Are Arsenal having to do a total rebuild after the Wenger era?

Arsenal had been slowly going downhill under Arsene Wenger and feebly dropped out of the Top Four and also had developed an awful record against our biggest rivals, so there were thousands of fans hoping for a change of management to galvanise our revival. That finally happened this summer with the arrival of Unai Emery and he immediately brought in five players in Leno, Torreira, Lichtsteiner, Sokratis and Guendouzi and introduced his new system of playing. Maybe he hasn’t quite got the team playing to his tune, but he is certainly trying to get things right.

In my opinion there is still a lot of rebuilding to come, especially in defence as I’m sure you will all agree, so I was drawn to this quote from Wenger who thinks that his old team is doing okay. He was quoted as saying on Bein: “I think Emery is doing an excellent job,’

“With the recruits he has brought in, it has brought a form of defensive stability and so I think everything is going well.

“The team is in good hands and I always said that. A lot of people thought when I left the club that the team would need to completely rebuild – I never thought that.

“I am very happy that these people have been proven wrong.”

But have they really been proven wrong? I don’t think they have. I think we are just at the beginning of our transition period and it will take at least a couple of seasons for Emery to make this team his own. There will be more new arrivals and more promotions from the youth system to come before we can really start competing at the top again.

I think it will be Wenger that is proven wrong in the end. If he really thought that the team didn’t need rebuilding then that must surely have been one of the reasons he had to go! What do you think?

Darren N


  1. Oldhighburytommy says:

    Any proof still needed that Wenger has been just a little bat sh*t crazy for a few years now?
    I remember being impressed with Emery’s defence in the Europa cup final against Liverpool. I think it will be sorted out but yeah another year or two to really get shape.

  2. McLovin says:

    We are behind in every department, except maybe in strikers.

    I don’t understand. Stan Kroenke is supposedly business man. Why don’t Arsenal do smart business like Liverpool?

    Getting young players like Chukwueze, Oxford, Avdijaj cheaply or for free, is a great investment. When you get for few mils, they are guaranteed to sell for a bit more. Especially English players as there’s a quota to match.

    1. Gizzle says:

      @Mclovin Chukwueze was courted by arsenal but was denied a work permit hence the move to Villarreal.

  3. Oldhighburytommy says:

    Ps ..not meaning to start an argument on here as there seems to be even more often now, when I look, than the agony of recent years.
    Point is I trust Emery to create a decent defence and will take a little time. His system is clearly one based on more strengtg and cohesion in every department.

  4. Break-on-through says:

    Not too happy with the way the rumours are going. Not sure if I’m that keen on them. Carrasco, we tried for or were rumoured for him before, his stats are ok but they don’t exactly say too much. But at least he’s capable at getting stuck in. Good player but am not sure if I’m completely sold. Suarez is said to be very talented, but also sounds a little lightweight. Ozil and Mkhit also have that lightweight tag, so it’s a little strange. I would like us to go for a young up and comer, similar to how Mbappe arrived, or your man Pepe who’s giving him a run for his money. There should be loads on the cusp of breaking through, and professionals should be able to spot the best ones for our future. Another thing, we’re moving slower than we needed to be, we should’ve been in talks before the window arrived, look how quickly Che moved on that Dortmund player.

  5. Adajim says:

    I think gradually, wenger team will vanish from our starting 11, no mater how i think about this, it cant be 100% , even in 3 season time, we will still have regular 2-3players from wenger era who will still make our 11.
    O.T. i so much like Auba tweet/comment about his performance against liverpool,this shows he care,he realised he what sht in the game, hope he can learn and propel himself to having best year.
    Arsenal rumours so far, carasco excites me,i think Ramsey should be let go now for a few million,i read UE want him stay till summer, i believe our team of recruiters wont let us down. We dont really need overhauling in defense, we need a tactical change of aproach, and just 1 good defender with a good understanding of the game will do. Cb pairing is like a cult,both guys needs understanding, its not a position coaches can afford to change personel or rotate,but in our case injury is really affectiin our guys, just when mustaffi and Holding were about getting along, its a shame! Hope for better days

    1. Mobella says:

      The last time I check, Wenger was out six months ago and I can’t understand why we still refer to the team as his and not Arsenal team or Emery team. Do we hear Real fans call their team Zidane’s team or PSG fans call their team Emery’s team. The teams is Arsenals and Emery’s now and he should do what he must to make them better. Wenger wasn’t the one who extends Xhaka, Eleney etc contracts and brought Lich on.

      1. pires says:

        Agree Mobella
        Let’s look forward AND spend some fu***ng money…..

      2. Gworm says:

        But then no-one gave Wenger credit for George Graham’s back five did they?

        1. Midkemma says:

          I do not think anyone was claiming Wenger gathered the group together but he had an impact on the players and as such, for many, it was Wenger’s team which included the defense.

          Simple question should prove my point.

          Which manager allowed him to drink and which one got him to turn things around and act like the professional he was?

          See, credit given to Wenger for a CB that was thrusted into the 1st team by GG.

  6. Break-on-through says:

    Now we’re said to be interested in Mancini from Atalanta and Herrera on a free from Portugal. Mancini, a CB. Herrera’s a CDM player, supposedly strong in the tackle and dominant with his running. Would we even be looking for another CDM, don’t know. We sent scouts out to take a look at Mancini and a few clubs are interested, but ourselves and Dortmund are
    the biggest. We and Dortmund might be brought into it to drive price up, wouldn’t be the first time. I’m amazed we didn’t have our targets well before now, Under seems to be one so I don’t like the idea of walking away so easily to find a new target. We should aim higher, I hope we are but we’re being coy about it. Allot of fans online seem to be happy about the idea of Carrasco. Went from Dembelle, to Under, then to Suarez and Carrasco.

    1. ozziegunner says:

      Carrasco has apparently said he is prepared to drop his wages to come to Arsenal; the drop will need to be considerable given that he is supposedly on £175k per week!

  7. Grandad says:

    The subject of the legacy of Arsene Wenger has been discussed at length by our contributors since he left.Whether you were pro Wenger or anti Wenger the facts are that we are currently strapped for cash and are way behind Man City and Liverpool in terms of player quality and performance.As such we most certainly require upgrades throughout our back four and a genuine winger if we hope to have any chance of making a real challenge for the Premier League.As for our midfield this is an area where we have good players and young players such as AMN ,ESR and Willock waiting on the wings.Let’s hope Emery continues to give them a chance on a regular basis.It’s a question of priorities and unless we address our defensive problems asap we run the risk of dropping down the league to mid table mediocrity .

  8. ThirdManJW says:

    I’d say Emery is doing a very good job when you consider what Emery inherited, the huge transition on and off the field for the club, the crazy amount of injuries (including two season ending injuries), and the lack of funds for investment.

    Not even one season is enough time to sort all that out!

    1. ozziegunner says:

      ?the self funding model is a millstone!

  9. Adajim says:

    Yes ,Emery is doing a good job, thats why am amaze some fans has to boo his decision to replace Lacazete, when we all know we have only 2 strikers in the team presently, and with lacazet injury record (seems he is likely to get injured ahead of Auba due to his style of play. I doubt lacca wouldnt have been injured by now had he played same numbers of games as Auba, so UE decision to keep one striker on the bench makes sense,as far as am concern,
    Also his decision not to promote cb from youth team,that department is sensitive, we dont have a comanding defender yet who could help young ones to have good confidence and performance, our defense is still under ‘try and error’ process.
    Lastly, leichsteiner decision wasnt bad, a versatile RB whos was brought in to profer temporary solution, a cover for Bellerin till Jenko get out of physio room,and a mentor to young one both off and on pitch, he might be strugling with the pace of EPL but d man gives his all everytime, most on here were expecting him to bench Bellerin at the begining of the season, we all saw him perform against Brasil and at wc. Cut him some slack,he isnt the worst defender, ge deserve our respect

  10. Sue says:

    What happened to Almiron? Or was that just a load of codswallop??

    1. stubill says:

      Looks like he’s off to Newcastle.

      1. Sue says:

        Ok cheers Stubill

  11. Sue says:

    31 goals conceded in the PL alone… everything is not going well ? defensive stability?????

    1. ozziegunner says:

      Sue, teamwork, communication and trust are essential for good defending. The defense has been greatly affected by the disruption caused by injuries; Arsenal has rarely had the same two CB play together from one match to another, let alone a constant back 4 or back 3.
      It is difficult to assess the overall competence of Arsenal’s defensive players, when they are constantly being chopped and changed due to injuries. Other teams have been able to retain a consistent lineup.

      1. Sue says:

        Very true John ?

  12. pires says:

    Wenger was at fault but the biggest fraud is Kroenke…He has to spend …We will never catch City with his self-sustaining crap.

  13. Adajim says:

    @sue, defensive stability wouldnt arrive overnight, we have bad lucks with injuries at that department already.
    Some may argue we werent doing great before those injuries, but lets remember we are yet to play same defenders for a straight 1 month, that is one of major issue, if the big teams have to change their backline like we do because of injury, lets see if they can cope too, e.g, loveren or van dirg out for 2week, or larporte. Before i will criticise our defense , we would have use same cb pairing consistently at least for 2months and same back 4, in a month.
    The man is trying to improve things, by changing to 5 or/4 at times but still comunication and understanding is lacking among our defenders. Hope we are injury free

    1. Sue says:

      Yes the injuries haven’t helped whatsoever and I know things weren’t going to change overnight!
      The clock is ticking…. come on Sven

      1. ozziegunner says:


  14. Jah son says:

    Yeah,Yeah,Yeah praises for Lord Emery who’s signed five defensive players and still some how manages to make it worst arsenal haven’t controlled and win a competitive game all season under Emery so Wenger is to be blamed. Fact check we do have quality players.

  15. AndersS says:

    All the teams in front of us (Liverpool, City, Spurs & Chelsea) play a type of football, where attackers & midfielders are involved in defending with high pressing and disciplined positioning, when the opponents have the ball. Barcelona, Bayern, PSG and Juventus play pretty much the same way. You could say, this is the modern way (and only way) to succeed at the highest level today.

    Wenger never looked like adapting to this, and sadly all players from the Wenger area (also our young talents) have not learned it.
    I assume and hope Emery wants to play this way, but it will take time get it into the players, and some players probably can’t or won’t adapt to it They will need to be replaced.

    This process took Guardiola a couple of years with almost unlimited budget to replace players, he couldn’t use. It has taken Klopp and Pochettino 2-4 years with smaller budgets.

    I think this is what we are looking at. It is not just a matter of buying some new players. It is also, and maybe primarily, a matter of coaching players individually, and the whole team, a new way of playing.

    1. snowden says:

      If you read the Daily Mirror then you might as well believe that the moon really is a lump cheese.

      Next week this cheesey paper will tell us that AW is to be the ‘shock ‘ new manager of Man U. Or its rumoured he is to take control of Nante in Ligue I or North Korea etc.

      Have a guess. Your guess will be as good as anyother guess as to what the mirrow will say next.

      Remember a ‘rumour’ is a ‘lie’ proclaimed as a ‘truth’, no matter the claim for it, it remains a ‘lie’.

      1. ozziegunner says:

        Arsene Wenger is mooted to be the new manager of Qatar.

  16. Tom says:

    Naturally a rebuild needs to occur when you are not reaching your standards.
    When Wenger took over at arsenal our defence was not young but the tactics was better suited for the times. The issue defensively today is that holding, mustafi, mavo, monreal, bellerin have all been out injured and kos is just coming back while leno and sokratis and lich are new recruits. All in all it’s a dire situation to be in to start implementing ideas.

    With that, we still can all highlight areas within the back where we need recruits.

    But on the agenda of total rebuild – I would also mention that a rebuild in mentality is required, a rebuild in giving young players chances as previously through the lack of reaching our levels we have not taken the chance on young talent. Also, it’s a 75% shift towards a squad we require not a total rebuild.
    All areas need upgrade with current players either being moved on or having to raise their standards.

    I do believe unai is the best recruit. After pep he has won the most honours of all EPL managers – So he knows best what needs to be done to win….if the board back him!

  17. Bur says:

    In a word ……….yes. Starting with the defence.

  18. jon fox says:

    Like some others I have been aghast at what has passed for our “defence” in increasing agonies year upon year throughout the last decade and this DISGRACE was the prime reason I was calling for Wengers head, years before the campaign to oust him gathered the momentum it finally did. It was clear to me and had been for ages, even before he bought Snail Merts- a crass and ridiculous buy, IMO, in a fast paced and physical league like ours – that he(Wenger) had not the first idea of how to organise and put together a strong defense. And so it proved!
    We have had just ONE good enough CB since Sol Campbell and that was – but no longer is- Koscielny. That is a disastrous and completely unacceptable state for a club of our standing and is 90% of the reason I craved Wengers removal.
    Right now, even including the much improved Holding and the distinctly promising LOOKING(as in unproven ) Mavropanos, we have NO CB of top quality at all . Not one . Sokratis is right now our best available but he is a million miles from being true and historic Arsenal standard and I, for one, do not intend to fool myself otherwise.

    I do NOT blame Emery in the least, even thougn there seems a complete lack of any organisation in our whole outfield defence, which if possible ,IS EVEN WORSE, than last seasons shambles.

    Emery has completely changed attitude, desire mental frailty and much else. BUT it must be said the defence is still a huge mess. It will clearly need Kroenke to step in and provide funds if we are to have a hope in hell of quick improvements. You can put lipstick on a pig, BUT it is still a pig!
    Simply put we need to BUY far better quality. IMO , it is quite clear that only Holding and Mavrop are worth keeping, once replacements are here and the entire rest of the CB’s should be got rid of asap. If the “junk man”, ie Forest, Sheff Wed, Accrington Stanley or such like will, and stupidly, give us “fourpence halfpenny” for that junk well, we should bite their hand off and more fool them! But we need them gone and soon.

    We also have not one fullback who is reliably good enough as a defender. Not one. Bellerin is good going forward and should be tried on the wing but if not, then SOLD, SINCE HE HAS NOT THE FIRST IDEA HOW TO DEFEND AND NEVER HAS. Likewise with Kolas, WHO IS DOING WELL GOING FORWARD BUT CANNOT DEFEND. Monreal was a half decent defender a while back but is now injury prone and finished at the level we need.
    Either Kronke starts looking after his “asset” properly or we are reduced to waiting to see if Holding and Mavrop can cut it as a top CB pair. But that will not be at least til next season and, as yet, NEITHER are remotely a Harry Maquire or Van Dyke and may well never be one. If you are content to wait and hope, then do not expect silverware any time soon as it will be a long wait, IF it ever comes.


  19. Jeremy says:

    Under AW’s reign, we fans should be wise enough to learn never to speculate on who is coming in. Ask ourselves how many windows we saw ended with fans sucking thumb.

    Especially with SK, just not to expect too much. We shld feel lucky if overhaul process takes 5 years.

    It will take time for deadwood to run their contract out too.

  20. georgie b says:

    We should have three Greek defenders. Sokratis, Mavropanos, Kostas Manolas. Two we already have

  21. ACE says:

    A massive squad overhaul or comprehensive
    rebuild @ the Emirates are a touch hyperbolic
    imho. I do concede that the current collective
    talent at the club is quite frankly not good enough
    to seriously challenge for the EPL title and CL
    futbol but some shrewd inner club business
    as well as neccessary investment to supplement the existing star players could see Arsenal be
    major players on all silverware fronts for years
    to club.
    Consider this hypothetical business over the next
    few transfer windows and NO I DONT PLAY

    El Neny—£15M

    £38M recouped in transfer fees, and nearly
    £200K in wages freed up to allocate toward Tah
    and Carrasco.

    Jonathen Tah—£35M

    Net £17M spent in January on 2 QUALITY players
    that would walk into Arsenals first team.
    for AFC.


    £85M in players sales in addition to what the
    club will probably invest this summer should
    see AFC have close to £160M in there coffers
    to buy the following players.

    Max Aarons—£15M

    £160M spent on transfers



    These Arsenal squads would be fun to watch in
    the short term and imho would be serious
    contenders on all silverware ronts for years
    to come.

    1. Midkemma says:

      How you talk about the transfers does make it sound like you came from FIFA or Football Manager.

      No range for the fees?
      You know that is what players would cost?

      Sorry, but the only way you can have such certainty is if you take over the other team and accept any offer you make…

      Dacoures price has been talked about for a number of days when linked to PSG and that was for £50 million, £10 million more than you said.

      Now your budget is out and we have not even considered the other players and claiming a price now for 6 months time…

      Only on a game is it like that.

  22. Things are changing says:

    I don’t think we have the budget needed to rebuild. AW was allowed to splash some massive cash towards the end of his dark days (Xhaka, Mustafi, Laca, Auba). Laca and Auba were likely desperate final attempts to get back into the top 4. The attempts failed. The money is gone and the budget has been dramatically dialed down on account of no longer reasonably being able to budget the CL cash and all that comes with that.

    No CL football means you operate on a different budget level. Since no CL football has become the “norm” from a conservative budgeting point of view we should forget expecting Emery to get the type of money Wenger did. There is unlikely to be the type of money needed to buy top quality proven CD’ers.

    This is part of the reason we are struggling at the moment to bring in any players this window. IF we pull of a miracle and qualify for the CL either as a result of winning the Europa league or finishing 4th our budget will increase meaningfully. But these are statistically small likelihood events.

    This is the reason we prefer to bring players in on loan and wait and see if we manage to qualify for the CL before we spend the big bucks. At the moment 20 million is an almost too large a price tag.

    This leaves us the only reasonable alternative which is to develop our own top players, not unlike Spurs did. We can buy “cheap” unproven players and hope our youth system and or manager succeeds in bringing them to world-class levels. (I love Gendouzie and see him as this type of purchase)

    This is why it is so baffling to me that we don’t put more emphasis on this “develop your own” model but instead have our promising youngster (Nelson?) develop under other managers and in other leagues.

    I don’t claim to be a manager in the making but the nice thing about football is that it is not a difficult game to follow and Nelson, no doubt, is IMO ready for first team football in the PL. In fact, I would argue he might already be our best right wing option. So why not invest in the guy and bring him back to give him serious minutes in the PL? Why even farm him out at all?

    If Arsenal wants to get back to the top it will have to be through a large contribution of it’s young players. Ours are not getting enough minutes IMO. Would it have been so bad to have Chambers around instead of Lichtsteiner trying to play in back 3?

    We need to rebuild this squad, it is going to take a large number of self-developed players because we don’t have the money to buy ready-made proven players any longer and we don’t have the owner who is going to fix that.

    1. ozziegunner says:

      ?Well reasoned; however Lacazette and Aubameyang have proved to be good transfers and still have increased resale value given the current transfer market. Chelsea would love to have either.
      All Arsenal has to do now is bring the defense and midfield to the same level. Hopefully, as you state the young players like Nelson, Willock , Bielik, Chambers and Smith-Rowe to step up and the Trinity can sign some hidden gems.

  23. Things are changing says:

    Agree on Laca and Auba being great players. I am very happy with them. However what is the chance we will spend that type of money on any one player in the next few windows?

    Also from a limited resources point of view every time these two don’t occupy the same pitch it means a massive transfer fee sitting on the bench. Laca for my taste is not played often enough.

    If you are going to spend 100 million euro on two players wouldn’t it be better to have done it on two players who are an easier fit on the pitch? A striker and a winger?

    I think the guys in charges at Arsenal including the manager are about as competent as we can hope for on our budget but they won’t be able to pull of any miracles with a healthy dose of luck and some more real cash.

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