Keep or sell – last series – The Forward line

Saka, Martinelli are for sure staying…So here are the question marks:

  1. A. Lacazette, current captain, early 30s and out of contract in June…

2. E. Nketiah, an academy product, an English youth international and also out of country in June

3. N. Pepe, our most expensive purchase to date. Has been showing glimpses of his talent but not on a consistent basis. Is there more time for him at AFC or is it time to let him go flourish somewhere else?

4.F. Balogun, an academy product, currently on loan in Middlesborough. Apparently, an amazing talent.

5. R. Nelsson, an academy product, currently on loan abroad. Was touted to be a fantastic talent but has not lived up to the hype – or just yet?

6. M. Biereth, a recent purchase for the academy. Scoring regularly but does he have what it takes to make it to the pro group?

My take on it:

  • Keep Laca, Pepe, Balogun
  • Loan out Nelson, Biereth
  • Let Nketiah go, for his own good.
  • Purchase a Nr.9

Forward players for next year:

Recruit (Schick? Calvert-Lewin? Watkins?), Laca, Balogun

Saka, Pepe, Martinelli, Recruit (Kostic?)

What’s us your take on it?


18 Responses to Keep or sell – last series – The Forward line

  1. pbarany says:

    Scenario 1: only buying a midfielder this transfer window
    Keep: Laca, Pepe, Nelson, Nketiah, Balogun (extend contract with Laca, make him striker #1, and rotate the bench and the cup game minutes between Eddie and Flo)
    Loan: Pepe, Biereth
    Sell: John-Jules

    Scenario 2: world class striker purchase
    Keep: Pepe, Balogun, Nketiah, Biereth
    Loan: Nelson
    Let go: Lacazette, John-Jules
    Sign: either a young striker who would appreciate a move to the Emirates from the David-Isak-Gouiri-Nunez 22y quartet or a winger who can be deployed centrally like Gakpo

    Scenario 3: double forward signing
    Keep: Biereth (for U23)
    Loan: Nelson, Balogun
    Sell/Release: Lacazette, Nketiah, Pepe, John-Jules
    Sign: 2 players from the above listed 5 (my preference: Gouiri & Gakpo)

  2. pbarany says:

    Schick could be a decent signing, but he had such a great year that could be difficult and/or expensive to sign him.
    The other rumored candidates like DCL, Watkins, Rashford Richarlison are not the level of we would like to lead our line. I don’t think they would outperform Lacazette to be honest.

    Mbappé, Haaland, Salah, Kane, Martinez, Jota are beyond our reach, maybe Dybala too. For them playing for Arsenal would be a setback, and wouldn’t be interested/motivated even if we could have afforded the transfer (which we wouldn’t).

  3. LBG says:

    Isak or David?
    I still believe Calvert-Lewin will knock in so many of those chances made in the 18 yard box, especially in the air, and he should be our target. Balogun will come good eventually.

  4. LB says:

    Struggling to find a reason to keep Nelson

  5. LB says:

    “LB, would you not agree the Silvestres etc were duds before we were conned? I think Rashford is not a spent force and Mikel is just as likely to bring out the talent in him as anyone.”

    Been away LBG, couldn’t agree more about the duds we have bought from manu, and that is my fear about Rashford; he could very easily extend that list. Have to say, I did like Welbeck though.

  6. pbarany says:

    Welbeck cost 18M while Rashford could cost 81M.
    OK, 18M was a bit more back than, but 80M is a lot especially in the post-covid (?) era. So with Welbeck Wenger played a minor gambling, but a purchase of Rashford’s proportion is a huge risk. For that money we need a player capable of scoring 25 goals and providing 10+ assist in 3 consecutive seasons…
    It could work out though, but if not, than the coach must go. We are – unfortunately – not the club where money is easy come, easy go.

  7. RC78 says:

    I think Rashford would benefit from leaving the EPL to be honest. He should exile in Spain, Germany or France. PSG would love to have him, for example. He is still super young and is an outstanding player – he is just having a dip. I ll take him to PSG any time. I don’t think he would be great for AFC, we do not need him at the moment because of our system and we do not want to limit Saka nor Martinelli’s progress nor playing time.

    Out of your list of David, Gouiri, Isaak and Nunez, I think the ones that would meet the requirements of our team are Nunez and Isaak. Both are good but I have to say I like Nunez’ physicality over Isaak’s refined technique for our team.

    Ramsdale – Tomy, White, Gabs, Tierney – Partey, D.RICE – Saka, Ode, Martinelli – NUNEZ

    Turner – Cedric?, Holding, ?, Nuno – Lokonga, Xhaka – Pepe, ESR, KOSTIC – Laca

    Does that look about right?

  8. pbarany says:

    Nunez indeed has a superior physicality over the others, which make him a prime target, but Isak is taller (in fact the tallest of all candidates). I’m less fan of the crossing & heading “British” style or the Lukaku-esque brute forwards, so my preference is closer to Gouiri, but I think all these players are excellent, and would prove to be great signings after they get accustomed to the PL style, as well as the English language, culture and weather.

    Regarding your line-ups, they are really strong. The only change I would made is the midfield partnership. I don’t think you could pair the 2 DMs in one team and the 2 CMs in the other, so if you insist on Rice, you should pair him with Xhaka, and Partey with Lokonga. But otherwise these are fine teams following our seemingly best 4-2-3-1. Saliba or Trusty (maybe Ballard?) could be the missing defender in the second XI if Mari leaves, and Hutchinson can have a few games as the back-up winger. Furthermore I don’t think we would have the funds to buy a striker, a central midfielder AND a winger in the same window, but why shouldn’t we be hopeful? 🙂

  9. RC78 says:

    I think Partey is kind of now playing DM and Rice is playing a bit higher up the pitch…but I am not sure…lol

    Gouiri is brilliant but he is not as good as Laca when it comes to holding the ball up…Izaak and Nunez are better at this but Gouri is better at making runs, dribbling and passing the ball…

    I think we will get minimum 2 players this summer and maybe 3…

  10. LBG says:

    Adeyemi, Felix?………or is there a question mark against all genuine strikers playing in Europe at present? Can they adapt to the battering they will get in the Premier League AND SCORE GOALS?
    Still prefer those that have proved that already, Calvert-Lewin, even Ivan Toney, if Rashford is too expensive. What’s clear is the Mbappes Haarlands etc wont come to us even if we could afford them ( which we cant!)
    Same applies to Rice for that matter, and when Saliba arrives, I would still like to try the White in a holding midfield model, giving Partey more license. Just my thoughts.

  11. RC78 says:

    Hi LBG, I think going for Calvert-Lewin, Toney and Watkins is not a bad idea…I also have a soft spot (although he is a bit crazy) for Mitrovic from Fulham…

  12. RC78 says:

    If anybody is watching Pepe vs England tonight, do let us know how he does/did

  13. fred1266 says:

    Nelson need to ne given a chance either sell him or give him games surely he can’t do worse than what pepe is currently doing for us

  14. pbarany says:

    LBG, I think Felix is also beyond Arsenal’s reach. He might not be in the same category as Mpabbé and Haaland (meaning the obvious A+ class of strikers), but similarly to Martinez, Osimhen (maybe even Dybala) he wouldn’t find an Arsenal switch ambitious enough. Only a few club can compete with being the firs/second choice striker for Spain’s 3rd club (Atletico plays with 2 forwards anyway, and Luis Suarez is 35 already, so he could expect his minutes to rise next season), and he makes about £233k a week ($307k), so even a significant raise not on the table – unlike Nunez or Gapko.

    I think it is not only the question of “do we have the ambition to dream big?”, nor does it come down to only “can we afford to pay 100M for a top striker?”, but also about “would the player (and agent) consider it the right career move?”. And for some excellent players at least one of the answer is no. So we have to find a striker who is better than Lacazette, Toney or Watkins, yet would be interested in a move to the Emirates.

    Based on their ‘pedigree’ DCL, Rashford or even Richarlison could be good signings. But based on their current form – and effectiveness in the season -, it’s more about Nunez (22), Gouiri (22), Gakpo (22), Schick (26) or Mitrovic (27). And when we consider Lacazette (30) below Arsenal’s standard we are clearly prioritizing current form over past performance and pedigree.

  15. RC78 says:

    Anybody seen Pepe’s game vs England? He did well vs France…

    Anyways, yesterday, 3 former Arsenal players were playing for France…
    – W. Saliba – he played as part of a back-3. Calm and steady against a weak South African team but did fine. Could have been more daring with the ball, when driving or passing forward.

    – M. Guendouzi – he played only less than 15 minutes but he had an impact on the game In his typical movement and passing style. Following a good movement from Mbappe, Guendouzi did a fake and then was able to create that yard to take a curling shot which ended in a good goal.

    – O. Giroud – started a second game for France during this international interlude and a long time away from the French squad. He scored a goal against Ivory Coast and another one against South Africa, he could have had a couple more yesterday. Hard-working, good link-up play and effective in the box. Same gold, Giroud. I think Deschamps will take him to Qatar ahead of players like Ben Yedder.

    In terms of midfields, Kante is just phenomenal and Rabiot is effective but Rabiot should really hit another level by now…He is going to be under pressure from Tchouameni, Camavinga, Rabiot and eventually Tolisso, Veretout…Pogba is still so good technically but it seems he is not enjoying his football and is not fussed about the hard part of the game but more about doing some flashy passes or dribbles. He needs to go to a very structured and rigid team – I think he would do well at Barcelona for example or Bayern Munich.

    Lloris – Pavard, Varane, Kimpembe? – Clauss?, Kante, TCHOUAMENI, Hernandez – Griezmann – Mbappe, Benzema

    Maignan – Kounde, Zouma, Hernandez – Coman, Rabiot, Pogba, Digne – Nkunku? – Dembele, Giroud


    The only question marks are:
    – Zouma who could be replaced by another midfielder (Douzi?Camavinga?) or striker (Ben Yedder, Thuram, Martial?)
    – Clauss who at 29 is only accessing the highest level and could be sacrificed for Dubois;
    – L. Hernandez who could be replaced by Ferland Mendy

    For the rest and barring injuries, 20 out of 23 players are already known

  16. RC78 says:

    Sorry there is also a question mark about Nkunku as he is in balance also with Diaby, Fekir, Aouar, Savanier, Gouiri and potentially Faivre or Payet….

  17. LBG says:


  18. fred1266 says:

    Opted to watch Portugal game

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