Arsenal Developments: Auba, Gabriel, Greenwood, Dennis and Ainsley

Just five days before the season-opener v Pool and things are starting to move forwards. We are all hoping for the announcement of Auba finishing his career at THOF, but maybe he is waiting for some particular signings coming through before he commits to the Gunners for life. This is a big step for him and I would understand if he had some hesitations before committing to us. However, signs remain positive as nobody seems to be linking him with other clubs. But of course it ain’t done till the proverbial lady has sung. 


Auba will want to see a strengthening of the defence so the rumours that Gabriel Magalhaes is about to sign for the club could help him in his decision-making. The Guardian does not do the headline honey-trapping as much as most other major papers do, and they seem to be convinced Arsenal has won the battle:

There are also strong rumours that young Greenwood is on his way to the club where Eddie warmed the bench during last year’s Autumn months. I do not know him but one of our keen youth-followers, Allezkev, had this to say about him:

Greenwood was the star of his year in the Sunderland academy so it was a bit of a coup when we signed him from the Rokerites. He is similar in style to John Jules in that he can play anywhere across the front three or in the hole, he’s a very technical player and I have to say that it’s a bit of a shock if we’re selling him?

He is a northern lad of course so maybe he wants to move back north?

Alternatively this could be Agent inspired as it was his agent I suspect who was behind him leaving Sunderland for Arsenal therefore Greenwood’s advisors could be behind agitating for this move as Leeds are reported to be offering him a 6 year deal and will probably give him 1st team football long before Arsenal would or could?

And then there is a rumour from Sky that will warm even the coldest Gooner-heart. The non-flying Dutchman is apparently on his way to THOF to work alongside Mikel… Could this be true? It doesn’t look like it with just some Bergkamp quotes from the past, but we can of course dream…

The really worrying bit of rumour that seems to be gaining momentum is the imminent sales of our very own Ainsley Maitland-Niles.

Arsenal v Charlton Athletic: Friendly

He might sound like an MP for Kensington, but we have got to know him as a steely, multifunctional, intelligent, beast of a midfielder come defender who attackers of the opposition have come to fear. At Arsenal from the age of six, should we really let him go to say Newcastle or Wolves before Ainsley has had a proper chance to establish himself at THOF? No way! With Xhaka as our only established central midfielder, surely there is space and time to develop AMN into a good, solid midfielder? Don’t we owe him this after spending 70% of his life at Arsenal?

By TotalArsenal



33 thoughts on “Arsenal Developments: Auba, Gabriel, Greenwood, Dennis and Ainsley

  • HH, following on from previous, you’re right, it’s really going to leave us light in the attacking dept at U23’s just as you stated. Maybe the academy will have to look for another young player who we can pick up whose been released like the young Tottenham defender who can tied us over otherwise our attack will be 16/17 year olds…

    Brentford are trying to get a big fee for their major goal scorer- I forget his name – since missing out on promotion, once they’ve sold their star man I reckon we’ll do a deal for Balogun with them.

  • Ainsley in advanced talks to sign with Wolves on a 4-year deal.

    Not the news I wanted to wake up to…

  • He would fit in well there, HH. Nuno will make him play tactically sound footie and his physical development will be well supported there. As long as we at least put in a buy-back clause… We may come to regret this..

  • TA, agreed. The rumours of the fee were we’d accept offers starting at £20 million, so it’s not too promising unless there’s considerable bonuses attached to it.

    I’m assuming Arteta has assessed him and deemed him not a fit for his plans. Unless this is the move that helps to fund a Thomas Partey or Houssem Aouar type player (or even a Dani Ceballos permanent transfer for the same amount), then I won’t be pleased at all.

  • The Bergkamp news is fascinating. Arteta wants a presence on his coaching staff that demands respect from everyone. I’d imagine Bergkamp’s winning mentality/experience and embodiment of “total football” will be something that will be very useful for Arteta.

    Not to go unmentioned is that we also signed a new set piece coach from Brentford, Andreas Georgson, which is an area we have really struggled in since what seems like forever. Hopefully we can shore that up and not lead the league in goals conceded from set pieces again (and on the counter on our own set pieces).

  • Crazy day today. Sounds like Schalke is trying to get Kolasinac on loan, but salary is a stumbling block. At the same time, Bellerin is apparently on PSG’s radar and has been rumoured as likely to leave.

  • Agree T about a few things you mention. Though AMN was low on our midfield, wingback depth chart, I had come to appreciate his versatile fb defense work. Earlier in the year I was getting the feeling he wasn’t happy to play fb, but showed a real effort to impress the new coach in any position. I’ll be happy for him if he can gain playing time somewhere else, but there’s 2 things I’d like to know before we’d let him go (even though I know we have to bring in some money from sales)….

    The 2 things I’d want to know first: where are we on retaining, selling, or bringing in midfielders?
    For example, are we selling Torreira? Can we keep Ceballos, are we getting the Partey guy? ….20 mil is not that much for AMN and his salary must be fairly inexpensive. I do think he has silky ball carry skills, and has definitely honed defensive attributes if needed to take over, even as a valuable late game sub if we dont keep Lucas. He hasn’t had enough midfield time to see his passing instincts, but must be better than Torreira in that dept.

    The other thing I’d like to know is whether we can move on Kolasinac. I assume his salary is making him harder to sell. Because again, id rather have AMN overall than him. Hopefully we can sell or clear salary of some defenders. I prefer holding Holding, and getting rid of Chambers, Sokratis, and of course Mustafi. Don’t be angry T, I know you have sentiment for Mustafi, I too love him as a person, and cheer for him to do well, love his fight. I just can’t overlook his dangerous errors just because most of them fortunately didn’t result in conceding goals directly. We need more reliability, and he makes Luiz look like Mertesacker in that regard…….

    On Gabriel, (I’ve noted more factual stories from the Guardian as you, though I’d never read a word from them other than sports or enertainment). I assume he’s chosen us because he’s promised to be a starter, if he indeed had other offers, including clubs in the champions league. With highly rated Saliba coming back from loan, Luiz, Tierney as a specialist helper, Kola, … we have too many bodies there with Mari at some point, and do we still have Mavropanos? Too many names, too many salaries there. Anyway, if we sell Ainsley, can we get a buy back or sell on fee? I do wish him luck wherever he goes…..

    Speaking of Guardian entertainment…. did anybody watch Giri/Haji ? (BBC,Netflix) I think it’s brilliant. Best thing I’ve seen in a long time. I caught it on its original run, and it just built in quality week after week. Amazing chatacters.

    but let’s not worry too much; i guess we’ll offer 5-year deals to 39-year-olds maicon and julio baptista, to make up for the loss.
    after all, aren’t they free transfers?
    as for greenwood, here’s jeorge bird’s reaction:
    Jeorge Bird
    If Arsenal lose Greenwood it would be a big blow. He needs more consistency but that’s understandable at his age and he’s got excellent technique. Would make it even more important to keep Balogun, as well as John-Jules now. Also raises questions about who will be no 9 for U23s.
    10:27 AM · 24 août 2020
    needless to say, i trust jeorge bird’s opinions a lot
    think i’ll go autumnating, and not wake up until oct 12th, after this mercato ordeal’s been left behind

  • HH, I just feel it is company policy now to sell one of the youngsters off every year as to make the youth academy pay for itself. Last year it was Iwobi and this year it could be AMN. If Eddie and Saka make it to the first team in the meantime this year then we have done well out of it of course. Still AMN is a fine prospect and I would love him to stay.

  • Bergkamp would indeed add that presence AND the one on one training with the attackers and young talents would be top class. He belongs at THOF.

  • Lots of good stuff there J. I agree with your points re our midfield: I am hoping the club have a plan and one of the necessary steps is to let AMN go… I guess that will free up money to start the ball rolling…. You have to sell, for your right, to Parrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrthey! 😉

    Re Mustafi, I am not 100% behind him but I think that Arteta rates him and needs him. The RCB position is probably filled by nr1 Musafi, nr2 Saliba nr3 Holding? When Skodhran plays next to Luiz he does seem to calm down and play a very effective game. But could we improve on him him? Feck Yes.

  • Seeing links that we’re in for Boubakary Soumare from Lille today, who would be a fantastic alternative to Partey. Lille would accept instalments for him, which would help stretch our shoestring budget a bit further.

  • Total! Excellent Beastie Boys pun and I’m sure you are right about having to sell first before being allowed to do certain things. I also feel we’re ahead of the game if we can work in Saka and Eddie this season. I still think Lacazette is a luxury we can’t afford as second choice..

  • A bit late to the Partey fellas, Total regarding selling to finance our academy I suppose that if we get the £8m we want for the sale of Balogun and the £1.5m rising to £3m for the sale of Greenwood that that should go most of the way to grease the financial wheels of Hale End this term?

  • It’s a bit of a shock seeing the likes of Maitland Niles and Bellerin linked to possible transfers away from L’Arsenal, but maybe it’s the only way the club can raise the funds needed to bring in the players that Arteta wants and needs to progress the development of the squad. You know we have to give a bit to gain a bit or hopefully gain a lot.

  • I guess it’s a symptom of having too many players on wages that make them unattractive to suitors for their services, that is unless we almost give them away or pay a portion of their wages and that’s a policy that is not going to raise much to reinvest.

  • Our man from the Big Apple mentioned Torrieira and that’s a situation that isn’t moving at all after some interest from Milan and Fiorentina, not sure why that is unless it’s to do with the salary wanted and the transfer fee we require?

    Sokratis was, I’m pretty sure, asking earlier this week to be released from his contract, no doubt so he could negotiate a new deal with Roma or Napoli? He cost us £16.6m 2 years ago but due to his salary we seemingly can’t shift him now during the downturn as everybody is skint…

  • Allezkev, my problem with selling two potential RBs is that it presents us with a new problem we are then creating for ourselves. We would then need to go find yet another target on top of the areas we also need to address.

    With the rumours of Schalke wanting Kolasinac on loan, that would leave us extremely thin at fullback with just Tierney and Cedric. Are we going to raise enough money to spend on a new RB, back up LB and two new CMs?

  • TA, I’m fine with selling youth players if there are capable replacements in the academy. Not seeing as many after Greenwood but we do have a knack for developing forward players. My issue is more that we fail to often insert buy back or sell on clauses and have seen the likes of Gnabry, Malen, Reine-Adelaide, Bennacer etc. go without those clauses.

  • Good points, TA, but the other aspects are also pressing.
    I share the loyalty towards AMN, and it would be an ideal world when we could keep him for his versatility and club history, but we all know that – given his current performance at the age of 23 (which he turns on Saturday) – he will never get to the (almost) world class level to become a regular starter at Arsenal midfield. And as long as we keep signing a handful of players every transfer window we have to let some go. And at the moment there is more sound demand on Ainsley than Iliev, Kolasinac or Elneny (though we probably have to offload them all). I think selling Iwobi last year was not merely a financial necessity, but for the sake of both parties. This article and comment are not about Alex, but similarly how his progress has halted in the last couple of years, the same arrested development applies to AMN. My heart aches for him, but it probably won’t make the club any weaker soccer-wise.

    On the other hand I see the potential in both Balogun and Greenwood to become world class attackers in the (very) near future. They are of the same age, so kind of competitors to each other for both club and country (assuming Folarin sticks with England), but selling both would be a major mistake. Not to mention that if we manage to loan out TJJ as well there won’t be a single capable strikers over 16 – no disrespect for Matthews or Plange – which would risk making our U18 and U23 teams kind of jokes in their respective competitions.

    At least the possibility of Bergkamp returning to Arsenal is good news. (Btw, did you know that the first resolution of the THOF abbreviation is ‘the hoes of facebook’?) 🙂
    But I’m not equally happy about the overhaul of our defenders. Yes, Sokratis is getting old, and even though his no-nonsense approach was a revelation a few years ago, that might not be enough to fight for the CL places. But Mustafi seemed to outgrow his concentration laps under Arteta and was a joy to watch against major opponents, Holding was a powerful presence in the air (and while his pace faded a bit after a couple of long injuries he was more than capable to build up attacks), and Chambers was the best surprise in the early part of last campaign, before his injury. Not to mention Luiz, who despite breaking the penalty-record was a real leader on the pitch, contributed to the development of his fellow defenders (as well as all young players), recently signed a contract extension, and partly responsible for Willian taking Arsenal’s offer. And almost forgot; we signed the promising, but not yet proven Pablo Mari on a permanent basis. Now everybody wants all/most of them sold, and play with a Saliba-Gabriel CB partnership, or a Tierney-Gabriel-Saliba back 3…

    I might not have the sensitivity to take AMN’s full academy background into consideration, but I feel more loyalty towards Holding who played some exceptional games for us, still didn’t have the opportunities and minutes like Ainsley (2500 vs 4600 during the last 2 seasons). Similarly, Chambers (46 junior and 3 full international caps) has worse prospects than AMN, while he performed at a higher level on both the RB and DCM roles – but gets under the radar as he was bought, not developed.

  • Good points, Kev.

    I think somehow Bellerin is not in Arteta’s plan and that is why the club signed up Soares on such a long contract.I also feel more and more that we will play with three at the back to accommodate our leader Luiz in defence, and that means we need different skills from our ‘wingbacks’. I am hoping to write something about this soon.

  • The hoes of facebook hahaha… didn’t know that one, PB! Are you sure it is not the Horror of Facebook?

    I cannot agree with you re AMN not becoming a class player. He has so many qualities but he needs to be a regular starter now either as right full back/wingback or right midfield. He is only 23 in the end.

  • Re Holding, he also seems to struggle to convince a patient and willing Arteta that he is the bees’ knees. I feel Holding is the sort of player who looks classy in a packed defence/ withdrawn team set up but once exposed to space around him it is a different view. But like with AMN I love his commitment and pride in the shirt.

  • HH, yes I see your point and it is a risky policy for sure, it’s possible if those sales come to pass that it’s a pointer that Arteta will be going with three at the back for a lot, maybe the majority of next season as you can be a little more imaginative with wing backs, you know Saka or Nelson and then Chambers and Mustafi could fill in if need be, all the same it does leave us light in those areas. I thought that Osei Tutu might be integrated into the squad as well but he’s joining Cardiff on loan.

  • Yes Total, I agree with your three at the back theory, at least until Saliba and Gabriel are fully up to speed with the idiosyncratic Premier League and it’s refereeing.

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