Okay readers, let’s play a game. by Dan Smith
As many readers will know I spend many international breaks filling time with lists. So with Arsenal on a winter break I thought it be a good day to start our own kind of ‘Fantasy Draft’.
Essentially, we will go through each Premier League team and pick one player to sign. This, though, is Arsenal we are talking about, so let’s pretend you can’t spend more than 50 million on each player. Therefore, there is no point in selecting Aguero, Pogba, Salah, Kane, etc.
The idea of the game is to explore if there is any value out there. So, let’s use our imagination and be on our recruitment team.
Just a bit of fun, all opinions welcome, no right or wrong.
Here’s our next 5 ….
Crystal Palace – Van Aanholt – 12 million
I would love to write Zaha but I stressed the need to be realistic. Contracted till 2023, Palace have every right to value him as they want. Even structured payments would be breaking my own rules. So, I make this pick based on value. By the summer the Dutchman will have less than a year left on his deal so they can’t ask for silly money. A squad player who gets up and down like Arteta want from his full backs. Is he better than Kolasinac?
Everton – Yerry Mina – 50 million
When Everton originally paid 30 million for him, I wanted us to bid for the Colombian. He was a monster at the last World Cup. He is a threat from set-pieces and at the age of 25 will only get better around better players. He is surely using the Toffees as a stepping stone for something bigger?
Leicester – Iheanacho -30 million
The Foxes are one of the hardest teams to pick from based on my own criteria. They did a great job of tying their young talent down to long contracts, meaning they can ask for serious money for the likes of Madison, Barnes, Chigwell, Ndidi, etc. I was tempted to suggest their keeper, but I know that many gooners rate Leno. I’ll go for Iheanacho based on that I see him getting frustrated over a lack of starts, which was the reason he left Man City. This is a youngster who scored 21 goals in two years at the Etihad despite never starting. So, he might not be interested in signing an extension to a deal which runs out in 2022. We could lose Auba and/or Laca in 12 months so here’s a cheap option, one who’s been trained by Arteta before.
Liverpool – Shaqiri (loan)
With Lallana set to be a free agent he’s naturally been linked with us because again the Kroenke family love value. You don’t lose anything by offering him a contract, but you would have doubts if he can stay fit enough to be the player he was, so I think it’s worth asking about Shaqiri. He can’t get in their squad, and Klopp’s not the type to not want to help a top 6 rival (I think we still are?). He is a poor man’s Ozil so might get criticised for his work rate, yet, in terms of someone who can come off your bench and do something special, why not?
Man City – Phil Fodden (loan)
I know, he’s meant to get more game time when Silva leaves. Yet Silva’s been injured quite a bit this season and so has Sane and Gundogan, while Fernandinho’s been asked to play in defence. All of that and still the kid can’t get a run in the team which has probably cost him going to the Euros. If Pep wanted to loan him out so he played each week who better then under the guidance of his former assistant, so you know he will have the same ethos as you.
Who would you choose from these teams?