So Arteta-Edu decided to keep El Neny and Nketiah but to part ways with our captain Laca…
Laca has been a good player for us and a very good influence on the group and especially the young players. He cannot be faulted for his captaincy nor for his attitude on and off the pitch. He scored some goals and delivered some assists but this year, he did miss a lot of chances and ultimately, this has cost him a new contract at AFC.
I think the team will be sad to him leave and Arteta as well. Laca was always praised for his personality and efforts and he was well appreciated by the group.
So it seems that our very enticing attack Pepe, Laca, Auba is close to its demise, not having fullfilled its promise. Our last 2 captains and main strikers have now left the club on a free.
Our current centre-forward options for the first team are Nketiah and Balogun. I am not counting ESR or Martinelli there for now nor Biereth for various reasons.
We need now more than ever a reliable goal scorer that can make the most of the chances created by Ode, Saka, Martinelli, ESR…We need a finisher that can still link-up with his partners nicely and be a hard working player when it comes to pressing and defending. I think Toney, Watkins, Richarlison, Jesus, Nunez could be decent options but let us see who comes to us but there is definitely room for one player to be our starting CF next year.
In the meantime, let us say thank you to Laca for his 54 goals and 25 assits in the EPL in 158 games, 4 goals and 1 assist in the EFL Cup in 11 games, 15 goals in 27 games in the European League and good luck in Lyon!
You were in my eyes always a fox in the box. You needed a ” knock down” man – maybe even a Djourou – but perhaps better a John Radford. We played you in a “difficult” position ( for you) when Aubang left, but you never complained, always worked hard and tried to create ( and your first touch control was always better than Aubang with your back to the defender!)
Thanks again, we will remember you.
Been linked with lacazette for so many years before he came shame he wasn’t better for us
Nice bloke, hard worker, average finisher. Didn’t like the way he always went down like he’d been shot (a Giroud trait I also hated) but he was a team player for sure. Agree that he wasn’t suited to being a lone striker with wingers. 4-4-2 would have been his preference but with a clinical finisher next to him. I see him as more of a creator than scorer, but with the focus on someone else, he might have picked up more goals. Maybe that was the plan with him and Auba but if so, it never worked, mostly because we never had full backs that could defend. anyway, wish him all the best.
Sorry, Giroud rather than a Swiss centre back.
Yep was confused why you was mentioned our World class CB Djourou
Saliba bullied for France second goal, but did really well to recover and catch up to Denmark striker
Atletico, Barcelona, Atalanta, Roma, Marseille, PSG monitoring Saliba…there is room for improvement but clearly he is talented…
That said, a fully fit W. Fofana has nothing to envy Saliba…Once Fofana comes back to full fitness, he will be amongst Top 10 CBs in the world for sure
What is everyone at club knew he was talented, which was confirm by Charlie George so not sure why he wasn’t even used
Yea Leicester really has an eye for talent, literally when RC78 started Raving about him Leicester pick him up that same year
Take the hint, Arsenal, and buy Bissouma.
Welcome to the club maupay
Seems once we mentioned buying bissouma we go and buy another Brighton player
I think Bissouma is a good player but I feel that he is over-rated…He is no K. Philips or D.Rice or N.Kante or A. Tchouameni…
How do you rate Ward-Prowse? McGinn? Brownhill? Soucek? Douglas Luiz?
In France, Sekou Fofana from Lens is very sought after. I think he is good but not good enough for us. From Ligue 1, the best option is Tchouaemi but he won’t even consider us but his team mate Y. Fofana could be a worth a look at.
Zubimendi, Merino, Ruiz are decent Spaniards too…
Many many options…To replace Lacazette with a Lyon player, then the easiest pick is either Dembele but more excitingly Paqueta.
Thank God we don’t have to watch England every week.
We will never get Rice, Phillips or Kante. It is a pipe dream.
Really enjoyed the post and was stuck by how I thought your views of our potential targets upfront had returned to the realms of reality, then I read your suggestions to possible alternatives to Bissouma, hmmmmmm.
As for Bissouma I really don’t know enough about him to comment constructively.
Rc78 what u smoking over there u putting rice and Phillips in the same line as kante none of them can walk in his shows
I know Fred, I know…but all of them are better than Bissouma 😛
LB – which alternatives are you referring to? I think K. Philips could be convinced to join us…For the rest of the players, I did not suggest we should look at them, I merely asked if some of you had seen them play on a regular basis…Statistically, Brownhill is not bad apparently
Why do u say there better than bissouma I haven’t watched much of either to many a firm judgement
Pretty convinced about your assessment of Bissouma and the rest, aren’t you. Have to disagree and wonder how much you have seen of the Brighton man to be so sure.
Once/if Phillips is over his significant injury he will be priced way out of our price bracket, and will be snapped up by a Manshitty or Newcastle.
Two for Balogun last night and MOM.
And so it is a reality, au revoir Monsieur Laca. You will always be a Gunner, and welcome back.
Don’t think Gakpo is an improvement on what we have.
The transfer window opens tomorrow (or today, if this takes eight hours to post!), but already, for weeks, supporters across the footballing spectrum, have had out their stub of pencil and an old envelope to jot their dreams down.
If you follow a small club, like Lincoln City, your wish-list might include a repeat loan for the young full-back who made such an impression last back-end – one Brooke Norton Cuffy. Millwall fans might be hoping against hope that the young Northern Ireland defender, Daniel Ballard, might be allowed to extend his spell.
If you support a Madchester club, your dreams know no bounds, and your pencilled list is etched with gold leaf. Sp*rs ‘supporters’ have already reconciled their lengthy wish-list to the waste paper basket in Daniel Levy’s office.
This is the time of year when the usual suspects on Twitter and the blogosphere trot out the usual suspects, and Arsenal fans are as guilty as most. I haven’t yet seen Higuain or M’Vila touted, but Aouar and Morata have been! For goodness’ sake…
If anyone on here has noticed me before, you may recall my scepticism, erring towards contempt, for the whole transfer season rigmarole. It never used to happen. It is a construct of the media, particularly the television companies, designed to prod fans into baying for this star or that (ignoring that stars can become Black Holes).
Most Premier League clubs end up with fifty to a hundred new players joining, if the transfer touts are to be believed.
I prefer to leave the club to it. They know far better than I the team’s needs, and the in-depth profile of potential acquisitions. It’s so much more pleasurable when the new player is announced, and it’s not one I’ve been speculating about for weeks.
But for me, more pleasurable than that, is to look inward at our existing assets, and wonder who might make the step up next, or at all. I actually think that the supporters, or the media hacks, whose wish-lists extend to six or seven new players, are rather insulting the club’s current young crop.
We finished the season with three Academy graduates established in the first team: two are full internationals; one is a record goal scorer at under-21 level; one is currently valued in excess of €100 million. All three, on an emotional level, have inflated the feelgood factor around the club.
So, you ask, who’s next off the Mertesacker production line? I think the aforementioned Brooke Norton Cuffy is the likeliest to succeed. He’s already a physical specimen. And he hasn’t finished growing. He’s an aggressive and smart defender, has good control, and moved forward rapidly.
I’m confident Daniel Ballard has a top career looming, but maybe not at Arsenal – with at least three world-class CBs ahead of him, his opportunity might lie elsewhere. Another central defender with a shout is Omar Rekik, but I don’t think he’s ready for the first team yet.
There is a multitude of midfielders at the moment, some of genuine quality. Charlie Patino and Miguel Azeez are already known around the first team squad. Patino is very highly rated by the management, but he did look a bit unsure and physically immature when given a chance last season. Two others who look promising are Marcelo Flores (I think he might be the bolter this season) and Salah-Eddine Oulad-M’Hand.
If Balogun doesn’t get loaned out straight away, he might get opportunities, at least up to Christmas, while Mika Biereth has looked a natural goal scorer, but Is probably not yet ready.
It may be that, as embryo professional footballers, none of the above will make it. Look round the league, and you don’t see all that many Academy graduates playing regularly, early in their careers. But then we, the Arsenal, do have “Eddie, Eddie, Eddie”. And “Here we go, Saka and Emile Smith Rowe!”
LBG, Gapko would be a huge improvement on the squad.
As far as I’m concerned he is (far) better than Saka, but since he is 23, Bukayo has a few years to improve quickly, while Cody is only expected to mature…
Maxwell, that was a damn fine summary of the academy prospects.
Brook Norton-Cuffy could indeed be a standout candidate, but I don’t expect him to play next season. (He might and – as far as I’m concerned – should go on loan, to effectively challenge Cedric Soares in the following campaign, which will be Cedric’s last.) Even if BNC stays I don’t see him starting ahead of Tomi or Soares, and even if they are both unavailable, White is still likely to start at RB, just as happened recently ahead of Zack Swanson. Brook could sit on the bench in a few games, but that shouldn’t make up for a yearlong quality loan in the Championship.
Something similar should apply at LB where Lopez might go on loan (or could depart) and Lino Sousa – the only starlet you didn’t mention – could be the breakthrough player of the U23 team and sit occasionally on the first team bench when Tavares/Hickey starts and Tierney is injured as expected.
The only players whom I expect to have actual minutes in the domestic cups or in the EL against weaker opponents are the CMs you mentioned. One from Azeez, Patino and Salah should go on loan, and the other 2 should compete hard for the bench spot, but even then Lokonga and Elneny are likely to start ahead of them (and no new arrival was taken into account). Yet the opportunity for 5 substitutes will give the boys at midfield to play 6-10 minutes a few games. Flores could deputize ESR, but since Emile is already the deputy of Martin, I don’t see Marcelo playing much either.
Up front I expect Biereth to go on loan, and Edwards taking over the U23 striker duties, while Eddie and Flo sharing the cup minutes and bench spots behind the new forward.
So there are indeed top talents in practically every position (apart from the right wing if we consider Hutchinson an attacking midfielder), but I won’t count on many academy minutes next season, mainly since Arteta is after all Arteta. But they will be involved in first team trainings and sit on the bench for several games, so maybe the following season we will see more Hale End graduates – especially if the club doesn’t sign top replacement for those positions where at least one of the first 2 candidates are beyond their prime (Elneny, Soares, Xhaka, Partey) or fail to live up to the challenge (Holding, Tavares, AMN, Turner).
Maxwell’s Silver Hammer of a list.
Excellent, knowledgeable post as ways, Sir, but I’d still have Bissouma and Calvet-Lewin or/and Abrahams if we win the Euro Lottery!
Nice write up Max and yeah, I do suffer from transfer fatigue especially when we’re continually linked and linked again with the same certain players and to such a degree that all the enjoyment of actually signing them when we do, if that does happens, is totally rinsed out.
So give me a surprise signing any day of the week.
No Omari Hutchinson in your predictions for next season but a great shout out for Marcelo Flores, he does look very interesting…
Yes, I’m mortified I forgot Omari Hutchinson, a child prodigy turning into a rather exciting winger. Thank you PB and Allez for highlighting him. If he doesn’t go out on loan, he’ll get minutes in the Europa and Carabao, for sure.
A favourable draw in the Europa and maybe some kind, home draws in the League Cup are just the ticket for our youngsters to get that senior football exposure and as I tend to do the midweek games these days just the ticket for me.
Swanson is an interesting one, he probably got on the subs bench more than any of our youngsters late last season, so does Arteta actually see something in him?
The Nunez fee illustrates why the Maxwell approach is all we can expect from this Summer’s transfer window, and why the Pepe purchase must be the last time we speculate on ” non-proven in the Premier League” players.
I wonder also how Nunez’s mind will stand up to a period, either of not being picked automatically or not scoring. England in the winter is not Portugal.
Seems like a nice fella and popular with his teammates but at circa £50m he has proven to be barely average.
I think his stats will back that up.