How important is it for Arsenal to retain experienced players?

Being worried about Arsenal’s continuity with so many players likely to be leaving is a valid concern.

On the technical playing side this does not worry me so much, and I think we need to go through a transition in that sense anyway accepting a season with the promotion of a number of academy players, in excess of what would be normal.

It is maybe not exactly ideal but the first goal is a need to get back to being one of the top 4 in the EPL again, which improves both the incoming revenue and the attractiveness of the club as a destination for top players, then we can focus on securing £60-£80m in their prime players to add to the squad again like our rivals. What I don’t want us to do is spend some of the valuable and limited current transfer funds on so-so players in positions where we have promising young players coming through.

I strongly believe that this crop of youngsters have the ability to take us forwards and, although there will be moments where the inexperience is exposed, I think they will become stronger and stronger as the season goes on if they know that the manager and fans have faith in them.

From a continuity perspective I feel what is more important is the senior leadership around these young players. More than anything they need proper mentors who can pull them up on attitude and application when needed but more often than not be that reassuring positive voice in their ear even when they make a mistake. Unfortunately GN5 in the departure of Cech, Ramsey and Wellbeck we have lost 3 players who are exactly that.

Mesut Ozil is 30 and has won the world cup and ECL so should be exactly that type of positive mentor for our young players. However, despite being a fine player technically he is more of an exasperated looking to the sky type player rather than a positive pat on the back type. I would now sacrifice his technical ability for some more positive players with greater leadership qualities, then look to the youngsters to develop and bring us that technical ability we will lose in him.

That is why I would look at players like Milner and Mata on a free and retain the likes of Kos and Monreal. They may not always be the 1st on the team sheet on may start to reduce the number of games they play but if you have Kos, Socratis, Milner, Mata in the side then you get that type of positive attitude and influence. We will still retain great technical ability in the side anyway.

I would also have a quiet word to Iwobi and Chambers and tell them that although they are young players still, they are now senior young players and need to step up and become mentors and leaders to those who are 5-6 years their junior. I still feel Chambers could become an excellent holding midfield player in the Gilberto mould, and Iwobi a great box to box CM. This is also their year to step up and prove they are top players that we don’t need to replace with external recruitment.

Personally I would be interested in Chilwell and maybe that young defender we are looking at (Andreason or something) as well as maybe Milner and Mata on a free, then look at Iwobi AMN, Chambers, Bielik, Holding, Bellerin, Willock, Smith-Rowe, Saka, Nelson, Douzi and Nketieh to all be senior squad players next year.

I would happily see Ozil, Micki, Elneny, Mustaffi, Lichtensteiner, and sadly corporal Jenks all depart to accommodate this and cleanse the squad and kick start a new and more positive dynasty.

Xhaka I am still in 2 minds about as I see some merit in him as a squad option, but don’t see him as a top class CM, so maybe it is better to let a player that could become that have his spot rather than thwart their progression.

Written by GoonerB


30 Responses to How important is it for Arsenal to retain experienced players?

  1. LBG says:

    Morning GoonerB
    As so often with your posts, I am in almost complete agreement with your assessment. “Senior leaders, proper mentors”
    I would be happy with Milner, Mata, even Cahill, provided they are very cheap. (That is even with the memory of that waste of space French centre back we got from Manure, who was so bad I’ve forgotten his name).
    The crux of the Revolution must be youth, however. TA was an immediate leader at 17, likewise Fabregas and even Jack Wilshere. Whose to say one or two of these youngsters cant “dominate” like that in a game. Smith-Rowe would be my bet. Give em a go Dick! What have you got to lose, if you look at that Final performance.
    My only disagreement with you, sir. I am clear about Xhaka!!!

  2. RC78 says:

    Hi RA, I don’t get it that we re not linked to any of the free agents as our warchest is so small… Valencia, Herrera, Rabiot, Sturridge wouldn’t be out of place in our squad…

    I think we re just not attractive enough for some players especially after losing out on champions league football and also because we don’t compete for national trophies being so far behind other teams. We can’t even pay much because of the wage structure…

    We have become a stepping stone club rather than a club for the best players out there… And the turning point of our misfortune was losing the champions league final in 2006…

    Apparently Chambers, Mustafi and Kos could be on their way out and Kola is still monitored by Barcelona

  3. RC78 says:

    In terms of clearance, I d get rid of Ospina, Martinez, Jenks, Chambs, Mus, Nacho, El Neny, Ozil and all loaned out players except RB and SR. If we get a good offer for Kos, we should listen as well… Maybe we can get close to 80 Mln for this crop of player and that would give us 120 Mln to spend, which is not great in this day and age but we could still get decent players
    – Schubert, Meunier, Gaya, Saliba or Andersen, Pulgar, Praet or Doucoure, Carrasco, Mitrovic

    Leno – Bellerin, Sok, Hold, Kola – Doucoure, Pulgar, Torreira – Laca, Carra- Auba

    Schubert – Meunier, Mavro, Saliba, Gaya – AMN, Xhaka, Guen – RN, Iwobi – Mitrovic

    Plus – Mikhy

    We loan out Willock, ESR, Nketiah. They need a lot of game time.

  4. Sue says:

    I’m not that keen on another United reject (Mata) don’t like the thought of all these stop gap players.. long term would be better, much better!!
    I thought Rabiot had held talks with Juventus, from what he said, I think he has a good idea of where he’s heading..
    I agree about Iwobi, GB – he seriously needs to step up! Not overly keen on Chambers.. really looking forward to Bellerin & Holding back in the team.. cannot wait to see Saka & ESR too..
    And as for Xhaka… I am seriously done with that donkey after the Brighton game – get shot!!

  5. Sue says:

    I also meant to say… I like Bielik too… I hope we see him in the first team soon….

  6. Sue says:

    LBG.. I saw that penalty on Twitter… shocking… I was quite expecting to see Mike Dean in drag, with a wig on… blowing for it to be retaken!

  7. allezkev says:

    Joachim Andersen, Sampdoria,
    is that the guy you mean Gooner B..?

    He’s about 6’ 3”/ 6’ 4”, so Per Mertesaker proportions, or in other words a big unit.
    I’ve not seen him play GB, so others on here might be more knowledgeable about his quality/pace/anticipation etc, but if you are a defender in Serie A it usually follows that you can defend.

    I’ve heard that Saliba (?) the young centre back from St Etienne who we’re linked to is also a tall lad.

    Ballard, one of our own, is highly rated by the coaching staff and will possibly get some senior exposure in the cups this coming season.

  8. allezkev says:

    LBG, do you mean Mikael Silvestre?

  9. RA says:


    Between you and Sue I have a better idea as to why we may not be the destination for Rabiot, thank you both.

    As for your player ‘clearance’ proposal – I can find little to disagree with.

    I have heard on the grapevine that Martinez has been earmarked as the #2 GK, and Ospina will be let go — except no one wants him.

    Kos has been promised that he will be let go, subject to Arsenal finding or promoting a replacement CB.

  10. RA says:


    I too had heard that we wanted Saliba — but surprise, surprise the price is putting Arsenal off. Who knows?

    I am really hoping that Medley gets some minutes next season in the Cups (and maybe the Europa 😉 ) — he captained the U18s and then got promoted to the U23s — so maybe Luneberg in his new 1st team coaching role will be well aware that if we need a tall, strong, skilful CM or defensive midfielder.

    I live in hope.

  11. RA says:

    Sorry, BR or Chas or Both,

    I got distracted and forgot to thank you for updating the Post and letting normal commenting back into the blog, however temporary that might be.

    Well done sir(s) 😆

    Any news on developments?

  12. LBG says:

    Yes Kev

  13. Sue says:

    With it being Saturday, I’m glad there is some football on! Miedema has just scored for the Netherlands 👊 what a player!!
    Really looking forward to 11pm.. it’s Sergio time 😊 he will face (along with Messi & another fav of mine – Di Maria) Colombia & OOOOOOOspina!!
    Would like to watch the Fury fight, but it won’t be on until 4am.. doubt I’ll make that, besides I’d rather watch his brother Tommy in Love Island 😍😆
    So Lampard is edging closer to the Chelsea hot seat & I read he wants Drogba with him.. with or without hair I cannot stand that bloke 😠
    Xhaka is taking part in a charity match tonight, in Kosovo.. I bet he concedes a penalty!! Can’t they keep him over there? To save us from ever seeing him in an Arsenal kit again 🙏 plllleeeeaaassseeee!!!!

  14. GoonerB says:

    Hi chaps and chapesses and giant Wichitarians 🙂

    I got a heads up earlier that my comment had been converted to a post, but only just now had the time to read the comments courtesy of being at an under 13 girls football match…..scouting for players Arsenal can afford 🙂 Thanks for the comments so far anyway.

    AK, yes that is the chap from Sampdoria but I have to hold my hands up and say that I also don’t know much about him.

    Sue, not sure I would consider Mata a Utd reject. He still looks a quality and experienced number 10 type option to me, on a free and likely on a fraction of Ozil’s wages.

    RC78, your comments in particular tweaked my interest because I so often agree with you on what you say but, despite agreeing with some of the players you would let go, I find myself slightly at odds with some of your suggestions of ins and outs.

    Although I have suggested a lot of changes this season, it is mainly in the areas of what we have already seen is not up to standard (but also not young with further potential), and / or is not giving us the right type of fight and spirit that an EPL squad, possibly more than any other league, needs. I am not sure if your suggestions maybe don’t take it too far.

    I suggested a couple of smart recruitment’s regarding experienced or at least EPL experienced players, and you have added a couple of names to that list which I would not be averse to as a consideration.

    Where I don’t agree is that by and large your suggestions strip out a raft of experienced players, English core players, and academy players, but more importantly replaces them with overseas recruits with no prior EPL experience.

    I really feel that for a few seasons we have been a collection of decent individual players on paper that don’t fully compliment each other, and that despite having decent players we have lacked a fighting and winning mentality.

    I can’t see it working with a raft of players (no matter what their individual talent is) who have never played in the EPL coming in while losing Kos, Monreal, Chambers, Nelson, Martinez, Ospina, Jenks, Mustaffi, El-Neny, Ozil, and loaning out ESR, Willock and Nketieh. I do agree with some on that list though.

    Where does that leave us on English core, home grown players (do we meet the minimal requirement), EPL experience, and senior players to mentor the younger players?

    I just feel we will be perpetuating that problem of disjointed performances while looking good individually on paper if we shift in a load of overseas players at the expense of English core and experienced players. The EPL requires so much more than just technical talent and this is now the ideal season to try and redress that balance.

    Players like Kos and Monreal can be more to the squad than just what they do on the pitch next season, and if a couple more can be added for free with that experience, all the better. Our youngsters have the raw technical talent that we should throw the dice and gamble on this year.

    ESR, Nelson, Willock, Nketieh, Martinez, and Chambers should all be retained and promoted through. Getting serious game time out on loan, fromwhat I have seen, doesn’t seem to be the norm, barring a couple of examples. Those clubs don’t have the longer term investment in these players at heart, and tend to use them as back up players for squad depth.

    Chambers is an interesting one and may prove to not be quite good enough but as Fulhams player of the season in holding midfield I want to find out rather than assume he is not good enough. Also as a player who can also cover RB and CB he is a useful commodity. It would seem slightly wasteful to not retain that in the squad at present and in our current situation.

  15. RC78 says:

    Saliba is also wanted by Psg as Mbappe really wants his friend to join the Paris club…Leonardo is Psg new sporting director and that leaves Antonio Henrique free which means that he will be approached by Utd and Arsenal

    As for the post itself, I don’t think we necessarily need to retain experienced players like Kos, Nacho, El Neny, Xhaka or Ozil. I think we have some great experience in Leno, Sokratis, Mikhy, Auba, Laca and also that some of our younger players like Bellerin, Kola, Torreira and Iwobi also come with adequate experience in the EPL and at European and international levels.

    I heard that people would like to see Chambers and Bielik back and I really think they should be sold. They are decent players but they won’t help us improve the team so if we can sell them with some type of buy back or resale percentage clauses, we should. All the money we can make, we should.

    As for Emery, he s NOT good at identifying potential in players. Here are 2 PSG examples: Lo Celso and Guedes. Both players fell out of favor with him and then with the sporting director (who trusts his coach) Henrique. Now both players are worth much more than when psg bought them but also they developed into fine players in La Liga. Emery should stick to coaching and tactics as he is relatively good at that but in terms to talent scouting, we need someone…maybe it will be Edu maybe someone else.

    Andersen is a good CB but not a great one, he s no Gimenez or Marquinhos let alone a Van Dijk.

    Saliba is really talented but needs more exposure to big games. He s good on the ball and quite strong for his age. I d bet on him rather than Bielik.

    Praet is a very complete midfielder but again he is not great and he is not so strong physically. I would rather invest efforts in AMN and Willock than buy him. If we were to buy someone, I d love Ndombele but we can’t afford him so I d settle for Doucoure or why not Witsel or Ndidi?

    Carrasco is a speedy and tricky winger with a decent engine, a good eye for goal and a rather average delivery and not a great sense of defending. He can operate also as a false 9 striker. He s a good and relatively cheap option so I d take him but wished we had the cash to land Pepe or Ziyech. I d take him over Sarr though.

    In terms of DM, we really need one and Gueye is my favorite option but we may have to take more of a gamble because of price and go for Pulgar or…(not to my liking at all) give Chambers a chance. Capoue is also OKish.

  16. RC78 says:

    GoonerB, our posts crossed…lol

    Chambers is indeed a good squad player but his value is high at the moment. He shone in the worst team of the EPL. He was one of their top 5 players with Mitrovic and Sessegnon but they got relegated and he was a starter in that team. He was just the fireman and got more light time because of that IMHO. We need cash so for me, I d cash on him.

    Good question about homegrown players…
    – Bellerin, Holding, AMN, Iwobi should be homegrown and 3 of them are English citizens I think.
    – Macey, Martinez, Iliev, Jenks, Chambers are also homegrown

    So I guess it makes sense to keep Martinez and Chambers. We will have Reiss Neilsson back so we would need one more HG player. I am totally OK with buying a strong English HG player but they are usually very expensive. I would then agree that we can invest at LB with Chilwell or Sessegnon or at winger with Fraser.

    Then we are within the rules of 25 players with a max of 17 non-HG

  17. Aaron says:

    Been bleating this for months.
    Clear out the house.
    Play the same guys most of the time so they can become a team.
    Youth, youth and more youth.

    Do not want any more manure rejects period, for pete’s sake, wtf is our scouting department for if they can’t identify our own talent. We are not poaching rvP at the top of his game and having him or someone like him crossing over to the good side. They cut below grade players for a reason. (Mata offered new contract- he ain’t coming to us)
    First, tighten up the back, and get some damn pace back there on the sides, and a physically big game reader.

    Cut down on the goals conceded and that will make us more competitive the cheap and easy way.

  18. RC78 says:

    Aaron – spot on on tightening the back and letting less goals in. Hence the priority should be DM, CB and CM according to me.

  19. RA says:

    Well, it is really heartening that there has been some real quality chat today, and with some extensive discussions to go with the quality.

    It is particularly helpful from my perspective that there is some perfectly OK disagreements over what Arsenal should do, who should be released or retained – and why – and also who to buy given our limited funds. Love it.

    Just the ticket for me. Thank you guys — and Sue – (your input has no peer — who does Tommy Whatnot play for? )

  20. Sue says:

    RA.. Haha Tommy Whatnot is a boxer.. with some rather impressive loaded guns 💪 just in case you were wondering 😉
    As impressive as they are, I have no doubt that you’d knock him clean out though.. if he was to order the last Big Mac that had your name written all over it 😆😆

  21. allezkev says:

    Ah, I did hear Red, that St Etienne wanted to sell Saliba to us but keep him on loan for a year and Arsenal weren’t keen.
    I guess the truth is somewhere between the two, but finance will be in there somewhere as well.

  22. Big Raddy says:

    Can’t see us buying Joachim Anderson, he is highly rated and will be very expensive, but if we do I will be delighted.

    Signing Andersen will ensure AFC are shown regularly on Danish TV. 😀

  23. Sue says:

    We’re playing a friendly against Barca on August 4th.. I hope Luis Suarez wears a gum shield 😃 what’s the betting Denis Suarez pops up with the winner?! Hahaha!!

  24. Sue says:

    Omg I can’t believe Argentina lost! With Aguero, Messi & Di Maria all playing! WTH!! Couldn’t even bloody watch it as it was on yet another channel you have to pay for! Had to rely on YouTube for the highlights. Poor lil Sergio, must have been exhausted, running 2 paces to everyone else’s 1 😆 at least OOOOOspina was happy!
    Saw a picture on Twitter that made me feel rather nauseous.. from that Xhaka charity match last night.. some guy (from the crowd) was on the pitch, and was – what looked like – kissing Xhaka’s boot (Xhaka let him, of course) omg what’s wrong with some people?! All I can say is, he obviously wasn’t a gooner or Xhaka would have been sparko on the pitch 😂 I did notice at that point, the score was 4-3.. Xhaka conceded 3 penalties you think? I thought so too 🤣
    Soccer Aid is on tonight – the good news – Piers Morgan is one of the managers & Usain Bolt is taking part. The bad news – it’s at Stamford Bridge & the even worse news – Didier Drogba is taking part.. Boooooo! 😡☹

  25. LBG says:

    Again, risking a non footie conversation, Sue, what’s good about Piss mOrgan?

  26. Sue says:

    He makes me laugh, LBG… I know he isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, clearly not yours 😂, but I quite like him – no not in that way!!

  27. Morning all

    Before you all get stuck into a conversation about Piers Morgan, he’s actually mentioned in the new post.

    Give me a couple of minutes and I’ll publish …….

  28. There’s a New Post ………………

  29. RA says:

    Morning Sue, LBG, BR

    I am amused at your comment about the Argies and Xhaka, Sue, and it’s also good to see BR has not abandoned us, thank goodness. 😁

    On a different matter, and as I know you were chatting about the Gypsy King (his claim – not mine) and his brother, Tommy Whatnot, I happened to listen to an interview with Mr Fury, who is really amusing and intelligent, and playing up to his pre-fight malarkey, telling us he was not confident of winning.

    Needless to say he slaughtered his opponent in next to no time,

    I really like the bloke – no airs or graces – and with a sense of humour.

    BR was one of the late lamented AA Breakfast Crew, all of whom seem to have disappeared – maybe you two early risers can be his new gang! 🤪

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