My Idea of a ‘Perfect’ Transfer Window for Arsenal by HairyCustard
With the signing of Xhaka done and dusted and Wenger supposedly scouring the market for additions to the squad, it’s hard not to get a little bit excited. Could it finally be the year when Wenger actually spends money in the right places and gives us a shot at the title next season? Although finishing 2nd seems good on paper, it was somewhat due to the fact that we were the best of a bad bunch, and a mention goes to the Leicester saga, which was an amazing, yet likely unrepeatable event. Looking ahead, it is clear that there are areas of the squad that need strengthening, be that due to players leaving or underperformers in their respective positions. Based on watching some of the players I mention, and the basic research I’ve done, I have decided on what my idea of the perfect transfer window would be for Arsenal.
Starting from the back, we can look at the goalkeeper position. It is safe to say that Cech will retain his position as our #1 keeper, and I think Ospina is a great keeper to have as back up. Aside from a few errors, you can’t find much fault. He is young (in goalkeeping years) and if he stayed he could revert back to first team keeper once Cech retires. However if the rumours are to be believed, he has attracted interest from the likes of Besiktas and Fenerbahce, so we may have to find a replacement. We could promote one of our young keepers (which is potentially risky) or we could go for an affordable goalkeeper from Europe; Simone Scuffet from Udinese and Mattia Perin from Genoa would be good options.
Moving on to the defence, we currently have 3 definite starters: (surprise, surprise) Laurent Koscielny and our fullbacks Nacho and Bellerin. The second centreback position is still very much in contention. Although I like Mertersacker, he has aged and this I fear is affecting his already sluggish pace. His positioning and awareness is generally better than that of Gabriel but his inability to keep up with defenders is a huge problem, particularly since we spend most games playing high up the pitch, where we are vulnerable to counter-attack. Gabriel is a good defender but he is still adapting to the Premier League which has been shown in the form of some costly errors, which is also somewhat due to a lack of confidence. What I like about Gabriel is that he is fast for a defender, and when Gabriel and Koscielny partner up I feel like we are a lot less vulnerable to counter-attacks.
That being said, I still feel that the centre-back position needs plugging up and for that I would suggest a player who we have all heard much about, and that is Napoli defender Kalidou Koulibaly. He wouldn’t come cheap, but I feel that he would add the necessary steel to our defence that I think we have been missing since the likes of Sol Campbell. Koulibaly is tall, imposing, fast and very versatile. He is decent at passing, so we would retain our strategy of playing quickly out from the back. If it is to be believed that EPL teams are snapping up players like Aubameyang and Ibrahimovic then we would need a defensive rock to put in the right tackles and ensure our defence doesn’t get bullied. There are already imposing players in the league who have caused issues for us and I think Koulibaly would be the ideal player to put an end to this. I’m smiling internally just imagining a towering Koulibaly frustrating a thug like Costa.
In the central midfield region I think we are sorted as we have more than enough players. IMO a central duo of Xhaka and Cazorla will provide steel as well as the ability to play from deep in our own half. Our number 10 position should be filled by the Öbvious player. Our left wing, again is a position we need not worry about. The right winger position is also still in contention, although for the life of me I cannot understand why Campbell is not played. From his short string of performances mid-season I saw a brilliant player with the ability to pass, dribble and shoot. I think the lad will be a sublime player in a few years but for some reason has fallen out of favour with Wenger, who instead opts for the likes of Walcott. Seeing as the banishment of Campbell is not likely to change, I think there are a few players that could be brought in, but I will only mention to the two biggest names (and ones you also know all too well).
The first is my personal favourite, the Armenian all-time top goalscorer, Henrikh Mkhitaryan. He’s had a scintillating season and I have always rated him at BVB, even when he fell out of favour a year or two ago. He can shoot, use two feet, has great pace and is the assist king of the Bundesliga. At the age of 27, he isn’t too old (Sanchez and Ozil are also both 27) and he would provide another source of chance creation, meaning we are not relying 100% on Ozil’s form to win. If we signed Mkhitaryan then we would have 5 starting midfielders who are all brilliant at passing, meaning that even Giroud “should” have little trouble scoring.
The second option is Mahrez. The Leicester winger has also had a brilliant season, being one of the main driving forces behind Leicester’s title win. He’s younger than Mkhitaryan and probably more skilful, and is decent at passing. I would be pretty chuffed if we got Mahrez too although I have a feeling that his next season will not be as great as this one. This is just a hunch however; he could become the next Messi for all I know. Mkhitaryan and Mahrez would both cost around about the same, but my personal preference would be to go for Miki.
The final, and most hotly debated topic is that of our centre forward role. I think that Giroud has been massively scapegoated this season, and with the French fans booing him too, he must feel that the whole world’s against him. Saying that, I don’t think he is good enough to be our first team striker, particularly since he has a tendency to dry up on the goals front. He is a good back-up though, as he offers a distinct style of play that could be effective when playing against teams who sit deep. In terms of striking options, I’m not going to consider every striker we have been linked with, because I don’t think neither you nor I have the patience to go through half of the world’s centre forwards (ranging somewhere from Ibrahimovic to ‘Dave from down at the pub’). I’m going to instead narrow it down to three options, ordered from most likely to least likely.
The first is Janssen. I think he’s a great youth player, and could be something big for the future. He wouldn’t be likely to come in all guns blazing and provide us with 30 goals but I still think he’s a great option. I know it’s been said, but his style reminds me somewhat of our last Dutch striker. He would probably need a season or two to adapt, but there is no way that 32 goals and 7 assists is a fluke, even though he plays in Eredivisie. Apparently he is soon to sign for the Spuds, but I think we could go in and hijack the deal. The second option for me is Lukaku. He will not come cheap at all, but I think that he can suit our style of play. He’s tall and strong like Giroud, but he’s also fast and has a good shot on him. I think he would flourish, especially when his through balls are coming from Sanchez, Ozil, (Miki?), Cazorla and Xhaka rather than the likes of Barry and Cleverley. He also has bags of Premier League experience, meaning he is more likely to hit the ground running. The final and most costly/least likely is Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. His pace is tremendous (matching Walcott’s) he’s tall and strong and he has an eye for goal. His fee, like his ability, is likely to be astronomical, but I think that if we are serious about competing with the big boys, we need to splash that kind of cash.
It’s sad that football has turned into a game of ‘who’s got more Arab money to spend’ but sadly that is just the way it is. We can’t change anything about it, and with United paying gargantuan money for players like Bailly, and (if I’m honest) Martial, then we can splash the cash for a player of Aubameyang’s quality. Man City have been said to be close to signing him, but again, nothing confirmed. Addressing the most recent Jamie Vardy chronicle, I personally believe that he is not the right signing for us. His style is different to ours and he’s edging on 30, meaning that his pace (one of his main attributes) will likely start to diminish soon. I hope that Vardy stays at Leicester – he’s loved and respected there and it would be good to see him help them try push for a Champions League place. If he does come to Arsenal, however, I will certainly get behind him and hope he helps push us to the title.
In conclusion, I think that in order for us to have a perfect transfer window, we need to sign a centre back, a right winger and a centre forward. My ideal line-up for next season I think should be as follows:
Bellerin – Koulibaly – Koscielny – Monreal
Cazorla – Xhaka
Mkhitaryan – Ozil – Sanchez
I think that this team is more than capable of competing with any of the European teams. However, I doubt that all three, if even two (or any at all) will happen, but I think that these players would be the necessary investment to bring us the league, and who knows, maybe even further. The three transfers would cost us around £100 million, which is a colossal amount of money. If we were to sell Walcott and Ox this would be offset slightly, but if it brings us the league then it is a necessary amount of money. Again, either way this goes, I will put my support behind any player/s Wenger brings in, and hope we push for silverware this year. Come on you Gunners!
SaLivating about this Line-up
But its all Fantasy Fantasy Fantasy!!!!
Very true. The likelihood of even one of the transfers happening is low – but allow us all to dream 🙂
You stole my thought about Janssen eh mate? I agree we can still hijack him under Spuds nose. They already have Kane as their main striker and play Europa league. In other hand, we are looking for the main man and will play ECL, not to mention the running superiority against Spuds side. We are more attractive then Spuds, that’s obvious.
But how can you hijack Aubameyang from the like of Madrid or City? I think we aren’t even across Auba’s mind at all. So, why wasting our time to capture him?
Vardy? Arsene loved to gamble didn’t he? For a short plan it’s not bad at all. Vardy scored some fantastic goals that remind me of “Hannibal Lecter” Luis Suarez. Vardy seems ageless type like Ibra. The question is : where the hell you’ve been Jamie?! Why now?
Fair point but in my opinion City need Aubameyang less than Spurs need Janssen. Unless Pep wants to totally alter their play and try Aguero and Aubameyang up front together. However I have a feeling that this transfer won’t go through so technically he would still be very much on the market. Whether he would ever want to come to us is a different story. He probably won’t leave at all this season as Dortmund will want a massive sum for him, they can’t lose their 3 best performers in one transfer window.
As for Vardy, I maintain that he isn’t the right signing for us. He plays a very different style to how we usually do and would be most effective for us if we gave up on dominating possession and just sat back to hit on the counter. I could be wrong and he could turn out brilliant, but even then I don’t feel he has too much time left in his legs. Next summer we would have the same dilemma and maybe not so much choice.
I really hope we get a great CB. Kos is getting up there in age and sometimes is an injury concern. LC won the league in my opinion by having a month stretch of winning 1-0 matches towards the end of the season.
Great line up, and I would have loved Aubameyang! Sadly none of them are to happen as Wenger loves his perennial underachievers, but hey, at least we get to see the likes of the Ox, Ramsey, Giroud, and Walcott, for yet another season!
I personnally see things differently, the reason why Arsenal did not win the league this season was not nessessarily because the squad was lacking quality. Arsenal present squad is good enough with the introduction of El Neny. The problem we had all season was to control games, we struggle to control the ball, Arsenal possession statistics plummet in many games both home and away, Especially after scoring an early goal their overall football seems to disintegrate completely.
Because of this all Arsenal strikers loss form, I cannot recall seeing so many team, even teams at the bottom of the league come to the Emirates and pass the ball so freely against us, too many times we loss our shape and drop far to deep in our own half and having Petr Cech kicking all ball he receive long straight to the opposition did not help.
That problem stated at the begining of 2015 when Mr Wenger replace Arteta a good passer who follows the ball in a defensive position all around the pitch with Coquelin a tackler who sit too deep allowing the opposition time and space to run at him. If El Neny is given a chance in that position he could solve Arsenal problems.
Therefore, the only person we need to change is the Manager not the players Mr Wenger has to go, but unfortunately, that might not happen this season.
I think it was a mixture of us fluffing our chances and our opponents scoring with one and two shots on target. Happened too often.
1. DM. Xhaka close enough. Done
2. Sell/Release Flamini, Arteta, Rosicky, Walcott, Sanogo, Debuchy, Gibbs
3. Sign CF out of Lewandowski, Icardi, Lacazette, Higuain, Vardy, Lukaku, Morata, Cavani, Janssen
4. Sign winger out of Greizmann, Reus, Aubmeyang, Mkhitaryan, Mahrez, Rodriguez, Gotze
5. Sign CB Ie Hummels, Howedes, Benatia, Koulibaly, Godin
6. Back up RB/LB
Coutinho is one of my favourite players. Sighs and slowly stirs my coffee 🙂
Bellerin had the same amount of assist as him
I prefer mahrez or mkhitaryan they have end product
Lovely article, Custard. Well-written and logical too.
Made me kinda feel good.
PS: from your list, I’d be happy if we got just Jansen and Mkhitaryan (combined fee of less than 45 million pounds if we are to go by rumored prices)
get Koulibaly, Mahrez and Aubameyang..
pls I don’t wanna see Jansenn anywhere near Emirates, we ain’t in a position to take ‘Depay-esque risks’
I think those 3 transfers would cost nearer to £130M with Aubameyang in there on transfer fees alone, as well as some high salaries- Auba particularly.
At the moment we have, these in my view, who are fit & worthy of a place in the squad as 1st or 2nd choice, and the following holes in personnel:
GK1 Cech GK2 Ospina
LB1 Monreal LB2 Gibbs
RB1 Bellerin RB2_________
CB1 Koscielny CB2 Gabriel
CB1 _________ CB2 Mertesacker
DM1&2 Xhaka & Cazorla competing
DM1 &2 Coquelin & Elneny competing
AM1 Ozil AM2 Wilshere
CF1 Giroud cimpeting with _________
LWF1 Sanchez LWF2 Iwobi
RWF1 RWF2 Walcott (unless sold- then Campbell)
& also Campbell, Ramsey, Chambers as utility players
IMO we would ideally sign:
an experienced 2nd choice RB as cover- Janmaat would prob do- from Newcastle
a 1st choice CB- Manolas or Koulibaly would be amazing
a 1st choice RWF- Mahrez or Mkhitaryan
a striker to compete with Giroud- Milik/Vardy/Icardi perhaps
The perfect window for Arsenal! OK! One centre forward and one centre back. That`s all. The rest we have.