Arsene Needs to Buy Xhakuelin


When we are in possession Xhaka is masterful. He is calm and composed when the ball allows him to buy time and space for himself. Excellent with his choice of passes, he gets them delivered with so much aplomb. However, the narrative changes as soon as the opposition is in possession. To be fair, he is good in covering passing lanes. But he dares not throw in a tackle because it would reach its destination late. And whenever the ball gets past him, his standard routine is to start his engine, rev it, manoeuvre it round before giving chase in gear 1.

When we are out of possession, Coquelin is masterful. He begins to smell blood, becomes oblivious of every thing around him less his target on which he hones his crosshairs. A beast, he attacks with ferocity and precision. He wins the ball and suddenly the narrative changes. The world around him, which had earlier vanished, begins to re-materialize through a haze. Seconds are lost and Ozil’s off the ball run is missed and the fans hiss.

Please give me Xhaka and Coquelin rolled into one. Do you know what that means? Instead of a paring of Xhaka and Ramsey we would have a pairing of XhaCoq and Ramsey literally. Or a XhaCoq and Xhaka. Or a XhaCoq and Coquelin. Magical isn’t it, for 2 to become 3. Can we find such a player?  My friend Jnyc says that finding one would be like looking for a pin in a haystack. I agree with him to the extent that there are precious very few of them.

Why am I so keen on the magical? Because I hate it when our opponents slice through our midfield like knife through butter. Note that our first choice pairing of Xhaka and Ramsey both have negative Squawka Defensive Performance Scores!  We need a component there that smells of Coquelin every time they storm us. Equally, we need a complimentary component, Xhaka-ish, to lever us back to high attack mode as soon as we win the ball back, all in that one player. Much smarter if we, meanwhile, don’t plan at all with Santi.

A flat back line is grossly exposed when opposition runs directly at it, be it a 3-man, 4-man or 5-man back line. We should not be lulled to sleep by the impressive results so far of our new 3-man defence. 7amkickoff showed clearly that our defensive numbers did not improve with the change in formation. Cech heroics was the difference.

If we can acquire this kind of player in our central midfield, we would not only be open to more potent combinations of our pairings but we also would be more able to switch formations tactically.
We need this masterful box to box player. Mark that the 1st box is the defender, the 2nd box the attacker, both rolled into one player.

29yr old Radja Nainggolan of Roma is a well rounded ideal box to box man. He can pair effectively with Xhaka or Ramsey or Coquelin. He would improve the team. Naby Keita of Leipzig is N’golo Kante M2 only more creative but less relentless (maybe because he is smoother to the eye). He is so dangerous going forward.  His price tag floats around £80M. That amount I fear might be the definition of pin in a haystack for AFC  In which case Wenger would be looking to re-create the pairing of a destroyer (Coquelin) and a 5ft 5in technical bundle (not Santi) which served him so well. Jean Michael Seri, a through-ball genius but on the weak side defensively is a Santi replacement if ever there is one. He is worth only £35M and the rumour says we are after him. Like Santi he will bring Coquelin back to life. So Gooners, which one should we recruit? Or have you another of those rare gems to offer?

Our midfield put right is us back as a beast of European football. The time is ticking away ………..

By Pony Eye.

77 thoughts on “Arsene Needs to Buy Xhakuelin

  • Thanks PE. You argue your case well and there is something to say about bringing in extra midfield power. However, I like our new system with Xhaka (and Jack as cover) sitting deep and Rambo (and Santi hopefully) doing the B2B. I want the wingbacks to squeeze in when required and support the central midfielders and both Kola and Hector are made for this. Coquelin and Elneny offer alternatives if and when we need them. We need to attack and defend as a team and the last ten games last season showed me that we are ready to move it up to the next level.

  • Evening all…long time, but yes… I am alive.

    Frankly…(for me) it’s not even about individual players, its just about the team shape and individual instructions to retain shape. Whenever I see Ramsey starting at CM, I feel that we will be light in the centre of the park, because he vacates that area so frequently.
    I love his goal/assist threat going forward, but ….

  • When I saw the headline, I thought it was a TA article (only he comes up with these name combos, you see). Then I read the body to a point and knew I had to scroll down to see the author, as TA has already stated his satisfaction with the squad, as is.

    For me, I’ve got to say I agree our midfield still needs someone with grit, strong tackling, speed and guile, to make us that bit less vulnerable to sweeping movements by the opponent, while also being a potent force once possession is regained. Gundogan at City (still returning gently from injury) is a player with such qualities, in addition to those suggested by the article. Vidal is another I have seen; in the EPL, I like Wayanma, Idrissa Gueye and James McCarthy, when fit. Unfortunately, all of them belong to other clubs and may be hard to prise away at this time. So, it will be refreshing if we can get Jean-Michael Seri, who looks like a hard working player, though, I will admit I have seen nothing more of him than what’s shown on his YouTube clips. There is room for improvement but if we don’t add anyone and have to go with what we have, it won’t change my expectations of the best only, for the club.

  • Hey Sharkey, good to hear from you. Yes Rambo needs to play with discipline and he gets better the longer he plays. Key is for Xhaka to stay deep and One of the CBs to push forward to support the midfield when possible.

  • Tolu, that is what everybody said last season and all prices went to London clubs, except for the Micky mouse cup. And what does Giggs know anyway?

  • Nice post PE.
    Since Santi went down to injury, i havent felt like we’ve dominated the midfield hardly at all. I know Ramsey can defend. In his best season, he scored and defended very well. I’m not unhappy with him, but we know about the hamstrings. If we really want to challenge for titles, top four, I’ve said El Neny is not good enough, nor is the Xhaka-Coquelin combo. They’re actually below average together in practice, though i think TA suggested Xhaka further forward in this pairing.

    If Santi was healthy, I wouldn’t be calling for a midfielder at this time. He is far from that, and I’m afraid it’s very unrealistic to expect him back with any consistency of fitness. See Rosicky (my favorite), obviously Diaby, and likely Wilshere.

    I don’t know enough, but i do like the Seri link, because he reminds me of Santi as a midfielder from the limited video I’ve seen.
    Also, i agree with Total about team defending and the defensive strengths of kolasinac and Hector, Nacho also, depending on where he’s positioned. But this team concept requires more motivation than we displayed last year. The first time in many years that I felt that the players let Arsene down. Just my opinion.

  • Interesting post PE, you seem to be describing a Petit/Vieira/Gilberto type if I’m not mistaken, but those type of players are a rarity these days, I can’t think of anyone who we could sign and who Arsene would be interested in signing, to fulfill your wish unfortunately.
    Seri sounds interesting, but I’ve not seen him play so I’m only really going on others’ opinions, the Leipzig guy is simply overpriced and that’s about it…

    I thought that Sevilla were quite a good team, well organised and put together for the price of a Mendy which is a good advert for their manager. I’m sure the commentator said that the Sevilla defence was put together for around £8million and if true then that is truely amazing and shows the value of coaching and having a good eye for a player.

    Arsenal still looked a couple of weeks away from their optimum, Willock for me did ok and Oxlade-Chamberlain showed some quality from right wing-back but why didn’t Chambers get a start?

    I guess we’ll have more of an idea where we are in the food chain when we face Chelsea next weekend in the Charity Shield.

    Total, Giggsy is quite an ‘expert’ in family relationships, but I wouldn’t pay him too much attention when he opines on the game. All the same the two Manc teams are looking very strong, that’s fairly obvious and Arsenal will need to be at their best from the off to keep apace of both of them, imo. Tottenham at Wembley and Liverpool with a crowded fixture list are the two who should feel the most vulnerable for a place in the top four.
    Everton though, are going to be an interesting project to watch this coming season methinks.

  • Excellent idea, PE. I was thinking about that myself but I can’t say we can find such a great player as Xhakuelin out there. Players that are both tacklers and passers are a rare breed these days. I’d add Krychowiak to our ranks except 1) PSG probably won’t sell him, 2) he has been pretty useless for them because PSG had the ball for most of the time and 3) I’m not sure Wenger will buy anyone else until the end of the transfer window unless Alexis leaves.


    About your question on Kolašinac, I wrote a few months ago (when we played Spuds):

    “Kolašinac is a physical type (he is built like a boxer with 1.83 m of height and 85 kg of weight), one that looks more like a Pochettino player than an Arsene one. He can play a central defender as well. He is not the best LB in the world – that’s reserved for Marcelo – but right now Arsenal need players with his passionate approach and never-die attitude. Now, is he an improvement on either Gibbs or Nacho? Well, he is stronger in 50-50s than either of them but he looks to me as one-footed as Gibbs is. His crosses don’t have some exceptional technical quality so don’t expect Beckham-esque crosses that would bounce of The Handsome Frenchman’s eyelids into the net.

    His price is exceptional though.”

    Kolašinac is a passionate lad who can maraud down the flank and won’t shy away from a 50-50. More importantly, he is likely to win most of those. There is a video of him swearing at the fourth referee when we lost to Nigeria at World Cup 2014. Seo didn’t play (as Sušić started the game in the weirdest formation ever that had asymmetric back three with no left full-back!) and we lost 1:0 because the New Zealand ref screwed us up by cancelling Džeko’s clear goal at 0:0. That’s my concern: Seo might get into troubles because of his physical approach even if his disciplinary record from Germany was nowhere near Xhaka’s.

  • PE, I share the same opinion as you. We needed someone as good as Kante.
    Yesterday night I was shouting at the TV for Wenger to sub in an attacker or midfielder for Elneny.

    We needed someone that can turn goal deficits into game winners, and from our squad I am still trying to look for the one. Santi and Alexis are close, and Kolasinac is still getting to grips with new teammates and will take some time for him to adjust.

    Lacazette did not had a good start, but he grew into the game and did well scoring his goal and our equaliser. However, he is not the one that can single handedly turn a deficit around.

    Sevilla is like a team in the EPL. They like to sit deep and counter. Last night’s game is a good example of how much we are lacking.

    Next weekend’s game against the Chavs is the best gauge to see how much Kola and Lacazette integrates into the squad. Get them in the starting lineup pretty please.

  • Um PE, I am 5ft 4, so do I count as one of the technical players? Santi will be out for a further while, so while we try to partner Coq and Xhaka (that is the best combo so far IMHO), I can fly over to London Colney and have a trial with them ;).

  • I will buy you njk. I value the ability to turn on a penny. But I worry about your medicals. Coq and Xhaka I’d rate my best pairing when we are playing the bigger attacking teams. Rambo and Xhaka when we a playing against teams we’ll dominate.

  • Kev,
    You got my dreams right. Players like Petit, Gilberto, and Vieira. They are rare but they exist. They are simply versatile players. South America particularly Brazil as well as Africa produce a lot of versatile players because a lot of their early footballing life are street football (unstructured football). No coach, just kids having a competitive fun. It is so unstructured that kids find themselves playing different positions including goal keeping depending on the opennings available at any given day. Say John who is the usual goal keeper might not show up on the day and James a midfielder takes his role. By the time they begin structured football, skill set wise they have become sufficiently versatile. Kalo Toure would have played any wing for you.

    Naby Keita for example has great defensive number but if am to describe him with one role I’d say he is an attacking mid. Klopp wants him so much. If we get him, he’d be the most influential player in our team.

  • Over the past seasons we’ve always scored enough goals, but again we have consistently conceded more than 40 goals over the season. This alone has ruled us out as champions. Line up the 3 best central defenders in the world. Leave them expoused and they would concede tons of goals for you. Where else do we fortify our defensive part of the game except the midfield. It is staring me in the face.

  • Hi all.. Hi PE.. Nice post as usually..

    But I disagree with you about pairing Xhaka-Coquelin together.. We play with 3 CB already and with two WB that mostly good enough to defence.. So if we play Xhaka-Coq together we will play with 7 defenders.. And left only 3 in front.. We aren’t counter attack team.. We don’t sit down deep and quickly steal a ball..

    We need more attractive and skillful players.. and Ramsey is one of them.. We can’t depend on Coq to come forward.. although he gave a nice assist to Walcott.. We need Xhaka for his long ball also.. So for now the best is playing Xhaka and Ramsey..

    What happened on our last games are because Wenger trying his all CB combination.. Elneny also.. hehehehe..
    And for me Mertesacker Koscielny and Monreal are our best CB for now.. untill Mustafi returned.
    We need Merte for his tall body, He can secured us from long ball assist.. Kos still our best CB and Monreal is too good to warm the bench.. hehehe..
    With 3 great CB.. we don’t need 2 DM in front of them..

  • Admir,
    I like your bit on Kola. Aesthetically his not my cup of tea. In other words he doesn’t look Wengerball. Am not too glad that he has same Gibbs one footedness, but unlike Gibbs he makes very effective flicks with the outside of that his left foot. That increases his passing angles over Gibbs. His main strengths are as you said, his passion plus his pace and his body strength. I believe he is much better that Nacho and Gibbs in the final ball into the box, which is critical for wing back play. So I regard him, all things put together, as an improvement on Nacho even though I’d give the edge on general tactical savy to Nacho. Admir, how do you rate this my early view of him?

  • Henrychan,
    You must have misunderstood my post. I wasn’t advocating playing Xhaka and Coq together. The post was trying to show the need for signing a new player who possesses the combined skills of Coq (defending) and Xhaka (transitioning the ball). Such a new player can then partner a player like Rambo or whoever else in our CM.

  • PE,
    I would play Kola and Nacho together. I would not leave it to Iwobi to play the left wing back position.
    Also, as Singaporeans serve the army, I am still needed to keep myself fit to pass the required fitness tests that is determined by them, and I do play football too, so if I train more regularly I think I can be up to task ;D.

  • Personally, if you want someone like that, give Aaron the armband. The performances he provides for wales is exactly what you crave. He’s the only player that really shows a whole different level of performance with a captains armband, not Per, not Kos, they maintain their usually high standards. But my gosh does Ramsey step it up a notch.

    As for the Emirates Cup, Reiss Nelson and Ox has shown great performances. My only hope is that Reiss gets a few minutes sooner rather than later. Throw him into the deep end and see how he responds. He/s definitely shown the kind of form to be a first team member. And Sead is an absolute monster, too bad Hazard won’t play on the same flank as him. I’d reckon we’d see hazard in crutches.

  • Kolasinac will handle his one-footedness better than Gibbs did, to be fair. There were times I despaired when Gibbs had to resort to backward passes because he would not risk using his right foot for a flick inside and won’t trust his left, either. I feel Kolasinac enjoys going forward a lot and cherishes the challenge of meeting and slowing down a top right winger. I saw him first dominate the left side for Schalke when they drew 1-1 with Bayern earlier this year. He hardly gave Robben, Coman, Lahr and Rafinha a sniff, as they took turns (Bayern subbed off Robben for Coman and Rafinha for Lahr, at some point) to try to break down Schalke from that side. If he can curb his forward forays when we meet the better sides, he just might do well in this league.

  • Kolasinac looks good for the next season. If we have another midfielder of his size and height we will be good to go.


  • As you all know, i was very worried that Alexis might find a reason not to report. So I’m thrilled that he’s back and wants to play…. but we are not out of the woods yet. We have our best player and most valuable asset poised to walk away free at the end of this season.

    We need to get to work negotiating to make something of this bad situation.

    I’d offer an obviously large raise in salary, but also, to entice him to sign, there must be more for him… we can insert a reasonable buyout clause so that he can be assured of going in a year if he still wants to. Off the top of my head, I’d put the price at about where lukaku, Morata sold, was it….. £ 65-75 mil or so? Maybe we can make it higher because of possible Neymar, Mbappe deals raising the market even higher.

    RELAX! I know he is so much better than those 2 lumps,, but a buyout clause has to give him the real option of leaving in a year. If we set the buyout price at his real value, we haven’t given him anything but a raise, and that’s not enough to keep him from leaving for free for a huge package.

    Also… a fair thing for us to ask in return… is a noticeably higher buyout price if he goes to an English club.

    Before you complain, remember, he holds most of the cards, because we let it get too far as we usually do, and we’re not in champions league, and he can even negotiate with clubs in january, i think……

    the main reason that he might want to consider signing a new deal is the fear of a serious injury this season, which is a long term risk. This, plus a big raise with the ability to leave in a year anyway if he still wants, could get him and his agent to the table….
    I don’t buy any of Uncle Arsenes nonsense about it being positive that he’s in his final year. Sanchez, especially, is already motivated to compete and win.

    We have to give up something more than just a raise.

    Now let’s go beat chelsea.

  • Its all too late as long as Sanchez doesn’t want to extend. Buy out clauses are negotiated with wages and they do have a relationship.

    There is one thing going against Sanchez. In less than 4 months he’d be 29 yrs. By the beginning of 18/19 season he’d be nearly 30 and his value wouldave dropped and our write off would’ve lessened. Meaning the big teams would’ve become less interested.

    Most importantly, Arsenal are free to compete with other teams to sign on a free bee Sanchez. As a matter of fact Arsenal would hold a stronger hand in thst competition because they would not have to worry about bed-in time for a nearly 30 yr old player.

  • As Wenger said, with these astronomical values placed on players the new trend would be players running down their contracts. That would crash the player transfer values, but hike up the player incomes. Natural market respoñses.

  • PE.. Sorry for misunderstanding your post.. Such player you said will hard to find.. I still believe with our 3 solid CB then we wont need a classical DM.. Xhaka and Ramsey will be just great.. Great new about Sanchez return.. Hope he can blend quick to face Chelsea.. It will be great to beat Chelsea againin a real team..

  • Good morning all. I tend to disagree a little bit. Before Santi was injured Coq was very good but suddenly with Santi out his perfomance has gone down. I have likened our situation to the one at Barcelona where the departure of Xavi suddenly meant Busquets was no longer as good as he used to be. Players like Xavi and Santi makes other players around them much effective. We have Coq & Bielik we can use as defensive midfielders but they want someone to move around the balls they win. Another example is what Zidane did at Real Madrid he just bought Casemiro to partner Kroos and Modric and the jigsaw puzzle was complete the team was totally transformed. As for us we have Coq who is like Casemiro but Xhaka has not been effective enough as a defensive midfielder of central midfielder. To me he is the weak link in the team as he has failed to replace Santi. We do need someone to replace Santi. Someone who can receive the ball from Coq and move it forward. Lets not expect Coq to do too much of other duties. If he can defend then that’s good enough Wenger must make sure his system has someone ready to receive the ball (like what Santi does) and move play forward. Really in what areas has Xhaka excelled. He and Mustafi haven’t justified their price tags yet. Maybe another season might see them come around with worthy perfomances. Lets give them time but we need a plan in case nothing changes.

  • Couldn’t agree more PE!! There are a number of central midfielders playing in Europe’s top five league who have, season on season, demonstrated that they have the combination of defensive and transitional passing skills that your looking for. Below are just a few examples:

    Diego Diemme
    – Tackles – 3.4 pg
    – Interceptions – 2.7 pg
    – Long balls – 3.8 pg
    – Dribbles – 0.7 pg

    Maxime Gonalons
    – Tackles – 3.7 pg
    – Interceptions – 2.8 pg
    – Long balls – 5.2 pg
    – Dribbles – 0.6 ph

    Asier Illarramendi
    – Tackles – 3 pg
    – Interceptions – 3.4 pg
    – Long balls – 4.8 pg
    – Dribbles – 0.4 pg

    – Tackles – 3.8 pg
    – Interceptions – 2.7 pg
    – Long balls – 6.1 pg
    – Dribbles – 0.8 pg

    Grzegorz Krychowiak
    – Tackles – 2.6 pg
    – Interceptions – 3.2 pg
    – Long balls – 4 pg
    – Dribbles – 0.5 pg

    Just to highlight how the likes of Xhaka and Coquelin match up with the aforementioned players, I’ve included their comparative stats below:

    – Tackles – 2.2 pg
    – Interceptions – 1.8 pg
    – Long passes – 6.2 pg
    – Dribbles – 1 pg

    – Tackles – 2.3 pg
    – Interceptions – 2 pg
    – Long passes – 1.4 pg
    – Dribbles – 0.9 pg

  • Waldo, our stats man is back.

    From the stats, it seems that Maxime Gonalons is the better option, but the ones that you had identified is not much better in the tackles and interceptions compared to our Le Coq and Xhaka.

    Do you have Santi’s stats?

  • Simba, Waldo, great, detailed comments.

    Waldo, those stats are really to the point, basically showing our guys about a third less defensive plays on average. Long passes are exactly what i would’ve expected, Xhaka at the very highest end and le Coq at the lowest.

    I’ve always seen Coquelin as a disruptor since his comeback, so he has a great function above the statistics alone. But absolutely must be paired with Cazorla type midfielder, someone energetic in a different way.,, always available for the ball, able to escape traffic and find a smart forward pass quickly, a rare gift that’s hard to find… Santi also was noticeably helping in defensive duties when playing cm, which was an unexpected bonus.
    Ramsey is good enough, but not at the level of Santi, lately, though he will chip in quite a few more goals i think. Cazorla almost gave up trying to score, in order to help the team in other ways. Very selfless, especially for a guy who was a scoring winger just a couple years ago, for many seasons.


    I’m so much in agreement, i wanted to cut and paste your comment again. A really sharp analysis and comparisons to successful spanish clubs midfields, really put things into perspective. I have been saying, and will once again, we need one more player added who can do something close to Cazorlas job, because it would be stupid to expect him to be able to contribute many games from now on.

    A Cazorla type player like Seri, for example, could take some burden off Ramsey, and make Coquelin and Xhaka much better. Also freeing Ramsey to be a late sub sometimes, a role which I always loved him in.

  • Oh yes kev,. Most of me wants Barca to suffer for their tapping up, tampering historically… But now I’d like to see psg get destroyed by them. The spend like pigs clubs are ruining the game much more.. and Neymar and psg are the prime example now of greed and throwing money. The other biggest examples are in England unfortunately.

  • Jnyc, it would be a Classico of sorts, two financially doped clubs fighting it out with the added zest of the Neymar transfer, I can see Suarez sharpening up his teeth for that one. one…😳

  • Unfortunately Gonalons has already been snapped up by Roma this transfer window for a bargain 5 million pounds. As for Santi’s numbers (see below) they’re as expected – strong transitional skills (long passes and dribbling) but weak defensively.

    – Tackles – 1.7 pg
    – Interceptions – 1.6 pg
    – Long passes – 4 pg
    – Dribbles – 1.8 pg

    Interestingly the comparative numbers for Chelsea’s CM duo last season (Kante and Matic) are:

    – Tackles: 3.6 pg
    – Interceptions: 2.4 pg
    – Dribbles: 1 pg
    – Long range passes: 3.9 pg

    – Tackles: 2.8 pg
    – Interceptions: 2 pg
    – Dribbles: 1.1 pg
    – Long range passes: 4 pg

    Both were strong in ball recoveries and in direct transition. This is exactly what the Gunners need in my opinion.

  • For me it’s pretty clear why Wenger has been unable to find an appropriate combination to fill the 2 central midfield positions from Arsenal’s current central midfield cohort. Put simply:

    – None of Arsenal’s central midfield options have proven in recent seasons that they have the necessary ball recovery skills required of the role.
    – Coquelin, Ramsey, Elneny, Ox and Maitland-Niles have failed to demonstrate that they have the long range transitional passing skills to perform effectively in that role (though it is noted that Ox and Maitland-Niles have had limited opportunities in the CDM role).

    In terms of the comparative numbers of reported Arsenal target Seri, his on field defensive contribution has similarly not been good enough for me to think that he is a viable central midfield option for Arsenal. That’s despite his impressive transitional skills.

    – Tackles: 1.2 pg
    – Interceptions: 1 pg
    – Dribbles: 1.7 pg
    – Long range passes: 4.4 pg

  • Hi all.. Hi Waldo.. very interesting statistic you give.. But we surely can’t depend on stat.. cause every league is different and unique.. Matic is very rare case.. I don’t know why Conte sell him.. a bad decision..

    Interestingly what happened to Neymar and PSG.. 200M++.. wow.. The highest transfer ever.. and Liverpool must be ready to lose Coutinho, as us also with Sanchez..
    To get Sanchez back to Barca is harder than Coutinho I think.. but who knows.. and 100 M will be hard to refused.. hehehe.. I hope Barca run after Hazard.. it will be better for us.. hahaha..

  • 3-4-3 is of course a very attack minded formation, the defending is now a team job. So using traditional stats against individual players is only partly useful. Also, who is measuring quality here and where are the analyses in terms of team formation and style? Perspective is required. A defensive, sitting back style will help defensive stats of DMs for example. Give me Xhaka’s long distance passes over any of those mentioned in Waldo’s picky players’ stats anytime. Just because players make long distance passes doesn’t mean they are any good. The stats also don’t show the quality of controlling play and initiating attacking play, but that takes a footballer’s eye. 😉

    We defend as a team and the ROX will dominate the midfield this season. Just sit back and enjoy the ride, we have the best possible midfield as long as injuries won’t spoil the party. CoyGs!

  • Nice one TA. Football is a team game and it will forever be.
    We need to be back to basics with the mindset that “the team is only as good as the weakest player on the field”, as what I was used to hearing during my Army days.

    I don’t like the way that the Neymar saga is being played out. It will seem that Neymar is going to the biggest club in the world (I am being sarcastic here), but PSG plays in a French League which is nowhere near EPL standard.

    Get him into the EPL and you will see how good he really is. 200 million (pounds) is not a normal figure. I can give this amount to various charities rather than giving to those bloodsucking agents and I will feel much happier.

    Waldo, I have to disagree with your take on the midfield’s long range passing and transition. All of us know that the team plays short passes, not Route One boring footy. In this case, the only thing that we lack is a person who can sit back and pass the ball forward. Our midfielders get too far in front to get any chance to help in defence.


  • Apparently Monaco have signed a player, whose name escapes me, but who is very similar to Lemar (replacement perhaps?)…

    Maybe we could see some movement in that direction?

  • Kev, i heard that. Let’s hope it’s a quiet sign that our deal may be done already. I say it that way, because my fear (always worst case) is that
    Neymar -> psg
    Lemar-> liverpool
    Nobody-> Arsenal

    But that couldn’t happen, right?

  • T, i agree about team defending, and i have always thought our current group was pretty good in that regard, but last season, very disappointing. With the same regime and group of players, i hope they are addressing that seriously.

    Henry has had a couple of great comments in the past few days pointing out that we field a team with plenty of defensive talent aside from cb’s with monreal, kola , bellerin, Xhaka, especially if coquelin plays, and Ramsey is disciplined. Santi was contributing plenty when he was playing so well.

    Discipline and motivation needed.

  • 84, how is it that PSG can spend over $200m on one player and not come under FFP, but that Arsenal have to sell before signing Lemar?
    I sing get it mate, there is something bent about FFP…

    Jnyc, funnily enough mate, Liverpool have been a disaster area this transfer window.
    And long may that continue as I dislike Liverpool with a passion…

    PSG will need to balance their books Jnyc, or sort of in some suspicious manner, so there could be some interesting PSG ‘deadwood’ on the market…
    In an ideal world Coutinho goes to Spain, we get Lemar and Liverpool get zip.
    Yep, I’ll drink to that…

  • Waldo,
    The guy you forgot to mention is Idrisa Gana Gueye. He has the best defensive numbers in the EPL CM. He has an unobtrusive playing personality like our Invincible invisible Gilberto. His passing numbers which is an indication of transitional ability is also impressive. He is an all round upgrade on Coquelin and even on Kante.

    Player ——- : Tckl : Interc : Fouls : Drbl : Blks
    Gueye ——- : 4.1 — 2.5 —- 1.5 — 1.5 — 0.3.
    Kante ——– -: 3.6 — 2.4 —- 1.5 —1.3 — 0.1
    Fernandinho -: 2.5 — 2.0 —- 1.5 — 1.8 — 0.2
    Matic ———- : 1.5 — 1.4 —- 0.9 — 0.8 — 0.3
    Coquelin —– : 2.5 — 1.8 —- 1.1 — 1.2 — 0.3

    Player ——— : KeyP ——- AvgP —–Ps% —- LongB —-ThrB.
    Gueye ——— : 0.8 ———- : 57.1 —-: 86.3 — : 2.9 —— : 0.0
    Kante ———- : 0.6 ———- : 60.6 —- :88.8 — : 2.4 —— : 0.1
    Fernandinho – : 1.0 ———- : 68.1 —- : 86.6 — : 3.3 —— : 0.1
    Matic ———– : 0.7 ———- : 53.3 —- : 87.7 — : 4.0 —— : 0.1
    Coquelin —— : 0.5 ———- : 40.7 —- : 87.7 — : 1.1 —— : 0.0

    Higher key passes, long balls and through balls indicate better transitioning ability, all things being equal. A player like Gueye would give a better defensive balance to our CM without disrupting our ball transitioning as much as with le Coq. Will Everton agree to sell?

  • Kev, by the way when i wrote about the need to sell players I was not even thinking about FFP.

    PSG has a bloated squad and they bring in Neymar. Nice one, but I do not like them as they bring in every good player to sit on the bench. Brilliant, or should I say absolute bonkers.


  • Good call PE regarding Gueye! He is another player to be added to the list of those who would improve Arsenal’s starting central midfield. It just goes to show there are players out there who have demonstrated over a number of seasons that they have the transitional and defensive skills to fulfill the fundamental requirements of the central midfield position in Arsenal’s 3-4-2-1 set up.

  • With PSG signing Neymar for ridiculous money, likely to be facing pressure from a FFP perspective and needing some quick fire sales and Arsenal needing improved central midfielders, if I was Wenger I would put in a conservative bid for Krychowiak. Arsenal might be able to pick him up on the cheap.

  • Ok 84, because I honestly don’t think that the fact that Arsenal haven’t moved on the players Wenger wants should have any influence whatsoever on us signing anyone else especially if FFP isn’t an issue.

    Get the business on new recruits done, preferably before we kick-off against Leicester and worry about selling players on, as and when.
    Loan them out if we can’t sell them and they need to be off of our books.
    I mean if Arsene is comfortable about a Ozil, Wilshere, Oxlade-Chamberlain and Alexis running down their contracts then why should Jenkinson or Gibbs or Perez be a major stumbling block?

  • Good point kev.
    That’s been in the back of my mind with all of this “waiting to sell before we can buy” talk. If we found a team coming close to our asking price, and willing to satisfy the arsenal players bloated salary, i wouldn’t haggle too much.

    One more thing… I love Welbeck as a person, but as a scorer, striker. Sorry. Not good enough. Not good enough as a 2nd choice for a top club either. Except for the home grown aspect. I’d keep giroud if he agrees to stay in a smaller role, sell Welbeck. People called Sanogo “bambi on ice”, but when it comes to scoring opportunities, Danny has looked the same. As a hardworking midfielder with speed, minimal scoring threat, he’s ok, but not in the same league as oxlade.

    We’d Get more for english player. But we’ll probably let his contract run down also. Watching sevilla match now…. Ox really looking dangerous , frustrates me so much that he may walk in a year. We lose a talented player in his prime, and we wont even get the English premium that we should. We’ll also be down a homegrown too.

    Where is the planning in this club/company? Someone should’ve addressed these issues long ago. Firstly, overpaying players like gibbs, jenkinson, even wilshere to a point where theyre difficult to sell. We’ve known about this for years now, I’ve listened to Wenger out people(that i hate) on blogs point this out, but i knew they were right, as much as i defended Wenger.

    I was uneasy about the running down contracts over the years also, players beat us over the head with it. Theo, Nasri, Van Persie, come to mind. When was the last time we sold a quality player for the proper price? Cesc was our unquestionable star, we didnt get enough. Van persie was too cheap considering he was at his apex. Now add to that list (possibly on a free, even) alexis , ozil, chamberlain.

    Nobody is mentioning it, as they’re throwing around prices that we might be offered for Alexis today if we wanted to sell… but what would he be worth if we had extended him one year ago, while we were busy haggling. In todays market… not because of neymar, but because of morata, lukaku, pogba! These guys couldn’t lace Alexis shoes. PremierLeague proven. I’d say it couldve been 80m £. If we cant convince him to extend soon.. thats too much cash to let go. That kind of corporate failure gets people fired. And it should. Ivan, stop hiding behind Arsene.

  • Hi all..
    Talking about FFP is very interesting.. hehehe.. Wenger had complain about that long long time ago.. But nothing did change..
    The Neymar Saga is the top of the top.. 200M for a players.. You can even buy “Indonesian Liga” with that money.. hahahaha..

    And now the La Liga guys refused to take PSG money.. hahaha.. very funny.. and the same time all players in Barca already saying a farewell bye bye.. What will happen next..?? Just can’t keep laughing.. hehehehe..

    Some great news from FA.. They change some rules.. about the pinalty kick and the diving.. I love it so much.. Like Wenger and all of us here.. I hate diving players.. as I hate Barca players.. You touch them a little and they rolling all over the stadium.. hehehehe.. and guest what.. Neymar is one of them.. Luckily Sanchez isn’t that kind of player.. or maybe because he play in PL now.. hehehe..

    Wenger is a “walk the talk” Manager..
    If he said Sanchez and Ozil will stay, then he give his best effort to keep them.. the saga is over.. Sanchez is Gunner.. period..
    And as he already said that he will bring 3 at least new players.. then it will happened.. just wait and see who will be our 3nd signing guy.. Hope it will be a CM as we discussed.. but maybe a keeper also as Martinez gone for loan..

  • Kev, Jnyc, we have done this before, to Lord Bentner. And now our stumbling block is to move out the players. I know nothing about FFP (except about meeting the 30m loss in 3 years), so I did not link it to us meeting the FFP and shipping out before we add.

    My thinking (as is most of the people) is getting rid of old stuff before you buy new ones. This is what I am strongly advocating as Wenger likes to collect players and leave them in the club’s books before they are too old to be sold.

    I know that some outgoing players are overpaid and it might be down to Wenger giving them higher pay to bring them into the club, but we need to look at other aspects that the club as a whole listens to Wenger, on the point of transfers.

  • I prefer to speculate on the premise that those who manage our club or most clubs for that matter can’t be fools. Of course there must be better or worse decisions. They obviously must know a thing or two more than us.

    Apart from the sugar daddy clubs, clubs work on budgets. Not to do so is to be reckless. The big task is to operate optimally within that budget. I suspect that most clubs believe that the market is artificially inflated and that it would come crashing in the last 2 or 3 weeks of the window (which is about now). I expect us to conclude some sales, loans and 1 or 2 more signings between now and the close of the window. Our transfer staff must be straining to maximize what has been budgeted. The transfer competition is as stiff as the one on the field. Some wins, some losses.

  • I’m not a hater, meaning i don’t begrudge others success, but it really bothers me to see kyle walker, lb, get 50 mil for the despised spuds. Raheem Sterling get 50 mil for liverpool. We compete directly with these 2 teams in the league and in business….

    2 English player premium examples, yet, what will we get for alex oxlade chamberlain.? Nothing? Zero? I see that as business malpractice. I dont blame only Arsene. There are just too many examples of this happening at Arsenal, too many quality players that i listed. Mismanagement.

  • Jnyc, I make you right on that point, if should have been sorted during the summer of 2016.
    I can remember Liam Brady leaving Arsenal to join Juventus for next to nothing in 1980 because the Arsenal Board were not proactive enough.
    That lack of ambition saw Frank Stapleton leave the following year, it would have been like losing Bobby Pires and Thierry Henry in their pomp in successive years.

  • Chippy Brady and Frank Stapleton still hurts in my book. I think jync hit the nail on the head with mismanagement, but hopefully we will get off to a flyer and alexis and the Ox will want to stay. Well we can hope can’t we?

  • Restub, i still have faith, I’m so excited for this season, which is surprising after the disappointment of last year. I felt the players let Arsene down . I always say that i love our squad. I hope the club has a plan, and i always have doubts, but i have to remember, talent-wise, we can more than compete.

    The last 2 winners of the league were totally unexpected at the start. Leicester was a historic event, no hyperbole there. Chelsea looked a shambles after mourinho’s final season there.

    It’s really not hard to imagine a special season from Our Arsenal.

  • Hi all.. Hi Jnyc..
    The price go beyond my logic.. If Neymar’s price is 200M pounds and the Mbappe kid is 120M then 100M for Sanchez is cheap.. hehehehe.. That apply to Ox and Ozil too..
    And to sell him/them for 40M is irrespectively.. So better to let him go for free.. like Ibrahimovic did.. hahahaha..
    Bad for business isn’t it..??
    But wait.. I still believe that the negotiation still going on.. and he will sign for another 3 more years for us.. to make his price rise for next year to 100M up and he also gain the 200k a week salary rise.. win-win solution.. hehehe..

    And I think we just need a momentum.. The fail to go to CL.. first time in 20 years Wenger history.. can be our momentum.. to win the PL.. like Leicester and Chelsea did..

    But first.. win against Chelsea and get the trophy.. Go Gunners.. VCC

  • I don’t think we should be referencing Neymar’s transfer value. That’s pure irrationality unless it is looked at from the point of view that Qatar was making a political statement.

    Normally a player’s value is dependent not only on their field ability but also on their age.. The real cost of a player is how much he costs the team per annum.

    For example (simplified) if Mbappe has 17 yrs playing life and is valued at £10M/yr then he should cost £170M. On the other hand if Sanchez is valued at the same £10M/yr but has 4 yrs playing life left, he should cost £40M.

    In other words Sanchez at £40M is more expensive than Mbappe at £120M. Remember this is simplified because their are other cost factors like wages, bonuses etc. This is why I expect Sanchez to cost between £35M to £45M. atm.

    There is one fact that is not been commented on (Gazidis has) and that is that Arsenal are free to compete for Alexis on the free. Our advantage there is that we, unlike the others, wouldn’t worry about bed- in time for a nearly 30 yr old. I believe that must be Wenger’s ace. So come 18/19 we might stand to out bid other interested clubs for Alexis signature.

  • One might argue that re-signing him on the free would end up a lot more expensive than had his new contract wage demand been accepted. True, but there are demands that boarder on blackmail that should never be caved in to as it would establish itself as a precedence. One should be ready to pay the cost for nor succumbing. It’s all a fine balancing act.

  • Not that simple PE..
    If we use your way.. then the youngest player is the expensive one.. hehehe..
    That’s mean Neymar is too expensive.. cause he is 25 yo.. 7 years older than Mbappe..
    And Messi is already 30yo.. two year older than Sanchez.. hehehe..
    Ibra was 35 yo and still score a lot last season..
    No guarantee that 18yo Mbappe can continue his skill untill 17 years ahead.. like Ibra..
    The more skillful one is the expensive one.. imho..

  • Pony, i totally agree with ruling out the Neymar numbers as they are basically insane, though he is a great player. I’ve only used lukaku , morata, sterling, walker, pogba, as examples.

    I don’t agree with the simplified formula you describe. Alexis is much more of a known quantity, still close enough to his prime, with no major injuries in his career ( though he risks that this year by not signing on ). Also proven, even excelled in the 2 biggest leagues and also international competitions. Has actually gotten better each year generally to this day.

    Any big money club will throw huge sign on lump-sum bonuses as well as great salary offers, since they won’t pay a fee to ridiculous Arsenal club who botched the situation. We will not come close to those offers.They are so free with their money, that they won’t care even a bit about him being 30 yrs old or thereabouts. And he wants out of Arsenal anyway. There really is no doubt about that.
    I hope we can pull off a surprise this season. That’s the only way it can turn out well for us.

  • Somehow these few transfer windows taught us one thing: spending might not bring you success.

    I am not going to name examples, but there had been clubs that bought a lot and not got everyone to gel, and there were clubs that bought those they needed and won the league.

    It is no longer a wage vs age story. It is the player that commands the most salary vs the club that can afford it.

    This is becoming a business game, and i hate to see it becoming this way.

  • Henrychen, Jnyc,
    Firstly, I qualified my formula as simplified. Now for the formula (not really my formula) to be better appreciated consider this hypothetical case of two players X and Y who are at par in all areas, performance, attitude, reputation etc but with X at 29yrs and Y at 24 yrs. Assuming their playing life ends at 33 yrs, X will serve a team for 4 yrs while Y serves for 9 yrs. Obviously Y is more valuable for the team. After 4 yrs X hangs up his boots and his team would spend again to replace him while Y simply extends or is sold to recoup that extra cost over X. Remember the formula is all simplified but it gives the picture.

    Ronaldo, for instance, would only attract a fraction of the fee he would have attracted 7 yrs ago because his shelf life as a top player is now only one or two more years.

    Henry, all things being equal, I repeat, ALL THINGS BEING EQUAL, the younger the more expensive.

  • njk,
    Yes, njk, when I look upwards at PSG, at City, at Chl etc I hate that it’s becoming a business game, but when I look downwards at Burnley, at Huddersfield, at Stoke etc am glad it’s a business game. What it all means is that we (the fans) have to learn to also give good attention to the business side of the game.

  • Total, of course financial prudence is important, a few years back, when Arsenal stated that they were going down the Bayern model of self sustainability both clubs went through a period when officials of both clubs would visit each other and study each other’s methods.
    The major difference is that Bayern are dominant in the Bundesliga so their model works and they win most years and they also succeed in europe an area where Arsenal haven’t triumphed in since 1994.

  • I like that we’re playing vs Chelsea in the community shield. It’s a great warm up for the regular season. I Want us to try and get organized, especially defensively. The goals will come eventually, but that defense and midfield must improve.

  • Jnyc: “2 English player premium examples, yet, what will we get for alex oxlade chamberlain.? Nothing? Zero? I see that as business malpractice. I dont blame only Arsene. There are just too many examples of this happening at Arsenal, too many quality players that i listed. Mismanagement”.

    You do make a good point but is it beyond the realm of possibility that the club was uncertain of the Ox’s quality and fitness and was prepared to sell him this summer until he decided to have his best ever season yet? Most fans slated the Ox no end during the preceding two seasons and demanded that he be sold, especially as he couldn’t remain fit and could not hold down a “specialist role”. Typical of sportsmen, he felt the heat and gave himself a chance by putting up motm performances in games in midfield and wing back and suddenly, he wants out/won’t sign for £100k/week.

    The game is a business and those who get paid to make medium to long term plans for the club do come up with these decisions (at least, I’d hope so). Not long ago, Arsene had this rule about re-signing over 30year olds but has since revised this position selectively as players tend to be fitter and take better care of their bodies to help them last longer, at the top (see Ibrahimovic and C. Ronaldo). For me, I feel those kind of thoughts may have played a role in hesitating to push for renewals for certain players (Ozil and Sanchez) because it may be the last chance to recoup anything close to value from their sales. Ox may have been based on some doubts as to fit for the club. He has done himself well and is now sought after by clubs in the top 4, which is a compliment to his determination. He has to do this more consistently.

  • **Ox’s delay may have been based on some doubt as to his being the right fit for the… **

  • Jnyc, the defence line up will be facinating, Holding, Monreal, Koccielny, BFG, Sead, Bellerin, Oxlade-Chamberlain, the options are intriguing…

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