Wenger to buy a ‘New Sol Campbell’ and replace Giroud for a ‘New Thierry’?

OR…. stick with Per and Ollie….

That, my fine fellow BKers, is the question!

It is quiet on the blogs and maybe that is not a bad thing. It has been a testing few months for all of us, even for those who aim to live in the moment and prefer to focus on the positives. Two cup exits hurt, but it is the disappointing run in the league in 2016 that has left us battered and bruised. Of course the season is not over yet, and a fabulous final sprint in the league could still bring us the title; stranger things have happened. However, given the recent results and performances, it is better not to put too much hope in this. It is clear that we can only focus on our own game and rely on others slipping up; and the latter is quite a negative thing to do if you ask me.

For Wenger the remainder of the season is one of putting pressure on the teams above us whilst staying above the teams below us. He will also use this period to consider carefully where he needs to strengthen the squad and who he should let go off, as also he will believe that not winning the title this year is not good enough for this squad.

It looks like Arsene is making two shifts right now: one in defence and one in attack. Welbeck has been starting ahead of Giroud up-front and the BFG seems to have lost out to a Koz-Gabriel CB partnership. We have become more mobile and energetic as a result, and a good performance in defence and attack at Goodison provides a little hope of having entered a new era. But it is of course early days and the Toffees were not really interested in fighting us last week Saturday; and Arsene might well decide to start with the BFG or Giroud again in the upcoming games.

Yet I believe that Per’s days as our first choice CB will be coming to an end next season, if indeed not sooner. In a number of big games the BFG was anything but beastly and Wenger will have noticed this. We all know about the German’s imperfections but they normally are compensated by his organisational skills, ability to read the game and calm leadership… but disappointing performances against the Chavs and Barcelona at home, to name but a few, in which his strengths went missing and his weaknesses were cruelly exposed, have probably signaled the end to his first choice CB career at Arsenal. I love the BFG but it would make sense to find a new top class ‘organising CB’ to take us to the next level. Not easy to find the right player/ the new Sol Campbell, though, as good CBs are as rare as decent footie commentators; and I am looking forward to suggestions from the usual BK crew. 🙂

It is less clear what will happen to Giroud. Regular BKers will know that I am a huge fan of Ollie, as in the role he was given by Arsene and how he has made a big success of it. The holding CF, who carries a good threat himself, but also creates space for others and links up play with fellow attackers and the midfielders, is a conscious choice by Wenger. Ollie provides a fine pivot around which more mobile attackers can flourish. The problem is that nobody other than Ozil has flourished this season, with especially Theo and Alexis having a barren season. And if the system does not work, it is Ollie who gets the blame by those, the vast majority unfortunately, who cannot see beyond  the ‘Ollie is no Thierry’ tag that Giroud will never be able to get rid off.

I have no doubt that Ozil has benefited from having Ollie as a holding pivot to make space and connect with; but I can also see that a more lethal finisher than Ollie could have let to even more assists. For me, the problem is with the ‘mid-wingers’ being so ineffective this season, as Ollie did OK with scoring 12 PL goals this season already. And scoring as many goals as possible regardless of anything else is not what Wenger is asking from him, please bare that in mind.

However, I also reckon that Ollie’s role in the team would have been more effective with a Bergkampesque nr.10 rather than the way Mesut plays in the hole. Mesut is a creator but not a predator, although Wenger has been trying to change this a bit. To make a holding CF really work, we need more goals from the central midfielders, especially from the one in the hole. Ollie lays off a lot of balls to his fellow attackers but only has four PL assists to his name. With Alexis, Theo, The Ox, Campbell, Rambo, Santi and Mesut scoring so few PL goals between them this season, it is clear that the ‘holding CF’ approach is not working; Wenger will have to decide whether to continue it, but then with making changes to our key attacking players, or by moving away from it altogether.

He may finally go back to putting a Thierry Henry type CF into the team. Danny Welbeck gives him this option to some extent, as he is very athletic and energetic and allows the rest of the team to move around the pitch with him. If he were to go for a more fluid, pivot-less attack, he is likely to get a top CF – known, or relatively unknown to us – next season which, in my view, Danny is not (yet). It is interesting that Wenger has been playing Danny as our CF recently though, and the result at Goodison may have convinced him to continue with this in the next few games. Time will tell.

I am good with both scenarios as long as it works. I want to get the best out of Alexis, Rambo, Ozil, Welbeck, Santi and Giroud as they are all fine attackers who could/should lead us to silverware. But something has got to change to make us a deadly attacking machine again, as scoring a meagre 1.6 goals per game, which would give us a paltry 61 PL goals by the end of the season, is simply not good enough, especially with the defence leaking a goal per game on average.

I am hoping Welbeck as CF will become a great success as he is such an exciting player to watch and has a smile to cure depression instantly, and it will be good to see what Wenger will do with the CF position in the next eight PL games. This, no doubt, will tell us a lot of what he will do in the transfer market this summer, both in defence and in attack.

By TotalArsenal.

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35 Responses to Wenger to buy a ‘New Sol Campbell’ and replace Giroud for a ‘New Thierry’?

  1. Ruel Carvey says:

    I actually agree with your points, ozil is a provider, and nothing else. He has scored some goals for us which i feel is an improvement, but i figure he should be more of a goal threat to the opposition, ozil actually slows down arsenal attacking play especially when he is the furthest man forward, somebody with his skills should be able to go at one or two defenders.
    It is said in the news he has asked for reinforcements, but i for one think ozil position is one that needs reinforcement, a more direct player in the number 10 role would reap great rewards for arsenal and put fear in the opposition, with dribbles, running at defenders and shots at goal, Ozil Barely offers the 3 mention

  2. 17highburyterrace says:

    TA…I agree…that we needed a new post… 😀 Sorry that we haven’t gotten any responses yet… My own may be negative to the point of requiring editing or deletion. Feel free as I really don’t mind…

    Given the question you’ve framed I think you’ve described the attributes (and liabilities) regarding the players in question very, very well, as well as describing the “internal solutions” Wenger is trying. Welbeck looks like his time away from the game helped him gain some perspective and understand how he can contribute more and he appears very fit and sharp. Gabriel, I wonder about. He’s quick and a very strong play-maker but I wonder about his decision making. He seems very “all or nothing” either expecting somebody else to cover (at times) or going in willing to take a red card if it will stop an attack. Subtlety is the next (big) step for him…

    Unfortunately, I also think that the issues at Arsenal run a LOT deeper than attempting to buy a couple of players to strengthen our spine… Who are these new Sols and Titis? If the names are big enough, the prices (and thus the expectations) are probably too high… The divide within the support makes it almost impossible for players to thrive at the club, I fear, unless, of course, they NEVER make a mistake, miss a chance, etc., etc. Giroud,for many, will never get past missing that shot in his first league match vs Sunderland in August 2012, for example On the other hand, he’s doing better than some in that he’s got a catchy song…

    The way I see it there are two choices: Wenger remains and the support is mollified by results, i.e., winning the league through retaining the current group and adding a handful of replacements OR tear down occurs and the manager and the majority of his players leave and we spend some time in mid-table (out of European competition) in order to slowly rebuild with a new generation of manager(s) and players and,ideally, supporters…

    Of course, some (many?) retain the belief that you just get a new manager and then the current players (plus some the new guy will buy) will hit the heights and all will be glory. That there’s absolutely no mechanism for this happening doesn’t seem to faze this growing (and very vocal) minority. If Wenger was a quitter he would have done so during crises far bigger than the current one…If there was somebody at board level who could fire him, that too would have happened.. Like many players have stated, they actually came to Arsenal to work with Wenger. If (somehow) he was gone, those that could get other clubs to pay their current wages would push hard for such moves…

    So, Wenger at the helm or not, the environment only grows more and more toxic. Already each match (esp. the home matches) become referendums (“farces…”) for the manager (and would be likewise for a new one…) and his players. In truth, I don’t know how it can be managed. How can a group play with any freedom when the consequences for failing to win are so great?

    So, for me, the future looks bleak, at least until a reset on expectations (akin to Moyes year at ManU, maybe…) takes place…

    On the plus side, it’s probably easiest RIGHT NOW. So, OGAAT for me, with Giroud and the BFG (and Welbs and Gabriel) all playing a role during this run-in, with likely the guys in brackets getting the starts until we get a bad result. Going forward they probably ALL need to be retained just because they have the experience of being caught in the middle of the extremes of love and hate the support dishes out. Do we need better players in these positions? Yes we do. (I like Chambers, btw, and think he might get some time in the BFG spot…) But, throwing new guys to the wolves is very tough stuff…Remember Ozil’s experience… The higher the price tag, the louder they howl… Like the first response says, he’s the problem… 😀 😦

    People need to understand the economics of the situation and realize that change isn’t as simple as it was when Arsenal was a smaller club in a less money driven league. (“Just find a better #10 than Ozil, yeah that’s the ticket…”) If I were a player like Giroud or Mertesacker (not to mention the manager or Ozil…) at Arsenal I would take any reasonable offer to get out and start somewhere new. Those offers, again due to the new economics, may not be forthcoming, however… (That was some laughable sh*te, for example, early in this Int’l break, about our Messy being ready to take offers from Valencia or Sevilla…)

    In lieu of that the only solution is winning…Getting behind our players, current and future, and understanding that every single club (including clubs that will spend more AND are actually below us in the table at the moment, but will be level with us in August) is trying to do the same thing, might help…IMO…

  3. TotalArsenal says:

    Ruel 🙂

    Mesut is a great asset to have and I would not want to miss him for anything, but with the mid-wingers not firing from all cylinders this season it has become more apparent that he does not add enough goals. He is not the only one though as Rambo and Cazorla also did not score enough from central positions. I sometimes wonder whether we should give Ozil a free role on the wing and move Alexis into the hole, who is a more natural Bergkampesque nr.10, at least in terms of attacking the goal and scoring goals.

  4. TotalArsenal says:

    Cheers Seventeenho 🙂

    No reason to change any of your comment and it is very much how you have been seeing things for a long time. I see it quite differently but that is fine, of course. Supporters have the right to be disappointed and to ask for change, as we live in a democratic world, luckily. There is no doubt in my mind there is plenty of money for Wenger to reinforce the squad during the summer but we all know that we will have to wait and see what he will do. He could well believe that Chambers is the next big thing, as you are suggesting to some extent.

  5. Shard says:

    Hi TA.

    I’ll kick out the tumbleweed, or try to 🙂

    Interesting that you are coming around to the idea that our preferred centre forward might not be the Giroud type after all. Interesting because I was coming around to the idea that you might be right too 🙂

    Our goalscoring has been a problem this season. But the failure is not Giroud’s. He’s done exactly as expected, over the course of the season. Which means he’s done well, and also that he’s a limited player. But the let down has come from Alexis, Theo and Ox.

    However, Alexis in particular, doesn’t work well with Giroud. This has been made a meme of sorts, but I think Alexis is the scoring no 10 you are looking for. Yes, he plays out wide, but he’s always looking to cut inside and score from the middle of the park. Ozil tends to drift from in to out, creating that space. Giroud tends to drop off and occupy that same space. Why he works better with Theo is not necessarily the speed, nor that Theo is a better striker (he’s not), but that he simply can’t and doesn’t play that pivot game and hence leaves the space for Alexis to exploit. Welbeck does this too, and in fact, instead of just Ozil and Alexis interchanging, I think the three of them can switch positions well.

    I don’t think the problem is the pivot type striker. But that Giroud and Walcott are both limited to playing only a certain way. Between the two I’d pick Giroud because he’s by far, better at what he does. Theo is all hit and miss.

    If I were manager, I’d be looking to play Welbeck at CF, because he can play a bit of both styles, and in the summer, I’d like to upgrade on our RW options. To add a bit of goalscoring threat from the flanks. If it could be someone like Gotze (particularly because Wenger likes to have one more technical midfielder type on one wing) that would be great. Otherwise, I would play Ramsey and the Ox there, and add another striker to challenge Welbeck. But keep Giroud in the squad. Sell Walcott if need be.

    In defense, I think Per’s time as first choice is over. I wouldn’t sell him though, especially the same time as we’re expected to lose all our experienced midfielders.However, I’m concerned about Gabriel. He has aspects that are fantastic, but he worries me as of now. Maybe he’ll get better. Chambers I see as Per’s eventual successor, but he may not be ready. I don’t know how to manage them because I don’t want to lose any of them, but if I’m honest, we probably need to buy another CB.

    I’d also add that Santi’s injury exposed a worrying lack of control in our midfield. Elneny has helped. But we need Arteta’s replacement. With a new Arteta giving us the option to play the long balls over the top, while playing with a positional control, Elneny’s versatility, running, long shots, Ramsey’s well timed forward forays, Santi’s control, and Coq’s tackling, we should have enough variety in our midfield. Jack would be a bonus, and the likes of Hayden, Toral, Zelalem, Niles etc can perhaps contribute something too.

  6. TotalArsenal says:

    Great comment, Shard, which helps to paint a very clear picture around the CF situation. I am about to go out but will come back to you later tonight.

  7. Seventeenho says:

    Cheers, TA… Yeah, the “existential crisis” element at Arsenal seems just about insurmountable to me, at the moment… And it doesn’t help when people like your first responder come on and blame things on our best player…

    Shard, of course, makes a whole lot of sense… and echos something I’ve mentioned in that the style of play of Theo vs Giroud is just so extremely different. It can be a good thing if you change out one for the other if the teammates (Arsenal players) can make the adjustment before the defenders can… Overall, however, it just leads to all the rest needing to make major adjustments depending on who the #9 might be. Overall, we’ve played our best football when Theo and Alexis are moving freely and filling space for one another…ManU at home this season and the FA Cup final vs Villa are good examples. Of course, Theo much more than Ollie, when things are more static, can appear as good as playing with ten…so we maybe appear more “consistent” when Ollie is the man. Welbeck is maybe the best “compromise” and just makes things easier on the supporting crew. It would be great to see him get some braces (or more) in these final matches this season and really look like he can put up some numbers…

    The point about the other scorers needs to be WRITTEN IN ALL CAPS or otherwise have a spotlight shone upon it… Losing first Santi and now Ramsey and having Alexis out and/or struggling for form… have been killer blows. They’re ALL gifted creators (and scorers) but have ALL been struggling to find their best games and figuring how to fit into the squad. Santi, I think was doing better in that last category before his sudden (and big) injury. Rambo has just been in and out so many times that it’s very hard to fit him in, esp. as he does a lot of less than fully responsible running (I would call it) that forces others to cover for him. (Perhaps the same is true of Alexis…) It was hopeful that he (Rambo) and Flamini or he and Le Coq would be able to cover the rear of our midfield but he needs to be closer to the goal (and putting them in the net…) to be the strongest possible asset for our club. Not having Wilshere, Rosicky nor Arteta available was also a killer, of course. Elneny, as much as we shouldn’t get too excited too early seems a good buy and a guy who won’t hide. Iwobi looks great for a teenager too…

    But injuries (they tell me) are no excuse and Wenger should have known those guys couldn’t cut it… 😦 Or we should blame Ozil… 😦 😦

    I’m still curious who this new Sol and new Titi will be. Stones, who I know you like, played in the 2nd half up at Everton but has been out of favor there. Other defenders? Frankly, I’m pretty impressed by Martial at United–for his age… Alvaro Morata? Elneney’s fellow Mo, Salah?… Overall, given the toxic atmosphere at Arsenal AND the fact that 8 or 10 clubs will pay more money (including at least 3 clubs–probably 4–in England, all who are below us in the table and thus even more willing than normal to spend…), who can we (realistically) buy who can handle the burden?…Theo, Ollie and even the Ox are probably gonna be hard to improve upon… But maybe that’s not the point… (And I can do my own searches on Transfermarkt)…

  8. FMJ14 says:

    Hey Total and fellow BKers, just some quick thoughts.. great to see us start turning things around with the more dynamic Welbeck and Iwobi pairing.. I like the dynamism and intelligence up top that helps Ozil and the whole drive of the team. We need quick players, that can get into gear early on and not play with the handbrake. That also goes for Per.. I agree a great organiser and leader but even this has let him down at crucial points as you mention. I reckon he will take over Kos as the chaser and ball winner, Kos is 30 now and may need to adapt into the leader role that Per has been doing. I am sure he can do this. Otherwise we get a replacement for Per and Gabriel comes in to replace Kos at some stage but I prefer the former scenario. I don’t know which CBs would fit the bill or would be available we will have to see what Wenger does here.

    I know fans are shouting for signings but for the mid winger role I would give a mention to Chris Willock who looks a fantastic prospect, he knows how to play the Arsenal way. I am not saying he is the answer but Wenger gave him a good mention recently saying he would have no hesitation to put him in the first team and that we will see him next season. The competing centre forward might be Akpom but that depends on whether he is from the Chambo-Theo camp that has a streak of Bendtner to them (maybe a bit harsh but in part true) or from the Iwobi camp. He can certainly talk the talk which makes me nervous. Maybe Zlatan then… 😀

  9. FMJ14 says:

    Sorry 😀 edit: when I say ‘I reckon he will take over as the chaser and ball winner’ with Kos becoming the organiser etc I didn’t mean Per.. Haha!! I mean Gabriel. Apologies for the confusion. Right time to get my evening meal.

  10. TotalArsenal says:

    Hey FMJ and 17ho 🙂

    Thanks for further comments.

    Too much wine to drink but will be back to comment in the morning. 😝

  11. Ab says:

    Evening TA. I think you have nailed the two positions that, barring departures, will be the key ones for attention come the summer TW. Of the two I agree that Per seems the clearest. Not to get rid of, but to plan and ideally secure succession for. I can live with the lack of pace when he is aerially dominant, reading the game well and marshalling the defence. But when he is off form then he looks clumsy. I don’t see Gabby as a replacement for him, but I do see him as cover/replacement for Kos, which means he has time to tidy up those rough edges, as well as probably fill out a bit more. Can Kos turn into the organiser? I think that’s a fair question to ask of a 26 yr old. But a 30 yr old? I think his time has passed on that front I fear.

    Up front I’m less inclined to ditch the pivot option, because I think this formation is the one that will help us play to our teams main strength, which is our attacking midfielders. Danny is fresh and keen and full of confidence at present, whilst some of our mids are either injured or tired. So why would we not use him in such form? But does that mean we change the plan A for the foreseeable future? I rather doubt it. And although Giroud is unarguably in a poor patch, his form over the season has not been so bad, and a strong finish could yet make it a lot better than that. We shall see.

    The question of where do we find the next Sol or Titi is a tough one, but not one we should duck. Where was the next Fabregas 3 years ago – well it turned out to be Ozil; not so bad eh? Can I see young players of that ilk? Well I’m wondering about Zouma (who Gerry wanted us to buy a few seasons back). And of course Smalling looks to me like he is coming on very strongly too – he’s a gooner and we damn nearly bought him before manure. So are they out there; yes of course. But not as easy as picking them off the shelf. And its altogether harder when it comes to strikers.

    I just don’t see us buying some £50m plus striker. Though if Wenger is convinced (as per Ozil) he clearly will spend. So I see us spending on young potential and trying to create the next Titi. Not the answer if you have to get silverware now I know. But you can’t just have what you want when you want it – even if you’re Abramovich.

    So my shopping list would be a) throw the kitchen sink at getting a top CB to be first choice alongside Kos, and b) a £20m young talent striker, of the early Aubamayang ilk.

    WTFDIK! Lets wait and see. But I’m pretty happy with the squad we have, if not how they are quite clicking at the moment.

  12. TotalArsenal says:

    Cheers AB and good to hear from you. I’ll respond tomorrow. 🙂

  13. TotalArsenal says:

    Shard,

    I like what Wenger tried to do with OG, especially as we have to deal with parked bus teams a lot. It allows us presence around the D and helps crack the bus positions through the Ollie pivot. I like that we spread the goals rather than set up the team to feed a super CF, like City do for example (and we used to with RvP). But it has not worked this season so Something else needs to be tried…unless Arsene perseveres and gets himself a quality player on the right wing to make it Alexis – Ollie – Gotze for example. However, a more fluid attacking formation with less focus on a robust link-up pivot is also attractive. But Ollie getting the respect he deserves is important to me. 🙂

  14. TotalArsenal says:

    I don’t fully agree that Alexis is better with Theo or Welbeck as CF, but the chemistry between them isn’t great at the moment. Fact is that Alexis is missing lots of chances this season, regardless of who he plays with.

    I can see that many believe why Danny is the right CF for us. His link up play is ok and he is comfortable with the attacking with the ball at his feet. From what I saw before he got injured, Danny is not good at positioning and sensing the next opportunity, but he has restarted really well and this offers hope.

    Agreed on your defence and midfield comments. I reckon CBs get better the longer they play in consecutive games and Gabriel appears to have a thick skin, allowing him to bounce back from the occasional, and inevitable, set back.

  15. Shard says:

    TA

    Two newspaper rumours around big name signings in the forward department. Aubameyang and Ibrahimovic. Both are likely nonsense, but if both are true in that we are interested, it might show that Wenger doesn’t have a preference for any one style. Simply that he wants better finishers to execute that style. Ibra would probably play Giroud’s role, while Aubameyang could either take over from Welbeck, or play on the right wing.

    Whatever Wenger’s tried in terms of formation and play has worked. Very well. We’ve created tons of chances, and good ones at that. But we’ve not finished them. And that comes down to the players. The manager’s ‘fault’ lies in trusting that Alexis could continue where he left off, and that Theo and Ox could step up. It was reasonable to expect, but not to be. Hence, the need for players who will do the job. Or indeed a reworking of the plan. Or both.

    Ollie gets a lot of respect from me. I don’t know why anyone would knock him. He’s not the best finisher in the world, and I suppose he isn’t a great dribbling, sprinting forward that excites people, but he gets the job done usually. And even when he’s playing badly, he’s always involved in the game, running back to defend, and always putting himself in a position to score (or miss) He’s a real fighter and anyone who says all they want is someone who fights for the shirt, and then abuses Giroud, gets a massive shake of the head from me (don’t know how polite this site is 🙂 )

    By the way, Bergkamp was and remains my favourite player, and part of the reason my interest in Arsenal became a lifetime love affair.

  16. TotalArsenal says:

    17HT

    The existential crisis, as you call it, helps people deal with their emotions and bigger life disappointments. Arsenal helps them to cope! 😜

    So best to let it be.

    Agreed on the lack of action and goals from midfield as a major problem for us this season. The number of injuries there have been mind blowing.

  17. TotalArsenal says:

    Same here, Shard, re both Giroud and Bergkamp. 🙂

    I don’t do gossip but it is reasonable to expect Wenger buying an attacker or two in the summer.

  18. TotalArsenal says:

    FMJ 🙂

    Don’t know much about Willock, maybe you could elaborate?

    I think it is very English to not want to play with a handbrake on: a bit like the game against Germany this week. But we need control and composure and central, moveable anchor points too in order to boss games.

  19. TotalArsenal says:

    AB, good point about Koz probably being too old to turn into an organiser.

    Agreed re Wenger using the energy and enthusiasm of Welbeck at the moment rather than having necessarily made a style swap ‘for good’.

    Like you my priority is a top quality Solesque CB, but then somebody with experience rather then just technical ability, as it is in the big games when we let ourselves down at the back (unless we play compact for 90 minutes). They are not easy to find but if we are prepared to pay we can get them, and I would look towards the PSV, Athletico and Dortmund CBs.

  20. Gerry says:

    TA – Can I just say, this is a post that I never thought you would write 😀 😀 😀

    However, I think you have pretty much identified the overall picture … going forward into 2016/17 season and beyond.

    The bit missing I feel, and the trouble with coming late to this party is that some have touched on it, but not taken it through to the logical conclusion. That is simply this. AW is a continuity manager, not a short term manager. He will not buy the ‘instant fix’ player. He will not (or you could say, has not…) buy/bought a player to go out in a blaze of glory, like Fergie did?
    Akin to that, is the standing of the current, and newly acquired, players in our youth squad.

    The reality there is that none will be able to ‘carry’ a first team spot next season. Even Iwobi, who has been the breath of fresh air that the team needed so badly, is only as good as the players around him. Should any of those drop away through injury or rotation, you cannot expect him to pick the team up when they struggle to find the same cohesion. That is what I mean by ‘carry’.
    You can try, as they did with Wilshere and Fabregas, and probably get a similar burn out.

    However, in two season’s time, the likes of Zelalem(for Ozil), Akpom(for the Titi spot?), Toral(for the No10/8 role?), Bielik(replacing Coquelin), ‘The Jeff”(left/centre striker), the even more, and probably the most talented player on the books, Reiss Nelson(anywhere you want to play him!), not to mention the two young Nigerian internationals, who like the rest, are not ready now, but they will be pressing our current ‘ageing’ youth players in the future. That is the continuity that AW has in mind for the club.
    That is why I see the future being bright, and I am optimistic for something great to follow it.

    But for now, OGAAT of course. But looking to summer, then purchases will be only following on the pattern set. Replacing players who are ageing; Per, Kos, the midfield trio who we expect to go, and fringe players not quite cutting it. The defence is probably the easiest to deal with, as it it a relative weakness in the youth squad at the moment, so expect a young but capable CB to come in. AB has mentioned one option of mine, Kurt Zouma, but that will depend on the managerial changes at Chelsea? The other long standing favourite of mine is Samuel Umtiti, of Lyon.

    Lyon are a club who our agitating fans should look at, if history has any parallels? A top ‘brand’ club in France, had a big dip in fortunes whilst the built their new stadium. This coincided with the rise of the moneyed clubs, PSG and to a lesser extent but who were strong at a vital time, Monaco, The manager saw them through the tough times, kept the players that believed in ‘Project Lyon’ as much as their manager did … but the moment the ran into difficulties regards results, they sack their manager ….
    They are currently in a 3 way battle for the 3rd spot in Lique 1 ……
    ‘plus ca change’, and all that? (full trans – the more that changes, the more it remains the same’

    Up front, the ready made striker is of the Vardy age and type. However, I have to admit, Welbeck has pleasantly surprised me in the recent game. He has naturally fitted in with the fast, fluid interchange up front, in a way that neither Walcott or Giroud have. Whether this continues to the end of the season remains to be seen. If he does, then I can see AW turning his attention to a scoring midfielder? But PEA at £67m would be an amazing signing if it happened. Very much an AW type of player …. but balancing the books at the end of a 3 or 4 year contract, attracting a fee of probably less than half that, then it looks less and less likely to happen?
    Of course, domestic titles 2 and 3, and the CL trophy would balance that nicely …… if only it were that simple?

    Whatever happens, I think the way forward will be with Arsene, at least until his current contract runs out, and will only change to someone who has that same continuity philosophy?

    The future is bright because of the quality within, not always appreciated by the instant gratification generation …
    Cheers
    Gerry

  21. Shard says:

    Gerry

    That’s a great point. Also, I think that youth development is going to become even more important what with more clubs getting more money with the TV deal. Transfers are going to get increasingly difficult to navigate, with the talent spreading thinner between larger number of clubs. You’re already seeing signs of it, with ManU unable to buy quality defenders despite all their money and willingness to spend, and having to pay 60m for a 19 year old attacker on the chance that he comes good. Instead Van Gaal is playing the youngsters and that is actually what is going to benefit them (like Wenger, I think Van Gaal gets too much blame and that he’s actually doing what’s right for the club)

  22. yibeltal says:

    Kurt Zuma and Abua ….done.. ..we will the BPL. Add Kroos and we may add Champions league. GUNNWRS4LIFE!

  23. Yibeltal says:

    Macy
    Bellerin(C) Chambers Hayden Kurzwa/Gurerro
    Zelalem Belik Iwobi Toral / Willock
    Jeff and Akpom

  24. Gerry says:

    Ha Ha Yibettal, now you are getting carried away. Remember my line ‘…if only it were that simple’?

    There are 4 players you have named of our loanees that have got to be persuaded to come back. You can guarantee the managers at Birmingham, Hull, and Rangers are asking these players … ‘Do you really want to spend next season waiting for you first full game, when we can offer you regular games if you sign for us?’

    The other problem with young players, is not knowing if they can raise their game beyond Youth and Under 21 level? Not easy to predict.

    That is why we do need some players to be brought in to bridge the gap until those that show enough promise, are allowed to develop into the finished article. Iwobi has been working hard, but has had to wait a long time for his opportunity. Will Gnabry, for example do the same, or drop by the wayside like so many others?

    I am glad you mentioned Chambers though, as I see him as Koscielny’s replacement in the not too distant future? Like others have mentioned, Gabriel is a worry, but could be immense …. usually in the same game 😀
    Hence my preference for a player like Umtiti. Solid and dependable …. at least he was when I last saw him.
    Cheers
    Gerry

  25. Gerry says:

    Shard – A friend of mine asked me what I thought about signing Ibra’, and I jokingly said, ‘Yeah, I’d give him a 3 year trial’
    On the face of it, pay him £250,000 per week, plus ‘win bonuses’, which works out at £13m per season, or £39m plus, over the contract length. Not excessive for a (almost) guaranteed winner? He might want a big signing on bonus, but that could covered by tapering down the payments towards the end of the contract to the number of games played?

    However, any player of his stature would expect to play when fit? Which basically means you are building to team according to that players needs. I do not see that happening for a player of his age? PEA on the other hand, is versatile, and AW likes …

    I chuckled at the first response to this post, concerning Ozil
    What was it Ruel Carvey said ‘… ozil actually slows down arsenal attacking play especially when he is the furthest man forward, somebody with his skills should be able to go at one or two defenders.’
    Just a little inspection of that statement shows how other people can interpret the game differently? I mean, if Ozil is the farthest man up field, what is the point of him tricking his way past two defenders, and have nobody to cross/pass to at the end of it?
    Sorry Ruel. You see that as Ozil’s fault, and you are not alone. I see him as desperate for other players to be up there with him, but instead he waits and keeps possession. Remember, it is a team game?
    Cheers,
    Gerry

  26. Admir says:

    Nice post, TA.

    I have to admit I don’t have a clue. We had needed a WC striker and a WC defensive midfielder before Arsene got us Ozil. Truth to be told, we had been after Suarez for quite a while. What I’m trying to say is, Arsene has his own logic and his own vision. Gazidis didn’t fill me with optimism regarding the budget available for transfers at the annual meeting. I see Arsene with a rope of forced austerity around one wrist and that won’t change until Kroenke decides to do an honourable thing and sell his shares so that Arsenal stop being his favourite cow and become a football club again.

    So, I expect a single big signing or none of it next summer. I wouldn’t surprised if Arsene goes big for any of Stones, Gotze or Reus. Arsene doesn’t buy players to fill the gaps, he buys players and adjust the big picture to fit them in. That’s why, say, Maureen won the league in 2014-15 and we always have a few months of sh!t every season.

    @17 – I think the whole toxicity story is a spin made by Arsene’s internet warriors. Pay for the players and they will sign. Just simple as that.

  27. Shard says:

    Admir

    Not if they have the option of getting paid similar amounts elsewhere. Why wouldn’t they choose a better work environment? Maybe because they enjoy working with Wenger and the Arsenal staff, and they feel valued by them. But if all other factors were equal, I would think it’s fairly obvious that they’d choose someplace where they didn’t have to face abuse when they went out to do their jobs.

  28. Ab says:

    Admit you make it sound like Stones or Reus would not be good fits for our team? I would take either or both of them like a shot! And I wouldn’t turn my nose up at Goetze either for that matter. Who would you want us to buy if these are not suitable options?

  29. FMJ14 says:

    Hi TA. After hearing Wenger talk about Willock in glowing terms and watching youth highlights a bit too I think he will be a player we have been missing since Rosicky.

    “Chris is a very gifted player with natural strength and natural talent,” Wenger told the matchday programme. “He has what you do not find very easily… He can have a go at people, can get past people in one on ones. We forget sometimes that the basis of team sport is to first be strong one against one and Chris has that quality.. I believe that he has the needed character when he has his back to the wall to always respond in a very strong way. That’s a very important quality, to be able to play under pressure.” – Read more at http://www.arsenal.com/news/news-archive/20160312/boss-what-willock-has-is-tough-to-find#8phqBYXoIABvfwyG.99

    Georg bird earlier in December of this season:

    “Alex Iwobi and Jeff Reine-Adelaide, who were unused substitutes last night, are currently ahead of him at present in the first-team reckoning, but Willock isn’t far behind… Wenger recently mentioned the youngster when asked to reveal which youth-team prospects are currently closest to breaking into the senior set-up.”

    On his qualities Bird says:

    “A sublime dribbler and an astute passer, Willock is also capable of finding the net himself on occasion, as he demonstrated with a fine finish at U21 level against West Ham United last week.. has continued to develop at a tremendous pace and is now much stronger physically than he was previously.”

    I think those qualities are needed in mid wing position and offers an alternative to Iwobi. He plays particularly on the left so I think Wenger will leave this position competitive while allowing chances for Willock to play with Welbeck or another centre forward competing and Alexis on the right.

    He isn’t the answer, I would put our problems more down to a failure in mentality of key personnel who should have stepped up and didn’t, particularly walcott. We need more quality in the team in those areas you mentioned TA. It’s a good bet though Willock and some other emerging youngsters (the Jeff as well as Iwobi) play a part injecting some quality youth into our ranks next season, maybe more as the season goes on perhaps.

    I get more excited by our youngsters that potential signings, maybe because I have supported since George Graham and seen how Wenger has developed the club and it’s players. It’s time some new youth came through. As Iwobi is showing it can be really refreshing for the whole team.

  30. FMJ14 says:

    Not quite sure about the Rosicky comparison reflecting on his movement, but this looks a little like Old Bobby Pires 😀

    It’s too early to say how he will end up developing but I look forward to these moments.

  31. FMJ14 says:

    On playing without the handbrake TA I mean this to include control and composure as well as quick pass and move. This type of player do what the situation is asking of them. Something Ozil does. Something you can see in Iwobi too. He is uninhibited and has no noticeable mental blocks. An intelligent footballer. I think Willock and Jeff can follow in similar footsteps as they also seem to possess these qualities.

  32. 17highburyterrace says:

    Cheers FMJ for the info on Chris Willock,,,

    New Post

  33. rooben Vyapoory says:

    It s obvious there s been a considerable change in the recent games. Both Per and Flamini (liabilities) were out. With Elneni, Arsenal transition from defence through the midfield into the strikers is so much smoother. In fact Arsenal has been struggling to get the ball from defence to upfront. In a recent game he made 84 passes, 95% accuracy and has helped to see the game out,easily.Hopefully with another new player like Alex Iwobi, things would be better for Arsenal.Then Wenger should how to strengthen the squad.

  34. Pingback: Xhaka, N’Golo, Krychowiak ALL linked with Arsenal: What’s the Future of Arsenal’s Midfield? | Bergkampesque

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