Auba Signs, Laca Goes – Who Will Fill the Void: Marti, Eddie, Or…?

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Allezkev, our favourite red and white taxi-driver on the blog, asked:

Total a question – and for anyone as it goes, if Arsenal do sell Alex Lacazette do you think that Arteta will replace him or will he go with Nketiah and Martinelli when he’s fit, bearing in mind that Aubameyang will switch ‘on paper’ to centreforward?

I love Laca’s spirit and work-rate and for that reason alone I would be sad to see him go, but his departure would open opportunities for others. Eddie and Martinelli are both hard workers, who ‘get in there’, bully, and are a similar threat in front of goal as Alex L. The great thing about these youngsters is that they are already taking their chances, and with a bit more confidence they will hopefully grow further in the coming season.

Laca xhaka

Lacazette has been a bit of a disappointment for the bread and butter stuff: goals and assists. In his last season for Lyon he scored an impressive 37 goals in 45 matches in all competitions; in his three seasons at Arsenal, Alex managed to score an average of 16 goals per seasons from an average 42 games, with only 12 in his last season. For a CF that is not a great return. Martinelli has 10 goals in 26 appearances; Eddie has 9 goals in 36 appearances for Leeds and Arsenal.

So letting Laca go and having Eddie and Martinelli compete for the ‘CF-nuisance and regular goals and assists role’ would work for me. However, I don’t think moving Auba central would help us a lot. He seems to prefer staying on the left and nobody can argue he is not effective from there.

The problem is that we have become far too dependent on Auba’s goals. We need to spread the goals more. Marti and Eddie are likely to grow but they will have to get in the region of 15-20 goals in all competition for Arsenal to make real progress. Can they do it? Not sure.

As per previous post, I am hoping for an attack of Auba-Pepe-Willian. The Brazilian can either play behind them in the hole or play a more disciplined right-winger role. Saka, Martinelli, Nketiah, Nelson can then compete with them and play a lot in the cup games. Freeing up Pepe, and with that the ability to fire up his super-lethal left foot, could really add to the total goals this team is capable of. Willian servicing them both whilst taking his own chances would be the icing on the cake.

The one big thing that we need to improve is turning the great aerial crosses of Tierney, Saka, Pepe and sometimes also Bellerin into headed goals. Auba and Laca are not strong headers of the ball and many a cross goes waisted. Pepe, Marti and Eddie offer improvement in that respect but will it be enough?

I still feel we are missing (a) Giroud on the bench, and if Laca were to go, I would be tempted to get an experienced PL attacker who will be given an (unexpected) opportunity to finish their career on a high (a bit like Arteta got when he joined Arsenal from Everton).

So ideal scenario for me is:

  1. Auba signs, Laca moves on;
  2. Pepe starts centrally, flanked by Auba and Willian (subject to him joining us at last);
  3. Eddie and Marti get to play centrally too, but mostly in the cup games and as PL subs;
  4. We get an experienced PL attacker who is strong in the air and can do hold-up/link-up play with their back to the goal – mainly used as a ‘Plan-B on the bench’.

Looking forward to the views of our fellow BKers (and anybody out there who wants to join in constructively).

By TotalArsenal.


41 thoughts on “Auba Signs, Laca Goes – Who Will Fill the Void: Marti, Eddie, Or…?

  • LeG, wrote at the end of previous post:

    just read your comment, kev; been quite busy lately (granpa’s duty)
    i became a bein subscriber because they have the carabao and fa cup games; but it also allows me to watch one ligue 1 game every week (i don’t always do, more on this further down – point 2), that’s how i saw lille play a couple of times
    this gabriel lad catches the eye, tbh, whether it be pace, positioning, passing (he’s left-footed – with mari, that’d make two of them, since medley seems to be on his way out to gillingham – on loan), aggression, … from what i saw it looks like he’s endowed with the whole modern defender outfit (and he’s only 22); it’s easy to figure out why mick may have an interest in him, even though there are a few caveats imo (there always are, of course)
    1: i didn’t see him play against one of the “big” teams (psg, lyon, marseille, maybe rennes)
    2: dear BKers, you may not realize this, but below the fifth place, Ligue 1 has become very poor, so it might be interesting to get the opinion of anyone having seen him play against the teams i’ve just mentioned. we have to keep in mind that lille didn’t exist in the 19/20 champions’ league group stage – they were bullied by valencia-ajax-chelsea. i watched the ajax game (in amsterdam), but i didn’t pay much attention to lille, i watched the game for ten hag’s ajax (at the time, i hoped ten hag would be gudebening’s successor)
    3: because of (1) and (2), i think £30m’s a lot in these very uncertain times
    but i’m biased, as you know well: right now, i would like us to spend nothing, and make it to the champions’ league with the current squad (we would – under mikel, if wolves win the europa league – and i’d rather like them to, we’ll have soundly beaten the five English teams qualified for the C. L.)_
    then – next year – mesut/luiz/papa/mkhi/shkodran contracts will have come to an end (auba’s would have to, were it not for the vegas extension he’s about to be given), so much so that, added to the money we’d have saved this summer, the club would have had quite a lofty amount to spend (on younger players) so we might not be just cannon fodder for the big clubs in 20/21 champions’ league
    last, but not least:
    first, i’m very much against ainsley leaving, he’s one of us and he’s the kind of hard-working guy that’ll never stop improving, and … well; it’d hurt, that’s all
    second, i find the different ways auba and laca are rated very unfair: ever since the 17-18 season started, auba has played 6927 minutes in the PL, laca 6593. auba has scored 54, laca 37. but auba has put away 7 penalties, laca none.
    which means that, had laca, not auba, been the penalty-taker (he’s a very effective one – scored a lot of them for lyon), auba would have scored one goal every 147 minutes (47), and laca every … 149 minutes (44)
    sic transit gloria mundi, I guess …
    cheers to all of you (have a great tour, pb)– there’s been a heatwave goin’ on here, i spend my days tryin’ to provide shadow and water for my granddaughter – can’t wait for the rain to pour down on us

  • I’d never let our player of the season 2018/2019 leave. Laca can offer so much and I think we can see the best of him next season. This season he was injured and barely played 90 minute matches, plus nearly the whole team underperformed and we created very little chances. And I do not see a lot in Nkethia to be honest. He may be good in the future, but Laca can be outstanding and has already proven it, even in the premiere league. So, we should never let him leave this summer. He can offer so much and loves the club.

  • It seems that Arteta views the attacking roles interchangeable. Probably rightfully so.
    There are Lacazette and Nketiah who look only confident in the center forward (striker) role, but Aubameyang Martinelli and Pepe are capable of playing effectively up front and on the wings as well (at the same time Nelson, Saka and Willian are hardcore wingers without the potential of spearheading the attack).

    However there are primary roles and secondary positions. While Martinelli is young, he can be developed into either, but Auba is mostly a striker, Pepe is primary a winger. Some of our struggles this – and previous – season are related to the bottleneck, that if Auba plays up front, then there is no space for Lacazette, and if Laca is the sole striker, then Auba has to play in an imperfect role. Yet, this proved to be the lesser of evil. Nevertheless if Lacazette is sold than he is already replaced by Willian. In that case Auba has to play central, and the 2 accommodating wingers should be Pepe and Willian. In the cup games it is similarly simple (at least I believe that Martinelli is a better fit on the wing): the trident should consist of Martinelli, Eddie (middle) and Nelson, with Smith-Rowe supporting them from midfield.

    Yet, I absolutely agree with Le Gall (and the Ghost inside), that Lacazette as far from the signature ‘underperforming Frenchman signed by Wenger’ as it is communicated. He is vapable to perform the extraordinary, and he could have scored a lot mor goals if the team have created a lot more chances. I wouldn’t prefer to sell him at all, and I wouldn’t have signed Willian for 3 years (150k/week) either. Anyway, if Lacazette is sold (but only for a proper fee) it could mean a lifeline for Balogun and/or John-Jules, that after a few years (playing in U23 and going on loan) there will be place in the first team for a talented young striker.

    p.s.: Thanks for the kind wishes. We’ll visit Austria, Germany and the Benelux-countries. Assuming they let us in – and more importantly – return home. 🙂

  • Dont forget Saka, PB. Good arguments for Laca, PB. I am less convinced he is that good a finisher but as per your post it is true we did not create a lot chances for him. Yet when he played with Ozil it was not much better. I guess it is all about perception. For me he is not fast enough and too short/poor in the air to be an Arsenal CF.

  • Hi PB – great post as usual.
    My two pennyworth is that I would prefer that we kept Laca as an experienced backup, we most certainly have a great group of youngsters waiting in the wings and I’m confident that Arteta will use them wisely.

    The future “stars” among them are Saka, Nketiah, Martinelli, Willock, Nelson and Smith- Rowe. It’s exciting to be able to list 6 youngsters that our future team can benefit from.

  • You are a braver man than me PB – I would be too concerned about the Covid-19 risk to travel, but maybe that’s more to do with my age and health.

    Have a great holiday and above al keep safe.

  • Thanks guys. I travel with a 3 years old, so we’ll spend most of our times outdoors (zoo, open air museums, botanic gardens, cruise sightseeing, etc.) While I try not to underestimate the coronavirus threat, I honestly worried about closed spaces only. We’ll bring a lot of masks, and comply with all the regulations, but need a vacations as our spring visit to Scotland (and TA) was cancelled.

    I hope by the time I return there will be a few new posts as well as a couple of new players. Preferably Brazilian. 🙂 But let’s not sell Holding, Chambers and Martinez. And try to keep Torreira. I think he has far more potential in a proper line-up than we saw from him in recent games.

  • Not that Willian, who was one of the few players to shine when it all went wrong under Mourinho in the 2015-16 season, has solely been a workhorse for Lampard. There have been some excellent individual displays, particularly when he scored twice in the 2-0 win against Tottenham in December, while 11 goals in all competitions is a decent return. Chelsea would not have qualified for the Champions League without him. “When I came in and we had a lot of issues in terms of younger players, Willian was one you relied on,” Lampard said last week.

    Willian is a good trainer and his manager has urged young wingers such as Callum Hudson-Odoi and Christian Pulisic to learn from him. “He is not really vocal,” the Chelsea centre-back Antonio Rüdiger says. “But on the pitch he does his stuff. After training he is always shooting, trying to improve. As a young kid, it is an honour to train with someone like him.”

  • If not selling Laca then he can still be a positive for the team as he does chip in with scoring some unique goals – if anything though, he could do with work on finishing craft at times, instead of hitting point blank with the opposition directly in front…. So maybe Arteta as coach can help him focus on that if he stays

    If sold, then this chap Odsonne and Eze from QPR have been mentioned as targets. I mentioned before about Josh King maybe – wonder if loaning Balogun or having a buy back clause is feasible to help reduce the Bournemouth’s fee 🤔

    Personally I wouldn’t rely on just Eddie as I’m still not convinced yet that he can make it at the highest level…. for Martinelli, we also now have to see how he is after recovery, as that’s a long time to be out and with knee injuries, it can effect your speed too 🤞

    Next to think about is life without Dani if rumours are to be believed that he’ll now stay at Madrid – would that then tempt getting Ramsey back in, or time to let by gones be by gones….?? :-]

  • 20.14
    0-0 in duisburg, but the wolves have just missed a penalty (very poorly taken)
    great run by traore – how was the seville guy who brought him down not sent off, I wish someone could explain me that

  • HT
    stalemate in duisburg, too bad raul made a mess of his penalty
    strange game, as though 20 very good players were kept on an invisible leash by two defense-minded managers
    very few sparks: traore’s runs are impressive but as soon as the goal’s in sight he turns into alex iwobi; for sevilla navas cuts a very interesting attack-minded right-back figure
    well, not sure i’ll watch another 45 minutes of this

  • Sorry I’m late to the party. Just read the post Total and as of so far I’ve not yet read any comments above, so I hope I’m not being repetitive but I agree with you 100%.

    If we could re-sign Giroud then that would be perfect, but Chelsea won’t let him go and finding a decent target man of around 32/33 for little or no fee will be difficult, there is Wood of Burnley but they won’t sell, but that’s who we could do with a big lump who we can use against the smaller teams and who put 10 behind the ball, like Tottenham…

    Yes, if Aubameyang signs then we need to cash in on Lacazette, I like Laca but his value will fall off of the edge of a cliff if we don’t move him on this coming summer transfer window and a new contract really wouldn’t make any financial sense. But it’s all down to Auba?

    Nketiah, Martinelli and maybe in the wings we have John Jules as options in the early cup games, it would be great if Balogun had a change of heart and signed a new deal, but that’s not looking likely at this time.

  • Thanks for that LG, the fee quoted has changed a bit, it was £20m a couple of weeks ago, now it is €30m, so it’s anyones guess what the price could be, but I’d guess that Lille need some dough, as does everyone, everywhere….

    I wonder if Gabriel would be an Arteta signing or a management investment, you know buy to sell?
    Arteta I think wanted Mari, but if the rumours are correct he wants to keep Niles, so he might have some leverage but maybe Raul and Edu are still in charge of recruitment and if Arteta wants Partey then he might have to give up on Niles? I don’t know of course, it’s all guesswork.

  • Enjoy your holiday PB, good comment by the way, I’m sure those countries will let you in, the question is, will they let you leave?

    Don’t have nightmares… 😄

  • TA, back to your post. I am not sure if I am to celebrate Laca’s change of club or if he stays, he will be in the same position as Ollie.

    I still believe that we owed Ollie an explanation as the board had failed him, but having seen him and Cashley looking dejected after Chavs list, I think he had moved on and now his heart is blue.

    As I said a few seasons ago, wake me up when September ends. The Torture Window is returning and I do not like the sense of having a big name linked to us but in the end our contract team failed us massively.

  • Great post and comments. With no Ozil we need a creative central player. Is Willian rumour true? If so im curious to see it. Pepe is my first choice right wing. Some sublime goals and delicious balls put into the box for assists show his quality, and this came on late in the season, under the manager, hopefully will, continue. Lacazette is a very good striker, especially if he plays regularly, but we cant afford his quality to sit behind a superstar striker, as a depreciating asset. For me Eddie is going to be a great one, and the Aubas age would allow a nice transition eventually. All assuming PEA stays. And yes, we need a midfielder, including keeping Ceballos. As someone said, he has zero future playing at Madrid under Zidane, I’ve also heard that from knowledgeable Madrid sources.

    Generally I’m looking forward to the new season, even with minimal transfer activity.

  • Cheers TA.

    Personally I’d let Laca go. I like him and he is a world-class finisher but he’s gone from an Eduardo like poacher to a frustrated mess shooting blanks. Unfortunately, his confidence dipped and I think it’s best for both parties if he leaves. We cash in and he gets to regain his form.

    I’d let Martinelli and Eddie fight it out for the starting spot. My fav out of the two is Martinelli. Eddie just seems like the type to compliment Auba well but only stick in 10-15 goals himself. Martinelli on the other hand looks like an absolute gem that gets to the right spots and always makes something happen – in the air or on the deck. He’s shown that ability to rip a game open and I haven’t seen that from Eddie yet.

    I’d also be pretty excited to see a false 9 type situation with Pepe, Auba and Willian. I think they could cause havoc if given space and time to roll around and change positions. Get that gameplan sorted and you can easily interchange them with Eddie, Martinelli, and Saka. I love it when a team is dangerous because of the system so anyone can hop in and it’s still the same threat.

  • 84, we will wake you up before then… we have a game at the end of this month.

    I totally get Giroud. He did not want to go and now he is a Blue but would much rather have stayed a Gunner to the end. He basically could not really win whatever the outcome. Letting Giroud go is one of the few things that really annoyed me about Wenger.

  • J, yes even without any new arrivals the season ahead is looking promising. It is also true that Pepe was getting much more effective from the right in the last few games. So I am happy to see him stay there too but just feel that he is one awesome option as CF, especially when there is space in front of him.

  • Stay positive PB but just prepare yourself that it will not be like any holidays you did before. That sense of freedom and adventure, newness and freshness of a foreign holiday is much smothered by the C19 restrictions and fear by service staff (in hotels, bars, restaurants etc) to get infected, I found. Nevertheless, have fun and enjoy the good moments.

  • OzG wrote: “I love it when a team is dangerous because of the system so anyone can hop in and it’s still the same threat.” Could not agree more! We need that interchange-ability of the squad so we can deal better with a loss of a key player (under Wenger we always struggled disproportionally when this happened).

    Re Eddie or Marti… interesting argument. I have not seen enough of them to make a judgement yet. Both are very promising. Martinelli is more allround in his skillset but Eddie has a calmness about him that really is impressive for his age.

  • Oz your set up sounds like it could be fun. Most people don’t even realize that Liverfool are steamrolling the league with a false 9 but no one talks about it. Just watch Firmino play. We should set up that way against them just to counter it. I’ve always liked the tactic in general.

    T, has Pepe ever played cf? Sounds interesting to me. Earlier when he was struggling under Emery, I was suggesting him as a CAM.

    I haven’t seen enough of Martinelli to compare him, but I hope he deserves the high estimation he gets from fans. I have seen enough of Eddie to know that with regular playing time, he is going to be a prolific scorer.

  • Don’t know, J. To me he looks like a CF, especially with our tendency to sit back. As a winger I find him hemmed in a lot because of his one-footedness.

  • I think that, judging from rumours, Willian will end up in the hole, with a request to fall back into midfield a lot.

    So maybe we are going to 4-3-3 or 4-2-1-3…

    Defence x 4

  • Coutinho just followed Auba, martinelli and soares on social media. All on 1 day.

    Either he’s yanking our chain or something is brewing…

  • Word is zidane doesn’t want to tick off the same loan deal again for ceballos. He wants playing time so he want work into the international squad so we may have to buy him or risk losing him elsewhere.

    @ jnyc

    I agree. Liverpool do it well and there drag defenders all over the place. I know we aren’t always going to have space to work in but if we have pace to burn and well timed runs defenders will panic. Theo for all his faults would make defenders shit a brick when he took off and it created space for others to work in. Liverpool do that so well.

    I’d like to see our midfield run harder to support too. Ramsey was a work horse and often worked his way into scoring opportunities. Jack and Cesc did too. We haven’t had a scoring midfielder for a while.

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