The ‘should be’ Arsenal player that got away…..

Whenever I watch a football match I always look at the opposition players to see if there is one that could do a job for Arsenal. Obviously, players such as Suarez, Silva and even Harry Kane could well supply a steady stream of goals but what I really look for is someone who could have boosted our trophy count over a period of years.

Over time our (Arsenal’s) need has been most obvious in three positions, goalkeeper, centre-back and holding mid-fielder and it is in those positions that I have looked for my ideal players.

Since David Seaman left at the end of the 2002/3 season we have struggled with a succession of ‘keepers, some good, some not so good.

Mad Jens, a man who could pick a fight with his own shadow, always had us on the edge of euphoria, or despair, depending on the state of the tide, Almunia, Fabianski, Mannone, Szczesny and now Ospina have all been given a go with varying success, but the one ‘keeper, had we been able to sign him at the time of Seaman’s departure, who could have carried us forward in the long term is Petr Cech.

There is no doubt in my mind that the Chelsea stopper has been the best ‘keeper in the Premiership for years and what a difference he would have made.

At centre-back, again, we’ve struggled. Since Adams, Bould and Keown went it is only now that we have some pretty good cbs. Mertesacker and Koscielny have done well, while the recent signing of Gabriel looks promising but how about if we could have got our hands on John Terry when in 2002 he was sent out on loan to Nottingham Forest. Now Terry is not a person that I can admire but as a footballer he has been the rock that Chelsea’s success has been built on. Would our defence have been more solid for his presence? I think so.

Finally I come to the most important position for me. Holding mid-fielder, looking back we had Vieira and Petit who could play the role pretty well, and then along came Gilberto, The Invisible Wall. Since then we have been crying out for somebody to take up the baton, Arteta does a job there, but it’s not his ideal position. Flamini has done alright but only as a fill-in and Coquelin is showing promise but is lacking the physique.

The one player who could have filled the role, with his height, physique, skill, controlled aggression and sheer presence is Ya Ya Toure. There have been a number of opportunities to sign him, when he left Beveren in 2003, when he left Donetsk in 2005, when he left Olympiacos in 2006, when he left Monaco in 2007 and finally when Barca let him go in 2010. Missed chances all of them.

Petr Cech and John Terry have been together for a long time and have developed the kind of understanding so vital in a defensive unit, but their individual success may be a partial result of that interdependence, so for that reason I will pick Ya Ya Toure as the “One That Got Away”

OK AAers, over to you. Which of the three would you choose, or who else would you pick?

Written by Norfolk Gooner


64 Responses to The ‘should be’ Arsenal player that got away…..

  1. Motning all,

    Thank you for the post Norfolk; I think Ya Ya is the main one who could’ve helped us the most.

    We’ve been lacking a midfield enforcer for so long and opposition teams have exploited that weakness remorselessly.

  2. mickydidit89 says:

    Fantastic Norfolk, thanks.

    Firstly, it’s a straight fight between Terry and Yaya. Terry has the advantage of filling that Tony Adams “Mr Arsenal” local boy leadership role which I think is so vital, and even Paddy came nowhere near Tone in that respect.

    Yaya is exactly what we need right now. Not a holding mid, but the power alongside Coquelin.

    Talking of Coquelin, I was at a chum’s yesterday, and we were half watching the Southampton game. Is Schneiderlin really that good? Wanyama always impresses me.

    Finally, if I had to vote on your post, then it would be Terry.

  3. mickydidit89 says:

    Morning Metaller 🙂

  4. mickydidit89 says:

    Chary is either ignoring me, or has gone deaf 🙂

  5. Gööner In Exile says:

    Nice one Norfolk, afraid I can’t countenance the idea of ever having tried to sign John Terry, Cech without doubt but you have to wonder as you say how much his performances have been the result of some very good centre backs and DMs and perhaps it is worth noting that his worst spell in the sticks at the Bus Stop were when they were going through transition and didn’t have the effective stopper they have today in

    But I don’t think I even consider Cech better than Seaman, it’s time like that when you realise just how lucky we were and I personally was trying to emulate everything I did in goal on sage hands (even down to not getting dirty in the warm up……or the game if he could possibly help it).

    There are keepers that like to be busy, Mignolet and Lloris come to mind and I am afraid our current no 1 probably does too. I think Szczesny will come good still and I think he has been harshly judged given the unsettled nature of the team in front of him, admittedly the goals against Saints were terrible as was his reaction, but I watched Joe Hart gift goals away again recently. I am still unconvinced by Courtois and DeGea yes they are both good shot stoppers but look at DeGea back flapping at crosses against Swansea and Burnley, Courtois also fails to convince in that area. That’s where Cech and his defence had a good understanding. I remember Tony Adams once saying he had to get hold of Alex Manninger after he was under studying for Safe Hands and tell him to only come out to catch crosses when Tone said he could, as he had been mucking the system up. Get a settled defence and allow an understanding to build between keeper and that defence and we may get the best out of our keepers.

    Yaya Toure is undoubtedly a talented player, but look at our squad when he became available:
    2003 Vieira, Edu, Parlour, Silva, Cesc
    2005 Silva, Cesc, Flamini, Denilson
    Maybe in 2007 we could have signed him but in 2010 he was beyond our pocket, and in all honesty where was he going to go Barca or us in 2007?

    The one that got away will always for me be Cesc because that I believe started the problems we have gone through, that young side was close so close to winning a title, and then Barca wooed him with DNA, and that set the floodgates, we couldn’t afford to keep Nasri, and BSR took himself off a season or two later.

    As much as it pains me to say it if we had found a way to keep Cesc we would have had been able to keep Nasri and then I don’t think BSR leaves and yes we wouldn’t of been paying them astronomical money so the temptation to leave would be there but I think if we’d kept one we could have kept them all on less money because they would have seen a chance to win a title sooner staying at Emirates.

  6. Rasp says:

    Thanks Norfolk an interesting question 😛

    In recent years, I’d say apart from Yaya it was not JT that we missed, (can’t stand the scumbag) we still had a very decent back 4 at that time, but latterly Vincent Kompany that eluded us. I know we looked at him for quite a while, but for some reason decided against it. He was available for some time before he went to City for around £7m ( a snip) before the oilers took over.

  7. Rasp says:

    I have just seen that GiE has expressed my comment much better. Kompany was available a couple of years before we signed the BFG – he would have made a difference in those wilderness years.

  8. Gööner In Exile says:

    True about Kompany Rasp.

    I am currently delayed on a train due to livestock online……think I’m in Norfolk….no bloody Richmond…surely there shouldn’t be livestock inside the M25!

  9. Rasp says:

    Its not that bloody Fenton chasing the deer again is it? 😆

  10. Rasp says:

    I think the guy chasing Fenton is actually micky by the sound of his cultured tones 😕

  11. Rasp says:

    I don’t think we can agonise over a player that only became good once he’d moved and we know that nowadays we still can’t compete with city, the chavs, barca etc for the top rated talent.

    I think Alexis is the bargain buy of the season, his value has probably gone up by £20m since he came.

    Loris is another player I’m sure we could have signed if we’d wanted – and we probably should. He won’t stick around at totnum but once again they will make a handsome profit on him. He’d have fitted in perfectly at THOF.

  12. Rasp says:

    Apparently Alexis has been given the nickname ‘Duracell’ by his teammates … perfect for him I’d say 😆

  13. chas says:

    Cheers, NG

    Wenger on Cech
    “We wanted to take him before he went to Rennes but we could not get a work permit,” Wenger told the Evening Standard.

    Wenger on Yaya
    “It would be up at the top [of my list of regrets],” he said. “But let’s not forget that Yaya Toure had an agreement with us – and it’s not because we did not want to sign him that he went to Ukraine.
    “We needed to wait for his passport in Belgium. We have made mistakes but he is not a mistake, it’s just the fact that he preferred to go to Metalurh Donetsk. He could go there without any passport.” Wenger told

    Wenger on Terry
    “I nearly laughed my tits off when he missed that penalty” Wenger told no-one. 🙂

  14. chas says:

    Didn’t even got to Red membership, sold out at Silver. Wow.

  15. chas says:

    *get to

  16. LB says:

    Ya Ya for me.

    Fenton, Fenton, for F sake Fenton

    Makes me laugh every time I see that.

    Thanks Norfolk.

  17. The Cockie Monster says:

    Just got back from a 4 mile run and I`m lucky to be alive !…..was attacked by fcuking hailstones !.
    Apparently Didit Surf Dude !…….. Sennen will have the biggest waves in the world tomorrow !……I might be delivering there tomorrow, so if you’re going to make an heroic attempt to ride the monster waves then I can watch from the comfort of the Old Success Inn and report back to AA on how brave you were in your final moments on this cruel earth !……..I will leave out the bit where I think you are a mad cupid stunt for being out there in the first place and say what a brave hero you were by being a gooner to the end by singing…….”Drown if you hate totnumb ! ” hahaha

    Nice one NG…….anyone, but Ospina and Merts would be an improvement in my book !.

  18. G’day all, just back from the weekly shopping expedition to the Great Metropolis, that’s Norwich for those of you who think London is the capital of everything. 😀

    Nice quiet trip around Sainsbury’s, no squawling brats for a change and two very polite young Polish women were offering me something, in Lidls, I was just making a bit of headway when my wife appeared from the freezer section and towed me off to the checkout. Now I’ll never find out what they wanted to give me. 😀

    Thanks for the comments everybody, Just to say that had Terry joined us as a young man he may have turned out to be a better person, but there’s no way I’d want to see him in an Arsenal shirt now.

    Vincent Kompany? Yes!

    Seaman or Cech, reminds me of a match at the Euros a few years back, we were discussing the merits of Safehands and Tim Flowers when one of the guys called out to his girlfriend “Hey Karen, do prefer Seaman or Flowers?” her reply, ” have you tasted seman, I’ll have the Flowers.”

  19. arnie says:

    Fantstic post, Norfolk. 🙂 For me, Ya Ya is no 1, Cech no 2, but certainly not Terry. Quite a long way distant, but 3rd for me is Franck(enstein) Rubbery. 🙂

  20. Ah, Mr Mdi89 – not ignoring you, just got dragged into several boring meetings, but I am a little mutt and jeff nowadays.

    Should’ve said I was a Knot Ear earlier. 🙂

  21. Big Raddy says:

    NG. Fine post and one to think about.

    My immediate choice is Ronaldo. Had we spent the extra money etc etc etc

    Then there is Xabi Alonso. Tailor made to sit alongside Cesc who may well have stayed if Xabi was at AFC.

    Kompany is the nuts. Top defender, brilliant man and captain and superb representative of his club. He would have been a wonderful signing as would Ya Ya.

    But Ronaldo ….. can you imagine having him at THOF instead of OT?

  22. Big Raddy says:

    It shows the dearth of top DM’s in the PL that I can only think of Yaya and Matic.

  23. The Cockie Monster says:

    One for the Girls !……Probably hard to recognise him without the shirt on !. hahaha

  24. Gööner In Exile says:

    Raddy if you’re going CR7 I’m going Messi, Iniesta and Xavi.

  25. arnie says:

    I might even go Pele, Maradona and Cryuff, maybe even Eusebio! 😛

  26. Rasp says:

    I’ll go Henry, Vieira, Pires, Campbell and Overmars 🙂

  27. Big Raddy says:

    Easy chaps. I only meant that AW was in discussion with him!

    I left out Ibrahimovic who came for a chat but refused to take a trial.

    Fantasy players …. Bobby Moore is a must have alongside TA.

  28. The Cockie Monster says:

  29. The Cockie Monster says:

    So it could have been Bignoseabitch, Yaya, Ronaldo and Messi !…………………….someone`s head needs to roll for this !.

  30. The Cockie Monster says:

    More revelations !…….I think my groin area is about to self combust !.

  31. GoonerB says:

    Thanks Norfolk for a very thought provoking post.

    I fully agree with what GIE was suggesting earlier that it is more about who we have lost than who we didn’t get. I don’t think there is any one player that could have made a significant difference while certain key players were leaving the club.

    I don’t really blame Wenger or the club for this as their hands were tied financially so we probably punched above our weight all things considered. Cesc’s DNA was a big one but I can understand why he would want to give his home club a go at that time.

    The others all left showing a lack of loyalty IMO. They all pretty much churned out the same line of it being about ambition and to win silverware but if they had all shown some loyalty and stayed then we would have won silverware anyway.

    Each of their departures weakened what Wenger was trying to build and then they had the nerve to accuse the club of lacking ambition. On that list you can go back to Hleb, Flamini, Cesc, Nasri, RVP, possibly even adebarndoor.

    There is one player that I feel was, more on reflection now, a massive loss and one we all ridicule but who I feel has been slightly hard done by and that Is Ashley Cole. I feel the club were equally if not more complicit in his acrimonious departure as he was. I think because he was the first of the negative bad vibe departures he copped more flack which has lasted till today. when I now put him in context with Nasri, Adebarndoor, and RVP I actually feel he wasn’t the evil initiator of the problem he is made out to be.

    With regard to which 1 player I feel would have made a massive difference, (if we had kept some of those players that we lost), I would go with Kompany over Yaya. It is hard to argue against Yaya Norfolk but I do feel that if we had retained the likes of Song, Flamini, Cesc, Nasri, Hleb, RVP, Cole then we would have been well covered in most departments to win the league more than once even in the midfield area.

    I think that powerhouse leader in CD like Kompany would have plugged a more needed gap for us than Yaya would in midfield where I feel Song and / or Flamini (even if not in Yaya’s league) would have been decent enough over the last few years.

  32. RC78 says:

    Cech – Kompany – Toure – Ibrahimovic

  33. chas says:

    Is this Swingo similar to yours?
    I presume their method of calculating the projected points is different?
    How do they work out that Everton will finish above West Ham?

  34. Big Raddy says:

    Morning All,

    And Spurs in 4th with WBA relegated!

    GIE’s is far more accurate

    Where is Eddie?

  35. chas says:

    I found this really interesting, especially Dyche’s comments on the Matic incident and how it looks completely different with slow-motion and freeze frame compared to real-time.

  36. Eddie says:

    here I am Raddy 🙂 struggling with life at the moment

  37. chas says:

    Ey up, Eddie.
    What’s up, petal?

  38. Big Raddy says:

    Eddie. One day at a time my friend.

  39. chas says:

    Name the players.
    (I’m ashamed to say I only got one)

  40. Eddie says:

    world cup final 2022 to take place at Christmas, I hate that

    Wenger should start buying players that are not likely to go to the later stages. Polish, English, Irish, Africans. Stay away from Germans, South Americans and Italians

  41. Eddie says:

    one on the left looks like Scott Parker, but shorts are too skimpy for the years he played

  42. Big Raddy says:

    chas. Thanks for finding that. Very interesting, Dyche is a likeable and erudite man

  43. Big Raddy says:

    It does look like Scott Parker – but in an AFC shirt? Similarly the man in the middle looks like Jonathan Woodgate but can’t be and the fellow on the left Kevin Richardson – I will have to look again!

  44. Gööner In Exile says:

    Its a strange one Chas, i think they are doing swing and then saying the results for rest of season will be same as last (i.e. not using the actual swing percentage).

    Using my swing percentage I have:

    Chavs 93
    City 84
    Spuds 80
    Arsenal 73
    Dippers 62
    ManUre 61
    Stoke 58
    Saints 57
    Swansea 52
    West Ham 49
    Everton 45
    QPR 44
    Sunderland 43
    Toon 43
    Burnley 37
    Hull 36
    Palace 35
    Villa 33
    Leicester 33
    WBA 32

    Using points from rest of games i get similar to theirs except i seem to have some differences….so who knows what they are doing…..they’re wrong obviously 😀

  45. Gööner In Exile says:

    More importantly some bastard nicked my idea! I’ve been doing it since 2011-12 he only started a year later 😦

  46. Eddie says:

    Spuds 80
    Arsenal 73

  47. chas says:

    Did you sign up the rights for it being your intellectual property? 🙂

    WBA must have a pig of a run-in!

    How can the spuds be projected to get 18 and 19 more points than the dippers and mancs when they both have more points at the moment and there are only 36 points maximum left to play for?

  48. Eddie says:

    Come on GiE, this means Spuds have to get 36 points from 12 games, ie WIN EVERY game from now on. This is not happening

  49. chas says:

    Ignore it, it needs some refinement. 🙂

    Do you keep a week by week graph of our projected points total?
    I’d love to see it if you do.

  50. Morning all

    There’s a post in the cupboard from Eddie but I can’t get onto my pc at the moment. I know Rasp isn’t around, are there any other admin bods about? I haven’t checked what it looks like in preview so I don’t want to publish from my iPad.

  51. chas says:

    Space filler sent to nuts.

  52. Big Raddy says:

    I have 5 mins. Let me have a peek at the nuts …

  53. VCC says:

    Middle = Devine. ?
    Right = Richardson. ?

  54. chas says:

    I sent it again with a small amendment in the second version.

  55. chas says:

    Devine is correct VCC.
    Here’s a clue as to the player on the left.

  56. chas says:

    The player on the right played for Leeds and Sunderland before us.


    Devine – lovely hair
    Hawley – brilliant player
    Paul Vassean- hero of Turin

  58. Big Raddy says:

    There is a New Post.

    chas,. Because Eddie sent in hers post first it is only polite to use hers first. We can publish yours later in the week

  59. chas says:

    Completely agree. I only started doing it because I thought there was nowt else. 🙂

    I bet you knew them without having to google.

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