Do Arsenal’s early transfer targets suggest big changes for next season?


The rumours that Arsenal are chasing both N’Golo Kante and Granit Xhaka looks like a suggestion that players like Ramsey have had their last opportunity and maybe moved on. It may also suggest that Cazorla will revert to his number 10 role as the alternative to Mesut Ozil who has had a wonderful season and few players could replace him in that position even beyond Arsenal. It may suggest that there will be a three-man midfield. That may mean a change of system of play to 4.4.2 diamond from the one we have relied on of

Scoring the Goals
Either Sanchez moves forward to join a new recruit up front who, in my wild picking, would be probably Alvaro Morata. Should Sanchez move on then I would wish Mahrez to be drafted into the side as the second striker attacking with freedom to roam the entire left wing. Morata get the freedom to attack from the right with freedom to explore the right wing. With Morata and Sanchez, they in fact have the capacity to interchange and appear from both wings. With Mahrez, we will get the very same effect, even more better performance can come of a Morata – Mahrez partnership. With this partnership, chances of more goals from a stable partnership can be the result.

Main Cog
The team will be built around Ozil and that the reason we are offering him the biggest pay check ever in the history of Arsenal FC. You do not get an offer of this nature from Arsene Wenger if he does not have a special place for you. Last time someone was offered a big paycheck, Robin van Persie had Arsene Wenger shifting the pattern to accommodate him and it also happened with Cesc Fabregas. Many thoughts around the conventional 4.3.3 normally had Ozil operating to one of the wings normally the right side, but with the pattern below that will not be necessary. With his six goals and 19 assists now finding a willing squad to fire in the goals.

Three-Man Anchor
Of the three-man midfield, first a must say that Elneny will have a shout at an opportunity to throw out any of the three who do not perform. In my view Coquelin will face a determined Elneny looking to secure first team status. Elneny can score goals while Coquelin rarely makes for goals. The challenge will mean a few odd goals from the both Elneny and Xhaka just to fend off the challenge. Kante would be the first name in the team sheet but even he will face potential bench time as these three players can all play in the three positions comfortably. This midfield would also be capable of snuffing out many attacks even from strong teams across England and Europe.

Keeping the Goals Out
For the back four, Gabriel will come good eventually but I suspect Koscielny should be pushed back to his best, and therefore in comes Skhrodan Mustafi to give him a run for his money and eventually replace him in a season or two. Mustafi will have a run of games due the usual issues of injury, cards, suspensions and rotations. He will start by doing exactly what the Gabriel started off doing for Arsenal’s defense in this season.

The First XI
Here is the team I realistically see pushing the challenge for Arsenal in 2016/17 Season, based on the early signs of activities in the transfer market.

Sanchez(Mahrez)——–Alvaro Morata
Monreal—–Konsienly, Gabriel—-Bellerin

To ensure that the challenge does not lose steam and there is a squad ready to fill up the spaces in all areas, the following players should be drafted into the squad. The three-man anchor would be a major blockade for any team that wants to score goals against Arsenal. The anchor would also act as the source of delicious attacks with Ozil driving these attack agenda. The major drawback with this pattern of course is the exposure of Ozil who can be isolated and picked out if the execution is wanting. The other drawback would be the wings that are not constantly manned and could be used by some well-prepared teams to stretch Arsenal.

Bench Power
João Cancelo from Valencia FC would be a great addition to the squad in that he can play both Right back and Left Back as well as right wing when called upon and a great challenger for; Alex Nicolao Telles from Inter Milan would be a wonderful signing to understudy and eventually replace Monreal who is pushing his thirties and needs to be rested in some matches to avoid injuries. Raphaël Guerreiro from FC Lorient would be slightly cheaper option with completely similar attributes to replace Monreal. Shkodran Mustafi of Valencia should be brought to replace Mertesacker and ultimately replace Konsienly. Bernd Leno from Bayer 04 would be a worthy long term replacement for Petr Cech. With players like Elneny, Wilshere, Iwobi, Campbell, Carzola and Welbeck when he recovers and returns to the squad, there should be overwhelming firepower to challenge anywhere in Europe and any team with such a squad. Should players like Walcott, Oxlade Chamberlain and Ramsey stay they do have goals in them but I would suggest they are replaced with more consistent players. If the likes of Gideon Zalalem, Dan Crowley, Serge Gnabry and Chuba Akpom get a chance in the first team, then there would be more chances to more goals.

Would a 4.4.2 diamond pattern with a strong three-man anchor and double striking option be the final piece of jigsaw that see Arsenal challenge more sustainable?

Nicholas Oyoo

Tags Kante mahrez Xhaka


  1. 3 defensive or defensive minded midfielders at once?

    A striker who has never scored more than 15 goals a season (in all competitions!!), spearheading the attack?

    What, we going to bore our opponents till death?

    1. Alright let see:

      DEFENSE: Debuchy will leave for sure. Jenkinson WILL be his home-grown’t see anyone else leaving. Maybe add young English lad, Hause of Wolves or Holding from Bolton.

      MIDFIELD: Rosicky, Flamini, Arteta are out. Elneny has replaced Arteta. Get:
      – Xhaka to replace Flamini
      – Götze to replace Rosicky (final year of his contract)

      FORWARDS: Sell Theo, maybe loan Gnabry and OX. Iwobi has already replaced the latter one. Get:
      – Milik/Janssen if Wenger wants to penny pinch. They have potential, both scored massively this season and could become great. They might become Suarez or Altidore, or something in between. With the prices paid for Eredivisie players, it’s worth gambling.
      – Lukaku/Higuain? I can’t see us paying top money for either of them. So I believe Wenger will penny pinch on strikers anyhow. Yarmolenko could be converted to a striker. He’s got pace, strength and trickery. Also a powerful shot. Worth it?

      1. Great and realistic comment. I do see Lukaku coming if the price is below £40M though, but that’s only because he wants to play CL, and thus rumored away – and wanting to leave generally drops the cost of a transfer, both for transfer and salary. I do also see Wenger being content with out attackers, so I expect nothing to go down this summer. Even suspect similar window as last year, only adding youngsters

      2. When we look at this season compared to past the problem doesn’t look defensive at least on goals conceded … The real problem is how few we have scored ..which is particularly shocking as we have the divisions assists king… So if it’s 3 we should invest heavily in cf and winger …giroud plus Walcott/ox/Campbell will never deliver arsenal top honours …if wenger can’t see this he is dumber than I thought … That leaves a proven CB(sell mert) as third player ..if we get quality in these three positions I think we would be ok …selling Ramsey (which I would do without hesitation) and bringing in xaka is a bonus for me

    2. I also don’t understand this Morata obsession that people seem to have,he’s not good enough and his record says just as much,we need a world class striker not an average striker who can’t find the back of the net!

      1. Morata is world class. He’s our top transfer targets. There’s a reason why he’ll cost 40 million.

        1. @arsenalman365.

          Morata is world class????? Oh! That true I forgot,,he is world class because he wore the white of Madrid…

          Have you seen/read Wenger’s latest ranting???
          He said he wants to buy a striker and he was asked if Giroud will remain first choice,he said ‘YES’

          Are you still looking forward to next season??????

    3. I think Wenger realises he is close to the title and will sign two players or maybe even 3. He realises that we need a top striker. Giroud is great but as a second choice striker to fight it out for first place. I hope we get a player like mikhtarian. Kante and if possible aubameyang.. Im thinking we are alright in the defence with Gabriel and boss.chambers and bfg as back ups. We can move chambers to rb and get a quality cb.. If I was Wenger I would do all this

  2. The bit I struggled with is Cazorla. There is no way anyone could justify him as a 10 or whatever else. Santi took that position and made it his own. He is on another level compared to anyone we have, and probably in the league, when it comes to those duties.

    I doubt anyone will displace him from there. In all honesty, Wenger would be crazy to play anyone else there because there isn’t exactly an abundance of two footed players that can dribble/pass out of tight situations in your own half.

      1. A player only ever leaves Real Madrid when Real Madrid no longer wants them,did Real Madrid say they no longer want Isco?if not then we’re not getting him to replace anyone!

      2. My real madrid friends tell me Isco has become a player Zidane will never sell. If anyone from RM, it’s James – and I don’t mind if we get him at all. We would have to get an absolute world class beast CDM, seeing how both özil and James aren’t the most defensive minded midfielders. But surely Coquelin is able to handle that? He did great last year when that was his only task – to cover the midfield’s defensive tasks – and let the others do the offensive work

        1. @sevenetti
          That has been our main problem in midfield this season. One man cannot stem the tide of players flooding our half. Le Coq has been deadly but, he needed his midfield partner to be just that, a partner in helping to be the buffer for the back 4/5…And as much as people like to pounce on Flamini, he was quite solid in the DM position, even when he ventured forward in hunt for a goal, he still got back to defend in midfield. But he too had been constantly let down by his midfield partner. The main culprit has been Aaron’s lack of positional discipline. I had no problem with him getiing forward in search of goals, he just rarely got back to help stop the flood of players running through our midfield. Many teams knew and took advantage of this. Everyone goes on about LC’s hard driving style. I admire how they rolled as a wave, from attack to defense, all 10 men. There were no offensive/defensive players. There was just the “TEAM”, rolling in unison…

      3. ^Real Madrid’s transfers make absolutely no sense at all.

        James was bought after few good games at the World Cup. Let’s say Kane scores an overhead kick at the Euro’s -> Real will go after him and offer £60 millions.

        Players like Özil, Di Maria, Callejon, Higuain.. have all been surplus to requirements.

        Rodriguez, Isco etc. all could be sold if Perez decides it. Sense is long gone in Real’s transfer dealings..

  3. Arsene Wenger said he’ll be bringing in 3 new players so I suggest as Arsenal fans we start lowering our expectations during the transfer window just prepare for the worst and be pleased if the best happens!

  4. guys this is all nonsense.
    If I see something written that we are going to buy 7 players Ill ignore it.
    Anything written that we are after gotze or ibrahimovic.I also ignore it.
    Anything that is written that wenger is buying to replace i also ignore it.

    I will only speculate after a target is confirmed by a reliable source and not before

    1. While I agree with most of the other things you mentioned, I’d still say Götze is realistic enough, although very uncertain about Wenger seeing him as a target. You can’t put him in the same group as Ibrahimovic, who I think le prof will see as much too old considering the final pay it he is rumoured to be looking for..

  5. Welcome to transfer window everyone.

    OT: I our is actually working just need the right players in some positions to complete it, most notably in CF position.
    Get new CB to partner Boss and replace per.
    New WC CF to bench Giroud I.e aubameyang.
    And then Kante.

    1. @muda
      I believe we have the right players that would get the most out of our formation. AW just never put them together long enough for it to have a lasting affect…

      1. … or, the right players were out injured all the time, so AW didn’t have enough choice..

  6. If we only get 3, then what positions

    1. CM, CB, CF
    2. CB, winger, CF
    3. RB, CB, CM
    4. CM, CM, CF
    5. CM, winger, CF
    6. any other combiation

    I think we need to see if Debuchy and Gibbs stays
    Will we bring back any of the following:

    Maybe Wenger won’t get DM because of Coquelin, Eleney, Bieilk and Chambers.
    I think Wenger is happy with our CM: Wilshere, Cazorla, Ramsey, Ozil, Ox, Eleney
    Maybe Wenger won’t get a forward because he is happy with Alexis, Giroud, Theo, Ox, Danny, Campbell, Iwobi, Akpom, Sanogo

    My wishlist is Lewandowski, Mahrez, Xhaka, Nante and Howedes
    Get rid of Sanogo, Theo and Oxlade in addition to Arteta, Flamini and Rosicky

    I am not going to get excited like last summer
    When we got Cech, I was sure it would be the first of many. I thought we would get Cech, Schneiderlin and Benzema
    I won’t make that mistake this summer
    I will lower my expectations, but pray to Jesus, Allah, Zeus, Osiris, Romulus, Mithra, Buddha that we get a quality CF, CB and DM at the very least

  7. Side Note: The Guardian has announced their list for……. “Pundit of the Season.” Yes, not a joke here. Jamie Carragher tops the list.

    Yes, they are effectively honoring themselves like the Hollywood Oscars – And merely for offering opinions which are wrong 60-90% of the time. Imagine if you were wrong most of the time in your job? What a sweet gig. And the fans are paying for it all. It is enough to make you heave.

    1. Pundits may be wrong for 60 to 90% of the time but the sad thing is they are always 100% right every season when they say Arsenal won’t win the EPL or champions league under Arsene Wenger

  8. Wenger has recently stated that Giroud will be Arsenal’s number one Striker next season. ?
    I guess that we will have to wait and see who Wenger will sign as our number 2 then? ?
    Kante or Xhaka? .. I can’t see Wenger signing both,
    The cheapest one would be Kante!

    Wenger has also stated that mr Kroenke has always given the go ahead to spend, so maybe some fan’s will now realise that the lack of signings were always down to wenger and not Kroenke.

    1. Where and when did he Wenger say that Giroud will be number one next season? Do you have some actual facts, interviews or similar to back that up, or are you just making things up to suit your opinion? I am actually wondering, especially since I haven’t seen Wenger or anyone else even mention anything like that

      (I wouldn’t be surprised if it happens, but really hope not)

    2. People are taking that statement by Wenger out of context. He was asked that question. What did you want him say. You wanted him to say “Giroud is rubbish I will get another super striker to lead the line next season”. He said yes he will be our number one striker because he is the only out and out striker w have at the moment with Welbeck injured. He went on to say we are short in that position so we need a striker and for who will be number one striker next season its down to competition. He did not guarantee Giroud starting position

  9. He just announced that he will get the backing of the board & the owner to spend in the summer. And a few days ago that he would like to bring at least 3 players!!
    Of course as it always the case with our club dealings don’t get too excited but there is genuine hope that something will be done!!
    1) A DM will be necessary: I prefer Xhaka because for one we’re not poaching from a “rival” club, second he has better leadership being a captain at both club & country level, third he has more physical presence & probably more all around skills that provides versatility.
    2) I would like a defender because Per is a great player to have in the squad & has done great job but he is slow & Gabriel though I believe will be even better next year has scared at times…a younger, experience & skilled defender would be great like Kostas at Roma or Marquinhos at PSG
    3) Striker there’s some available out there: Higuain, Aubameyang, Morata, Lukkaku, Michy. Obviously the 1st 2 are a little bit tricky to get but the last 3 are easier options of course when talking about proven strikers: Lukkaku would be my bet as he has shown that he can be that 20+ in the EPL or Higuain as he seems to be embracing that role at Napoli and is clearly a 30+ goal scorer. They both can provide there fair share of assists as well but are finisher are heart (clinical ones).

  10. These transfer targets are likely speculation/fabrication by the media

    Can’t see us playing that formation, no width at all!!!!

    If we did & had those players, Coquelin & Kante should swap positions

    Morata? Not the goalscorer we need to push us on- 7 in 34 this season.

    Gabriel just hasn’t cut it so far. Half the time it looks like we’ve got a very good 3/4 of a back four- we need a new, world class centre back in there.

  11. As quite a few others mentioned, there’s no way that AW will go for a diamond formation next season – and even if there’s a new coach it’s not going to be anything close to that,,,

    Since a few mentioned hoping for signing, I’ll mention mine:

    1) Kante / Xhaka – although there are differences between them I really miss a strong midfieldes since PV left. There have been a few “OK” and “above average” players, but still nowhere near Viera..

    2) Xhaka / Kante . as mentioned they bring different qualities. No matter how much I believe in Elneny and Le Coq for the future I don’t see them as top players yet – I’d be happy to see at least one of them play almost every week, but we won’t see titles from kids

    3) Someone to partner Kos – I wish I could think of a realistic target here

    4) New striker/CF – not Giroud, not Morata and so on. Really doubting the rumours about Bemzema, Lewandovski etc – but would be very happy to see one of them (or perhaps Vincent Jansen)

    5) Again, we need someone to help Koscielny, and also someone to replace him when he start getting too old..

  12. I don’t know where people are getting this rumour about Kante to Arsenal his position is sorted already with Le Coq and Elneny we are going to get 1 player in midfield because thats the area which is loaded with players. injuries are going to be covered by players coming back form loan and Academy players stepping up. A striker its obvious he is coming and Wenger confirmed that and defenders depends on if we loose one in that department

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