Monday Morning (Transfer) Merry-Go-Round: Arsenal On the Outside Looking In?

Why Aren’t WE on the playground!!!  😦

Arsenal are in Singapore which means our players will soon be taking the pitch.  😀

More importantly, perhaps, manager Arsene Wenger will be taking the podium and answering questions.  Do Gooners (and the media who, ostensibly, serve them) care about the players who have come to play or do they want to know about our actions in the transfer window?  Let’s see…

From the above, AW seems happy to talk about both.  Modern football management dictates an ability to focus on the moment at hand but also to spin the bigger picture in a manner which keeps the fans happy.  Getting his current group of players fit and ready for the matches which matter (West Ham United at home, our first league match, is less than 4 weeks away) is one focus.  Allowing others to rest but having them eager and ready to come in and contribute is another.  Giving chances to youth players and determining which of them might make the first team rosters and which should be available for loans or transfers is yet another.  Still, a quick scan of the news aggregators and you would think these issues matter hardly a whit.  Concluding the transfer business which might fill out the squad for the bigger moments in the season ahead (and in future seasons) seems the biggest issue for Gooners.

Managing ALL of these (plus a thousand other details) is the job at hand.  What to do when it comes to managing the expectations of the supporters is the area where the most finesse is needed…especially as transfer news by other clubs is announced.

Raheem Sterling to Manchester City for 49 Million Pounds is the big one.  Bastian Schweinsteiger AND Morgan Schneiderlin to Manchester United is also major, major news.  Chelsea seem to have wrapped up Asmir Begovic (from Stoke City) as their #2 keeper to replace the guy (Petr Cech) they sold to us.  The carousel is well and truly in motion.

For every player on the move–in deals which actually seem to be happening–a hundred others are mooted.  If United are re-making their midfield with the German midfield legend and the rising French star–both of whom many a Gooner coveted–what’s next for their attack?  With Robin van Turkey, er, Judas, er Persie off to Fenerbache and Radamel Falcao switched to Chelsea, who does Louis Van Gaal fancy to get the goals?  A switch of high profile South Americans (Angel Di Maria and Edinson Cavani) with Paris St. Germain seems in the works.   All extremely exciting if you’re a United supporter but will all these new signings hit the ground running?

Who will Liverpool spend the Sterling money on?  Are Chelsea actually content enough with their squad so that back-up keepers are the only sort of business required?

It’s enough to make a Gooner’s head spin.  With spinning heads–and open mouths leaking not a small amount of drool–things can get messy…

Fortunately (for most Gooners, at least) Our Messy–Mesut Ozil–seems to be going nowhere despite headlines about his “shock exit.”  Ideas that Juventus were in for him have been dismissed by the manager.  Wenger: “Ozil is our player.  He will remain our player and he wants to remain our player.  It is a big season for him because he had a difficult start last year and in the second part of the season he was very important.  There are many offensive players who have an important season in front of them but I’m confident because I think they have the quality.  Ozil understands the rhythms of English football and he has improved his defensive attitude. He works hard and offensively he is a top class player.”  And so, a day of mourning begins on the Isle of Wight.  😀

Boring, boring Arsenal–or so it seems…

Wenger probably wishes supporters could appreciate what we’ve already got and see that our current players, playing together, have room for improvement.  Still, the lust for more (and more and more…) is probably endemic to our culture and those questions come as well.  The manager responds:  “That doesn’t depend only on us.  It depends on whether we can find them, but if we can find one or two players we will do it.”

What say you, fellow Gooners?  Is one or two players enough?  Who should those players be?  Who are these “many offensive players” who have an important season in front of them?   Moreover, what do you think about the business our rivals are doing.  Do these moves catapult them ahead of us or are they signs of desperation?

We can also talk about the newest links–Faouzi Ghoulam seemed on the radar yesterday but today’s latest link to the city which invented pizza is Jose Callejon.  I guess Gonzalo Higuain is over the bar or in the side netting.  I watched a little Napoli football (late in the Italian league season) and I know what I think (Faouzi who? Jose no thanks, Gonzo si, especially if he’s lowered his price with his failures in Santiago…) but that’s just me.

More fun might be to invent our own.  Take off the shroud, steve, and demand a Javi Martinez or an Alex Lacazette.  Others, name your faves or, if you believe that such news is bad for the business actually getting done, we can use initials or talk in code.  Certainly I wouldn’t want Bergkampesque to be responsible for us losing the next Messi or Ronaldo.

In other words…Go on then… Who do you love?

Happy–and Transferry–Monday  😀

By 17highburyterrace

32 thoughts on “Monday Morning (Transfer) Merry-Go-Round: Arsenal On the Outside Looking In?

  • Not buying Schneiderlin looks like a mistake but we can put it right if we do indeed buy Javi Martinez and restore him to his favoured DM role (he can drop into central defense if needed making hima two birds with one stone signing). While Upfront we ought to be buying non-champions league playing Reus or Cavani or Benzema. Just get one of them in Arsene. Those would be my two at the top end of Muzzi’esque dreaming. Arsene will sign Pogba now…

  • Good point 17ht

    Personally I think Cech was our major buy and will have the biggest effect. Other than cover for Le Coq, I think we are fairly well covered. However many will disagree when I say I think our two players who can be season changers are Rambo, who when he is firing on all cylinders is one of the top players in the prem and Theo, who if he can stay fit and get his GPS in line is as good a finisher as many of the top notch strikers.

    I am not a fan of Sterling and am happy to see City wasting more of their (seemingly) endless cash flow. Nice to see QPR benefit though.

    The United acquisitions are however more worrying. They will certainly add some steel to the side.

  • Welcome Simon… No time to look into the extent of J. Martinez’ injury problems or how realistic it is that we might buy him… Pogba seems one for ManCity or Real Madrid, I would think…

    retsub, My thought re: United is that LvG thinks he has bought himself enough good will by finishing 4th so that he can go back to his 3 (or 5) at the back idea. Clearly he’s willing to endure plenty of turnover with his players… Let’s see if they can get off to a good start–including those 2 extra CL qualifiers they’ve got to play… Also, aren’t United gonna need to find themselves a keeper… Gotta start reading AS and Marca, I guess…

    We’ve got a little luxury on that account and a ll signs point (IMO) to buying value for money much nearer the deadline… Of course, there are few clubs who can actually shop in our price bracket so, once the others spend their money, we can do our business as well… Overall–and I hate to say this to those who love the transfer season–it seems to get more obvious (and boring, maybe) as the (financially) stronger clubs beat down the weaker ones…

  • But I wanted us to buy Morgan ShinyThing 😭
    It’s not fair….

  • Ha ha HT/TA – NOW you want me to talk in code!?

    There are several bloggers who get their ideas from things written on these pages, and their blogs generate more blogs ….. etc.

    I think I have made it be known who I think AW may have his eye on in many a pre-window comment. I also think he has a very short list of players he would like to come from our academy, and will make a judgement on attitude, industry, and improvement during these pre-season games. Others may be destined for a season long loan, like Ainsley Maitland-Niles. (It may be a French thing that AW refers to him as Niles-Maitland?).
    THey are in order of expectation;
    Of the others, Gnabry is a late starter, and did not play for Germany during the summer, so he is going to have less time to prove himself. Crowley will still make the squad as ‘home grown’ but likely to go out on loan. Bielik isn’t covered by the above status, so tight whether he gets a squad number? Toral will really have to look impressive if he is not to have another loan, or leave?

    My choices:
    Benzema was one, and clearly phone calls may have happened. The only thing strange about that one surfacing was KB saying he wanted to stay, but it seemed to be the club that was offering him for sale? That may have legs later in the window?

    I don’t think we will be hanging on until closing day this time. This early start to the season, and every club aware that a good start is essential.
    Man U were our biggest rivals for similar players, as the MS saga showed. If they do the PSG swap, De Maria for Cavani, that would take them out of our striker area. We have done our keeper business, so they can include Kaylar Navas as part of the De Gea deal. CB could be a problem if they don’t get Hummels. Otherwise they are not a problem.
    Chelsea look to be well stocked, except again, a CB to replace Terry at some point?
    Man City look to be aiming high, if Pogba is on their list, and that would give Juve some money to spend?
    Liverpool will have money to spend, but their lack of CL games makes it hard for them to compete with us … along with London v Liverpool?
    Tottenham similar, but without the money?

    All in all, I think our transfer business will be wrapped up before or during the Emirates Cup. Although they may still fill out places in the academy.
    If we are in the market for FB’s, either side, then I would expect the senior one of the current quartet to be departing. Unless the arrival can play CB.

    I think we will get an attacking mid to cover for Alexis, and to play wide when both play.
    Similarly a striker with or without Giroud.

    The DM is an open door for Hayden, if he can take it.

    Walcott dithering may just subsidise the first pair???

    Hilarious Arseblog Arsecast suggests something similar.

  • Hahaha great piece HT, ahhh Ozil to Juve, that would have been a great bit of business lol, alas twas not to be.

    As far as TW signings though i think i may have given you the wrong impression. I like suggesting candidates because i watch a lot of footy and see quite a few players that would fit our style (many of whom get linked to us anyway) but as far as what i really think when push comes to shove, well that’s a different story.
    Its taken me god knows how long to see many of the guys i used to rave about when they were in the youth (yep that’s not a new thing i do now lol) break into the first team and flourish (Gibbs, Coq, Ramsey, Wilshere and lately Bellerin), now i want to see that cycle continue. Before it was the losses of our top players like Cliche, Nasri, Fabregas, Sagna etc that must have played a massive part in getting the relatively young guys pushed through to where i wanted to see them – in the first team, i really wouldn’t want to completely reverse that trend by buying in high profile players in all these different positions and blocking off the youngsters progression up into the first team – it is still (as you well know) pissing me off that Ozil is doing just that to Wilshere atm i don’t want to add to my annoyances lol.
    Take the DM situation (a prime example), i will give suggestions like Martinez because imo that’s a good shout to how we play and with his maybe bargain price due to recent injury its a good shout considering how we tend to buy as well. However if you ask me would i rather see Coq nailed on as number one for that spot and Hayden supporting him – yes definitely, all day long 🙂
    Problem is i have been saying that for ages and TW signing speculation at least gives me something else to talk about even if i don’t really support the overall outcome if most were to have their way of big spending.

    The way i see it we have great competition in all areas of the pitch and my biggest gripe always arises from the decision as to who makes the starting XI. For example i think Wilshere should be in ahead of Ozil and OX in ahead of Ramsey, either GP5 or CC21 in ahead of BFG etc etc. But you know these mad ideas i have already lol, and no doubt we shall get back to arguing them quite soon – about a months time or so 🙂
    So i’m actually quite happy as we stand now (squad wise, not starting line up wise):


    ——————The OX———Hayden——————-

    If i was really pressed to make some star signings they would be replacements not additions to the first team as to not stunt the development of the youth players anymore than the current situation.

    Benzema for Giorud
    Van Dijk or another top class CB for BFG
    And at a push maybe Draxler in case either Gnabry or Silva don’t progress as hoped, but then we haven’t given them a chance to do so yet so even this would maybe be premature.

    Job done 🙂

    You never gave us your suggestions bud?

  • Thanks for the comments, Gerry and steve…and for the rehash of your, er, perspectives… I must admit I get confused when some names are stumped up (comment upon comment, week upon week for the match line-ups…) If you’re actively watching these guys play and think they could make the jump to the level of the first team (and the pressures it is under…) then all is good. If it’s just a highlight reel you’re watching from the Spanish 2nd division or an U-19 comp, that’s another thing entirely… 😀

    My thought is that AW gets his orders from above and we are thus “opportunity” buyers…If a player is available for less than our valuation–regardless of position–he will pique our interest. Simply put, the valuations that get put out there are just plain silly–but at least they help skew things back towards the selling clubs. For example, Begovic to the Chelsea bench gives Stoke a bit of money for guys like Glen Johnson…and a chance for Jack Butland…Of course if he plays well, look for him to get snapped up by Pool or one of the Manc teams… Bottom line, OFF the merry-go-round = boring, but good… To be truthful, I don’t follow the transfer news too closely…I looked a little closer today and the one that caught my attention was Yohan Cabaye to Crystal Palace…That Pardieu is a sneaky one…

    I think there will be some opportunity with all the turnover at the biggest clubs in Spain, Germany, France and Italy and we could swoop in for somebody… I gotta disagree with Gerry about the need to get off to a good start being a spur to business. Anybody transferring in–at any time in the window and for any team–cannot be expected to do a real job and mesh with his teammates from the get-go. Teams buy with an eye to the entire length of the contract offered, not the match to match perspective the fans bring…

    As for my own specific suggestions…I think I need to look at the Spanish papers and get away from the NewsNow stuff and, like I say, I think I’ve got time… I’ll say this…glaring misses in Santiago notwithstanding, I prefer Higuain to most other forwards in the window…Perhaps he missed those chances on purpose (just as Di Maria pulled up lame…) to help lower his price and/or force a move… 😀

  • Had to laugh at an article on News Now showing Wengers worst team. One of the players was Jerermy Alladiere and the reason he didn’t suceed??? He couldn’t displace Henry or Bergkamp in the first team!!!!

  • HT in a week in which we see Sterling (basically a teenager) go for almost £50 mill you have to start to appreciate why guys like me track the youth development so vehemently, what was it last year – Luke Shaw i think for £30 mill at the age of 18 and there are plenty more.
    Some guys are ready for the big time with a little support and more experience and i for one would rather give them that rather than sign over them with new players.
    Don’t forget also that what you are realistically talking about is a bench place not an automatic starting position. Talented youth is a perfect fit for having top quality available replacements who will at the same time be happy enough to play second fiddle to the likes of Sanchez, Ozil, Ramsey etc etc
    We were telling you Bellerin could do a job there and look what happened, of the many others available i think Hayden, Akpom, Gnabry and A-M-N are, if not destined for a loan move, then ready to sit on the bench as replacements for the main guys.
    Don’t forget OX and Wilshere are only 22 and 23 respectively and they easily make the first team for me at least.
    You joke about the conviction of this perspective and being confused about why we keep putting these names forward but stay tuned bud, the likes of Wilshere, OX, Coq, Chambers, Bellerin etc won’t be the last names you hear doing well that have (as far as you must know) come out of nowhere, they will be well known to the ones who have watched them play and develop through the ranks at Arsenal.
    I suppose you will have never really seen the likes of Zelalem, Crowley and Akpom play so this upcoming tournament will be a real treat mate trust me (should they get game time). imo the two midfielders are still too undeveloped to be near the first team atm but still it should give you a glimpse of what some of us keep track of and maybe why we like to see it given every opportunity to progress.

  • Hey steve… No problem from me and, as always, not looking for a fight… Bellerin and Le Coq were a couple of excellent stories… Two youth (or off the radar) guys making it into the first team is a great return. I bet if I were in London I’d make it a point to see the CapOne cup matches or some of the reserve games–I’m muy codo (cheap) as they say in Espan(y)ol–so I could also try to pick the next one or two… (Pity that you–and Gerry–didn’t respond to my previous post… 😦 …) Keep the scouting reports coming, however, I say…

    Nonetheless, constantly stumping for a full phalanx of youth players can cause a numbing effect–esp. when you suggest (by omission) that they could slot right in for the likes of Ozil. You may not like it that he jumps out of 50-50 challenges, but I see that as a smart thing…The fitness records of many a would be Diaby (youth teamer w/great talent) only make them less recognizable (than the guy we just released) to the more jaundiced… Getting a jog-round with the first team is nice but if those fellas can’t get more than an occasional bench seat they might not be fit enough for a loan spell in the more rough and tumble leagues (or the lower part of the PL).

    Speaking of would-be Diabys… (And Jack the lad needs to avoid that label…badly, I’d say…) Schweinie for a near record 50 million or therabouts sounds like Di Maria all over again. I guess it all depends on player sales and old man Carrick can probably do a job if he can keep up his own fitness. Blind seems a useful player and sort of the new Fletcher or Park… Schneiderlin is a bigger boy and pretty strong in the challenge and *should* have many good years ahead…Hard to know how serious his fitness issues were last season…

    Overall, I think we’re going to see a LOT of rotation at the rear of midfield. Le Coq and Chambers were not a good pairing on New Years Day at So’ton, but leaving those spots for the likes of them plus Santi, Arteta, Wilshere, Ramsey and Flamini isn’t the end of the world. Somebody young (and off the radar) seems a shout. For me, that includes Isaac Hayden (and the more expensive Polish kid) who I haven’t seen in any kind of meaningful action, so maybe we’re all set. Most Gooners, I’m guessing, won’t be happy until somebody is rampaging (and getting sent off) in Vieiraesque style… Is it at all possible that we’ve moved beyond such needs?…

  • re your “not looking for a fight” comment HT, not sure if that’s just a figure of speech or something but just in case sorry if that last comment came across in that way, was definitely not my intention, i am hoping more that you will be pleasantly entertained by the select few young guns the boss decided to take on tour with him 🙂

    As for your last post i am going to have to admit i never read it bud sorry, i have time off atm and when its sunny i’m outside like its an addiction lol crappy days (like it was today) and my mind starts a wondering towards the footy and so of course to this place 🙂 I will give it a read later on tonight mate 🙂

    Oh and you know me bud the only young player i want to see slot straight into Ozil’s spot is Wilshere 🙂 lol
    Out of curiosity if Ozil was to get injured who would you put in that no.10 role?

    The days of the rampaging red card midfielders are over mate otherwise we could just sign Lee Cattermole lol, it is now the task of being physical, strong, tenacious and clever in the tackle – what those of us who want this type of DM are looking for is the quintessential difference between Arteta and Le Coq. For too long the scale has been tipped too far on the side of elegance in the passing and technique and not enough on the actual gritty defensive work and covering (which takes a lot of stamina) of the DM role, which is why Le Coq was such a breath of fresh air and such a revelation as regards the performances of the team in general, there are plenty of others to supply the elegance. I hope that is enough to satisfy the guys you were describing because a red card collector would just be madness.

    Jesus man! thats a long post (previous), just opened it on a new page as i was finishing this – might take me a while lol, cuppa tea time me thinks 🙂

  • Good post 17, but why no frisbee references? 😉

    I’ve had a feeling, ever since we signed Petr Cech, that that was pretty much that…
    We have a really good squad, which imo, can only improve as a group.
    Shad Forsythe and the fitness team are crucial to that end.

    I had hoped that AW would make a move for Vidal, but that train has left the station it seems…
    I keep on hearing Reus mentioned, and there’s no doubt that he’s a great player.
    Likewise Gotze, but I don’t see either of them at the Grove any time soon…

    Draxler could be an outside bet ?

    And, as mentioned on Arseblog today, will Liverpool, their pockets stuffed full of City gold, come sniffing around Master Walcott?

  • Um guys, its one more day to Wednesday. So, TA, can we do the preview?

    Before that, allezkev, I do not think that Theo or even Wenger will talk to the fools. Get their defense sorted out first before going for attacking players. Really shameless.

    17ht, Schneiderlin and Schweini buys for manu** is a weird deal.. this means either manu** play with 2 DM, or leave one of them on the bench most of the time. Neither one would like their bottoms being glued to the bench I reckon.

    Back to Martinez. If Wenger gets him and like Henry transforms him to a world class player it will be a huge asset. However going the diaby way will be bad. Like diaby.

    Hope my post isn’t hashes and 010101.. 😁

  • is there a preview in the mix!? excellent news!!
    i will take nothing less than a 100% accurate line-up prediction – good luck 😆 😆 😆

  • And um guys, the away kit launch is on at 1pm to 2 pm British time.

    We will finally see them in the gold away jerseys as Singapore side are tipped to wear red.

  • Morning JK…

    Yes, I wouldn’t want Arsenal to have anything to do with Liverpool, but in the end it all comes down to economics and whether Theo signs his new deal or not befor September 2nd…
    Hopefully Theo will sign, play games up front and have an explosive next few years.
    But money talks and the Scousers have £49 mill burning a hole in their pocket…

    Are you going to any of the games?

  • HT – re the last post, I apologised in advance. It was not a good day for me.

    It also was not a good subject for me to comment on. The last time I spoke of my past links, I got the name wrong. I said it was Dennis Wise in my cab, but my mate, who has a far better recall of former Coventry players, told me it would have been Dave Speedie, also an ex-Chelsea player. But with both being niggly b*st*rds on and off the field I refuse to apologise to either.
    As for sporting achievements myself, I am more with the chess-man.
    Here endeth!

    I am much more with Steve on this case of Youth v ‘Bought blockers’ … to a point.

    I do not think we have anybody of any age who could replace Alexis, should he have a serious injury this season. The latter is highly possible, given his style of play and the way rotational fouling goes on. Yes, we could get by short term, a couple of games may be, but the energy he gives to the team is what would be missed most?
    That of course is the other bonus that comes with a major signing, the lift in confidence?
    As seen by the Cech signing.

    Steve named my choice yesterday, and there is another link today- rehash of an ‘Express link earlier. A lot will depend of whether they get the ‘fat boy’ from Switzerland’ before Liverpool, and thus move on their guy. That is what I meant about pieces not quite in place yet. However, it was interesting in that the article on NewsNow says at the end exactly what I have been saying, except they missed it, when they named the 3 clubs that would be rivals for his signature. All three have already done their business, or are looking elsewhere, Man U for De Bruyne for example. In fact Chelsea got Kenedy who was one of Steve’s alternative – btw Steve, I did not watch all of his Yu Tube vid, both the only goals I saw scored were ones he got himself. Not one assist?? And you criticise JD? Pah! – Real Madrid, who knows who they might go for, but unlikely to be him, more likely to challenge United for the above? That would leave Liverpool if they miss out on Shaqiri, but I’d favour our CL qualification to win out..
    There is another plus to this signing, should he not have an injury plagued career, he would be peaking when Alexis might move on?

    The reason I go for a striker is slightly more complex. It starts with AW wanting the league title before he retires. Despite others strengthening, I do think our team unity will play a big part in key battles. So this could be the big push forwards, and to do that, as I have said before, I think we need a pacey alternative up top to pick up points where we dropped them last season? Not always at the exclusion of Giroud either. So the brief of getting the ‘right’ striker is someone who is; clinical, quick, skilful(naturally), but also willing to supply assists as well as goals..
    Does this hold up Akpom’s progress? Yes in the short-term. But he will develop into a better player if he is given longer to mature into the role, imo.
    Just as I think Szczesney will when he emerges from Cech’s shadow.

    Regards Hayden. I think if he had not got his training ground injury he would have been already embedded into the first team. Indeed the Coquelin recall may never have happened, he was that close to a regular spot. Two things I like about him are that he is very dedicated to being the best he can be, and so he takes on board advice/criticism. He is also self critical and knows what he needs to do to improve.
    He also compliments Coquelin physically, and both read the game very well. He too is an organiser. It could happen? Although, an under the radar Serbian named Savic might put a dampener on things? One thing for certain, the DM spot on tour looks like being a 4-way battle as to who starts alongside Coquelin; Santi, the current holder, Ramsey, with the experience, Hayden, the up and comer, and just possibly Ox being trained up for this role? JW’s ‘new position’ I think will higher up the field – maybe a deeper lying position behind Ozil?
    However, if Hayden gets a chance against Stoke or Everton I think he will advance his cause.

    One of those two game I think is on BT Sport – Thanks Steve for the earlier correction, I forgot who was advertising what!

    One final thing HT – I disagree about us waiting to pounce on value over AW’s head. Welbeck was one of those, and I think AW will push for his choices as soon as they arrive this time around? Most of the big deals are being done now, so players that get moved on late in the window will be of a lower order, both in money terms and capability?

    Well that is my 20p fir the day, enjoy …

  • Gerry, I still prefer Olly and poldi in attack.. no one can replace them.. partner them with pacy wingers and you get goals. Lots of them.

    However poldi is gone, we need someone on the same level as poldi.

    For me, its really good to see the boys training. They look really really fit and that’s what it takes to play at the very top. Our local lads are just as fit, but if they earn as much as the boys they will work doubly hard.

    I would prefer Hayden and zelalem to step up, and while zelalem will be a good cover for Cazorla and Hayden, well, he might be a good cover for Coq, we just need a good striker. If iwobi or other lads can make the grade in the tough conditions in Singapore, then we will make it through half the season without a backup striker.

    So Gerry, u reckon how much this warrants?

  • Make that my 19p’s worth, as I don’t think Hayden travelled out there?
    It is a bit deja vu-ish, as I feel I went down this road before. I also thought I saw a picture of him in training..

  • Gerry, not sure but j ra is reportedly replaced by Hayden so am not sure too.

  • My bad. Hayden is not in the squad.. j r-a is not in the squad too, replaced by Jon toral.

  • NjkSG, i’m not as well versed as Gerry but i will give you my opinion 🙂
    In Zelalem and Crowley i see the exact same conflict for their position as i see in wilshere and Ozil, with pretty much the exact same arguments for and against the selection decision and the position itself is undoubtedly the no.10 role (from my point of view at least).
    Zelalem = Ozil
    Crowley = Wilshere
    Ones a dribbling, direct, forward moving player and the other is a clever, precision passing, space finding ninja – the similarities are quite astounding tbh.
    However both should be kept as far away from the deep lying midfield position as possible imo, even though Zelalem has been played there in the past, i don’t think it did his game any favors (although he did put in good performances there), and we have seen how good Cazorla has been since he moved there so i could be well off base but its just my opinion.

    As far as strikers are concerned i thought Iwobi was never really going to come good but towards the end of the season (in the U21’s) when he got moved into that more central role he really put in some great performances – which is probably why Wenger is having a look to see if he can carry that type of performance on to the bigger stage on tour. My money in this department is on Akpom but we shall see 🙂

    If i had to pick an U21 team that resembles as close as possible the first team it would look something like this: (haven’t seen enough of Bielik to judge yet)

    Gnabry————-Zelalem or Crowley————–Iwobi

    Gerry may see things differently though 🙂

    Otherwise striker wise, to replace Podolski from outside the club – probably Benzema would be top of my list.

    A-M-N is Ainsley Maitland-Niles btw, i’ll try not to be as cryptic as Gerry 🙂
    He’s my shout for the Vieira type player everybody is always looking for and has played very well in both defensive minded positions of DM and RB as well. He’s gone out on loan to Ipswich this season so i hope he develops well. (pretty good at the cross bar challenge as well)

    As for Iwobi, this was one of his best matches:

  • I haven’t seen much of Jon toral since he left the academy on loan so i am eager to see how he has developed – Gerry you got any input on this one?
    I’m pretty pissed off Hayden and Silva didn’t get a place on the tour though, i really wanted to see those two guys.

  • I’ve just had a catnap so I will see I sense I can make this time around ..
    Starting with J Toral – He had a bit of a purple spell at Brentford, but as with a lot of loan players he had difficulties holding his place when their regulars were pushing for a place. So a bit hit and miss really.
    His mate Olsonn who went permanently to the surprise Danish Champions no doubt ended up with League Championship medal … That is the way it goes …
    Steve you are also right on the Crowley/Zelalem comparison.

    Sticking with your post – The Under 21’s doesn’t quite match your comments re Iwobi. I would have him in the middle, Akpom wide left, Henrye-sque, and J R-A/Gnabs on the right. Behind them either C or Z, and behind the lot Hayden, who like Bellerin, only when not in the senior side. 😀
    The missing full back would be Bola, as he has just sign a new deal, and is pretty good. Different style to B54, probably more Monreal than Gibbs.

    The comment on Zelalem brings in NijSG’s point of preference. Those who saw him play for the USA saw the two sides of him – The anonymous and the awesome.
    I suspect, when teams know what he can do they can mark him out of the game. That may be partly his lack of Ozil’s off ball movement into space. But that will come. They were big physically in the second game, where he showed his awesome side. So it is not that that intimidates him. In that game he was pretty near untouchable. There is a video showed ALL his 28 touches, not just a select few from different angles, and he only lost possession once.
    If he could bottle that for 90 minutes he would make Ozil look like Eboue on a bad day 😀

    But that was at Under 21 level, and he was only 17.
    Crowley is certainly the more consistent. Jack MK11 in almost every respect, good and not so good. He has an offer to go to Brum on loan, which being a Coventry lad he can stay with his family a bit more.

    NijSG – I think you may interpret my reason for wanting a striker as more with the Olly out brigade. I don’t. But I don’t think the PTB teams suit his game so well. The way I see what AW is trying for is to get 4 or 5 players who will be on permanent breakout duty the moment we win possession back in our half. They not only have to be very quick, but also be able to beat their man to get the ball in the box in no more than 3 passes. Olly’s great strength is his hold up play, not dribbling around a CB. His touch with his left is great, but to use that it is created by his timing of runs and turns. His heading has improved, but it is still not his best asset.
    So if I am right about AW’s plans, there will be plenty of opportunities for him. But we need the right combination to do this.

    Another penn’orth from me.

  • Interesting story brewing about Ozil ‘demanding talks’ with AW?

    As usual, many have got the gist of the problem, but not the actual reason?
    The Juve ‘bid’ came out of the blue, so one suspects they got wind of something a little before the Sun broke the story?

    I think this has more to do with Wilshere looking particularly chipper these days than around Cup Final day? If said Wilshere has been told that he has a new role in the attacking midfield area, and that largely at the expense of Cazorla, and the end of that relationship, then Mesut is going to get a bit miffed, as the story puts it.
    They think it is because he has been played out wide that is the cause. I think far more likely, that when he was told he was to be more central, in the No 10 position, he did not know at the time that he would be sharing with JW?
    He does now.

    this was an accident waiting to happen. AW trying to fit everybody into the team.
    The only way I see JW and Ozil working in the same team and still producing top performances would be for Jack to play slightly behind Mesut, and he goes to where Ozil isn’t.
    Do I think he has the discipline to do that? No.
    Simplest way is to keep them apart, imo.

    We shall see how it lines up tomorrow, but if AW wants to keep our fine form going from the back end of last season, perhaps somebody should remind him that Wilshere wasn’t a part of that for much of the time?

  • Completely agree Gerry neither deserves to be put out on the wing and they can’t both take up that middle role, one has to do some bench sitting. Lets hope Juve put a bigger bid in, problem solved 🙂

  • Gullible Gerry…. You like to believe what suits your fantasies, fears and hopes and the press love people like you. Ozil is of course going nowhere and neither has he demanded talks with Arsene, just a load of arse.. 😳

    And there are many ways to fit both Ozil and Jack in. Here is an example:

    Back four

    You see neither Jack or Mesut is in the middle and yet it would work a treat. 🙂

  • hahaha TA i was just agreeing with Gerry to bring up the Ozil transfer and wind him up, of course it can work – both were playing when Jack started to come back into the team at the end of the season and it looked pretty good in the 4 – 1 win over West Brom.
    However i do think it wouldn’t be “as good” as keeping it simple and having two wingers either side of just one CAM type player, be it Ozil or Jack.
    Your suggestion is bloody terrible lol
    Alexis would stick to his role in the middle and all Jack and Ozil would do is drift inward, not to mention Ramsey would maraud forward to join them.
    It would just be a squeezed version of this 😆

    ——–Back four——-

    We don’t need width lol

  • yeah Steve, that is what you, Gerry and even the American-KIWI prof like to think, but both Jack and Mesut are great in working the space and using the overlapping wing-backs and Ollie to combine with. It is the future as well, as Wenger will not play anymore with traditional wingers.

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