Lacazette, Draxler, Mustafi, Mahrez: percentometer

Plenty of rumors this morning, let me just get some quick notes out for you on the main names. Feel free to send more in the comments.


Percent chance that I would like Draxler at Arsenal: 80%. He’s a two footed dribbler and World Cup winner who can play down either wing, in the number 10 spot, and may even be able to be converted to the center forward role (though that depends on his psyche more than anything else). He’s 22 and has had a few years of struggle with injury since his coming out party three years ago. I also don’t know how well he will adjust to England and the Premier League but with teammate Özil and Per around they could help smooth the transition.
Percent chance Arsenal are going to sign him: 20%. I don’t see any smoke here from Arsenal yet. The player wants to leave but Arsenal will have to fend off clubs like Chelsea who buy up Draxlers for breakfast. Also, Wolfsburg are taking a hard line and refusing to let him go. Arsenal would have to go pretty big to land him and considering he has a buyout clause that kicks in next year (weird), I’d be surprised if Wenger doesn’t want to wait.


Percent chance that I would like Lacazette at Arsenal: 70%. I’m probably putting too much stock in Philippe Auclair’s opinion but something about this player is off. If he’s a top talent, he would have been snapped up by now. In fact, why hasn’t he been snapped up? He’s scored 76 goals over the last three seasons for Lyon. I double dog dare you to find me a forward who has averaged 25 goals a season for three years who isn’t going for £50m plus. So, why the reservations? I haven’t seen him play.
Percent chance Arsenal are going to sign him: 30%. Something is also off with his club, Lyon. They seem convinced that he’s staying despite his public cry to come get him. Arsenal did bid but Wenger hasn’t gone back in and Lyon are saying he won’t leave, it is starting to look like this deal is deader than Steampunk.


Percent chance that I would like Mustafi at Arsenal: 90%. World Cup winner, can play in two positions, quick center back, not bad in the air despite his smallish size. My only reservations are you all, when he makes a mistake how much will we be able to forgive him.
Percent chance that Arsenal sign him: 65%. Rumors abound that Arsene is going to put down £20m for this player. Incredible if true. But Arsenal need a center back, one who can start right away, who can pass the ball (vertically), and who is already a professional at the top level. Mustafi ticks all those boxes. I expect this signing to be announced this week.

Percent chance that I would like Scott Dann: 2%. This is a joke, right? Who is linking Arsenal to Scott Dann?
Percent chance Arsenal will sign him: 5%. Seriously, this is a joke, right?


Percent chance that I would like Mahrez at Arsenal: 100%. This is my favorite player Arsenal are being linked to. Cultured dribbler, quick, plays vertical, can play on the counter and can break teams down who sit deep.
Percent chance that Arsenal will sign him: 15%. Leicester seems sure that they can hold on to Mahrez and they better be sure, because without him in the team they have no chance of winning the League or even realistically staying in the top four. Also, Leicester is probably horrified at the thought of selling to another club in the Premier League. My percent would be lower, except for the fact that Wenger gave a wry smile when asked about Mahrez. Clearly there is interest from Arsenal. Whether Arsenal can turn that interest into a signing is the big question.



  1. As your highest attacking type player above is 30%, does that indicate you do not think we will sign an attacker, that one of the above will come but you are not sure which or we will sign one – just not one of the above?

    1. I am just reporting what I know, which is admittedly just as much as you know. I don’t see any credible links to any forwards at this point so while I am sure that Wenger WANTS to sign an attacker, I don’t know which one it will be and none of the ones we have been linked to so far have proved to be fruitful.

      1. Maybe we will get a striker like Lewandowski. Shortish term fix, expensive but not silly expensive like Higuain.

        Wenger was asked about Mahrez and Lacazette and refused to comment. If he’s not trying to get either then he would have denied interest. So he’s trying to get one of them.

        Normally I would go with him buying the one with the least amount of smoke – Mahrez – because we have apparently bid for Lacazette but not re-bid.

        If I had to bet, I’d say we get Mahrez and an alternative striker.

  2. I know this is stupid in the face of Arsenal’s entire history, but I feel better about what will happen with the rest of the window knowing that we’re still linked to three whole players (in the attacking department) that have not been bought yet and would all be upgrades on [vacant roster position]. I would love to have some shiny new striker, but if we don’t end up with one and instead end up with Mahrez, I’d still be pretty, pretty happy. I so hope it happens. And I’m down with Mustafi, too. A Xhaka, Mustafi, Mahrez summer wouldn’t be a bad one, would it? I mean, I know we need more but… Arsenal.

  3. Lacazette is indeed a strange one. He wasn’t even in the France squad. I get they have talented players all over the place, but for a guy who’s scored tons of goals consistently, you’d expect him to at least make the squad.

    I’m more skeptical of Mustafi. I think Wenger will look at his center backs and say I have 3 senior players (he will count Chambers), 2 youngsters I can give game time to (Holding and Bielik), and Nacho. I don’t see him spending 20m on a CB (who admittedly looks like Per), especially when that money can be used for a striker. I hope I’m wrong

    I’m a bit more bullish on Mahrez. There’s clearly a lot of smoke, and I think we’re seriously interested. The player seems to want to move as well. Leicester may have to give him up. Either it’ll happen and we’re just looking for them to get their replacement/us to sell Theo, or we’re still trying to make it happen. I’m skeptical but hopeful.

    Which brings me to Draxler. I was really excited when he burst on to the scene 3 years ago, but I’m cooler now. Is he a good player? Yes. Does he score goals? Not really. Is he the finished package? No, but still clearly has potential. Do we have time to wait for potential? Not really. Injury history? Yes. I don’t know.

    I’d love to sign all of them, sell Walcott and Campbell*, and start the season in amazing shape. But I’d take any of them.

    * Harsh on Campbell, who was terrific last season. But he’s an average player who doesn’t provide the team with the goals it needs. He does a great job defensively, and plays good through balls, but he’s the slowest winger I’ve seen. He’d be good for an aspiring mid-table team like Everton, and I think we could sell him to someone at that level. Which is more than I can say for Theo. He’s not even that fast anymore.

    1. “I have three young centre-backs in [Rob] Holding, Bielik and [Calum] Chambers. All of them are very talented, but lack experience,”

  4. I wish Auclair’s opinion on Lacazette went deeper than just not rating him. I want to know why. It is a good point as to why he’s not being chased by everyone when he’s scored consistently the past 3 years. Is it to do with his attitude or with his game? Or perhaps some injury/fitness history. Or perhaps it’s that Lyon aren’t the sort of club you do business with unless you absolutely have to.

    I would love Mahrez at Arsenal. I don’t think it solves our striker issues though, and I doubt we’re getting a striker and a wide forward.

    So….Draxler? As arseblog pointed out, Draxler going public with those words suggests there’s something already in the works and he, much like Van Persie, is trying to force his club’s hand to let him go. The similarity to Van Persie in his game has also been pointed out, and he’s got a similar body structure too. As you say, he can play in a variety of positions, so being as we’re probably only buying one attacker, Draxler might be the best bet. (Still, finishing though)

    Hopefully we can sell Walcott and get both Mahrez, and one of Draxler and Lacazette. But that might be a pipe dream.

    I’m surprised by how confident you sound about Mustafi (even though you say 65%, you say next week) I’m not as confident as that. Hope you’re right.

  5. I don’t get the hype on Draxler, more so the potential of him converting to striker and majority of his hype, i felt by him getting compared to van Persie. Of course there’s also his injury records. I don’t understand, is people who expect him to be van Persie does so because he might have the potential to be put in the middle of the field or it does because he possess the quality and understanding of positioning that van Persie have when he became a BPL top scorers? Because there’s a different quality there and van Persie that was a BPL top scorers is different than the van Persie who was an Arsenal player before that. Right now, what we need is a van Persie that was a BPL top scorer and that won’t be Draxler. All of this is out of fear that Draxler is the striker signing, it would be different if he is an added midfielder signing to bring depth on the midfield and we add striker and possibly Mahrez there too.

    On Lacazette, I think there is too much emphasis on what Auclier said. I think what we have to understand that at the time, he might be right. Auclier comment on Lacazette was actually when on that season, he is getting big help by Fekir to be a top scorer, and he is right and you explained it on your article about him. What you did also explain were, he also improve himself the following season. The Lacazette that was criticized by Auclier might not be the Lacazette that he is now. I don’t know whether we will buy him, but i expect that is one of the reason why we at least tried to bring him to Arsenal.

    Lastly, i felt that Arsene might surprise us. I think he might bring someone that we might not expect and that name might haven’t come up in the media this transfer window. But it totally could just be Mahrez. Whoever it is, I hope he is good.

    1. i’ll hold my hand up and claim to be a culprit with the draxler/van persie comparison. it’s difficult to ignore their similar skill sets, builds, and professional progressions. in fact, when arsenal signed van persie, i made a similar comparison with young robin and rivaldo.

      bottom line is there’s no way to tell if draxler can make the transition to center forward but it’s difficult to ignore the fact that rivaldo and van persie successfully did it. rivaldo and van persie were better technically than draxler and their backgrounds also included playing a lot of street ball where they developed their craft. i’m not very smart on draxler’s history.

      lastly, i don’t think there was much of a change to van persie’s game later compared to his early days. the difference was he scored a lot of goals when he played as a center forward. he didn’t get the chance to play much up top until henry left. even then, he had to get past the injuries and wenger wrapping him in wool before he could showcase his talent.

      1. Although it’s the dailymail, you could read a gist of what changes in van Persie: To put it simply, in my understanding, he care more about spacing than having to have the ball ala Alexis. You yourself think if we bought Draxler, we put him more as a midfielder than a striker first. Mind you, put emphasis on Draxler as a striker in this debate. Right now, he is more a midfielder who like to have the ball. It’s different if we talk about him as a midfielder.If it is, than fine, bring him, but if it’s between Draxler and Mahrez, only one answer, and it’s not Draxler. Mahrez clearly has more upside than Draxler, more end product, already has an experience in the BPL, and no bad injury records. For me,the ideal scenario to bring Draxler is if we bought a striker and Mahrez too.

  6. Griezmann anyone?? Atletico signed gameiro a couple of days back..they already have Torres as back up..and it seems Costa is also going back..and they were linked to to higuain, auba earlier in the summer with Aurelio claiming atletico actually put a bid for higuain..
    seems strange to have so many forwards ( coming from a guy whose club doesn’t even have one in working condition)
    I think griezmann is on the move and I will take him 100%..though I give less than 1% chance to arsenal signing him 🙁

  7. Tim,

    I’m getting a lot of pop up windows whenever I click anywhere on your site. Is there some reason for this? I have adblock on (sorry), and it’s not happening anywhere else.

    1. Describe “click”. Because I just clicked a bunch of places and don’t get pop-ups.

      1. Well, it’s erratic. But right now, I clicked on ‘Reply’, and a pop up opened up (before automatically shutting down) At other times it’s happened when I click on the box to type (and the pop up window didn’t close on its own) or even when I just randomly clicked on the page to scroll down.

        It’s not happening every time, but has been happening often enough to be an annoyance. I first noticed it yesterday.

          1. Ugh. Again.

            Thanks for trying anyway. Looks like it’s just me who’s having this problem. But it’s only happening with this site. Strange.

  8. Draxler is staying at Wolfsburg, says the club. German clubs like to hold players to contracts. Lacazette is too question mark-y to justify 40m+ spend, Leicester will hold on to Mahrez with all their might (they may have promised Vardy they weren’t letting Mahrez go). Maybe Mustafi comes in, Chambers goes out on loan, then Mustafi can back up Bellerin assuming we find a buyer for Debuchy and until Jenkinson comes back. But it doesn’t look like we’re getting any attackers unless Wenger plans on some last minute (Ozil, Welbeck) fire-sale shopping on or just before deadline day. Who knows, maybe Benzema is back on the market since Morata looks like he’s staying in Madrid.

  9. The pessimist in me says that Xhaka was the star purchase, we are only signing one more attacking player, and that it will not be a very exciting option (someone like Mirallas), opting to start Gabriel and Kos as first choice CBs, with Chambers, Holding, Nacho and Debuchy emergency backups.

    The realist in me believes we will sign Mustafi and Mahrez and not a CF, exhausting Giroud and relying on Sanchez and Walcott to cover for him on the odd occasion we will be playing against Stevenage in the Cup.

    However, my gut these last days has been telling me we will sign someone very good and completely unexpected, like Bale or Muller. Perhaps these are the last remains of the Arsenal transfer optimist I have been for the last decade, but at least I will know if I was right soon enough.

    Also, James Rodriguez. Just a hunch.

      1. Now what in the world would make you think this is even possible? None of those are happening because neither of those clubs want or need to sell those guys.

      1. “I don’t know if the rumours surrounding me are true or not.”

        Nope, not Chicharito.

        1. I don’t know Tim. He fits the bill.

          My reason:
          1. Arsene Wenger rate south american striker.
          2. If you put off your ITK BS glasses:
          – What DarrenArsenal1 said: “I think we are looking at someone who may have climbed everest, has seen a change of view and wants to climb again.” The Everest is a methapohor for PL, and he is the one who already won it, then goes to La Liga and Bundesliga.
          – As an added bonus, it seems Darren also delete the tweet that said Arsenal negotiation team were in Germany. Well, Chicarito fit the bill.
          – Also, if you somehow believe that he is the “madness”, who Arsenal just need to put the cash in and without having too wait for rumbling of other team transfer business, he also fits the bill.

          Anyway, if we actually did buy him or someone of his ilk, i do feel Arsene won’t buy Mahrez. It seems Walcott comments on him as a right midfielder somewhat like a resignation that, that position might be the one who doesn’t have a certain starter unless Ox fulfill his potential.

  10. i think we will struggle to sign a striker which will make capturing mahrez an even bigger priority. draxler deff off until next year, when we will be outbid by chelsea/man city/united/real/barca/psg take your pick. hes a young a top tier talent who will be looking for a move so that rules him out for us.

    1. ugh I’m just reflecting and see I did that thing where I make a statement like I have a clue whats going on. re:draxler Wolfsfinger made a pretty definitive statement yesterday that he was going nowhere. it sounded really firm and i just have this stereotype that german clubs don;t make statements like that when they don;t mean precisely just what they said.

  11. There was a good question on Tim’s twitter account. It asked which striker would you buy on a panic spree just before the transfer window closes once it becomes clear we won’t get any of our targets. We are talking about players like Bony, Benteke, Balotelli, Remy or even RVP. Who would you choose? It isn’t so unlikely that Arsenal will end up on a situation like that so its a fair question. My answer, (because i don’t think Man City or Liverpool will do us any favours) i choose the guy fromm Watford, Ighalo, 27 years old. 17 goals in the PL last season for a bottom half club is quite good actually.

  12. Who knows who we’re after. I see a bunch of links, and nothing much concrete or reliable. All I can say is that it’s ridiculous we’re going into the opening game of the season without a recognizable striker (I mean, Walcott…seriously?), a center-back pairing of Chambers and Holding, and a half-fit, rushed-back Sanchez / Ramsey because we have no option but to rush them back. Our lack of preparedness is down to poor planning and an insipid transfer strategy, and it’s going to cost us. I’m sorry, because this won’t go down well here, but I really fear we’re going to get beaten soundly by Liverpool and then by Leicester the week after. We’re looking really fragile going into the opening weeks of the season.

    1. Hmmm, not sure we’re looking fragile really, pre-season has been quite positive so far in my opinion. The only negative is the injury to Per and Wenger has plainly said we’ll sign a centre back before the start of the season.
      My feeling on transfers is that we’ll sign Mustafi and probably sell Gabriel (though not immediately). After that, I still think we’ll get Mahrez but if Wenger goes for Draxler instead, I’ll go with that; coming out with a public statement like Draxler has is normally pretty final.
      As for a striker, who knows. That might go to the wire

  13. Attacking player, schmatacking player. What is wrong with you people? Yaya Sancho is back in training peeps.What else do we really need?

  14. if i had to choose between draxler or mahrez, i’d choose draxler. why? because he gives arsenal a good wide player as well as depth in the position arsenal need it the most, center forward. that’s just my take.

    will this move even happen? wolfsburg seem adamant that it won’t but draxler resolve seems significant. we’ll see. likewise, i’ve never been a fan of lacazette. he seems like another loic remy.

  15. Don’t know if you picked up on this, but Arseblog said earlier this week (on Arsecast) that Wenger didn’t want to pay the fee we eventually paid for Xhaka, as it didn’t represent ‘value’. He was overruled internally, presumably by Gazidis. It struck me as interesting partly because the Xhaka fee seemed uncharacteristic for Arsene.

    In contrast, the rest of the window has been business as usual.

    The reason we didn’t sign Vardy was basically down to money too. We offered 120k a week over 3 years, Leicester 100k a week over 4.

    All of this makes me think we’re not going to sign anyone else this window. Be delighted to be proved wrong, but all the evidence (including the failed bid for Lacazette) indicates Wenger is just not prepared to spend the money that’s required.

    1. interesting point on the xhaka front if it’s true because i didn’t believe he was worth that much either. i valued him at around £20 million. i know it’s only been a few games but i haven’t been impressed with him. his forward passing is great but his positioning has been less than stellar. way too early to throw him out with the bath at this point but, like vermaelen, the jury may be out on him for a while. it’s only been a few games but neither have been against the pace of bpl teams. we’ll see how he works out.

  16. Tim, I think you need to lower your percentage on Mahrez.
    Wenger is almost obsessed with being a maverick as far as transfers go. The thought of him spending upwards of £50m for a player he had admitted to “watching” (whatever that means),and whom he could’ve had for 1/100 of that two years ago. I find it improbable, especially when the player Mahrez would replace is an overplayed Walcott. That would be like admitting to two huge judgment mistakes in one swoop.

  17. I think Wenger is too much a romantic to go whole-hearted into a transfer negotiation with Leicester over Mahrez. He loves the notion of good and fair competition and loathes financial doping of top clubs. No Mahrez for us.

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