Wow, I am agreeing with Souness (and not Thierry)!

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Honestly, I’ve been thinking about writing this kind of post for a couple of weeks now, but Thierry Henry’s comments after the Chelsea game on Sky Sports got me to do it.

He said that Arsenal have to buy 4 players to win the league – a goalkeeper, a centre-back, a holding midfielder and a world class striker.
He then asked Carragher whether he thought Giroud was the kind of striker that you can win the league with and both agreed on a no.
Graeme Souness pinched in and said that they have to buy players, but that it’s about finding the right ones. He added that the foundation was there in the stadium, the city, the money and the football.

Now, if I remember correctly, for the first time in my life I agree with something Souness said as a pundit. It is very easy to sit in that chair (or in the stands) and say Arsenal have to buy this player and that player while in reality it is incredibly difficult to just buy a player.

I want to touch on a couple of things which I think are vital concerning the progression of Arsenal Football Club.

Firstly, in order to buy new players, we need to get rid of a couple of players.
For me Podolski, Diaby, Flamini, Sanogo, Campbell, Miyachi have to go.
I also think that Theo Walcott has to be sold because what he offers is not worth the money we would have to pay him on a new deal.
Arteta and Rosicky should be kept as experienced players that can do a job every once and a while.
On the goalkeeping front I do not think that David Ospina is good enough to be our number one. However I have kind of lost faith in Szczesny over the last couple of months. One of the two should be kept as number two and Emilliano Martinez could be number three.

That gets me to incoming players.
I don’t agree with Thierry Henry that we need a centre back. Gabriel has been very promising every time he has featured and I hope he will play alongside Koscielny next season. Mertesacker should be the third man and Callum Chambers the future prospect.
I agree that we need a new goalkeeper but as Souness said, it is about finding the right one. I don’t think that Petr Cech is a good choice because of his age. The first name that comes to my mind is Bernd Leno, but I don’t want to stretch this point.
I also agree with Henry that we need another holding midfielder. But unlike most Arsenal supporters I don’t think that we need to find Patrick Viera reborn. We need someone that is a very good passer of the ball and can build-up the play. Of course he also needs to have defensive qualities, but if you understand how to create the game you also know how to stop your opponents from playing. For me the most obvious target is Sami Khedira because his contract expires at the end of the season. Schneiderlin is another that would suit us very well.
As for the world class striker everyone keeps talking about. Of course I would love to us buy a world class striker (who wouldn’t???), but it’s simply unrealistic. The best strikers already play at the best clubs all across Europeย  and you can’t just prize them away, cause that’s not how transfer business works. (i.e. Agรผero, Lewandowski, Benzema, Ibrahimovic, Costa, Suarez)
Also a striker has to fit into our playing style which Giroud obviously does quite well (by now).
To me it makes far more sense to buy more versatile players who can play up front, behind the striker or on the wing. I would rather see us go for players like Raheem Sterling, Pedro, Paulo Dybala or Roberto Firmino who are young (except for Pedro) but already have experience. They proved they can score and create goals and, most importantly, who fit our style of play.

This also brings me to my third point, which is tactical flexibility.
I believe that every good club should have their perfect system and game plan which they should try to impose on their opposition. BUT every club also needs to be very flexible tactically because your plan A doesn’t always work. There are a lot of different systems which have their advantages and disadvantages and we should be able to use them to our strength and adapt them to our opponents, which is why players that can play in 3 or 4 positions are key in the modern game.

In terms of general progression I find it rather difficult to judge from the outside, but concerning money I believe that the new TV deal and Champions League money will even the playing field for the big clubs. Meaning to attract new players you need to be able to offer more than just money. This is where Souness’ point fits perfectly. Arsenal is a global brand with one of the best stadiums in England, located in one of the best and most globalised cities in the entire world. We rightfully pride ourselves on the beautiful way we play and that we do everything with class. This package and the fact that we always play in the Champions League should be more than enough to attract sponsors, fans, new players and everything else that is needed to push us to the top.

My last point, which I am sad to make, is that it will be more and more difficult to integrate young players. Because of the general level that all of the top football clubs have reached only the very special young players will make it through. For others the road will always be to play for a lesser club first to gain valuable experience and to mature into a good player before at the age of 23 or older they will get their shot at the big club, like Thierry Henry himself.

So fellow Gooners, what did you make of those comments?
And more importantly, how do you see our club develop in the near future?

Written by: Nik

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36 Responses to Wow, I am agreeing with Souness (and not Thierry)!

  1. TotalArsenal says:

    Nice one, Nik. I cannot stand Souness but respect to you for saying something positive about him, and he – and therefore you – have got a point.

    I dont like Thierry doing commentary on Sky and he is wasted there. The big question is why Wenger has not absorbed him into the coaching squad…. Maybe there is only space for one hero.. ๐Ÿ˜•

    Giroud is worldclass in the role he has and I fully understand Wenger, who knows a thing or two about top strikers, does not want to get a typical top CF at Arsenal. We play a different system now in which we are not overdependent on our CF and there is versatility in the team to create and take chances. Giroud is the most important player of them all in our system and he will be key again next season. We could do with another Sanchez on the other wing and I reckon your ‘friend’ Reus might be the one.

    We might indeed need another GK and DM but they are not going to make the big difference; another quality ‘winger’ could catapult us forward though… let’s see what happens this summer.

    Good stuff, Nik. ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. acho Ojike says:

    I think we need two players to the lot we currently have. Draxler and Kongdogbia will do just right. Draxler is versatile upfront and can play as top striker and can also fill in for Sanchez if he is not available. Both can also play together with Giroud. Kongdogbia also can play holding mid alone or can also pair with Coquelin. In fact with the two in our midfield, our attackers can express themselves more freely.

  3. davi says:

    Not even sure we need a gk. Ospina’s been very good and the defence seems more comfortable with him there. We’re defending well with him in goal, so why change it?
    Adding Lacazette and Kongdogbia to the core squad we’ve got would do the trick imo. 2 players who are young, hungry and could really improve the first team, but yes getting them or equivalents is easier said than done.
    Agree about the defence, and that some of the midfielders should be moved on, but I’d be more concerned with moving on the older players who aren’t cutting it, rather than the younger ones who haven’t really shown what they’re about yet and aren’t going to be on enormous contracts anyway (viz Campbell and Sanogo and maybe even Miyaichi). If they choose to move to another club for 1st team football, I’d wish them all the best, but getting rid of them is hardly a priority for us atm. Agree Theo should go if he’s going to make further wage demands, he’s already well over-paid for what he gives back. Another who I’d be happy for us to move on is Wilshere. Like Theo, the manager almost seems pressured to play him because he’s English, but objectively his contribution is still nowhere near Rosicky’s and it would be a joke to suggest he’s a serious competitor for Santi’s position in the team (which is surely the only one he’s ever going to play long term).

  4. Ogban says:

    If Giroud were playing for another team, we’d probably be salivating for him as a ‘world class striker’. We don’t seem to ever appreciate what we have.

  5. Jayoku says:

    The point mentioned are actually quite true,because having watched arsenal’s system of play this season.
    The most important input was coquelins energy in midfield and le coq,deciding to stop trying to be a playmaker,he has always played like this but always tried to join in with the attacking.
    -another DM with energy,aggression and a tidy passer with good balance will do.

    In defence we definitely do not need another defender, we have tons of defensive prospects- Jenkinson(RB/cb),Bellerin(RB/lb),Debuchy(RB/CB),Chambers(CB/dm),Gabriel(CB),Koscielny(CB), Mertesacker(CB),Monreal(LB/cb)Gibbs(LB)

    The two Goalkeepers are not world class but they are manageable. If a top goal becomes available sell Szczesny,keep ospina as number 2, and have emiliano martinez as number three, but he should go on loan with an option of a recall within 24hrs

    In offense we need a more physical,taller sanchez type (perpetual motion,dribbling -space making ability) striker,that can beat two men and have a pop at goal. Because giroud cannot do this and many times with our passing game when he gets isolated with a tag team defensive situation he can’t make the most of it. (a la suarez,aguero)

    The top priority is a DM and a striker with dribbling ability.

    The is a world class keep become available get him in,or be smart and do like chelsea and buy the top 2 emerging talented goalkeepers and loan them out, for two/three seasons to see how they develop.

  6. steve says:

    Nice post Nik, keeps us chatting for a while until the next game ๐Ÿ™‚
    As far as the first team squad is concerned imo;

    Players OUT

    Younger players who have failed to reach their potential:
    Miyaichi
    Jenkinson
    Campbell
    Szczesny

    Older players whose term of usefulness has come to an end:
    Podolski
    Flamini
    Arteta

    50/50 players that can produce excellent performances but more often than not have question marks hanging over their heads. Controversial losses but ones which could net the club stellar replacements:
    Walcott
    Diaby

    Loanees:
    Sanogo
    Gnabry
    Hayden
    Akpom

    Players IN

    A tricky, pacey winger: (to replace Walcott)
    Depay or Dybala or Reus or Stirling etc

    A tall, strong, tricky attacking midfielder: (to replace Diaby)
    Draxler

    A slightly more experienced DM, think Arteta style but with higher pace and mobility (to replace Arteta)
    Schneiderlin

    An upgrade for BFG, removing the weakness of having an absolute lack of pace in this position:
    Van Dijk

    A tall, strong, commanding and experienced goalkeeper: (to replace Szczesny)
    Help me out JB

    13 players out (4 are loans)
    5 players in

    I guess Iโ€™m in the Henry camp on this one Nik โ€“ my apologies mate. Mind you I havenโ€™t included a striker as I donโ€™t see any real candidate atm without poaching one from one of the massive clubs and I donโ€™t see that happening.

    That would leave a squad that looks something like this:

    First XI:

    ————————–Giroud—————————-
    Sanchez—————–Ozil———————Depay
    ————-Cazorla—————Schneidy————-
    Monreal———-Kos———-Dijk———-Debuchy
    ——————————GK—————————–

    Substitute XI:

    ————————–Welbeck————————–
    The OX—————–Draxler———————Silva
    ————Wilshere————–Coquelin—————
    Gibbs————GP5————CC21———-Bellerin
    —————————Ospina—————————–

    Still in the squad:

    Rosicky โ€“ with the wing positions primarily made up of 21 year olds (OX, Depay and Silva), although the skill is abundant an experienced head in this position may well be needed from time to time and Rossa is the perfect candidate.

    BFG โ€“ Blooding a new CB is never easy and although Dijk has a lot of experience in his own league the transition to premiere league may take a little support from an old head and especially some guidance on the training pitch, again BFG is the perfect candidate.

    Martinez โ€“ 3rd choice keeper

    Ramsey โ€“ interchangeable with Wilshere or Cazorla

    Well that my 2 cents, looks like a massive cull of players i must admit lol

  7. omar says:

    theo walcott should be sold because what he offers is not worth the money? Besides giroud and sanchez, who do we have who can score 20 goals a season when fit? the only reason we are doing so well is coz those 2 have had really good seasons. Ozil, welbeck,chamberlain,cazorla dont offer that many goals so selling walcott shouldnt be an option

  8. Nik says:

    TA as much as I’d love to see Reus playing for us he extended his contract a couple of months back so he’s not going to leave Dortmund now… Unfortunately

    Davi, Kondogbia is one I often thought about as well, but if I remember correctly Monaco bought him for a lot of money, so we would have to spend big on him as well… And I just can’t see that happening
    On Wilshere I refuse to make my mind up because I still have hope that he overcomes all his injury problems and fulfills his potential

    Steve, that looks like a major overhaul ๐Ÿ˜€
    I think we agree on a lot of points. Draxler is a very different player compared to Diaby and I think he’d be far too expensive for what he offers
    I’d love to see Mertesacker leave but since he is vice captain and all I cannot see it
    happening.
    On van Dijk I can’t judge because I’ve never seen him play.
    I think you are harsh on Jenkinson as he’s having a solid season for West Ham and with Debuchy being injury prone he and Bellerin might be the two right backs for the future.

    Omar, I have to disagree on Theo. His best scoring seasons in the premier league were 9, 8 and 14. With the injuries he has and the way he plays which does not really suit a possession based style I don’t think he is worth a big contract

  9. steve says:

    Nik,
    haha yep a bit of an emptying of the squad lol.
    I agree about Draxler although after Schalke brought him in from the wing into the middle CAM role he does play similar to Diaby in that he dribbles and tricks his way through defenses with great skill, passing and most importantly goals. But yes he wouldn’t look at home in that central midfield position that Diaby took up although would we really want any new arrival in this position with Cazorla, Ramsey and Wilshere all vying for this spot already?
    I also agree with you completely about BFG which is why i said we would keep him in the squad whilst Dijk (or whoever the replacement is) transitioned to the premiere league. This is the best time to do this i feel because BFG still has a level of usefulness to the team, any more years and he will need to drop him imo and we will need an immediate replacement, as Gabriel has always looked like Koscielny’s stand in to me rather than a BFG replacement.
    And yep yet again completely agree on Jenko, he’s done nothing wrong whatsoever, quite the opposite in fact but i feel that Bellerin will always be picked ahead of him making him third choice and i think he deserves better than that at this stage of his career. Debuchy is not injury prone lol, he got completely taken out twice resulting in bad injuries both times lol, thats not being prone to injury thats other people being cunts lol, injury prone is when a player is constantly going out with hamstrings, ankle injuries etc when there is no contact or any other obvious cause other than general play, Debuchy will be fine for a long time now (as long as he doesn’t get pummeled again)

  10. TotalArsenal says:

    Nik, cannot see Reus staying long now that Kloppie is going, but it’ll cost us. But Depay would be excellent too, although he probably will go to the Mancs.

  11. henrychan says:

    MoHi all..
    Nik nice post..

    I agree with you bro..
    We don’t need another GK and CB.. unless we sell Szczesney and Mertesacker.
    Which I think an almost impossible thing to happened.. as we know.. a little bit.. hehe.. what’s on Wenger mind.. hehehe..

    Do we need another Midfielder..??
    The same way.. unless we sell Arteta.. Flamini or Diaby.. we will never see another DM.. I mean all of three.. not one..
    If we still have Arteta.. and we have Coq.. Cazorla.. Wilshere.. Ox.. Ramsey who can play for DM position..
    I love to have Calvarho or Kondogbia.. but it won’t happened untill we sell Arteta.. Serious.. cause we still have Beilik.. don’t we..??

    @VCC
    My prediction to this weekend..
    Arsenal and Soton away win..
    MU.. City.. Chelsea.. draw

  12. henrychan says:

    TA.. I love to see Depay.. but we play Ramsey insteed of Walcott..
    Its mean that we don’t need another Winger.. cause Wilshere also soon will be our next Winger.. hahaha..

  13. St. Henry says:

    Hi Nik and fellow BKers! Good morning (or whatever timezone you are in)! Been a while since I have been able to really spend some time reading the fine posts. Great one Nik! A subject that I am sure we will be discussing right until start of next season. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    I agree with your point regarding Souness and am surprised at TH’s comment about Giroud. I felt that OG kept Terry and Cahill occupied but there were just too many bodies back for Chelsea and we just could not convert the half-chances that came our way (especially that last one for Ozil).

    From a squad perspective, I actually feel that we do not need any additions to the starting XI. My main reason for this view is because I think that we have figured out how to keep the squad fully fit for most of the season. The value of this, I feel, is being overlooked. When guys are coming in and out, it is difficult to really gel and when one is dealing with split second chances, that understanding makes the difference between scoring/conceding a goal. If the squad were to remain fit, I think that we will see us take it up another level; particularly guys like Welbeck, Wishere, and LeCoq.

    Sure, like many it makes sense to replace players like Podolski, Flamini, Campbell. Not sure yet about Sanogo and Arteta. I think Arteta has the capacity to give us a few real solid games and push LeCoq and I am looking for Sanogo to put in a much better show following his loan. One element I am really hoping works out is for Ozil to start becoming a bit more selfish in taking goal scoring opportunities that come his way. The optimist I am, I have a feeling that Diaby and Walcott will surprise us all next season! ๐Ÿ™‚ (in a good way of course!)

    As Ogban said, we tend to underestimate the quality of the players we have. At this level, I feel that it comes down to confidence, willingness to make a few minor corrections, and crucially – hunger to score / keep a clean sheet. With the competition within the squad developing, I think that the hunger to succeed is coming back all across the squad and am looking for Wenger to stuff Mourinho’s words down his throat soon.

  14. St. Henry says:

    Forgot to add – of course if someone like Ozil / Sanchez becomes available I would be surprised if we did not go for them. But, at the present moment I just can’t see us paying the amounts that are being bandied about for Dybala and the rest who are not at the Ozil/Sanchez level.

  15. The Cockie Monster says:

    Thank you, Nik !.
    Like Stev11e and yourself I would love to see another big clear out to have extra monies ( when I say extra monies, I mean on top of the vast amount we already have…..ยฃ200m ???…..even Bournemouth will get ยฃ150M for being promoted ! ) available to buy some serious SQ players to compliment out already fine looking ( if uninjured ) squad.
    So for me it`s to replicate what has already been said….Pod, Flam, Sanogo, Campbell, Miyaichi, Arteta, Diaby ( only because of his injuries, otherwise he would be one of the first names on the team ! )…..I`d keep Theo and Jenks !. That lot would not bring in a vast amount of money, but those seven would release a sizable amount to help pay the wages of four SQ players .
    I have no idea currently who I would like, but I have for a long time wanted an out an out fast skilful winger !…..Depay will be a Manc, so forget about him !.
    As for King Henry 14……I find him boring as fcuk as a punter and the previously boring as fcuk ex-player Neville is head and shoulders above him !…..so not sure if TH14 is going to make it as a manager either and the only thing in his favour with me at the moment is that I think he would spend like there`s no tomorrow and I love a manager that spends loads on shiny new players !. hahaha.
    If we want some extra money I have a cunning plan !…………Manny Pacquiao is like a Dennis in the Philippines !…..a country with over 100 million Filipino`s ! ( Transplant has a large illegal amount working in his loft ! )……..all he needs to say is …..” Support the Arse` ” and that’s more coffers in the bank !.
    The evidence !.

    Come on Manny …….knock the “Money” Maywhather out !

  16. VCC says:

    COME ON MANNY.

  17. steve says:

    fucking right!! COME ON MANNY!!!

  18. ArsenalNorth says:

    Good post Nik. I’m not sure we’ll see too many changes to the squad in terms of additions. I know a lot of people are critical of szczesny but I can’t see Wenger buying a keeper again this year unless he really wants out. As for the defence, I’d like to see Gabriel get a run of games alongside koscielny to see if those two can form a good understanding. Coq has played well but we may finally see a new dm come in to support him.

    Like you said the best strikers are already at the best clubs so any attacking additions will probably depend on whether or not a Sanchez/Ozil quality player becomes available. I’ve been critical of Giroud’s finishing in the past but he’s been much improved this year. He plays his role very well and I think it would be difficult to find a better suited alternative.

  19. 17highburyterrace says:

    Nik, nice post..Not exactly what i expected, but so it goes… Keep sending them in…TA is a busy boy, right now… On that note, fearless leader, you’ve got mail…

    Also, nice photo Cockie… I’m not too big on the fighting… (When girls do it, I always hope they end up kissing… ๐Ÿ˜€ ) but I have to favor the Gooner, of course…

    On this very fine post… Over here we didn’t have Souness and Thierry on our TV coverage so it’s a bit of a non-issue. Also, for me at least, it’s just a hair early to be talking about what we need to get the team to the level to which we aspire…Let’s get these final 6 matches under our belt–ideally in an undefeated (and somewhat stylish) manner…giving a few extra boys a chance to impress, as well…

    If we can do that it will be a very successful season, marred only by the injury troubles which set up big mountains to climb in the league and the CL. To go the whole season we will need the full depth of the squad, esp. in the late summer and Autumn. Come this time next season, if our boys are healthy and reasonably rested, I don’t think we’re that far off… We’ve proven that we can play in a defense-first manner against good teams and still hurt them when we have the ball. Get that first goal and Arsenal can be a tough team to come back upon.

    Breaking down teams who set out to thwart us remains a problem (see esp. the Monaco first leg)–and the recent one which gave Souness and Henry 90 minutes to discuss. The question seems to be this: do we truly lack THAT MUCH quality down the spine of the the team or is it something else?

    I’d go with something else. Personally, I’m convinced it has to do with getting the best out of our fullbacks while using our wide forwards less as traditional wingers than as additional midfielders who are willing to cycle wide and narrow and fore and aft. To me, spacing and defensive rotation seem the problem. A central big man, i.e., a back-to-goal CF is exactly what we need to make things work so I don’t see Giroud as a problem. Having a 2nd option, in case of injury and because the position is so much hard work makes sense. Sanogo has potential but also a history of injuries. Benteke is doing quite a job currently at Villa. Higuain has all the experience and looks frustrated at Napoli. I do think we could spend some money for the tip of the attack but not necessarily on somebody who would automatically supplant Giroud…

    Personally, I’d look to improve a bit further back, maybe with a guy who could play DM and CF (I’m less concerned at keeper–Ospina is very good and Szcz is not as bad as some people make out.

    Chambers is a great prospect but his best will be a few years off. Obviously, we’re all delighted with the defensive contributions of Le Coq. Focused on positioning to intercept and a bit of pace and graft to get back and make tackles, he’s still good enough on the ball that it’s been a revelation. Still, a lot of his success has come from guys like Santi, Alexis and Ramsey (and Ox before he got hurt) being willing to help out and (to an extent) sacrificing their offensive games. Truly, nothing against our Coq. We love his shouting and his positioning and he’s most definitely earned his new contract…

    Most will scoff at the notion that things might’ve been very different if we’d had a healthy Arteta (or Diaby), but that’s a reason Wenger didn’t buy in this area last summer. For me, if Mikel (or Abou) can play in this area we’ll be a stronger team. Jack Wilshere can also operate from a deeper position. If Arteta (and others) cannot contribute, he (they) must be replaced. Schneiderlin seems an obvious candidate, but there could be others, including Kondogbia or Wanyama (even if he looks a bit overly fond of the English diet…) or even Alex Song. (The latter will never happen as he’s about 10 times more the prodigal son than Cesc…) Shield the ball, read the game and get it forward. Position yourself and help organize when the opponent has the ball. An occasional belt from distance or game-breaking longer pass doesn’t hurt either. Santi’s been the (very) unsung hero in that spot this season but most seem prepared to see him gone too and most want a big guy and/or powerful runner in that part of the pitch. It IS thrilling to see a big fellow thunder forward on the ball, but passing the ball is what separates the best teams in Europe from the fun to watch (but not truly so great) English running teams. Don’t look past the contributions made by players like Pirlo, Schweinsteiger, Alonso or Busquets, not to mention the prototype, Makelele, or the guy they’ve got now (Matic). It’s a big ask to put ANYBODY in this role and expect a contribution along the lines of the players mentioned–but it could be just what the doctor is ordering…

    Sorry for the long response…Watching too much of this nil-nil ManU match…We’d be looking pretty good if RvJ were still in the squad, I think…

  20. 17highburyterrace says:

    Oops… nil-1 (West Brom FK puts them ahead)…I meant… ๐Ÿ˜€

  21. 17highburyterrace says:

    Oooh…Dubious handball but Van Judas has the pen blocked!!! More ๐Ÿ˜€ ๐Ÿ˜€ ๐Ÿ˜€

  22. 17highburyterrace says:

    Van Gaal not making any subs…and United not making any goals…80th minute…

    The only downside is that the WBA keeper is earning (big) fantasy points for somebody… ๐Ÿ˜‰

  23. 17highburyterrace says:

    Wow…Falcao, RvJ, Rooney, DiMaria, Mata, Ashley Young, and Fellaini all in attack… but it’s meat and drink for WBA… 88th minute… ๐Ÿ˜€

  24. 17highburyterrace says:

    Full time… Not good for my UMF nor my FFP, but so it goes… ๐Ÿ˜€

    Enjoy the rest of your Saturday…

  25. Nik says:

    United defeat always saves my day (even when my Laptop gets broke and I have to do university stuff on a Saturday)
    Great to see that I have sparked some discussion.
    Seems like all of us have various names in mind and the most annoying but also most exciting thing is that we have to wait and see what the boss comes up with.

    We’re going to finish about 10 points off Chelsea and judging on the season I think that’s about right.
    Based on first 11 and tactics I think they are that much better than we are. Also on the injury front. So these are the aspects to focus on for me.
    As I said which players come in and leave to achieve this will be down to the boss.

  26. TotalArsenal says:

    Nah Nik, just a bad start. Next year will be a lot better. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Second and FA Cup would be some achievement anyway.

  27. Retsub says:

    Well written Nik. I think we have to be very careful in protecting what we already have. This team has done pretty we’ll considering injuries etc and the last thing we need to do is tear it apart and put four new faces in.

    I think Ospina has done really, but if we had a really top notch keeper it would make a huge difference. How many times has the United keeper saved their bacon this season, similar story at Chelsea. If we had a top guy in goal it would certainly be worth a few extra points. I still have hopes for Szs, but he appears broken at the moment and I wouldn’t risk him at Wembley.

    Coquelin has been a revelation, but if he gets injured we do not have the quality to replace him. Pretty important we bring in another quality DM.

    Other than that unless real quality players became available I would leave the team alone. That said previous posts have identified 5 or 6 players who will be let go, so we will need replacements. Coquelin and Bellerin have proved we already have quality within. I am sure some of our younger players can step up to the mark.

    Nice of Van Pursestrings to miss the penalty. It certainly helps our cause.

  28. Admir says:

    Excellent piece, Nik! ๐Ÿ™‚ I agree with you – Henry is wrong when he speaks about spine. We don’t need that – we need a few additions and that’s it.

    When it comes to Chavs, I predicted they would win the title in August. Maureen knew where his team had lost the title last season, added a world-class striker and a quality replacement for him, added a world-class midfielder to relieve the burden from Hazard and returned his best goalkeeper from loan. He also addressed his problem with aging cash-loving left full-back and made both excellent starting eleven and a squad as such.

    We lost the title race because we hadn’t had a completed squad before January. Right now, I’d like to see a player in the mould of Giroud (Dลพeko?) as a cover for the Big Handsome Frenchman so we can use Welbeck permanently as a winger, a central midfielder that would help Coquelin arresting various perpetrators from the day one next season (Schneiderlin?) and a goalkeeper.

    I was thinking about Szczesny-situation a lot and there is one big thing that worries me. Remember when Maciej Szczesny, Wojciech’s father, attacked Arsene Wenger two-three years ago? Well, Chez responded quickly and defended his boss.

    When Szczesny Sr slammed Per Mertesacker and compared him to a rhino after that defeat against Southampton, I haven’t seen that Chez had reacted. And, if you think he shouldn’t have had, let me remind you that Per is the leader of defence (= the closest Szczesny’s associate in the team) and someone who is a real leader of the team as well so I can see Chez falling down in the eyes of his team-mates as well even if they say otherwise (like Per did after the rhino-story)..

  29. Gerry says:

    Ye s Nik a thought provoking post, but like HT, something for us to think along those lines nearer the end of the season? That said I know we are short of posters on here, but whilst TA has external things to deal with, which are far more important to him, as I indeed are my off field issues, so I think we are going to have to live with that for a while.

    However, the key thing you are missing from your post, because it is primarily based on the wishful thinking of TH14 v the more practical ideas of Souness … and let’s face it, he was pretty useless as a manager too, so the missing piece, so often over looked, is impact?

    You name 4 players you would release, but you might just as well have written in the names of Cazorla and Wilshere because the impact of a shiny new ball playing midfielder puts them in bit part roles for next season? Same to a degree with Mertersacker or Ospina. How come Rosicky and Arteta have suddenly got no more ambition to play than ‘a can be useful’ sub at times.

    The moment you dismiss all thought that players have desires from your thinking, and that the players are just tools to be picked and pluck with no regard to that, then you find the real world kicks in and you have a team disjointed and no unity and even less loyalty.

    I am sorry, but I disagree with the whole principle. We are in a building phase, not a rebuilding stage. I know it is partly the latter why you side with Souness, but your own ideas are just as disruptive as Henry’s in their own way?

    Fortunately, AW sees it differently.

  30. JM says:

    AW,
    โ€œLook we are not in a transfer period. We have to continue just to focus,โ€ he said.
    โ€œNinety-five per cent of the players will still be here next season.โ€œ
    โ€œAnd what is important is the attitude of this 95 per cent of the players and how much we improve, how much we push on now until the end of the season.โ€œ

  31. TotalArsenal says:

    Great theory, Admir, Szczesny is doomed.

  32. Gerry says:

    Thanks JM@10:15 – AW does indeed see it differently. ๐Ÿ˜€

  33. TotalArsenal says:

    Nice one JM and befitting of the next post ๐Ÿ™‚

    New Post New Post

  34. Nik says:

    Sorry for the late response Gerry
    The players I name to leave are Podolski, Diaby, Flamini, Sanogo, Campbell, Miyachi and Walcott.
    None of these players are first choice and none of them has played a lot all season. So I’m not sure why you would want anyone of those to stay anyway.
    Arteta and Rosicky of course have the desire to play as many games as possible, but both of them are only good enough for certain matches. I would never play Arteta against another big club because of his obvious lack of pace.

    I don’t really get your point about Cazorla… No matter who comes in Santi would still be first choice for me (along ร–zil, Giroud, Sanchez, an incoming winger and Coquelin or an incoming holding midfielder)
    I believe in order to challenge for the league title and to go further in the champions league and the cup competitions we need to improve our squad with a winger and a holding midfielder. We need these players to improve our first choice 11 as well as the depth of the squad and the competition for places.
    I don’t see how two additions and a couple of leaving players would disrupt the team and change anyone’s loyalty.

    Yes u I avoided mentioning Wilshere because I don’t know what to think… It’s impossible to plan the squad with him because of his injury problems

  35. Nik says:

    Concerning the 95% quote…It means that 1 or 2 players will leave, right?
    That would fit with what I sa.. Flamini and Walcott weil leave… The other players are not at the club atm anyway

  36. Gerry says:

    I actually though I was being reasonably clear Nik. But let me clarify.

    I think some of the confusion lies in how you determine ‘improve our squad’. Some of the time you refer to players coming as better than what we have already. Other times you are more vague. No 1, to replace Ospina for example. The midfielder that you think we need, and name two options, either of whom would be on a big wage and would expect regular football. You don’t say they are replacing Coquelin, and certainly for the bigger games we would want both. Unfortunately that is the position Cazorla has been playing.
    Now I think AW is trying to build a team around Ozil, Alexis, and Giroud up front. Hence my thinking that it leaves Cazorla without a playing position, as having him out wide doesn’t work as well when Ozil plays. And you are similarly taking the same stance with Wilshere?
    I hope that fills in some of the dotted lines as to how I came to my conclusion?

    But talking of confused thinking, or writing, you say we should get rid of a couple of players, and then promptly name six, and then throw in Walcott. The latter, plus Flamini, I think are the only ones named in the current squad? It is these squad numbers that need to be looked at?

    I am afraid you were still just thinking ‘Arsenal’ when talking of Arteta and Rosicky. If they have a desire to play more there are a host of clubs that would be happy to have them, albeit at a considerable drop in wages, but get regular game time. They know they are at the back end of their careers, but might still want to do more than what you are suggesting?

    But as far as transfers go, as you have rightly pointed out it largely depends on who is available Also who else is after them? So I am with AW on this, let us see how well we finish off the league, and equally how well we do at Wembley, before deciding who needs to be upgraded. Wilshere a prime example of someone who could spring a Coquelin-esque surprise and make himself undroppable? If he stays fit, then AW is quite right, his best years are still to come … but we had that hope for Diaby once upon a time. But again, an injury free Diaby would be the ideal player to alternate with Coquelin?

    I believe AW has a clear idea as to who he would like to bring in, and if a quality player on his list is there to be had he will do his best to; a, keep it a secret, and b, pay a big fee. But that will be only addition this window of super quality, and will not involve a Steve-esque clearout.
    The SQ in may push somebody in the squad to the background, with a possible sale in twelve months time. That trick will be repeated again in 12 months time.

    For the rest of it, there will be replacements for those leaving, but they will be under the radar buys at low cost to be used a back ups while he sorts out who comes through from the academy who will be the future back ups until they prove their worth like Bellerin.

    So on that basis, where do you think the position of two SQ buys will be, spread over the next two summer TW’s. One this year one next … probably?

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