William Saliba … Great! … but what about the here and now?

There is a mini furore among some Arsenal fans over Leicester’s signing of Youri Tielemans from Monaco for a club record fee believed to be £40m. This takes City’s summer spending to nearly £80m, twice the reported budget Arsenal have to play with. The feeling is that Tielemans is just the sort of player Arsenal need.

Tielemans is 3 months older than Ainsley Maitland Nyles!!!

I’m all for youth, but who are they learning from? I do like the idea of UE snapping up these young players like Martinelli and Saliba, but a club of our size should be doing that whilst at the same time bolstering the first team squad. If UE wants to be around to see these players progress then he better start improving the first team, because the likes of Leicester and Wolves will be catching us at this rate.

The defence has been a shambles for years, yet we seem to do nothing about it. Sure, there’s a world shortage of CB’s, but you’ve got to buy a ticket to win the lottery. The defence won’t improve if we sit back and do nothing (which is what it looked like last season). It’s like we got burnt with Mustafi and so we’ve stopped trying. Cut your losses, get £20m for him, and try again.

There are 2 key areas we failed last season, CB and AM. I don’t doubt Zaha would be exactly what we need in that he’s got that unpredictability that we lack, but if we can’t afford him then why embarrass ourselves? Go buy what you can afford and hope the youngsters can fill the other gaps. There’s far more potential in Nelson, Martinelli and Smith-Rowe than in that CB group. £40-£50m could get us a decent CB.

Sokratis and Koscielny are our best 2 CB’s, so why people want Koscielny to go is a strange one for me. Yes, he’s getting on, but he’s still top 2 in our side. That’s not a compliment to him by the way, more a realisation of just how poor we are in that position. Holding is coming off a serious injury, Chambers has proven himself far better at HM than he’s ever looked at CB (thank god as he was very average at CB!), Monreal is a LB regardless of what anyone says and wouldn’t get anywhere near any other top 10 PL first team playing as a CB, Mavropanos has played a handful of games so it’s far too early to judge him, and the less said about Mustafi the better I think.

You can work on shape and defensive attitude all day, but sometimes you just have to accept the players aren’t good enough and move on. Personally, I’d be selling Mustafi and Monreal. I’d bring in Tierney and look for a big name CB. I’d be using Chambers in midfield, and I’d give cup game opportunities to Mavropanos and Bielik (shame he wants out as he looks one of our more promising CB prospects).



43 Responses to William Saliba … Great! … but what about the here and now?

  1. LB says:

    Nice to read an FGG post.

    I don’t share peoples pessimism about the defence. Mustafi had been moved sideways towards the end of last season and was playing backup to Sakratis and Koscielny

    With the return of Holding I expect him to be moved even further sideways and when he has been removed that far from the front line he becomes very useful to have: a player of experience that is capable of coming in to do a job when needed .

    Same applies to Monreal: I would be disappointed if he were expected to play principal LB for the whole of the season, although I have faith that the club wont allow that to happen.

    Arsenal are negotiating the Tierney deal in their usual way, I see nothing embarrassing about it.

    I have already covered the reason which I shall repost.

  2. LB says:

    LB says:
    July 9, 2019 at 10:42 pm

    There you go Slim, you answer your own question as to the club’s negotiating strategy.

    Put in a cheeky bid for Isco and see if it flies. (Good idea by the way)

    Same goes with Zaha.

    Valued at £75mil according to who?

    There is a very truthful saying: A house is worth what someone is prepared to pay for it.

    We put in 40mil bid for Zaha and by doing so we flush out other bidders, if Man City come in we walk away. But…..if no one else comes in and Zaha really does want to come to THOF then the club has negotiated well.

    Arsenal have been negotiating deals for a while now.

  3. LB says:

    Cut the cloth to suit the purse.

  4. RA says:

    Excellent stuff, Very Slim Ginger!! 😁

    I was worried that you were getting in my head, yesterday, making me think of moo cows (ably assisted by the minx) and the same thought came to me today, until I recalled reading a version of this in the previous Post.

    That Rasper should have been the editor of one of the national newspapers, as his ability to turn comments into Posts is top class, and I presume that is his work I espy today.

    [I know, I know, it was probably Peaches’ handiwork this morning — in which case all credit to her — a great duo — Peaches and Cream!! 😀

  5. Pete says:

    Thanks for the post, no one can deny that our defence has been an embarrassment at times in recent years. I like the idea of buiding for the future with Saliba. We can afford him now, in 3 years, if he is half as good as expected he’d be out of our league financially.

    I think that Holding was our best defender just before he got injured and UE saw Holding/Sok as our best pairing.

    Mavropanos looked an exciting talent but now he is worrying me, he has been perpetually injured which in a player so young doesn’t bode well.

    Reports are that we are looking to bring in another CB. For whatever reason, it appears UE doesn’t fancy Bielik, maybe we can sell him to add to the kitty. The level of ready to go defender we would need will likely cost £40m +, otherwise no point.

  6. RC78 says:

    We re keeping Sokratis and Monreal next year. They will be the experienced players.

    We re entertaining offers for Koscielny and Mustafi – Kos because he wants a new challenge and Mustafi because he is too challenged in the EPl.

    I think Monreal should be our 5th CB and I agree that we should get one top CB. There are some players that could be acquired and would be willing to join us for different reasons. Think about Aldewereid, Bailly or Mina. Any of them would help us. We would then have: Recruit, Holding, Sokratis, Mavropanos, Monreal at CB.

    I agree that we would benefit from a CM but I really think that AMN could be our guy in the middle of the park so i think that we should look more for a FW/Winger like Pepe, Neres, Bergwin, Zaha, Sarr and maybe we can also look into Ziyech, Tadic or Shaqirii or Mertens.

    The team is screaming for a DM though. Again, players like Gueye or Ndidi could be tempted. They can really help Chambers grow into that role too.

    Finally we need back up RB and LB.

    Leno – Bello, Mina, Holding, Kola – AMN, Gueye, Torreira – Auba, Pepe – Laca

    Add Alves, Vidal, Mitrovic and you are set.

  7. Pete says:

    If we had to go for one big buy player, my choice would be a midfield playmaker. We’ve got very good strikers, we need someone centrally who can collect the ball from the defence and feed their runs.

  8. Metoopee says:

    It’s laughable that “Arsenal fans” putting pressure on Unai Emery. You and those Arsenal fans better wake up! UE is dedicated and left with the sh** Le Prof left him and no transfer money. What other reputable manager would step into Arsenal under our conditions? We had sooo many chances for third. But the leftovers bottled it. Wake up! We don’t want Unai Emery to leave! Get on Board!

  9. Sue says:

    I do agree FGG, from what I’ve read about Saliba, it does sound like he’ll be great for us (in the future)…but does that mean we’re going to have to make do with what we have?!
    I’m glad Holding & Bellerin will be back soon (September?) There’s Bielik, although I don’t like what I’ve read about him – leaving/to be sold? – that’ll be a huge mistake imo…
    All I hope is – Mustafi will be sold!! Or just given away 😄
    A lot of rumours are quiet now – I didn’t know Tierney was recovering from a hernia op, that’s why he didn’t play last night.. we always like to go for the injured players 😜
    Come on Raul etc, keeping us bloody waiting – pull your bloody fingers out!! The clock is ticking… and Wilf is waiting 😁

  10. allezkev says:

    Good post Ginge, that’s quite shocking when you think about it, Tielemans being 3 months older than Maitland Niles, but then Niles hardly ever plays in midfield, he’s an attacking midfielder really, his defending isn’t his strength, so maybe Arsenal just need to utilise what we have better to get more out of them?

    Iwobi isn’t a wide player, give him a run in the middle, see if he can do the role Ramsey made his own last season?

    Give a Niles a run in central midfield, see if he is the answer, he’s not really had a chance there up till now?

  11. fatgingergooner says:


    I understand what you are saying, but I think there’s a difference between putting a cheeky bid in for a player who’s not being utilised by his club (Isco), and putting one in for someone’s star player (Zaha). 10 years ago it felt like Arsenal had a lot of goodwill with other PL clubs as they appreciated the way we played and the way the club acted, but sometimes I wonder if they are getting a bit sick of our tight fisted transfer negotiations and the way we try to under value players. It’s all my own opinion and feelings of course and counts for very little, but I just get the impression that sticking a £40m offer in for Zaha will do nothing but piss Palace off.

  12. Mike M says:

    Just a little reminder FGG, Sol Campbell on a free, Cesc and Bellerin from La Massia, PV4 4million from Milan, plus Freddie, Pires, Kolo, Lauren, Hleb, Nasri, Lehmann, Petit, Overmars, Sagna, RVP, were all low cost signings where I’m sure we could have bid more but usually bid just enough to sign them. The key is usually if they want to come, it puts pressure on the club selling. Remember how much Barca bid and paid for Henry, Cesc, Hleb, Song, Overmars and Petit. Or Manure with Van Persie, or Chavski with Cole?? Not a lot, because the player wanted to leave us. Modern day football isn’t about how things appear, it’s having a strategy based on where you are, then trying to get something done. Seeing none of us know where we are except the manager and Board, let’s assume they’re acting in Arsenal’s best interest.
    In your defence, bids for Suarez and Ronaldo (when he was with Sporting Lisbon) didn’t work out so well !! But we’ve also made our fair of marquee signings over the years, Bergkamp 7.5 million from Inter, Ozil, Sanchez, Arshavin, We don’t know what’s cooking behind the scenes. This is UE’s first complete summer window (in effect). I might be wrong but the best signings I remember over the years were the ones that just appeared out of the blue. Here’s hoping !!

  13. fred1266 says:

    Bielik makes up our home grown players so if we sell then we will have to purchase an over priced player

  14. fred1266 says:

    So isn’t mesut or midfield play maker Pete

  15. fred1266 says:

    Allezkev watch AFCON iwobi plays at and tell me if I like what u see

  16. RC78 says:

    Let s hope we sell Jenko, Mustafi, Kos, El Neny, Xhaka, Asano and then we may be able to be more credible on the market.

    I think we should position ourselves for Alves and Vidal or Naingollan. One is out of contract and the others are pushed out. Sound investments for players that can bring us their experience and also skills. I d play Chambers with Vidal or Naingollan next to him without a qualm.

    I agree that we should go after players that clubs don’t necessarily want any more or don’t mind losing because of cash need or bc contractual situation or other reasons. We can then splash on one major signing.

    Leno – Alves, Aldewereid, Holding, Tierney – AMN, Chambers, Vidal – Pepe, Laca – Auba

  17. LB says:

    Great comment Mike M

  18. Mike M says:

    Did I miss something on Alderwireld? Why would he leave Spurs to come to us? Dis he say something?

  19. Sue says:

    Is Asano still on our books?? Jeez I’d forgotten all about him – a signing that didn’t work out!!
    I thought Liverpool were after Pepe? If that’s still the case, we shouldn’t even go there!

  20. Pete says:

    Fred, Mesut weaves beautifully but he doesn’t orchestrate = run games. We need Santi Mk2. I ignored Mesut because it is becoming increasingly obvious that he doesn’t feature in UE’s plans.

  21. RC78 says:

    Aldewereid has one year left on his contract and maybe he likes North London?

  22. Mike M says:

    I’m sure he does. Spuds are in the CL. So are Spuds (not quite N/L but close !!) . Just can’t see him coming to us for a number of reasons, not least his wage demands. I think we should understand where we are right now as a club and work our way back to where we should be. But it’s a process.

  23. Aaron says:

    Here is something to think about: At what age are players ready to play 1st team futbol?

    Here are a few articles from other sports, but to me pro’s are pro’s no matter what the field.


    and another:

    Low odds on all but, most are ready before 24 years old to play some pro games at any level. Interestingly enough the most common age in one draft was around 21.5 years old.

    Give Bielik a chance, I mean he was on the winning side in the Charlton campaign or BUY someone (CB) who can come in and tighten up the defense.

    No way are the Arsenal going anywhere with Kos and Sok in the middle, aging Monreal on the left and AMN on the right. Especially with Xhaka in front of them. If the Arsenal retain Kos how can he possibly play every 3-4 days?? Oh that is right we have Mustafi to plug and play and Ozil in front of Xhaka….

    How can Emery think this is going to work for the first 15 games until Holding and Bell come back, if they ever do? It is extreme foolishness or irrationality to believe that older and injury recovered players can change the results.

  24. Rasp says:

    Hi Mike, your post is in the loading bay for tomorrow. It addresses some of the points being made today … well done for keeping your powder dry 🙂

  25. RC78 says:


  26. RC78 says:

    Alves can come at RB for free
    Aldewereid or Bailly at CB for less than 30
    Nanigollan or Vidal at DM/CM for less than 20
    Pepe can come for 80 mln (40 now, loan Saka and the rest next year maybe?)

    If you can’t afford Pepe, then go for Neres, Bergwin or Sarr – all below 45 Mln

    Bielik should be part of our squad, we need homegrown anyways so no point selling a promising talent.

  27. fred1266 says:

    Are we really undervalueing plays or other sides jacking up there price because they know we are in need of these plays

  28. Mike M says:

    @ Aaron. Interesting point you make. It’s funny because being in the US, there are drafts for all major sports and I’ve had lots of discussions recently with people about how much the gap between college and Pro has changed here. First you have to consider that, there is a college system in the major US sports. I believe that the technology, kinetic analysis and nutrition are so similar now between the two levels that players like Mahomes and Mayfield (if you happen to follow college football and NFL) are instantly ready to play pro. I also saw Matthew Wolfe win at his 3rd attempt on the PGA Tour this weekend with 2 other rookie college players in the top 4. I’m not sure the U23 system here is equivalent but you can be sure the analysis and nutrition are very similar to the first team. I’m not sure therefore about the Premier League but in many other sports, the “ready” age is rapidly coming down.

  29. fatgingergooner says:

    Hi Mike M,

    I don’t think anyone is questioning the fact we’ve made good signings in the past, but I don’t believe we are in a position now where tactics from 15 years ago would work and I also don’t think we are as appealing to the top players as we were for a lot of those transfers you listed.

    You mention Özil and Sanchez, and whilst we were all excited when we signed them, the fact is that their arrival came at a cost, which happened to be the quality of the rest of the squad. They should’ve been a catalyst for bigger things but instead the rest of the squad played second fiddle and wasn’t improved in the way it should’ve been. The fact we got Flamini in on a free transfer instead of buying a quality HM player that we were crying out for at the time says it all about how the Özil signing hindered the improvement of the team. If we are not careful, we could be looking at a similar scenario with Auba and Laca. We dished out a ton of money on those 2 in a short space of time and it now appears we are paying the price. Lessons don’t seem to be getting learned. It wouldn’t surprise me if we went into the season with the same defensive line up as last year and if that’s the case, with or without Zaha, then I think we can only say that the transfer window is a complete waste of time and that we are making the same mistakes as a club over and over again regardless of manager.

    I sincerely hope the club pulls out the big surprises once again, but if none of them are defenders, then I’m afraid we are probably looking at another nothing season.

  30. Mike M says:

    FGG can’t/don’t disagree with anything above that you say. My point mainly was that we’ve made good signings and sold extremely good players in the past at less than market value, almost always because the player wants the move. My point on marquee signings was that we have made them. I see the result of them exactly as you do (specifically failure to strengthen the defence). I think it’s easier with hindsight to be fair to the club. I’m hoping for a surprise or two also and agree a solid defender would be ideal.

  31. fatgingergooner says:

    Mike M,

    I think Zaha could kick up a fuss and try to force a move, but the fact he’s on a brand new 5 year deal puts Palace firmly in control. With the likes of RVP, Sanchez and Fabregas, we put ourselves against the wall with poor contract foresight. As for hindsight, if the club can’t see that our defence needs improvement then they must be a bunch of f***ing idiots!!! 😂😂😂😂

    I honestly feel the squad has more potential than it has in a long time. I like some of the signings we made last year and think there is room for progress with a lot of the players. Torreira, Geundouzi, AMN, Iwobi, Leno, Nelson, Holding and Chambers are all capable of a break out season. The likes of Sokratis, Bellerin, Kolasinac, Xhaka, Laca, Mkhi and Auba are good players who can hold the side together. I also believe that more time for UE to work with the players on what he wants to see on the field is nothing but a good thing. If someone had offered me last seasons results before a ball was kicked I truly believe I would’ve bitten their hand off. Given how poor we were in the last 2 years under Arsene and given how lopsided and disillusioned the squad had become I thought last season exceeded realistic expectations. However, it’s time now for Emery to earn his money and there is absolutely no doubt that we need to strengthen in the CB and AM areas if we want to progress towards that top 4 which must surely be his aim this year.

  32. fatgingergooner says:

    Mike M,

    What are your thoughts on Özil? Do you think he has a future with us or do you see Emery trying to loan him out somewhere to get him away from the players he wants to progress with? I hate to see such a talent going to waste but it just seems such a hard task to get the most out of him on a consistent basis within our set up. I don’t know what the answer is but a repeat of last season is not good for club, manager or player.

  33. Mike M says:

    I think Ozil is a luxury we could ill afford when we signed him and certainly can’t now. I’ve written a couple things about the current squad which I think will appear tomorrow. Suffice to say I believe Ozil, Xhaka and Iwobi just to name 3 could all play for us with a change of attitude. But I think that mentality is the hardest thing to change in football. In his current guise, I don’t see room for Ozil. Hopefully we will improve on last season !!!

  34. Mike M says:

    @ Fred. I think it’s a bit of both !!!!!!!!

  35. fatgingergooner says:

    Mike M,

    We seem to share thoughts on Özil. You can’t not enjoy his game when he’s at his best, but we haven’t seen it enough and we needed something different when we signed him. Shame.

    Maybe I will withhold my thoughts on Iwobi and Xhaka until tomorrow for the sake of the blog. I look forward to reading your post as it appears we have a similar mindset on the current state of the squad.

  36. LB says:

    Well that was a very interesting set of comments.

  37. allezkev says:

    Fred, I didn’t see the Nigeria game but apparently Iwobi had another good game…
    I see that Nwakali and Sheaf are still training with the 1st team.
    It’ll be interesting Fred to see whose on the plane for the USA tour.

  38. fred1266 says:


    I guess those who training write now

  39. allezkev says:

    Maybe Fred, depends I guess on how many bodies Emery wants on the trip?

  40. Rasp says:

    Morning all ….

    … New post ….

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