Pundits wave imaginary yellow cards at Arteta

Two players charge toward the touch line, the ball is bouncing on the perfect green pitch with no one near, begging for someone to control it. Both players slide across the wet grass, player A wins the ball, player B is late and crunches into player A’s leg. The pain is real, none of those fake, Platoon style death scenes here. Suddenly Player A’s teammate runs over to the ref, pinches two fingers together and raises his arm, simulating the referee brandishing a card.

Immediately, the pundits are aghast. Not with the late tackle, the force, or the injury, but they are angry with the player who is waiving an imaginary yellow card. “The game’s gone” one will say “utter disgrace, trying to get your fellow professional sent off” the other will say. And sure enough some xenophobe will eventually utter the phrase “English players wouldn’t do that” or something in that line.

But oddly, these very same pearl-clutching pundits who decry the death of the beautiful game because someone is trying to get someone else sent off have absolutely no problem themselves asking for players and managers to get sent off. Especially, it seems, Mikel Arteta.

Richard Keys in particular has lost what little he had left of his mind. Every chance he gets, he’s waiving an imaginary red card at Arteta. And frankly, it’s undignified.

I’m not one who cares too much about players wanting to get another player booked. That coop’s been open for years and all the chickens flew out long ago: Wayne Rooney was the master at getting players sent off, his “intelligent” little dives where he fell to the ground dramatically and then kicked an opponent to make it look like he’d been fouled did the trick more than once. And these things – waiving a fake yellow card and pretending you got fouled – are not morally miles apart, they are both simply trying to convince (con) the referee into making a call. Which is exactly what every pundit is doing when they call for Arteta to be booked for “being out of his technical area”.

Incredibly, in many cases these pundits are adults – at least they should be adults, most of them are over the age of 40, though that doesn’t always mean that they have fully developed. Some people, whether it’s through years of alcohol abuse or other factors never fully grow up.

And what they seem to hate is Arteta’s passion. Which is incredible to me. The internet is replete with articles, again penned by people who I believe are adults or at least people who are acting like adults, who hate that Arteta is on the sideline telling his players where to go, when to press, and so on. Again, oddly, this same behavior is demonstrated every weekend by nearly every manager but apparently, Arteta “does it too much” or maybe it’s just the way he does it which bothers them? Like his specific arm movements are triggering to their very sensitive sensibilities.

Hey look, I can sort of understand where all this comes from. When Arteta first came to Arsenal, I was put off by his constant yelling at the players. I thought the players would get tired of it. But here’s the thing: it works. If the players didn’t like it, they would have said something (or left the club). But the players haven’t responded negatively, they have done exactly the opposite. I have never seen a team more united and willing to listen to a manager than this one.

I remember a game during the COVID lockdowns when Arsenal had the lead, it was the final seconds of the game and Eddie Nketiah drove at the keeper and was dispossessed instead of taking the ball to the corner. Arteta bellowed “WHY EDDIE? WHY?” At the time I thought it was funny. But what did we see last weekend, when Arsenal were beating Man U 3-2 in those same final seconds? Eddie took the ball to the corner, not once, but twice. “WHY EDDIE!!” was playing in my head and I know it was playing in Eddie’s head too.

The other thing about all this is that Arteta has endeared himself to the Arsenal fans. You know how pundits are always saying that such and such player lacks “pashun” and that teams need to show more passion? Well, I hate to break it to you but Arteta has tons of passion, and that passion is what won me over, and I suspect that’s what won the players over as well. He absolutely has won the Arsenal crowd over and no amount of complaining by Richard Keys or anyone else is going to stop us from enjoying what Arteta is doing at the moment.

Look, I get it. Arsenal are riding high, top of the league, and we aren’t supposed to be there. Right? That’s the real problem. No one said a peep about Arteta’s “sideline antics” when we were finishing 8th. And trust me! He’s been this way all along. The real problem is that we are supposed to be battling it out with the oil nations for 4th place. But Arsenal are playing good football and doing it on the back of healthy player development and this upsets people because it feel like it goes against the “natural” order of football.

I still think it would be a miracle if Arsenal win the League, ever again, for the exact reasons listed above. I mean, we have to compete against sovereign wealth funds, the wealth of an entire nation, it’s obscene. It’s the most anti-sporting, anti-sport, anti-football development in my lifetime. They are literally ruining football in front of our very eyes, in real time. But we won’t hear folks like “Keysey” say anything about that, not while he’s living in a luxury apartment in Doha.

So, why don’t you stop waving imaginary yellow cards at Arteta and just let us enjoy what we have for a season or two? Soon enough the oil nations will buy up all the best players, probably try to take Arteta from Arsenal, go back to winning every trophy, and “normalcy” will be returned. In the meantime, I’m going to enjoy Arteta and this Arsenal team. And the more you hate him, the more I’m going to laugh and enjoy it.

So why don’t you sit down and shut up, you grumpy old farts.



  1. Not to be an arm chair psychologist but given the shallowness of the punditry class, could it be that the fact Arteta has achieved all of this while being the best looking manager in the league has provoked a primal and subconscious envy?

  2. I am 100% fine with Arteta being demonstrative, as long as he doesn’t end up with a bunch of red cards.
    Fergie certainly didn’t sit around quietly. And United tended to get a lot of marginal calls to go there way. If Arteta’s behavior gets a few things to shift our way, and provides a little protection to the players, it’s completely worth it.

  3. Had the masochistic ‘pleasure’ of a BEIN stream with ‘Keysie’ chairing the anal ysis …. argghhh.

    Never again will I be listening to the disjointed garbage that they managed.
    He purports to love the game but showed absolutely no pleasure on the feast of attacking football that had just been displayed and sucked the life out of what had been a magic game

    Nice piece

    1. I say this all the time but Richard Keys may be the best/worst example of this: why are British TV pundits so BAD? It’s 50 shades of Piers Morgan out there: Bombastic, shallow, judgy, negative, uninsightful, fond of cliches, generally clueless about actual football and not even that interested in it.

      1. I agree with you, I think Richard Keyes and a few other older pundits out there actually hate football, they hate watching it, and it’s clear that they are just doing it for the money. I think if they were honest with themselves, they would quit and do something else.

  4. Well, two things: pundits can rage all they want, they will not influence the referees a bit (at least during the game). That is a significant difference between their behaviour and that of players on the pitch who actually could cause an unjustified card to be shown. If we take your reasoning further, nobody on this blog could claim a card should have been given to a player.
    Second point: I do think Arteta sometimes looks completely out of control. It goes beyond passion and borders hysteria. I much preferred the Wenger kind of pashun.

    1. I disagree on the first point: by highlighting his pitchside behaviour they send a signal to the PGMOL, who, in turn instruct the referees to crack down on it. I think his yellow card in the United game was exactly that.

      As for the people on this blog affecting the game, that’s a ridiculous comparison. I have 1/1,000,000th of the power that Gary Neville or Richard Keys has. Even Arseblog has a much smaller pull on what the league does and thinks than those pundits and the reporters for the big papers.

      And finally, it is totally your right to not care for Arteta’s behaviour.

  5. “Mikel Arteta deserves more respect – his touchline antics inspire Arsenal.”
    by Henry Winter, The Times Chief Football Writer, Monday, January 23rd

    “Arsène Wenger built the Emirates and now Mikel Arteta lights it up. The best managers are cocktails of fire and ice and Arteta, despite all the naive pops from pundits at his effective technical-area antics, has finally reignited Wenger’s beacon. Arteta’s changing of the narrative at Arsenal and in the Premier League title race should be celebrated.

    If Arsenal’s advance continues apace, Arteta should be manager of the year. He’s respected as one of the most meticulous managers in the game, forensically analysing everything from his players to his tactics to the opposition, leaving nothing to chance. So this idea that a switch gets flicked when Arteta steps into the technical area (and strays out of it), transforming him into some out-of-control loon, is nonsense. There’s method in Arteta’s perceived madness and it underpins Arsenal’s title ambition.

    That emotion within Arteta undeniably erupts powerfully at times, especially when he feels Arsenal players, particularly Bukayo Saka, are not being protected. His railing at officials is cheap and does need curbing. Referees have enough to deal with through players diving, surrounding them and trying to get opponents booked. Arteta also risks ending up in the stands, cutting the vital connection with his players.

    Arteta’s outbursts appear unhinged but are controlled, conscious messages to Arsenal players and fans
    Arteta’s outbursts appear unhinged but are controlled, conscious messages to Arsenal players and fans.
    Yet this contention that Arteta’s histrionics damage Arsenal is drivel. Arteta’s too shrewd. His passion is not an uncontrolled flamethrower, scorching friend, foe and official alike. He’s sending a message, urging players on, also turning to fans, raising the volume. Arteta’s demonstrative behaviour is simply a public expression of what Arsenal players experience in private, a demand for “f***ing standards”.

    To listen to Arteta’s critics is to laugh at their double standards. They want a manager’s players to give everything but piously lecture the same manager who not only demands the delivery of high standards but shapes those values. Arteta deserves more respect. He’s being patronised, depicted as the Tigger of the technical area, bouncing around for no reason. He’s described as “Lego head” because of his neat hair. Really? Debates need to run deeper. Football needs to get out of the shallows. Let’s respect Arteta.

    It shouldn’t be too difficult to understand that a workaholic manager, earliest in and one of the last to leave at London Colney, whose training sessions are famously demanding and detailed, does not simply shed all self-control when the first whistle blows of the match.

    Arteta is undeniably a man of emotion who boasts a tattoo where others display a wedding ring, such is his love and loyalty to Lorena Bernal, the actress who appeared as a spy and arms dealer in the American series Chuck. Arteta has the Chinese character for “L” inked into his wedding finger. But it is possible to be a sophisticated, calculating professional as well as sentient personal soul.

    Arteta puts in extremely long hours at Arsenal’s training ground
    Arteta delivers. Systems and structures as effective as Arsenal’s don’t float down the Holloway Road on a whim; they are the product of intense work on the training ground at Colney, academy work at Hale End, sound recruitment and skilled man-management.

    A brief rewind highlights Arteta’s impact. A year ago, Arsenal were booed off at the Emirates after a stultifying stalemate against bottom club Burnley. Seven of the starters in last Sunday’s win over Manchester United played against Burnley that day: Aaron Ramsdale, Ben White, Gabriel, Martin Odegaard, Bukayo Saka and Gabriel Martinelli (and Eddie Nketiah coming on as a substitute).

    People talk about Arteta’s transformation of Arsenal but, in a year, it is little short of a revolution. While accepting the impact of the Africa Cup of Nations and a couple of injuries back then, Arsenal’s bench against Burnley a year ago contained Nuno Tavares (now on loan at Marseille), Calum Chambers (now at Aston Villa), Omari Hutchinson (Chelsea), Ryan Alebiosu (on loan at Kilmarnock), Mika Biereth (on loan at RKC Waalwijk), Salah-Eddine Oulad M’hand (on loan at Hull City), Charlie Patino (on loan at Blackpool) and Bernd Leno (Fulham). Arteta’s worked miracles. Methodically. And people think he’s all about emotion.

    Arsenal fans booed and railed against the perceived lack of progress, voicing doubt about the Arteta “process” and frustration at lying sixth. Arsenal then lost 2-0 at home to Liverpool with a side containing eight players who started against United on Sunday (and Nketiah coming on). More patient fans could see that the squad was thin, that a weeding-out process was urgent and ongoing, and that Arteta was stamping his mark, nurturing individuals, building a team. So let’s trust the process.

    Poor results, such as the 0-0 draw with Burnley a year ago, now show Arsenal’s transformation under Arteta
    Poor results, such as the 0-0 draw with Burnley a year ago, now show Arsenal’s transformation under Arteta

    Raheem Sterling told me during his Manchester City days of how Arteta, then assisting Pep Guardiola, worked inspirationally one on one, enhancing the winger’s game. Technical stuff, taking the ball on the half-turn, not “chewing” it (getting it out quickly from his feet). Arteta does the technical detail with players and also the mental, inspiring them. He’s a great coach and manager.

    Arteta has exceptional assistants. Albert Stuivenberg, Steve Round and Carlos Cuesta, among others, are hugely influential at London Colney but the manager sets the tone. Technical area theatrics? Players train as Arteta demands they play — full on. He recruits, with the admired technical director Edu, players who fit the team, fit the tactical bill. Arteta has brought in a goalkeeper in Ramsdale who plays out from the back and has improved him to such an extent that the 24-year-old could, eventually, challenge Jordan Pickford as England’s No 1 (but not yet).

    Those who depict Arteta as unhinged on match day ignore his intense work on White (although he struggled against Marcus Rashford), on building a partnership between Gabriel and William Saliba, and in backing Saka, turning him into a winger who can cut in or go outside. Granit Xhaka is far more disciplined and effective under Arteta, who has released him into a more attacking (and pressing) role. Arteta sounds almost surprised as well as delighted by Nketiah’s seizing of the chance afforded by Gabriel Jesus’s injury, and huge credit goes to the player, but Arteta supports, coaches, cherishes and unleashes.

    So. A sartorially-sleek spinning top of a dugout dweller? A well-coiffured volcano? Come on. So much more. All those seasons of pundits and fans dismissing the process since it began in 2019. And now serious decisions are being vindicated, such as making Odegaard captain. Nice guy, tidy player, but a leader? Well, the Norway playmaker’s proven it with total commitment and creative delivery. Odegaard’s vindicated Arteta’s decision.

    Pépé and Maitland-Niles did not reach the standards their manager at Arsenal demanded

    Odegaard’s standards matter. They reflect Arteta’s. Those in a flap over Arteta flapping dementedly around the dugout overlook that a manager already in charge of 158 games (93 won) did not arrive at the top of the Premier League without a certain ruthlessness. It’s not only evening paper sellers who shout about standards in London.

    Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang fancied himself, revved up his Lamborghini, and was run out of town by Arteta. Mattéo Guendouzi didn’t understand the team ethos and left. Alexandre Lacazette was far less trouble but didn’t fit the Arteta mould. Mesut Özil tactically was not right, not a pressing machine, so he left.

    Nicolas Pépé, a reminder that big fees (£72 million) never guarantee big performances, is on loan at Nice and is not going to get back into this fine Arsenal side targeting the Premier League title. Unlucky Pépé, missed your chance. Should have heeded Arteta’s demands.

    And others. Arteta stood on the touchline at Fratton Park on March 2, 2020, en route to FA Cup glory, and explained why Ainsley Maitland-Niles needed to show more in training. Standards. Maitland-Niles is now on loan at Southampton. He won’t get back in that midfield of Thomas Partey and Xhaka.

    And what about Xhaka? The booking in waiting is now the pressing in motion, the chance in creating. Xhaka’s matured thanks to Arteta’s guidance. And critics dare deride Arteta as all emotion when he’s the master of elucidation, calming and focusing players, even Xhaka.

    Xhaka has been liberated tactically and emotionally by Arteta. The Spaniard is very much his own man but inevitably has drawn from so many managers, not least Wenger and Guardiola. The two wide raiders gripping the touchlines, Saka and Martinelli, is pure Pep. Oleksandr Zinchenko stepping into midfield is from the overload chapter of the Pep playbook.

    Xhaka and Odegaard are among the main beneficiaries of Arteta’s management
    Xhaka and Odegaard are among the main beneficiaries of Arteta’s management
    So much comes back to Zinchenko. Arteta had the vision, with Edu, to see what Zinchenko — and Jesus — would bring to Arsenal, that winning mentality, work ethic and inspiration for younger players. Great signings.

    The decriers who lamented Arsenal’s failure to land Mykhailo Mudryk should consider something. The Ukrainian left winger, young, hungry and talented, will do fantastically at Chelsea, and will improve because Graham Potter is a good coach, but the price sought and secured by Shakhtar Donetsk, and the eventual wages, do not fit the Arteta model. Leandro Trossard from Brighton & Hove Albion does.

    And Arteta’s critics claim he’s out of control. He’s complying with the Financial Fair Play rules, delivering great football, delighting Arsenal fans and he’s lighting up the Emirates.”

    1. Thank you for giving us that article. Plucked from behind a pay wall, and giving us a tremendous thoughtful, treat.

  6. Arteta will calm down over time. People tend to have amnesia – Klopp at Dortmund was crazy on the sideline. Conte at Juventus had a firecracker up his a**. Even Mourinho in his first run at Chelsea was a spectacle at times. It’s a young coach thing. And he’s coaching the youngest team in the league. As they both grow older, together, we’ll see less hyperactivity from Arteta on the sideline and less players surrounding the referees whenever a call is/isn’t made.

    1. I think the broader point though is why he gets targeted and the Arsenal players get targeted but others who behave the same way do not. I can never remember this kind of trope being used against any other PL manager and I have been following the league for the better part of 20 years.

  7. I appreciate your comments about Arteta yelling at the players. You were an early critic of his management over the players, so I am glad that the players responded to that and that you recognize that. I don’t really know what happens behind closed doors but his criticism of players was public and it was right to notice that.

    It’s also right to notice that the team is winning and functioning well.

  8. There’s virtually kicking and heading every ball, and then there’s Mikel’s hyperactivity. I wish he’s let go a little once our players take the field. His sideline energy is not so much of a problem for me, as his micromanaging his players, instead of letting them figure it out more than he allows them to.

    Outside of that, the criticism is overblown. He’s not the first, and he won’t be last touchline hyperactive manager. Not every manager is wired to be a Marcelo Lippi or a Mario Bielsa. Once theyve coached their teams and the game starts, they sit back and let it unfold. Mikel, bless him, is not like that. Perhaps as his young team grows older and him himself gains more experience, he will try less micromanagement. The most important thing, however, is that his methods are working, and how. We have never had a better start to a league season than this one. This is historic stuff. You cant argue with success.

    The media does this drumbeat thing, where once something is picked up it becomes a narrative. Then the fusspots at the FA get involved. They did not sanction Richarlison for shoving Ramsdale and poking him in the face, something that led directly to his being kicked by a fan. What no one is talking about is that Richarlison again tried to charge Ramsdale, and had to be restrained by a steward.
    Would Arteta’s antics be an issue if Arsenal was 10th in the table? Discuss.

  9. Looks like Martinelli is signed up to a 4.5 year contract to 2027 according to Ornstein. His previous deal expires next year with a TWO year option to 2026. These extension options are pretty interesting, especially in consideration to the FFP rules regarding contract amortisation that Chelsea were abusing. IMO, more beneficial to the player than to the club.

  10. Bit of a damp squib, also strange we hadn’t played them in a year which increased the anticipation, but I reckon we’re less than 5 points worse than City, and certainly less than eight. Best I’ve ever felt after a loss

  11. The Lokonga bashing is out in force again. The latest in several meh games from him. However –

    1. He’s 23. Partey wasn’t on our radar at 23.

    2. He’s being strung up on the basis of edited footage of a lunch-table conversation that should not have been on video in the first place.

    3. The distinction between players who are “mentality monsters” “one with the project” etc. and those who are not is just ridiculous beyond a point, and almost entirely fan-created. Eddie went on a podcast to complain about his playing time, Arteta’s response was – “good, we want players who are unhappy not playing”. He’s now Gen Z Ian Wright. Elneny has recounted in an interview with Mido being told to find another club before a pre-season game made him part of the project again.

    Lokonga’s clearly being challenged, although it looks like Arteta’s attempted to shield him in the post-game today. If he rises to that challenge, he’s going to be a good footballer. He wasn’t made Anderlecht captain by Kompany for nothing. If he doesn’t, that’s the reality of competition at this level. There’s no need to pile on, he hasn’t flipped off the fans or bought gold shoes.

  12. I’m glad you brought this up because it’s a recurring theme in Arsenal fandom, apparently even when we are top of the league. I hate to see any player get abused online and Sambi is no exception. That said, I do get the frustration with him. Some of his touches and diagonals were impressive. He clearly has the talent. I just don’t see the desire to apply that talent and that worries me deeply. He seems content to jog along, being shadowed by a player 2 yards away, never moving to show for the ball. Out of possession he is consistently in the wrong places, not backing up the press and not marking anybody in the box for the goal. You’d think he would be desperate to prove his worth, but in this evidence it looks like he’d rather be elsewhere. He absolutely could be pushing Granit Xhaka for his place in the squad because he has the superior physical qualities of the two. But it’s tough to see him ever getting there with this kind of application. I do get that he hasn’t been playing much and to be thrust into a game like this is a lot to ask. But he was also lost against Oxford in the last round. You get the feeling he doesn’t fit and he knows it.

    No surprise then to see Arsenal go all in on Moises Caicedo, who has many of the same tools but an elite mentality and top work rate to go with them, and two years younger than Sambi. That’s what makes all the difference at the top level. Talent could get Sambi to the captaincy at Anderlecht. It can’t get him a place in this Arsenal side, not until he matures. It may already be too late.

    1. I’m disappointed as well, he was really at sea for today’s goal (not that anyone minds us playing less cup games). But I think he was brought in to understudy Partey, which is a more challenging role than Xhaka’s. Hopefully he steps up – Elneny’s injury creates a vacancy and we might not get a deal over the line this window.

  13. You know what became clear as a flashbulb today? Odegaard’s workrate. One of the reasons we’re top of the league and that he’s arguably league MVP as things stand, is that he allies strong off the ball workrate and pressing, with stats leading attacking productivity. He actually LEADS. Sets an example which is contagious. We are lucky to have him.

    Which brings us to Sambi. Ode could be seen gesturing to Lokonga — several times — into a more urgent and ferocious press and closing down. Sambi can look too languid. Ode gestured to Eddie too, so it’s not as if Sambi was the one who was sub-par in the press. Sambi is an elegant player, with some neat touches and turns, and he had some good crossfield passes to the wings. His glaring problems are positioning (Ode last lost his shit at one time when Sambi switched off and left a huge gap), and putting high-intensity pressure on opponents off the ball.

    Sambi’s got something. Game time, confidence and some love would probably do wonders for his game. But he seems to lack that spikiness (gimme the ball, get in their face) which someone like The Hair of Marseilles had, perhaps too much of. He seems a shy and quiet lad, and perhaps needs to add some bastardliness to his game. He’s not a Partey understudy… Caicedo is. Sambi is Granit’s deputy, and his game looks more forward-midfield suited. But it may be already too late for him. Declan Rice is a significant upgrade on him and Granit. That’s not to disrespect Granit, who is a massively intelligent footballer, and is married and integral to our system.

    The game cried out, from very early, for Ode’s influence. Vieira had a shot, but did not cut it in the game. Lightweight, easy nudged off the ball, hesitant, and not having the same understanding with the forwards. We talk about the falloff from Partey? The falloff from Ode is just as precipitous, and arguably just as important.

    Ake man marked Saka out of the game, took his chance beautifully — and goal aside was probably their best player. Without Partey, Rodri had the freedom of the park. We only really rattled and hummed when Gabi, Zinch and Ode came on.

    Mikel treated this game as an inconvenience. He’s passionate about winning, mind, and would have taken one. But I suspect he’s more concerned about his key players coming through that unscathed. We’ll see if that was the case with Partey.

    Shout out to Matt Turner, who looks better every game.

  14. First time in a very long time that I watched a game vs. City and didn’t feel like the outcome was a forgone conclusion. I like that. Wasn’t even terribly bothered by the result. On another day, it could just as easily gone our way.

    Not saying we’ll take them in the league, but win, lose, or draw, it’ll be a tight affair, and that really says something about where we are. I really like that.

  15. we should readily recognize there’s a huge difference between a talented player and a good player. albert lokonga is the textbook definition of a talented player who’s simply not very good.

    you guys have heard me say a million times that cdm is not a talent position, it’s an intelligence position…that the cdm has to be among the smartest players on the field. if you read the game well and can make a 5-yard pass, you can be a great cdm. claude makalele proved that to the world. mohamed elneny is further proof as he’s not as talented as sambi but a far better cdm; he’s simply smarter. 90% of what you do as a cdm is off the ball so i don’t care how good of a diagonal passer he is if the off-ball stuff is wrong.

    the gap that developed between midfield and defense after halftime and before zinchenko came on was massive. when that shot came in from alvarez that hit the post, i was befuddled at sambi’s position; there was absolutely nothing going on around him so why was he there? seconds later, he was in a position to develop the nathan ake situation but didn’t; he just watched.

    monaco apparently wanted sambi, maybe on loan but i’m not sure. sambi needs to play. he doesn’t have to play cdm, just in-game minutes making decisions and developing situations and being derided when he gets it wrong. arsenal simply isn’t the ideal place for him to do that right now. arteta said all the right things in the presser because arsenal may need him. we’ll see.

    1. Agree that talent doesn’t equal success but “right mentality” is a tough concept to define. I wouldn’t say Xhaka’s mentality was good until this season, but solutions have been created for him, at age 30. If Elneny had the right mentality, we also have to consider why we were on the verge of letting him go. Mido actually asks him about the perception that he’s too happy to be a squad player, and his response is an honest human one, not an “elite mentality” one.

      Also agree that DM is an intelligence/awareness position, I’d add that it’s an experience position. There’s not a lot of elite 23-year old DMs, even if some of the transfer fees thrown about might suggest otherwise.

  16. Very nice discussion folks. I wish there was more of this after we win games too.

    I fear Caicedo is a bridge too far for Brighton. They’ve already had to let Trossard go and recently sold Bissouma and Cucurella, and had their coach poached. That they actually improved after these changes is astonishing. However, I get the sense that they don’t really have anyone backing up Caicedo and they know how important he is to the midfield balance with MacAllister. They won’t be able to find a suitable replacement in the few days that remain if the window.

    The player seems desperate to join us and that’s the best thing we have going for us. It’s not common for players to declare their desire to move on social media the day after a bid comes in, but Caicedo did just that after this bid by Arsenal (hilariously, not after a similar bid by Chelsea). He wants to play in a top team and he wants to win the league. Those things are possible with Arsenal and not Chelsea!

    From an Arsenal perspective, he would be a perfect signing to bolster depth not only Partey’s position but also Xhaka’s. Ironically I don’t think he gets into the team right now ahead of either of those guys, but if something happens to one of them then he’s about as good of a replacement as any we could find. There is a big thread from @EBL2017 that spells out his many qualities and suitability for the 6 and 8 roles in our system. Synopsis: would be great, may be a longer term Xhaka upgrade who can ably fill in at the pivot. However just as with Martinez, Mudryk, etc., we should not over pay. I think 60-70 is about right because he won’t be a starter with everyone fit and he won’t contribute in the final 3rd, and he’s only had a handful of games at this level.

    Given our valuation and Brighton’s stance, I doubt we see him move this January. Unfortunately.

    1. Agree with all that Doc. He’d be a great pickup, and maybe if we’d have been willing to pay top dollar 2 weeks ago, it would have happened. Now at the end of the window though, it’s going to be hard. Brighton is likely to want a decent replacement given they are challenging for European positions and it will be very hard for them to line one up in the short time available. Could we trade Sambi + a fee?
      Rumors that he was told not to come to training. That could be positive if it’s because they are willing to consider a sale and don’t want him injured. Or it just could mean they are pissed that he leaked the interest in Arsenal.

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