Some Gooners are struggling to understand what Arteta sees in Kai Havertz, especially at the cost of 65 million! by Dan Smith
Believed to have undertaken a medical this weekend, the deal could be confirmed by the time you read this.
There’s talk that our manager might see something in the German that his peers didn’t identify at Stamford Bridge.
Instead of obviously competing for a place in our front three, the 24-year-old could drop deeper and play the Xhaka role, a box to box midfielder.
I like that the Spaniard has confidence in himself to identify a talent and see something that others don’t.
The Arsenal boss has already done that in his first job, teaching players new roles to play in. Arsene Wenger was famous for it ……
Here are my top 10 examples of players who learnt new positions ….
It’s common that a player might be apprehensive about trying out a new position, it’s rare that after succeeding in that role they remain resistant to change.
Three managers judged Maitland-Niles only good enough to be a makeshift full back, not the CM he believed he could be.
Even on loan (where he was relegated twice) only Sam Allardyce played him regularly in the middle.
There’s nothing wrong with trusting your ability but you also have to listen to those coaching you.
Playing right or left back gave the youngster a route into the first team, something most academy prospects could only dream of.
The more settled he became in the first team, the more in training he could show he had the qualities to be the DM that only existed in his own mind.
The turning point should have been when he was Man of The Match in our last FA Cup Final, which earnt him an England cap.
The 25-year-old seemed to do his best to talk his way out of Mikel Arteta’s plans by publicly claiming he didn’t like his current position and that he wanted to move where he was ‘wanted’.
Considering at this point his short-term move to West Brom had failed, his attitude wouldn’t have gone unnoticed for a manager who has ‘nonnegotiable principles’.
Given the Spaniard’s love of his left backs timing when to step into midfield, Niles could have had a future with us if he had embraced change.
Similar to Maitland-Niles, arguably the two best performances of the Ox’s career came in an FA Cup Semi Final and Final.
Like Niles, it was in a position he didn’t want to play in, with the player having grown up influenced by Steven Gerrard.
With Arsenal struggling defensively in 2017, which would lead to us failing to make the top 4 for the first time under Mr. Wenger, our manager switched to a back 5 for the first time in years.
Part of the system got the best out of Chamberlain’s assets, with his pace terrifying Man City and Chelsea.
Given he worked for a boss who wasn’t resistant to trying talent in new positions, the fact that Mr. Wenger never identified the Ox as the CM the player craved to be speaks volumes.
Injuries have prevented the player from proving anyone wrong at Anfield.
Currently he is am a free agent.
Tierney was one of the first talents Arteta trusted to use his footballing intelligence.
In the FA Semi Final and Final against Man City and Chelsea our manager produced two of his best displays by shocking the opposition with a back 5, knowing Arsenal were likely to have less possession then normal.
By asking our usual left back to become the third centreback, the Spaniard got the best out of Tierney’s strengths.
With the ball the Scot would time when to join in attacks by bombing down the wing.
Without the ball, he would then step into the middle and form a back 3.
This is giving the 26-year-old lots of responsibility as his movement allows his teammates to equally alter positions.
This was as much down to Arsene Wenger’s system more than anyone player.
Well, it’s down to Dennis Bergkamp, but zero managers changed his position, he was just born with a footballing brain.
Our striker was rare as he wasn’t obsessed with his goal scoring numbers, getting just as much pleasure out of assisting his peers.
So, the Dutchman would often drop deep and then spot the runs made by Pires and Ljungberg.
With Henry liking to go onto the left, Arsenal’s attack often involved no one actually staying in their original position.
Our constant movement off the ball and interchanging made it impossible for the opposition to man mark anyone.
To get Wiltord in the team, the striker would play the Ljungberg or Pires role, because while it meant starting out wide, tactically he could often switch and find himself in the middle.
Three full time Arsenal managers trusted Xhaka despite his Ill-discipline at times, tactically seeing something that maybe Gooners didn’t always see.
Amazon’s All or Nothing Documentary showed that the midfielder was one of the few leaders in our young dressing room.
It was Arteta though who decided to free the Swiss of some defensive responsibility.
In the past he would be the sole DM.
The presence of Partey though, and Zinchenko’s ability to step into the middle, turned Xhaka into more of a box-to-box player.
His timing of runs into the penalty area makes you feel a shame this wasn’t done years ago.
Ironically after his best season for the Gunners he might be leaving.
White had already showcased his versatility at Leeds and Brighton.
In his debut season at the Emirates though he hadn’t done a lot wrong at centreback and there seemed little reason to change his role.
Then William Saliba returned from his loan spell.
White though wasn’t moved to right back simply as a way to keep in the team.
That wouldn’t give enough credit to how crucial he’s been to us tactically, and how hard it is to implement what’s being asked of him.
You need to be superb at reading the game.
This probably counted against him for the national team, because he has to do far more than other English full backs.
Timing when to overlap Saka, when to form a back three when Zinchenko steps into midfield, when to cover Xhaka when he surges into the box.
A lot of positive play comes from White’s decision-making and he makes it so simple he probably doesn’t get the credit he deserves.
My Gunner of the season.
In the first half of the last campaign, Zinchenko timing when to transition from left back into midfield was crucial to Arsenal being top of the table.
Possibly opponents had worked out the tactic once we got to the title race run in.
Every season a manager starts a trend that becomes popular.
You could argue Pep Guardiola stole his apprentice’s idea by teaching Stones a similar role.
I get a feeling many other clubs will be doing the same next season?
One of the biggest myths in the history of Arsenal quoted by some Gooners is that Mr. Wenger was fortunate to inherit the back 5 he did, and that he had an inability to create his own defence.
Whisper it quietly …. it’s false.
The Invincibles keeper and defence were all either brought or recruited from the academy by Mr. Wenger.
A back 5 that doesn’t lose a League fixture all campaign, yet their manager can’t build a defence?
Doesn’t make sense, does it?
Lauren was resigned in Spain between being a right back and midfielder. He remained a versatile option in his debut season at Highbury.
When it was time to transition away from Lee Dixon though, Mr. Wenger almost reinvented the position.
With Ashly Cole doing the same on the left, the Gunners were the first to truly introduce the attacking full backs.
Lauren could attack but also liked a battle. The Cameroon International couldn’t get bullied.
He won two titles and 3 FA Cups before an injury essentially ended his career. He cost just 7 million.
Yet Mr. Wenger couldn’t identify a defender apparently?
Following on from the accusation that Mr. Wenger couldn’t identify a defender …. When Pascal Cygan failed to replace Tony Adams and with an ageing Martin Keown, Mr. Wenger asked Kolo Toure to try the role.
At the time it was seen as indicative of the financial pressure Arsene was under to fund building a new stadium.
The season before, Gooners had been introduced to the Ivorian as an energetic option off the bench who played in various positions but ironically never centre back.
Toure started every game in a season we went unbeaten. He cost 150,000!
Yet apparently Mr. Wenger couldn’t recognise a quality defender?
Arsene Wenger worked with a teenager Henry at Monaco.
In one of the best business deals in our history, we sold Anelka and used that money to build a new state-of-the-art training facility, and capture a player who would go on to be one of the greatest to ever live.
In a conversation that would change our future, Henry was asked by his mentor to learn to be our new striker.
The Frenchman rightly questioned if he was good enough to be a World Cup Winner as a winger, why wasn’t that good enough for Highbury?
Henry especially had doubts when he failed to score in his first 8 fixtures.
Yet Mr. Wenger saw something in Henry and believed he could convince the player that he could still drift out to his favored left-wing position and timing when to step into the middle.
Thierry Henry would score 228 goals for Arsenal, stealing many more hearts.
The greatest to ever live?
Any other examples let me know in the comments.
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