The big questions Arsenal need to address this summer – No excuses this time

An eventful summer is coming up for Arsenal. by Konstantin Mitov

 

Welcome lovely Arsenal people, the season is finally officially over, and we’ve missed out on European football for the first time in 25 years, but honestly, it’s a blessing in disguise. Hardly anyone is genuinely “excited” about third tier European football. Next season, the Premier League is the big tournament, and there won’t be any excuses if we’re down and out of contention by Christmas.

 

“The biggest summer” for Arsenal is a term thrown around lightly, but it’s not really in Kroenke’s style of management to just go and spend 100+ million like we need to. We first need to sort out the departures, see what we can make from the sales and then hope they add something from their own pocket on top.

 

Two players that have already confirmed their departures are Ceballos and Luiz. Dani is nowhere near good enough for Arsenal and Luiz at 34 with a mistake in him waiting to happen aren’t the future of Arsenal. Do we add a new CB? Do we trust Saliba? I have a feeling we won’t give the Frenchman the chance he deserves again, but I also think there is a bigger need to buy elsewhere.

 

It will be a crime not to sign a CM. I have a feeling we will try to keep Xhaka, who is a player I’d have on the top of my transfer list. Thomas Partey had a few games where he really dominated the midfield. If we add another solid player, who can move the ball forward at pace and has the quality to pick out runners, we’re up for something.

 

Ironically, it’s our attack that has really let us down because our defensive record alone ranks us in the top 4. Eddie will most likely be moved on. Laca enters the final year of his deal and I suspect if a good deal comes, we might be looking to cash in. In my opinion Lacazette worked better in the 4-2-3-1 formation, which is the one I think we’ll try to use.

 

The real problem is we gave Auba a ridiculous deal, but his link up play isn’t good and will hardly improve at his age. A dynamic young striker, with good ball control and decent finishing is a must. That said, we need more goals from midfield as well. Pepe has been really good in that regard, especially considering how many minutes Willian took in his place, as well as playing ESR as a winger too.

 

Goals from midfield came from Willock at Newcastle. I thought the boy really missed his chance at Arsenal, but now there are 2 general opinions for him. Sell him to reinvest in the squad or try to replicate his form here. The problem with the second thesis is that Arteta really doesn’t like giving players freedom and he’ll hardly be allowed the same role he has under Steve Bruce.

 

It’s really difficult to guess this one, as we don’t know whether we’ll sign Odegaard. What I don’t want for sure is another loan deal. If we can get him for a decent price and we really want him fine, if not, let’s build a squad with players who are committed to the club and can carry us for more than one season.

 

We also need to sign a goalkeeper, either Ryan or a new backup. Then there’s having a backup for Tierney and what we do at RB? Cal Chambers has been decent, Bellerin might leave, and I don’t have a clue what happened to Cedric, and if we aren’t playing him, why did we give him a 4-year deal?

 

Lots of questions for the summer in the direction of Mikel, Edu, The Kroenkes and Vinai. It will be eventful for sure.

Konstantin

Tags big summer Edu Kroenke

43 Comments

  1. Tom says:

    How the management handle this summer will determine how long success will return to this club.
    Just like you mentioned why will u hand a 4yrs deal to soares and still doesnt play, its baffling

    1. Defund The Media says:

      He played 22 games this season..

  2. Stephanie says:

    I want to see Saliba, Willock play. Also want to see Martinelli and ESR play more regularly

  3. gotanidea says:

    The transfer priority should be a new CF, a new LB and a new GK, or promote some youngsters to fill in those positions. About the primary target, we should end up in top six

    1. Skills1000 says:

      Hi GAI, We have 4 strikers. that is enough. we should rather integrate Balogun into the first team and sell Nketiah with an option to buy back.

      As for the LB, we can rotate Tierney and AMN.

      For the GK, we should make Ryan signing a permanent one.

      Our focus should be getting Odegaard on a permanent move. and Agent Pepe doing his best to bring in Bissouma to the Emirates

      Out:

      Bellerin
      David Luiz
      Ceballos
      Nketiah
      Guendouzi
      Torrera

      In

      Bissouma
      Odegaard or Fekir

      Goal Keeper: Leno, Ryan.

      Central Defence

      Mavropanus
      Saliba
      Gabriel
      Holding
      Mari

      Right back
      Chambers
      Cedric

      Left back
      Tierney
      AMN/Cedric

      Central midfield

      Xhaka(never play him at left back again)
      Partey
      Willock
      Elneny
      Bissouma
      AMN

      Attacking midfield

      Saka
      Smith rowe
      Odegaard
      Reis Nelson
      Willian
      Pepe

      Strikers

      Martinelli
      Aubameyang
      Lacazette
      Balogun

      We have the squad. We just need a manager who knows what he is doing.

      1. gotanidea says:

        Hi @Skills1000 , I’m not sure whether Balogun can do better than Lacazette or not, so I prefer to gamble on a taller CF

        About LB, Maitland-Niles can’t dribble along the left touchline like Tierney, because his dominant foot is the right one. So we’ll need a new specialist LB or promote Joel Lopez

      2. RSH says:

        lacazette should be on his way out. He’s not good enough. People have completely forgotten how terrible he was first half of the season. Enough inconsistent strikers, please I beg! Auba has to stay because of his contract essentially. Martinelli is hated by arteta and may not even be used as a striker. we 100% need a new striker.

        1. siamois says:

          Laca started the season injured and had to play through his injury it is no coincidence that he improved in the 2nd half of the season the mini break allowed him to properly recover.

    2. Towny254 says:

      AUBA should be sold along with about 6 others and give the youngsters a game instead of his favorites

      1. gotanidea says:

        I don’t think he’s saleable due to his wage, but maybe there’s a clause in his contract

  4. JanV says:

    Good article. For me the priorities are a partner for Partey who is more mobile than Xhaka. A CM to add some goals and assists as well as comeptition for ESR. A quality back-up for Thierney who will miss many games. And a quality starting rightback.

    If Laca leaves replace him. Don’t bring back Ceballos at all and don’t bring back Odegaard on loan.

    Give a real chance to Bellagun and Saliba and unless you can get £30 million plus for Wilock work him back into the squad.

    1. PJ-SA says:

      Azeez could easily partner Partey but MA is blocking that avenue of development for some reason. Willock can also partner him but he gets no freedom from the coach.

      So we don’t need to buy a Xhaka replacement at all, we just need a manager to stop playing Xhaka 24/7 and see what’s right in front of him.

      Cedric is a good back up for both LB and RB, for some reason he’s been ousted by MA so we actually just need a solid starting RB.

      1. Gunner4life says:

        I like what you say PJ-SA.
        What is MA afraid of?

  5. Eddie says:

    Willock? Sell him. People pretend like he struggled under Arteta a lot or because of Arteta’s tactics but choose to ignore the fact that he got game time under Emery and the early days of Arteta yet he couldn’t keep his spot.
    He’s a great player for Newcastle don’t mean he’s what we need. We need better.

    Xhaka? Selling him would be madness, we need an upgrade on him not throwing him away. I don’t know about you but if we can get a better Deep lying playmaker and still keep Xhaka, it would mean huge and quality squad depth. People pretend like DL playmakers are meant to be scorers and making assists but fail to recognize the fact that they’re vthe closest to the defense and midfield and they’re actually meant to control games from deep while moving it to the attacking or creative midfielders.
    You see Arsenal fans suffer from the same thing Chelsea fans suffer from, lack of acknowledgement.
    Jorginho is Chelsea’s Xhaka, last season I was defending Jorginho when my I see my Chelsea friends attacking him. You’d think managers like Pep(Wanting him first), Sarri, Conte, Lampard were all stupid for sticking with Jorginho when Chelsea fans were constantly abusing his lack of assists and termed him sideways passer merchant.
    Xhaka was in the same situation with every of our managers. You’d think these managers were fools because fans outside think these players offer nothing.
    Not till this season I noticed it’s mostly a big thing when you’re the EPL. You see the number 1 DLP Thiago and how he got dragged and mocked on social Media with just his ability for the simple yet important passes? All the Thiago Give it to me I give it back comments, all the Thiago one touch and those comical comments? Shows most fans knows nothing about football roles actually.

    Last time that I checked for the best active DLPs was a year ago, and the top ten? Xhaka and Jorginho are top ten DLPs in the world, Thiago was number 1 on the list, Henderson number 2 or 3 I think. I don’t recall.
    These guys are undervalued and underappreciated by fanbase because they don’t rack up figures and they’re known for having to control the midfield, they get those passes a lot so armchair fans label them sideways passers.
    You see it’s the same reason CIES or what that association is have Xhaka in their EPL team of this concluded season. Most disrespected player. Definitely had his brainfart moments, but there’s no way I’d let him go if we ain’t gonna be replacing him with a much more better DLP.
    Personally? I’d prefer getting better and keeping him, he’s valuable to our gameplay

    1. Elvis says:

      Verrati of PSG is a good option. He plays as a Ball Winning Midfielder (BWM), but he can also play as a DLP…

    2. ozziegunner says:

      Eddie, a season and a half since playing for Emery in the development of a young player is an eternity. Willock has matured and improved under Steve Bruce at Newcastle United, playing the same clubs as he did for Arsenal. This beggers the question, what did Bruce do with Willock that Arteta could not?

      1. CXIII says:

        The style of play. Newcastle play a fast transition style that requires strong runners and is tailored to Willock’s game. Meanwhile, Arsenal play possession football. Getting the best out of Willock in the arsenal setup will be difficult. Its a case of having what the other needs.

        1. ozziegunner says:

          CXIII, if Arsenal “play possession football”, they are playing it very poorly.

  6. Goonerbeall says:

    Oi Konstantin, no word about ESR, Balogun or Marinelli?

  7. Trudeau says:

    With no European football I expect we will see more outgoings than incoming. Which is okay with me as I’d rather see 2 or 3 quality starters rather than 5 or 6 squad players.

    It all depends on who leaves but my hope is we 1) spend about £100m (at least 75% of that coming from sales) on two midfielders and a new RB; 2) see Saka/ESR like progression from at least two of Martinelli, Saliba, Willock and Azeez 3) fill depth positions with players out of contract (Ryan, Betrand etc) 4) see intelligent Willock-like loans so the likes of Nketiah and Nelson, if retained, don’t waste away

  8. Eddie says:

    Btw anyone know how I can order for Arsenal’s limited edition Jacket? The Black sweatshirt that was released late this season with that black jersey.
    It’s not on Arsenaldirect and I can’t seem to find it.
    I want that black jacket

    1. Declan says:

      @Eddie, have a look on Kelkoo as there are a few on there and Amazon Marketplace.

    2. ThirdManJW says:

      Kroenke will be pleased!

  9. Brolin Martin says:

    A lot of nonsense being said about Arsenal. We are 8th for a second season in a row but have sorted out our defensive problems ( 39 goals in 38 games) and are five points better off than at the end of the previous season.

    It’s obvious we need a new right back, new left back, a defensive midfielder and an attacking midfielder who can pass between the lines.

    Pepe is better, now he’s upped his work rate we can see the obvious talent and Saka and ESR are outstanding. Need to give Bologun some game time. Odegaard was ok but too often was short passing sideways so don’t want him back.

    We now need to move on players to fund the purchase of players we need who are not likely to play enough to keep them happy.

    Out
    Willian
    Maitland-Niles
    Bellerin
    David Luiz
    Ceballos
    Nketiah
    Guendouzi
    Mavropanos
    Willock
    Torreira

    In
    Buendia
    Bissouma
    Doig
    Royal
    Saliba (back from loan)

    P E-A needs to start scoring or be benched for Martinelli who offers more in almost every way that matters.

    1. PJ-SA says:

      Why do you think Odegaard had to pass short and sideways so often? Tactics result in such a slow build up that players like Ode are rendered useless by the speed of play.

      Our play allows every opposition to just sit deep and narrow and then we are screwed the majority of the time.

      1. Brolin Martin says:

        I understand that but there are often occasions when he could make a forward pass but checks and plays a short sideways pass instead. The cross for Martinelli’s goal shows what he is capable of but has not done often enough. i like the boy but I think Buendia would offer more.

        1. GunneRay says:

          More often than not our forward play is too lazy with players not running into spaces. I watched Odegaard try to thread some passes only to see no one making runs. It’s not his fault. Our movement off the ball has been labored tbh. That is down to the manager to motivate and instruct our forward play to be more creative or inventive. As it happens, not much changed throughout the season as most of our attacks broke down very quickly. Again, this down to the manager and coaching staff. I don’t think it would matter who was brought in. Odegaard or any one else. The problems are not players as much as it is the manager.

          1. Sir Michael says:

            GunneRay I know what you mean it takes them ages to throw the ball in from a throw in no movement

        2. CXIII says:

          True. One thing you can’t fault PEA for is making runs during games. I know how many times I’ve seen him (and even Martinelli) make good runs down the middle only for Odeengard or some other midfielder to choose the safe pass down the sides. Those kind of runs are what players like Vardy and PEA live off of. Its like our midfielders are always scared of threading the risky passes for whatever reason.

    2. ACE says:

      BA, agree with the majority of what
      you said.

      Mavro and Willock are the only
      players mentioned on your list that
      may still have a future @ the
      Emirates. I personally would bring
      both back into the first team unless
      Newcastle and Stuttgart are willing
      to spend over the moon for each
      player. £35-40M for JW and £20-25M
      for the Greek would do the trick.
      Even another loan spell with Sven
      @ the Bl outfit wouldn’t be a bad
      decision for Mavro.

      MA and Edu also sooner than later
      need to make a decision on Laca’s
      future. I’ve always been a huge fan
      of the Frenchmen and he was
      possibly playing his best soccer In
      an Arsenal sweater when he
      unfortunately was lost for the season
      through injury. If the former Lyon
      man is willing to extend his stay
      @ the Emirates for a few years at
      his current weekly wage than I”m
      all for him staying in NL but if a
      significant bid arrives from Europe
      AFC would be foolish not to seriously
      consider it.

  10. Sue says:

    Willian keen on a return to Chelsea this summer!! You couldn’t make it up..

    West London 🚫

    1. GunneRay says:

      I will pack his bags for him Sue! 🙂

      1. Sue says:

        Something tells me there’ll be a queue!!

  11. RFrancis says:

    We shouldn’t encourage the club to sort out player departures first before deciding on the transfer kitty – the way they’ve operated for years. To avoid a relegation fight next season, we need be more ruthless, according to our manager.

    The transfer kitty should be determined upfront and made available for transfers immediately; player sales should come later. Being ruthless, in my view, should entail aggressive pursuit of the right candidates and paying premium prices as well to get deals done early.

  12. Sean Williams says:

    I don’t think Arteta has what Arsenal needs, based on the reality of the season just finished. Seeing that Kroenke is even too lazy and out of the loop to fire Arteta, we are stuck with Arteta. I hope somehow Arteta finds another gear nobody is aware of, as our great club desperately needs a great team. I will rest in hope that my instincts are proved wrong.

  13. Gede says:

    Buy ordegaad, sell elneny, sell lacazette, Bellerin,Willian, Runarsson,..all other young players are better than what is there outside. Eddie is good check his stats he was not given minutes just like willock. Rotate Nelson, Martinelli, Balogun, Nketiah. Defence is more than enough..Mavropanos should come in, saliba too. These two cb have speed and aerial prowess which we luck. Guenduzi is good than Elneny, Torreira to fill the void left by ceballos.. Torreira was beta than ceballos. We need only two playmakers. Aoaur and Odegaard, maybe brink Kamara from rangers, or bissouma or zakaria coz xhaka is not consistent. Left back Tierney and buy young lb. Rb cedric and Max Aarons..chambers is slow thinker not good for Rb. Promote homegrown players are good in DNA of the club in future we should be having players from academy for this club ..believe me with good coach these kids can do things sports it not about years that’s why luiz keeps going mistakes. Messi have been good since 21 years..hazard, cristiano,Suarez, many more

    1. Rashid80 says:

      Eddie was not given game time? What are you smoking?

  14. Dylan49 says:

    Hi Konstantin.
    “hardly anyone is genuinely excited about third tier European football”
    Am I the only one who’s genuinely disappointed we won’t be in Europe next season.
    I’m disappointed for the following reasons.
    1. We would have finished above the spuds.
    2. It’s the inaugural season of this cup. How am I going to feel if the spuds fluke it
    and it’s there in the record books forever. Not happy. (Pub quiz question, who won the first ever conference cup, answer, not us, bloody Tottenham.
    3. I’m not proud, It’s a cup. We are where we are.
    4. It’s a good chance to give fringe players game time. IMO nothing more soul destroying than getting in the squad and not getting a game. (look at the youngsters we’ve lost over the years).
    5. Continuance of our record of playing in Europe.
    6. Sorry for the rant. I’m an honest guy but I did lie when I said “I’m genuinely disappointed we won’t be in Europe next season” I’m actually very effing p****d off.
    Lastly, if people want to say we’re bigger or better than this we can concentrate on the league that’s fine, but has anyone actually asked the players if they wanted to play in a European competition where they have a chance to win a medal, cause I’m pretty sure the answer would be yes.

  15. Samuel Akinsola Adebosin says:

    First of all. Let us Gooners not be like amateurs in our agitations to see Arsenal sign certain players this summer whom us are mentioning.

    But properly backup our agitations with well articulated correct reasons, facts and figures that could convince the club’s board to act accordingly.

    To me, I want to believe that Arsenal will do some senior incomings and outgoings transfer deals this summer to refresh their first team squad properly in redness to perform better than last season in next season’s campaign. And they could even extend the deals of some Gunners playing at the club too beyond next summer and next winter windows as the case maybe.

    Most of the Gunners the club may offload permanently this summer to get some valuable funds to recoup some money they’ll spend on the incomings this summer should in my own thinking be the club’s 3 major loanees of: Guendouzi, Toreria and Kolasinac.

    And reinforce the senior team squad with 2 -3 new senior team players this summer in my thinking. AMN should be told in clear and certain terms by Arteta to accept playing a fullback role in the team next summer. And if he can play better at leftback than at rightback, he should be shifted to the leftback as option and cover to Tierney. But no dictating complains from him to say, he preferred a midfield role should be entertained from him. Or else, Arsenal will be forced to offload him this summer permanently or on loan to look for a new top leftback signing. But if he complied, there will be no need for the club to do a new senior team LB signing this summer in my own look.

    If any of Bellerin, Chambers and Soares will not be moved out by the club this summer, there will be no need for Arsenal to reinforced the RB position with a new signing this summer in my own look too.

    And if Saliba return will mean he’ll replace the departed David Luiz, there shouldn’t be any need for Arsenal to reinforced their centreback position with a new centreback signing this summer I so think.

    But in the midfield, I think Arsenal will need to reinforced this area this summer by adding 2 new senior team midfield players to the 5 they will have on ground in the team this summer. And who are: Partey, Xhaka, El Neny, ESR and Willock. The 2 new senior team midfielders I would preferred to see Arsenal sign them permanently this summer or reloaned one of them are: Odegaard and Guendai. Gooners are talking of Bissouma for Arsenal signing this summer. But for playing regularly to the substance reason, but not to the gallery for Arsenal next season. I preferred to see Arsenal sign Guendai over Bissouma.

    In the Arsenal striker’s department, Balogun is still young but maybe not too young to say he cannot be playing regularly for Arsenal in the PL next season. But who knows if he will turnout to be another Saka for Arsenal next season if he’s giving the chance to prove himself he can be.

    But with Aubameyang, Lacazette, Nketiah, Martinelli and Balogun all 5 in the striker’s department is over blotted by 2 strikers. More so, if Arsenal will sign a top League playing new striker this summer Who is reputed for scoring 30 League goals plus per season to refresh the department with him will compel Arsenal to offload one or two of their 5 current strikers this summer.

    At the wings, I don’t see any serious problem that happened there last season that will warrant Arsenal to sign a new senior team wingers for any of the 2 wing positions this summer. But Arteta and Edu may think otherwise contrary to my own thinking.

    So therefore, I fore think Arsenal will sign 3 new senior team players only, this summer for reinforcements. 2 midfielders and a striker.

    Less I forget as I’ve seemed to have forgotten. Us all know that Runarsson may not yet be suitable during next season’s summer campaign majorly in the PL as option and cover to Leno. And if Arsenal will not promote one of their U23 Hale End graduate goalkepeers as no. 2 to Leno. Then it becomes imperative for the club to sign a new top quality backup goalkepeer this summer. But if Maty Ryan will be the one, I don’t know. So in essence, Arsenal could sign 4 new players this summer.

  16. K says:

    Would like to see us splash out on genuine quality players this summer instead of gambles/safe options like we did with Willian last summer which turned out to be a disaster. We should be able to raise 100m from the sales of Bellerin,Guendouzi,Torreira and Willock. Would like to see it invested in quality players like odegard,Aoaur, possibly Isco if Real need to sell. Not overly convinced by Buendia option,feels too much like a gamble signing and is he really a step up from the likes of Smith Rowe

    1. Rashid80 says:

      Id take buendia oved odigard anyday.. Odegard is overrated. Auoar is also overrated.

      1. Sue says:

        Apparently we’re in talks with Norwich and he’s ‘happy to make the move’ 👍👍 watch this space!

  17. Grantygooner says:

    Lewis Ambrose wrote a piece about Arteta’s tactics on Arseblog. Interesting reading.

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