Should Arsenal be signing experienced players instead of youth prospects?

Arsene Wenger always insisted that he preferred experienced centre-backs at Arsenal and believed that their careers were longer than forwards as they didn’t need so much pace or use so much energy. I’m not sure whether that worked out so well with Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny, but it would appear that the new regime at the Emirates is going to continue that policy.

It has already been revealed that the Gunners are trying to sign the 34 year-old free agent Stefan Lichsteiner from Juventus, and, according to the BBC’s David Ornstein, we are close to bringing in the 29 year old Sokratis Papastathopoulos from Dortmund.

Ornstein tweeted yesterday:

Obviously our defence is in need of serious upgrading after the disasters of the last campaign, but should we be targetting quite so many veterans to steady the ship? Or should we be letting our younger contingent in Chambers, Holding and Mavropanos to build up long-lasting partnerships over a longer period?



  1. Uzi Ozil says:

    Experience and youth…. We need a mix at the back. The young ones will learn from the experience players and then step in asap when the need arises..

    1. Kenny Rolfe says:

      Hi guys, just to keep you updated on the Dennis Bergkamp shirt situation. Phoned Gt Ormond St hospital this morning (Tuesday) and as I told Admin not as easy as I thought. I was told they don’t usually allow presentations to be carried out at the bedside, however after a bit of persistence they put me through to the press office where they were more accommodating. After some pleading and grovelling they then asked for more information about our site of which Pat’s going to attend to. Just to let know even though as you know Pat’s not been to well he’s doing his best to make this happen. I’ll keep you further updated. Kenny

      1. Phil says:

        Good work Kenny.

      2. abslaom says:

        LOVE THIS! great effort guys.

      3. Ingleby says:

        Well Done.

      4. jon fox says:

        Top man kenny!

  2. arsim says:

    I think that we need experienced players but even with his experience Sokratis is type of Mustafi player , he is slow we need energy players/defenders strong and passionate. I hope am wrong but Sokratis is to slow for us

    1. Enagic says:

      Is Socratis slow? you seem not be familiar with him

  3. kev says:

    People should keep calm.These experienced players we are signing are just for integration.
    Some are acting like Sokratis and Lichtsteiner are the only ones coming.These two signings are very good in my opinion as they will help is integrate some of our young players especially CB’s.
    There is more to come and this window is going to be really exciting.Just wait and see.
    The one thing that we really need is a defensive midfielder who that Coq like or Kante like style of interception.A DM is what we need.I hope we stop wasting our time on a player like Xhaka who won’t last long in our team.Remember deep lying playmaker is a role not a position(CM).

    1. Kedar says:

      You never know may be Xhaka may change or improve under Unai???
      Might be Wenger was fault

      1. McLovin says:

        Sokratis is very average..

        Experience shouldn’t necessarily mean age +30 IMO.

        Take Adrien Rabiot for example. At the age of 23 he’s got 200 apps for PSG. Is that not experience? Sokratis got 200 apps for Dortmund as well, so I don’t believe you need to have older players as experience. Few might do, but you can be young/mid 20’s and still be vastly experienced.

        1. Mobella says:

          So too is Klavan, Lovren, Otamendi, Smalling, Van dyke etc. There are few or no clubs who have world class and commanding CB in their first 11 and on the bench. We like drooling about what other clubs are doing and rubbishing ours and to me that is an attitude of small minded people. Liverpool are buying the so called go players because they have sold well, put faith in good young stars and make sacrifice. Yet they have not won anything and nobody is criticizing them. Liverpool owner(s) are tight financially like us. They are simply putting back what they make mostly from players sale back into the team. They but van dyke, Fabinoh and Kaite from Countinoh sale. Have we ever sell a player for 50m euro

      2. jon fox says:


        1. Mobella says:

          Sir he is far from perfect. His blind faith and trust in his underperforming players got us in this financial mess. He could have released Rosicsky, Diaby and sold Jack and bought Countinho he didn’t when the rumour was we are after him. Even Sallah when it was obvious Sanchez didn’t want to stay, Walcott having limited games and Oxilade flirting with other clubs after fa cup triumph. But he didn’t because he feels he knows better. No club will take Sallah away from pool with less 150m plus 120 for Countinho. That is 270m, imagine what Emery can do with that.

          1. jon fox says:

            Sir, Have you ever heard the word “sarcasm” ?

          2. Mobella says:

            Yes i do. I was just pointing his mismanagement. I know you are never his fan.

          3. Ozziegunner says:

            jon, did put it in capitals too (LOL).

          4. jon fox says:

            “I know you are never his fan” Superb example of British understatement! And if you want a list of his managerial faults I could write a huge ten volumed tome which would take a year to write down but only a second to recall them all. Though I always urge people to look forward rather than back, I cannot help regretting where our club ought to be right now and compare it to where we actually are. HAD WENGER BEEN REMOVED A DECADE EARLIER WE WOULD NOW BE A TOP TEAM TOO, not just a top club!

          5. Midkemma says:

            Gazidis has been underwhelming, funnily enough he came into AFC and our problems really started to go downhill…

            You can moan about Wenger all you want but it was him going over Gazidis to Silent Stan and get that new deal that forced Gazidis to step up his game and start to replace Wengers picks.

            I do not for one moment believe that if Wenger had been removed a decade ago then we would be a top team and club, as you put it.

            You constantly moan about Wenger yet it wasn’t him who wanted Perez or Welbroke, it wasn’t him who wanted Elneny when he had already talked to Xhaka… It wasn’t Wenger who dictated how much money to spend. It wasn’t Wenger who refused to get a CB in Jan.

            Wenger has a lot of faults but you are just being a Victor Meldrew, negative about the man as a whole and it is disgusting to lay the whole blame at his feet.

            It allows the other areas to get a pass in their failings and if you really care about AFC then you will not want to delude yourself into thinking that Wenger was the fault of everything and things will magically get better, that is failing AFC as a supporter.

          6. John0711 says:

            maybe we should of signed them instead of xhaka ?

        2. Ingleby says:

          And probably thought he could fly like Mary Poppins as well.

      3. kev says:

        The thing is Xhaka will always be a liability.
        If he’s a CM (deep lying playmaker) then it means we cannot pair him with a DM as that will make us too defensive and he’s not that good going forward as he’s not that mobile and can’t dribble.
        If he’s a DM he can’t defend and even where he does well he doesn’t do it enough.Coquelin as bad as he is is ten times better than him defensively.He could’ve easily been Valencia’s best signing if not tor injury.He was intercepting just about anything .

        1. Malch95 says:

          And he was winning balls in the air, people might disagree but Coquelin and Ox would’ve made a world of difference last season. Can’t believe we sold them with no replacements

          1. kev says:

            I wish he was world class.He’ kept some world class midfielders in pocket too (Modric,Coutinho,Silva etc.)Hes just so good in reading,tackling and interceptions.He was looking like Valencia best player for a while before the injury intercepting almost everything.We need a player with his style but better than him.Xhaka or Nzonzi is nothing like that.You need to look at what you need and his style fits us.

  4. Hez says:

    I dont understand why we usually receive back worse loaned players than other clubs i.e. Chelsea. Ist that we employ a different kind of play style or we just dont produce quality from the academy. Tell me of any youth out on loan who is actually improving? They are not even getting enough game time in lesser clubs!
    I actually fear that sending any one of our talented young defenders may make them worse

    1. kev says:

      Kelechi Nwakali

  5. Nothing changed says:

    We have an aging squad. To add more again players is risky and to add experienced older players only for the training pitch is expensive on our small budget. However, we do need some leadership and character. Tricky balance but I for one hope we will bring along some young players. It pays to invest in our future Lichtsteiner is not our future. So either we bring Bellerin to the level he should be playing at or we find another young gun. To pay Lichtsteiner to teach Bellering on the training pitch seems expensive. To have Bellerin sit on the bench also doesn’t seem right. Hope we will get the balance right.

    I am more concerned to see how our midfield will shape up since I don’t fancy another season of Xhaka – Ramsey. Would like to see Seri freshen things up and break the Wenger apathy.

    1. jon fox says:

      WELL THE OBVIOUS SOLUTION TO THE BELERIN PROBLEM IS TO SELL HIM NOW. While he is stil young and will, ludicrously, fetch a decent fee. Then use it to buy a proper defender.

      1. Nothing changed says:

        Happy to sell Bellerin if the new manager doesn’t believe he has the talent to become a good right back but not for a 34-year-old player to replace him. The PL must be the hardest league in the world, in term of speed and fitness, for a 34-year-old with tired legs to adapt to and to shine in.

    2. kev says:

      Xhaka is the problem in Arsenal’s midfield.We are going to regret him being a starter for us tbh.In a two man midfield Xhaka will be a liability either way.
      At either DM or CM he has so many shortcomings.
      If he’s a DLP who plays DM him or his partner and is he good enough to do the attacking?
      If he’s a DM is he good enough and can he defend?
      At Arsenal we usually take about three or four seasons to realize how average a player is when it’s clearly obvious.We are gonna regret this .

      1. jon fox says:

        kev , your astute point about HOW LONG IT TAKES US to recognise a dud, is a good one and cannot be enough EMPHASISED. I knew Walcott , for example, was a timid, weedy, coaster when he first arrived, after only a mere handful of games. You either have guts and character OR you don’t You do not gain it at a certain age later in your career. It is in some people and lacking in others. We have had and still have FAR too many of the latter. I also knew Mustafi, Elneny and Xhaka were duds very soon. Some thought Mustafi had a good start to his Arsenal career, but I quickly recognised his impetuous nature which he regularly shows. Elneny is a rank average player and not our standard. BELLERIN TOO IS DREADFUL AND INCAPABLE IMO of ever defending adequately, no matter who coaches him. Defending is alien to him and it shows clearly. You need proper tools or ingredients to make anything decent. The same applies to football teams. Mourinho gets rid of duds very quickly which is why he wins so many trophies. So did Fergie and all great managers do not tolerate failures and keep them around , uselessly, for years, as Wenger did so regularly.

        1. Trudeau says:

          Mourinho may have gotten rid of some duds but he also go rid of Saleh, de Bruyne, Matic and Luakaku. Some managers hold on to players too long, some discard players too early. Wenger and Mourinho being respective poster boys for each. Even Fergie wasn’t perfect — just ask Pogba.

          1. jon fox says:

            You only need compare trophies won for all these three managers to see who is way last in third place. A clue: He is skinny with a long nose!

        2. David Rusa says:

          Jon Fox, Which Arsenal player is ever good for you? Have you asked yourself how Xhaka was performing at his previous club? I doubt that penny pinching Wenger could have spent over 30 million pounds on a player who had not had a good performance. Like many people have said let us give these players a second chance now that there is a new coach and see how they perform.

      2. Nothing changed says:

        I have to admit I can not see Xhaka shine in the PL in any position. For me, he lacks closing speed, tackling ability and dribbling skills, all crucial to a midfield player. He does have a halfway decent pass but once opponents know that is all he has got he becomes easier to plan against.

  6. John0711 says:

    There’s two ways at looking at it the full back from Juve will have spent years winning things and learning how the defend with the best, he will also probably be a back up so I can see the reasoning
    However, sokaratis isn’t the best hasn’t been playing with the best and I presume he’s a starter so that doesn’t make sense

    I would prefer spend 40/50 m on promise like Liverpool have just done with their DM he’s got experience and is young

    Not all the problems at Arsenal we’re wengers fault however, he could have spoke up about the poor financial implications

    1. kev says:

      Sorry to say but Lichtsteiner even at 34years is better than almost ever player at RB in the EPL if people have actually watched him.Juve are only selling because he’s old else they’d never sell him.Hes actually a quality player and a better than Bellerin.His age is clouding people’s judgement of him.

      1. Ozziegunner says:

        Lichtsteiner at 34 is not old for a RB; given he has retained his pace, is playing at the top level with Juventus and the Swiss national team. He is also a leader on the pitch, something Arsenal has been short of.

        1. Nothing changed says:

          Leadership we need (badly) but Serie A requires a lot less speed and physicality then the PL does and at age 34 that might be a big ask.

  7. Muffdiver says:

    Since few people on here have been shouting for Lucas torriera all last season , I’ve been researching.

    I want him . I want him bad .
    He’s like a young Marco veratti but with extra bite

    1. kev says:

      Does he intercept and tackle very much??

    2. Sue says:

      Everyone will want him…. so we won’t get him he’ll go to a rival, that’s how it normally goes….

    3. John0711 says:

      Told ya muff someone mention Him so I looked and he’s small but wow everything we need like Kante but better

      1. kev says:

        Sadly we are targeting Nzonzi who I frankly don’t want.It will be a real shame if we sign him.I just hope Sevilla don’t let him leave.

  8. barryglik says:

    Go for youth.
    Macy, Johnson (Villa)
    Bellerin Holgate 10mll Bola Kolasinac
    Mavro Holding Chambers Tuanzebe 10m
    Niles Oxford 10m Elneny Xhaka
    Nelson Nwakali Ozil Ramsey
    Laca Auba Nketiah
    Cost 30m.
    Sales 130m.
    Buy a million fans a free 2019 shirt 🙂

  9. ruelando says:

    Good defensive coaching makes more sense than, bringing in Sokratis who is exactly like Mustafi but older who could not organise Dortmund defense, so is he going organise Arsenals?? or Lichstiener a retiree from the Serie A to assist Bellerin who has had 4-5 years playing at the highest level (experience), who was most recently wanted at Juventus to replace, Guess who? Lichstiener. I would rather we invest in a younger player to compete against Bellerin.
    Experience his great but there are better solutions at present.

  10. Grandad says:

    Experience is an overrated requirement in terms of a team game.Arsenals decline can be attributed to poorly performing experienced players and their vastly experienced Manager.Quality is what counts.If your good enough your old enough.We should focus on young players of quality.

    1. RSH says:

      Emery is actually a modern manager though. And Lichtsteiner is still quality despite his age. In some areas I think we should start looking for young players too. I’d say after these two signings we should stick to players around 25 or younger. A lot of our squad is hitting numbers close to 30 and we cant spend too much on that. Gotta get in some top, proven, young stars.

  11. Gelz says:

    Sorry to say but Lichstiener is a free transfer, so Juve are not selling him, he’s free to negotiate with any club, so best stick to tomatoe or brown sauce Kev cus your other source’s are a bit unreliable.

  12. RSH says:

    Lichtsteiner on free is a good transfer. Sokratis had a bad previous season but is supposed to be good. Mixed feelings about it if it goes through but he’s still better than Mustafi is. Arsenal need a top midfield signing desperately. Won’t win anything with same midfield lineup as last season. The one that couldn’t create any chances away from home and conceded goals for fun.

  13. Ayodele Kelvin says:

    I don’t know why no body is looking at players With Pl experience. There is idrissa Guiye at Everton who to me is just ideal for arsenal in that DM role. Dude tackles, intercepts and runs his boots off. He has been up there amongst the charts for DM alongside Kante for two three seasons now. You also have Wilfried Ndidi at Leicester. I mean dude is basically a monster and can play ball too.

    1. Innit says:

      I agree. We don’t need to look abroad. There is also more of gamble if they would settle in here.

      Why not get some players with PL experience?

      Gueye is a DM what we need and he would happily. leave Everton. Unless Everton stick a crazy price tag on him. I agree Gueye would be perfect here

      Also, Mahrez has both PL and PL trophy experience. We need to focus on defense and central midfield. But Mahrez can play winger and CAM.

      1. Ozziegunner says:

        ??however, isn’t Mahrez going to Man City?

    2. RSH says:

      Doucoure has been a midfielder i’ve liked a lot of this season. Not a full out DM, but a CM that would be very useful to add.

      1. Diana says:

        I actually agree with you. Doucoure is a presence in midfield and is hard working. His interceptions and pressing games makes him a perfect fit for Arsenal. He technically plays the same role Xhaka is playing, but does so much better, both defensively and offensively

  14. John0711 says:

    Lol SKY are taking the P out of Arsenal saying the CB form Dortmund is one of the biggest ‘ names’ in football

    1. RSH says:

      sky are not reliable when it comes to Aresnal and they know it. BBC is really the only reliable outlet and definitely get info from the club directly, unlike Sky. Their journos get stuff wrong much more often than they used to.

  15. Alldwayfromafika says:

    You guys forget that we don’t have much to spend(according to reports) so those deals kind of make sense. I mean 16m for the Dortmund guy is good business for me and if Liverpool was buying him most of you would think so too.. “youths”!? Please! we spent has much as that on chambers and he has never been ready..even holding isn’t impressing..
    God knows we need quality players ..but we don’t have that big a budget…some shrewd deals are needed

  16. ruelando says:

    Once arsenal defenders are properly drilled and organised, the same players who have looked awful will look like new players, i watch Dortmund several times over the season, they look great going forward but had the same issues like arsenal defending, poor organisation

    Below shows the similarity of Dortmund in for of statistics in goal against

    Teams GP GF GA GD
    6 Arsenal 38 74 51 23
    4 Dortmund 34 64 47 17

    There is no way Sokratis is an improvement on what we have as defenders, i will even go a step further and say Chambers is better than Sokratis

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