Some mid-week waffle

Good morning folks. A little housekeeping first. Tomorrow, I’m going to post a piece by my friend and fellow Gooner Josh G. I think you’ll enjoy it.

The reality is that we all need a break from the football. A few years ago, I gave up my duties on Arseblog and slowed down writing here because the workrate was just too much. We were playing Europa League, so that meant that I was doing two sets of stats and usually had to work the whole weekend plus Monday and Thursday. Essentially, I was going full on from Thursday to Tuesday every week.

And that’s sort of what it feels like is happening this season with the non-stop football. Everyone praised the UEFA Nations League tournament when it was announced because ostensibly it would end these “meaningless friendlies”. But I remember pointing out that while it did do that (sort of), the real thing that it was doing was increasing the number of matches that players were forced to play. None of the supposed innovations from FIFA or UEFA are about the players or even us fans. They are simply ways to extract the maximum profit from the system. Or as Toni Kroos said on his brother’s podcast in 2018 when the UEFA Nations League was announced:

With the invention of all these new things we seem to be just the puppets of FIFA and UEFA. These competitions are created to suck everything out of every single player physically and to suck out as much money as possible.

And like Hunson Abadeer, this summer, FIFA and UEFA open their raspy-toothed mouths and suck the soul out of football.

Not that I think the clubs would necessarily be better. Left to their own devices we’ve seen their proposals which are a 39th game and a Super League. They too would play football 365 days a year if they could.

And so here we are at the end of an extra long season, playing some super meaningful Nations League games which people seem to care very deeply about… Not at all like those meaningless friendlies. Ironically, the Nations League format was invented to stop countries like England from playing against those many old tiny kingdoms that dot the European landscape but it looks like both England and France might get relegated to the 2nd division of the Nations League and will have to play some smaller teams to get promoted back to the 1st division. So much lols.

I probably shouldn’t laugh, though, because Arsenal have several young English players on the team. Ramsdale and Saka both played in yesterday’s “chastening” defeat to Hungary and both players came in for pretty heavy criticism. I would just like to point out, as an Arsenal supporter and thus just a one-eyed prick, that from what I saw the entire team looked like shit and has done in at least two of these opening four matches. Yesterday was actually hard to watch because the entire team looked disorganized from front to back. Harry Kane was so slow, so tired, and his passing was so bad that I was surprised Southgate kept him on the pitch. It looked to me like the plan was to get the ball to Kane so he could just pass it into a bad area of the pitch for one of the younger players to run on to. But whenever they did catch up to his weird errant lumps he was rarely in position to receive the return pass. Like I said, it was weird.

And Hungary did to England what Spurs tend to do to teams: they sat back and hit them on the counter. That’s the kind of situation which makes defenders look really bad. I know that I’m still traumatized by those famous Arsenal high line matches where the opponent would score 3 goals off three shots. I shudder to think what Koscielny or Vermaelen went through in their first few years are the club. If you’re going to play high up the pitch against any opponent these days you have to have systems in place to stop the counter and England just didn’t have that yesterday. Or it was more like they had the systems but the players couldn’t execute them. So they got caught with their pants down.

And here we are, football still hasn’t stopped, and we are about to go into training camp at Arsenal and we are about a month away from Arsenal’s USA tour. Talk about spreading these players thin!

In the transfer market, Arsenal have signed a young Brazilian forward for 3.5m and a backup keeper. Both of these deals are good in my mind. The Brazilian, Marquinhos, is basically the club panning for gold. Arsenal are hoping that he can have a similar impact to what Martinelli has done. Arsenal bought him for around 7m and he’s currently valued (on transfermarkt) at about 40m. Even a modest increase in Marquinhos’ profile means profit for the club if/when they move him on.

Interestingly, Arsenal are also linked to another Brazilian forward: Gabriel Jesus. Jesus is an interesting choice for Arsenal because I think he ticks a lot of the boxes for how Arteta seems to want to play. Jesus’ strengths are that he’s very good on the ball and he’s also a gifted creator. Over his Man City career, he has consistently averaged 0.28 assists per90. I think he will fit right in to the Arsenal system and can play in any of the three positions up front.

The only things that I’m a bit worried about is that he’s A) kind of small and B) misses a LOT of chances. Two different sites have him listed as either 175cm or 177cm so let’s split the diff and say 176cm. That’s my height. And while I am a short king, my daily job isn’t to try to win long balls against hurking lumps like Harry Maguire. His weight isn’t great either, just around 72kg.

As for him missing chances, that’s just something you’re going to have to accept. All forwards miss chances, Auba was notorious for it when he came to Arsenal and he turned out alright and I was watching some old Thierry Henry matches and he also missed a lot of good chances. The key question for me is whether the team will score more goals and get more chances with Jesus leading the line. Personally, I think the answer is yes.

Tammy Abraham is another player linked to Arsenal (though not in any of my reliable sources) and I think I would take a pass on him. I know he’s great in the air and he would be a valuable addition there, but he’s one of those players who really benefits from a counter-attacking system. He needs extra time and touches to sort out the ball at feet and he gets that when he’s got 100 yards to run in to, like at Roma. Look, I’m not saying he’s a bad player, but I just wonder if he would fit Arsenal’s system.

Then there’s Victor Osimhen. He’s quite a powerful built player, he’s a decent dribbler, kind of a poor passer, and a good finisher. The only issues with him are that Napoli will want at least 100m and his passing is not great. In fact, the Napoli matches I’ve watched he rarely seems to get involved in the buildup play and he’s definitely not the sort of “false 9” that someone like Jesus is – or more accurately, he hasn’t played that way in his career so far. Again, he’s not a bad player, and I’m not saying I don’t like him, and when Lacazette came to Arsenal no one thought of him as a false 9 either – good players can adapt. Would he or would we change our system? We do have a lot of guys who can carry the passing and possession load for him.

In midfield the two links are for Tielemans and Zinchenko. Both players are left-footed (correction: Tielemans it turns out is right-footed) and would probably slot in on the left-side of Arsenal’s midfield. I’m a huge fan of Zinchenko, I’ll just go ahead and admit that I love watching him play and especially in midfield. But.. he’s REALLY small to play in midfield. Not so much his height but his weight at just 61kg. Arsenal tried that with Torreira (who has the double-whammy of being just 5’5″) and it really didn’t work. However, maybe it would be better for Zin since he’s not playing the DM role. Zinchenko has the added bonus of being a good LB. I’d take him just play backup/starting LB if I’m honest. Bottom line for me is that this kid would immediately be one of Arsenal’s best passers.

Tielemans is also left footed, so it’s pretty clear that Arsenal are looking for either a replacement or competition for Xhaka’s spot on the left side of midfield. Tielemans is roughly the same height as Zinchenko but 11kg heavier. Tielemans’ data shows him to be a kind of a high-medium talent passer of the ball (which isn’t bad and could just be the system at Leicester), good defender, and great goalscorer.

I could see a system with Martinelli, Jesus, Saka up top, Tielemans, Partey, Ode in the middle, and then our normal starting back line. It would be, in my opinion, a pretty good team. But I guess Arsenal could also remake themselves a bit and swap out a few of those players for Osimhen or Abraham. Either way, what I love seeing is that Arsenal have creditable links to a number of good quality players. Let’s hope they get that business done quickly.



  1. the nations league, fifa, uefa, conmebol and their copa america every year phase, afcon..afc.. they are all motivated by money. A simple solution could be to increase squad sizes and mandate some form of rotation. Players’ unions ought to get involved and demand that, but then comes the other side of greed.. Players themselves wouldn’t want to risk someone else taking their spot. So they’ll complain and play on because the system works for them too.

    As long as people are prepared to watch, and they are, the matches will carry on. they need to find better solutions though and the players could potentially enlist clubs to take on the nations to find some middle ground.

  2. Tim, about a month ago I was unsure about Jesus when the links first came up, but you convinced me. Dont make me wobble again, mate! 🙂

    If he comes to Arsenal with no CL on offer (and frankly, none that we can see in prospect in the short term), it’d be great, and a coup for Mikel. Henry was mostly a winger, and not that prolific a goalscorer before we got him. Perhaps something about making Jesus unambiguously the main man in our system would unlock that side of his game. He’s an intelligent footballer.

    I like the Marquinhos acquisition (young, upside), though I have have a little skit in my head where Josh screams at Edu, “that’s not the Marquinhos I meant, you dimwit!”

    Here’s hoping that he’s more Martinelli than Wellington Silva. If he’s like the former, he’d represent a steal. My one quibble is the overstock in the wing/wide forward area, although that may signal that Pepe is on his way.

    Read in one of the papers you dont trust that an ex-pro is advising Lewandowski to go to Arsenal, as it’s a good fit for him. Classic Number 9s dont come any better made, and he’s a striker of the highest quality. But he’s 33. That’s old, even for a short term project.

    YT I have my doubts about. He wants to make a step up, not laterally. That means CL. He’s 25. This is his move to the age of 30. I dont see him coming to us. He’d have to really like this club, or we’d have to pay him a shit-tonne. Was it Josh who said it last thread? Failing to hit top 4 is going to hurt us with our targets more than many gooners realise.

    1. Lewandowski is just looking for the biggest possible payout. I can’t see him coming to Arsenal.

  3. Tielemans is right footed I think… What’s with the links with Brazilians though, we need to replace Edu, we’re too slow in the market, Spurs signing ready players for small fees but we’re being linked with new players every day

  4. I agree that Marquinhos is them trying to pull a Martinelli again, but he was Cagigao’s last signing. I feel like we’ve massively downsized on our scouting, and potentially, downgraded. It’s just Edu’s contacts doing the digging now in Brazil. Obligatory Youtube compilation makes him look decent. Could be a Saka backup, but Edu himself poured a little cold water during the announcement naming him one for the future.

    I don’t think he’s necessarily great, but Gabriel Jesus would represent a coup for Arsenal right now. I have doubts he will come, but maybe he has a connection with Arteta, Pep gives his mate a better deal, and/or we offer higher wages. But Chelsea and Spurs are also both rumoured to be interested. I expect this to run till the end of the window and it wouldn’t be beyond the realm of possibility that he stays at City.

    I thought tielemans was right footed. But anyway, I like what you say about him and the midfield but while reading it my thought was…’cool, but watch Xhaka win his spot back’. But his ability to play higher up the pitch would also allow us to rest Odegaard at times, and that’s a bonus.

    I would be a lot more confident about our transfer chances if we had made the CL. It was the chance, the moment. Wage bill cleared out (paid out..whatever) Ending the season on a high. Not sure how many players would want to work with Arteta and this project. But we can only hope the club get it right. tielemans would be a solid start. Zinchenko would be a great addition. But the CF and our ability to score goals next season will be key.

    Fixture list out tomorrow, so there can be even more talking about football, not less.

  5. Hajra Magyarok!!!

    I’m thrilled to see Hungary win a (somewhat) meaningful international match against top opposition for the first time since… the 50s? Well done, boys!

    I watched the goals and it seems hard to blame Ramsdale too much for any of them. The first two were from close range, the third was struck with incredible power and accuracy, and the last was a 1 v 1. If I’m being hyper critical I would say an elite keeper probably saves one of those and Rambo couldn’t. Overall he hasn’t been playing with the same confidence he had to start the season and for a few months now he’s been merely average to above average instead of the torrid, elite form he showed in the first half of the season. Englad got a little bit unlucky with some of the ricochets landing to the mercy of Hungarian boots, but they played, understandably, like a team that would rather be on their holidays. I would not worry too much about this result.

    I don’t have much to add to what Tim said about Zinchenko and Tielemans. On Jesus I will add that Arteta probably esteems his work off the ball as much if not more than his work on it. Tim Stillman pointed out that he keeps getting picked for Brazil over ostensibly more potent offensive options and TS postulated that this was because of his work ethic and organizational aptitude in a team press. No doubt that’s a highly prized quality by our current coach and would further sharpen the already effective team counterpress. The personal familiarity they have with each other doesn’t hurt either. I am a little underwhelmed by Jesus from an offensive perspective but if he can help to raise our press to the next level then I am all for this transfer.

    1. Press and turn the ball over quicker and higher up the pitch might be our best chance to score more goals, because I don’t see us breaking down a set defense much under Arteta.

      tielemans’ long range shots (more accurate than Partey’s and more frequent than Xhaka’s) could open up some spaces too.

      1. Tim, further to your recent post from God I think it would be beneficial to have Jesus on the team. We already have Gabriel and an approach for Angel di Maria would kill two birds with one stone.

        Hopefully Edu doesn’t put all his eggs in one basket, and realises that we should also splash whatever it takes on Mohammed Salah to cover bases.

  6. I’m only 50/50 now on GJ coming to us now that Real has registered interest. Would have been nice, but most Brazilians grow up dreaming of playing for Real Madrid and Barcelona, not Arsenal (which used to be the dream of French kids).

    And Real will wait until the very end of the window to drive down the price. They’re trying to sell Asensio and a couple of other players. One of them being Luka Jovic and, if he’s not sold but Real get GJ, will be available on loan because they don’t need two back-ups to Benzema… so don’t laugh, Luka Jovic in an Arsenal shirt come the third game of the season, loan with option to buy. If that’s the back-up forward instead of Nketiah, not the end of the world.

    But I hope Edu has a Plan B for the main striker. Darwin Nunez has set the price now for a young striker and I don’t know if we have the money to pay 85m for a striker. GJ at 50m is a good price – I think City are happy with our bid, but it’s what the player wants. A project in London that at best is battling for 4th? Or the chance to inherit the lead striker role at the reining La Liga/Champions League champs?

    Not sure why it matters what foot Tielemans is – Odegaard is a leftie and drifts around the right side of the field. Tielemans is a clear upgrade on Xhaka.

    1. “Not sure why it matters what foot Tielemans is”

      Guardiola and Arteta both prefer defenders and MFers who’s dominant foot matches the side of the field they are on.

      You mentioned Ode and I looked him up and sure enough he’s a lefty. I’d be willing to bet then that Ode will be moved left and Tielemans will take up the right.

      1. Odegaard hanging out on the right is actually very natural for an advanced midfielder – he receives the ball with his back to the defenders and it’s easier to take his first touch/push the ball to the right and carry the ball on his left foot, shielding it with his body between the ball and defender.

        Now, Ozil was a leftie but hung out on the left flank next to Sanchez because that’s where the action was – Sanchez bought him a lot of space to work in. Similarly, Ode gets more space working with Saka on the right because Saka is such a threat in tight spaces. I don’t know if either Martinelli or ESR provide the same kind of threat, they operate more in space in which case they don’t need (or want) Odegaard crowding them.

        Of course, you could use Saka as the left-sided midfielder, buy Raphina or Jarod Bowen and the whole equation changes.

        1. I’m a fan of Raphinha, much much more so than of Jarrod Bowen. Every time he has the ball you just think he’s going to make something happen. With Bowen it’s more about his timing and anticipation. With Raphinha, he can just beat you with pure skill, no help required. I also recall Arteta basically admitting in a post game interview that he changed up his left back because of “what they had coming down that side.” What they had coming down that side was Raphinha, a one man shot creation machine. Shuffling the team around to account for that is a stark example of the respect he commanded from a superior team.

          I would think our links to him are as an alternate to Gabriel Jesus in case that one falls through. I can’t see how we pay for Jesus, Tielemans and Raphinha in one transfer window. It’s a strange one too because he plays wide right, the same position as our two time reigning player of the season, and because he’s not a striker coming to a club starved for strikers. I would love to add him but between the cost and the fit issues I just don’t see it happening.

          1. Now that I think about it, didn’t he put Tomiyasu at LB in that game? Switched his best 1 v 1 defender to Raphinha’s flank. Respect.

    2. “Darwin Nunez has set the price now for a young striker and I don’t know if we have the money to pay 85m for a striker. ”

      Jack, the only reason Liverpool can afford to spend that kind of money on Nunez is because his purchase will be offset by Mane to Bayern transfer(£40m), and around £10m in wage savings per year between what Mane wanted over the next three years, and what Nunez iwill be getting.

      £70m in total which equals the guaranteed portion of the Nunez deal.

      Meanwhile we are struggling to sell anyone for actual money.
      That’s the difference.

      1. £85m is the price for Darwin Nunez and him alone – we always have to be careful on comparing across players. But it does put a marker down.

        We are struggling to sell anyone for actual money – yes, that’s a fact, and there are a couple of ways to see it.

        You could argue that it’s the biggest objective clue that our squad was not all that it was cracked up to be, and other clubs simply don’t value our players. People have seen our geriatrics, also-rans, low-wattage brains and troublemakers coming a mile off. (I insult them for stylistic reasons only).

        You could also argue that Arsenal has destroyed the value of their players and mismanaged their contracts. This may be true in some cases but I find it hard to argue across the board. So I’d add it to the first point as a factor.

        But another point, linked to the first – isn’t it just a fact of how the market works, and where we sit in that market?

        We are near the top of the rich list but not at the top. If we’re not selling really good players to someone equal to or above us, then we are selling less good players back down the market to clubs with less money. In order to turn a profit in that situation, you need to have bought the player very cheap in the first place, or developed them.

        The biggest trap is to pay good money for players from clubs below you in the food chain who, it turns out, are not going to work out. You will not make your money back on those players, and you will struggle to sell them at all. You will not sell them to a bigger club, and you will not sell them back down the market for the same price you paid or on the same wages. This is the trap that we jumped into with both feet over the last 5-6 years.

        And it explains a lot of the “contract mismanagement”. Let’s look at Chambers for a moment.

        Last year we let Chambers go on a free, when if we had been more “decisive” we could have sold him a year earlier and got about £10M for him. It looks like textbook contract mismanagement. But at the time we could have sold him, we were busy letting Mavropanos, Sokratis and Mustafi all leave. We had also probably already identified White as our long-term target for the RCB slot, but we had to wait another year for him.

        So we kept him for the last year on his contract, and you can basically add that loss on Chambers to White’s (and Tomi’s) transfer fees. Even at £60M (including the loss on Chambers), assuming White is the right player, that’s still much cheaper than the combination of wrong players (Mustafi, Sokratis, Luiz, Mavro, Holding and Chambers) that we’ve had trying to fill that position over the last 5-6 years.

        Making a loss on Chambers was not the mismanagement, it was failing at least 3 times in a row to buy the right starting CB, and ending up with players we couldn’t recoup value on. Buying the wrong players is really, really expensive.

  7. All of the names mentioned will improve the current starting 11.

    Taking stock of the 3 things IMHO were our Achilles heal:
    – Didn’t score enough goals
    – Against better / evenly matched teams we often couldn’t control midfield
    – Too many injuries to key players

    Goals – I think Eddie gets double figures. Martinelli has to bang at some point and Saka will continue his good form. Jesus would be an upgrade on Laca but is similar to Eddie. Have to wonder if he’d want to step out of CL football? Without a tall target man Arteta has to move away from lumping crosses into the box.

    Midfield – A forward who can hold onto the ball will ease pressure but in too many games Arsenal were overrun or hanging on. Partey is the only midfielder with top 4 technical ability. It’s quite popular for the top teams to operate two ball winners in midfield (the opponent can’t score if he doesn’t have the ball). If Arteta is after Tielemans he clearly wants an 8 possibly lining up as a 4-1-1-3-1 or 4-1-4-1, I’m not convinced this will improve our midfield control as we’ve really struggled in matches (Spuds, Brighton, Newcastle recently) where the opponent swamped midfield. Personally I think if you play a double pivot you play two strong DMs with an eye for a pass. Which is why a player of Bissouma or Phillips’ profile would be my preference (ships that have now sailed).

    Injuries / availability – I can’t speculate on the causes or fixes but what is non-negotiable is Arsenal play twice a week through to the world cup. Plus there’s 5 substitutes. Next season will likely be attritional.

    Either way the targets mentioned move the dial.

  8. On a different note. I’m enjoying watching the NBA finals (hoping the Celtics win though I don’t know why exactly) but it seems Kroenke’s NHL franchise is in the Stanley Cup finals? Do I have that right? I don’t know anything about ice hockey, but is this a sign, in conjunction with the LA Rams’ Superbowl win that KSE are ….. good owners? Denver Nuggets aren’t bad in the NBA either.

    Should I be more patient with KSE? Or is it at best a US sports thing unrelated to European football.

    1. Im rooting for the Celtics too (to the horror of fellow Lakers supporters. For the purple and gold nation, the loathing isnt derby related in Clippers… it’s dynasty related, going back to Bird/Magic heads to head), but I cant see Boston beating a more complete Golden State team two games in a row. I expect them to win in Boston tomorrow, and for GSW to prevail in Game 7 at home on Sunday.

      The Nuggets arent that good a team compared to the best. They have the league MVP — an extraordinarily deft big man in Nikola Jokic — and Jamal Murray looks like he’s on the road to becoming a star one tier below superstar. They are at least two very big pieces away from challenging for even a conference title. Lakers, Suns and Nuggets from the West will rebuild, and although teh GSW core is growing old, they’ll still be a force. In the East, Boston, Philly, the Nets and Milwaukee are a piece away from being conference title contenders; and the Miami Heat have the best coach and — arguably — front office.

      So outside of the hockey, Kroenke’s best bet probably remains his Super Bowl champs, the Rams. Know nothing about the hockey team. Cant wrap my head around ice hockey in June. Cant change the channel fast enough. If KSE’s team is indeed there, well done. Two major finals out of 4 in US sport. That’s pretty good. It’s the equivalent of Arsenal contesting the champions League. I leave it you to decide how far off we are from that possibility.

  9. I don’t really care about the nations league but I wouldn’t mind if they did the qualifiers in this format. Instead of being spread out over years play all the qualifiers at the one time so there’s more of a sense of tournament occasion and atmosphere that can build towards the finals.

    Half way into regular qualifiers I couldn’t tell you which countries or which players are doing well because the games are so spread out.

    I think playing the qualifiers at the one time would get more people interested and engaged in the matches.

  10. i could have seen lacazette as a false 9. i think he would have done better for arsenal as a second striker behind giroud. however, wenger had other plans and the rest is history.

    i have to say, i’m really concerned about center forward situation. i don’t think any of the guys you mentioned are better center forwards than either lacazette or aubameyang. i could be wrong. jesus had a chance to be the center forward for man city after aguero left and they failed to sign harry kane last summer. however, he did not. can’t say i’m expecting much. he’s a good player but not particularly a good center forward; a bit like comparing lacazette and giroud.

    understand, it’s not just a coincidence that once aubameyang and lacazette began wearing the armband, their goals dried up. scoring goals is the hardest thing to do in the game. being a good goal-scorer requires a nearly singular focus. expecting scorers to lead a very young team and still score goals is unreasonable. you’ll fail at one if not both endeavors. harry kane had a drought on the goals front. even henry’s goals dried up when he took the armband. on the other hand, van persie had the likes of arteta and mertesacker to lead the team, which allowed him to focus on scoring. as soon as auba took the armband off, he began to score again and i’m expecting the same from lacazette. it matters, folks.

    jack, i love the jovic idea. that kid can play. he’s just not better than benzema but who is? another big guy option i would consider is wout weghorst from relegated burnley. i’ve been a fan of his for years.

  11. Based on our targets and those that we seem to be pushing to sign (Jesus, Scamacca and Osimhen), I was confused because they seem to have different strengths, but a common thing occured to me. I think the priority isn’t a player to help us in deep areas, connect play or overload the midfield. I think the priority is the ability of a player to press when out of possession and occupy defenders in possession.

    Just like Tim said, Osimehn is not very good in game and his technical skills are really basic, which is in contrast to Scamacca and Jesus, who both have very good touches and bring their teammates into play much more often and better. Jesus and Osimehn can really beat a man, Jesus with skill and Osimehn with pace. Jesus is stocky and has good body shape for holding up play, but it’s not something he can be called a specialist in, while Osimehn and Scamacca really thrive with back to goal. Scamacca is just a perfect target man in his hold up and touch under pressure, while Osimehn can use his body to physically outmuscle defenders.

    They all differ in certain ways, but all are capable and willing to pressure defences very well. All are aggressive in their pressing and all battle very well in game with defenders.

    The links with Tammy baffle me. He is nothing that Mikel’s Arsenal need or can accommodate. We are definitely not gone improve our chance creation as a unit, so we will be relying on the individual abilities and vision of our players to create chances, so a Tammy would rely on his teammates in a way that I fear they won’t be able to help.

    On Tielemans, I am underwhelmed because we wasted a chance to have had a midfielder like in coming in last season and helping the squad develop further, and this season was supposed to be the season we add top quality, instead of plugging gaps. Jesus fall in the same bracket, we should have recruited last year and filled out our squad then, then went for TOP quality this season.

    Zinchenko is a no-brainer for me. For many years he has been underrated and forced to limit himself in the City team, but whenever he would play for Ukraine, he would stand out very well. Almost like Alaba would thrive in midfield for Austria, Zinchenko had his freedom when playing for Ukraine. For Arsenal, Zinchenko is a top quality player who can cover midfield and left back, why wouldn’t we improve with him in our side.

    I am however afraid to allow Mikel Arteta to purchase a long term center forward for Arsenal, at a high price. I have not seen him put forward tactics that are capable of creating chances for a striker or helping a striker score loads of goals. Strikers have been faltering in his system, chances have been scarce and he has asked them to do work that limits their ability to score goals, and the targets we are going for point to him looking for a striker to do work that doesn’t prioritise scoring goals.

    All in all though, I can’t complain about any of the players signed by Arteta and Edu in the last 3 transfer windows. I have an issue with the squad building and the areas prioritized. I love Ben White, but he wasn’t as necessary as Youri.

    I hope we do well because I like Mikel’s young side and I want them to succeed. I also want Mikel to develop his interpersonal skills and man-management, but we will see how that goes. So far, I have Faith in their recruitment at every other area other than striker.

    1. I get this doubt over striker recruitment, I understand it.

      I think it’s partly because Artedu have recruited in every position except striker so far, because until January they always had Auba and Laca – their two premier, senior players.

      The striker question was always scheduled to come up this summer. It was also always the one with the big question mark, because nobody yet knows what type of striker they would choose if they had a blank slate. The Vlahovic bid kind of let the cat out of the bag, but they’ve also had a look now at what a quick, mobile agent of chaos like Eddie can do. Jesus makes a lot of sense too.

      From the other recruitments we can say that whatever decision-making criteria they are using, they tend to stick to that logic and go for the specificity they want, so it’s going to be pretty interesting.

  12. claude, henry was always a striker. when he was at monaco, he was the baby behind ikpeba and sonny anderson so he had to get in line to play. monaco were desperate to get him on the pitch so they played him on the wing; sorta like emery played young saka at left back just to get him on the pitch. it was in the champions league when monaco played against juventus is what made them decide to buy henry; they had no answer for his speed and power. however, carlo ancelotti is on record saying that the worst mistake in his managerial career was to play henry on the wing instead of at striker.

    for me, it was the toulon u21 tournament in 1997 that let me see how special henry was. france failed to qualify for the u20 world cup and many teams that did qualify used the toulon tournament to prep for the u20 worlds. one of the experiments france did was promote henry from the u19s to the u21 team for that tournament. henry was deployed as a center forward and was absolutely unplayable. he destroyed every defense he played against. if memory serves me correctly, he won player of the tournament and the golden boot. for me, he was always a striker.

    i say that to say that gabriel jesus is nowhere near the project that henry was. i know you’re not implying that they’re near the same level but you did make a comparison. another thing i don’t think people respect is how big henry is. he’s at least 6’2″ whereas jesus is about 5’9″.

    gabriel jesus was uncontested for the center forward position at man city and couldn’t make the spot his own. if he couldn’t shine for the best team in the league last season, how can he shine for arsenal? even if the deal for him happens, i’m not optimistic he’ll make arsenal significantly better.

    lastly, it was me who said that arsenal would hurt bad from failing to finish in the top 4 on the recruiting front. everyone downplayed finishing 5th, talking about some fake progress. that collapse is going to hurt arsenal significantly. what special player does arsenal have the allure to sign? it was different when wenger was at the club because he alone was alluring. arteta doesn’t have that allure. in fact, i think he has the opposite affect that wenger had, especially considering how he appeared to treat great, popular players like ozil and auba. if you were a player in demand and had options, would you come to arsenal? i see saka replacing mahrez and martinelli at liverpool.

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