Wenger’s dilemma in this coming transfer window


Hello boys. That Hull performance was pure art and just reinforced the points behind this article I am writing. It surely did come as a shock to some of us a few days ago when the Arsenal manager said that the current form of his team has made him rethink his transfer plans. It was startling at first to hear that sort of statement just as the transfer window is looming on the horizon. But most managers in his position will think the same purely because this Arsenal squad is a solid one. When you look at our starting eleven right now, who will you replace? It is hard. If you replace David Ospina with Peter Cech, is that necessarily an upgrade? Absolutely not. Ospina has been near flawless so far and that is exactly the point the boss was trying to make. And then we have a decent group of players who cannot even get games. If there is anything as challenging as buying a top player, it is trying to placate your top players who cannot even get games.

We all want to see Marco Reus in an Arsenal shirt but if he does come in, who will he replace? Alexis Sanchez? Nope. Theo Walcot? Alex Oxlade Chamberlain? Aaron Ramsey? Maybe but even the much maligned Theo Walcott will get you 20 goals a season when fit and he sits on the bench. Reus can’t stay fit either and he won’t sit on the bench. And then there is Oxlade Chamberlain who has been brilliant all season and single handedly made Manchester United look like a mid-table team in the FA cup. So do we reward Ox by signing Reus or Pedro? Fans just want to buy players, which is understandable. But only managers get stuck with the difficult job of what to do with the talent they already have. Say we bring in Pedro or Reus, we will have a bench that features Ramsey, Ox, Walcot, Wilshere, Welbeck and Wellington Silva. Good luck convincing most of these guys not to seek a move away from Arsenal to a place where they are guaranteed first team football. That is the hard part. That is Wenger’s dilemma.

Signing a top player is not our only challenge in this transfer window. The elephant in the room is the bench. When you have a squad like Arsenal’s, buying a top player will mean assuring that top player that he will be in your starting eleven and frankly, that is very difficult right now. Like most Gunners, I want to see Morgan Schneiderlin in an Arsenal shirt because Francis Coquelin has no decent replacement when the injury curse strikes. But for 20 million pounds, do you see Schneiderlin accepting a place on the bench? Nope. Has Francis Coquelin not earned his place in our starting eleven? Absolutely. This means that whoever comes in must be on the bench and that my friends is the difficult aspect of transfers that doesn’t get a lot of mention. I mean, why is Peter Cech leaving Chelsea? They would have still won the league with him as first choice goalie. So why is he leaving? He is leaving because he cannot sit on the bench.

And then there is the small matter of squad balance. Criticize Olivier Giroud all you want but he is the only striker we have that has been able to play through the middle. Podolski couldn’t cut it and Sanchez, Welbeck and Walcott have equally failed their auditions. As for bringing in Dybala or Lacazette, it is all a gamble. We have seen what happened with Di Maria and Falcao. A player can be a genius in one team and not fit into another team. Each time a top player is rumored to be joining us, the balance of our current squad is under threat. Wenger thinks about these things even more now. Team balance is such an important part of team building otherwise clubs like Man United, Spurs and Liverpool will be winning the League based purely on the over hyped squad of players they each splashed over a 100 million pounds on.

So Wenger is dreading this transfer window for the right reasons this time around. Of course every top team out there can use an improvement and we need decent additions here and there. I want to see top players brought in but I dread the logistics because someone dear to us will inevitably leave. At best, we let Flamini leave when his contract runs out this summer and that frees up just one space for maybe a Schneiderlin or Wanyama type. And that is when the headache really begins. Issues of squad space, who to bench, and squad balance will ensure that subsequent buys will be difficult. That is why Wenger feels that when you manage to get the balance right, guard it jealously and ponder every possible transfer deeply. It makes sense.

Do I think he will buy in this window? Yes I do especially if we lose players like Szczesney and Walcott in addition to Flamini. But if they stay, I don’t foresee us buying more than one or two players. Wholesale changes are not needed. Peace.

Uche Edochie

Lagos – Nigeria

Tags Cech Giroud Wenger


  1. First off I just want say thanks for this article – I really like the things Uche used to write.

    I don’t think a big shopping spree is coming up this window and we do not really need one. To me Flamini and Arteta are bench players at best, so a really, really good DM would be welcome, but apart from that (if Hayden will be promoted AND if Gabriel is truly able to play at LB and RB alike which I am not entirely sure of) the only other signing I would imagine is a really top class striker, but neither the available players nor the inflated prices are in our favour.

    As for the ‘keepers I am very happy with Ospina and Szczesny being his back-up, this is an excellent duo. As much as I rate him, please, f*ck Chelsea players and let Cech go wherever he wants.


    1. What exactly is a bench player? means used to sudden change the game when it is 0-0 0-1 or just used when we are 2-0 3-0 up?

      1. You are right to question what he meant by bench player, for me the bench should hold players ready for injures and players who can make a difference when coming on along with a youth or 2 who might be able to get a bit of time if things go well.

        Arteta isn’t even bench material anymore if we want a player that’ll make a difference, Rosicky makes more of a difference when he comes on for his bit part than Arteta.
        Unfortunatly Flamini is also one of those that doesnt add any more quality on the pitch and only real reason is to either park the bus ourselves or a lesser CDM than Coquelin. Shame as I like Flamini.

        Some bench players can also be youth to help them develop if things go well, give them 10 mins or so here and there…

        What we want on the bench is a valid question and ignorance can be the only answer to why people thumbed you down 🙁

  2. It’s a delicate situation, but as Wenger has shown and said, you must upgrade if the opportunity arises. that’s football. i think we need to get used to the idea of players leaving, not bc we have to sell, but bc top draw guys are coming in.

    if reus wants to come, there is no way you don’t make room for him.

  3. If Wenger gets these players, I will be satisfied, NOT happy at all but satisfied I guess.
    1. Kondogbia
    2. Reus
    3. Lacazette
    4. Khedira
    5. Cech

    For me to be happy, he needs to get
    1. Vidal
    2. Pogba
    3. Rodriguez
    4. Cavani or Dybala
    5. Hummels
    6. Lloris

    1. hahahahahahahahahahahahaha; I swear you are just naming players off the top of your head.

    2. Wow, stupidity just hit a new low on here. Fairly certain you are going to be neither “satisfied” or “happy”. Why do it to yourself?

  4. It’s just great that for the first time in years we the arsenal fans don’t want too much change, in case of injuries I would like to see Southampton,s Morgan Schneiderlind and then job done,

    Oh yea just one more thing I hope we don’t have too many games before the start of the season and start with half the team in the Phisio room

    I love the way we play and when I see the our subs bench I just love it all, hope AW can rotate to minimise injuries in the new season.

  5. ospina has been flawless pretty much. can’t ask for more and he does instill confidence in the back 4. also for ex. vs chelsea he made that stop on ramirez and vs everton he tackled the hell out of lukaku. that’s bc he’s a pro and is switched on 24/7. great.

    if we want 2 specialists in each positions then:

    szces goes, then we need a GK. Martinez i think will be a top draw guy, but let him develop on loan. don’t think we must break the bank.

    cb: merts, , kos, gabriel, chambers. (debuchy), (monreal). i think we are covered, might want to loan out chambers though, but only if we get a 4th cb, maybe on loan. the last two can cover quite decently. mustn’t buy.
    rb: debuchy, bellerin, (jenks). people think jenks will leave, but debuchy doesn’t have that many seasons left in him and jenks is an english, young lad. maybe he can also play cb, but why not at least try and loan him out? him and bellerin as the future- great.

    lb: monreal, gibbs. awesome!. wouldn’t mind getting a prospect, who can even be loaned out. don’t see a longterm successor of the two, even though they are youngish (gibbs at least).

    cdm: coq. need a backup for this great guy.
    out: arteta maybe? if he can’t find fitness, if he can he won’t play a lot. flamini out, love him but out…

    cm: ramsey, wilshere, (cazorla)
    out?: rosa might leave, diaby may as well. we could get one here as well, maybe a guys who can play dm and cm.

    cam/cm: cazorla: think he’ll stay, özil. magnificent.

    we need 4 wingers. we have walcott, alexis ,ox, gnabry, wellington silva, campbell and (welbeck). ox, alexis must start atm. the rest will battle it out for the last two spots. if not, loan em out or move them on i.e. cambpell, who is playing at a good club, he might want to stay and not rot on the bench. gnabry could use a loan spell. silva will either make it or be moved on, he has been on loan for a long, long time. walcott should stay, unless we get a big name like reus. ox, alexis, walcott, example: gnabry seems good for wingers. one more can be bought though!, with welbz covering, but also cover for CF.

    strikers: OG, (welbeck), akpom. -> OG has been great, welbz is a great winger and not always convincing at CF. it think we need one more guy, who potentially offers something else to OG to compete. akpom: great prospect -> loan! chelsea also have 3 good strikers. we need the same. we’re not bad though if we have one more.

    in: dm is most urgent. striker would be great, winger as well. maybe someone who can do both.
    everything else is a luxury. maybe promote a cm like zelalem if rosa leaves?

  6. “Podolski couldn’t cut it and Sanchez, Welbeck and Walcott have equally failed their auditions.”

    Not quite true of Walcott. He played through the middle against Spurs (before his injury) and he looked very dangerous. He also scored a hattrick against Newcastle when played as a central striker a few seasons ago. Walcott certainly could do a job in the middle against some teams. As for Podolski, he’s really not a striker. He has had more than enough opportunities to justify himself as our main man but he couldn’t cut it.

    1. Walcott hasn’t had a chance really; I can see him doing well there as well (for certain matches just as you said because it isn’t much use vs a bus). He doesn’t just have pace, he’s brilliant at curving a run and avoiding offside when he runs off the last man (does that on the wings too).

      1. Getting his long term injury in CF against the spuds….
        Last 2 appearances comming on as a sub for Giroud to play CF…

        As for parking the bus, he can draw out fouls/penalties with his pace and acceleration, I honestly think Terry and Cahill would of had more difficulty with Theo than Giroud, Theo made more of his few mins against Chelsea than Giroud did and I am not blaiming Giroud for this either.

        For parking the bus you either need a CF who can ‘bully’ his way past the numbers or someone agile enough to slip past the numbers, if 1 doesn’t work then the other gameplan I believe should be deployed sooner than the last 10 mins 🙁

        Theos health needs to be looked after as well, why rush him back and injure him again? Giroud has done so well and he is so robust that he allows Theo time to build himself back up.

    2. Something to point out, Theo has came on for Giroud his last 2 appearances and played that CF role well IMO.
      When sharp Theo is (IMO) our best finnisher.

      Front 3 of Theo, Alexis and …?

      the right side is now up for grabs, Ox wants to be a CM and Ramsey is a B2B CM… it leaves us with Welbeck, Gnabry Campbel and Wellington Silva. Non of them have made the spot theres due to various reasons and as such a ‘star buy’ could be welcome in that spot.

  7. That is why it is imperative, that we $€££! WE ARE AR$€NA£!
    And we must $€££! $€££! $€££!

  8. This could’ve been us playing Real Madrid right now. That loss to Monaco is the stain on the second half of our season. Only the loss to Tottenham tops it.

  9. Nice article Uche. One more piece of the dilemma – if Wenger had signed even one-tenth of the players that us fans were screaming about, we wouldn’t be here raving about the seasons that Bellerin, Coquelin and, to a lesser extent, the Ox have had. Next year maybe it’s Gnabry, Hayden and Akpom.

    Giving the youth a chance to come through is one of the reasons I love Arsenal so my hope is a quiet offseason with one, maybe two big splashes.

    1. @Trudeau
      Sad that Afobe didn’t get a look in the 1st squad. 14 years we ignored his talent…

  10. Left back is kinda weak, but I would probably let it ride.
    For me, we need another DM (tough away games and for injury cover). There are many solid options. I would let Arteta and Flamini go.
    We also need another striker like Cavani. I think he would fit perfectly. We need a power striker to make space for and hold the ball up for our fast guys. I would let Poldi, Campbell, and Sanogo go. With Giroud and Cavani we would be flyin’.
    I think we challenge fr everything that we enter with what we have plus these realistic changes that would result in a lower payroll even probably.

    1. “We also need another striker like Cavani. I think he would fit perfectly. We need a power striker to make space for and hold the ball up for our fast guys”

      You have just described Olivier Giroud, who is the absolute best at doing that

      1. Exactly, he is like Giroud and I am saying that because we could use another…right? Injuries, rest, etc

  11. Am I the only one who doesn’t actually care about new transfers? This squad is more than capable of winning the league without the amount of injuries we have had in the past.

    1. @RWRW
      We show up on the day and we’re more than capable of doing “anybody”…

        1. @RWRW
          We agree on the most important thing dude. AFC RULES…
          Alls good. Hope the same goes for you and yours…

    2. I respect your opinion but if you think the current starting 11 will compete with an improved defending champ in Chelsea and probably a billion dollar joint Manchester reclamation project than i guess well just have to agree to disagree.

      There isn’t any logical reason for Arsenal NOT to strengthen this window if the right players are available. Adding Lacazette and Scheiderlin for around $50-60M less the outgoing wages of Podolski, Campbell, and possibly Jenkinson would be a smart piece of business and solidify Arsenal as a real threat in the EPL and Europe.

  12. We can afford to release/sell atleast 6-7 players. Arteta, flamini, diaby, sanago, campbell, podolski, miyaichi and rosicky. Maybe send jenkinson on loan again

    We definetly need to keep wilshere and walcott.

    We will need a DM to strengthen us, we should go for someone like kondogbia. We also need another striker, someone who is different to giroud. Lacazatte would suit us perfectly. We will also have gnabry ready for next season which would be a bonus.

  13. Considering the fact that Chelsea will also reinforce an alrdy strong squad with maybe even better players,I’m talking Chelsea adding d likes of Greizmann,Koke or/and Pogba
    Chelsea will without a doubt have a team like
    Courtois;Ivanovic,Terry,Cahill,Azpilicueta; Matic,Pogba ;Greizmann,Fabregas,Hazard; Costa
    With better back-ups added to the ones they have like Clynne,Felipe,Ramires,Willian,Oscar,Cuadrado,Remy,Drogba
    Also; I expect Cuadrado to be the player they bought him for next cson.
    The question is do we want decent team, decent striker or a crazy team and spectacular striker?..
    Do we want to match this Chelsea or better them?
    Because next cson they ll be going for the UCL n league with full force and we should have a squad that would be ahead of them in both fronts else it ll just be an FAcup or C1C win again for us.
    Wenger needs to be ruthless in this summer’s transfer market.
    If we have
    Subs: szcz,Bellerin,Per,Chambers,Paulista,Gibbs,Monreal;Coquelin,Arteta,Rosicky,Jack,Ramsey;Walcott,Giroud,Welbz,Ox.
    Loan out the rest: Gnabry,Campbell,Akpom,sanogo,hayden etc.
    This squad^^ won’t challenge for the EPL title; they ll win it and be clear favourites even before the start of the season.
    They ll also challenge for the UCL.
    WENGER needs to be ruthless! enough of these jibes from Muniru

  14. I’m pretty sure you can’t be serious. Come on mate, this isn’t about being “ruthless” – Varane, Pogba, Reus and Aguero????! £200-250M??? One of those would be close to a miracle signing. All four???!!! Every top club has tabs on all four of them. And btw – any top team would be through that front 6 and at our defence like a dose of salts – Pogba in the holding role?

  15. We have a great squad- If I were the manager Id be asking myself- “What injuries would hurt our team the most?” And I think this is the answer-

    Le Coq-
    He has been the rock behind our team this year. And with Sanchez probably had the biggest influence on our improvement over last year.
    If he got injured our existing replacements would be a significant drop in Arteta or Flamini. So like most others on this site, Wanyama, Schneiderlin etc would be very good addition to the squad

    He’s undoubtedly our best striker. When he’s not on the field we lack the ability to hold up the ball, introduce others coming in from mid-field, and provide a genuine aerial threat.
    So I think another top striker is necessary- one that can be an improvement on Giroud, or at least push him hard

    I think he’s unreplaceable-
    Ox, Walcot etc. would do a good job, but I’ll admit any replacement isn’t going to give us quite as much. So even though if he got injured it would be a loss- I don’t think we need to buy a replacement.

    Do you agree?

  16. I have to agree with Uche, Wenger has a major dilemma on his hands this summer. When you consider the amount of talent we have at the club it’s hard to ignore or discard it. Imagine having a fully fit squad fully competing for positions, that’s a sign of a healthy strong squad. Additions could potentially unease certain players in the camp. Bringing in big names is a big gamble for this exact reason. Regardless, I still think we need to bring in some reinforcements. Take the risk, were very close to going all the way next season. Take the gamble, bring in cover for Coquelin. Schneiderlin or Kondogbia would be ideal to rotate with him. I like the emergence of Imbula at Lyon too. A goalkeeper might be required, dependant on the situation with Szczsney. I don’t think we need another centre back. Gabriel Paulista has been just fine so far. We have a strong combo in BFG and Kos. We also have Chambers who looks promising. With Jenkinson to come back he could be converted to centreback to partner Chambers. I think BFG has another season in him. Maybe look for a prolific centreback at the end of next season. Another striker yes, but only if Walcott leaves, a perfect replacement would indeed be Reus who can play on the wings, through the middle and up top. We still need to promote some young talent into the squad to develop and some deadwood to sell. If it were me i’d get rid of Diaby, Flamini, Arteta, and Ryo. Keep Podolski and Rosicky for another season. Loan out Sanogo, Toral, Hayden, Gnabry and maybe Wellington Silva to premier league clubs. They need experience. Joel Campbell should get more games. Promote Crowley and Willock to senior squad.

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