It seems like the transfer speculation is heating up again, so I started this post with the intention of provoking some heated arguments about transfer options and choices within our own squad and consequent team selection. However, my initial trolling efforts were curtailed quite early on as my thoughts developed from an instigative nature to more of a declaration of stability and a welcomed familiarity towards squad structure which reminds me of the glory days here at Arsenal.
This post still offers up suggestions for change, don’t get me wrong, especially since summer is just around the corner; but rather than my usual call for wholesale changes to the core of our team, this post quickly became about trimming the squad down to a clear group of players and a hierarchy of selection well defined within that group. The type of clear definition we used to have back when the Invincibles graced our screens, back when it was a regular occurrence to be able to predict the starting line up each week, just as 17HT is very accurately doing so at the moment.
It seems strange that such a crazy season could instil a level of stability leading into next season, but this is how I see things developing for the 2015/16 effort: (let the arguments begin lol)
The starting XI has three areas which need to be addressed in my opinion;
A new DM
In the mould of our captain Arteta: providing calmness, security and excellent passing ability but with a higher level of mobility and fitness. This new DM along with Coquelin will provide the Flamini / Arteta partnership version 2.0 and fully refresh an area of the pitch which has been lacking in recent seasons.
- Schneiderlin, fits the requirements perfectly.
A new CB
Again mobility is the main factor to be improved on here and in particular pace although finding a player with the height, strength and experience of our big German whilst contributing pace as well is a tough ask but one worth throwing the money at. Koscielny is in my opinion one of the best CB’s in world football; its time to partner him with equal quality, splash the cash Wenger!
- Varane, developed and trained by the best, plays in a top league for a top club and is now the captain of France: he has pace, height and unbelievable quality, what more do you want?
- Hummels, what more do I need to say really?
- Van Dijk, his pace is not quite as good as Varane’s and his experience is nowhere near Hummels (or Varane for that matter), but his price reflects this and this may be one of those bargain deals that temps Wenger, especially as he has the potential to perhaps rival the other two in time.
A new GK
The sense of uncertainty, panic and almost inevitable brain-fartery we as supporters have come to expect from Szczesny may be accepted in a third choice reserve keeper, but, from the supposed number 1, this surely shouldn’t be the case – a situation only compounded further when compared to the calm, assured presence Ospina brings in contrast. I think its time we find a new number 1 here at Arsenal (and I know I have at least one supporter in this – JB lol).
- Hugo Lloris, hahaha how great would that be lol, with Koscielny, Debuchy and Varane we would have nearly the entire French back line lol, never going to happen so just ignore that suggestion.
- Asmir Begović, I admit I don’t know too much about goalkeepers but this guy seems to fit the bill and is most likely on the move this summer.
Many of the other players we have been linked with recently seem like bonuses to me and not really essential to our squad; if anything, they may disrupt it. Reus would simply be yet another attacking right footed midfielder to add to our collection – Sanchez, Walcott, Ramsey, OX, Gnabry etc etc. Kane is never going to move from Spurs to Arsenal, so you can forget that and with Sanchez banging in the goals first of all, and now Giroud taking over on his hot streak with Theo still waiting to continue his goal scoring tally, I’m afraid I see Cavani as yet another bonus – a £60M bonus at that lol, I don’t see it happening tbh.
The only player I would like to see added (as a bonus mind you) to the first team is Dybala, as I feel he brings a left footed option that Wenger has failed to develop with Podolski and Campbell (both of whom have been pretty dire in their loan performances). A quality left footer, who could cut in from the right or cross from the left with quality, is something we have been missing for a while; although, I’m still not sure if Dybala is a scoring winger or simply an out and out striker.
The second string team within the squad is largely made up of youth players as it should be, with an additional spine of pure footballing class and experience left within the squad to support either team when needed and provide wise heads in and around the dressing room.
The only addition I could think of making to this second string team would be the signing of Draxler, who is an U21 and would slot nicely into the number 10 role, with OX taking up a wing position; but again, this is only a bonus signing and definitely not essential.
With regards to the starting XI there would be a few additional subs to the XI on the pitch that would in my mind be a prerequisite to changing the dynamics of the team, should tactics dictate; the other spots would be chosen from what is left from the squad.
Coquelin would be able to replace Ramsey to shore up midfield if needed, and, like the Flamini / Arteta duo before them, I am sure the Coquelin / Schneiderlin pivot would be a force to be reckoned with.
Cazorla would be able to replace Ozil and provide the dancing, dribbling silky smooth skill that I am afraid Ozil no matter how good you think he is just does not have in his locker: think a more messi-esque number 10 option rather than Ozil’s pass master contribution – a great tactical move to be able to play.
Welbeck would be able to replace Giroud if we needed a more pacer option up front or maybe needed to close down quicker from the front.
These are the three subs that I think would completely change the dynamic of the starting XI should we be faltering and need to change things up; add to them the reserve GK Ospina and they would be the four mainstays of the bench for me.
First xiI hope this illustrates things a bit better:
The “Spine of Experience”
24 over 21’s and 5 U21’s which would still leave a spot open for one of the bonus signings
Instead of annoying everyone, as was my first intention, I think I actually ended up cementing a first team that everyone is pretty happy with at the moment. And I am suggesting to add only what is necessary, to propel what we already have to its fullest potential. At the same time I, as an avid supporter of the youth, would be more than happy to see that second string team waiting in the wings to prove just how good they are (in some cases better than their first XI counterparts imo), whilst also providing probably the best Capital One Cup team I can remember for a long time. The very best of the experienced players also remain at the club which would be a massive bonus for all those concerned.
So, could it be after all the craziness of this season that I have finally arrived back where I started last year, just hoping for a new DM and CB signing from the summer transfer season lol?
How many of you agree, are we really only a couple of essential players away from being complete?
Would we really miss any of those eight players I have suggested we let go?
If you don’t agree then who else would you bring to the club and why?
Would this clear squad hierarchy bring more stability to the club with everyone knowing their roles, positions and route into a starting place?
Discuss, shout, b*tch and moan – lets get some comments going! 🙂