All Arsenal Transfer Window Activities Scored 1 – 10

The assessment of the summer transfer window

While the international break takes over our weekly Arsenal schedule, let’s use the time to reflect on the rather interesting and intensive transfer window. With the following disclaimers:

I will base my evaluation based on the public information. The actual outcome may vary. Many players develop synergies with Arteta, but not everybody progresses in the optimistically expected trajectory. We’ll see…

A particular player, Arteta or time obviously may prove me wrong (in some cases I hope for that), but I did base my assessment on the most likely scenarios as of today (last weekend).

As many of you already know I honestly don’t believe in the „the bigger the better” squad theory. So I rate a signing high if – and only if – it improves on the first team. Squad depth is not my main concern.

Since some country’s (Netherlands, Russia, Portugal) as well as the domestic EFL transfer window closes later, there might be a few transfers (mostly loans) in the queue this year. I hope there will be players leaving the squad temporarily, but I assumed only a ’Saliba going on loan to the Championship’ at this point; which is not even an ’almost certainty’ since Monday morning…

Transfers and loans in the U23 team – albeit interesting – are out of the scope from this analysis.

Within the respective categories I tried to list the transactions chronologically, or position-wise (from defense to attack). Value or importance have nothing to do with the order. However the financial aspects of the transactions were taken into consideration.

High scores represent proper decisions and good news, low scores imply errors in judgement, bad decisions and missed opportunities, or just my sorrow that it turned out that way.


Permanent signings:

Pablo Mari – 4 – he came on a cheap for a tall, left footed center-back, but eventually this is not a niche position any more. We saw him play only a couple of games before his unfortunate and long injury. While familiar with the PL, speaks a few languages, I wonder where and how he will be reintegrated. It would be a shame if he finds himself on the periphery, but the odds are against him.

Cerdic Soares – 6 – a free transfer is (almost) always welcome. Soares is an experienced and reliable player, and he made a great debut as a supersub against Norwich. He didn’t really shine ever since, but he wasn’t the weakest link either. With the dramatic improvement of AMN I’m not sure we needed Cedric, but he provides competition and alternative to Hector, which is a good thing.

Willian – 7 – another free transfer, but cost an arm and leg on salaries and signing on fees, as he became the club’s second highest earner. (He slipped to the 4th place now, as PEA and Partey overtook him, though.) Willian had an unbelievable first game – with 3 assist in the opening round – but nothing spectacular ever since. He is contracted till his 35th birthday, which is kind of a liability, but that is a risk we had to take for a marquee signing. +1 point already added for sucking Chelsea in.

Gabriel Magalhães – 10 – unexpected as it is, the fairy tale and clear winner of the transfer window is the tall young Brazilian. Settled to London and Arsenal quick and vell, played great in each of the games involved (won all 3), Gabriel is commanding in the air and unaffected by the concentration curse that is typical of Luiz, Shkodran, Rob and Sokratis. He even scored a goal. And the best is that we bought him for a reasonable price. Sven ’diamond eye’ Mislintat would be proud of such a signing – the next Virgin van Dijk…

Rúnar Rúnarsson – 3 – apologies for the low score but/albeit I haven’t seen him play. Rúnar, 25, became a Gúnar for a low price based on his history with our goalkeeping coach – that is a promising sign. He is surprisingly short for a keeper yet has huge shoes to fill taking Emi’s place at #2 (pun intended). I hope that we can see him play in the Europa League and the early rounds of the FA Cup, so he can convince us.

Thomas Partey – 8 – I admit if this post would have been created a week ago I would have given Thomas a 6. I don’t follow La Liga that closely and while I appreciate I don’t really like Simeone nor Atletico. We paid a 60% surcharge on his TM market value, and we already had capable DMs. But reading posts and comments on Bergkampesque the enthusiasm here infected me, and reading how much more than a brutal enforcer he is made me infatuated with Partey. He earns double than he should, but if he really becomes the missing piece from Arteta’s master plan, then he can earn it next year in the Champions League.

Coming back:

Mohamed Elneny – 6 – another case when I have to admit being wrong (don’t get used to that). When I learned that he didn’t stay in Turkey I quickly jumped to the conclusion to sell him at almost any price as the reduced wage bill should have been the main target with Mo. But he put in some mature and disciplined performances. Still nothing spectacular, but more reliable and versatile than he was under Wenger. Even though we won’t see him playing in the PL much when Partey settles in, he could be the calm midfield presence our youngsters need in EL and cup games. And he is still the great amiable guy that he always was.

Emile Smith-Rowe – 5 – I’m genuinely glad he’s back, but I’m not too happy if he stays for the season with us as our central midfield is already crowded, and so far the AM role is not-existent in Arteta’s main formation. (Even if that changes there are players ahead of Emile in the pecking order.) He is a good boy who will surely become a great player, but could probably use another loan stint in the Championship. I see him in Arsenal’s future, but maybe not in the immediate future, and playing 270 minutes a season would be arrested development.

Loan players:

Dani Ceballos – 8 – his second spell at Arsenal obviously makes the squad stronger and tactically more versatile. The midweek international game showed that he can be deployed even further ahead, even though he has remarkable defensive statistics with us. He wanted to come back, which is always flattering. I know I shouldn’t get ahead of myself, but if his cooperation with Partey (and Xhaka) turns out to be fruitful, he should be our #1 priority signing in the next transfer window. Let’s hope, Real Madrid won’t be aware of that.

Misses (didn’t come):

Hossem Aouar – 3 – let’s face the reality: without selling Guendouzi and Torreira there was no way to buy both Partey and Aouar. From the age, technical skills, market value and chance creation points of view I would have gone with Hossem, but I can easily accept that the purchase of Thomas was more urgent and pivotal to Mikel’s plans. Again, Arsenal is known to suck at selling players, and unfortunately this case we needed that to buy proper reinforcements.

David Raya – 10 – this rumor was nonsense from the start. No doubt David being a fine keeper, but Arsenal’s 10M offer for him (which was allegedly turned down) was probably a lie fabricated by rubbish journalists or his agent; as Raya is 25 years old, has never played in the top division – in fact he played against a PL team only once – is 183 cm tall, thus would never justify us paying 87% of Martinez’s fee for him. There were similar stories where Arsenal was rumored to pay crazy premiums for unproven players (most notably Sporting teenagers Joelson Fernandes and Nuno Mendes), but only David Raya was taken seriously by sane people…

Donny van de Beek – 4 – we let another gem fall to the wrong hands. The young Dutchman can play CM and AM and is a key pass machine. It breaks my heart that MU will inevitably ruin him playing second fiddle behind Fernandes who is his more experienced, more successful clone. Solskjaer didn’t really need him, the 35M is a steal for a player who is already (or soon will be) as good as Coutinho was before being sold to Barcelona for 130M. And he dates Bergkamp’s daughter, so joining Arsenal would have been the obvious – as well as win-win – solution. Maybe we can sign him in 2-3 years if ESR might not live up to the expectations.

Zaha – 9 – come on; not another expensive winger. No disrespect to Wilfried, but we are properly packed on the wings, and then some. We have some proven professionals as well as young starlets, so Zaha and Arsenal is not a match made in heaven. There will be rumors on our scouts eyeing the Ivory Coast international in every transfer window, but don’t worry: they won’t be true.


Permanent sales:

Emiliano Martinez – 2 – my biggest sorrow for the window, but I don’t really know whose fault it was, if anyone is to blame at all. We had a nothing short of fabulous setup with Bernd and Emi, that is unfortunately gone now. They both played more than 2000 minutes last season, were incredibly popular and the „there is no dedicated #1 keeper” principle provided healthy competition keeping both guys on the edge of their seat in a positive way. Apparently Martinez couldn’t accept him not being given the #1 pledge, and became discontent after his first – but truly incredible – streak of remarkable performances, so Arsenal had no choice, but to sell him below his value.

Henrik Mkhitarian – 3 – this is a similarly low score, however for different reasons: I’m less upset about Henrikh leaving than how he left. Terminating a contract in order to let the player leave on a free transfer is a beau geste. Something that was apt in Jack Wilshere’s situation, but an unexplained 20M gift to Rome this case. We were interested in a few players from AS Roma anyway (Diawara, Ünder, Kluivert), at least some swap or player + cash deal would have been reasonable. I know we managed to remove his 180k salary from the wage bill, but that was a sad – and seemingly unprofessional – depreciation of what Alexis Sanchez was for Arsenal in 2016.

Loan players:

Konstantinos Mavropanos – 5 – I’m not at all prone to conspiracy theories, but it is hard to find a reasonable justification how come the career of the promising yet low-concept Mislintat signings (Guendouzi, Mavropanos Torreira) turned into a disaster in the last 6-8 months. Mavro was probably our best performing loanee last season, and since we are packed in the back a last Bundesliga trip could be understood. I hope we’ll not let Konstantinos get wasted and give him a chance to prove himself next season (without Luiz and Sokratis ahead of him in the team).

Matteo Guendouzi – 7 – probably the best outcome would have been selling him for 43M realizing a profit of 500% in 2 years, but since nobody was willing to pay him above 20M sending the young Frenchman on loan was a reasonable alternative. After a good season in Berlin Arteta can reintegrate him into the team, to continue his stellar trajectory under Emery, but it would definitely increase his value as well as marketability, so if we sell him eventually it could be for a decent fee. I wasn’t a huge fan of Matteo, but he didn’t cross a line to deserve being buried, which wouldn’t do the club any good either. I hope this story is still salvageable.

Lucas Torreira – 3 – the other painful decision besides Emi, and it was at a similarly large extent the player’s fault. But while Martinez left on a high, Lucas failed to adapt to the new environment, language and culture. I don’t think his downfall had much to do with the physicality of the PL, as 12 months ago he thrived here and was considered one of the world’s top6 DMs and a signing masterstroke. Maybe he’ll rediscover his future in Spain, but due to the loan contract details with Atletico we will not benefit from him getting back to his proper 50M value. The only positive thing about his suspenseful transfer saga is that we didn’t sell or loan him to those stingy, petty Italian barstewards.

Deyan Iliev – 5 – some may not know him at all, but we have the future North-Macedonian keeper in our books (for 8 years now) who never featured for the first team in competitive games, but has 13 junior caps under his belts and sat on the bench of his country’s senior team 17 times already. He is tall (Runarsson + 20cm / 8 inch), but no other traits of a world class keeper. It would be fair to sell – or even release – him as this neverending loan pressure is a lose-lose. Deyan is 25, worth 270k, contracted to Arsenal until 2022 and not among our top 4 keepers.

William Saliba – 4 – I didn’t want to include him in 2 places as he recently joined, but (hopefully) already on his way to the Championship. To summarize his story it is rather sad, as we were so proudly bought him as one of the most valuable U18 player in the world, solving our defensive woes, but due to a nasty injury, the coronavirus, the cancelling of Ligue 1 last season, the low-life negotiation tactics of Saint-Etienne with regards to the French cup final, a personal tragedy and some unfortunate mis-coaching he slipped from his supreme trajectory. From the loan point of view it is positive and necessary to bring him up to speed for the PL, but William’s journey from being our defensive savior to looking for a lower league host team is just painful.

Misses/fails (didn’t leave):

Sokratis Papastathopoulos – 2 – that was lame. Sokratis is 32, yet has market value and suitorsd all over Europe. The Greek – who helped us big time when the club was in an injury-stricken defensive crisis – is no longer a first team contender under Arteta, earns around 5M a year, and is in the final year of his contract. He should have been sold without hesitation. Period. PSG wanted to sign him on a free (when did the club funded with oil billions become so pathetic?) which we properly turned down, but some of the 5-7M proposals from other clubs should have been accepted as Sokratis will not play much this year. And if he does, it will be on the expense of other defenders.

Rob Holding – 7 – young Rob arrived with plenty of promise and ambition, but after convincing performances injuries set back his development and his position in the pecking order, hence not-so-young Rob is not an obvious starter albeit his fine performances in the last 2 FA cup finals. Therefore it was a major surprise that he started the first 5 games of the season alone, and while made a few mistakes under pressure, none led to goals conceded. Holding is not particularly fast, but makes it up with clever positioning, winning most of the aerial duels and providing plenty of clearances. With Luiz and Mustafi back to fitness he is no longer the first choice RCB, but could get plenty of further minutes in cup ties. He has a great personality; I’m happy he stayed, and hope he remains injury-free this season.

Sead Kolasinac – 4 – I always liked and appreciated him more than the average fan, but Sead could have been sold too, as he is #3 at LB/LWB, however he is still a more active and useful player than Papa. If rumors were true (which surprisingly often not true at all) he had some serious offers from Italy and Germany. Arsenal should have been following them through. He is not that marketable as – being a free transfer – Arsenal pays his signing on fee in his 100k weekly salary, but it didn’t seem impossible. Sead is contracted to us for 2 more years, but we should sit back to the negotiation table during the winter transfer window. He can still be a frequent (super)sub this season with his versatility, but I don’t see the club really stronger with him sitting on the bench.

Shkodran Mustafi – 7 – the German-Albanian world cup winner is difficult to sell when fit (due to his 90k salary and unfairly bad reputation), and it is practically impossible when injured. He is in his last year of his contract, but this is not a bug but a feature in his case. Let’s not forget that Shkodran is our best man-marking defender, the true clearance master; only his frequent lapses of concentration made Mustafi a constant liability under Wenger and Emery. He clearly improved under Arteta, and could return to the first team in a back three. So at the end of the season we can decide whether to offer him a new contract, or part ways. Unlike Sokratis, he does make Arsenal a better team.

Ainsley Maitland-Niles – 8 – for long years Ainsley was kept around the first team for his loyalty and history with the club rather than his performance, but the investment in his career finally started to pay off. He is not merely a versatile sub, but a proper substitute for either side wingbacks and could become more in midfield. AMN is not yet first team material, but in the cup matches he is no longer the main liability any more, and his penalty kicks make up for all the dull moments in the game. I’m glad he stayed, and good luck to him with his England career.

Joe Willock – 4 – I expect this being the main area of disagreement, but I would have sent young Joe on a loan. Regular minutes could have done good to his confidence and tactical maturity, as currently only his relentless pressing is his main asset. Apparently I’m not his only critic; he lost his place in the England U21 setup as well. At Arsenal he is far from the top of the pecking order in CM/AM/RM position, but his pace and strength can still be useful as a late substitute. However we are full of players who can make game-changing supersubs (Pepe, Saka, Ceballos, Nketiah), so keeping Willock at the Emirates without giving him 1500 minutes is a bad decision for me.

Mesut Özil – 6 – this is not just me being a fan of Mesut’s technical skills as well as charitable personality, but due to his astronomical wages there was never a chance to sell him, and almost 0 probability to even give him away wrapped up in a gift box. Arteta’s principle about everybody starting with a clean sheet is promising, but is probably not literally true either. Whatever happened to Özil – starting from him reaching his final year of contract without a proper extension offer, through to his weekly 350k new contract without performance bonuses, to his underutilized (forgotten?) talent in the last couple of years – were/are all signs of serious unprofessionalism, that would call for board member(s) to be fired in a proper company, but somehow Mesut ended up being the lazy and greedy bad guy. It will be a shame if we won’t see him in an Arsenal jersey, but even so it is 8+14 million pounds away.

Reiss Nelson – 3 – we had this argument with TA (and many others when Willian signed) 2 months ago, but 8 attackers is way too many, and Arteta didn’t yet prove otherwise. Since Martinelli is currently injured so far only Nelson seems to be the victim to our oversized attacking contingent, but unless Mikel starts employing Saka or Willian in an AM capacity it is going to get worse in 2021. While the Championship would be a clear step back from winning young player of the months awards for Hoffenheim, I think Reiss should go for loan this season as he is not any less talented than Saka, just didn’t get the same opportunities to prove himself as young Bukayo (whose luck was his ability to play LB). Throwing away a talent that was often considered ’the twin of Jadon Sancho’ would be a federal offense.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang – 9 – I am really glad that our Gabonese captain decided to pursue his legend status rather than a CL title with Barcelona or Real Madrid. So far his new contract that put him on par or even ahead of Mesut Ozil didn’t improve his effectiveness and clinical finishing, but that might not be such a bad thing as Arsenal was too dependent on Aubameyang scoring the equalizer or the winning goal. I’m not happy that we had to make a habit out of astronomical wages; but if it is the economical necessity to fight for trophies then I’m glad PEA at least has performance related bonuses in his contract.

Alexander Lacazette – 7 – I’m not sure that young Eddie and Auba (moved to ST) would have been sufficient in covering the central forward position, and I would have been strongly against replacing Lacazette with Jovic, Daka or Edouard, who would cost around the same figure what we could have received for Alexandre but have no PL experience. I think it is great he stayed and he already proved Arteta right by scoring goals in every game he started. And let’s not forget, his 3 goals came in 238 minutes (he was substituted in all his 3 PL games), so mark my words: there is more to come.

Final words

In spite of my best efforts, this list is inadvertently subjective. We see players, we treat news sources, we assess possibilities and we evaluate outcomes differently. It is absolutely natural that we celebrate and complain about different events. Don’t hesitate to challenge my views; especially if there is more than 2 points between your score and my rating.

The average of my 30 evaluation above is 5.7 – however the scores should be weighted as the signing of Gabriel or Partey are obviously not at the same importance as sending Iliev on loan or failing to sell Kolasinac – making me generally satisfied and slightly optimistic about the future (as delineated in my reply to TA’s previous post); but I indeed wish we didn’t sell Emi, sold a handful of fringe players, and sent more youngsters on a meaningful loan, as the current squad size of 31 is way too large to my liking. Overall this was a good, but not great transfer window in my opinion.

By PBarany

24 thoughts on “All Arsenal Transfer Window Activities Scored 1 – 10

  • Wow PB, I had to open a new package of biscuits to read this post till the end!! 🙂

    Excellent analysis even though it will not please the lovers of brevity. But you have been very thorough and are making a lot of sense.

    I guess what I am missing is a recognition of the context in which this TW took place. C19 is having a devastating impact on the game and nobody knows when and how it is going to end. Uncertainty about the future is bad for business and we have seen less activity in transfer market, especially abroad. Furthermore, in about 10 weeks time another TW opens and I reckon we will see a number of players leave then, I predict.

    But yes our squad is heavy and a number of players need to move on, but the good thing is the club did not wait for this before they would strengthen the team. This was essential. We needed a quality left sided CB for the long term, we needed a proper partner for Xhaka, we needed to sign up Saka and Auba, and WIllian was too good to miss out on given his PL and CL experience. So I am over the moon with our signings. 9/10 for me.

  • A bit harsh on Runar the Gunnar. On paper he may not look good but you just have to wait and see him play for a while before a judgement can be made.

  • Vd Beek…. I am surprised you are so positive about him. A man of moments for me and I am not sure where he would have played in an Arsenal team. Same goes for Tarzan’s favourite calling sound, Aouar. We have WIllian, Saka and Ceballos and don’t need another attacking mid if you ask me.

  • Other than that mostly agreed. Martinez paid towards Partey and I wonder whether we would have gotten the Ghana Octopus if we had not sold Martinez Happinez. It is a gamble I admit, but there is no point in keeping an unhappy Emi in the squad and not get those very valuable pounds for him.

  • Excellent detailed post PB.
    I won’t use numbers, but just give overall sentiment about it.

    Considering we are the team most dependent on ticket sales (except maybe for stupid spurs lol), I’ll have to be understanding.

    In general, we kind of held serve.
    …. Kept our star PEA.

    Barely covered in midfield because we got a big acquisition in Partey, but lose the services of Guendouzi and Torreira, with very little compensation. Those are 2 extremely talented outgoings, against 1 coming in. Leaves us vulnerable because if injuries occur we are dangerously close to depending on Willock and Elneny.

    I love Ceballos, but we dont seem to have secured an option to buy on the new loan. Could that be a strategy maybe because his contract will have less time on it next summer, lowering the price? Could be smart if Arteta and the club make him feel wanted long term.

    Willian I hope will end up being more positive than negative, because to me he blocks progress of talents like Reiss Nelson and even Martinelli eventually. Watching Gnabry yesterday always makes me sick and I worry about forcing young talents to go for lack of playing time. But if Willian puts up classic goal and assist numbers, I can’t be too negative.
    Maybe I’d feel better if we brought in some cash for Lacazette. But again, the Wuhan Virus made this a really tough window to sell to anyone for any decent fee. Only Chelsea had a typical window because they had pent up cash and buying to do.

    Gabriel…as I’ve said before, I don’t want to get ahead of myself, but may be the one that every other club will be envious of. Saliba, I don’t see why all the controversy regarding loan or keep. The manager and club are just trying to weigh what will get him the most productive experience this year, as we have options at the back.

    I am really concerned about the backup keeper situation. The pressure on him could be enormous. If we were not desperate for money, I would have kept Emi as our first choice keeper.

    Of course it all comes down to the owners. I don’t give them as much credit as others do for putting up money for Partey. It was just enough for cover in midfield. They’re not doing it to compete for a title, they just don’t want a team in their portfolio that ever falls into relegation territory because the value of their investment will tank.

  • Wow, I had to make a whole pot of tea to read this, a great effort, could have split it into two posts there Total, missed opportunity mate… 😉

    I think this transfer window has potentially solved some gaping holes in our squad and actually our starting XI as both Big Tom and Gabriel are set to be strongest starting team selections.

    My major transfer disappointment is in our actual sales although given the Kung Flu it’s probably more understandable.

    I’d give our transfer business a 7.5.

  • It’s quite an eye opener seeing how the media report similar situations, for example David Luiz, every mistake he makes seems to be an opportunity to ridicule him in the media, it’s like open season and don’t those toss pots take full advantage.

    Then compare their reporting on Harry Maguire and the sympathetic tone they take to his trials and tribulations, the difference is quite stark isn’t it.

    I know that Maguire is English but I suspect that being a Man Utd player is the differential.

  • So true, Kev. I just keep telling myself that opinions are like farts, they are unstoppable and omnipresent; you just have to make sure the window is open.

  • Of course, Ceballos wanted to come back, as no one else wanted him, especially Real Madrid.

    He would not have played for them and will play too much for us.

    Clearly Arteta is trying to stamp his authority on the squad by taking in players that are no better than the ones we have already, but they are “his”.

    An average of 4 shots on target in the last 4 games, including against a couple of the really weaker teams, tells me a lot.

    To win, you need to score goals, and to score goals you have to have shots, with a good few of them on target.

    You said it all when you pointed out that Willian played well in his first game and has done nothing since. How does that deserve 7 for a good transfer?

    You give 8 to a player who has not played for us yet. Really. Do you know how he will adjust to the style of play here, the cold weather and being told he has to do what he is told, or else?

    We all raved about Tereira when he came and now he is far from being flavour fo the months. The club could not wait to get rid of him.

    The wishful thinkers and users of rose-tinted glasses are dong the same with Arteta now as they did with Emery last season.

    Raving about him and how wonderful he is until the penny drops.

    Football has now changed for the worse.

    The priority is to stop the opponents playing and not to pay yourself.

    That is the philosophy of all the teams from Liverpool to Fulham.

    If that is what you want, you can have it, but don’t expect to enjoy what you are watching and when the defeats start coming, as they inevitably will if we continue to play with no creativity, the fans will turn against Arteta as they did with Emery and Wenger.

    I’ve followed Arsenal for nearly 60 years and I cannot remember a time when the fans have been so blinkered.

    The rot has taken hold from the top down and is getting worse.

    My apologies to those who do not like what I am saying, but I have always prepared to call a spade a spade and not a gold chalice.

  • Responding to those questions addressed to me, Jjgsol:
    – Willian was great in his first game (8.4) and average on the next 3 (6.5, 6.3, 6.6). Still, he is a great player with a lot of experience, many strengths (crossing, key passes, passing, set-pieces, long shots, direct free kicks and holding on to the ball according to WhoScored) without a single weakness apart from his age of 32. And we got him for free. That is a promising opportunity that can very well end up a disaster, but a positive outcome is more likely. Hence is the rating 7. You may rate signing him 4, it’s up to you. That weren’t the scientific scores in the post, just my personal opinion, which I was trying to support with a paragraph above.
    – Similarly I gave Partey a 8 rating, even though I haven’t seen him playing for Arsenal – noone has. Again, it can become great business or money wasted – but the 2 possibilities don’t mean that they are equally at 50% probability. Based on his skills and history, it seemed likely that his competencies will make him successful at Arsenal – justifying my score. Which can turn out to be wrong, just like my 3 rating for Rúnarsson, whom I haven’t seen playing either, but his ‘pedigree’ is less convincing. But I’ll be happy to apologize from him, as well as the fellow readers if and when he proves me wrong.

  • Picks for GN5– thanks!

    Everton v Liverpool Home
    Chelsea v Southampton Home
    Man City v Arsenal Away
    Newcastle v Man United Draw
    Leicester v Aston Villa Home
    Granada v Sevilla Away


  • Kev, TA, myself and my buddy who is a Chelsea fan had the same conversation about Maguire yesterday. But I remember him being overhyped by the media before the United move, they encouraged the move and drove up the price even. Even today on the radio they’re finding a way to blame Solskjaer and others. The same way they overhyped many of the young United boys… Lingard, Rashford. Same for Spuds Dele alli who is my most hated. What a little sh** he is.

    Criticism is always fine, keeps the blog interesting, ……but excellent rebuttal by PB. If I ever need legal defense, I want PB.

  • Cheers jjgsol, a spirited comment and you may be on to something, but I of course hope you are wrong. To win you need to score more goals than the team you play against, nothing more nothing less. But I agree there is a risk that we will become less efficient and start drawing or even losing games we have been winning under Arteta. Two things for you: Mikel knows this and evolution takes time, and most BKers know this and will be patient. So get your 60+year old arse of that horse and join us here on Mikel’s evolutionary road to glory! 🙂

    I dont think anybody is blinkered here: first we need to lay the foundation and close the gaps in the roof, and that is what Arteta is doing. Soon the really good football will follow and even you jjgsol will get an ooh la la kind of thrill. 😉

  • PB, you don’t need to explain yourself after doing so already in the post itself, but good on you nevertheless. You wrote a comprehensive post about your personal views regarding Arsenal’s transfer business/ player movements and it was insightful. It is one to go back to say in a year’s time and see how you feel about it then… 🙂

  • Thanks for your kind words, Jnyc. You honor me beyond my merits.

    On the Manchester-bias topic, this is the recent prove that gave me the fidgets:
    “20-year-old Phil Foden was able to draw the most attention to himself. The central midfielder is an integral part of Pep Guardiola’s plans at Manchester City […] made his international debut in September […] As a result of his increased role, Foden’s value is now set at €60 million (previously €40 million), which corresponds to an increase of 50%.” That +20M made Foden the biggest winner of the latest Premier League update on TransferMarkt.
    I know this is not a competition, but in contrast: while Foden played played 1740 minutes last season (contributing to 17 goals and earning a red card) Saka played 2767 minutes for Arsenal (contributing to 15 goals, becoming the assist-prince of our season), and also made his international debut last month. Even this season Bukayo played 100 minutes more than Phil so far however received only a lousy 5M upgrade – 25% of Foden’s increase.

    Similarly funny/irritating that Manchester United’s deadline day signing Pellistri (18 with no known junior caps), who played around 1000 minutes in Uruguay’s top division last season and was already valued as a surprisingly high €1.8M just quadrupled his value after joining MU (without playing a single minute). On the other hand Emile Smith-Rowe, who has 18 youth caps, played 2000+ minutes last season and 900 a year before still valued around €2.7M even though he played against serious opponents. (No offense, but the 16 clubs of the Uruguayan top tier combined worth about Brentford City FC alone.) So basically Pellistri’s €5.2M upgrade is more than Saka’s (€5M), Xhaka’s (€4M) and around Pepe’s devaluation.

    Not to mention that Heung-min Son seems to worth more than Lacazette and Nketiah combined, and Alli – who in his prime was valued higher than our 2 highest MV players (Aubameyang and Partey) together – after 2 disastrous seasons still worth more than any (!) Arsenal player, according to TransferMarkt.

    They are not just a bunch of stupid fans or biased pundits any more. Here I am talking about the operator of the world’s biggest and best (?) online football database.

  • J (and K), I think the press is coming round fast to Arsenal’s potential and chances for silverware this season, so I am not too bothered how they deal with other teams and their players right now. They all had Arsenal outside the top four two months ago but many are starting to change their minds now. We just have to focus on OGAAT and keep developing. This is our vehicle and we will keep the windows shut whilst singing along on Arteta’s evolutionary road to glory.

  • TA, I think the problem with Arsenal’s attacks is that we are getting more and more efficient. (Look at Pepe’s goal against Sheffield, who else would have scored that?) While many other teams need 15 key passes to have 5 attempts on target and 1 goal, Arsenal scores 2 goals from 6 key passes. And with our defense also improving we usually don’t concede more than one. So even with this embarrassingly low key pass statistics we manage to win the games by 2:1. Mostly against mediocre or weak opponents, but let’s not forget we beat Liverpool, Man City and Chelsea last season without being winning the possession or the key-pass mini-games.

    If we could turn up the chances created (without giving away many more shots – and eventually goals – to the opponent) we would score a lot more (4-5-6 goals in a home game against teams in poor forms, and 2-3 against top 6 clubs), and our games would become much more entertaining. I enjoy “demonstrating the fighting spirit” and/or the “finally we start winning ugly” as any other hardcore Arsenal fan, but that should apply only to the minority to our victories.

    How can we turn up the chances? – you may correctly ask. I don’t have the fool-proof recipe, but improving the squad with quality additions is clearly one of the options, and maybe tailoring the tactics (becoming less predictable) could be also on the table.

  • The answer is Partey, PB. He will help us to push up higher whilst keeping it tight, he will make those connecting runs with the ball without just loving the touch of it on his foot too much, he will release all the passing ability in Xhaka and together they will produce more turnovers where it can hurt the opponent. This will take a bit of time but I am convinced that Partey is THE missing link.

  • Hi J, how’s things in the Big A, yeah it would be interesting to see how much Man U would get if they put Maguire up for sale? I thought that he was worth about £50m max when the Mancs paid Leicester £80m for him, now I wonder if he’d attract a fee in the region of £40m?

    You have to give credit to Leicester as they certainly know how to maximise player sales, they are a really well run club and are bound to give us one hell of a game when we play them in a few weeks time.

  • Only two Arsenal managers have lifted a trophy in their inaugural seasons and one of them isn’t Arsene Wenger, it was George Graham and our own Mikel Arteta and if that doesn’t raise your spirits then maybe you’ve lost that magic forever?

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