Why Arsenal desperately need a winger this summer – Martins, Mahrez, Zaha?

Why Arsenal are in dire need of a winger this summer By Alfie

An old fashioned, typical winger is hard to find these days. Someone who will receive the ball out wide in the opposition’s final third, with the sole purpose of taking the full-back on and delivering a cross or cut-back. Someone who will bust their gut to get in the box when the play is being made on the opposite flank. Someone who can deliver a very good set-piece, or has the trickery to produce a moment of magic in a tight game, and potentially be the match winner.

Arsenal lack one of these. Alex Iwobi has shown, particularly recently, that he is more suited to a central, deeper role. His consistency in his passing, good close control and physical presence allow him to dictate play from the middle of the pitch. Danny Welbeck is an inverted forward when deployed on the left, often looking to come inside and get involved more in build-up play. He’s not particularly skillful and doesn’t attain any crossing ability. Henrikh Mkhitaryan is a playmaker, who often starts out wide but drifts in and gets involved more in central areas, looking often to be the link between the deeper midfielders and the striker. Mesut Ozil certainly isn’t a winger and Reiss Nelson’s best position is unknown.

Several times last season Arsenal didn’t have a player who could produce a bit of skill in a tight situation and then produce a precise shot or pass to lead to a goal. Particularly away from home, when teams tended to set up very defensively and condense the middle of the pitch with bodies. When Arsenal did go wide, it was often to a full-back who lacked confidence in their ability to take the opposition full-back on, or lacked any sort of crossing ability (particularly in Hector Bellerin). It regularly resulted in the ball being played back inside or an over hit or under hit cross being delivered and so eventually cleared. The momentum of our attacks were significantly affected, and reduced our overall attacking threat. The losses of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Alexis Sanchez in particular left us without a player who could essentially win a tight game with one bit of trickery or a perfected cross. There are stats to back this up. Arsenal didn’t have a single player in the top 30 for completed crosses in the 2017-18 season. We also didn’t have a single player in the top 15 for successful take-ons. We need a wide player who can do both.

There are several options. We have been linked with Portuguese winger Gelson Martins in the last few days, a quick and decisive winger, who was directly involved in 26 goals last season for Sporting Lisbon. There is talk he could be available on a free after the Sporting team were attacked by fans in a training session, resulting in several players choosing to terminate their contracts with the club. The 23-year-old is rumoured to be considering terminating his, and for a player who would normally cost around £50-£60 million, he would be a real coup on a free. There are safer, more established options. Both Riyad Mahrez and Wilfried Zaha have showcased their dribbling ability in the premier league over prolonged periods of time now, and would be ready for a step-up to a bigger club. However, both would be extortionate in the current market, and with our “£70 million war chest”, they may be a little unlikely.

Whoever it is, it’s needed. It’ll be interesting to see if the recruitment panel address this blatant gap in our squad, but knowing them, it’s unlikely.



  1. Innit says:

    As long as we fix Centre backs and Central midfield positions Im fine improving our offense

    Would have lliked Mahrez but he is going to Man City. Pity Wenger didn’t try for him because we could have got him for less than £75 million.

    Anyway, Id love the DRAXLER to come over. He would be an excellent addition to our offense

    1. gotanidea says:

      +1 for Mahrez

      +2 for Draxler. He could be a good false nine or a forward in the mold of Van Persie (because of his height), if he doesn’t perform well as a winger

  2. Abu says:

    By going this article , all we have midfielders. Mikhi , Ozil , iwobi , Nelson everyone. I don’t think we will actually sign any big money winger. We failed to replace RvP for years now we will be having tough time replacing Sanchez. Draxler might be my favourite to replace him (German connections)

    1. gotanidea says:

      Munir El Haddadi could be good in the right wing as well

      1. Alkali says:

        I don’t like him to be honest.

  3. gotanidea says:

    Good observation on the top 30 for completed crosses and the top 15 for successful take-ons in the 2017-18 season. Of course Arsenal don’t have a player that can enter that list, because most of them like to hog the ball in the center and cannot dribble well consistently (Ozil, Ramsey, Wilshere, Mkhitaryan, etc)

    Arsenal should not chase a right-footed winger/ forward, because they already have many (Nelson, Mkhitaryan, Aubameyang, Lacazette, Welbeck, Iwobi). Hence wingers like Zaha, Martins, Pavon or Guedes would be a luxury or a mere good investment if Arsenal get one of them

    We are lacking a skillful left-footed right winger in the mold of Messi, Salah, Robben and Bale. Therefore I wish Arsenal chase the following winger/ forward/ attacker:

    – Gareth Bale: Must be expensive and might only want a Champions League team

    – Leon Bailey: Should be very costly, but he would be a good investment

    – Riyad Mahrez: According to the news, he is available around sixty millions and he is a Manchester City target

    – David Neres: Scored plenty of goals in Netherlands and young, but could be pricey

    – Malcom: Young and should cost more than forty millions

    – Adnan Janujaz: His price could be reasonable. He is not as explosive as the abovementioned players, but he has a good stature

    – Julian Draxler: Not too agile, but he has good technical skills, quite tall and should be available around 35 millions

    – Xherdan Shaqiri: Slower than the others and plays for a relegation zone team, but still posseses good technical abilities and creative. At twelve millions, he would be a steal in today’s market

    1. Robin Vanpayslip says:

      ??? you mentioned Iwobi

      1. Phil says:

        When will people realise Iwobi is NOT Arsenal standard.We have had many players over the years that have divided opinion throughout the fanbase but Iwobi for me is NEVER going to make himself a Premiere League player.He simply is NOT GOOD ENOUGH.He is capapable of doing everything but unfortunately not very well.Even Wenger eventually realised this and started leaving him out of the side.Jidt look at the attacking options we have.Abamauang Lacazette Mikki Ozil.How can anyone even begin to compare Iwobi to those players
        Emery was blessed with attacking players at PSG that even Draxler ended up on the bench.And I know who I would rather have at the club out of those two.
        Just get rid of him and somehow find the money to bring in a Draxler Malcom Bailey Martins.This is the calibre of player we need NOT IWOBI

        1. kev says:

          I agree with you on some points but I don’t agree when you say Gelson Martins is the calibre of player we need.Do you watch him?He’s just another dribbler without end product.Not even better than Lucas Moura at his best.
          Also one thing I agree with you and one thing I find funny is how Arsenal fans are expecting all of Xhaka,Bellerin,Mustafi,Cech to improve drastically under Emery and feel Wenger was the problem.

          1. Phil says:

            Kev-I have seen Martins play on a few occasions and while he is raw he is young quick and no doubt has potential.He COULD just be a good buy but as always with these younger players you just cannot tell.
            In regards Xhaka Bellerin Mustafi And Cech we will soon see if Emery is able to COACH better and more consistent performances out of them.They would all benefit from a CDM in the team without a doubt.This MUST be a priority for the new Management team as we have not had a proper player in that position for over a decade.These are good footballers.All are internationals (Bellerophon at under 21 level I know) so have ability.Bit far too many errors from all of them has made them look distinctly average at best most of the time.A new system and new training schedule will soon tell if they CAN improve.If not they will all soon be out the door and replaced by players who WILL perform

          2. kev says:

            The player I most wanted to see under Emery was Wilshere because he actually has talent to be a good midfielder with a good understanding of the game.He has something unique about him.He’ll be staying though.
            These days most of the young dribblers are touted as having potential to be world class.People keep saying these things for years without even realising the players keep getting older.There are some things that cannot be taught.You either have it or you don’t

          3. jon fox says:

            Can you coach a rotten piece of meat into being fresh and tasty, just because a new chef is now serving it up to the same diners? No, you CANNOT! All the players you list , plus several more, are way below Arsenal standard and but for WENGER, WOULD NOT BE HERE NOW. EVEN IF YOU CUT OUT MANY OF THEIR MISTAKES, THEIR BASIC QUALITY IS JUST NOT THERE. Alone of this list , Cech ONCE HAD quality. But he is aged and past it.

        2. jon fox says:

          Phil, Oh how cathartic true realism is and how rare on here. My hearty congrats on being, as I am , one of those few fans who are never afraid to call a spade a spade and tell the plain unvarnished truth that so many choose never to hear. Anyone who still thinks IWOBI(the bewildered one) is remotely Arsenal standard needs to take up cricket, bowls, model railways or ANYTHING other than football watching.

    2. Yermum says:

      Since we have been linked to many Dortmund players, one that hasn’t been mentioned is Marco Reus. He is quality. But maybe injury prone.

  4. Michael Odetola says:

    It a pity that Arsenal are faced with challenge and a lack of control in the attacking role ever since a lost most of great players in this area.. the management should be ready to spend more money to fix this area if they want to contest for top four for coming season.

  5. Arsene Wenger. says:

    Our main concern should be CB and Dm.With those two positions sorted we will be good to go

    1. Robin Vanpayslip says:

      If that really is you – shame you spent the best part of a decade denying that very fact!

      1. Arsene Wenger. says:

        It wasn’t my fault but pressure from the board who refused to spend on the right calibre of players

        1. Robin Vanpayslip says:

          Sorry to hear that

  6. TBLAZE says:

    Kev come and update the house am beginning to enjoy ur news of late?

    1. kev says:

      Torreira fee has been agreed.The problem is the payment plan.Sampodria want the release clause at once i.e everything upfront.
      We are willing to give them even more than the release clause fee(€25m) but we will pay what we are offering (€30m) in instalments.
      Agent also wants more than the €3m we are offering him.This is likely to be sorted out.
      In a way you can say the deal is done.Its just the payment plan which is the issue.Money isn’t the problem.

      1. Arsene Wenger. says:

        Arsenal is dragging too much with the transfer.I’ve seen PSG want Kante and Chelsea might come for Torreira as replacement

        1. kev says:

          At this point I feel we are not doing this intentionally.Might be due to our budget.
          I think there’s gonna be more incomings.
          I can see him signing though.As I said the fee has already been agreed but the payment plan is the problem.The agent thing is likely to be resolved.

          1. Arsene Wenger. says:

            The board might be the root cause of the club’s failure to perform .The allocation for transfer was too little such that we cant buy more good players.Offloading the current crap pg players won’t be easy.

          2. kev says:

            The £50m is a lie though.Evensaw outlets reporting £20m was added just to help Unai Emery.Laughable.

            Our Accounts for the year to 31 May 2017 Turnover £427m (3rd highest in the league) Wages £199m (5th highest, 47% of turnover) Profit before tax £45m (up from £3m in 2016)

            Based on this I expect us to have more than £70m.We will be making lots of signings.

          3. ChrisK says:

            Arsenal made a profit in the last season.
            They have to get good players who will get us back into the Champions league (= money), win the premier league (= Good money) and win back the fanbase (=Money). There is no way this will happen if we continue allocating pocket change for player acquisition/transfers.

          4. Is £56M for Aubameyang and £52M for Lacazette pocket change? Also, why are guys complaining the club is making profit? How long do you expect Arsenal to continue to run if it becomes a loss making venture?

      2. Arsene Wenger. says:

        Arsenal should be able to pay what Sampdoria wants as fee for Lucas in lump sum

        1. Ken1945 says:

          Arsene my friend (how good that feels) of course we SHOULD be able to.
          Remember that famous quote about only two players we couldn’t afford? That was just last season and here we are again, playing silly bu@@ers instead of signing someone who will improve the team immediately.
          Why can other clubs do it while we can’t?
          Now, with the ex manager gone, the owner and board (Gazidis) cannot hide.
          I really hope they don’t let us down again.

          1. Ozziegunner says:


      3. Lance says:

        Please could someone explain to me why Arsenal must pay agent’s fees. Shouldn’t the player be paying his own agent? Why should the club do that?

  7. AshburtonGrove says:

    I’d be happy with Zaha. Cheapest option, young, PL proven (has a lot to prove) and he’s an Arsenal fan. Get it done!

    1. Simon says:

      Not been Zahas biggest fan. But do think be good fit for Arsenal. His speed, determination, aggression, strength.

      Falls over too much – but that’s surely an easy fix.

      Be good signing. Love his Arsenal fan too.

  8. Sean says:

    Let’s be real here. We have a certain budget for where we are at as a club because spending enormous amounts of money & still be where we are in a year’s time is a huge risk.

    We need to offload some players to add money to the apparent £70-£80m budget & to free up departing wages for the new comers.

    Ospina (5m), Jack(100k wages),Campbell(4m), Elneny (£7m)& Welbeck(10m) all need to be sold, should gather up some money/wages. Roughly £25m. Add that to pot has to be near 100m.

    In comes a new GK (£25m) along with Sokratis(16m) & Soyuncu(35m) but Mustafi could be sold depending of we are willing to go with starting pair Sokratis/Soyuncu backed up by Mavraponas/Chambers then Koss when he returns close to Xmas. Also Shokran could gather £20m & his wages off the bill, which basically pays Sokratis in Full with change. Lichsteiner in also for experience, to help Hector & sort out this week mentality at the back.

    Also just signed a left back for the future for free in Lopez from Barca.

    If the rumours are true then we could also be getting a CDM in Torreira (£22m) from Sampdoria which is a bargain for exactly what we need & is young enough to keep getting better.

    Last signing could be Gelson Martins from Sporting Lisbon for half the price or even maybe free, depending on what happens with his contract being cancelled due to them being attacked In training. We have his 30m euros apparently on the table twice, watch this one. If I were Arsenal I would be doing the same with William Carvalho as he could be a beast alongside Torriera. Fellani is linked but would rather Carvalho but big Maurone would have to do to beef up the middle.

    Looking forward as these are all legit rumours.

    1. Sean says:

      And Ramsey to New Deal. I’m not so sure about being captain but he a big shout for it!

    2. kev says:

      People will tell you William Carvalho is similar to Xhaka and that he’s better.We should rather have gone all out for Carvalho instead of Xhaka.
      The Xhaka signing is as a result of poor scouting work.How do you go and get us someone who can’t defend for that kind of money?Laughable really.

  9. Innit says:

    To elaborate on my first post, we desperately need to fix our defense. We have started with the RB which is good. Bellerin didn’t have real competition last season. I even remember Nelson playing RWB at one point. The only area that wr were good with was LB. That’s it really. Now that we’ve taken care of RB (hopefully) with Lichtensteiner, we need to focus on getting at the bare minimum:
    1. two solid Centre backs
    2. Defensive midfielder
    3. A box2box central midfielder to replace Cazorla

    Having Ozil will be pointless without getting these players because he is probably the most laziest CAM I’ve ever seen. He doesn’t like to track back and try to get the ball or defend. Actually Mkhitaryan doesn’t either. Ozil NEEDS someone to get the ball to him as much as he needs someone to give the ball to!

    That’s why we only saw Ozil’s “creativeness” in just a few matches. He was better with Cazorla because of Cazorla’s creativeness and passing. We missed that big time

    If we don’t fix central midfield, I would just sell Ozil because he will continue having more off days than good days

    1. Ken1945 says:

      Agree with most of your post.
      But not the Ozil part.
      Surely that is why we appointed the new manager and regime, to ensure that our world class player GETS the players needed to utilize his abilities?
      I firmly believe that the manager knows what is required and its up to the owner and board to back him to the hilt.

      1. Ozziegunner says:


    2. Its still hard for me to fathom that the majority
      of Arsenal fans and more specifically the
      esteemed members of this site fundamentally believe that Ramsey and Ozil can both feature
      in Arsenals starting 11. I watched enough fixtures
      over the past few seasons to be able to
      unequivocally state that Arsenals midfield
      simply doesnt have enough room for two ball
      possesive #10’s. And yes Ramsey lovers, he is
      not a B2B midfielder but an additional attacking
      player that compromises the pockets of
      space which the mercurial German thrives in.
      To his credit the Welshmen does chip in goals
      and assists but his expected role is to
      concetrate on facilitating service to Ozil and
      company as well as physically control the
      middle of the pitch. He sadly doesnt have the
      skill set to consistently do either.

      Ozil and Ramsey should be essentially competing
      for the same postion and with Miki’s ability to
      excel in that role as well its hard to imagine
      Arsenal committing such resources to all
      three players when so many areas of concern
      need to be addressed.

      Pretty much either the German or Welshman need
      to go.

      1. Ozziegunner says:


      2. Ken1945 says:

        Let’s say your explanation for not seeing Ozil and Ramsey playing together is correct, it doesn’t necessarily follow that one has to go.
        They are both excellent professional footballers,who have proved their worth at club and international level.
        I have always believed that a professional player could/should be able to adapt to any formation,given the proper coaching.
        This is relevant in most walks of life actually in my opinion.
        That’s where our new coaching regime should show its mettle and be able to adapt one of the two accordingly.
        I would suggest that of the two, only Ramsey would be capable of adapting to the new role, simply because of the brilliance of Ozil and the limitations outside of that special quality he possesses.
        This hypothetical situation only matters, of course, if one believes your theory.
        Me? I will take your thoughts away and ponder over them like the old man I am.
        Very good post though I must admit.

        1. Ken,

          I do appreciate the kind words and in a perfect
          futboling world both Ozil and Ramsey would
          share the #10 role and collectively make the
          position one of the most feared in the EPL.
          However that would require Ramsey to
          embrace the reality of being a part time
          player making a reasonable weekly salary.
          Everything we’ve heard thus far from Emery
          and his “Build the club around Ramsey
          nonsense contradicts that.

          I honestly do rate Ramsey as a player and
          do believe he has a role to play @ Arsenal,
          however I just think the middle of the pitch
          for AFC would be a sight to behold if Torreria
          partnered a Doucoure/Ndombele type.

          1. Ken1945 says:

            The words from Emery make me wonder, therefore, if their is any truth to the rumours regarding Doucoure/Ndombele transfers.
            Could you not envisage Ramsey and Torreria playing alongside one another with Ozil doing his magic?
            If the rumours are correct regarding our transfer kitty, then this setup, with Ramsey as captain, would also be a force to be reckoned with.
            No need to buy another costly overpriced world cup scenario player
            With the extra responsibility of being made captain, I believe Ramsey would be fantastic.
            No need to worry about being a part time player then and I personally think he would love the opportunity.

          2. I just dont see it happening Ken, Ramsey
            just doesnt possess the athletic traits nor
            the necessary discipline to be an effective
            B2B midfielder for Arsenal.

  10. KAY BOSS says:

    keV where at thou. cometh forth with thy updates. wilshere, iwobi and welbeck should b sold. can we at least try n get carvalho. I’m surprised he’s still 25 yrs.

    1. kev says:

      Unfortunately we are not in for Carvalho.
      Gelson Martins is being persuaded by Raul Sanllehi so I’d say we are one of the leading club s for his signature.As for Torreira the payment plan is the problem and not the fee itself.
      Wilshere also had a change of heart and wanted him to stay but he’s been told he’s not in the plans of the club.

      1. kev says:

        But it was said that he was going to agree a new deal.I think we are considering our options really
        Jack will stay

      2. Arsene Wenger. says:

        I understand that G martin’s is a right winger and we have some squad players who can play there.It’s the best time to really understand what the team wants and peruse it fast or we might end up with no concrete signings at all

  11. Sean Williams says:

    Not having a true winger is a serious deficiency in our game. We have pseudo wingers but not a real winger. Mahrez is just too expensive. Martins is a great player, exciting. If we don’t get him it shows how low our desires and expectations have become.

    1. Ken1945 says:

      We might not get him for a lot of reasons.
      His personal demands could be too high.
      His agents demands could be too high.
      Might not pass medical.
      Might just be media talking yet again.
      The Owner and/or the board might not sanction the deal.

      I really don’t think we should jump to conclusions and blame the club when things reported in the media don’t materialise.
      If all the rumours were true, we’d have virtually a new starting eleven already.
      Let’s give the new regime a chance and see what materialises.
      I personally believe that we will be pleasantly surprised come the start of the season.

      1. jon fox says:

        Ken, I agree with you about giving the new set up proper time. They have been in place, with Emery for about 6 weeks or less. With the WC upon us now it is unrealistic to expect mass new signings immediately, though like you I also believe we will have several new starting eleven players before we kick off in August. Whenever the window ends, even though now earlier, there will always be last minute brinkmanship with the battle between buyer and seller as to who blinks first about the fee. It is natural , esp to youngsters who live 24/7 in a “I must have it, now, world” that they think it can all be done overnight but we oldies know life is not like that where business and new ventures is concerned. We are buying foreign(mostly ) players, with life changing decisions and families to consider, not cornflakes from Tesco. Many forget that fact. You can’t buy life experience, as I am constantly reminded when reading so many comments from the many greenhorn “kids” on here.

  12. Ozziegunner says:

    Four good optainable options depending on funds available to fill Arsenal’s need for a wde player/winger are Julian Draxler, Wifred Saha, Xherdan Shaqiri and Gershon Martins. Maybe the trinity have identified others, we will see.
    I would be happy with any of these players coming to Arsenal; however I personally prefer Draxler because of his height, skill level and flexibility. Shaqiri could be value as Stoke have been relegated and he is proven in the EPL. Saha’s transfer fee will probably put Arsenal off, although he would thrive with us. Martins is young and hopefully an affordable price.

    1. Ken1945 says:

      Good shout on all of them.
      My preference would be Wilfred Zaha for his superb performances since leaving Utd.
      He is, supposedly, a Arsenal supporter and wouldn’t it be fantastic to put one over the mancs??
      Can’t find your thumbs up anywhere on my tablet!!!!

      1. Ozziegunner says:


  13. Arsene Wenger. says:

    I’ve read somewhere that G Martin has cancelled his contract with Sporting Lisbon due to advice from Raul Sanllehi.He seems to be Arsenal bound.

  14. Jeremy says:

    Martins need to have confidence to cut inside and towards goal and not always to be towards the byline for a cross. This variation would add more impact to his play. He is young so surely things can improve.

    Carvalho isn’t the Viera or Gilberto type. Would not be good for us.

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