Positions open at Arsenal: Apply to Mr. Wenger

Positions that need filling at Arsenal:

Cazorla – I love this little fella but his quality in midfield has been sorely missed and given his age and the extent and type of injury he sustained you have to say that he’s on his way out. No other player on this club can do what Cazorla did. Cazorla could take possession and in a crowded forest of Premier League trees make the right dribble, provide the right pass, and make the right run that kept Arsenal’s midfield ticking over. Gooners will suggest Jack Wilshere and I can see the comparison, though Jack is extremely one-footed.

Cech – His stock is falling fast. If Wenger hoped to get two or three more years from Cech he’s been mistaken. Must be replaced this summer.

Alexis – there is no doubt Alexis is gone, the question is just “when” now. Will be difficult to replace because he does both: scores and provides. But there are players out there who offer his same qualities. Arsenal have been linked with Brazilian starlet Malcom who plays for Bordeaux. I’ve never seen him play but his stats are very similar to Alexis – he shoots, dribbles, and creates. 20 years old, 7 goals, 4 assists, 2.3 shots per game, 2.4 key passes per game, 2.8 dribbles per game, is fouled 3.2 times per game. Only problem is that he plays on the right and is left footed. That would require a shuffling of a number of Arsenal players (including Ozil).

Koscielny/Mertesacker – Koscielny is a fan favorite but he’s now another year older on a dodgy Achilles tendon. Mertesacker has been a steady voice in the dressing room and has been a large human in defense but he is retiring. Arsenal need a center back who can 1) win headers 2) intercepts well and 3) can pass the ball. These players are highly sought after. Liverpool just paid £75m for one!

Backup/Starting left back – Love me some Ainsley Maitland-Niles but the kid shouldn’t be playing left back. Come on Arsenal.

Backup/Starting right back – Love me some Bellerin but man, how do we not have a backup for this guy? Also, this position may need an older, more experienced player. Bellerin is often hung out to dry on that side of the pitch as Ozil is given his free role to wander all over the place. Maybe if Wenger gets Malcom and plays him on the right, we could finally see Bellerin return to his best form as both a defender and attacker.

Forward – Giroud gives Wenger options up front but Giroud is surely nearing the end of his career. It would be nice to actually replace a player before he retires for once. Get in a big fella who can hold up play and wins you some headers.

Man, there’s a lot of rebuilding that needs to be done at this club.



  1. What about Wenger?

    He is a great man in need of something else to do.

    Go back to his roots and make a great Alsatian wine.

    Write one of the best football biographies ever.

    Design men’s suits at Lancome Paris. He wears them well enough.

    He could even lecture at Sorbonne. Something, anything than lead us down the same tired path again next year.

      1. I’ve heard a few people say Wenger is getting fired in the summer. I don’t see it but would love to hear your reasoning.

        1. I said this here before, I guess i need to say it again.

          1) Josh Kroenke has laid the groundwork to offload a ton of Wenger’s responsibilities around recruitment and contracts.
          2) They are already forcing Wenger to take their analytics-driven purchases.
          3) The two-year deal is perfect because it creates a sense of stability this season (the boss isn’t in his last year) and also gives them a cheap way to fire him (or they “part company by mutual consent”) and he gets just one season pay out.
          4) They are not going to give Arsene Wenger £200m to rebuild this squad in his final year at Arsenal, which is what this squad needs. That doesn’t make any sense from a business perspective (because that’s their entire wad) or from a football perspective (because players recruited to fit Wenger’s style are probably not the same players who would be picked by another manager.)
          5) Josh Kroenke is not afraid to fire people: he fired George Karl when he was coach of the year.
          6) That leaves two options: fire him this summer with the one-season golden parachute payout OR let him stay at Arsenal for one final season and don’t let him buy anyone or really spend any money. If they choose the latter it would be incompetence on a massive level and given the departures this summer would mean Arsenal will drop to somewhere in the middle of the League. Thus, my hope/guess is that they fire him this summer.

          1. Sorry I must have missed it. Your reasoning is logical and probably the best step forward for the club. Which is exactly why I don’t see it happening.

            On a related note, I’m not convinced by StatDNA. Didn’t we buy Xhaka and Mustafi because of StatDNA? I read a story last year about how StatDNA was used to shut down Wenger’s interest in Greizmann. Perhaps I’m old fashioned when it comes to this but I feel some scouts just instinctively know when they see a young talent.

          2. The one factor is the drama that firing Wenger would bring. I think that would give the Kroenkes pause, they don’t seem to want the spot light.

            Guaranteed that, despite almost half the fan base wanting a change, firing Wenger will not be viewed or portrayed positively. The replacement would need to be world class to get over the PR hump. We’d be hoping Real fire Zidane.

            Once again your reasoning is very solid; the board are not giving Wenger a City-esque budget to go and rebuild the squad in what is very likely his final year. But I don’t believe they have the stones to force the issue and deal with the fallout. I think deep down they are hoping for another FA Cup final hurrah, a 5th or 6th place finish outside of the Champions League places and Wenger realizing the gig is up and leaving.

          3. It sure gives a new meaning to “When I retire, I will leave Arsenal in a great shape” statement doesn’t it.

            A regular Greek efing tragedy.

          4. Doesn’t hiring the backroom staff to take away some responsibility from Wenger indicate that the board aren’t handing 200m to Wenger alone, and that it’s switched more to the ‘committee model’ that is in place at other clubs?

            What I mean is, by having those guys in place and having increased responsibility, it is a safeguard against Wenger, and his inevitable departure, but does not necessarily indicate that Wenger is on his way out immediately. Presuming of course that he’s ok with it. But he’s apparently already had players foisted upon him by the analytics team, who he should respect less than the football guys hired, so why wouldn’t he be ok with it?

            Josh Kroenke may have fired George Karl, but Wenger’s impact on Arsenal is greater and it will be a bigger deal to fire him. Also Papa Kroenke has final say, unlike with the Nuggets. If Josh Kroenke wanted Thierry Henry as manager I’m not sure he’s the guy I want making this call.

            I don’t think Arsenal will fire Wenger. The optics wouldn’t be right on that. But they could push him out, and I think that only happens if we don’t make the top 4.

        1. But the board wanted to fire him in the summer, it was Kroenke himself who refused to do so. Not that the board has any kind of power.

      2. From your lips to Kroenke’s ears, Bro.
        It ain’t happening, despite the reasons you’ve laid out below.
        They WILL give him his last year.
        Because Arsenal. Believe it.

  2. Ummm…. we need a replacement for Bellerin, not just back up. The story was that he had quietly made it known last summer that he was interested in going back to Barcelona. And why wouldn’t he? Who wouldn’t trade the opportunity to play RB on one of the best teams in the world vs. a 6th place Premier League team that has a lot of room to go down before it goes back up. If Barcelona fail in another Coutinho bid then I would expect them to come in hard for Bellerin. We’ll do our typical hard bargaining and get maybe 20m for him.

    Mustafi is leaving this summer. He was almost sold last summer. So do we need to replace three CB’s?

    The mess at LB is something to behold. Apparently Kolasinac is a worse LB than a right-footed defensive midfielder deputizing there. How a player can play LWB but not be capable of adapting to LB is beyond me, but apparently that’s what Wenger believes. But wait… Kolasinac was able to play left CB in a back three. Mysterious.

    Agree with the previous comment. The biggest need this summer is a new manager. One who can take youth players and coach them and mold them into first team players, because there is no way we are plugging all the holes in our roster by going out on the market.

    It’s become so obvious that this season was an all-or-nothing gamble by Wenger and he’s lost the gamble. The form is garbage and now here comes the annual injury crises and drama over expiring contracts in their end stages.

    1. The moment I saw Kolasinac play I knew that fans would sour on him quickly. I think he scored in his first ever Arsenal match and had a few goals and assists early on but his defending was atrocious.

      Now, when it comes to defenders I can’t figure out whether its them or Wenger but typically I blame Wenger. Wenger is the one who tells the fullbacks to go forward and has two “wing” players in front of them who are allowed to just go wherever they want on the pitch. He also plays without any real midfielders and tells his only box-to-box midfielder to make runs into the opposition box constantly and his pseudo-defensive mid is completely incapable of making a recovery tackle or cover the spaces left by the remaining players. The reason AMN works is because he’s naturally very conservative.

      The same thing has happened to Bellerin. More than anything if I’m Bellerin I put in a transfer request this summer just to save my career. The way he’s exposed constantly by Wenger’s system and the way fans have reacted to that by blaming him would make me jump ship immediately. I’d be like “yo, thanks all, I’m out. Have fun with your weird football.”

      1. I don’t think you get into the Bundesliga team of the year without having some talent. Kolasinac is probably in the same boat as Xhaka, another Bundesliga TOY player – not receiving proper coaching, not being put in the best position to succeed.

        Why did we buy him then? I figure it was because he was a free, that was 75% of the decision.

        City is showing everyone what happens when you have a PLAN and money to carry it out. United have no plan but lots of money. Chelsea have a plan. Liverpool have a plan – look at the way they waited on VVD and bought Keita for next year. Even Spurs have a plan. We are in the position of having no plan and no financial power to overcome the lack of a plan.

        1. He lacks the pace to be successful in the Premier League, he switches off defensively all the time, and he clearly cannot pass the ball. He got into the TOY because he was the best player on an absolute shit Schalke side. Choupo-Moting had 3 goals and 4 assists on that team. Have you seen him play? He’s shit’s shit. Their DM, Nabil Bentaleb, had 5 goals and 5 assists.

          1. Excellent. As a free transfer I bet he is on a big wage. Good luck getting rid of him in the short term unless he somehow comes good.

          2. Yeah, but Choupo-Moting is killer on FIFA.

            Kolasinac does switch off defensively, I’ll grant you that. But that’s a virus that infects a lot of our players. I like him, I can’t say those first few games were an aberration and he’s now total crap.

          3. Is he really all that slow?

            Bad at individual defending (surprisingly not as physically imposing as his supposed strength would suggest), bad at passing, and very prone to switching off, I’ll grant you…

          4. The fans adore him. He’s become a cult (with an L) hero. How can a player with that physique not absolutely boss the game? As stated, he started well and got worse. Still have hopes for him though as well as Holding, Chambers, AM-N and the other superb young English players who I fervently hope do not disappear off (never to be heard of again) on loan.
            And yes Tim, this is Wenger’s last season. Lets hope he gets something out of it, and we all get the autobiography to end all autobiographies.
            Charged (as expected) over his after match referee comments etc.

          5. The problem with Chambers and Holding is that they’re both slow: Chambers egregiously so (almost Per levels), while Holding just enough to prevent him ever developing into a truly elite CB (really hope I’m wrong about this one!), even if he irons out the other youthful flaws in his game.

            And as a future partnership, I just can’t see them collectively having enough pace to survive as starters in a “big” team in the PL, no matter how good the understanding they develop is. I think Arsenal fans hoping they’re the answer at CB for the next decade are being crazy optimistic.

          6. The upshot is we need one young, absolutely elite-level CB, and, depending on how Mustafi pans out, maybe two. And they need to complement each other. That 16m or whatever it was we blew on Gabriel (when we could’ve gone in for VVD) is looking like a bigger and bigger waste of money by the month.

          7. PFO – I’m not sure how you see Holding and Chambers are too slow to become elite CBs… They are both quick and athletic enough. John Terry was slow as molasses, but with the right defensive system (deep back line) he was a pretty decent CB for Chelsea (even if he was a cheat and racist). I’m running through my head the “elite” CB’s in the Premier League and I have to say, comparing strictly physical tools, Holding and Chambers measure up very well.

            Actually, thinking about it, the Premier League is really lacking a roster of elite CBs, even Man City has some pretty suspect CBs with Otamendi, Stones, Mangala, over-the-hill Kompany. I’m thinking when healthy Vertonghen and Alderwield are the best pairing in the league and I wouldn’t call either one particularly athletic or quick., or even world elite CBs like Ramos, Hummels, Chiellini.

          8. Meh. For a center back, speed of foot is overrated and speed of thought is underrated. Mind you, it’s great to have both but if I had to choose, speed of thought, reading of the game, anticipation is what I’d choose every time. Mangala and Luiz are two of the fastest center backs around but neither are actually very good.

  3. Tim, a few thoughts:

    1. The replacement we need for Kos/Mert also needs to be pretty fast. You can obviously be good at heading, good at stepping up to intercept, and good and passing, while being as slow as Per and Chambers. But you CANNOT survive in the Prem–especially if you’re as intent on attacking as much as Arsenal is–with BOTH (or all three) of your center backs being slow. You just can’t. Eventually even really good readers of the game like Per will miss a tackle and then a speedy attacker will be in on goal. This will happen pretty much every game, and Arsenal will give up goals at an impressive rate (we already do, even with Kos at the back, and he’s (been) pretty fast). Pace isn’t the be-all end-all that many British commentators make it out to be, but in football pace covers over a multitude of sins.

    2. I think you’re being far too generous on Bellerin. I am not biased against him, I have no reason whatsoever to dislike him, and until this about this time last year, I didn’t. But his form has been pretty terrible for the best part of a year. I’m all for blaming Wenger for not developing him properly, teaching him how to defend, etc (though I’d suggest Hector has to take at least some of the blame, for perhaps believing a bit of his own hype so early on in his career, and not working on weaknesses in his game (e.g. final ball, one-on-one defending). However Wenger’s system exposing Hector can only be part of the problem, as his attacking has been as bad as his defending of late. He frequently makes poor decisions which result in us coughing up the ball, and his wing play has regressed from being bad at crossing to now looking afraid to even take on his fullback down the line at all. He’s been cutting inside almost constantly, and, (perhaps not unrelatedly), I can’t be the only Arsenal fan who worries that he hasn’t looked nearly as fast since he came back from injury a year ago.

    1. P.S. Sorta agree on Kola, though I don’t think he’s awful and I do think he could improve considerably under better, more hands-on management (also, that Schalke side weren’t all pants; e.g. they had Goretzka).

  4. Oh yeah, one final thought, Tim:

    I don’t think the idea of Wenger going this summer is all that far-fetched, but surely the odds go up significantly if we fail to make top 4, right? Now, personally I think we are going to fail to make the top 4, which is why I think it’s fairly likely Wenger goes. But I think it’s MUCH, MUCH, MUCH less likely to happen if we make the top four. I just can’t see Silent Stan being that ruthless if the “minimum objective” gets met, and I don’t think he’ll cede the final decision on the matter to his son. And I don’t think you have to be delusionally optimistic to suppose we could find some form in the second half of the season and still make top 4. So it’s surprising to me that your analysis of the situation seems to imply that AW’s a goner regardless of our performance for the rest of the season.

  5. Ozil’s going too, I’m afraid. If he wanted to sign, he would have. No player works an extra year on lower wages than they might otherwise have got. So we are losing the creative heart of our team. And I don’t have that much confidence in the likes of Iwobi, who couldn’t hit a barn door from 10 paces. He composure in front of goal is shocking for a forward in a top 6 team.

    This summer will make 2012 look like a stroll in the park. Our handling of last summer’s transfers almost demands a firing. The last minute arm-twisting of Lemar was embarrassing. He sent smoke signals that he wanted to come, yet there we were, chasing him on last day for a fee of 10m more than Monaco’s earlier take-it-or-leave-it. f f s.

    Tim’s theory on Wenger being removed is sound.

    1. Even if we go on a run and make the top 4? What if we make the top four AND win one of the three cups we’re still in? The team looks terrible right now but we know it’s not beyond this group of players since they’ve done it in recent memory.

      1. He’s been respectful and professional, but he’s moving towards a position of considerable freedom, contractual and financial. He’d be mad to give that up. He’s gone from highest paid to 3rd or 4th. I think that even Kolasinac is out earning him. Those are wages he’ll never get back. PFo, I’d love it if he makes me look a fool for saying this, but I think he’s gone.

        1. True enough, but if Arsenal can match or get close to what is on offer elsewhere, Mesut Ozil the person (rather than just the football player) could still decide to stay.

          Agree that he’s more than likely to go, but I’m not going to say there’s no way he stays.

        2. Sorry Claude, my question was about Wenger not Ozil: do you think Tim is right that Wenger will get fired by Arsenal even if he gets top 4? Even if he gets top 4 and, say, the Europa? I’m about 95% sure you’re right about Ozil.

          1. Difficult to say PFo. Tim’s reasoning looks plausible to me. But part of me thinks that they’d want a long servant (who now hold the managerial record for matches in charge) to make a less contentious exit.

          2. Yeah, exactly. It would be a ballsy move, to say the least. Much less so if we fail to meet our minimum objectives this season.

  6. Kolasinac is adjusting to a new league and a new team (switching up between systems) I don’t think he’s bad. He’s just suffering the effects of moving to England and Arsenal. It’s an adjustment, but he can get there. He’s still relatively young for a defender. (Agree that his defensive awareness isn’t great)

    He’s not even been here 6 months. People need to stop making sweeping statements about a player’s place at the club based on such little time. I remember not long ago Tim was writing off AMN as too old and lacking talent to make it at Arsenal, and now he really rates him.

  7. Hmpf, lots of negativity abounding today, probably too much. What are people afraid of? The floor for a club like Arsenal is to finish in the Europa league places and remain a threat for any team in the cup competitions: is that really so dire? It may not fit with our “we are a big club” ethos but it’s also temporary. All clubs go through rebuilding phases.

    Yes the ceiling of the club is sky high and we are not close to reaching it. Changes need to happen and they will because they must. Arsene may decide on his own that his leadership isn’t having the desired effect. I think we will look back on his tenure with more than a measure of fondness when it’s all set and done because we know there will never be another like him at Arsenal or anywhere else. The last knockings of such a man can be difficult and yet I am glad he was given the chance to have a go with a proper squad before he retires.

    I do think for many of us we are in the stage where familiarity breeds contempt and there is a lot of contempt in these posts today. I think it’s worth remembering that there is a silent majority of Arsenal fans who probably do not feel that way because they realize how difficult it is to win these days. Most of all, I’m not losing any sleep over any of this because this club will be fine.

    1. Dr. G – it’s very Pollyannaish to ask “what are we afraid of?” The fear is that Europa league qualification is in fact NOT the floor for this club. Not with the Kroenkes in charge.

      Sir Alex left Man Utd in decent shape but they promptly screwed it up with Moyes, van Gaal and some daft transfers (Di Maria, Fellaini, Shaw etc.), but they have financial power and willingness to use it.

      Wenger, if he leaves this summer, will be leaving a 6th place squad (my prediction) with a decimated roster. What, other than a fan’s blind faith, gives you the impression that Arsenal are better equipped to deal with the transition than Man Utd were when they were in a superior position?

    2. Your “silent majority” is, I suspect, a figment of your imagination. The vast majority of us will remember Arsene fondly, and as one of a kind. The mistake that’s often made is in thinking that those of us who believe that he’s past his sell-by date and that we need new leadership, love and appreciate him too. That’s not contempt. That’s facing up to reality. There’s many an old uncle we spent time with this Christmas who we think is barking, but who we love nonetheless.

  8. What about playing AMN in midfield with Jack and Özil or Ramsey? Might be that the boss has him out left to learn more of the defensive side — which he has.

    Monreal or the Tank would play left as part of a back 4.

    Agreed. Fully expect that this is the boss’s last year. He’ll either be fired or consult in the last year.

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