Thoughts on Arsenal’s New Season Squad

When Arsene Wenger agreed to manage Arsenal back in the summer of 1996, it was a huge huge gamble for the club and for Arsene himself.
Dr Joseph Venglos had already shown what difficulties could arise for a foreign coach in England during his short and disappointing stint at Aston Villa, so the pitfalls were obvious.

But Arsene pulled off a stroke of genius, a move that won over the fan base in one swoop, a move that succeeded beyond even his wildest dreams: he signed Patrick Vieira, probably the most successful and productive transfer in his entire career.
That one transfer not only convinced the fans that we had a guy who knew what he was doing, it also transformed a team that was gradually winding down despite the additions of Dennis Bergkamp and David Platt a year earlier.

Wenger also had the common sense to listen to the coaching staff when he arrived, to trust in his own judgement and basically spent his first season watching the players before deciding who he could work with and improve and those he could not.
It showed a very analytical way of team building, not rushing in and tearing everything apart.  Not worrying that it was basically still George Graham’s defence even if they played with more freedom and élan under Wenger.
The following summer, in came Overmars, Grimaldi and Petit and the rest, well you all know the rest…

So now we move onto the homme nouveau this summer, what will he do, who will be his Vieira moment, who will he keep and who will he move on?

By common consensus Arsenal need strengthening in certain areas, the goalkeeper, a defensive midfielder, a centre-back, two young full-backs, a right winger, the list is endless, the new man will certainly have his own ideas for sure. But I would hope that he will maybe take his time, safe in the knowledge that Arsenal are not a sacking club and will give him the time he needs, as will the fans (I hope).

We might see a shift in style, players who maybe aren’t major constituents of the present team may become the next Ray Parlour, from obscurity to main player?
Players who we think are indispensable might be moved on to make way for new players,  may become the next Paul Merson?

This won’t happen overnight, we’ll probably see a few changes, a few tweaks, evolution rather than revolution, well I would really hope so.

I don’t think we have a bad squad, our home record proves that, our home record is second only to the runaway champions, that’s better than Man Utd, better than Liverpool, better than Chelsea and better than that other North London team who always manage to never win anything, despite the media telling anyone who will listen, how wonderful they are.

This Arsenal team has also succeeded in reaching a major domestic cup final and a European semi-final.
Only the away form has been a problem and that’s a tactical issue.

So what does the uomo nuovo do and who does he keep this summer?

The players who I think will form the basis of the squad for next season are:

Aubameyang, Bellerin, Cech, Chambers, Elneny, Holding, Iwobi, Kolasinac, Mkhitaryan, Lacazette, Ozil, Monreal, Xhaka, Mavropanos, Welbeck, Wilshere, Mustafi, Maitland-Niles.

You could supplement the above squad with youngsters like:

Macey, Osei-Tutu, Willock, Nketiah, Nelson, Nwakali, Dasilva, Dragomir, Bielik and Smith-Rowe.

The players who I think could be leaving this summer are mainly youngsters, many have been out on loan like Akpom, Asano, Jenkinson and Mavididi. David Ospina is probably the stand out departure from the senior squad who I can see going.

Now onto the ‘Question Marks’, those who could as easily stay as they could easily go over the next few months, for differing reasons like contracts or fitness:

Perez, Bramall, Reine-Adelaide, Sheaf, Martinez, Campbell, Cazorla, Koscielny and Ramsey.

I hope so, now what do you all think?

By Allezkev


23 thoughts on “Thoughts on Arsenal’s New Season Squad

  • Great stuff, Kev. Hard to talk about the new squad without knowing who the new manager will be. It wont be Low as he just signed a two-season extension. It will not be Arteta unless Gazidis an co have lost their marbles, and who it will be we hopefully find out soon.

    I reckon we now have such good attackers that we can focus on defending as our basic approach to games. Do we need many new signings? I don’t believe so. One quality CB combined with Mustafi or Chambers could do the trick. I can also see Rambo go and Elneny and Xhaka become our central midfielders for years to come. Would like a beast of a B2B midfielder though. And yes a new goalkeeper to liven things up.

    Have not been feeling great over the last few days but will try to add more later on.

    Cheers again buddy. Lovely work.

  • Kev, controversial? Maybe.

    But if the new man likes Perez, we should be welcoming him back and he will be a mainstay in the squad.

    Agreed with TA that our attackers is good enough, and the midfield and defense are the positions that needs to be added. A minimum of 3 (2 defenders, 1 midfielder) to be a good team next season.

  • Kev, would love to see Perez and |Cambell back and would not mind too much to see Welbeck go. Just think we get more efficiency from them in terms of goals and assists.

    Just image we can leave the attacking to Mesut, Laca, Auba and Mkhi, supported by Jack and Iwobi when we need to make changes. If on top of that we have Perez and Campbell available, we are in a fine place in terms of attack. I reckon we need a more defensive minded partner for Xhaka in midfield so the Swiss master has good support when it comes to defending and keeping it tight in midfield.

    Question to you: who of the youngsters can you see break through to the first team next season?

  • Good stuff this kev,Me thinks Bells needs competition + a proper CB and we’ll be good to go,as you mentioned earlier the new manager will work with the players available atleast for a year before offloading some who are deemed not good enough.Just that

  • It is always good for us to air out views about the team, but the most things about the squad will depend on the new manager, who he wants to work with, who he wants to sign, who he wants to give a life line and who he wants to let go.
    Well, in my opinion, it’s no longer news that we need to strengthen our defense, defensive midfield and the wing.
    I will start with the GOAL KEEPER, to me, Cech has been poor, I would suggest we sign Fabianski from Swansea or Butland from Stoke.

    DEFENSE — Bellerin has been poor this season, but he remains a good player, his problem is lack of competition, Niles should be pushed to right back to give him a serious competition.
    I think our left back is okay for now, this season, Monreal has been the most consistent and dependable player. Hopefully next season, kolasinac will do better than he has done this season.
    Our CENTRAL DEFENSE is our biggest problem and we definitely need reinforcements there. Koscielny has been poor this season, with injuries and his general play. His major problem has been lack of competition, he lacks quality defenders in the team that will keep him on his toes. Since he became our best central defender few years ago, we have not signed any quality defender that is half as good as him, understandably his quality started to drop. We should keep him, He will do better if arsenal sign two quality defenders like Kalidou Kulibaly and Jamal Lascelles from Newcastle United. Rob Holding should be loaned out, while Mustafi should be sold, Chambers and Mavropanos stays.

    DEFENSIVE MIDFIELD — we need to sign a complete defensive midfield beast. When I say complete, I mean tall, good on the ball, intimidating, good tactical awareness, good tackler, good passer, controls the midfield, fast and dynamic. A player with the combination of Steven Nzonzi of sevilla and Geoffrey Kondogbia on loan at Valencia, will do.

    WINGS — arsenal lacks a quality out and out winger, which makes us less deadly, a bit predictable and narrow. We need to sign two quality wingers, my pick will be first Julian Draxler and any one of these players…..Malcom from bordeaux or Wilfred Zara from crystal palace or Leon Bailey from Leverkusen or Mahrez from Leicester city.
    Above all, whoever the new coach will be, should work on having a complete change of attitude from what the players currently have. A positive and hard working attitude is needed.
    With all these in place, arsenal will surely compete for the premiere league trophy.

  • @TA, the youngsters I will like to see play more next season are Mavropanos, Niles and Reine Adelaide.

  • Kev, good spirit. We need to keep thinking ahead.

    One thing is certain, there isn’t going to be a huge overhaul in personnel. Most of those on loan would be sold including Perez whom I don’t rate much. All our resources to be commited for 2 or 3 new 1st team players with another 2 or so making it from the academy. Others from the academy with good promises would be sent on loan.

    Our home performance shows that there might not be too much work to do to get us back as serious contenders. A little addition in personnel plus a tweaking in the balance of the team would do the trick. The past is dead and buried.

  • 84, Ramsey and Koscielny were where I was angling at in terms of controversial, they are both big players for us and big favourites with the fans, but I wonder if they’ll still be with us in a years time?

    Ramsey is looking at his most important contract to date, at 27 he’s at his peak and will be looking for a major upgrade in salary. Apparently his advisors have turned down several offers, so our contracts team have to decide to stick or twist with him this summer as we don’t want him playing out his deal next season.

    As for Laurent, I wonder how he’ll recover and to what level after such an injury, I worry that the sands of time are running out on our Kozzer?

  • I am afraid that Kos will be shipped out. Rambo will be the captain of the new-look team, and maybe the administration will also not renew Santi’s contract.

    So, get Rambo tied down fast.

    But we will never know.

  • Total, I love Danny Welbeck, he gives us something different, I hope he gets and signs a new deal, he could be the spearhead of our Cup teams next season, but like Ramsey, he could just as easily be moved on if the contract isn’t signed, it’s gonna be a long summer…

    I like Campbell, he can do a job at right-back, RWB as well as right wing and Perez isn’t a bad player all of a sudden, I’m sure he would have an asset for us last season, but I suspect that they’re both on the slow boat to Rotterdam this summer window.

    Total, I’ve read some really encouraging things about Osei-Tutu and with AMN likely to be played more so in his best position, midfield, then there’s a spot as Hectors understudy opening up for OT.

    TA I’m quite keen to see how Krystian Bielik comes back from his injury nightmare next summer and if the Nieuwe Man sees him in a different position to the current coaches, as a defensive midfielder perhaps, as he originally was?

    I don’t want to see any of our better youngsters loaned out, it’s a waste of time, especially with all the League Cup and UEFA Cup games they’ll potentially have to play in. So for me Nketiah, Willock, Nelson, Nwakali (hopefully), Macey, Dasilva and Bielik (fingers crossed) should get plenty of game time and as with AMN should gradually work their way into the senior squad for the EPL games.

    Smith-Rowe and Dragomir are hugely talented and should sparkle if given a chance as I expect them to.

    Finally I’ve seen a bit of England playing in the European U17 championship, being staged here in Blighty. And both Amaechi and Saka have been sensational.

    (Whisper it Total, but England next play some tricky mob from the Spanish Netherlands) 😉

  • Kev–
    I noted your omission of Kos and Ramsey. And while I’m a fan of Ramsey’s skills and attitude? You pegged it with his age and peak and salary. The only way Ramsey stays now, is if it is Arteta as Newman. His role would be understood best by someone who played alongside him.

    If not though– Aaron likely needs to move elsewhere. The odd part is there haven’t ever been any persistent rumors about him and the big two in Spain. So what does he do? Where does he go? Bayern– maybe? PSG has Rabiot and Veratti (and Draxler and Motta and DiMaria– oh my!). ‘Pool has Keita coming. So, City? Certainly not United. Perhaps wherever AW lands? 🙂

    As for Kos… man. Breaks my heart. When bad things happen to good people– *sigh*. He could (and I know this borders on cliche– but– ) end up as a proper DM. But then we have a number of those types (Nacho, Chambers, Kola). Not confident he’ll come all the way back to where he was when he was injured.


  • Agree 84, I want Ramsey to stay as well, but it’s up to him and with Wenger leaving he might feel that he needs a fresh challenge – just saying….

  • That’s how I see it JW, maybe Aaron is waiting to see who the New Man is and also to check out his options as far as interested parties like Man Utd or foreign suitors?

    He might sign da ting like Mesut if those ‘options’ aren’t all they’re cracked up to be.

  • Steve, depending on what kind of business is done, I wouldn’t be adverse to seeing the club sell Mustafi, he doesn’t make me feel secure at all despite his experience.
    I think Arsenal need to look for a more dependable old head at the back to guide our young defenders, maybe Jonny Evans?

  • PE, I’ll be surprised if Arsenal’s transfer net spend goes much above £70m, unless there are quite a few sales, balancing the books.

    Managers like Enrique and Allegri are aware of their reputations and as such wouldn’t want to attempt to take on Man City, Man Utd and Liverpool without several million to spend.
    They’re not enthused by the prospect of bringing through young players either, they want the finished article and they’re well aware of the gap there is between Arsenal and the others in the top four as it presently stands. So it’s gonna be a massive job and they’re not interested in doing a Rafa Benitez, so Arteta and Jardim and their like seem more likely to be the next managers in charge of our club.

  • Hi all.. Nice post Kev..
    Rumour said that Cazorla will join Arteta as his Assistant.. That’s will be a great news.. Very great news.. Hope to see it happen.. Hehehe..

    I wonder Why talking about Ramsey leaving.. And not Wilshere.. Did I missed the news about Wilshere? Did he already sign?

    Our ex Arsenal OO.. Oguzhan Ozyakup from Besiktas is also a free agent.. He will be a great choice if some of our midfielder gone.. Or if Meyer didn’t come..

    Koscielny will stay although he was injured and will miss a half season.. I think it’s time to give more time for Chambers, Mavropanos, and Holding to play.. And if Niles is plot as our next DM.. Then we will need to bring a RB.. The problem will always ‘who want to be
    a regular bench player’.. Hehehe..

  • With his achilles and age Kos can’t make it back big time. Made worse by the fact that his game is based on athleticism and quick response which don’t mature with age.

    Am ever so relaxed about players in and out. This is because I have a lot of respect for market forces. For example if Rambo is so good that the biggest teams want him, the market forces would set the terms. But there again if it is only the likes of Burnley and Malaga that would be after him, the market forces would again win. I believe in allying with the market forces. Sell well when we have to sell. Buy well when we have to buy. They got their muscles. We got our muscle.

  • There is so much pressure to win the next match that has a dampening effect on the “project youth”. Even Barcelona isn’t replenishing the 1st team from La Masia as it used to do. This pressure has driven the big clubs towards the “Galatico” mentality. They are all now scrambling for the finished product.

    Example is the massive pressure on Iwobi whom a lot of the fans want out because he didn’t turn out an instant galatico. It’s become the trend to turn on our youth while they are still growing. The pattern is obvious. Hail their first few appearances (Ox, Chambers, Holding, Iwobi ….) then turn against them visciously. Next on the line are Niles, Mavro, Nelson, Willock …….. That’s why I prefer loaning them out where they can grow under less pressure so when they come back theyve become good enough to fit in sufficiently thereby escaping the fans getting on their backs.

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