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Where Arsenal will certainly buy

By Walter Broeckx

Don’t worry I will not declare myself an ITK (‘In The Know’) person and tell you the big or smaller transfer targets from Arsenal and Wenger. No, I will try to go over the team we have and then see where we could or should add something.

Let us start with the one thing that is certain: the goalkeeper position. For the moment we have one goalkeeper with real first team experience and that is Szczesny. Now he was the number 1 last season so we know that he is good enough and remember he was joint with Cech on keeping most clean sheets in the PL last season. So we do have a first choice and top class goalkeeper. But surely we all know that this rarely is enough for a whole season. A red card, an injury and the whole thing looks completely different and messy.

So I think we can be assured that we will buy a new keeper and I wouldn’t be surprised if it happens before the Emirates cup. That is always a good moment to have one in as it is a chance to show them in front of the crowd in the first match at the Emirates.  So I am 100% sure we will buy a goalkeeper and then promote Martinez or Macey as the 3rd choice goalkeeper for the league cup matches.

At right back we have Debuchy, Jenkinson and Bellerin. That is good enough for me. Jenkinson was a valuable backup to Sagna and will be the same for Debuchy. Bellerin will overtake both of them in the next season I think. If he keeps on developing like he does.  So no need for a right back any more.

The same can be said about left backs. Gibbs and Monreal are a good enough duo that any team would like to have on their books I think. And if both should be injured at the same time we will put Flamini out there.

In central defence we have of course Mertescielny. Per and Kos are a great complementary duo and know each other and are reliable. We then have Vermaelen as a backup. But as it is not 100% sure that Vermaelen will stay at Arsenal we will need a back up. Miquel always looked decent to me when he played. And the young kids we played at Boreham Wood looked decent and gave not much away.

But with all respect this was only Boreham Wood and we don’t know how they will look when they play PL opposition. I got a feeling that Vermaelen will want to go this summer because of not having a lot of games. I think that with his injury record he wouldn’t be a terrible loss and we could get another player in to be a first class backup. And if that backup player is fitter than Vermaelen he might play more matches than Vermaelen did. So I am expecting us to sign a central defender.

In the virtual defensive midfield position I don’t think we will buy anyone as Wenger doesn’t really do pure defensive midfielders any more. He wants his defensive midfielder also to be real player and not just a hard brick wall. For the moment Arteta and Flamini take up this role and we could add Coquelin to this as well.

I am one of those who likes a more ball playing defensive midfielder so I don’t think a hard man is really that much required. And the only way I see us buying someone who comes close to the Arteta-Flamini role will be if we sell one of them or sell Coquelin.  But we should look at the age of both Arteta and Flamini as they are well over 30 by now and we have to see how they keep on going in the long season ahead of us.

In the more advanced role in midfield we have Diaby, Rosicky, Wilshere, Ramsey, Cazorla, Özil, Oxlade-Chamberlain. That is seven players for 2 or 3 positions depending on who you push forward or not. That should be enough but as with the injury record we have we are never certain of that. And we have a few young kids knocking on the league cup door like Olsson, Zelalem who will be given some playing time I hope.

And up front we have Podolski, Giroud, Walcott, Sanchez, Sanogo as players who have played there. Santi can play up front on the wing also when needed. And then we have also Oxlade-Chambarlain who can play up there but I listed him in midfield as Wenger said that this would be his final position later on in his career. And then we also have Gnabry who if he is fit again will play a part I think. I fear however he is having a injury niggle year for the moment. But once he is over that he will be back again.

And then we have of course Joel Campbell who as he said on twitter this weekend is on his way to London to chase his big dream: making it at Arsenal.  I sure hope he will get his chance and have a big impact. Don’t forget he won a title in Greece, has CL experience and was one of the stars for his country at the world cup. So unknown in an Arsenal shirt but surely will be able to make it if he gets the time. And finally,  given the way he presented himself I liked the way Akpom played at Boreham Wood. So we have 6,5 regular forwards and a few back ups if they all get injured. So not that bad I think in total.

So what do we really need? A keeper, a possible central defender if Vermaelen goes and then depending on some real opportunities an all round player that can play a bit more holding when needed.

Thus we are talking of 2 players and maybe a third if Vermaelen goes. That would be five new players and that really is a maximum I think. In fact it is too much. So I wouldn’t be surprised if we keep it to 4 players and then see how things develop and maybe wait for the winter transfer window to fill up any gap if needed.

Who those players will be? Well I haven’t got a clue. And looking at the rumours that are flying around, nobody has. Except Wenger and Gazidis and Dick Law. But I don’t expect them to send me an email to inform me. Of course they are allowed to do this if they want.  But I will wait for when it happens and when it is announced on arsenal.com.

No need to get worried or excited at this time of the pre-season.

The largest collection of facts and opinions on Arsenal’s history ever put together: The AISA Arsenal History Society web site.
The books

41 comments to Where Arsenal will certainly buy

  • Stoney

    I think this post shpuld be classified under the “no shit Sherlock” category! Thank you for this post captain Obvious.

  • Amos

    Worth noting that still with a definite need to bring in a back up keeper the current squad size of players over 21 is 26. Which means with another keeper there currently isn’t space to keep 2 of the present squad. Anyone else coming in also means someone else going out as well. The question as to where Arsenal will buy has first to answer who Arsenal must let go.

  • Kentox

    [edited]
    So we don’t need a defensive minded brick wall eh !? We were disvirgined by Mancity, Liverpool & Chelsea…. And all b’cos we had no steel in our team to repel their attacks…
    Özil excelled in madrid cos he had a box to box mate in khediera & a defensive steel in alonso…. So these guys always make the work easier for him.. While ronaldo was always ready to finish the chance created.. ….. That’s was in the spanish league, talkless of in the premier league…. He’s got ramsey as his box to box, and 2 old weak men as his REAL STEEL ??…. Even if Arsenal signs Angels from heaven as strikers, with no DMF we’ll still be conceding goals for fun….

    [edited]

    This email was edited because of mindless abuse.

  • GoingGoingGooner

    With the addition of the two new players and the certainty of getting another keeper, I am comfortable with who we have. In addition,our injured players are getting healthier and our younger players are getting stronger and getting in a full pre-season to understand what M. Wenger wants to see. AW has said if Thomas goes he will buy another CB but outside of that if I had to make a choice between getting a holding midfielder of the type of Khedira or Bender or a back up to Per and Laurent in addition to Vermaelen, I would take the holding midfielder. My feeling was that neither Arteta nor Flamini were fast enough and good enough moving forward to stop an attack and then help retake the initiative by moving up in games where we were being overrun. That’s just a personal bias.

  • colario

    I could not agree more. The only position we need a player for is a reserve for Szczesny.

    Szczesny as all our wise know everything expert pundits have been telling us for years Szczesny is the answer to Arsenal’s goal keeping problem ‘if only Arsene would see it’. 🙂

    Now we wait for them to tell us Szczesny’s one hundred and one faults, weaknesses and defects, whatever! They are so predictable and so pathetic!

    As to other positions, I think it is a matter of opinion and media speculation. Therefore any blogs, posts, articles, (call them what you want), will not be read by me.

    I will be watching the club’s website for news of a new goalkeeper to the club or promotion of a goalkeeper and for any other news relating to the club. However, videos of players American accents! Come on!

  • Black Hei

    @GGG

    I am with you on the holding midfielder. Wenger wants someone who knows how to use the ball. It would help if he can dominate his area as well.

  • Galway Gooner

    While we have several players who can play in the two wide positions of the front 3 we only really have Giroud and Sanogo who can play up top as the focal point of the attack.
    Sanchez is small and no really suited to playing with his back to the goal in the PL.
    We are short a natural, tall striker for me. Critical that we do not go into the season with just Giroud as a striker, I don’t really count Sanogo as it’s pretty clear that he is miles below the required level.

  • Goonergerry

    Since last season we have added one forward aand a replacement for a departing right back- Last season we were very good against all except the top few especially away from home. When we play the top sides, we need to be as good without the ball as we are with it- because when we play the likes of Chelsea we wont have the lions share of possession. I was concerned last year about the number of heavy defeats we took and I think we definitely do need more power in midfield defensive areas -including more tackling capability- though against most PL sides our current squad plus a keeper will probably be good enough.

  • Rupert Cook

    Be very surprised if we don’t buy another top quality player. If we intend to improve on last season one more player besides a gk is essential I think. Sanchez is a great purchase but we need another player of similar quality if we are going to make a big impact. Wenger said he’s not finished yet so expect one more outfield addition.

  • JG

    I don’t think that a ‘hard man’ was ever in question – that is a fantasy of some misguided pundits and supporters – if at all it will be a highly cultured defensive midfielder. I do believe though that Wenger is looking to upgrade this area subject to availability of suitable candidates. As far as I am aware, he has recently indicated that the team is not yet fully balanced in a sense that there are to few truly defensively minded players. As much as we try to find sensible explanations for the three heavy defeats last season (and there are some), the question remains what actions have been taken to prevent it happening again.

  • dangote

    bad write up.. dont tink ur an arsenal fan. we dont need a DMF like u support AL halil of cairo

  • Brickfields Gunners

    Was that a compliment ?

    This lady walks into her boss’s office one day and says, “Sir, I’d like to file a sexual harassment complaint.”

    Her boss says, “Well what’s your complaint?”

    She says, “My co-worker Joe said my hair smelled nice.”

    The boss says, “That’s really not sexual harassment.”

    The lady counters, “But, Joe’s a midget!

  • soulrebel

    I believe if our aspirations are to win the league then we need to do better than Flamini and/or Arteta in CDM.

    As someone has already pointed out, we were crushed away from home in big games last year as we were easy to bully off the ball. In those games we had no answer for opposition intensity and physicality. Sanchez is an exciting signing but how will he stop what happened at Stamford Bridge, Anfield and Goodison?

    I know Wenger doesn’t like ‘hard men’ but surely that characteristic would add some balance to a very good but very flimsy Arsenal midfield.

    Maybe I’m wrong, but I don’t see our weaknesses being addressed.

  • nicky

    @soulrebel,
    You forget the present transfer Window only opened a few weeks ago and will remain open until 31st August.
    Plenty of time for shopping! 😉

  • Micheal Ram

    Is it possible that Arsene had other senior players to play that DM position? Don’t be surprised if Arteta and Flamini backups are Cazorla and Rosicky. Both have the drive, intelligence and capabilities to play there in my opinion.

  • geekaybee

    We have an army of midfielders and wingers but we don’t have an out and out striker who reason to be is to score goals. Giroux is striker but he is expected to play all over the park, including defence. We are in the same position as last season, no serious goal threat. This allowed our competitors to be less afraid of conceding goals and let them punish us at the other end. We needed an extra striker threat then an we still do.

  • bc

    @Amos

    The current squad size of players born 1992 is 25. Djourou has left the club and galindo does not have a work permit.

    As for signings, Gk, Dm and Cb should be the next priorities. However, if we got the right Dm or Cb that could be one player. Carvalho, javi martinez or even Phil Jones. In fact i would not mind at all if wenger went for smalling and jones plus cash for vermaelen. That would give us back up in 3 areas. Rb, Cb and Dm.

    However, I also wouldn’t mind if vermaelen stayed.

    My main concern is whether martinez, Jenkinson, miquel, coquelin and ryo should be part of the 25? I certainly dont think we can carry all 5, as I geelbthat only jenkinson and may be coquelin are worthy of a place in the 25 and realistically we can get better than both, certainly a Dm better than coquelin.

    The other thing everyone has to remember, the champions league player eligibility has different rules to that of the premier league, whilst there are no schedules for the domestic cups.

  • bjtgooner

    Walter, I agree with your overall take on this.

    The 25 man rule may constrain what AW would like to do – assuming funds are available. We know that the financial position is improving but we don’t know if we are yet at the stage where we can make more than one major signing each season.

    AW has already indicated that he will bring in a second goalkeeper and that if TV leaves he will be replaced. The doubt remains about a DM/BTB player. I suspect if AW can get the player he wants – probably a BTB – at the right price, he will purchase.

    The one unknown in this is Diaby – if he stays fit we probably don’t need anyone in midfield this year – but will he stay fit? For his sake I hope he does.

    I agree we have plenty of options in attack and unless there is a departure I can’t see anyone else coming in.

    Lets remember we have a very good squad, one which AW has carefully put together over the last few seasons – despite some treacherous departures and the antics of Dein the Lesser; we are now seeing the squad being developed further, hopefully into a championship team.

  • bc

    The 25(29 Inc u21s) as it stands with question marks where we could/should improve
    Szczesney martinez?
    Debuchy jenkinson
    Mertesacker miquel?
    Koscielny vermaelen
    Gibbs monreal
    Arteta flamini Coquelin?
    Ramsey wilshire diaby zelalem(u21)
    Walcott chamberlain(u21) gnabry(u21)
    Ozil cazorla rosicky
    Sanchez podolski ryo?
    Giroud campbell sanogo(u21)?

    For me we should replace Martinez with ospina, miquel with another centre back, coquelin with a Dm and ryo with another world class forward, like reus, di maria, Rodriguez, cavani or falcao . I actually would prefer akpom over sanogo.

  • Mandy Dodd

    think we need 2 more defenders if TV goes, Kos and especially Per have played a lot of games lately

  • Kentox

    I’d like to add….. “why the hell can’t wenger go for Vidal !!!!? He share the same agent with Alexis & he’s the answer to all our problems…
    He’s a box 2 box player, but he’s more than commited to tough tackling defensive duties…
    If we sign him, he’ll form a great combo with rambo & give özil enough room to work…. Against teams with brutal offense, he’ll defend more with more discipline, then he’ll be given more freedom against less offensive teams…..
    He’s exactly what wenger need ” A ball playing DMF”….. And he’s also utility equiped as he can be a CMF DMF RB & he can also assume every tactical role in the midfield i.e in the CMF & DMF..
    If we ever sign this guy ! The World will Bow !

  • Charlie

    Agree with @Goonergerry. Arsenal’s weakness last season was out of possession against rivals for the title. This necessitates the purchase of a defensive midfield player of the highest quality. Should be noted that the hardest worker in the team is Ramsey and his injury didn’t help, defensively as much as offensively, but you cannot rely on one player.

  • Mike T

    @BC

    Even before the addition of another keeper there are already 2 too many non HG players in your list over 21s (are only allowed up to a maximum of 17 non HG players)

  • ZOON

    I could see a few moving on though. Vermaelen,Arteta & Podolski moving on and Jenkinson,Gnabry,Campbell,Coquelin & Sanogo going out on loan which could change the squad by quite a bit.

  • Will

    I would still like to see Vermaelen used in the DM role.

  • AL

    While I was reading the comments I was thinking surely TV could do the DM role? And right at the bottom Will suggested that. If that can be done, we would have killed two birds with one stone; have a DM as well as backup to our CBs. This can free money up to get another world class forward if needed, as well as one more place for a non home grown player. But obviously this will depend on how Wenger sees things, not my uneducated guess.

    Overall I agree with your assessment Walter. I feel we are stronger than last season as things stand. We just will need a backup goalie and that could be all we need. Let’s not forget our need for extra players is exacerbated by the lack of protection from the complicit refs. If you repackaged the same players in our squad as man united they’d win the league without much difficulty imo.

  • Dangote thank you. I think that is one of the funniest comments I have ever read. “Don’t think you are an Arsenal fan”. Oh… tears rolling down my eyes.

    Here’s a thought: when commenting take into account the context of the site.

  • Brickfields Gunners

    My Wife DOES NOT WORK !!!

    Conversation between a Husband (H) and a Psychologist (P):

    P : What do you do for a living Mr. Bandy ?
    H : I work as an Accountant in a Bank.

    P : Your Wife ?
    H : She doesn’t work. She’s a Housewife .

    P : Who makes breakfast for your family in the morning?
    H : My Wife, because she doesn’t work.

    P : At what time does your wife wake up for making breakfast?
    H : She wakes up at around 5 am because she cleans the house first before making breakfast.

    P : How do your kids go to school?
    H : My wife takes them to school, because she doesn’t work.

    P : After taking your kids to school, what does she do ?
    H : She goes to the market, then goes back home to cook and do the laundry. You know, she doesn’t work.

    P : In the evening, after you go back home from office, what do you do ?
    H : Take a break , because I’m tired due to working all day .

    P : What does your wife do then ?
    H : She prepares meals, serves our kids, preparing meals for me and cleaning the dishes, cleans the house, then putting the kids to bed.

    Who do you think works more, from the story above ???

    The daily routines of your wives commence from early morning to late night. That is called ‘DOESN’T WORK’ ??!!

    Yes, Being Homemakers do not need Certificate of Study, even High Position, but their ROLE/PART is very important!

    Appreciate your wives. Because their sacrifices are uncountable. This should be a reminder and reflection for all of us to understand and appreciate each others roles.

    All about a WOMAN ….
    * When she is quiet, millions of things are running in her mind.

    * When she stares at you, she is wondering why she loves you so much in spite of being taken for granted.

    * When she says I will stand by you, she will stand by you like a rock.

    Never hurt her or take her wrong or for granted…

    Forward to every woman to make her smile and to every man to make him realize a woman’s worth…!!!

    ****
    “And God promised man that good and obedient wives would be found in all the corners of the earth.”

    Then he made the earth round… and He laughed and laughed and laughed……

    AMEN

  • njokusly

    Arsenal should buy a DM 4 us pls bcous d only key is a DM

  • Jerry

    Good post Walter! I agree completely! A backup GK is definitely the priority, but I’m not as worried as it looks like Ospina will be coming in if the rumors are to be believed. A potential need is CB as you stated if Vermaelen leave but an exchange for Jones/Smalling will cover that with both capable of playing RB if needed. Jones capable of playing DM as well if needed.

    Another holding DM and Striker I feel would be a luxury signing. The age of Flamini and Arteta is a factor so younger alternative is good for the future, but the current players are more than capable of handling the duties this season. Plus Diaby has the potential to play from the back as another B2B midfielder.

    People above pointed to the extremes of last year (City, Chelsea, Liverpool), not the norm (Szczęsny tied most clean sheets in PL last year), and forget the circumstances of the games. City game Arsenal robbed w/ goals incorrectly called offside no penalty call by the ref, Chelsea playing 12 vs 10 with the Ox-Gibbs confusion, and Liverpool game no Ramsey or Walcott.

    And people forget Walcott is a more than capable striker and if memory serves correct, provided the most goals for our team just 2 years ago. Giroud, Walcott, Sanchez, Podolski are great options up front.

  • Ray from Norfolk, Virginia

    Brickfield: Amen.
    A known proverb from a culture that does not appreciate how hard it is to be a Homemaker:
    “Beat your wife every day; if you don’t know why, she does”

    Tony: Dangote has a point; please prove you are not a Spuds or Chavs supporter in disguise.
    Joking aside, I have this feeling that the Boss has a surprise (or more?) before August 31.

  • k9ine

    People tend to forget that the major reason why we were crushed by the big sides was not d absence of a hard man in midfield but our total lack of pace in our front lines and injuries. they could afford to keep a high line up to d center circle knowing Giroud was no threat and they tackled us furiously forcing us to make mistakes in our own half. it worked time and time again in d first few minutes.with the threat of walcott, sanchez and ox, u can be sure that the defenders cant keep such high lines and will be very occupied. What we need to do is to control the tempo and possession in the first 15 minutes, after that it will be anybodies game.

  • bob mac

    Walter, I think you are spot on with this one.

    What about Djourou, is he still an Arsenal player?

    Arsene is definitely going to play with expansive movement in forward positions, so a Centre Forward is not required (Giroud can play as one, but I expect him to develop further so to be used all over the front 6)

    Midfied players are ALL expected to defend, so no need for so called specialists.

    Don’t forget Flamini is also FB cover.

  • jambug

    k9ine

    Spookey !

    I had this very conversation with a guy at work today.

    I’m not saying the big defeats where all down to the lack of pace up front, after all Walcott did play at City, (but, as has been said on here a few times, the nature of that defeat was far removed from the Liverpool and Chelsea games) but it really did enable teams to push up on us with little fear.

    As you say, Theo, Sanchez and the Ox will hopefully help to nullify this tactic against us.

  • para

    The “big” teams do respect us, and used their experience and our inhibitions against us time after time, but Arsenal is now more experienced, have got one load from their back and i’m sure will want to rectify that this season.

    @bjtgooner
    ” we are now seeing the squad being developed further, hopefully into a championship team”.

    Championship? Don’t tempt fate.

    Seriously, Arsenal is going to rock this season.

    @Ray from Norfolk, Virginia
    I ALSO have this feeling that the Boss has a surprise (or more?).

    I am trying to be patient for the season to start.

  • WalterBroeckx

    Mike T,
    must be as they just changed it on wikipedia 😉 🙂

    Seriously now: wait till the non existing AAA find out how tall he is…or not…

  • Mick

    Walter, he can’t be any good he only cost £3.5 million.

  • colario

    The AAA don’t need our help but we can see how they might run.

    At 1.83 m (6 ft 0 in)he’s a midget for a GK in the modern game.
    He jumps like an elephant.
    His kicking ability is that of a giraffe.
    He has a monkey’s ability to save penalties.

    Then of course there is his social life which they will attack.

    Just one small point just 2 mins ago there was no mention of him on http://www.arsenal.com

  • Vintage Gooner

    Very good post Walter. Your analysis of the defense is spot on. I also don’t disagree on DM where our only problem is Arteta & Flamini gradually slowing.

    My biggest concern is up front. I feel Campbell has done his time on loan. The first two years were neither his nor Arsenal’s fault or wish as he undeservedly had work permit problems in spite of having been voted outstanding player in an international youth competition. Last year he was with a major team and enjoyed CL including the beating of MU with that goal. He has consistently been played by increasingly good teams and it all culminated in a WC in which his opening games were excellent and he put in a fine stint even as the competition got harder. I don’t think it possible to put him out to loan for his last year in contract and he has fully earned a chance to prove himself at Arsenal.

    This means there is an issue with Sanogo. In spite of showing promise in cameo performances last season he still did not manage to find the net. I can only conclude that with the pressure for places up front that it should be Sanogo who learns his trade on a suitable loan placement. But I am not at all sure AW sees it this way.

  • Josif

    Nice article, Walter.

    Personally, I think that most of our defensive issues are going to be solved with Sanchez. His presence on the left flank won’t allow opponents to overlap too much and our left full-back (for instance, Monreal who was over-run against Oilers, Loserpool and Everton) will have an easier job and more space for offensive runs.