A very in-depth look at how Arsenal could look after our summer overhaul…

A Fan’s Impression of How a Full Squad Overhaul Might Look in the Summer.

Despite undergoing something of an overhaul last summer, with up to five new players added to the roster along with a new head-coach, we certainly still have a few problems remaining in the squad. For one, there’s an acute shortage of wide attackers, with personnel who are more suited to playing elsewhere filling in: Aubameyang (centre-forward), Mkhitaryan (Attacking midfielder), Iwobi (Attacking midfielder).
The whole defence is also failing, with ageing starters and underwhelming performers responsible for a large part, and sheer bad luck with injuries claiming the rest.

At the start of the season, the defence seemed impregnable to the extent that one of the more consistent defenders from the season before, Calum Chambers, was shipped off on loan so he could afford playing time in the new season. There were 5 probable players at both fullback positions — Lichsteiner, Bellerin, Kolasinac, Monreal, Maitland-Niles — and 5 in the middle — Sokratis, Holding, Mustafi, Koscienly, Mavropanos — with a solid average of at least two players per each defensive position. But, suddenly, approaching January, Arsenal were in a near-calamitous defensive crisis, not so much from inadequate individual performances as from injuries suffered by almost every starter.

The injury roll-call read like some morbid wishlist from our direct rivals intended to leave us ragged and threadbare. It was suddenly conceivable to see the coach starting Xhaka, a player we’d all already agreed was not too much of a defender even in the midfield, at centre-back. Among all the defenders, only Mustafi, Kolasinac, and Lichsteiner have not been on the treatment table for some significant injury this season. And all three are not reputable for giving fans no cause to panic. The promising and competent starters got wiped out of the season like bad thoughts.

Compounding this situation is the age of the backline. At fullback, half of our roster is someone on the poor side of thirty, and one is as effective as a fluttering corner flag while the other is declining. In the centre, with two of our youngest already absent for a while, the starting seniors are also in their thirties and can’t be depended on for any long period of time. And to top the turd-cake, Mustafi (26) has been underwhelming, while Kolasinac (26) is not fully dependable.

We are relatively OK in the midfield. Our new coach wants to play a 4-2-3-1 which requires two defensive midfielders and a No. 10 or a 4-3-3 with two penetrating midfielders and inverted wingers. Sometimes, due to the amount of brilliance we have upfront and to cover our defensive brittleness, he plays a 4-4-2 or 3-5-2 which requires two and three midfielders respectively. We have extremely bright and young prospects in the middle of the pitch: Torreira (23), Xhaka (25), Guendouzi (19), Ainsley Maitland-Niles (21), Elneny (25). Calum Chambers (23), whom we sent on loan at Fulham, is also capable of doing a respectable job there. At the central attacking-midfield position, we have Özil (29), Mkhitaryan (29), Iwobi (22). Even Guendouzi could plausibly play there. We also have Smith-Rowe (18) whom we have sent on loan for the rest of the season.
Ramsey is still with us right now and though he is leaving at the end of the season, there’s no cause to panic at all.

We are absolutely solid for at least four seasons at centre-forward, if all goes well. Aubameyang is still only 29 and conceivably has three more seasons at the top level. Lacazette, 28, certainly has more. Nketiah is a bright prospect at that position, having almost no bad performances in the senior team so far.

Goalkeeping is also not too much of a problem. Though it is extremely nice to have two goalkeepers of Cech’s and Leno’s capabilities in the squad, it is not absolutely necessary. Goalkeepers rarely get severely injured. They play very well long into their 30s. In fact, goalkeepers are considered to reach their peaks past or around that age. A good defence can also hide a bad goalkeeper and a good team can go reasonably far without even a decent one (case in point: Karius at Liverpool).

With all that said, it is clear enough that we need a rejuvenation at the back and then at least a pair of wingers up front while keeping the core of the team intact. We are rumoured to have 40 million to spend in the summer, although there could be more.

Here’s a chronic football fan’s impression of how our summer ought to be done:

Goalkeeping.

Cech is retiring. A blow, sure, but a blessing to our wages. Martinez is doing very well at Reading. Ospina has been solid for Napoli. With his option-to-buy, Ospina is a long shot but we could promote Martinez. And if the academy can’t provide us a third backup, we could loan one, sign one on a free, or buy ourselves a cheap young prospect. I see us doing any of these, but I would suggest the first two for now.

Defence.

Chambers is returning, but, honestly, I am of the opinion that we should move on. Sentiment can cloud our eyes to the fact that Chambers, from all indications available, isn’t the next Tony Adams. At best, he can cover up, but that would be a waste of potential transfer fees in a world full of exciting young French defenders. I recommend that we pull up a blindfold, rinse our hands, and reap some significant joy from his value while we can.

Mustafi remains the same firefly we just can’t seem to nab. For all his obvious talents, he has sincerely been disappointing. He has not justified what we paid for him and we have been waiting long enough. I recommend that we wait no more. We should perhaps even accept a transfer loss and ship him off like a defunct product.

Koscielny won’t last for long anymore, despite his comeback this season. There are rumours that he will retire but if they are untrue, we should sell him off also while we can still receive a palatable offer from some foolish mid-tier club.

Monreal makes it harder to decide anything about him, but it’s OK if we spare him for one more season or not. In abiding with the spirit of revolution, I would recommend that we give him a warm sendoff like Koscielny and grab whatever we can take for him. He’ll be gone soon anyways.

Kolasinac? Bench.
Sokratis? Wring every tackle and roar out of him.
Lichtsteiner? I would pay for his Uber out of the club grounds at the end of the season.
Replacements: we need a strong, proven and capable starter, preferably young as well. In the current market, we could get one for about the same we got Mustafi or more. I would recommend a someone like Issa Diop of West Ham who would fit into Emery’s high defensive system like a ballad at nine. Or the lovely Davinson Sanchez from our neighbours at a higher price. An all out assault for Andreas Christensen from our other neighbours would be deeply satisfying if it succeeded. I have never seen a more obvious defensive stalwart than him.

Another young centre-back is needed, though, and I would suggest we quit ignoring the French defensive market and nab Konate from Leipzig, where he is making an impression alongside his more hyped partner. Or Ampadu from Chelsea, that bossy future star.

With Christensen/Diop, Sokratis, Holding, Mavropanos, and Konate, we suddenly have a very solid central defence with a blindingly bright future, capable of becoming one of the very best around with some game time.
Net cost after deducting defender sales: around 20 million euros.

At fullback we can snap up Tierney or Firpo to come be our future. Tierney is more well-rounded but Firpo has more experience at the top-level. Firpo is more difficult though, so maybe Tierney or any not-overly-expensive young leftback. Bellerin’s deputy should be more capable at replacing him next time around please, so maybe we get someone on loan, anyone that can be better than Lichsteiner. I would recommend Nacho or Odriozola from Real Madrid, whichever one those royal eggs can spare from their loot of young and raring fullbacks.

All solved. We can then say a prayer or two to wade off a glut of injuries from laying waste to our best laid-down plans.

Midfield

Perhaps we have seen enough of Özil and it’s time to cash out while we can. If we do, that will be a significant loss of creativity, when Ramsey’s exit is factored in. Get Christopher Nkunku. Replace Özil with Mkhitaryan, with Iwobi deputising. Replace Ramsey with Nkunku or Joe Willock. Use some of Özil’s freed wages to sign Adrien Rabiot on a free, that is, if we can get him.

Attack

Reiss Nelson is returning to the club next season. But he cannot shoulder all the burden of providing width for the team. He is also still a teenager and can very well be inconsistent with his performances. Nicolas Pepe is highly recommended if his pricetag doesn’t exceeds the 50 million range by too much. Absolutely worth it in every sense. He’s only going to get better, and if we do not pay too much, has a satisfying resale value. If all goes well, Arsenal should also add another wide player to insure against injuries. Leonard Trossard at Genk is not a bad option for his fee. Heavily experienced at a relatively young age, he also brings an assurance of goals and solidity that can scarcely be found elsewhere. He could also turn out a huge hit, as Genk are recently notable for hibernating superstars in relative obscurity. With 70-75m spent in that essential area, we suddenly have three out-and-out natural widemen in the team, each of them young and very talented at what they do. We have never had much of a problem scoring goals even without the wide men that are so integral to Emery’s game but with these new options, our attack can attain a scary quality.

Here is an outline of what I just described with realistic transfer fees (currency in euros):

Chambers (25 million) — If he continues to be impressive for Fulham and assuming they do not relegate this season, they can very well decide to cash in on a young, capable and extremely versatile defensive player. Especially when they lose some of their top squad names to loan recalls in the summer.

Ozil (35 million) — Otherworldly talented and still not that old at just 30, we likely can pull this off for maybe 5 million less or so, especially if we agree to pay part of his wages for the first season. Possible destinations include but isn’t limited to the Chinese league, PSG, Inter Milan, Chelsea, etc.

Elneny (15 million) — The 25-year-old has proven himself capable of handling the Premier League to a certain extent under Arsené Wenger. He is a tidy squad player whose transfer value has increased mostly due to his initially low purchase cost. The team will sustain no damage with his departure, get some part of the wages free and reap a tidy little sum if he can be successfully sold to lower teams in the EPL or even outside it.

Ramsey (null) — Just sad.

Monreal (10 million) — He is one of the wildcards of the summer window. A vastly experienced and solid leftback, the debate is on whether there will still be enough left in the tank for next season. Especially if Sead Kolasinac remains too defensively vulnerable to be our first choice. Whether he does or not, his transfer value will take a significant hit next season, so it might be better to scrape off whatever is left of it in the market while we still can. Would he be worth less or more than 10 million? That depends on how sharp the board is. It is not unimaginable that we get 5 million more or less for him.

Mustafi (30 million) — Fans have seen enough of his large greyhound stubble. There are even standing offers for his free transportation out of the club’s premises. But while the disappointment is palpable, we must not lose hold of the fact that he is still an attractive option for any lower EPL club with cash to spend. Plus, he will only be 27, theoretically near the height of his powers next season. And he has played a large number of topflight matches for Valencia and Arsenal, two top-drawer teams in two of the best competitive leagues in Europe. We could sell 5 million worse than we bought him though.

Danny Welbeck (null) — Personally, I’d like his contract to be extended if he can take a pay cut and then loaned off with an obligation to buy next season. He could be fantastic for any of the lower deck teams in the league and we would be sure to receive something substantial for his weight. The club is bleeding too many quality free transfers.

Cech (null) — Did not fully live up to hype but served his time well. Wish he’d not personally decided to retire so we can extend his contract and sell him for some peanuts too.

Koscielny (10 million) — Another wildcard. But if he doesn’t retire like Cech and retains his performances till the end of the season, we can get some more peanuts for him. How old is he, really.

Total sales: 130 million
Base for next season: 50 million
New Total: 180 million
Margin of Error: 5 million – 20 million

Plegezuelo (free) — We should just blood him already. He’s been solid for the academy.

Nketiah (free) — Unless he goes out on loan next season, he basically has to be fighting more for first team minutes. Basically.

Smith-Rowe (free) — I believe we should watch his loan for the rest of this season and if he gets a number of satisfactory playing time, he should stay there for another season with an option to recall in the winter. With Iwobi, Mkhitaryan and possibly other more experienced players ahead of him in the competition for one midfield spot, he could do better out of the club. Or he could just be another Cesc Fabregas and win his chances next season.

Reiss Nelson (free) — In an ideal world, Reiss will spend another year at Hoffeinheim and develop his game in the Bundesliga (and maybe the Champions League) under Nagelsmann. But we are in strange times; the team has no conceivable starting winger and his presence would be like pure air to a mineworker.

Joe Willock (free) — It is bemusing to watch how we have so quickly forgotten about the young Willock when he played some solid games for Arsené Wenger. He seems to have physically developed more this season and he should be carefully integrated into the first team.

Nkunku (15 million) — Nkunku is a truly talented youngster. He has quick feet, confidence, and a good passing range. He also has that ability to drive at opposition defences with speed too. If we could spare his fee, he should be lured over.

Tierney (25 million) — A shining star for Celtic. Looks relatively solid despite his young age. A not too shabby choice to replace Monreal with. High resale value if he does not completely flop.

Christensen (35 million) — One of the most obscure gems in the Premier League. Extremely talented. Old school and no-nonsense defender. Eager to please his manager. Almost faultless for Chelsea last season. Kept David Luiz out of an inordinately huge number of games. Neat and passionate. Clear defensive stalwart. Somehow forgotten this season. Only problem is he’d be a bit on the costly side. Same thing for Issa Diop who’s more athletic. If all was well with our defense, I would have advised us to go for Ethan Ampadu instead, but the starlet is not what we need.

Trossard (20 million) — Relatively unheralded but consistent goalscorer at 24. Can play out wide and behind the striker. Can be a massive hit if everything goes right. Wouldn’t be bad for his fee.

Pepe (50 million) — A literal poor man’s Dembélé with all the compliments meant. A clearly talented player who will flourish in any team that utilizes inverted wingers. Too much hype around him, though, and he should have been stolen last season when he was still clearly good but unknown. If we can’t afford him, then maybe Malcolm, or Draxler, or Chiesa, Anderson, or Bernadeschi, or any other accomplished winger with suitable first team experience. Or we could get the poor man’s Pepe in Sarr of Rennes, which would be like signing Dembélé’s shadow.

Konate (25 million) — In my analysis, we would be losing two centre-backs in the transfer window and if we are not getting Chambers back, Konate should be looked at. Towering and athletic and a first team player in Leipzig at just 19, he is quite the talent. With Europe more focused on his other attractive partner, he could be a steal at an admittedly high amount for such a young centre-back. But hey, he could cost more.

Total: 170 million
Budget Plus Sales: 180 million
Net Amount: 10 million
Margin of Error: 10 million – 30 million

Last Words

This is an impression. The players mentioned aren’t really that important. The emphasis is on the transfer fees in relation to the talent that can be got for them. Please note that this is actually a conservative estimate. We may only get one winger plus Reiss Nelson next season. And it could be low-budget Ismaila Sarr. We could conceivably not sign either of Nkunku nor Suarez next season. We could buy one new defender worth less than 35 million euros and keep Koscielny for one more hoorah. We could sell a player I have not foreseen. Also, and very importantly, we could win the Europa League and qualify for the Champions League or we could still make it through the league. This will substantially improve our market position in all its ramifications. We could even very well afford Pepe and Sarr at a high cost. Or we could not even have to sell Mustafi and Chambers.

Please also note that we may not move on as many as I have mentioned. To shed so much experience and culture in Cech, Koscienly, Monreal, Mustafi, Welbeck, Ramsey and Özil within a season is simply massive. But I would say most fans are more ruthless than the current board and the earlier we start our transformation, the better. Here’s a look at the first team right now versus what could be (excluding fringe youth players):

Petr Cech (G)
Bernd Leno (G)
Deyan Iliev (G)

Hector Bellerin (D)
Socratis Papastathopoulos (D)
Laurent Koscielny (D)
Stefan Lichtsteiner (D)
Rob Holding (D)
Nacho Monreal (D)
Shkodran Mustafi (D)
Carl Jenkinson (D)
Konstantinos Mavropanos (D)
Sead Kolasinac (D)

Mohamed Elneny (M)
Henrikh Mkhitaryan (M)
Aaron Ramsey (M)
Mesut Ozil (M)
Lucas Torreira (M)
Ainsley Maitland-Niles (M)
Alex Iwobi (M)
Denis Suarez (M)
Matteo Guendouzi (M)
Granit Xhaka (M)
Joe Willock (M)

Alexandre Lacazette (F)
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (F)
Danny Welbeck (F)
Eddie Nketiah (F)
Bukayo Saka (F)

After the summer, the starting XI looks like this:

Bernd Leno (G)
Hector Bellerin (D)
Sokratis Papastathopoulos (D)
Rob Holding (D)
Kieran Tierney (D)

Lucas Torreira (M)
Granit Xhaka (M)
Henrikh Mkhitaryan (M)

Nicolas Pepe (F)
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (F)
Leonard Trossard (F)

On the bench, creaking with the weight of talent:

Emilio Martinez (G)
Deyan Iliev (G)

Ibrahim Konaté (D)
Konstantinos Mavropanos (D)
Andreas Christensen (D)
Sead Kolasinac (D)

Christopher Nkunku (M)
Ainsley Maitland-Niles (M)
Alex Iwobi (M)
Matteo Guendouzi (M)
Joe Willock (M)

Reiss Nelson (F)
Eddie Nketiah (F)
Alexandre Lacazette (F)
Bukayo Saka (F)

Last Notes

This, as is immediately apparent, is not a foolproof plan. Here are the pros and cons of it:

i. The defense is immediately resolved for a whole generation. We will have the brightest young talents in the world developing together.

ii. The midfield is considerably weakened in the creative department with the exit of two superstars.

iii. The attack becomes a whole coherent unit with the resources to play as the coach wants.

iv. So much experience and emotional connection is lost and would take one or two seasons to rebuild.

v. The squad can be better improved in the next seasons, as a lot of holes would have already been plugged.

vi. We can be lean on cash for the next one or two transfer windows, especially if Champions League qualification is missed or some players are not sold.

vii. The mean age of the squad is drastically reduced. Which means more energy, resale value, space for improvement, and so on.

That’s all, and thank you for reading through. I would love to hear your feedback.

Agboola Israel

Updated: February 27, 2019 — 8:21 am

33 Comments

  1. Oh that was so easy wasn’t it. Now we have got over the fantasy football part of this piece and that’s what this is. Let’s get real with our budget and getting little or no sell on value of most of those you have mentioned we have a limited budget and a number of requirements. Now what we might get is a few new faces and a couple departing however it’s not going to be the massive overhaul your suggesting it will take three-4 more windows especially if we are restricted by our current budget limitations for next few seasons.

    1. I think that is why he has advocated the promotion of a lot of youth players. They will not take out of the budget, and they have already settled in….

    2. Richard,

      I love that you read through! Actually, it wasn’t quite easy and while it might seem like fantasy football, you should know that my estimates are not that widely off the mark if you check with Transfrmarket.

      Anyways, if we do not sell a lot it means we are going to spend a lot, which I’m not too sure about. So that’s it.

      As you might have noticed in the piece, I actually do think we may not be able to move on so many players. But I do think the earlier we start, the better it will be in the long run.

      Thanks for your feedback!

  2. @Agboola Israel

    Just offering some feedback: I very much enjoyed the article, but it’s far too long, and I think it could easily put off others from reading it. Huge respect for the effort, and the research you’ve put in, and I enjoyed your style of writing, it’s just an issue with the length of it for me. Keep up the good work though.

    I would love to get Pepe, and I thought Tierney at LB was a good shout.

    1. I didn’t end up reading all of it, it was enjoyable but I need a break in the text 😛 lol.
      This is one article which could have been broken up to… 3? (def/mid/att) articles.

      1. I had forgotten that you once asked me to write in smaller paragraphs too for the same reason. Have you considered using a piece of card to read just one line at a time , holding the card just below that line and so on? I have tried this trick with play scripts when the print is small and it can sometimes help.

      2. Midkemma, that’s a very good suggestion right there. Thank you for it!

    2. ThirdManJW.

      Thank you for reading through. I was trying to be as comprehensive as possible hence the length.

      I’m also very excited about Nicolas Pepe and Kieran Tierney, if we could get them. They are very much talented and instantly fit into Emery’s style.

  3. We are surely not gonna sell those players listed up there. It doesn’t work like that in reality. Personally, I don’t see us buying more than 4 players this summer. A winger, a left back, a centre back perhaps and a no 8/10. That’s all. Nothing more, nothing less. The transfer budget is tight and we won’t get the kind of money listed there for any of our deadwoods should we sell.

    1. I agree jamesbrowney, i also think those positions you mentioned are what we need with the addition of a right back. In my DREAMS, my favourite players for those positions right now would be;
      CB- milan skriniar
      RB- wan bissaka
      LB- ben chilwell
      CM/CAM- bruno fernandes
      Winger- federico chiesa,
      …at least we are allowed to dream. The funny thing is, these players are possible for an ambitious club especially if you look at how liverpool’s team has changed so much. Our problem is this self-sustaining business model put in place by our devilish owner.

      1. Lupe,

        I entirely love the players you’ve mentioned. But though the rest could still be realistic some, Wan-Bissaka is definitely not.

        At any other top team who have cash to throw around, he would make sense with Bellerin and offer far more defensive stability, but not at Arsenal where we are all about cost-cutting. Maybe a cheaper backup would be preferred by the club or a promotion for Osei-Tutu.

    2. James, I know this. I’m of the opinion though that we do not necessarily need another midfielder. So maybe we can get two wingers + Reiss Nelson + the rest you mentioned.

      Having these wingers would do more to our attack than new midfielders, I think.

  4. Wow, what an article.. I enjoyed reading all of that and I thought maybe we could get this done but it’s impossible because letting Chambers, Mustafi, and Koscienly all go at once will be suicidal. Why? I’ll tell you why, Our club can’t even spend good money for a world class defender, what makes anyone think we’ll let three defender go and get replacement? I think at most it’s only one defender we’ll be getting this summer, because very has other plans for the wings and midfield too, seeing that Ramsey is gone, Ozil might leave. So I don’t see getting three new defenders in this summer as realistic.
    But still an interesting article.

    Regarding tonight’s games, I want a Spurs win, I know we’re sworn enemies blah blah blah and all that, but be realistic and honest with yourselves, we ain’t catching Tottenham, They’ll be playing the UCL next season, only thing I care about is us getting back there.
    That being said, We need Chelsea to lose tonight so we’ll increase our points difference to three points.
    Chelsea losing and dropping all points will be best case scenario because even if Spurs lose tonight, they’ve shown consistency and resilience to prove they ain’t dropping below third position.
    I hope they win tonight, and then when can win on Saturday also.
    Win win for us and Spurs,
    But if they shared points, I’d hate to have Chelsea on our backs with just one point. We’ll sort United out later

    1. We are unlikey to sign three CB’s but dont forget that we will probably be signing a new CB and promote at least one from the academy.Chambers’ fate was already sealed when he was loaned and Mustafi’s continual lack of concentration and mistakes means he is probably not in Emery’s future plans unless of course he wants to us to concede more goals of which he will claim the ultimate blame. The injury proneness of the likes of Sokratis and Koscielny if he’s not sold also means surely that one new CB will be coming in even if not world class.

      1. How do you know what Emery’s future plan is or his opinion of Mustafi is ??
        He has been there for the team this season and giving his all with physicality and desire and togetherness with his defensive partners.
        I would think he is a dead cert to be staying.. his age, fitness and at least his goal threat from corners is enough to keep him i’d say.

        1. I didn’t say I knew the opinion Emery had about him.I implied that due to his lack of improvement in his time here and the constant mistakes Emery will probably sell him to make room for a new CB signing.The qualities you mentioned are not enough to keep Mustafi here and I find it interesting that you never said Mustafi had quality in your reply. Mustafi’s sale should also fetch a decent amount and has diminished.Barring any long term injuries on the part of Mustafi or any other CB I don’t see how Mustafi stays beyond this season.The irony is that the club is seriously in search of a CB which tells us something.

          1. I think the Arsenal way is to build confidence in the players we have and use them within there contracts.. Emery is here because he likes to coach and wants responsive players around the squad who, despite lack of total quality, give there all and try to respond to what he is coaching. Mustafi is not a problem player and wants to give his all, do his best for the manager and certainly respects the position he has in the team and with our club.

    2. Eddie,

      Thank you for reading through. I’m glad that you loved it.

      Personally, even with the possible departure of both Özil and Rambo, I really don’t think the midfield would be a weakness for us. We still have Mkhitaryan who can be very impressive in the No. 10 role, and Iwobi can very well fill in there.

      If we could get some change for the defenders, I think it’s only sensible we grab a senior replacement and another Mavropanos like Konaté.

      About tonight’s game, I would want a draw. Tottenham have very tough fixtures coming up and if they get a defeat and a draw in their next few matches, and things go well for us, we could be looking at another St. Totteringham’s Day!

  5. Well done and well written article though painstaking to read through.Firstly, on the defenders I think the sale of Laurent Koscielny makes no sense unless he asks to be sold.Ask yourself this, do you think Sokratis and Holding are better?It would make sense if Arsenal rather sign a CB and keep him on the bench since he’s quite injury prone.As for Mustafi he’s been poor and in addition to Chambers has proven over time not to be good enough.Both must be sold even if for a loss.
    On the midfield, I hope Guendouzi and Xhaka are not the ones who will be starting with Torreira next season. Guen is far from ready and Xhaka isn’t good enough a starter.If a good bid comes in for Xhaka we must accept it.This season should’ve been used to assess Maitland-Niles at box to box.What a waste of talent!I’d sell Elneny and Xhaka, get in a new DM and then use Niles at box to box.He is also physical and could compliment Torreira too.I’d then get a more experienced player to replace Ramsey.I wouldve also liked Arsenal to have taken a gamble on Almiron as Ozil’s replacement since he’s the perfect kind of Emery No. 10.Reiss Nelson is too much of a team player and his best position is at No. 10 though he plays LW.
    In addition,Mkhitaryan must be sold and Iwobi made a rotation player for next season.We should then sign a winger(RW) as a starter.We should allow one of Saka and Amaechi to battle for the LW spot with Iwobi and Auba while the other goes on loan.
    As for the strikers,Nketiah must be sen on loan to an EPL team i.e to one where he will get lots of playing time because with the departure of Welbeck and the fact that we are uncertain of the future of Auba and Laca for the next two seasons we will need a quick and effective assessment of him to know how good he is.

    1. What about RB Kev?
      Also, like to hear what you think about moving Chambers to DM, competing/cover for Torreira. You saying he has proved over time he isn’t good enough but it looks like he is doing a good job in DM, intercepting a lot and if I am not mistaken he has most interceptions per 90 mins, at least that is what SkySports reported. Wenger did say he see’s Chambers as a CM in the long run didn’t he? 🙂

    2. Kev,

      Thank you for reading through!

      You do think Guendouzi is not ready? After a full season with us?

      Alright. I do not think your suggestions are fully tenable in the sense that it would entail a whole lot of shuffling in the middle, which I feel is where we are perhaps strongest, though less so after the departure of Rambo and Özil.

      Anyways, I’d still like more attention to the defense and the wings than anything else.

  6. We will need quite a few quality players on the cheap (ie players clubs want to get rid off, last year on contract, free transfers etc) depending on how generous Kroenke is and how much we get selling our players.

    Personally I would get a RB who is a better DEFENDER than Bellerin and either make Bellerin number 2 RB or try him as a RW because he could be an excellent winger with all his assists and great passes.

    But to me more important positions that need to be filled first (at least 5-6)

    1. 2 starting CBs
    2. Starting Box to box CM
    3. Starting CAM
    4. 1 OR 2 Starting wingers

    I’m also looking forward to seeing Smith-Rowe, Niles, Nelson being more used next season

    1. ForeverGooner,

      Thank you so much for reading.

      I do think Bellerin has improved this season and will improve even more with a better all-round defence next to him. Anyways, I’d like more defensively capable competition for him, too.

      I agree with you on all the rest!

  7. With respect, your sales forecast is pie in the sky and just what are the”obvious talents” possessed by Mustafi?.That apart I am impressed with your ideas for bring ing in youthful players as a means to a better future particularly some of the young defenders you mention.

    1. Granddad,

      I’m glad you took the time to read this through.

      When you say “…pie in the sky,” do you mean the number of players to be sold or the transfer amounts quoted?

      I cannot disagree with the former but if you meant the latter, it might actually surprise you that the fees quoted are not all too fantastical when you look at the players’ plausible values on Transfrmarket.

      Which Arsenal fan does not love promoting youth, by the way? ☺

      And I’m fundamental optimist so maybe I’m not too realistic here.

      Anyways, I’m very happy that you read.

  8. I did notice a lack of RB talk, we have Bellerin and umm… The bench in article includes 3CBs and a LB. No RB.. Unless Christensen is being considered for this?

    1. Midkemma,

      You are sharp. Yes, I left out talk of a rightback because I sincerely believe that to implement what’s in the article would take a lot and to include competition at this stage for Bellerin would mean we are ready to spend more than 70 million euros net on the squad, which I’m not too sure we are despite the new shirt deal and the possibility of the Champions League for next season.

      I would rather we find an internal solution, weather through and wait for the following season to be able to comprehensively address that position.

  9. An interesting article which has certainly gained through much writer’s thought. I have no idea what will happen, so will not prophecy. I do know that substantial change is badly needed to elevate us into true regular top four or title challengers. Our whole outfield defence right now is without even ONE widely agreed real top class player; some look promising and likely to make it in the fullness of time. But that is not NOW, and NOW is when we need better defenders. But now will not be happening; indeed is not happening, so all we can do this season is make the best of the poor defenders we have and try to minimise mistakes. And wait, with fingers crossed, to see what next August brings.

    1. Jon Fox,

      I’m happy you found this piece interesting. Yes, the defence badly needs an overhaul and we fans can, sadly, only guess and dream just like I’ve done here.

      Thank you for reading through!

  10. Well written article.
    The only misgivings I have are with the prices attached to the incoming prospects.

    The market is insane. Thanks to you-know-who.

    Andreas Christensen would certainly cost more than 35 million
    With the form Nick Pepe is in, I expect him to cost more than 50 million. Not with the big boys sniffing around like hounds.

    Also, for the suggested departures.
    Koscielny is at the twilight of his career and I don’t expect any right thinking club to chunk out 10 million crabs.

    Mustafi has been piss poor for majority of his stay. No sane negotiator would sit around for 30 million.

    I agree with your bit on Julio Pelezeguelo. I like him. He is swift, comfortable on the ball and vocal. He should be a part of the first team, really.

    1. Isaac, thanks for reading.

      Do you think Christensen could cost 40 million? Mind you, he’s only played one really good season and, often more than not, the transfer fee of a player can be inflated by his consistency, hype and rival teams lining up to buy. If none of the previous holds true, I would not put it past the Chelsea board to sell him for even less.

      Mustafi cannot go for less than 30 million. You are looking at his value from a inside-club lens I believe.

  11. Next season will be interesting because so many dead woods will be gone as a result of contracts running out or shipped out and that will give us room for investments with without champions league e.g Cech ,Welbeck, Ramsay, Monreal, Litchsteiner and then ship out Mustafi, Kolscieny( while having a value),Elneny, Mik, Ozil ( the later both are not up to standard)and then invest in the following areas – Top class left back, Center back,Winger, midfielder and if finances permit another winger, then we will have a strong squad capable of challenging for top honers.

  12. Julio Pelezeguelo 5’11” for pete’s sake…there are LBs and RBs who are physically more imposing than this kid… some of the arsenal fans i swear to god live in La LA land!!! a CB should atleast be 6’4″ and not just a tall bean pole but a big mofo UNIT!!!



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