Martin Keown’s SENSIBLE assessment of Arsenal’s needs

The Gunners legend Martin Keown is one of our more respected ex-Arsenal pundits, and although he thinks Arsene Wenger has assembled a fantastic squad he believes there are three areas that Le Prof needs to address this summer to give us the strongest possible line-up to challenge Chelsea next season.

First off all Keown, like many others, think that Arsenal still need to get a new top-class keeper, despite David Ospina’s brilliant record since he became our Number One. This may be the one area I disagree with Keown’s assessment and I believe that the only reason we should be looking at other keepers is if Wojciech Szczesny decides to jump ship, and for me that is unlikely.

Not many Gooners would disagree with his second tweak, which is a backup/partner for Francis Coquelin in the holding midfield position. Le Coq has been fantastic, but the season is very long and he may (or will!) get injuries and suspensions. We definitely need top class cover in that position.

Lastly, and I like this one, he suggests that Arsenal should get in another striker. Giroud generally stays fit but if anything happens to him I’m not really sure that Danny Welbeck is yet ready to fulfil the centre-forward role. Keown thinks that we need a “fox-in-the-box” type of striker (Chicharito anyone?) to either play alongside him or to replace the French international against teams that are harder to break down. The Mexican is renowned for for scoring crucial opportunist goals when under pressure, and I’m not sure that Giroud is quite so good when left up front on his lonesome.

What do you think of Keown’s comments.

Tags Coquelin Giroud Keown


  1. Apart from the keeper, i 100% agree with the other two requirements. A top class striker and top class CDM is an absolute necessity. Coq’s rise and Arsenal’s devastating form of late. It cant be a mere coincidence. This proves beyond doubt that CDM is such an important player for Arsenal. Since season is long, we cant expect Coq to be available for each game. So we absolutely need one more. I am sorry but i do not rate Arteta. Flamini and Diaby for that role anymore as Coq has raised the bar for CDM. Probably the first one to do that since departure of Viera.

    1. I still don’t get the keeper argument from Fans pundits ex players and managers. I don’t claim to be coach or even a goal keeping coach. To be honest i know nothing about Goalkeepers.

      But can someone explain to me why people want ospina out of the team so bad? Or why the want a new number 1 keeper?

      because from my own point of view i really don’t see what Ospina is doing wrong. for me he is a top quality keeper and he has done all what is asked of him. He competes with sxseney who is also a top keeper. i feel satisfied in that position. I guess most people disagree with me.

      1. the reason you don’t get the goalkeeper argument is because fans in general don’t know how to assess keepers we think if he makes a few saves he great,but thats not how it works,its a specialist position,where the lay man fan can’t really see the defeciecies,the fact that Bob Wilson Wengers ass wiper himself cast doubts speaks volumes.i don’t think Wenger will do whats required for us to push on hes not capable of it,not ruthless enough.We all know Arteta,Flamini an Diaby should be gone,but will they be gone thats the question.If they are still in our squad next season then Wenger has failed us again like the last 10 years

        1. “From the time Wojciech got into the Arsenal first team, there were a lot who asked if he was good enough and I thought this boy has the potential to really be a solid, outstanding goalkeeper. I still believe that because he is – for his position – still relatively young” – Bob Wilson, 8 March 2015.

          That is what “ass wiper” Wilson thinks of our present No.2.

          1. i was talking about wat Bob Wilson said about Ospina,that hes too small.On the same show he said that we need a new keeper mate,Wojechs done imafraid.How old is Courtois?he doesn’t make mistake after mistake

            1. Must say i agree with Keown 100%. Many believe we need at least three new players and i believe that Keown is spot on in the Areas most in need.

              Goalkeeper, i know we all appreciate Ospina greatly but that may be more due to him being a huge improvement on young floppsy no disrespect rather than actually proving himself very top keeper by making match winning saves. And if we can get a very top echelon GK i say why the hell not.

              Holding role. I seen today we where rumoured to be chasing my favorite choice – Marco Verratti. Absolutely top draw player, not the beast that some would hope for but all round quality and looks made for the Arsenal. Can play Arteta role and best part is can play with Coq which i would love to see when playing che. Yeah id say all fans know by now we need another DM, maybe vary with choices but we all want a new one.

              Striker am sure there is no argument against. Only argument is on the type or choice of Striker.

            2. Yeah 6’0″ Bob Wilson must know a thing or two about 6″0″ goalkeepers being too small.

            3. On what show was that because his statement above says the opposite. Would you be having this discussion if Cech wasn’t being touted around? If Cech isn’t available who would you go for?

            4. Don’t agree. Striker like lacazarette because he’s so different from Giroud, schneiderlin because we need options and depth in the position but Ospina for me needs to be given at least half of next season. I remember the greats we have had as have other great teams over the year…seaman, Jennings, Wilson even Lehman..then others in quality teams like clemence, Schmeichel, etc and it is true that it is specialist position and we don’t realise what we have missed in recent years…but Ospina has hardly put a foot wrong and he should have a decent crack at it and for me the other positions like cdm and striker are more important in the short term.

              1. don’t you think the staff assess the standards in training?Bob Wilson is our former goalkeeping coach,don’t you think he talks to the staff?People keep refering to the fact that Bob was small himself,he played in a different era when the ball was made of different material an didnt move around as much.Keepers 2day don’t dominate aerially the way Pat Jennings did.
                Bob Wilson was talking on talksport a month or 2 ago.

      2. Beacuase big clubs always look for better available players, loyality always for quality not personel… If cech is available for reasonalbe price then why not, he is a better keeper…

        1. Not necessarily true NGIH. Plenty of evidence that “big clubs” also keep faith with their goalies if they believe in them despite drops in form, some howlers etc – Hart, De Gea, Mignolet ring any bells.

          1. Dea Gea was only in poor format the start,they can’t sell him b4 hes settled in.since then he been class,so that point isn’t valid.City dropped Hart when he was out of form an Mignolets doesn’t count

            1. Sorry not following your logic. You say big clubs always look for better available players – City, United and Liverpool didn’t.

      3. Do you remember when Degea first went to Manchester United? He was awful every single individual thought he wasnt good enough. So this criticism will past soon. Guys wenger dont know who he is gonna buy in the off season i would be surprise if we dont loose atleast one of our top player so just wait and see. Another frustrating off season.

      4. We do not need another keeper unless szszezney leaves.
        The reason i think they want ospina out of the team i reckon is because he is not as tall as other keepers. Could be wrong.

      5. He does nothing wrong, but nothing great either.
        He did not make any spectacular save to earn us points (like De Gea, Lloris) or dominant in the air and around the penalty box (like Courtois, Cech). His kicking is suspected as well.

    2. We should let schezney leave and get peter cech. Get a back up DM, and a winger/striker. I agree with martin. Good assessment.. I still think we lack a natural winger badly…

    1. Yeah, he’s a genius – the fans really needed him for those points…
      REALLY NOW – almost every fan on this site has been saying almost the same thing from a long time ago…

    1. Nope Nope Nope. Theo is Arsenal through and through and his best years are still ahead of him. We cant not sell one of our own blood. He will come around. Dont worry!

      1. Sell Walcott? wow wow. Kicking someone when they are down. Theo had the worst injury a footballer could have. Jay Rodriguez of southampton is yet to play. we are going easy on theo and he will get his form back. he is still only 26. This is a guy that can score 20 goals easy a season. trust me bother 20 goals aint easy especially as a winger

        1. It’s not fair to particularly lay into Theo for sure, but he needs to sign and recognise its him who owes the club not the other way around. As for being 20 goals a season at 26 (as you rightly point out) again he’s gotta show he’s able to do that cos just believing that’s what he can do is starting to wear thin.

      2. uhh he`s from southampton but more importantly he is mediocre…there are so many better options out there it is a no brainer to cash in now and bring in a quality attacker…i would risk one of the young turks from ligue 1 or serie A..but in any event just sell the whippet and bring in a quality footballer…with a quality DM we can have net spending of no more than 30m and strengthen significantly…not worried about GK but do worry about left back would like to see a more rock solid defender there

      3. im not Theos biggest fan but the way hes being treated right now i wouldn’t be surprised if he left.Against Hull,Wenger played a central midfielder Ramsey on the wing insted of Walcott,then when he brought Ramsey off he brought on another central midfielder Wiltshere,he only brought on Walcott lfor Giroud.If your Walcott what would you be thinking?Those of us who understand the way we play with 1 up top kow that Theo will never be our regular striker because he doesn’t have the necessary skills.His only real postion is on the right either as an inside right or an out an out winger.The fact he doesn’t track back alot may be reason why Wenger doesnt start him,but even so he must be fi.
        When was the last time he started a match?Hes gone from being an automatic starter to not even getting a game,i think the question is will Theo want 2 stay?

  2. Think most Arsenal fans are clear at this point what needs ADDING to the squad (DM and ST/F9). Still have yet to hear a pundit/ex-player acknowledge we are much closer to title contenders than they all seem to be giving us credit for.

    Everyone has designs on 3/4 players which is a third of a team!!? That’s just nonsense. 2 players and this squad is in great shape. Any other buys will only be REPLACEMENTS (Szczesny, Theo).

    I would be a very content gunner should we buy a schneiderlin and a benteke.

    1. @Champagne Charlie,you do know that we’te 10 points behind Chelsea don’t you?A chelsea team that couldn’t beat a 10 man PSG team for over 60 minutes?In truth Coquelin an Sanchez have improved us,but don’t be fooled the competition, with the exception of Chelsea have all dropped in standard(utd city),rather than a big improvement on our part

      1. I agree with CC’s analysis. We can argue all day long about whether the 2015 Arsenal is a true improvement on their recent predecessors but I am pretty sure they are. I am pessimist by nature and have watched Arsenal for 40+ years – but I see sustained evidence that we have significantly improved our team balance, addressed the gung-ho antics of recent times and upped the work-rate all over the pitch.

        We all love to mull over the “what if” scenarios when we review a match or a season and whilst it is ultimately an exercise in futility it can give clues to real improvements. It is almost impossible to manufacture a “what if” scenario for some of the 2013-14 performances – there were some shocking, shocking performances where we deserved less than nothing. There is no kind analysis for the 0-3, 3-6, 1-5, 0-6 abominations we endured. I would submit that this season we have only been properly played off the park once – Dortmund away. Anderlecht(h), Monaco(h), Stoke(a) 1st half and Soton (a) were very poor, a mixture of not turning up, naivety and a few rickets. But every team in Europe, no matter how good they are have had more than one off-day or a shocking result – Real, Barca, Bayern and Chelsea have all been embarrassed. But I believe the settled more balanced 2015 Arsenal side would not have lost to Man U (by nearly everyone’s account their luckiest result of the season). This of course was reversed in the FAC. Both Pool and City rescued draws in time added on to deny us wins – again something I don’t think would have happened with the present side. We beat them both fairly easily in the other fixtures we faced them. Swansea’s win – again daft. In summary I think the “what ifs” this season have been a lot more marginal than the previous season – more about attitude and tweaking as opposed to wholesale upheaval/rethink back to the drawing board stuff.

        Yes Chelsea are 10 points ahead and the table doesn’t lie – but it does sometimes tell a few little porky pies. We lost 8-12 points minimum in very marginal situations or as the result of fairly small but nonetheless critical errors. Conversely Chelsea had a good start to the season and then went on to eke out lots of 1 goal dull wins – very effective nonetheless. It is difficult however not to note that quite a few of these wins were reliant on goalkeeping howlers or penalties. They will say they didn’t need or want to go all out for convincing wins but I don’t buy that in all honesty. I am further convinced that if the injury stats were reversed we would still be in the title hunt now – as they say if my uncle had tits he’d be my auntie, I know that – but it remains true nonetheless. No way would Chelski without Ivanovic, Terry, Fabregas, Costa and Willian be running riot in Aug-Nov last year.

        Lastly, perhaps the most telling evidence in recent months is Mourinho’s anti-Arsenal PR carpet-bombing through the media. He will not be scared of us, no need to be, but we are certainly getting a few glances in the rear view mirror from the Special One. Also I sensed the Chelsea team reaction to getting the draw at our place was predominantly elation but with some relief thrown in.

  3. We really need just two players and they to my mind are Schneiderlin and Alexandre Lacazette, both are proven and will add another dimension to our play. still worried by Wengers statements about not being busy in the transfer window, if we don’t add and capitalise on our success and improvement this season then uyou can be sure that city and Cheski will do and we’ll get leaf behind again

    1. Wenger says the same thing before every season. I am hopeful he will buy one player i.e CDM at least. As per the striker i am not sure as he thinks return of Poldi and Sanogo will fill that void which i completely disagree.

      1. Wenger will definitely punt Podolski. And rightfully so. That guy has annoyed the living daylights out of me since I found out he was on 100k a week.

        He’s excellent on twitter but almost always disappoints on the park. If he was on a wage that was befitting on his on-field talent then he may be a decent impact bench player. For 100k a week? Punt him to anyone that will take him off of our wage bill

    2. Definitely agree with this. I woud like to see Arsene anticipating on the aging of Mertesacker + Koscielny aswell and sign a young defender to take over with Gabriel in one or two seasons. Fabian Schar would be my ideal signing because he’s good in (heading) clearances, has CL experience and is out of contract!

      1. Schar makes sense. We also need to look at homegrown rules and I really like John Stones for that. But looks like he is Chelsea’s target and I read 30 mil valuations. Funny how Chelski has the best youth teams and they are looking at spending insane amounts on a 20 year old defender.

        1. Just read in swiss news paper that Schar’s contract runs till 2016. So he will not be free, but at least be reasonably priced.

      2. if some of you run arsenal i swear the club will go bankrupt. Sign a young defender? Didn’t we sign callum Chambers last summer for £16 million pounds? so i really don’t get the argument on signing a young CB.
        We have Per Boss Gabby and Chambers. Well a new CB will make it 5 CB.

        tell me one club in europe that uses 5 CB? Am sorry but the CB arguement is stupid. Clubs like real chelsea are winning titles with 3 CB. But arsenal fans need their clubs to have 6 CB.

        1. I know we signed Chambers, but Per and Boss are about the same age, so we’ll only be left with Chambers and Gabriel at that rate, that’s why I’m suggesting to pick up the relatively cheap Schar before another club does it, kid’s obviously talented.

          1. Hayden could step up. He is our best defender from the youth system. Unfortunately he was injured at a time he had the chance to fill in.

            1. These guys desperately need game time, I personally would like to see them a yearly loan spell (first Chambers, then Hayden) to boost their development. In the games where Chambers started he showed (at times) he’s not building the confidence/attitude required to be a future starter. But I agree with you Hayden should definitely be considered for senior team coming season.

              1. Chambers got more game time than any rookie 19 year old could reasonably expect. His RB excursions have sometimes been uncomfortable and even he would admit that but it is a stretch to say he was embarrassing or really poor – he did a job for us in difficult times. I remember last season he had us in his pocket when he was at RB for Soton. Have to say in contrast that in his CB outings he has looked a different player and that is where he will end up.

          2. Are you guys seriously worrying about our CB ages when they easily play until 34-35 consistently and are currently only 29, 30? Mertesacker doesn’t even have any pace to lose anyway! (If he doesn’t become backup to Gab).

            Just look at the best defence in the league (Chelsea) with 34, 31, and 29 year old starters. Ridiculous.

            1. On the money. 29 and 30 for your frontline CBs, a 24 year old with reasonable top level experience and two 20 year old CBs would appear to be an excellent age profile for our CBs.

      3. I think CC(20), IH(20) and GP(24) are at the right age in anticipation of our rapidly aging CB pair. Come on man, 29/30 is not the curtains to your career, especially as a defender/gk. If our CBs Mertesacker and Koscielny are on geriatric alert at 29 and 30 then Robben, Ronaldo, Ribery, Iniesta, Toure, Xavi, Terry, Cahill, Ivanovic, Tevez, Pirlo, Modric, Alves, Ibranhimovic, Leichsteiner, Lahm, Pepe, Schweinsteiger, Mascherano, Chielini, Torres, Huntelaar, Godin, Alonso, Thiago Silva, Lavezzi, Gabi, Juanfran, Van Persie will be getting their zimmer-frames out as well. Honourable mentions to Santi and Rosicky as well.

    3. busy in wengers world not busy just means we wont going large in terms of broadcasting any deals soon but he will be busy come may/june time he will have his scouts reporting end of term reports, and have his shiny new stats team arm him with all the info he needs to make the correct choices this summer, just you watch he will do the business when the time is right coyg

  4. i am going to put my neck on the line here and say we might even see our first £50 million(this unfortunately is what world class cost these days) transfer arrive this summer if wenger’s world class only comments are any thing to go by i think the days of buying cheap are gone.
    wenger sounds like he is singing from the same sheet as the fans expectations in the transfer window come on wenger pull out the BIG SIGNING THIS SUMMER OUT OF YOUR HAT.

  5. No one is coming in to watch OG for 40+ games. Especially for 30-50m. For all those saying lets get another option. So much of our play is predicated to having a target set up shop with back towards goal and others breaking off that. Sanogo when he played tried to do it, as did Welbeck so I’m thinking they are being taught in training to use that option. I really don’t see another player like that who is available for 15 games a year.

  6. We have a wonderful squad so to only bring in top quality players is BANG ON THE CASH!!!

    For me it would be a CDM and a CF.

    I think we are covered everywhere else, although is Cech is available at a half decent price (I understand he won’t come cheap) then we should snap him up. That guy will single handedly save you a few points over the course of a season.

  7. I know it’s almost impossible….. But the squad we have plus I want to add Messi in the attack. In midfield add Morgan Schneiderlin and we are good to go.

    Striker : Messi, OG12
    Wings : TW, OX, Sanchez, DW, Gnabry, Joel Campbell
    Midfield : TR7, SC19, Schneiderlin, Jack, AR16, Ozil, FQ34, MA8, Diaby :),
    Defenders : MD2, HB39, CJ25, PM4, LK6, Gabriel, CC21, KG3, NM18
    Goalkeeper : DO13, WS1, EM26

    Proper squad with depth and quality at every place. We can look at someone in the tough situation.

  8. David Seaman wasn’t World Class but still top quality and we won the PL with him. Same with Ospina. He is top quality and good enough. Also the Goalkeeper is the last line of defense. Next up is the defenders and DM. Getting another top quality DM is more of a priority really.

    The only position in my opinion that we need a World Class player is striker. You need one to Win the PL. Look at the past decade
    United: Van Persie, Van Nistleroy
    City: Aguero, Tevez
    Chelsea: Costa, Drogba
    Arsenal: Henry, Bergkamp

    Giroud is excellent but we need another. Chelsea has Costa, Remy and Drogba. We need another top striker to join Giroud: like Lacazette, Cavani. Giroud was injured for three months this season. If Giroud is injured we are in trouble. Also, Giroud still has trouble scoring against top sides so having another top quality striker would be an important option. As a striker, Welbeck isn’t there yet.

    1. Here we go again.

      Diego Costa 19 PL goals = Premier League Champions. Here is up to date recent evidence that “30 goal+” strikers are not the essential component for PL champions. Not going to have the argument here but DC is not world class and is similar in class to OG. He scored a lot of straightforward poacher type goals in the first half of the season, not many deciding goals (I think he scored 2 goals that ultimately decided the points) and none in Europe. OG has a better career goals/game ratio than DC. Awkward but true. I’ll see how he goes next year before I stick him up there with the likes of Suarez, Aguero etc.

      OG+AS = 42 goals all comps.
      DC+LR+DD = 34 goals all comps.

      Stop reeling off these names as if we are supposed to be impressed or in awe. Cazorla, Ramsey and Welbeck have more goals this season that either Drogba or Remy.

  9. For all those clamoring for world class stars should know that there are only two. Of all the world class stars to move on over the years how many have made a huge difference to their new clubs. I think after the di maria incident and our very own Coquelin rise to prominence we would have realized that we don’t need a big name but someone who does the job.

  10. We don’t need any new players just a change in mentality. Probably follow mourinho and not lose against our rivals 8 draws would be helpful because we usually beat the smaller clubs.

  11. Chelsea this season have been poor in the first half of games, but in the second half they are much more dominant. That shows mourinho realizes we they need to improve and is more reactive to the opposition and knows how to win. Wenger on the other hand, how many games have we been controlling in the first half to lose all momentum in the second and scrape by the skin of our teeth. Wenger will never win the bpl even if he buys messi or ronaldo, because he fails to see what the squad needs.

    1. I think Wenger lacks that ruthlessness to kill off teams. I think he tells his players to relax and play their game and be in control. And that is why every time we score more than 2 goals we switch off. Mourinho’s teams will aim for more!

  12. Seriouly we need a pacy striker,a Rock DM to partner or replace Le Coq…..But I look at it differently….cant our own SANCHEZ be that PACY STRIKER we need?give the left wing to WELBECK /WALCOT, right wing to the OX/GNABRY/RAMSEY…….Then BANG bring in KONDOGBIA or SCHNEDERLIN to Support Le Coq…..

  13. Wennger doesn’t have any balls his to loyal to players and should have never started the season with arteta and flamini. Doesn’t matter who we sign because wenger will find a way to play his favorite players he won’t care because he’s to stubborn

    1. I dont have any problem with Arteta, his ball retention and distribution is superb but what he only lacks is pace and aggression when marking which is expected considering that he is not a natural DM.

  14. We just need a DM like Kondobia and we are title challengers again. No need for a striker we have Sanchez, Welbeck, Theo, Podolski is Giroud cover. Arsenal don’t need a fox in the box but a ball playing striker. Soccer is evolving, a striker’s role isn’t just about waiting in the box to score but help out the team. That is why I like Giroud especially in defending set pieces as we are short in height.

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