to stay.

  32. ProudGooner says:

    This is what i have just read, there is a striker called Ciprain Marica who was playing for Schalke in Germany for the last 2 seasons. The hammers have been trying to sign him but they are saying Arsenal have now gone after him and the deal could be done this week according to big Sam, he said something like when a big club goes after him of course he will chose them but if not they hope to sign him. He is a Romania striker who has netted 22 goals in 63 international matches. he has also played for Stuttgart and Shakter Donetsk. Interesting hah. 🙂

  33. James Bond says:

    oh my days ahahahahahahhahahaahhaahhaahahahahahahahhahahahaha @ Glics


  34. Glic says:

    Yes PG, a Romanian pick pocket and lucky heather selling gypsy !.

    Oops, hope I wasn`t too stereotyping, but being in Cornwall everyone stereotypes me as a dodgy cockney !…….I cant deny that they have a point though !. hahaha

  35. Fournier Michael says:

    I do not really think winning a FACup or Cap. One cup is a good indicator of the over all quality of any squad. It comes down to single matches and luck and you can win a cup and be relegated the same season. I Much prefer to focus on winning League matches and getting to the quarter finals of the CL over just winning a trophy. I do not want to get knocked out of a cap. one cup or FA cup by a League 1 team ether but if we do less games to worry about with our thin squad at the moment injuries are killing us. I know trophies for the fans big deal (OK I know you love your FA Cup) Wigan Athletic won the FA cup so I ask would you rather be FA cup winner and in their league position or No trophies and in the top 4 and in the CL?

  36. ProudGooner says:

    apparently his agent was found stealing watches out of the hammers dressing room, he knew which one was big sams because it was a fake with the mane Rolo on it instead of Rolex, the man is as bent as they come.

  37. TotalArsenal says:

    Fair enough ‘Mair – it will take longer for the BFG to show us all he is the right captain for us. Luckily for him, it looks like he will get that opportunity.

  38. TotalArsenal says:

    Terry at 17.32 fine comment – who of the ‘youngsters’ could have a title defining season, you reckon?

  39. TotalArsenal says:

    Fine comment JNYC – Theo will benefit and so will Pod, Santi and OG form Ozel Smozel’s services 🙂

  40. ProudGooner says:

    i think il leave the jokes to Glic ha ha ha ha,
    What do you think about the striker we are linked to TA, do you know the player?

  41. TotalArsenal says:

    PG, Glic would love Ciprain Marica to join us. He could put the first four letter on his mini todger and all the ladies would know where that horrible smell is coming from. 😛

  42. TotalArsenal says:

    I don’t know him at all, PG, but good luck to those who have to come up with a song for him! 😀

  43. ProudGooner says:

    ha ha ha ha , oh is she a stinker? oh fantastic the smellier the better.

  44. TotalArsenal says:

    hahaha PG ‘the smellier the better’ 😆

  45. TotalArsenal says:

    Rob L – yes Sanogo might get a decent chance to show what he can do this season. Let’s wait and see.

  46. 'mair says:

    @Gerry, thanks much mate! I too am looking forward to seeing Sanogo start matches alongside Apkom, Gnabry and Eisfeld as well. League Cup perhaps… but yes, I think over the course of season he’ll be quite useful. I saw him in action for the Franch U-21s and the kid does have talent.
    You’re right in Nov being the defining month… that leading up to Dec will show us how well this squad can cope. I think for Jan Arsene will be looking at one or two players that he’s been looking at, and if he can get ’em great. But by and large this is the squad that’ll have to do the job for us.

    @Terry, thanks! 97/98 was brilliant. If we can pull something like that off it would be fantastic… it will be an open season with Man City, Man u struggling (hopefully hopefully), and Chelsea looking the strongest bet. But we do have they players to surprise! Longer term, yes, we are much stronger now and I think we’ll keep getting stronger with more funds and better momentum.

    @jnyc, thanks! Very interesting point on Cesc and Ozil scoring more. Could Ozil be our Suarez? Worth a shout. Ollie I feel will have a massive year. He will be a superstar in time… mark my words! Agree with you and @JamesBond on the wingers getting most out of Ozil. Poldi and Theo must be licking their lips!

    @Funminiyi, thanks so much for the kind words! It’s good to be back 🙂 Been up and down with work and personal stuff, but hopefully should be around more now. Weekend’s been great!
    NB52? My biggest doubt about him is the fact that he thinks he’s better than he is… he could have been so much more if he had buckled down more perhaps. But maybe this could be his second coming? Regardless, like you say, if he can show more commitment it might work.
    I agree that we have a solid squad, but I feel Poldi hasn’t show enough in the ST position last year to warrant being a dependable back up for Ollie. Theo would be first choice right now for me.
    I’m with you on the cups! Let’s get a trophy this year and fun shall follow!
    As for the arrival of Ozil, I think more than anything it gives the fans and players confidence… and shows intent. With true belief that we can be winners, why can’t we truly be winners?! I am hopeful!
    On Flamini, I completely completely agree! He’s a gem of a signing!

    @AFC, thanks! Yes, we aren’t there yet but we are well on our way. I think we have the makings of a really good squad, and if we can stay relatively injure free this year we can do quite well. I think ST, and defense are the areas that he’d need to strengthen in Jan. In def we need one more CD and a no 3 RB for once Sagna moves on. Or Sagna could go to CD (as he has done a few times already) and we get a RB back up.
    I think in midfield we have enough options for now… Theo, Ox, Poldi, Ozil, Santi, Rosicky, Jack, Rambo, Arteta and Flamini…and Arteta and Rosicky will have a couple of more seasons at least.

    I forgot to mention Viviano in my post, but he too appears to be a solid signing. A future Italy no2, quite looking forward to seeing him in action as well.

    @Fournier Michael, yes, CL is more important than either of the cups, but the truth for me is that we NEED to win a cup to get that monkey off our backs. Hence I’d want a cup plus a top 4 position (top 2) this season.

  47. James Bond says:

    by the way, thank you Umair, for such a lovely piece – don’t go AWOL on us again 🙂

  48. ProudGooner says:


    Hi TA

    Theo is there already and will continue to improve. Hes a man now not a boy. If Gibbs can stay fit he has it all and should break into the England team. Ox and Jenks need more time so i am hoping for next season for them.

    The key could be Jack and Ramsey. Goals and assists are what these boys are capable of, They are both potentitaly world class players.

    Ozil is only 24, but i feel both Jack and Aaron can learn a lot from him.

    In 1988 i looked at Adams, Merse, Rocky, Michael Thomas etc to take up a step up and they did. We never looked back after that.

    TA, you and i both know the foundation of any sucess will come when Arsene and the Club have the ability to keep the squad together, the transfer market is the icing on the cake.

    Now because of our increased financial power, Arsenal fans now have to ask themselves a serious question. Do they believe in Arsenes philosophy of nurturing from within, purchasing quality to supplement it, and playing a brand of football that is based on technique and movement?

  50. ProudGooner says:

    Umair,great post sorry i have just been checking out Marica. I agree with you totally we should target the FA cup and capital one . I would like to see a full blooded attempt to win one of these the chance of us winning CL are slim i think we could win the league but we need luck, most of all no injuries, then if we strengthen in the winter TW then anything is possible. Like you say again i agree with a defender and a striker a world class striker then we are bang in bussiness

  51. ProudGooner says:

    Here here! totally spot on. All are possible and again we just need to keep the lads together which should happen now and more important injury free, the football gods have got to give our club a break now we have had enough injuries over the last 5 seasons that we should not get another 1 for 50 years. touch wood.

  52. ProudGooner says:

    Also your right about Theo maybe they should buy another class right winger to free Theo up, he clearly has got everything that we are looking, but he has become so strong on the wing that it limits his chances.

  53. ProudGooner says:

    Do you think Wenger could play Sagna right wing and Carl RB as he does with Monreal and Gibbs to free up Walcott?


    Hi PG

    Cant see Sagna at right wing, the poor bloke would probabaly have a heart attack. hahaha

    I am hoping that Ozil will do for Theo what he done for Ronaldo and provide the asists. For me, despite his critics Theo is on the best recievers (hahaha) in world football.

  55. ProudGooner says:

    TMHT, What about this.???

  56. TotalArsenal says:

    Yes Terry that is the question we need to ask, but we also need to see whether we will keep hold of our stars again next season; the first swallow comes to mind! 🙂

  57. James Bond says:

    PG – why should we buy another class winger when we have the next Ronaldo in the making aka Gnabry ? the lad is a special special talent and a fine fine Winger i reckon.

    you will see what i mean, when he plays against West Brom in the capital cup .(hopefully he plays)

  58. Highbury Harmony says:

    Umair, fantastic article mate! I really enjoyed it thoroughly and that you took the time to revisit your original post with an update – I can’t wait to see what is produced after the January window ;).

    I would have to agree with everything you just said. The narrative is positive and the signing of Ozil has more or less united what was becoming an increasingly divided Gooner nation. We must remember that it was the option to work with a legend in AW that helped influenced Ozil to come here and that the old man still has the ability to attract the best. It could be said that the difference between us and the Utd of now, was the manager himself.

    I would be thrilled with a 3rd place finish and a cup win (I predicted this in the last article and believe we can win the COC cup this year). To me, that is incremental progress and where our team is headed and we could even surprise in the league if we can remain healthy. In regards to the CL group stage, I think we will come out of our group 2nd yet again, since Arsenal have always managed to find a way to the round of 16, regardless of who’s in our group; it’s like that feeling that Spuds get every time we play them or the race for North London supremacy is at stake ;).

    Amazing how much has changed after one summer and how much more optimism and hope for the future one signing has made. The signing of Ozil should put to rest any doubt over whether we can compete in the transfer market and whether or not management is willing to splash the exorbitant amount of cash at their disposal.

    I simply can’t wait to see Ozil on the pitch in our shirt!!!

  59. JM says:

    {This is my message}

    Jersey Numbers: 2, 18 and 27 are still available for the taking in our 1st team. (Bendtner got his new No.23 shirt)

    No.2 is between No.1 (Szczesny)(GK)(POL) and No.3 (Sagna)(DF)(FRA)

    No.18 is between No.17 (Monreal)(DF)(ESP) and No.19 (Cazorla)(MF)(ESP)

    No.27 is between No.26 (Frimpong)(MF)(GHA) and No.28 (Gibbs)(DF)(ENG)


    @ Gerry September 8, 2013 16:04

    You are welcome.

    On the One Ok Rock tour in UKand Europe, we have to check on the listings for media coverage (in London, from Paris, Amsterdam and Bonn etc). The group’s label might release their European tour live and film in DVD/Blue-ray.

    And a late thanks to other readers (TA, TMHT, 17highburyterrace, ProudGooner, AFC, JB and the rest) who commented to my previous blog post.

    Further comments to JB (September 7, 2013 15:57):
    “yes, that’s true, however, there are a lot of complications involved in that deal and as you have mentioned that they have done one with Man City, yet the Arsenal one, they didn’t renew – hence was already planned in advance is my take.

    the Nike deal with Mancs is still on according to my understanding and they haven’t fully poured the cold water on it, especially with a very realistic chance of Ronaldo coming back to Man utd next year.”

    My personal opinion: In a long run, I do not see any clubs (at least for the bigger ones) from the same city, from the same European league, playing kits from the same kit manufacturer (sponsorship). These kit manufacturers want their unique identity within each city.

    In Manchester:
    Man United’s kit deal with Nike is expiring in 2015. Nike signed a new deal with Man City which will last till 2019.

    In Liverpool:
    Liverpool’s kit is sponsored by Warrior; Everton’s by Nike.

    In London:
    Arsenal – Nike; Chelsea – Adidas; Tottenham – Under Armour

    In Milan:
    AC Milan – Adidas; Inter Milan – Nike

    In Rome:
    Roma – AS Roma (house brand); Lazio – Macron

    In Madrid:
    Real Madrid – Adidas; Atletico Madrid – Nike

    Nike has made their first move (to support their city rivals, Man. City). Man United shall be planning and looking at alternatives like Warrior and Under Armour (both are also based in the USA) while keeping the option of renewal with Nike.

  60. JM says:

    On Umair’s post:

    I will be glad for our club to be competing hungrily for titles and cups, winning them are additional bonuses.

  61. jgc says:

    JM and all

    Per JMs last post, sorry for the interruption, this just popped up on the news and really, I think, brings home the branding and “athlete stables” thing

    Arsenal and Nike for this year at least and it would seem Nike will cash in!

    Cheers — jgc

  62. JM says:

    To Gerry and the rest (as well as readers in Europe who will be going down their live concert in London, Paris, Amsterdam, Bonn):

    A snippet on something like this to expect from One-Ok-Rock’s tour live and firm DVD/blue-ray (which shows their recent tour around Japan). They sound as good and better live as in studio:


    @ jgc September 9, 2013 06:42

    Mo Farah is certainly a one-of-the-kind Arsenal supporter.

    There is the branding for a sports club and there is the branding for the sports person. The two can coexist within the same environment, given the appropriate space and time in publicity.

  63. henrychan says:

    Umair.. great post..

    I am a positive thinking guy.. hehehe..
    And even before Ozil came in.. I am pretty sure that our team can do a lot more better than last season.. at least be at third position.. Because of our 10 last games in last season.. and all our main team are still there.. and becoming better as a team.. hehehe..
    Now with Ozil and also Flamini.. I am very much sure that we will win the PL and CL.. hahahaha..

    TA.. I already give my prediction to your questions.. In the last post..
    Do I need to post it again here..??

  64. Gerry says:

    JM – Thank you for thank snippet. It, more than ever, confirms my preference as to what music that should blast them out of the tunnel … They would be unstoppable!

    Hey, it might make Ryo into our missing winger? 😀

  65. JM says:

    @ Gerry September 9, 2013 08:28

    It might make Ryo Miyaichi go “super saiyan”.

  66. henrychan says:

    Umair and guys..
    Who you like most.. Flamini or Fellaini..?? without mention the price.. hehehe..

  67. Gerry says:

    Still on the ‘off topic’. I am nearer 70 than I am 17, but I have always had a taste for heavy rock music. Whether that be Led Zeppelin, Free to Bad company, Oz bands Rose Tattoo and AC/DC, and a whole lot more from that era, and they will always be on my ‘Desert Islands Disc’ shortlist.

    However, I remember the late, great, John Peel say how he was brought to tears on the first hearing of ‘Teenage Kicks’ …. One OK Rock has a similar effect on me.

    Thank you, again, JM

  68. Gerry says:

    Henry, we have got the former, and I think he suits Arsenal much better?

  69. 'mair says:

    @JamesBond, thanks! Glad you enjoyed it! 🙂

    @ProudGooner, thanks and cheers!

    @HighburyHarmony, glad you enjoyed! Absolutely, the Arsene Wenger factor in this transfer must not be discounted. I think Arsenal are one of the more preferred destinations for players who truly want to better themselves rather than make loads of money. The only person who could have competed with that was Sir Alex, but now it’s only us.
    And yes, one summer, rather one day has changed it for us! I shudder to think what would’ve been the case had we not got Ozil.

    @HenryChan, thanks! I read your article and it was quite brilliant! Haha maybe we will win the treble! I do agree even before Ozil we had the makings of a good squad, but now it’s gotten a world class boost!

    As for Fellaini or Flamini, tough one… I’d say now that we have Ozil, I’d take Flamini. Plus we have Ramsey in fine form.

  70. henrychan says:

    Umair.. Yes Why not.. FA, PL and CL.. Wow.. will be great if we get them.. hahaha..
    I agree with you for Flamini.. We need him more than Fellaini.. hehehe..
    First, He was a gunners.. and knew Wenger-ball well enough.. and even more mature than 5 years ago (cmiiw)..
    Second, He can play as a DM and also a CB.. (I don’t think Fellaini could)..
    So we don’t need to worry about our CB anymore.. cause now we have 5 CB.. include Sagna and Flamini..
    And of course the last.. 27 millions pounds are really something.. hehehe..
    Why spend that big money.. if we can get Flamini for free.. hahahaha..

  71. henrychan says:

    @Gerry.. Yes.. Flamini is a solid (former) Gunners..
    He already suit with the team.. hehehe..
    He proved that in NLD.. and will be our great DM untill Arteta return..

    And now guys.. If I ask you.. Arteta or Flamini.. Who will you choose first..?? hehehe..

  72. TotalArsenal says:

    Henry, why choose? It is like me asking you who you rate more your daughter or your son? 🙂

    The answer is Flamteta or MiniArt!

  73. TotalArsenal says:

    New Post New Post 🙂

    Marcus let the news sink in and now feels we could be ready for silverware. Enjoy! 🙂

  74. henrychan says:

    TA.. I mean if they both are fit.. Which one will you pick first as our starter.. hehehe..

  75. 'mair says:

    @henrychan, may your words come true!!!

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