Opinion: the ideal transfer window can only be achieved when you know what you need

The last transfer window looked like the perfect one for Arsenal after they signed the likes of Thomas Partey and Willian.

Dani Ceballos also returned for another loan spell while the club gave David Luiz a new deal.

Their season started with a 3-0 win over Fulham with Willian providing three assists and Gabriel scoring, there is probably no better way to start the season for some of our new signings.

Willian has since provided one more assist for the club, but he has been almost useless for much of this season.

After signing Partey, the club now seems to be missing a creative midfielder in their team.

When we landed Partey a few hours before the deadline day, some people predicted that he was the final piece of the jigsaw, but we are now lacking in creativity.

It is not rocket science to know that Arsenal didn’t have a creative midfielder all along, and that is one of the reasons why Mesut Ozil was being criticised for not doing enough.

The club planned to axe Ozil from their plans, yet they didn’t sign a replacement for the German.

Despite spending all that money, our current need means that the last transfer window wasn’t a successful one, because we didn’t really identify what the problem areas truly were.

Tags Arsenal transfers


  1. I think there was hope that Partey would lead us to dominating midfield which in turn would lead to better chances. He showed some glimpses of being able to make some good forward runs and passes but he has not had a chance to play enough games. As a result, we fail IMO to dominate midfield which in turn exposes our lack of a creative player who can make something happen despite us not controlling the middle of the park.

    I know many love to say Ozil is the answer but he has proven many times not to be the answer. The guy blows hot and cold and doesn’t function well in a team that needs to defend as a team.

    I hate using injuries as an excuse but from what I saw of Partey we have been super unlucky he has not been able to play every PL game.

    I do think our next signing has to be a creative midfield player but, in the meantime, could we go terribly wrong giving Smith-Row a try?

    1. @the art of teta, bro I disagree. Partey is an exceptional player there is no doubt about it but he can not resolve our creativity issue. It would be unfair on him to judge him on that. He is not that kind of player. If you see his past record and stats you will realise he is not a creator or midfield goal scorer. I agree as a package he is kind of complete player but he is more in the mould of defensive midfielder then attacking. He has come from a team which is not renowned for their attcaking abilities but more with their defensive abilities n organisation. Point to note here as well is Partey has only played very few games for us, so at the moment he is not the player around which our game is built and he can not be described as pillar of the team. So we can not say his absence has caused the team to crumble or has triggered the chain of losses in league. With him in team we also lost the match against was it villa or licester. So I believe strongly since we lost Santi we have struggled massively after that we need a player like Santi who for me was a complete player who could dictate the flow of games, had great feet and ability, eye for pass, good finsihing and setting up attacks but such players are hard to find now. So then next option find more attack minded player specially with midfield we have.

      1. Mohsan, I respect your opinion and am not married to mine. However, I do see how there could have been a hope that Partey would allow a switch to 4-3-3 which could have lead to more forward pressure both on account of him being more box-to-box than Xhaka and because of 4 instead of 5 defenders would allow for one more forward mined role in the team.

        I am optimistic for Southampton. (or maybe refusing to smell the coffee?)

  2. We can buy all the players we want and we still won’t get there. Evidence is clear with our net spend in recent years! What’s the return? We have as many red card as goals in the last 8 games.

    Is our squad second to every other team? No, we have achieved better with the same players. Also, a growing number of ‘budget’ teams are doing way better than us. Then there is the memory of Leicester winning the league.

    The solution is to get a manager that can bring the best out of what we have. Restore the fire and spirit that Arsenal is known for. If he achieves that, then he can be rewarded with a contract and transfer fee. We should not settle for a rookie who have failed a couple of players yet never realized he has failed his first eleven.

    1. Virtually everyone knows Arsenal need creative mid-fielders and mobile players. Arsenal players plays with rigidity! Creativity and steel is needed. Partly we have solved the aspect of steel in bringing Partey. Just get dedicated players who are ready to fight for the shirt and bring in creative players, also get an experienced Coach and the road to recovery starts.

    2. But didn’t Arteta do just that? Didn’t most pundits and fans say that under Arteta Arsenal got their identity back? They were no longer soft? They played with determination?

      Where did it all go wrong? Did Arteta change his message or did the players stop working as hard as they did when he first came in?

      The problem is that you cannot get rid of all the players as easily as you can of the manager.

      The real question for me is whether Arteta still has the trust of the players or not?

      1. 9/10 pundits just chat about whatever is trending.

        No way we were going to keep winning games with the way we won the Fa Cup, with only 3 or 4 chances on counter.

        Its also funny when Arteta says Burnley didn’t create anything and we had a lot of chances. We played like Burnley in the cup and won with few chances and back then Arteta said we played good.

        1. HASS – my point was that many thought Willian was a good piece of business now that he is not performing the way we hoped doesn’t make it a mistake in the same vein as Sylvestre or Kalstrom.

          Besides, perhpas we have to trust the likes of Edu and Arteta who claim Willian needs a little time to adjust to a new team. In the mean time I would like to see more Nelson.

      2. How much harder are the players expected to work? I doubt that there isnt a player out there on the field except possibly Auba who is not trying. The issue is quality,no matter how much possession Arsenal have nothing seems to happen and there is no one out there who can make something happen, anything a clever through ball, a dummy and swerve to open a gap or a twenty metre shot. Other teams do it regularly but why not Arsenal?

        1. True. So if we write off quality, then we shouldn’t play with the expectations of speciality from our players.

          The coach should adopt a simple tactic like West Ham or Southampton to win games instead of going overboard with his “1st grade” tactics that also limits the abilities of our players.

          Our overly complex approach in a game is clearly not working. Either bring the best of the players or keep it simple.

    1. He is backed by the club, we just went out in pandemic and payed £40million for a single player. Not to mention we bought Cedric, Mari and Gabriel M in same window. We then did a high wage contract with Willian as well. This window only MA and Edu were incharge so we can not blame anyone else. The club has spent some £443 million in last 5 years what more do you expect from the club. It’s not like we are going upwards in the list of most valuable club interms of revenue earned every year.

      1. Mohsan I agree that the club have spend the money. I think we have spent it poorly in the past but it is not the money we spent that is the problem but the bang we got for it or the lack of bang.

        Luca T
        Ceballos (if he cost twice 10 million in laon fees)

        are amongst expensive players who didn’t light up the PL.

        Not to speak of the Ozil contract

  3. Just get rid of Xhaka.

    Since he came to the club we stopped being a CL team and Mr Wenger was gone in a matter of two years. Then Emery gone, Ljungberg gone and if Arteta keeps trusting him then he will be gone shortly too.

    I almost want to claw my eyes out every time Xhaka is in focus. He has had so many chances and he blows it every single time.

    Clumsy, mediocre, prideful, aggressive, prone to mistakes, slower than my grandma – this is Xhaka. Why would anyone ever play him? He would look bad even in the minor leagues.

    If I had the money I would pay him to never, ever play again. Nobody deserves that atrocity in their team.

    Albert Einstein: The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.

    Get rid of Xhaka.

  4. It’s easy to see why Arteta was so desperate to sign Aouar. But I think w creative midfielder is one of many problems at the club.

  5. well we’re not just one player away from being a great team are we? So the issue is much greater than that. Sorry but even a 2nd rate manager would be able to get more than 10 goals with these players.

    1. We have one of the most prolific and proven striker in world who has been scoring lots of goals for years. If with him in team we are scoring 10 goals in 12 games then it’s certainly an issue with the tactics and strategies we are using.

  6. We don’t need a new fancy CAM, since we’ve had Ozil, Ceballos, Willian, Smith-Rowe, Lacazette, Nelson and Willock who can play in that position. We need impactful attackers who can break defenses with aerial ability or dribbles, like Wout Weghorst or Adama Traore

    Had our system been established, we wouldn’t need a towering target man. But currently we need someone like Giroud who could save our arse in the second half, if we can’t score from open play

    Lastly, a tricky winger who can consistently get past the opponents is also required. Get one of these attacker types and we’d likely be better in attacking

    1. Ozil is frozen out, Willian is a winger, Nelson same (not good enough at the moment anyways), same for Willock (not good enough to play for a league team), Laca well again he is a striker (does not posses the technical ability to play the role), Smith Rowe again unproven (nothing to extra ordinary yet) and last Cebollos he failed after numerous chances given. All players you listed to play the role can not do the job apart from ozil. If it’s just filling up the place the anyone in team can play there as long as they play for Arsenal football club. We are lagging the creativity what else do you think shows the lack of goals and chances we are creating.

  7. Anybody who thought Partey was the final piece of the jigsaw was being way too optimistic. We finished 8th last year, Chelsea finished 4th and then spent £200m on 6 or 7 players. Did fans really think we would finish above them or Liverpool or Man City?

  8. I have been following arsenal since mickey thomas’s moment at anfield. i was 6 and loved arsenal ever since. As hard as it is for me to say but in some ways im ok that this run of poor form has happened because it shows once and for all that some of these players are not up to it. Xhaka, bellerin, laca, mustafi, sokratis, ozil, kolasinac, holding, luiz, ceballos, elneny. i know arteta has sidelined some of these but the fact that he keeps faith with more of them is concerning. He does not want to give youth a chance in premier league. look at martinelli playing time for arteta before he got injured and smith rowe/nelson playing time now as another example. If that attitude doesn’t change and arteta doesn’t pull away from using the above dross, then he should be shown the door. Lets start and give youth a proper chance. The bonus is that they cant do any worse than some of the above players mentioned. An immediate solution and a preferred team v southampton: leno, back 4 of cedric, chambers, Gabriel, Tierney, ainsley and elneny both in midfield with Pepe on right, smith rowe is middle, saka on left and auba up top. include balogun on the bench and start giving him 1st team game time in proper competitions. he looks hungry and more rounded to me than Nketiah. This would show me that we may see progress in the next few months. Also, i feel that Aouar may not be the answer. i dont see him being fully creative from what i have seen of him. i would much more go for someone like Buendia from norwich who has premier league experience. other additions in jan would be a right back and box to box midfielder. lets hope arteta starts putting his faith in the youth rather than the same players that keep letting arsenal and any manager down

    1. I am all for trying to give some of the youngsters more time. I write earlier today I would like to see Smith Row get chance.

      But I caution that even under Wenger when our youngsters did well in cup games this didn’t always translate to them doing well in the PL. In fact I would argue Wilock has shown to be much less effective in the PL. This does not mean he won’t get better and better and it doesn’t mean you stop bringing him along in the PL but it does mean you need some form of balance between youth and experience in the PL. A team full of youngsters will likely be brushed aside by most PL teams.

      I like your suggested starting 11 against Southampton with the only question mark being whether Chambers is ready or not. But I like AMN and Smith Row being included.

  9. First we need to get rid of the rot in this club. These players need to learn a valuable lesson, otherwise it will go on like this for years, with manager after manager with no results. Back the manager and sack the players!!
    #playerpower must go!! It is a cancer in any team. Look how Ole is struggling with MU. Pochettino had to leave because of the same reason. It does not matter who we bring in it will not work. Let’s teach these brats a lesson. Auba needs to put down the armband. No one is bigger than the club. No one!!

  10. No one or two additional.players are going to fix this.
    Arteta unfortunately favoured the strong arm management technique with arsenal that I suspect Pep uses, difference is Pep was hugely respected and seen yo have been successful previously so players followed.
    One minute Mikel is saying “I’m fine with the players calling me casually by my first name”. Fine when all is good but when things arent suddenly hes everyone’s ‘mate’s that is treating people badly.
    Hes not your friend hes your boss!!
    Also mistakes have been made in ousting pepe after the red card the handling of the training ground fight and the team selection of favourites each week.
    Also the saliba ozil sokratis.and guendouzzi situations have left a frustrated dressing room wondering whats the deal??
    Hes cutting a lonely figure now and I strongly believe that there are powerful trouble making personalities at work here, xhaka, Luiz, pepe now and Kolasinac, (ozil’s buddy) and other players desperately out of form and confused with their role, William for instance is 10% of what he could do before, I dint believe he can be this sh*t accidently hes another playing to see the manager go.
    And unless a soft approach manager comes in who lets them get away with being slack and messing around then each will get the same treatment and ousted.
    Xhaka, kola, guendouzzi ozil and Luiz,(and likely more) must leave asap.
    Player power sucks!! But Mikrl miss read the team and his non negotiable my way or.high way message has come back to bite him, I personally respected him for this.mindset and hoped it would bring huge improvement in performance and discipline.

    1. I’d bring Gandouzi back but that other gang of five, Ozil Luiz, Kola, Xhaka and Socrates and Mustafi ( that’s six isn’t it) shouldn’t be seen within a six kilometres radius of Arsenal FC again regardless of who is manager. The damage has been done, they are the past and it should be Sayonara Baby for them in our colours.

  11. @gerdy10.
    Totally agree that we should include AMN and ESR and give Balogun more time than Nketiah.
    Nketiah has been bitten by the lack of confidence bug also Folarin like you say looks ready to go in the pl, he may not be the finished article but is physically strong, quick, focused, hungry and alert.

  12. @the art of teta
    No he doesnt or.not the majority.
    I wish we could clone Tierney and gabriel!
    These guys stay out of politics and play their game and respect their wage and need to try and hard as they can.
    Nit being funny but we should have given the armband to K Tierney a while back, #born leader.
    Willian luiz Kola xhaka ozil all cabt be arsed and are out to get the manager gone! Trouble is how far are they prepared to take this before they realise this dangerous game is putting us in.touch with relegation.
    They dont fear losing games and dropping down the table but no ego and wage driven player would choose to drop into the Championship, or would they? Easier to get signed by another club in the pl league then.

    1. I think you saying Ozil is out to get the manager gone is a bit rich. Surely from what I read on this site Arteta and the Board are doing all in their power to get rid of him. I think that Ozil is past his best but he obviously is adhering to all aspects of his contract and as I see it certainly keeping very quiet. As for the others you mentioned I can not see any evidence this is the case.

  13. Balogun.

    Pepe. Smith-Rowe. Saka.

    Niles. Elneny.

    Tierney. Gabriel. Holding. Cedric.


    My selection against Southampton on Wednesday.


    Saka. Lacazette. Willian.

    Ceballos. Elneny.

    Tierney. Gabriel. Holding. Cedric.


    Arteta’s predicted selection against Southampton.

  14. It’s not the players, it’s the culture.
    I guarantee that if we are to let go of eleven players in January or this summer, the vast majority of them will find success at their new clubs.
    Xhaka is captain of his country, it’s funny how he’s been failing at club level ever since he emerged at Basel. Switzerland is doing something right and apparently, no club he’s been at ever since he left Basel knows what it is

  15. Wouldn’t it be great to have the all of the Invincible’s around a table and ask them where things are going wrong!?

    It would be interesting to get their perspective on the areas that are the most problematic. On and off the pitch.

  16. Partey played something like 4 years straight at Atletico and comes to us and is injured, reinjured, rereinjured.

    There are bigger fish to fry right now but we have had ongoing fitness issues for a lot time.

    As for the business, they did a pretty good job. We needed a defender and Gabriel has been pretty good. Partey will eventually make a difference. Willian sucked and Ceballos is only good for the occasional game (although, he has been working hard to give him some credit) so 2 of 4. They missed on creative mid in a big way.

    If every cycle had been like this over the past few years we would be a pretty good team…

  17. @path
    I didnt say ozil wasnt right to or couldnt be blamed for wanting arteta gone but he doesnt need to say anything to the press or openly his continued annoying silly posts on social media and the fact he is still at the club when really he should have moved on to play football rather than continue as he is will undoubtedly cause damage in itself.
    Ps not saying I cant blame him at his age for wanting to prolong his 350k per week as long as possible.
    Not really his fault that his game isnt overly physical in pressing and closing down etc but he was asked to do it more and work harder, he showed he could at times then next game hed get tackled and just sit on the floor sulking with his hands in the air.
    Spoilt child diva imo.

  18. We’re are those folks that said 1-0 loss to city early in the season was a good result for us?

    Arteta is gonna lose his job, maybe by January, unless he find solutions this month.

    Like I said a few weeks ago we need Saka, Martinelli and Maitland in the team as soon as possible. They’re more mobile with the ball and have defensive attributes, ball winners.

    It would be wise to drop 3 or 4 of the terrible quartet up front for a game or two, unless he wants to get fired.

  19. Most people only buy food when they are running low.In the case of Arsenal the freezer is full of stuff which is well past its sell buy date, and that nobody wants to consume.Until our deadwood is somehow removed, the renaissance of our Club cannot commence I’m afraid.

    1. So true Crandad. So much costly waste which is just draining the club and not allowing the youngsters enough opportunities.

    2. Grandad Our freezer is mouldy with the germs of rotting and past its sell by date food that the club find it almost impossible to even throw away let alone sell. And THAT is one huge problem that both UE and now MA have to battle with.

      The man who OWNS that freezer has an aversion to bringing in fresh , quality and wholesome food though. So many “supporters” either choose OR have not the intellectual capacity to see that handicap to any manager, while Kroenke is owner!

  20. well i reckon that arteta needs to be given til the end of this season to try to prove what he is worth. if hhe cannot do that by seasons end then give him the chop. i dont think he has any worth being honest. certain players are dictating the dressing room, and, until those thugs are gone from our club the results will be the very same. at arsenal the players have way too much power, this needs to be taken away from them immediately.xhaka is a bad egg, i said this on here when he made his debut for half a game some years back, but i was devoured by one of the admins , of course.he is trouble, and until he is moved on we will never see the top ten in the premiership.there is a distinct lack of discipline at our club, and i know who let the players away with this initially, but i will not mention him as i dont want the couple of people on here defending their guru to be given the excuse to start mouthing.several players need to be moved on and quickly. what i saw from the burnley match is that only gabriel and tierney and saka are worth keeping.how sad is that , this is 1970s arsenal all over again.

    1. I have gone into alarmist mode so am not sure that we can wait. Based on what I saw yesterday I am not sure Arteta can pull us out of the dive – I don’t know if getting rid of him is the right thing to do but the team is playing poorly, they aren’t responding and there a a bunch of personnel issues that he doesn’t seem to have managed well.

      I don’t know the whole story and am on outside, but it really looks poor right now.

      They may need a new manager bounce to keep out of drop zone. We could easily lose next four with Southampton set to end a long winless streak against us…

      Freely admit that I am panicking!

  21. A clearly true article MARTIN as what you say is true. But what you don’t go on to say is how vital an owner is who cares enough to fund that necessary spending .

    I submit that is every bit as important,as unless you both identify and buy the rightplayers and manage to rid us of the deadwood that takes up wages, then no window can ever be as good as we desperately need.

    1. Unfortunately we have to content ourselves at lower levels. I agree with you. The biggest issues at the club are the decisions made by senior management and the owner is responsible for senior management.

      If (and this is wonderful theory unfortunately) better decisions were made to ease out Wenger sooner and with a plan, if better executives were left to manage business the next manager (Emery or Arteta or someone else) would have been looking at a quick return to Champions League places.

      Money was spent, unfortunately a lot was spent badly.

      If we spent the cash we spent better we would have been okay. If we had a really keen owner, we would have been able to afford some misses.

      I would argue that if it had been the same management over the past few years, more money would have simply left us with more stupid decisions.

      There are a lot of really expensive past-prime players to be bought 🙂

      1. Spot on Stewart as all thinking fans can easily see. We who know this, need to bang this drum of truth more loudly and clearly than ever now, as so many simply cannot – or in some cases wilfully refuse – to hear it!

  22. We are at Crisis point IMHO. What we have been doing simply isn’t working and we are low on the table

    The most disappointing has been Xhaka, Lacazette and Willian (I really thought he was a good buy but was wrong)

    I’m happy to give Partey more time

    But agree that we need to use youngsters like ESR, Saka, hopefully Martinelli will come back soon.

  23. We have a bunch of highly rated footballers already. What we need is a team. We need someone prepared to run into space and someone else to pass the ball to them. Football is a really simple game. Run, pass, run.

  24. @gworm
    Totally agree but I think what happens when confidence is low and your on a king losing streak the players fear being the target or cause of the failure so they dont show for the ball and when passed to they find themselves passing it easily and quickly to move the responsibility on. Then instead of moving into space to show for the ball they end up static and watching the game instead of.participating.
    This is where you need character and leaders to show themselves and were short of these.
    I couldn’t believe of all the players that came out to speak up after the latest loss it was Tierney and Gabriel who were apologising and requesting us to stick with them.
    I’m not sure Mikel will be able to unite the side and lift them up now as there have been so many difficult negative situations recently.
    Arteta needs a wingman of influence onboard someone who supports him wholeheartedly and had the power to sort the others out.
    As the MOTD pundits said we missed Luiz in the pitch and I suspect in the dressing room too.
    If the press rumour that Arteta and Luiz are not talking much is true rhats a massive problem.
    Maybe he needs to take them all out for a team building enjoyable activity paid for by him not the club, cant hurt can it?

  25. I’m also curious to know who the mole is within the Arsenal? Its someone who’s around training and in the dressing room.

    It could be anyone who feels let down maybe but I’d be curious to explore Kolo’s close friendship with Ozil.
    I can imagine Kola tells Ozil and Ozil tells press/agents, (who tell press).
    As we know the press are brutal in their desire to make a story out of any sniff of bad behaviour or misfortune and often elaborate and dramatise the truth.
    We must stop the private talks and happenings becoming public before we can move forward.

  26. we have better players than southampton,burnely , totenham etc but we are still failing so coach has failed, Guyz lets say it as it is do we think that had it been our current team was under Jose would at were we are today,
    The issue is not about palyers but its about coach, formation , game plan and tactics zero so its hard to win

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