Arsenal Need a Beast of a Midfielder: Caicedo or Plan B(en)?

A day and a half to go before the transfer window shuts, and what will happen between now and then?

The signing of Trossard was just what we needed upfront. We saw on Friday that young Vieira is not first team material as yet, and with Emile and Ryan both so often injured, Leandro is that much needed January shot in the arms.

Kiwior seems good business too. A left footed CB to cover for Big Gab is Chopin to my ears.

What we also learned on Friday is our over-dependency on Partey and the threat to the season Elneny’s injury is causing. Sambi did not get the nod in our starting eleven and when he came on he offered little. As the whole team were playing with the handbrake on, I don’t feel we should judge his cameo too harshly, but it’s clear that we need to add steel in midfield before 1 February.

It’s such a shame Maitland-Niles just didn’t push himself into our first team, or indeed our best 18. The Partey role could have been ideal for him, but he has not made the grade. It’s not a position for an academy player, unless, like AMN, they have had a considerable time in the team already. AMN, Willock and maybe ESR should have become the Partey backup, but Mikel has to go to market instead.

Is Caicedo for an awful lot of money the answer? It looks like Brighton don’t want to let him go and I don’t blame them. I also have not seen enough of him to say whether he will be an instant success.

We need to do something, though. Partey is likely to get injured at some point and the gap could jeopardise our Leicester-esque chance to win the title this time round.

I know I am not the only one who believes Ben White could play well in the Partey position. Tomiyasu, Cedric and Holding are excellent cover for his current position. White reads the game well, is a decent passer of the ball, a good eye for interceptions and blocks and a good, calm communicator. The team love and trust him. Why not give it a try?

Of course if Mikel and Edu can do some excellent business before Wednesday then I will not be complaining. But we need a plan B(en)..

What do you think?

By TotalArsenal

44 thoughts on “Arsenal Need a Beast of a Midfielder: Caicedo or Plan B(en)?

  • We most certainly have a need for some more steel down the middle and size also matters – the bigger the better. Like yourself Total I have no knowledge of Caicedo but 70+m seems like an awful lot of money.

    What cover do we have if Saka gets injured?

  • Here are last weekends results.

    1st Madhu with 3/6 plus 1 correct score and the most correct predictions = 9 points
    2nd Eris and Stuart with 1/6 plus 1 correct score = 3 points
    4th GN5, Total & LeGall with 1/6 = 1 point
    7th Kev & OX10 with 0/6 = 0 points
    For the season.

    1st Madhu with 77.8
    2nd OX10 with 76.8
    3rd Kev with 74.8
    4th Stuart with 71.0
    5th Eris with 63.13
    6th Total with 58.33
    7th GN5 with 52.33
    8th LeGall with 50.8
    It’s a real scrummage for 1st place with 4 in contention.

  • Here are the coming weekends selections.

    Aston Villa v Leicester City
    Wolverhampton Wanderers v Liverpool *
    Newcastle United v West Ham United
    Tottenham Hotspur v Manchester City *
    St Mirren v Hibernian *
    Real Sociedad v Real Valladolid

  • I don’t feel that he can be replaced Total, that’s good with Trossard being a possibility but I’ve not seen enough of him to compare – but so far he is looking like a good buy.

  • I think Gabriel J could do really well on either wing as a way to ease him back if Eddie is to keep his place but given the extent of his injury not sure when he can be fully relied on again despite his optimism we have seen injured players getting reinjured often. Also it will take time to reintegrate him and get him back up to speed me thinks. The more Caicedo’s price goes up the more I am liking this Bamba kid who is also being linked but would come cheaper. I guess the main issue with other DM targets mentioned is that they are coming from other leagues so there is trade off because they may struggle to adapt.

  • £75+M for a player to sit on the bench and provide cover? Doesn’t seem good value to me. There must be workable options at a more sensible price point.

  • If he comes in at that price I will say someone is going to make way at some point during the season for him to start but its not much of an issue with all the Europa and league games to navigate. If he performs if Thomas is out injured why should he be automatically benched. I would like to see Gabriel J have to earn his place back Eddie is not ready to move aside and thats how it should be.

  • I think the plan is to have four quality centrsl defenders. XhakA and Partey and possibly Caicedo and Rice. The former two have experience but will be thirty next season, and the latter two will become the main ones gradually. With hopefully CL football next season this is a much needed approach, and one the club seem to working towards.

  • Aston Villa Leicester City H
    Wolverhampton Wanderers 1 Liverpool 1
    Newcastle United West Ham United A
    Tottenham Hotspur 1 Manchester City 2
    St Mirren 3 Hibernian 1
    Real Sociedad Real Valladolid H

  • Agreed TA. And the ideal as you say is to have succession coming through the academy. If not there then we need to buy. But we aren’t City, so I’m not sure we can truly afford 4 top end DMs at the same time; hence more of a utility player seems what we need if we don’t think it’s time to sell Party. I do think that White is worth trying before we commit too much of our funding to a v expensive and still largely unproven youngster. I’m not being negative here – it’s a great boost to bring in new players, especially top end ones. But we need to be sure this time when we spend £70m and more.

  • Pepe was not a Mikel/Edu signing they have earned the trust of the Kroenkes because of their dealings which are not perfect but White, Ode, Gabriel J, Zinch, Big Gab are just examples of players whose value has only gone up. You can never be sure of signings no matter the price you could buy 2 players for a combined 50 plus like Lokonga and Viera for so called lower prices but look at their struggles so far albeit they are young and learning.

  • A Villa v Leicester City….Home
    Wolves v Liverpool…….Draw (2-2)
    Newcastle v West Ham…Home
    Tottenham v Man City…..Draw (2-2)
    St Mirren v Hibernian..,,,Draw (1-1)
    Sociedad v Valladolid…Home

  • I wouldn’t mind being the negative here, but I’m afraid I’ll be the nonconstructive one.
    I think this discussion is mostly the exchange of biases.

    I’m not sure we did need Trossard at all. But he was an affordable signing nonetheless. I wouldn’t say cheap, as for a similar amount we got Ramsdale or Gabriel, but a reasonable investment even for a 28-year-old. And he had a decent game against City too. Wasn’t the team’s top performer, but definitely above average; maybe the third best behind Tomiyasu and Gabriel. But that’s far from “just what we needed upfront”. In fact we lost and said goodbye to the domestic cups, which is no different than if Marquinhos was playing or I was starting in the goal. So AT THE MOMENT we have no confirmation that Trossard was the answer to our question, but hopefully time will prove him to be.

    Kiwior detto. We bought a player valued at 8M for 25M + add-ons. That is 312,5% of his current worth. It could become a good business; I can’t say “we’ll never know”, because we will know at some point, but not now. But signing Kiwior is the end of the both Auston Trusty’s Arsenal career – currently Birmingham’s best player (with higher WhoScored ratings than Gabriel, White, Zinchenko, Saliba and Ramsdale; and only Zinch has the excuse of playing fraction of games), who is taller than Kiwior, played 6300 minutes (57%) more competitive minutes, and cost us nothing – and our exciting pursuit for Evan Ndicka, who is a promising player becoming a free agent in the summer. I’m not saying that Kiwior is inferior to Trusty (there are some arguments in his favor), or we could surely sign Ndicka in the summer, but Jakub and ‘good business’ has almost the same lack of correlation at the moment as “losing ten grand, hospitalizing Gorgeous George, and a good deal”. 😉

    And that leaves us with Caicedo. He is the 4th best player in Brighton this season (behind March, Mac Allister and Trossard, but I would include Mitoma too, as his slightly lower average rating must be the result of the few 90-minute appearances he made). Anyway, he is a decent player, but I would be much more comfortable to break our transfer record for a world class player than a decent. (By the way, according to TransferMarkt Rice is the 2nd/3rd best DM currently (shared with Rodri, only behind Tchouameni), while Moises is the 24th-25th best CM shared with Frank Anguissa, and 15th places behind Camavinga, whose loan signing would have been the really smart move this winter if we have to reinforce the squad at all. And coming back to our mantra/psychosis shared with La Gall, signing both Caicedo AND Rice would be the end of Patino Ibrahim and Azeez, not only Smith, Cotrell, Henry-Francis and Alah-Eddine.

  • What to trust, PB ensembled footie stats or my eye and Mikel and Edu keen eye for great players, hmmm?

    Trossard is an enrichment and Kiwior and the Brightons fourth best player according to the godly stats will probably be big successes too. But mother Time will tell! 😁

  • Just to put out in the open: if we sign Caicedo for £75M+ that would be EXACTLY the Pepe type of signing. A player who nobody heard about a year before, having a single remarkable (?) season, relatively young, and a stupid competition between clubs brought up his price.
    Obviously I’m not saying that his potential Arsenal career is destined for doom like Pepe’s, as they are different individuals from different cultures. Maybe Moises will become the next Foden or Valverde. But ALL those record-signing arguments will apply that made Pepe struggle, albeit it would not be Caicedo’s fault either, that Brighton demanded twice his current market value (actually 13x his value from 6 months ago), and Arteta/Edu decided to pay it. However it will be a constant pressure on him being the club’s record transfer, yet sitting on the bench. And have no doubts, he will make more money than Odegaard.

    I’m happy that we dodged McKenie, Fresneda and Bamba, but I’m aware that I cannot be always happy.

    Yet before anybody would come with the argument (widely popular in Arsenal-related Facebook-groups) that “Hey, it’s Arteta’s rebuild project; if he wants Caicedo or Mudryk then he should get them; look what he completed already, let’s not be miserly with the cash”, I must add that we are already past that. Arteta and Edu spent in 3 years the budget Wenger had in 10. And let’s not forget that not only Ramsdale, Partey, White and Jesus were Arteta’s picks for the project, but also Mari, Cedric, Willian, Rúnarsson, Lokonga and Tavares, too. (I excluded Trusty as he could have been facilitated by the Kroenkes for non-footballing reasons.)

    I know that splashing an insane amount of money on player NOT being the first choices reassures many that the club is committed, and we cannot go on with the winning streak without spending. Yet, that is exactly the Chelsea and Manchester United thing to do. And look where it took them, and where we stand with smart transfers planned well ahead instead of breaking transfer records in a panic just before the window shuts. It is not smart, and it goes against the Arsenal identity and values. Trying White or even Zinchenko at DM wouldn’t. Hell, even Tomiyasu played there 16 times.

  • If the Guardian article is correct, I’m glad that we’re not breaking the bank for Caicedo but I’m nervous about buying another player from Chelsea who is deemed surplus to requirements. It didn’t work out well with Willian and Cech didn’t exactly set the PL alight in his matches for us. On top of that the wages will probably be high compared to some of our star performers. It looks like a panic buy and I hope that I’m proved wrong!

  • Options are limited mid-season especially if we need a PL experienced player. And we DO need cover for the remaining 19 PL games.

    Yes there is a risk but I bet he will feel at home among the Brazilians in our team. A proven winner too, which will help in the dressing room. I could come up with some stats but I am sure that isn’t necessary. 😉

  • Congratulations Madhu, I had better pull my socks up!

    Aston Villa v Leicester City. H
    Wolverhampton Wanderers v Liverpool * D 2-2
    Newcastle United v West Ham United. H
    Tottenham Hotspur v Manchester City *. A 1-2
    St Mirren v Hibernian *. A 0-1
    Real Sociedad v Real Valladolid. H

  • I can’t really fault the club for their efforts this January. They’ve looked to add young quality to create competition and cover on out wings and likewise at the base of our midfield. We have to stick to plan and financial sense with these choices and sadly neither came off thanks to a) the Chavs being prepared to throw money at one and b) Brighton not wishing to sell (fair enough to me). I didn’t care for Trossard falling out with his manager, but I suspect he is decent value for one position. And we haven’t found cover for the other – though the position on Elneny still seems unclear. Meanwhile we’ve got some cover at left CB and now it seems some high quality experience to cover at CAM – Viera isn’t quite ready. No complaints from me.

  • Smile on Tuesday/

    Three drunks walking home from the pub,Tom said,”look Dick,isnt the sun shiny tonight,”Dick said,”thats not the sun,its the moon,”Tom said,”it isnt the moon,its the sun,”Dick said,”lets ask Harry,”they said,”Harry,is that the sun or the moon,”Harry said,”dont ask me mate,l dont live around here.”

  • AB, Mo has had surgery on his knee and is out for an “extended period” according to the club. It looks like Sambi is going to Palace on loan. Marquinhos has already joined Norwich City on a loan until the end of the season. Let’s hope that Sambi can get his mojo back under Vieira.

  • PB, your point of view is consistent, I give you that. There is so much in your comments I could challenge but life’s too short. Let me focus on this bit of your comment, though:

    “And coming back to our mantra/psychosis shared with La Gall, signing both Caicedo AND Rice would be the end of Patino Ibrahim and Azeez, not only Smith, Cotrell, Henry-Francis and Alah-Eddine.”
    It’s Legall BTW not lagall.

    Succession planning, an example:

    Central Midfield Positions
    2023/24 CL footie, plenty of game time for all.
    1. XhakA, Partey
    2. Rice, Caicedo
    3. Two youngsters

    2024/25 (either Xhaka or Partey moves on)
    1. Rice, Xhaka/Partey
    2. Caicedo, youngster
    3. Youngster, new youngster

    1. Rice, Caicedo
    2. XhakA, youngster
    3. New youngster x2


    Xhaka and Partey currently get overplayed, because the second string is not good enough. A&E are addressing this because they do proper succession planning and central midfield is absolutely pivotal for any team. In the meantime they need a stop gap for the serious Elneny injury (Jorginho). We will see a few midfielders leave this summer, including some of the youngsters. Jorginho’s arrival could mean we will only sign one of Rice or Caicedo this summer, or one of Xhaka or Partey will leave this summer rather than next year.

  • Competition for places is healthy. At this point there’s absolutely none for Partey of Xhaka; we are immediately weakened when one is missing. It would be great to see a talented youngster or two pushing them for a starting spot. Sambi was meant to be one of these, but he needs to come on a lot to get there. So we may need to buy. But £70m for cover seems too much for me – unless we think Partey is either leaving in the summer, or has such frailties that he’s not going to last much longer. That sort of sum is what we’d expect to spend if we needed a new and proven striker – GJ came for less for goodness sake! I’d be up for us buying Rice and a less costly youngster in the summer – leaving Rice and Partey to fight it out for the starting spot. TBH I’d give it to Partey at this point in time though…

  • TA, I appreciate you responding to my comments, albeit I have to agree that life is indeed too short to discuss everything even remotely relevant.

    What you described as a desired scenario is indeed possible. And it would take me 2-3 years to disprove that. 🙂 And who knows were we are going to be in 2 years? But that’s not my point. You made a good argument that in 2025 we might have an academy player in the first team. I will ask follow-up questions, but before that I will explain why I will disregard rows #3. Simply 4 DM/CM is all Arteta needs a season. In fact he doesn’t even need 4, maybe about 3.5, but still that demands 4 individuals. Behind Partey and Xhaka we currently have Elneny and Lokonga. The 2 of them played 2560 minutes combined last season, and 1211 minutes this (half-)season, even though we are playing in Europe. So there is no evidence whatsoever (none, nada) that even a 5th CM could rack more than 5 bench sittings and 0 minutes. Like Matt Smith this season.

    Anyway, your model is fine for pointing out that when Partey and Xhaka will eventually retire (in 2-3 years) there could be a couple of openings, that could be potentially filled with the top academy talents. And I’m willing to assume that Elneny is a goner – single ‘o’ intended, as he is likely to be out till the end of the season, which coincidentally the end of his Arsenal contract. So let’s suppose Mo is no longer in the picture. Yet, I there are some open issues:
    – What will happen to Lokonga? Will he apply to one of those positions? Or will Arteta admit Sambi a dead end, and get rid of him for a symbolic transfer fee?
    – Where is ESR going to play? Will he be #3 LW or #3 AM, or will he turn up occasionally at central midfield?
    – By the way, versatile players; with 4 ‘full-time, core’ senior CM/DMs are we going to give up with experimenting other squad members like White, Tomi, Zinch, Kiwior (or ESR and Vieira) playing at central or defensive midfield? If so, would you be comfortable with that? Will versatility cease to be an asset if Arsenal is going to have 2-3 separate players for each position?
    – Last but foremost, apart from Jorginho, if Edu will sign the 3rd CM/DM after Rice and Neves/Caicedo/SMS, will you be forfeiting your case that Arteta is interested in academy midfielders, or do we have to wait for the 4th?

  • What will happen to Lokonga? Will he apply to one of those positions? Or will Arteta admit Sambi a dead end, and get rid of him for a symbolic transfer fee?

    The jury is out. Belgians can underwhelm sometimes. The quality is there but the hunger seems to be missing. I expect him to move on in the next 12 months.

  • Where is ESR going to play? Will he be #3 LW or #3 AM, or will he turn up occasionally at central midfield?

    ESR, I hate to say it, seems injury prone and Arteta will be worried he cannot become a regular in the team as a result of it. If fully fit he should be nr2 to Ode, but he is a versatile player able to play in a few positions.

  • By the way, versatile players; with 4 ‘full-time, core’ senior CM/DMs are we going to give up with experimenting other squad members like White, Tomi, Zinch, Kiwior (or ESR and Vieira) playing at central or defensive midfield? If so, would you be comfortable with that? Will versatility cease to be an asset if Arsenal is going to have 2-3 separate players for each position?

    I believe it would be nice to move to more total football interchanging of positions, but this takes time.

    I believe there to be three layers of Central Defenders, but the third layer does not play a lot of first team football. They have to fight for chances, play in the cups when appropriate and do loan spells. It’s fluid but tge aim is to get them ready for the next layer up. Whether they succeed is another thing. They need to make huge steps as you know.

  • Last but foremost, apart from Jorginho, if Edu will sign the 3rd CM/DM after Rice and Neves/Caicedo/SMS, will you be forfeiting your case that Arteta is interested in academy midfielders, or do we have to wait for the 4th

    I don’t think Arteta is a great promoter of youth, but he will play them when deemed good enough. Central midfield is such a demanding and important position; it’s so hard to break, through there as a youngster whilst playing at a top club.

  • Thanks, TA, for the detailed answers, I appreciate them. We agree in many points and disagree in some.
    I hope Lokonga and ESR’s future is with the club, and maybe in a few months I will grow on Jorginho, too. He is a quality player and was named the best midfielder of Euro 2021 a year and a half ago. He is the second oldest player of the squad behind Soares, but at least this is a temporary solution. Albeit Arteta will have to chose between Caicedo and Rice in the summer, but that should not be our most important problem.

  • Chelsea have certainly done some serious business leaving them with asquad full of expensively assembled players and not much room for youngsters to play…

  • Aston Villa v Leicester City. A
    Wolverhampton Wanderers v Liverpool * A 1-3
    Newcastle United v West Ham United. H
    Tottenham Hotspur v Manchester City *. D 2-2
    St Mirren v Hibernian *. H 2-1
    Real Sociedad v Real Valladolid. H

  • It has Total, all the ingredients of a feck fest at Stamford Bridge if it goes tits up, no doubt the manager will pay the price but let’s see how the second half of the season looks after the largesse of Fatboy Boehly, I couldn’t stand Abramovitch forcthe way he perverted the transfer market but at least he seemed to have a plan despite his disgusting behaviour and the disgusting friends he had and still has, but Boehly is just a complete wanker…

    For all the perceived wisdom going around and the criticism of Edu, Arteta and Arsenal, our club is still behaving like a proper football club, albeit one with class, something clearly missing in Fulham Broadway.

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