Exclusive – Michael Thomas discusses Auba, the transfer window and the race for Top Four


The Aubameyang decision didn’t really surprise me, it just felt inevitable. The player wasn’t adhering to the rules and the culture Arteta is trying to set at the club, and as a senior player, that cannot happen. He wasn’t playing or getting anywhere near the squad and he was also the highest earner at the club, so finding a solution to get him out permanently was probably the best way to go. Now the club and players still here can fully focus until the end of the season to finish as high up as possible.

As for Vlahovic or Isak coming in as Auba’s replacement, I think Arsenal did really push for a player they obviously wanted. The club wants the best talents out there and rightly so. That is what the fans want to see and I am sure the players at the club already also want the best players coming in to build a better team. Unfortunately this player was out of reach and had different ambitions and I think the club did the right thing in not panic buying to compensate. That being said I do think the club has a real chance at top 4 and a player of Vlahovic’s ability may have given us the push we needed. Isak is a very different player and although I think he would fit in very well with his abilities, I would love to see much more of a killer instinct and passion for scoring goals from him. Arsenal needs a striker that will work for the team, combine with others and LOVES scoring.

The January window is always hard and teams don’t like losing their best players mid season, especially if they cannot replace them. I do believe the club tried but at the same time, the calibre of player Arsenal required to get better was not available in this window. Hopefully we have a good second half of the season and can add some quality in the summer.

Since Arteta has arrived at the club he has been reshaping the squad both on the pitch and the staff behind the scene. He is trying to build a team that can compete on all levels and that takes time. Sometimes we as fans don’t have the patience for, but if we keep the faith and he continues to develop then I am sure you will see a lot of young hungry players playing for us.

But Arsenal can’t have a whole team of youngsters, I think every team needs some experienced heads. When a team is low you need those players to up-bring the young who probably haven’t experienced that sort of situation. If you look at how Lacazette leads with his talking and he also knows when to give advice and put his arm around a player.

Yes the squad is much leaner now but with just the League games remaining we have enough to get through to the summer. I think that was definitely in Arteta’s and the clubs thinking. They’re out of all other domestic competitions and can focus solely on their league position. They have some really good young players that can also play, the likes of Hutchinson & Azeez is now back so I feel they will be fine as long as there are no serious injuries to key players.

The quality we have in our young players is amazing. The more experienced players like Lacazette, Partey and Xhaka really need to nail it in now, and get their heads and the young players heads in game-mode to push. It is going to be tough but very possible.

Arsenal were the biggest spenders in the EPL last summer, and will 100% need to spend a similar amount next summer to reinforce the squad. It is not all about the cost of the players obviously, but we can probably expect a few big deals.

With Aubameyang gone, Arteta may be aiming to try out Guardiola’s tactics without a recognised striker and more goals from midfield. Guardiola has an amazing team with both youth and experience who have been playing together for a while now. I don’t think this tactic is viable at Arsenal currently but It can definitely be used in certain games.

I can understand many Arsenal fans were not happy with the transfer window and think Arteta now has to prove his decision was right by getting us back into the Champions League, but I think at the start of the season, most fans would have been happy with a top 6 finish. Now that we can see we have a real shot at top 4 the supporters rightly want the most.

We just need to be calm and get behind the manager and team as they’re going to need it.

Kind regards

Michael Thomas

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  1. Aubameyang, Willian, Sanchez and Oxlade-Chamberlain took big paycuts to play football elsewhere, instead of taking money from the club for doing nothing and using it for PR stunts. I admire real athletes like them

    Aubameyang might lack discipline, but he’s proven that he really cared about Arsenal. I won’t forget his heroic effort for our last FA Cup title

    Unfortunately, Arsenal decided to sign no replacement and we’d most likely finish below the fourth position because of that

    1. Sanchez left for money. ManU was paying him 400k a week before he left for Italy. The Ox? Yes. William? Yes, but not Ozil and Sanchez. Ozil had offers elsewhere, but he rather sit on the bench and collect his 360k a week. When ManU told Sanchez the figures they will offer him, he rejected every offer from Arsenal. Those are the ones whose decisions were purely based on money, not football.

      1. Sanchez could’ve milked Man United till the end of his contract, but he decided to take a big paycut to play for Inter

      2. Sanchez had long decided not to play before Man Utd was even in the picture. He didn’t leave because of money as he just didn’t want to be here. He chose Utd over City for money yh. With Ozil I believe later on he had a big offer out of Europe that if I’m not wrong was even higher than what he earned. I also remember him being linked to PSG. Koscielny is so underappreciated when it comes to these things. He should’ve left long ago and won big trophies. I remember how we tried to force him to stay but Arsenal put everything on him like it was his fault. Every big player who wanted to leave us supposedly had a bad attitude and so much cheap info is bought into.

    2. I really like Auba he is my African brother and he has helped Arsenal when it mattered most. But I personally think it’s best for him to part ways with Arsenal. Considering his rift with the coach/ his employer couldn’t be resolved. Considering Auba’s recent form his presence in Arsenal won’t still guaranty top4. In my opinion, Tottenham with their good coach has a chance than us and they have leather CF in Cain and Song. Man U, Westham and Leceister are not consistent enough. So, if Arsenal can fight and Lacazette, Pep & Matinelli picks form we have a chance. Especially if we can manage to be injury free and avoid red card there is hope. But we start first with the Wolves game tomorrow.

      1. Conte is lucky to have Kane, whereas Rangnick has to accommodate Ronaldo’s current playing style. I don’t think Lacazette, Nketiah, Martinelli and Pepe can play as consistent as Kane in the CF position, but let’s see how Arteta tweaks his tactics to minimize our attacking weakness

  2. No fan said they would be happy with top 6th place this season and if they did they belong in the ,Hills have eyes 2

    1. Bloody good movies @Dan kit. Saw the first two Hills Have Eyes in China of all countries. The wife works in China and downloaded them. The 6th unofficial instalment being the best. Could you imagine certain people on this site sitting through those movies 😱😱😱

  3. I thought that was a decent account from Thomas and he made some good points

    I believe that Partey in particular is the one to lead us into a good finish to the season, in my opinion he hasn’t shown us enough of what his reputation at Atletico indicated yet but sufficient glimpses to encourage us that it is there in him

    We need Xhaka to behave himself and Laca to be a bit more of a goal scoring threat than he has been to get to 4th, I think the others playing the way they have so far could take care of the rest, we also need to be as injury free as possible, enjoy some benefits from VAR and get that bit of luck when it matters

    Come on you Gunners

  4. Is any player above the club or is the club above every player?
    Many people go ahead to support a particular player and go against the club selling that player while some say that the club has the power to do whatever is in its best interest.
    This is the crux of the matter,
    Is a player above the club or is the club above every player.
    So many players singlehandedly carry the team and outperform others in the club, like our beloved, Aubameyang, Ozil, Aaron Ramsey, Alexis Sanchez, Van Persie and so many others. These all left at critical times when the club needed them the most, not to mention, the silly transfer fee the club received on their behalf.

    Van Persie — £24M
    Alexis Sanchez — Mkhitaryan
    Aaron Ramsey —- free transfer
    Mesut Ozil —- the mesut ozil saga
    Aubameyang — mysterious

    And guess who is next in line,
    Pepe —- ??? maybe, free transfer

    This has being a lasting trend at the Emirates, to let your best players walk away. These players were all match-winners, yet the club let them leave, some due to poor man management, not playing to the team’s pattern, other’s not willing to work hard enough and so on and so forth. Sure, every team needs stand out players, even in the days of the Invincibles, we had players who stood out. That is how trophies are won, that is how the ballon d’or is won, by outperforming others. Yet our beloved club would let our best players run their contracts out, terminate it or take meager fees for them.

    Former Blackburn striker, Chris Sutton:
    “Arsenal have let the situation get out of hand by letting players run their contracts down. In my day, once you got to two years left on your contract, if you were valued by the club you would be signed on again. Arsenal have made a rod for their own back in that sense.”

    These players should have been put before the club, at dire times when the club needed them the most, at least, to fetch the fans a trophy, so Gunners can boast on the streets. Even when we have been on the verge of winning something, Arsenal would let their best players walk, when the club needed them the most.
    Is it a crime for a player to stand out? I guess “The Process” will answer this.

    Nevertheless, they say, no player is bigger than the club. The club must take decisions that will favour the management, not minding the players that gets in the way, no matter the circumstance, even, when dealing with the best payer in the world.

    Joan Laporta stated at a press conference on Friday that Argentinian footballer Lionel Messi “wanted to stay” with the Spanish club and that “we wanted him to stay.”
    Laporta, who was elected as club president for the second time in 2021, clarified that “in order to achieve this, Barcelona had to agree to an operation that implied mortgaging part of the club’s television rights for half a century.”
    He added that “I wasn’t going to do that” since the club was “above any player. Including the best player in the world.”

    Every player needs to work hard for the greater good of the club. Commitment and loyalty means putting the club’s needs first before your own, not flying to another country to push your transfer or refusing to run and mark the ball when you team looses possession or sitting on the bench and laughing when your team concedes a goal. These are all reckless attitudes displayed by some of these players, I wonder the orientation they were given when they first walked into the club.

    “Tomorrow he plays. He is a player like the others,” said Mourinho on Friday.
    “No player is bigger than the club. If I am happy with his work he plays, if I am not he doesn’t play. I am really happy with his work this week. He trained really well. The team needs good players. He is a good player.”

    Arsenal football club is much more important than anything else. It is more important than a player or a manager.
    Dejan Iliev (26 years) just left AFC this past January after spending 9 years at the club. 29 career appearances in total, all made up of injuries and loans, I guess this one was bigger than the club, maybe 🤔.

    “No player can feel titular when he arrives at the club, the club is above all players,” Says Pochettino.

    AFC is bigger than us all, the fans, manager, players, journalists, “The Process,” I think.
    We must all join hands to push us forward, but we need some match-winning players, though, just thinking 🤔🤔.

    1. @Icewalker. Good analysis. Well written. This could pass for an article. No player is indeed bigger than the club. Barca let Maradona, Figo, Ronaldinho, eto’o and Messi go. Real let Robin, Beckan, Ronaldo, etc go. No player is bigger than the club.

  5. The “Youngsters” are good now. The problem is the “More experienced players”, of whom Thomas Partey is probably the only one that we know is there for the long haul at the moment (Laca contract ending, Pepe not sorted completely but I hope will be soon, Xhaka, well, you know, and the others out/with one foot out of the door already. So I guess the summer transfer window will include a mixture of young and experienced players. Although I guess if you’re good enough you’re old enough, and I’d love to see Arsenal break the bank for someone like Declan Rice (Although he’s strongly linked with Chelsea) or Calvin Phillips, or someone like that.

  6. So we were sold finishing outside of the Europa places last season was actually good as we could concentrate on getting top4.
    Now it’s most fans would be happy if we go into the Europa and finish 6th.

    Arteta actually took over a team that had reached the final of that competition.

    This year we are expecting a top4 challenge with no cup competitions it should be the minimum.

    Improvement is not coming 6th surely?

  7. I think Auba’s loss of form in high number of goals scoring for Arsenal in his last 2 seasons at the club. as against the 2 previous seasons he was at the club when he was on song getting the goals in high number for Arsenal in the EPL contributed in no small measure to Arsenal finishes on 8th for 2 consecutive seasons. During which Aubameyang failed to click in terms of high volume of goals scored for Arteta’s managed Arsenal team.

    And this left a huge dissatisfied 2 consecutive EPL campaigns on Arteta’s hands to deal with it. Hence, the rift that broke out between manager Arteta and the erstwhile Arsenal ace striker Aubameyang. Who I think knowing that he has started to pass it in high numbers of goals scored per season for Arsenal, deliberately cooked up a cynical plan to go ill-disciplined at the club by breaking team and club’s rules at will. And using that as camouflage to force the move away from Arsenal that he forced during the last January transfer window. Which he succeeded at doing that now left Arsenal without any recognized high number of goals scoring striker in the team fot the club’s remaining 17 EPL matches of the season.

    Nevertheless, the believes within us Gooners are the Arsenal first team Gunners that are left at the club after the last concluded Jan transfer window will step up their performances in the team considerably. More especially Lacazette. Pepe. ESR, Martinelli, Saka and Nkethia. Six Gunners whose strike-force partnerships upfront when played will be highly relied on to get the goals in number winning all the club’s 17 remaining matches of the season. Which is a possibility that can happen starting with our Wolves match tomorrow night at away. Which if Arsenal achieved these wins, it will see us to over comfortably finished in the top 4 places this season. And as a result also see us qualify to play in the UCL next season. As I believe us Gooners know all these things that concerned Arsenal very well. So, let us commit to prayers for Arsenal and hope these things will all come to pass successfully for us this season.

  8. Normally pro arteta but concerned about his inability to rectify fall outs with players such as guendouzi ozil and auba. I think there’s much more to this than we all know that justifies his stance but we won’t find out until he writes a book or all or jothing comes out!

    It’s almost better than an arsenal win watching spurs get done by s Hampton tonight. The nature of the game too, go a goal up conte losing it, conceding two quick goals then thinking they’ve rescued a point to find it’s offside lol many times over!

  9. We still have a decent chance of making the top 4, provided our young guns fire and the senior players like Laca, Partey and Xhaka guide them properly. I still feel Laca should have his contract extended and hope he becomes more consistent in front of goal. As for Pepe, MA can try him in the CF role and see how it works or a 442 formation with both Pepe and Laca upfront. We have to fight unto the last to make it to the top 4.

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