It’s All Change at Arsenal; Unai We Love You Already

Unai’s Brave New World!

This is the first summer since 1996 that Arsene Wenger has not been involved in Arsenal’s transfer business and that takes a bit of getting your head around, because many fans only know Arsenal under Arsene.

No Arsene Wenger this time and as it stands it’s early July and the club has got all or most of it’s business done, not another deadline day shambles, post David Dein,  for us to endure this summer!

On the surface Leno, Sokratis, Lichtsteiner, Torrieira and Guendouzi look very good value for money, but we’ll only know for sure as the season progresses.
With Mertesaker, Cazorla and Wilshere no longer on the clubs books, that finance can be diverted elsewhere, Emery hasn’t sat on his ‘war-chest’; he’s spent as much as he can for as much as he can get, and that’s all we’ve wanted to see for such a long time.

Under Arsene it was so predictable, maybe one deal done early in the summer window and then came the long wait, days became weeks, weeks became months as July slipped away, with nothing on the transfer front despite obvious gaps in the squad.
A contract drama or two to distract us, as players were allowed to run down contracts because important decisions had not been made earlier.

Constant links to players, most of them fiction, but not all of them, as the summer dragged by endlessly until the said players linked to Arsenal  joined other clubs.
Then Arsene would compound his inertia by admitting that he had in fact been interested in said players, increasing the fans’ frustrations. It was a saga played out almost every season after Dein was removed.

Finally, with the season started and those obvious gaps exposed, we had either another fretful deadline day, as Arsene desperately tried to make up for another wasted summer, or he’d splash out for a panic buy, usually on the back of a poor start to the season.

For me, this season has been a breeze, the clubs transfer business being concluded with a sense of urgency, direction and with those obvious gaps attended to.
I’ve found it noticeable that all the signings this summer have been of a more defensive nature: a goalkeeper, two defenders and two defensive midfielders – big personalities with an edge, no more nicey-nicey tiki-taka midfielders.

Everything is currently low profile despite the press scrum. A few training videos to wet the appetite; but mainly it’s serious business at the Arsenal Training Centre.

The summer transfer window closes on August 9th this year and it’ll be the first time in over 10 years that it will pass me by. I won’t give it more than a passing thought save maybe for the odd Arsenal player going out on loan or being sold. Happy days.

By Allezkev

28 thoughts on “It’s All Change at Arsenal; Unai We Love You Already

  • Yes, Kev, it is truly fantastic that business was done in such a planned and calculated way. Agreed also that the new arrivals will strengthen our defensive abilities, and we have all been hoping for this. Early days and the new signings may disappoint, but until now Unai and his team/fellow directors appear to be doing it all alright!

  • To be fair on Wenger, he did get Lacazette early on during last summer and he held on to almost all players. But many a summer has been frustrating in terms of getting and letting go of players.

  • Kev, a very good piece. It’s all so refreshing. There is definitely a new direction. The club has finally understood that the fans are stakeholders and should be taken on board. Even videos of the training sessions are pumping us up. We don’t feel the outsiders any more.

    It’s easy to see the sense in the signings. We needed a modern keeper. Leno. Plugged holes in the back line with leaders. Lichsteiner and Papastathopoulus. Filled that yawning gap for a holding mid who is a disruptor as well as a playmaker. Torreira. Got a young one ready for 1st team action. Guendouzi (if Mbappe can do it at 19 why not Matteo)

    Meanwhile we have assembled a front four as good as they come. And the 12th man, since the Invincibles, has never been in a better voice. Am eager for the blast of the whistle.

  • Hi everyone! Hope you have been having a good summer and enjoying the world cup (Eng / other exits notwithstanding). Quite keen to see the newcomers in action and how the team will play this year. At the back of my mind is also the nervousness of seeing Everton make some impressive purchases and then lose their way. Can’t happen to us, can it? ;-).
    As it is still “preseason” full of hope that the league trophy is coming home this year! 🙂

  • Well done Kev.

    Kev, TA–
    Very much appreciate even-handedness with regard to Emery’s predecessor.
    Without AW? We are not even –having– this conversation.

    And honestly? While I’m sensing a blossoming symbiosis between UE and SIR? Larger IMO, is the data that Sven, et al (in the ‘nerd cave’) — had at the ready for decisions such as these to be made within 30 days of the new man’s arrival. As if chosen from a ‘pick list’– these were informed decisions which Sanllehi and Fahmy acted upon, executing the solutions expeditiously.

    Exhibit ‘A’? Lucas Torreira.
    That he did not allow his AFC physical to be performed until conclusion of Uruguay’s WC participation? Had a good slice of the Goonershere in-a-tizzy; wringing-hands-and-clutching-pearls.

    But note? The tabloids were all-but-silent.
    Those guys want access. No more jerking Arsenal around– just to do so.
    As a long-distance fan? Might appreciate that more than most.


  • Kev……you are way too harsh with your take on Wenger’s past deals. How do you know that there were panic buys? Are you in the business of negotiating transfers, other than on FIFA 2018? I agree that Emeri and Arsene have different approaches to transfers but Arsene was involved in the transfer negotiations, Emeri is not, according to what he said during his recent press conference. I am pleased that so many rapid additions have been made but if you look at the quality Wenger brought in since 2014, it is impressive as well.

  • A New Day Has Come
    Céline Dion

    A new day
    A new day
    I was waiting for so long
    For a miracle to come
    Everyone told me to be strong
    Hold on and don’t shed a tear
    Through the darkness and good times
    I knew I’d make it through
    And the world thought I had it all
    But I was waiting for you
    Hush now
    I see a light in the sky
    Oh, it’s almost blinding me
    I can’t believe
    I’ve been touched by an angel with love
    Let the rain come down and wash away my tears
    Let it fill my soul and drown my fears
    Let it shatter the walls for a new, new sun
    A new day has come
    Where it was dark now there’s light
    Where there was pain now there’s joy
    Where there was weakness, I found my strength
    All in the eyes of a boy
    Hush now
    I see a light in the sky
    Oh, it’s almost blinding me
    I can’t believe
    I’ve been…

  • Hi all..
    Just so excited.. Suddenly remind me of Celine Dion Song.. A New Day has Come..


  • Cheers Total, yes Arsene did bring in Lacazette, although he probably could have got him 2 or 3 years earlier and a lot cheaper as well.
    But ok mate, he did bring in pretty good players.

    By the way, those aren’t my eyes… 😉

  • PE, the difference this window is so noticeable, it isn’t rocket science is it mate.
    You access you squad at the end of the season and strengthen the areas that need attention.
    You don’t go out and buy an attacking midfielder if what you really need is a defensive midfielder.

  • Thanks JW, I’m very comfortable with Emery, I think the club is in safe hands.

  • OMG, I don’t even know what FIFA 2018 is..?

    If you think I’ve been harsh, then I’m sorry you think that.

    But if you cannot see the difference between the business done this summer as compared to most recent summers post Dein, and see the elephant in the room, then I guess my post has failed.

    No problem all the same… 🙂

  • Nice one Kev.
    Roll on the start of the season.
    Hope all is well with you mate..

  • Great post Kev..
    If you would write more posts here it will be great.. post match posts.

    Our entries is more or less set, and the exits have barely started.
    Is it Ospina, with a few fringe players like Welbs, or will it be bigger names? It remains much to be seen on the TW. This year’s torture window has been smooth, i agree with you Kev. But the exits are surely hard to stomach, with or without surprises.

    So, let the exits unveil themselves soon…

  • Kev and Henry,

    Kev, interesting post and like TA on the last thread, I think we are likely done on the inward side anyway. AR to stay/go remains “interesting” and the rest seems pretty much as expected.

    Henry, Celine Dion! Really?!? Goodness, I think that if we somehow find ourselves in the same bar some day, you may well owe me a beer! .. 🙂

    cheers — jgc

  • Hi BT, hope you and yours are well.
    Yes, I’m really looking forward to this season on so many levels, not least tactically.

  • Geoff, yes, five in, nice and early, bodes well for a competitive start to the season.
    Did you see the Emery press conference yesterday, he seems very keen to retain Ramsey so hopefully a solution will be found.
    Although the English transfer deadline is August 9th, I don’t think that that prevents English clubs from selling abroad beyond the 9th…

  • In a parallel world. Arsene Wenger will see out his contract.

    Our first signing announced is a 34 year old RB on a free. Cheapskates!
    Our second signing is a 30 year old CB from Dortmund who is reckless in the tackle and gets caught out on counters and hasn’t had his greatest season. We lost Per and Kos, we need MORE. Where’s Soyuncu?!
    Our 3rd signing is a German GK who couldn’t even make the World Cup squad and according to Bundesliga experts, makes a lot of errors.
    Our 4th signing is a 22 year old 5’6″ midfielder from Uruguay who plays at a mid-table Italian club and instead of just paying his release clause, we’re being ‘cheap’ and wanting to pay over 2 years. Which means he goes to the World Cup without having signed. We’re dithering. We should be signing Jorginho instead.
    And then lastly, instead of signing a potential World Cup winner and beast like Nzonzi, we sign a 19 year old kid from the French second division.

    And the contracts of Ramsey, Welbeck and Nelson are still unsigned.

    The manager says we are done in the transfer market unless we get an opportunity for one or two players.

    The Arsenal fans convince themselves that this has been a terrible and mismanaged summer.

  • That was brilliant Shard. Well played.
    Now this word from The Guardian.
    In it’s round-up of Fox Sports coverage of the WC– I had to borrow an excerpt from the article’s closing graph. Just too rich not to share:

    “Fox’s real problem this World Cup is that it has neither truly dumbed the coverage down in a spirit of education for the casual fan, nor totally raised it up for those already in the know. Instead its coverage has ended up as the broadcasting equivalent of Marouane Fellaini: neither attacking nor defending, stuck in transition, a player that tries to do everything and succeeds at almost nothing.”

    Almost as brilliant as Shard. 😉


  • Shard, thanks for that post. It does gives perspective and a sort of reality check. A lot of our excitement at the transfer business we’ve done is down to the fact it wasn’t done by Wenger, while obviously, Gazidis and the team (SIR) know they have to impress the new coach and fans.

    We are all happy and wish the club/Emery well, of course, but some of the comparisons (that I have read) with the Wenger era is a bit too much, really.

  • Well written Kev. With you all the way. To my mind Emery has identified weak spots and covered them. I was a big a fan of Wenger as anyone, but in later years when it became obvious we needed players in certain positions he just didn’t deliver imho. Maybe Emery isn’t involved but whatever is occurring it looks a lot more efficient now.

  • retsub–
    With you as an AW fan. Good to give props to Emery though. Think what he’s done thus far is a healthy break from AW’s methods. Where the club have brought in 3 former Dortmunders and had Lichtsteiner ‘lined-up’ from the get-go? IMO SIR get the lion’s share of credit for those additions. Credit due to UE in part for Torreira– and probably most of it for Guendouzi.


  • I think Wenger’s worst transfer window was when we bought just Petr Cech. I kind of think he got it right in the sense that he looked at his squad and others and thought he could finish in front of all of them. He was right, except no one saw Leicester coming. Even so, it was definitely a huge mistake to not strengthen other areas. I can understand why some people lost faith after that.

    But this idea that we’re suddenly so professional and awesome where earlier we were so bad just doesn’t seem true to me. We’re completing the rebuild we started in January last season.

    In defense our biggest issue was the lack of experience without Per and Kos who was mostly injured. So we’ve added that. On the relative cheap. The only doubt in midfield was whether Jack would be staying. Santi was done, and so we needed a replacement. Torreira was a good find. But exactly the kind of signing Arsenal would have made in years past too. As is Guendouzi.

    Now the question is, what counts as success for Emery’s first season? I think it has to be top 4, and if we’re lucky, then a cup win.

  • We shouldn’t underrate the feel good factor in the air. Difficult to say how much of it is due to the change of guard and how much is due to the “new” way of doing things. Important thing is that instead of toxicity there is elation and am convinced the difference would convert into many points more for this season.

    My belief is …. the morale of the fandom is a marker of the morale of the team. The players are part and parcel of that fandom.

  • Shard
    All I can say is in the last ten years it’s always been very frustrating. When Coquelin was brought back from loan at Charlton and paired with Arteta, for whatever reason the team started to play. After Arteta and Coquelin were broken up I just didn’t happen. I don’t profess to be s great tactiton but it seemed to me for a long time , the team was crying out for a proper defensive midfielder and I see that in Torreira. Similar issue when we had Alminia goal a few years back. He quite clearly wasn’t up to the job, but AW missed opportunities to bring in an experienced keeper, when everyone in the world saw it but him.

    I thought Cech was a good buy and I believe he was for his first season. But you only have to look at De Gea’s performance at the Emirates last season to see what a difference a top keeper makes. It’s impossible to tell from U Tube clips.but to my mind he’s young and I will give him my full support.

    Bellerin has struggled ever since the riumour that Barca wanted him a few seasons back.. Getting Liechsteiner looks like a great piece of business to me.

    None of the above I seem that difficult deconstruct to me, but in the past we threatened to bring players in but always seemed to fail at the finsl hurdle.

    Even if we don’t hit top four, this has been the most interesting pre season I have seen for many a year.

    I like it

  • I don’t feel gooners would have been disappointed had Wenger signed the same players. For at least 10 years now the club has not been as decisive and proactive as they have been in this window. We have been linked to similar players (typical arsenal signings) before but the problem was the dithering meant they went elsewhere.

    There has been a clear plan this summer. We have signed players BEFORE we have cleared the deadwood. This removes the power of the deadwood and his agent and forces them to be proactive in finding a new club or run the risk of not being registered for competition and being frozen out. We are not fussed as we have done our business. We have focussed on 1st team acquisitions BEFORE any wonderkids. We have done our business BEFORE pre-season.

    This is all proactive and not reactive and should be applauded. If the signings fail we go again but at least a proper effort to improve has been shown and an actual PLAN being implemented not the gross negligence of prior years.

  • Kev, thanks for a great post. It’s like you were speaking for a lot of arsenal fans and the way our summers felt. I’m with the optimism and fresh air part, but we really must remember how hard it was for Arsene to compete with limited resources against clubs that were unlimited. This went on for years.

    Eventually the team no longer was performing for him though. I like the new regime so far, and have noted the defensive nature of our additions, a great point by you.

    I also want to say this is possible because Wenger left great attacking talent for the new coach to work with, as evidenced so far today.

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