Thinking Through Thursday–Transfers? Tinkering? Tough Talk?–Tell The Truth


“Benzema Transfer Complete!”  “Arsenal bid 50 Million for Star Stiker–not Benzema!”  “Big European Club (or at least the 3rd club in Istanbul…) in for Ozil!”


Where does this stuff come from?  Why is there a market for it?  What the hell is going on here?

What is TRULY going on at Arsenal?  Are we done in the market and set for the season?  Other teams are signing players (and winning their matches), mustn’t we match them?

What is Wenger Thinking?!?

We have to wait until Monday for our next (big, huge, season-defining) match, so maybe it’s a little early to start dissecting that one.  (So, instead, we can–try to–dissect the torture, er, transfer window…)  It will be a big one, of course, as Liverpool are a strong team and will want to take advantage of our wobbly–if not non-existent–home form.  At the same time, as they already sit on 6 points, having eked out a couple of 1-nil victories in their first two matches, it’s one they will probably approach with a nothing-to-lose mentality.  Arsenal, on the other hand, have no such luxury and, must approach it as (another) “Must-Win” match.

Why?  Because of our “inactivity” in the market and our millions of pounds in the bank.  If we’re so good, the logic goes, why aren’t we crushing our (lowly) opponents OR improving the team through the market?

The answer is…wait for it…because…the logic is flawed.

Unfortunately, the team with the better individuals doesn’t always win AND stocking up on even more good players doesn’t always translate to instant success.  (It’s also bad for the game, but maybe that’s another topic entirely…)

The best example might be in our own team!  So far we’ve made one signing, goalkeeper Petr Cech, and what has he done?  Cost us points!  How many more signings (and how many more points dropped) can we afford?

I jest, of course, but I do believe there is some truth in there.  Signings in the transfer window can add quality and competition for places (depth) but they cannot be seen as ends in themselves.  Players are humans, after all, and–no matter how much they cost–they come with human frailties. It should also be noted that players who transfer–at least from the biggest clubs–do so because they’re not having success (or getting enough playing time) at those clubs.

Cech has looked less than fully confident and goals against have been the result.  Talk from the defenders is that they need more time to work together and learn how to play as a unit. The talk in pre-season was that Cech would net us a dozen extra points.  The talk now is that he owes us 15.

Like I say, when you look at it this way, it’s not about all that money in the bank, it’s about dropping points by trying to integrate new players (people, with their proclivities and personalities)… The season has barely started, but, again, how many more signings can we afford?… 😀

It’s always tempting to believe a new piece to the puzzle will solve our issues.  But is that really what’s going on here?  What about some of the (other) pieces we’ve retained?

They may be less exciting, but could the contract extensions–or players we’ve kept–be puzzle pieces which might just work a treat?  Theo Walcott was the big one, but his extension was announced alongside one for Santi Cazorla.  Last Spring, Captain Mikel Arteta, despite a campaign mostly lost to injury, also had his contract extended.  My hunch is that all three of these players will play significant roles for Arsenal this season.  (Jack Wilshere, another mooted for a huge money move and Tomas Rosicky, gaining further football years through injury, could also contribute if their fitness issues resolve.)

Already, Santi has looked very good reprising his deeper lying role next to Francis Coquelin at the rear of our midfield, and, when Coquelin looked a worry for a second yellow card at Crystal Palace, bringing in Arteta to play alongside Santi seemed to settle things and allow us to see out the victory.  Walcott has yet to feature as a starter (and didn’t add much as a substitute in the disappointing opener vs West Ham) but the Liverpool match might be his chance.  It’s pretty amazing to think that we’ve got a player who would have commanded a large fee (on top of the large salary he has garnered) biding his time and waiting for his chance.

In other words, it may be boring, but (I believe) this Arsenal team is not far off.  Do I think we could add quality and depth and competition for places by dipping into the market?  Yes, yes I do.  Maybe.  Probably (in a position or two, but perhaps at the cost of squad unity and confidence).   Should we be freaking out just because Chelsea and Man City are completing deals (Pedro Rodriguez and Nicolas Otamendi were just announced–so much for ‘financial fair play” rules) and Manchester United, Liverpool and Spurs are sure to roll the dice again before the window closes?  No, I don’t.  Is change for the sake of change what supporters need?  Is the grass always greener?

In truth, I think it is possible to burn your lawn by adding too much of the rich stuff.  Thank Dennis the deadline day is (finally) in sight.  If we can find value for money for players who will add REAL quality and depth to the squad (and fit into the strong team dynamic) there could be a trigger (or two) to be pulled.  Otherwise, I say it’s time to stand behind the team as it’s already comprised (including new signing Cech and the lads who’ve had their contracts extended) and shun the hit-whoring sites ‘announcing’ (or announcing announcers announcing) about the new mega-signings.

In other words let’s just focus on the football, boring as it may be.  It’s a long season and one which can only be played a match at a time.  As we’ve seen, there will be disappointments and there most certainly are no guarantees.  Transfers are the ultimate distraction and the balm or medicine (or suppository) supporters seem to require these days.  I’m not buying it, and I hope AW isn’t either.  Only 11 days of the Torture, er, Transfer window remain, and I cannot wait for it to close.

But that’s just me.  What say you on this Thursday?  Do we need a torpedo (of a signing–or two, or three) to spice up things–or can we take the torpor?  Is the squad strong enough or must we add to it?  What’s your take on these dog days of August, the window and the season in its nascent stages?  It’s already been a long week and we don’t play again until after the weekend.  Help a Gooner make it through…


by 17highburyterrace

27 thoughts on “Thinking Through Thursday–Transfers? Tinkering? Tough Talk?–Tell The Truth

  • I am sorry mate to win matches it is not about buying new player. it is having a winning formula, using tactics, formation to suit the material you have. Arsenal have more than enough players to last 3 seasons if the manager knows how to use them. The Arsenal is playing even if they get Messi & Ronaldo they will not win anything Champions league or EPL. They do n’t need to waste money, please a winning mentality & tactics right. Get a manager to do that. Give that money to the current players maybe it will motivate them to be dynamic


  • i think owing to the numerous injuries we always sustain we should add two more squad players.a midfielder and a striker to be precise.without injuries we have a big enough squad capable of mounting a serious assault on thn title..

  • The voice of reason has spoken again. 🙂

    Not much to argue with. I think you linger too long over Cech possibly losing us points. A quality player is usually a positive addition but it takes time. And I reckon Cech saved us points when his presence might have put off Wickham this weekend. Let’s give him time, but I think you are in effect saying the same.

    It looks like a quality signing would have at least a positive psychological effect on team and fans, and we do have a little gap on the right if we believe in quality improvement there. But like you, I am happy and believe in what we have got without ‘disturbing’ the team cohesion and spirit. 🙂

  • Hey TA, Trust me, I believe Cech was a great signing…My point is that it’s not all fantasy football stuff where you can just say we’ve improved (at a position) and thus it is so…

    In truth, I think football–with Arsenal blogging as a prime example–is at a bit of a cross-roads. People want instant gratification and aren’t up for the long slog of the season (or the even longer term club-building elements)… Throughout all the years of manager-bashing (see Cosmas above suggesting we lack tactics…) Arsenal have slowly become stronger and stronger. No, we don’t burn money to keep warm (and stockpile world-class players on our bench or in our reserve teams) but we’re not far off that standard. It’s a process and not all about feeling fantastic every time we scan the back pages. Like the professor (last post) says, we need to be like water, ever fluid but always using gravity (our financial might and our wise management) to help wear down the opposition. As such, “winning the window” (which we’ve pretty much done these last couple of years with Alexis and Ozil–Giroud and Santi not being so bad the year before that…) might not be quite as critical this summer…

    It’s true, a signing might mollify the support, but then again so too would just winning matches. We have to accept that there’s a very vocal part of the support (which falls for all the media baiting) and, I think, wants to KNOW their team will walk out winners before a ball is even kicked. IMO, that’s missing the boat, and then the excitement of the ride. It’s not all about the destination, after all…

    Or maybe it is…My way of looking at things is just that… So, I’m still hopeful a few people might chime in with their thoughts… In the meantime, maybe Cosmas (above) can talk tactics…

    😦 😀

  • Cheers 17ht

    I guess we have to respect that football offers a way of letting off steam, letting out aggression, and therefore Arsenal not playing well, or especially losing, is helping a lot of people to let it all out. You and I are wired differently and so are a few other BKers but I have been to too many games during which I witnessed the societal use of a bad playing team or an aggravating referee. 🙂

    What is the weather like in LT: is it getting bone dry again or is this a weather year for your area?

  • The pen may be mightier than the sword, but only in the hands of a true wordsmith. You HT, are exactly that.. All agreed, and a wonderful post. As TA mentions so often, “the voice of reason”.


  • Interesting post 17…

    I suppose the Liverpool game will show us where we stand, in a couple of days?

    I think we have a great squad as it is, with some really exciting youngsters coming through…
    But as you say, football has changed and with it the fans, who in many cases expect instant success.
    I wonder how the fanbase will react, if, at the end of the season, Arsenal were to finish 3rd or 4th but without a cup to hang our hat on…?
    After two successive cup final successes, do the fans’ expect Arsenal to go for the League?
    I personally think that we have a squad that can go close.
    But winning it is another level.

  • And that’s all you could hope for, kevski: a squad that can go close so the journey has a chance of success. We are in with a chance and we don’t cheat and the next game is a cracker. Ooh to, ooh to be, ooh to a Gooner! 🙂

  • Total, I’m really looking forward to seeing this squad evolve and grow this season.
    Cech, to me, was a fantastic signing and a definate upgrade.
    But what we didn’t need was one of our Directors gobbing off about £200m in the bank. The Press really don’t need any help to stir the pot.

  • Voice of reason !…………..I`d say trying to be the voice of reason !.
    Nice attempt to keep the blood thirsty hounds at bay and for the moment I will just sniff butt`s and crotch`s and chase cars !. hahaha
    Seems to me that with todays mega money boys ( chavs and northern barstards… not you Total ! hahaha ), you have to kill or be killed, they don’t sit back and rest on their laurels or let the world go by, they spend even more money as coming 2nd/3rd/4th is not good enough and nor is 1st for the egotists, it has to be replicated again, but that’s them all over and until our owners think the same we will always be on the fringe with just a minor cup as a chance to keep the faithful happy.
    Thing is none of us have hindsight and until the season is over nobody can say who was right or wrong, but one thing is usually sure…..historically, the team that has bought the best players will win the league and unless we keep hanging onto to their shirt tails by improving our squad, it wont be us !.
    Water off a ducks back to the big boys and probably for us ……..water to flush another premiershit season down the pan !. Must win games already because we couldn`t beat a team with a 16 year old CB and just scraped through against an average team and our defence doesn`t look water tight !………..what`s all this water stuff ?.
    And !!!……………………totally shocked my simple but brilliant headline of……Time for a reality Cech ……….was not used !……………………………………..someone has to put an opposing view and I quite like to go against the grain…………….bring it on Muvvers !. hahaha

    And !!!……….I didn`t need the press to tell me we had £200M in the bank !…….I can count you know !……………….that`s more self sustaining money than any of the other clubs have and they have been abiding by FFP !……………….it`s just that Mmmmorinho is not just a s good as Wenger tactic wise , but as good a bank manager as well !. He managed to win the league by selling Side Show Bob and replacing him with Costa and Cesc for nearly the same money !..,…genius !.

    Nice AKB read though !. 😀

  • It must be hard for you Cocky that Arsene, despite his team letting him down with a lack of composure in the first game, is still two points above your favourite chum hahahaha! 😀

    Have a reality Chec up your Arsenal! 🙂

  • Cockie, you sound a little down…The Moo-man sending everybody’s favorite (favourite) physio away must have a chilling effect down there in Cornwall… 😀 Worse yet, the benching of JT… Hopefully those two can “work it out,” or something…

    No no, with Pedro in–backing up Willian and Oscar, I guess–they’re sure to win it all (if they don’t let Sideshow Bob bump them in the CL, that is…And Bradford in “our” cup)–again.

    In truth, the Pedro signing must mean the end of the line for “el square” the Colombian, Cuadrado. Someone will surely find a round hole for him somewhere… Maybe up at Stoke where they keep taking some interesting skill players (first Bojan, now Shaquiri)… Fun times…Maybe Sparky is auditioning for a bigger job when the time comes…

    Like I said, I’m not at all beyond thinking that we could play a role in some deadline day shenanigans–get a little value for money somewhere or other. What’s the latest on the mystery Welbeck injury? That’s the guy who might really be in for a spot of bother if we buy up front. The back end of MF is the other spot, though I wonder with the Flamster still on the team (I think…) and Jack and Sicky coming back. At least we’ve sent all the promising kids out on loan…

    Shadow squads of excellent players (happy to make a big contract, while staying fresh for the next one…) are probably here to stay. Still, isn’t it a little sad that guys with tons (tonnes) of talent only get a run-out in meaningless CL group matches? Even the CapOne Cup is too important to play more than a couple of bench-warmers… Personally, I’m glad that Arsenal haven’t quite depthened (spell check says that this is not a word…) to that extent…Then again, I’m (also) able to watch matches as they happen, so I must be the weird one… I GREATLY prefer a happy ending (who doesn’t) but I don’t require it… Too much dust behind the sofa and all that… 😀

    Cheers AG, for the compliment… Yes, AKev, Liverpool will be a(nother) defining moment… Regarding the end of the season my take is that the fanbase will NEVER be happy, no matter where we finish, except for those of us who will be happy no matter where we finish… I of the beholder, eye fear…

    TA, the weather here is very nice and the haze (from other California fires) is better today. Did a little beach time, in fact, but the water’s turning cold… Things are dry, of course, but not as bad as it might have been given that we got the tail end of some ‘monsoonal” rains (from the gulf of Mexico) for much of the early summer. How’s the Scottish weather? What’s that they call it, the draich?

    OK, change of course (just in case anybody’s still reading) …Of all the rumors (rumours) that have been mooted, which one(s) really tickle your fancy?…

  • 17ht, wow.. good writeup and nice one on burning up the lawn with too much rich stuff.

    Yes, we can buy all the players in the world if we have money, but if they are not good or if they are good, but aren’t suited for the EPL, it is considered as a bad purchase.

    For me I am not sure why players get transferred and they get paid just by sitting on the bench. Pedro will find himself in the same situation, sitting on the bench unless he proves himself worthy of upsetting Diego Costa. I am not saying anymore of this.

    What I want to say is that we have a good DM backup in Hayden, but he is on loan. Mikel might be fit now, but I am not sure until when.

    Striker wise I still see us a player short, but we have to struggle up front if we can’t find any.

    17ht, here in SG we are starting to have haze. Its a little acrid smell here, not like in Cali which is nearer I reckon.

    If I can think of other stuff I will write down here later on.


  • Hi

    My take… not far off

    1. We are strong and deep in midfield, but maybe a little “unbalanced” . We have lots of smooth but not as much stone. The real question to me is depth around Coquelin. Is it Arteta and AR on occasion back with Santi, so you always have 2 of AR, Santi, Coq back there? I wouldn’t mind someone either huge or with huge potential around DM. IF we lack Presence! anywhere, it’s there, even with Coquelin going well.

    2. Striker, we could use one more bit of depth, depending on how you feel about Welbeck and Theo. Again, could use, but dont need. Another OG like big man might not hurt though so we have that depth. Even then, if you dont like other options there is Sanchez there with JW or others coming in wider. Here, if we go, I would want another OG like and again either potential or SQ.

    3. Wing, here is my speculation. Width haunts us at times. And per #1 unbalance, we perhaps have lots of central midfielders and not as many that like wide. A dedicated SQ wing would be interesting. Interestingly, we hear no rumors here, which is the surest sign that AW may be working on that?? 🙂

    Overall, I would like 1 of the 3 above. I wont be heartbroken over 0 of 3, and would be wildly surprised if we got 3 of them, and perhaps not entirely pleasantly so. I dont think we would go the striker route, but, again, I am no mind reader. But, all the talk and no action there to me indicates that we aren’t that interested and its all hype. Finally, the wing, to me is a target of opportunity. Should one come up at SQish level then it could be “interesting”, but they dont really come up so I aint too worried. 🙂

    So, my preference might lean slightly for 1 of 3, the DM area if I get all my wishes, and should the magical wing appear…

    cheers — jgc

  • Great post 17! I’m a big fan of continuity management and from that view point I think Wenger has done exceptionally well in recent years. From a Premier League perspective it would be nice to see more managers being given a longer period of time to prove themselves rather than the rash knee jerk sackings that are now the norm. Similarly with player development it would be nice to see the Premier League’s over 21 squad restriction rule increased to 23 years of age. There was some really interesting Opta stats released at the end of last season which showed that most clubs were reluctant to blood players until they were 23 years of age (most likely due to the pressures on Premier League managers to succeed and a reluctance to rely on players who were still developing). This reluctance coupled with the 25 player squad restriction on over 21 years of age players has seen promising but still developing players cut loose when they reach 21 years of age (without being given suitable opportunities to play) only to finalise their development at the age of 22-23 and subsequently flourish (e.g. Afobe). By increasing the over 21 squad restriction rule to 23 years of age, conceptually there will be more players (and potentially homegrown players) able to stay on the books of Premier League clubs for longer, finalise the development and actually play. From a continuity management perspective, here’s hoping!

  • Excellent post, 17. I think you are right to some extent. Indeed, whole transfer fever coincides with fewer and fewer articles worth of reading- it’s all about whether we’ll sign Benzema or not, did he have a morning crap in the shape of Spuds’ logo which would be a proof of his arrival to Arsenal… I’m a huge Benzema fan and I want him at Arsenal but that whole fever isna bit crazy.

    That said, we all hate patterns. Arsenal fans have a rather selective memory, just like any other fans in fact. For instance, we had made a world-class purchase in summer 2014 only to endure one of the worst first halves of the season under Wenger. The Invincibles got one significant addition and it was an experienced keeper with a rather suspicious background.

    Then, I think we do need at least one more player to fight for the title with Manchester Oilers and London Oilers. Pellegrini’s Oilers score goals for fun while Maureen’s ones know how to grind out victories. I’ve read somewhere that we have had 42 shots on goal in the first two matches while opponents have had just six on target.

    Of course, it won’t matter a thing if we don’t fix our focus in the defence. Real Madrid have won just one league title with Ronaldo, Benzema and co. in the attack.

  • 17,
    Good post 17th , I agree.
    For one I have had enough of looking on news now , just to see the same fake Benz deals or the fake big £50,000,000 deal “but not Benz”.

    We are really in a unique position anyway til a couple seasons ago instead of making big signings, we would lose 2 or 3 of are best players.
    So keeping all our best. Plus signing a world class keeper can keep most of us , well just ok with it.
    Plus on the back of back 2 back FA cups ay.
    As far as I can see there really is not many #9 out there and I am quite happy with what we have.
    I have big hopes for Welbeck , Walcott , OG and I was wondering about Campbell .
    After all JC should have hope in his heart, all these big strikers we are linked with, yet Wenger has already shown faith in him and signed him, he has his chance right now hopefully he can come good to.
    Plus as 17 reminded alexis can play down the middle and I think Wenger will put him there in the end.
    Maybe a warrior in DM big and strong is all.
    We have plenty of goals in us.
    Chelsea spent all that money and sit near the bottom on 1 point, Jose has a face like a smacked arse, happy days lol
    With out costa they really were in risk of drying up. Pedro well his not EPL tested.
    LVG is spending like it’s his last day on earth as is Dracula .
    I’m gonna back the current longest serving manger in the EPL to out fox them 19 years, seen it all were the jacket and built the stadium and invincibles.
    Hopefully he knows what his doing 😉

  • Hahaha………………….last time I had a reality Cech up my Arsenal there was a used condom found with what looked like some mysterious letters ( not French ) on it looking vaguely like a J and an M !. 😆

    Our youngsters seem to be doing well on loan and I might be wrong, but it seems like we have more out in the lower divisions than ever before !……………..surprised Gerry and Fingers are not on here salivating over a boner !.

    Serious though, we have a lot of money under the mattress and I can see where it is hard to find a world class striker as most are at clubs who are seen as bigger than us, so here is my target who is not a striker, but a player who will definitely improve us and remember, we have been told that we could buy any player in the world other tham Ronaldo or Messi !………….the player…………..Pogba !………..just offer Juve £100M !……no fcuking haggling shit, we have the money, just do it before our rivals do it !, they have spent enough already ………so in for the kill !.

  • True though cockie
    If I was Wenger is offer 70 or 80 for hazard just to poss him off

  • Hazard and messi would improve us.
    It’s not even to far fetched as we know Messi is interested in joining arsenal

  • Hey Totes !……you moved yet ?…………….if you have, I give it `til this time next year and your hair will turn ginger !………………and keep clear of them White Walkers that side of The Wall !. 😀

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