Arsenal are top of the League: the Transfer League!

When Arsenal purchased A. Lacazette for 53,00 Mill. € it propelled the North London club to the top of the League, top of the transfer league!

Other purchases across all the leagues in Europe, so far; Bernardo Silva 50m, Salah 42m, Tolisso 41.5m.

Arsenal should be knocked off the top of the transfer table when Man U announce the purchase of Romelu Lukaku for close to €100m. I predicted this price earlier in the year and was ridiculed. Few players in world football divide opinion as sharply as Lukaku, but, I reasoned, at 23 years old (which he was at the time, no I’m not trying to Meerkat you), with 53 Premier League goals in 110 apps, and with his record of working on his weaknesses, I figured he would be a big ticket player and sell for £75m to a team in England. Sure enough, that team is Man U.

Fans decry his first touch and lack of movement, both obvious flaws but he’s a center forward and no matter how bad his touch, or how poor his movement, as long as he scores consistently then he will be a huge value.

In my many years watching football I’ve seen forwards with great touch who can’t score. Fernando Torres has the touch of an angel but other than one or two seasons at Liverpool, he simply melts in front of goal.

Meanwhile, plenty of forwards have awkward first touch but as long as they score, it’s irrelevant. Giroud for Arsenal has a similar scoring record to Lukaku and his first touch is certainly not the greatest. Diego Costa is another player who plays like a bambi on ice skates but who just scores. This will be controversial but Wayne Rooney never had silky smooth touch either but hard work and scoring goals made up for his deficiencies.

Fans, especially Arsenal fans, are obsessed with loose touch and turnovers from forwards and it’s really not a problem. The problem from a forward is not whether he turns the ball over but whether he puts the ball in the back of the net. These players get maybe 30 touches in a match. If 20 of them are turnovers it’s not that big of a deal, especially if one or two are goals.

Arsenal are top of the transfer table for the moment. They will be knocked off that perch by Man U soon, and Man U will probably be knocked off by Real Madrid when they buy Mbappe. Unless Arsenal get to him first*!


Source: Transfermarkt

*This is not going to happen.



  1. What about players with a good first touch & good scoring abilities? Players like Benzema & Lacazette. Surely, they command a fee in the region if not higher. Not sure how to compare the fees & relate it to quality. Almost every player seems to go for a higher price than what they’re worth.

  2. Hey Tim.
    Fernando Torres has 246 career club goals, including 81 at Liverpool and 119 at Athletico, and 38 goals for Spain. Hardly sounds like someone who “simply melts in front of goal.”

    As far as Lukaku is concerned, I completely agree he’s a really good player and has potential to get better. In this market that price isn’t crazy, but I still think, given their respective price tags, we got much the better deal with Lacazette than United did with Lukaku.

    1. Hey Peter, Torres has 73 goals in his last 287 appearances. That’s an atrocious record for a forward. And other than his time at Liverpool where he scored 81 in 142 apps he’s always been profligate. He’s a melt.

      1. 284 goals is still 284 goals. They didn’t all come in “one or two seasons” at Liverpool, and it’s not like all the rest went in off his arse or he sneezed them in. But I concede he was never the most clinical goalscorer, and his career took a dramatic nosedive with that fateful Chelsea move and never fully recovered.

        Still, always liked him. At his best for Liverpool, Spain, and in his early career at Athletico, he was electric. One of those players I’d pay a lot of money to watch. Ultimately, I follow football to be thrilled and transported, and Torres did that, for which I am grateful. Felt sorry for him for all the derision he got in England when he struggled at Chelsea.

        1. He was already flaking by the time he left Liverpool. It was beyond me why Chelsea paid so much for him even then

  3. It’s a good feeling to be top, especially with a striking purchase. Even if it’s not a guarantee, the fact that we register at all in this type of table is encouraging after the 7 or 8 years of austerity.

    On Lukaku, I’ve always had a soft spot for him I have to say. The point in the article about him focusing on weaknesses is a good one, he seems very self-aware and overall a nice chap. While he probably won’t ever gain that Henryesque touch for the ball, he’ll continue learning how to use his other advantages. It ain’t pretty but he proved that he’ll get consistent returns a long time ago now.

    It’s like a lot of us are with Sanchez. You get a lot of Everton fans tripping over themselves to be delighted at 100m for a ‘donkey’. Any weaknesses are an excuse to justify the loss. Alexis loses the ball and it’s a jarringly visual experience to see it happen in crunch games. It’s jarring because you don’t often see it at that level, but he operates on risk vs reward. In an ideal world he’d know when to risk and when to not risk every time. But then he gets around 25 goals and 11 assists in the league mainly starting wide, the trade off is worth it for me. And he’d be a huge loss, and even more upsetting- a huge gain for somebody else.

  4. One more thing on Lukaku: word is United beat Chelsea to him because, in spite of the fact that Chelsea were willing to match the fee to Everton, they weren’t willing to provide the extra cash Raiola insisted on to line his own pockets. So, surprise surprise, another Mino Raiola player ends up at Man United. No one can tell me all four of those players are at the best club for their respective individual careers (particularly in the case of Lukaku, who now is stuck with the same manager who cast him aside only a few years ago (also known as “Mata’s Fate”)).

    In related news, I thought this article from the (generally reputable) Get French Football News, about Mbappe’s future, was fascinating, particularly the crazy bit about the truly disgusting way Mendes is trying to force his way into any deal for him despite the fact that Mbappe and his family VERY CLEARLY DO NOT WANT TO WORK WITH HIM:

    I challenge anyone to read that section about Mendes and then make a reasonable argument that snakes like Mendes and Raiola are on balance good for the game. Well done to Mbappe and his family for doing their best to steer clear.

    1. Thanks for sharing. The story will make root against United even more knowing that they have enriched these two goons by paying their ransoms.

      It sounds like Mendes is effectively holding Mbappe’s future hostage, and one wonders if this sort of rent extraction should be investigated by the authorities for anti-competitive behavior. These tactics are effectively a wealth transfer from fans to agents, as the clubs and networks will need to raise prices even more to cover the inflated transfer fees.

      1. Yep. Something has to be done, but my guess is the problem will have to get a lot worse before the authorities step in and put more stringent, common sense rules in place.

  5. Lukaku has significant weaknesses as a striker. He gets lots of chances, but I see him screw up good attacks quite a lot. He’s not the best final third decision-maker. But he gets goals. And hey, he’s young and he’s going back to a manager who knows his game. Good luck to him. He’s fast, and physical. A good fit, but Im not sure about that price. It’s mad.

    Im happy with Lacazette, but it’ll be interesting to see how we manage our striker options. I’d try to keep Giroud because he’s got the best aerial ability in the premiership (apart from Andy Carroll on his day), and although Welbeck had a great FA Cup Final, he’s probably most in danger because in Lacazette we have another option for running in behind. Lucas is a goner unfortunately, showing that Wenger didn’t do good business here last summer, when we maybe should have pushed harder for Lacazette. We’re certainly paying about £20m more. Lucas isnt a bad player. He deserves to go to club that’ll play him regularly.

    Hope we get Lemar. Awesome young player. He’s got everything — speed, guile, determination and productivity. That’ll put Iwobi’s nose out of joint, but hey, he does not provide enough goal or assist productivity from left midfield. In fact we haven’t had enough of that since Bobby Pires left, although Nasri briefly threatened to become a player for us there.

    Still think despite my Ramsey worship ( ;)) and an overstock of midfielders, that we need a another body to provide defensive bite. Not a Goretzka, who is a Ramsey identikit, but a Danilo Perira.

    That would spell danger for Jack, Elneny and Gibbs. I also can’t see a recovering Santi or Oxlade-Chamberlain being pleased.

    The arrivals look like the easy bit of our transfer business. It’s whether we can manage our departures that worries me.

    1. I’m confused: why would the arrival of a new DM spell danger for Gibbs? Or you just mean Gibbs is one of those in danger no matter what?

      I’ve seen (and liked) William Carvalho more than Danilo. How do they compare, in your opinion? Still surprised that no big club has gone in for Carvalho. Maybe suggests there’s something not that great about his game…

      1. Lemar (if we get him) will play on the left of 4 in the 343. With Kolasinac also recruited, Gibbs won’t even be able to buy a game.

        I like Carvalho too but we have Xhaka, whose game is identical. Two back of midfield quarterbacks don’t make for a good balance, and Coquelin is the only player if his type in our first 17. We need an elegant brute. Or a Kante type player.

        1. I have to respectfully disagree with your assumption about Lemar. I think there’s very little chance for him to play as a left wing back, at least initially (maybe “converting” him there will be one of Wenger’s brain waves at some point). I think he’ll either play in the Sanchez/Ozil role (most likely if Sanchez leaves), or else we’ll revert to a back four and he’ll play as a wide midfielder in a 4-2-3-1/4-4-2 or even maybe in a midfield three in a 4-3-3. One of the reasons I think this is that I think even Wenger realizes that if he has a flyer like Bellerin or Ox at RWB, he needs someone a little more conservative and defensively solid on the other side to balance that out (hence why Bellerin and Monreal were a good match as fullbacks). Kolasinac seems the obvious one here, with Monreal as the backup, and maybe someone like Ox or Lemar (if we can get him!) coming in only if we’re going for broke. Of course I agree with you Gibbs is out the door shortly.

          If Wenger is set on the 3-4-3 (I think it’ll be the default but he might abandon it at any point), and we somehow manage to both get Lemar and hold onto Alexis, I think Lemar will be first understudy to Sanchez and Alexis. My guess is we’ll get Lemar and lose Alexis.

          I don’t think Carvalho and Xhaka’s games are identical. I think Carvalho is considerably less slow/immobile than Xhaka, even though his size can make him look a bit ponderous, and, while he’s a good passer, he’s not at the level of the Swiss. Oh, and he can making powerful runs form midfield a la Yaya Toure, something not in Xhaka’s locker.

          Basically, if we paired Carvalho with Xhaka, I think we’d be very, very defensively solid and physically strong in there, which is something we’ve been crying out for for years; and the combination of Xhaka’s passing and Carvalho’s passing/runs mean that they would contribute some offensively, so it’s not like we’d suddenly look like a Mourinho team or something. It might look a bit conservative, but on the other hand, it could allow us to drop one of the three centerbacks and still keep adventurous fullbacks, allowing Wenger to return to playing four creative/attacking types, rather than three.

          I think this is really significant: the switch to the back three is basically an admission on Wenger’s part that he didn’t have a midfield partnership solid enough to allow him to play with a flat back four AND two attacking fullbacks (which is essentially the way he’s preferred to play for twenty years). Xhaka and Ramsey works decently, but probably only with that extra defender for cover when Ramsey goes walkabout (and to help us to build from the back, thus reducing the need for a Santi-style player to help us beat the press).

          Anyway, I agree with the “elegant brute or Kante like player,” comment (actually, the ideal may be some gorgeous cross between Kante and Santi–Keita anyone???), though I guess I think “elegant brute” is a pretty good description of Carvalho’s game, which is why I assumed he’s quite similar to Danilo (who I assume you understand to be an “elegant brute” type). But maybe I just haven’t seen enough of either player.

          1. You know, I think you’ve persuaded me on Carvalho. he does have other facets to his game like anticipation, breaking up play, and make powerful surges from the back of midfield. Come to think of it, I think his game is rounded enough to play with with either Ramsey or Xhaka, depending. Any two on rotation would be tasty. With Ramsey he can pass, sit and marshal defensively; with Xhaka he can be both defensively minded and box-to-box. All in all, he looks a fine player and was a mainstay in the midfield of the Portuguese Euro 2016 winning team. He’d be a very astute add at DM. Carvelho is the better player than Danilo for sure.

            Fair point about Lemar. I guess my assessment of where he plays is more in line with 442 or 4231. He’s not a wing back.

            And like you, I think Alexis is gone, and to my surprise, Im fine with it. Enough with the strops already. That’s a big productivity hole to fill (I think he scored or assisted and was otherwise directly invovled in 1 in 3 of our goals). There’s also his fight and desire. But the though of losing him no longer fills me with dread, provided we buy wisely.

            Im also ok with the club NOT holding him to his contract, if they get anything £60m or north of it. I just wish that Arsene hadn’t said he’d do so, only to eat his words. But hey, £60 – 75m for Alexis should be a yes from us. Sadly.

          2. Some great comments here. I am not totally against the idea of selling Alexis but I am 100% against the idea of selling him to City. The reason is simple – they will win the title with Alexis. How can I be sure you ask? Call it being jaded if you will. I think City’s ability to keep possession will work very well with Alexis’ high risk high reward game i.e. his team mates will be able to recover the ball much better than we were able to with our limited technical ability in mid-field. He is also one of the best players in the league who would be a great teacher for many of the young, attacking players that City have bought and/or are buying.

            Even if City is willing to pay £80MM for him, we shouldn’t accept it. Ask yourself how much a title is worth to you. Would you give it up for that amount of money? Of course there are no guarantees, but that’s essentially what we would be doing. Put it this way – there is no guarantee that we will win a title with Alexis next season even if we address all of our issues but there is a decent chance that we will. IF we sell him to City, there is a very good chance City will win the title next season. Why on earth would we want that? It’s not worth £80MM if you ask me. Let him play all 55 games for us next season, and retire at City after a world cup year when he is almost 30. In the meantime, let’s get in Lemar as an understudy. Buy Carvalho (or any defensive minded MF player playing at a very high level), sell Gibbs, sell Wilshere, sell Theo, sell Debuchy. That would be a very good summer.

          3. I guess I’m not sure about the whole “don’t sell to City at all costs thing”, for two reasons:

            1. I don’t think it’s handing them the title, for the simple reason that their attack is already amazing whereas all of their potential problems lie in defense and deep midfield. Yes, Alexis would improve them, but he’s not a Messi-level player, so it’s hard to see how their attack can improve way more than it already is. Note this is already not the same (very good) attack as last season, because a) Gabriel Jesus will have a full preseason to bed in, and b) Bernardo Silva is absolutely brilliant, and is going to be a revelation.

            If they clean up their defensive issues (at least to some degree), they have a great chance of winning the title even without Alexis; if they don’t, they’ll struggle to win it even with him, I think. (Plus, like RVP, he’s almost 29, so he would need to repay their investment in him very quickly, like in the first two years.)

            2. I’m officially in favor of keeping him for one more year and letting him run down his contract (the one option I’m definitely against is signing him up for the ridiculous 400k a week that he’s supposedly demanding). But doesn’t it completely depend on a) how much money City are willing to offer (60-80m starts to sound pretty tempting..) AND, most importantly, b) who else we can get lined up to come in??

            E.g. if we lost Alexis but could get Lemar AND Mbappe, wouldn’t at least some of you guys be tempted? Or what about losing Alexis but getting Lemar/Mahrez AND a truly top class central midfielder, e.g. Fabinho (or Carvalho, Goretzka, Keita, take your pick of the sort of player you think we need)? Or how about all THREE: Lemar/Mahrez, Mbappe, and new CM???

            Of course, realistically the last scenario is not going to happen. And I’m not suggesting we’d get enough money from selling Alexis to pay for all of those purchases (though we’d also get back all the money we’d earmarked to go towards his 300k a week new deal…). But the Alexis money, if it was 60m+, would go some way to redressing the balance.

            If the money would ONLY go to paying for Lacazette and maybe one of Lemar or Mahrez, then I’m much, much more resistant to the idea of selling him to City.

  6. Nice to see Arsenal go big on a striker.

    Considering the number of goals he’s scored the last few years 50 million is decent money and I’d rather spend 50 million on Lacazete than 30 million more on someone like Morata.

    I don’t want to change the topic Tim, but I would be interested in your take on the VARs system at the Confederations Cup. Personally, on Irish tv, I thought commentators were too critical even though there were clearly issues. Maybe in another post if it interests you.

    Thanks Tim.

  7. “These players get maybe 30 touches in a match. If 20 of them are turnovers it’s not that big of a deal, especially if one or two are goals.”

    Theo Walcott is perhaps the greatest ambassador for such a player.

    1. Indeed, Theo is the perfect counter example to the general principle asserted by Tim. His goals DO NOT make up for the fact that he’s otherwise an awful footballer, which is why he’s on the fringes of the team and few fans would be all that upset if we sold him this summer.

      1. Theo Walcott scored 19 goals and had 2 assists last season, the best return bar Alexis Sanchez, in a season where he didn’t always start.

        He’s going to struggle to get games in a 343 because his skillset is limited, but “awful footballer?” I can’t agree with that at all. He’s one of our smartest finishers, for a start.

        He has a role to play because the goalscoring skillset is important. With Lacazette’s arrival, he’s not even going to get on the bench some days, but he’s important to the squad. In fact, for goals scored from wide positions, he’s got one of the best returns in the PREMIER LEAGUE. Premier. League.

        Among Arsenal players who have had significant minutes, Walcott’s GPM is bettered only by Giroud, another under-appreciated player, and his shots on target percentage is bettered only by Ozil. (Perez has an 84% SOT, but that’s distorted by the fact that he has hardly played, and has very low minutes).

        Should Walcott leave? For Walcott, yes. For us, he did his part last season. But if we keep 343, he’ll struggle to get games, because he’s never a wingback.

        1. I would prefer to keep Giroud and sell Theo and Giroud is a proven difference maker off the bench. However if Giroud leaves (and I don’t blame him from wanting to leave now), I guess we will need to keep Theo. Not sure how much of a difference he will make coming off the bench though. I suppose if Lacazette gets injured and Welbeck keeps on missing his chances then Theo might actually get a chance at CF again.

          1. I’d keep Giroud too, as I’ve said before. Strongest aerial presence in the league — only Andy Carroll on his day is more unplayable — and a good, but under-appreciated footballer. He’s also a reliable warrior in tough battles. It’s a tough call. Two of Walcott, Perez and Welbeck would probably face the chop, based on numbers. Perez is definitely off, and unless he is prepared to play a squad role, so might Welbeck. Lacazette brings high goal productivity + high workrate + the ability to run in behind. Welbeck and Walcott are two out of three. I’d keep the goalscorer.

        2. Claude,
          Maybe saying he’s “awful” was a bit of unfair hyperbole. But note I said “otherwise an awful footballer”, as in “other than his goal-scoring”. So you singing the praises of his goalscoring ability doesn’t really address the point I was trying to make, which is that his goals don’t really make up for the fact that he is average at best at other basic aspects of being an attacking footballer, like passing and dribbling. So that’s why I take his case to be a counter example to Tim’s claim that all the losing the ball in the world doesn’t matter if your attacker puts the ball in the back of the net.

          Why think the goals aren’t sufficient? Well, the fact that, in spite of the very impressive haul of 19 goals from the wing, he’s still, if not surplus to requirements, at the very least not looking like he’s anywhere close to our current starting 11 (this isn’t just something brought about by the 3-4-3: he’s been in and out of the starting lineup for several seasons now). I know a lot of fans (like you) would be against letting him go, but, purely anecdotally, I’d say there’s at least as many who are convinced we should sell, and others who are indifferent. And this, as you said, about someone who scored 19 goals from the wing!!!

          Put it this way: isn’t it pretty damning that, despite him clearly being well out of the team, and despite our missing the CL making us ripe for other clubs to poach our players, there has been little or no interest in signing him, despite all those goals? Of course his wages might put other clubs off, but in 2017 they’re hardly exorbitant for a big club–around 110k a week. But that’s precisely the point: the sorts of clubs that would be put off by those wages are mid-table clubs at best. No big 6 (or comparable European) clubs are interested in him, even though he scored 19 goals from the wing.

  8. Perhaps for us gunners, Lukaku was never seen as an elite as he never seem to do well for us.

    For his size and comparison to Drogba, our defenders always handle him quite easily.

    1. He is more of a gentle giant than the second coming of the predator but I do remember him doing well against us in that one game when he was played wide.

  9. Happy with Lacazette. He’s not the sexiest signing, but I think he’ll fit in well at Arsenal. I said I’d prefer him to Morata but that’s because I don’t want Arsenal to pay for potential at that position. Morata might have a higher ceiling, but Lacazette is the most proven striker we could realistically get at our price range and without waiting for other dominoes to fall.

    Never understood the hate for Lukaku. He’s young, big and strong, and he scores goals. His touch and maybe his decision making isn’t the greatest but he’s still very good. Maybe it was a reaction to the hype which was a bit over the top. But his price was always expected. I’m just a little surprised and disappointed he chose to go back to Mourinho. Maybe he figures he’ll outlast him there.

    On Alexis’ turnovers and suitability to deliver shots to Lacazette, I have no worries. I think his ‘selfishness’ and overdoing things to lose possession wasn’t just a consequence of being a goalscorer and wanting to make things happen. Rather I thought he was having to and thus trying to do too much. He was carrying our offense at times, and I think he’ll appreciate the help in that regard and he is a willing and able creator too.

    But will he stay? The attempt to sign Lemar suggests he might be off, and this is the most likely scenario. But what if Lemar is to play deeper and be a Santi replacement of sorts? Not sure if it’s workable because from the youtube highlights I don’t think he’s suited to keeping the ball tied to his feet, but I’ve seen it suggested. Probably fantasy though, especially because young players don’t often like to move deeper.

    Gibbs, Debuchy, Jenkinson, Szczesny, Perez and Akpom and Toral not being on tour suggests their Arsenal careers may be over.

    1. Shard. He didn’t “choose” to go to Mourinho, unless by “choose” we mean “choose to let Mino Raiola dictate the future of his career.” This is all about that slimeball Raiola lining his pockets, though since it’s Chelski losing out, I can’t say I feel all that sad about it.
      Completely agree about Morata vs. Lacazette. I’d be thrilled to have gotten either, but Lacazette was cheaper and is a better guarantee of goals, even if Morata has the potential to become the better all-around CF.

  10. Lemar looks very interesting – but am I the only one slightly dismayed at what’s happening to Monaco? It’s like smaller clubs are not allowed to be good or exciting any more, they have to have their assets stripped at the first sign of success by the money boys. One or two players I could understand – but we’re talking five or six here. I have no illusions about the club and its financing but sometimes football is about teams, and that was a bloody good team.

    1. That’s clubs above teams for you . Btw only saw highlights of both, but i would prefer mahrez.

      1. I thought I was the only one in the Mahrez camp.
        Lemar is a very good player… but something just keeps on screaming MAHREZ! to me.
        I think he will produce more goals.

        1. Mahrez is a quality player and a delight to watch at his best, but I have my doubts that he’d fit in well in a 3-4-3, and in a style that’s much more about possession than rapid counter-attacks. Trying to directly replace Alexis with either Lemar or Mahrez is a gamble, but (maybe based on his tepid form this past season?) I can see Mahrez being a genuine, Gervinho-level flop for us more than I can Lemar (though due to his youth, the latter may take a while to bed in).

        2. Mahrez is shite defensively. He’s Lukas Podolski with a different skill set, but same mentality. In this era of two-way players and expectations that your forwards press and back-track, he’s a throw-back to an era where your wingers hung out at the midfield line and waited for the outlet bomb pass.

  11. Per whoscored, Arsenal’s Lacazette’s biggest strength is his FINISHING.
    He has NO significant weakness.
    And he likes to DRIBBLE a lot.

    I am surprised why @7amkickoff seems not to be so excited by this.
    I’d love to read more about Lacazette than Lukaku (no doubt he is very good striker too).

  12. Better late than never. That was my first reaction to Lacazette’s signing as I wanted us to sign him two summers ago though admittedly my opinion was based on a pretty small sample size. However that was the summer that we only signed Petr Cech and I was secretly sure we would buy a striker in the last minute because we had come out of the austerity period in good shape and that was Lacazette’s second good season for Lyon after having impressed the year before as well. Plus after buying Ozil and Alexis during the two prior summer transfer windows, I thought we would keep up the momentum. We didn’t and paid the price by finishing 2nd to Leicester in a season when we could have, should have won the title.

    It seems that Arsenal has finally come to terms with the reality of this market, although I think it was more out of necessity rather than a sudden, grand revelation. There are a few things happening here. First, our star players wanting to leave is becoming a regularity. The club had an excuse during Cesc and RVP’s fallout but can have zero excuses for failing to build a title winning (or at least, challenging) team in the last 4 years. The second is Arsene’s relationship with the fans came dangerously close to being untenable last season. It already has for some, but he still gets a pass because of his history and connection to the club. Third, there seems to be a realization that his long tenure is coming to an end sooner rather than later and he wants to go out on a positive note.

    So now we are attacking this transfer window with a sense of urgency. Of course losing Alexis would mean taking two steps backwards so I’m still a bit cautious about giving the club too much credit for these early signings. The last thing I want is for Alexis to be sold to City because that would mean gifting City the title. Make no mistake about it. This will be a repeat of the RVP story if we sell Alexis to City. As a matter of fact, they seem to be pinning their entire hope for next season on him so let’s show some cojones and make Alexis play out his last season for us. He can take his £400K/ week and do one – if the rumors are true.

    If Alexis puts in a transfer request, which I don’t see happening but you never know, then we will need to sign up both Lemar and Mahrez (or two wide/inside forward types). Otherwise it’s probably just one who will come in and be another option to Alexis and Ozil. There are other issues that needs to be addressed as well. I don’t want us taking our eye off the ball – the ball in midfield i.e. which is where we were so horrendously exposed last season. Can we seriously go through another season with the injury prone Ramsey and Xhaka being our only viable (and not even that great) midfield combination? We badly need an upgrade there. Santi isn’t coming back until the end of the season. So we need another world class player there. We need two or three more players to have 14-15 players that are capable of winning the league. That is at odds with Wenger’s comment that we will not add more than 3 players this summer. He also did say that Alexis and Ozil won’t be sold so I guess we will have to see if he stays true to his word.

  13. Saw some comments above about Carvalho… Worth pointing out that Jorge Mendes is his agent. No thanks.

  14. i’m certainly happy that arsenal have done transfer business early. our new bosnian left wing back is going to start but, in my opinion, it doesn’t mean ignacio monreal will be benched. he’ll simply drop deeper in the formation to one of the three central defender positions. we’ll see.

    i don’t know if i’m excited about the lacazette signing. if wenger intends to play him as a striker behind giroud, i’m plenty happy with that. however, i often refer to wenger as the football alchemist. he’ll stubbornly endeavor to turn lead into gold simply to try and prove that he’s smarter than everyone else. we’ve seen theo play center forward, arshavin play on the wing, song played as a central defender, and fabregas played as a #10, among other bad ideas that conventional wisdom clearly advises against. will wenger mis-manage lacazette also? we’ll see.

    many big shot goal scorers have left france recently to play at bigger clubs. typically, the only ones that find success are the center forwards; strikers don’t tend to do that well in front of goal when they leave france. we’ve seen zlatan, giroud, aubameyang, modeste, benzema, etc. go on to find success. they’re all center forwards. players like remy, falcao, gomis, batshuayi, martial, sylvain marveaux, and djibril cisse have all suffered. arsenal fans have had the good fortune to see up close ligue 1 greats like gervinho, chu young park, and marouane chamakh come to the big time and disappoint. i fear that if wenger tries to make lacazette a center forward, he’ll suffer the same fate. we’ll see.

    1. in fairness, chamakh was a center forward before he came to arsenal and, while he started off well enough, once he saw the quality of van persie, it just seems that he lost all of his confidence.

      one name i did not add to the list of flops was kevin gameiro. he was a striker in france and is playing the same position in spain, hence his relative success.

      bottom line, playing center forward is tough. we’ve seen theo walcott flop there and even the amazing alexis sanchez struggled. you have to have a player there who knows how to lead the line in all sorts of tactical situations; a player that has the understanding, patience, and guile to do what that position requires, especially in tough games. you can’t simply throw a striker up there and hope for the best. it’s not just about talent, work rate, or goals. it’s about being the tip of the sword that provides your team cutting-edge advanced play against any opponent. in my opinion, morata is the upgrade to giroud, not lacazette. likewise, lukaku is a viable option. in today’s market, any good center forward, from lukaku and harry kane, to suarez and lewandowski is going for upwards of £80 million. let’s wait and see what wenger’s plan is.

  15. “Even if City is willing to pay £80MM for him, we shouldn’t accept it. Ask yourself how much a title is worth to you. Would you give it up for that amount of money? Of course there are no guarantees, ….”


    If Arsenal were real title contenders then I could understand your logic but they won’t be.
    What you call a ” decent chance ” for winning the title, I would put at single digits percentage-wise at best and I think the bookies will concur.

    The main reason for Wenger to hold on to Alexis might be the real possibility of missing out on CL for another season without Sanchez in the line up.
    Missing out on the top four for two seasons running would create a huge image problem for Wenger and damage his legacy even further in my view.

    It would suggest that the only reason he finished in the top four all these years was the lack of coaching talent in the PL.
    And with the influx of new and more forward thinking managers like Pep, Klopp and Conte , Wenger’s tactical deficiencies have been exposed.

    Also, Arsenal didn’t drop the ball by selling RVP to United, Cesc to Barca , or Nasri to City, as some have suggested.
    They dropped the ball because they never replaced these players with equally talented ones however difficult and costly it might’ve been.

    So the real question – the way I see it – might be more along the lines whether the hypothetical £80m Arsenal might get for Alexis ( a big if) is worth missing out on the CL again and not on the title.

    1. Pep, Klopp, Conte, Poch, Koeman, the list of younger, energetic, exciting coaches in the Premier League is growing and with teams like Everton spending huge the competition for top four places is immense. I have long ago resigned Arsenal to any finish between 2nd and 10th.

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