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October 2016
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How all the DONE DEAL sites have missed the biggest Arsenal transfer of all.

By Tony Attwood

Ask people who don’t really follow Arsenal but like to make a noise about Wenger being useless, who our breakthrough player was last season and they will say Alexis.  Ask them who else we brought into the team and they have to pause for a while before remembering Coquelin and Bellerin.  Because Coquelin and Bellerin were HUGE entrants to the regular team last season.

But they didn’t allow the DONE DEAL sites to write about them.  Indeed when both players came into the team, their appearances were seen as utter confirmation that Wenger had lost it, Arsenal would sink to mid table mediocrity and the club was dead.

Now these self same sites are at it again, talking up wild stories, but ignoring the biggest transfers of them all.  Indeed if you want to know my choice for the most important acquisition of the last couple of years (and even if you don’t want to know I am going to tell you) it is StatDNA – the analysis company Arsenal bought in 2012.  Bellerin, Coquelin and Gabriel are just three players whose potential has been seen as a result.

Next, look at the sites that supposedly list Arsenal’s new players for the season. They will show Cech of course, but others?

Krystian Bielik has now gone off the radar, but he is most certainly there.  But while the headlines are all of the WENGER REVEALS WHY ARSENAL AREN’T SIGNING ANYONE type anyone seriously interested will recall Jeff Reine-Adelaide, one of two 17 year olds who were purchased this summer, and who is on the trip to Singapore.   Lens agreed a £3 million plus bonuses on appearances for Reine-Adelaide and Yassin Fortune.

Now Arsenal has always signed youngsters but mostly to come up through the academy. Finding youngsters who can make a quicker entrance is harder, but possible.

Meanwhile just as the DONE DEAL sites scream about the transfers of Schneiderlin and Schweinsteiger getting the fact that they were moving right, but the club they were going to wrong,  Arsenal carry on the new approach.

Arsène Wenger has said as firmly as he can that Mesut Özil will not leave Arsenal amid a sudden rise in the hysteria level among journalists and copywriters.   It is as if we are back to the days when we could sell Adebayor for a £22m profit and have people saying that Arsenal was a selling club.

(Actually it is interesting – during the years of paying for the Emirates, any sale of a player by Arsenal was greeted with the “selling club” slogan.  But as Liverpool are endlessly forced to sell their better players the phrase is hardly used.  Some bias evident perchance?)

The comment from Mr Wenger followed the arrival of the squad in Singapore for the two match tournament.   The only missing members of the team were Alexis Sanchez and David Ospina still on holiday and Danny Welbeck and Tomas Rosicky, who are injured.

The whole idea of Mesut going to Juve seems ludicrous.  They have let Paul Pogba and Arturo Vidal go, and must surely have some sort of idea as to who they are buying as replacements.  It looks like the typical smokescreen as proper negotiations continue under cover for Juve to sign their new men.

Mr Wenger also said that he was happy with the options he has in attack giving a clear indication that he would not sign another forward:

“Özil is our player, he will remain our player and he wants to remain our player.  It is a big season for him because he had a difficult start last year and in the second part of the season he was very important. There are many offensive players who have an important season in front of them but I’m confident because I think they have the quality.

“Özil understands the rhythms of English football and he has improved his defensive attitude. He works hard and offensively he is a top class player.”

At that same time he denied any interest in paying £49 million for Sterling.

“It is a good buy for Man City. It is an expensive one but they can afford it. We never considered it because he plays in an area where we have plenty of players. We have Walcott, Chamberlain, Sanchez, Wilshere who can play wide, [and] Gnabry, so we have plenty of players and he’s a wide player basically, or behind the striker.”

There was also talk about Cech.   “He will give us talent and experience and knowledge of the top-level game. He can contribute in the game to stabilise our defensive sector. As well, all the other keepers are still young on the experience front and he can contribute to develop our young keepers. They are top quality and his positive experience will help.”

And so onto other new signings: “It depends. We are still open to do something else.”

According to the Telegraph that something else could involve, “The fine Italian city of Naples is bracing itself … as Arsenal gear up to methodically steal all of its football club’s best players.”  Quite how a city braces itself is not explained.

First off it suggests that despite specifically saying that he does not want a new striker, and despite the fact that Gonzalo Higuain is just about the most publicised transfer option of the past 2000 years, the Telegraph seriously says that “Arsenal may well be his destination.”

Indeed according to the Excess, sorry, Express (which last week managed to tell us that chocolate is actually a slimming food given that when you eat it the body produces various chemicals that break down fat faster than chocolate puts it in your body) said that Napoli president Aurelio de Laurentiis has said he would “like to sell” Higuain.

Now if you believe that (the notion that chocolate is a slimming food) you will indeed believe anything, and make yourself quite ill, but the Express certainly knows a thing or two about its readership.

Napoli are insisting that Higuain’s buy-out clause of £64.7million is met. De Laurentiis is bang up for it, provided he gets his enormous pot of gold.  “Sell Higuain for €90 million (£64.7m)? I’d like to sell him,” he said. “That way I can buy eight players for the club.”

So Napoli are the new Tottenham.  Or the new Liverpool.  Take your choice.  Neither are in the Champions League.  Actually nor is Napoli

Arsenal are also reportedly close to a deal for the Spanish winger Jose Callejon.  “We’re not buying any forwards,” says Mr Wenger.  “Oh yes you are,” says the Metro.

Apparently he scored 32 goals in the last two seasons, will cost around £18m and Liverpool are interested so there he goes.

Le10 Sport goes further saying that Arsenal are favourites to sign defender Faouzi Ghoulam and not Atletico Madrid, PSG,  Chelsea et al.  He is a left back.

Meanwhile EPSN are pushing the notion that Serge Gnabry is going to WBA on loan.

But increasingly I am getting the feeling that the new big name of 2015/6 is going to be one of the youngsters coming through.  The effects of the purchase of StatDNA are starting to be felt.


We’ve got articles so far on every pre-season from 1996 to 2009 with more on the way soon.  The latest is….

2009 pre-season: The disgraceful exhibition of the media and Uefa against Eduardo



30 comments to How all the DONE DEAL sites have missed the biggest Arsenal transfer of all.

  • olanrewaju akins

    Pls let mr wenger sign new n good players for arsenal to give us more depth thank you GUNNERS FOR LIFE

  • WalterBroeckx

    Coquelin a prediction from Tony and Bellerin a prediction from me.
    Blimey, we (Untold writers) do know a thing or two about football it seems 😉 🙂

    It is amazing to feel like I feel. I don’t feel the need to run around in an hysterical way shouting: Wenger buy X or Wenger buy Y. I feel comfortably with the squad we have and I think we can go all the way this season. The only thing between us and a possible title are injuries.

  • para

    Arsenal is moving closer to resealing it’s place in the very top of the football greats. Most do not see the team we have. Great things this season.

    We know how AW works. The players he wants, he knows that years before, and if they do well where ever they are, he will then get them when the time is right, if the situation allows it. We know that deals are being worked on and multiple players situations are monitored.

    I see the 2009 pre-season article so i read it again.
    I was always so sure that Eduardo was targeted in so many ways to try to stop Arsenal, and events since then have not made me think any differently.

    Anyway we are prepared for them now, and Arsenal now has to throw off all inhibitions, and PLAY football like we know they can, and we will see football elevated to another level.

  • Mick

    The Express have picked up the Juventas want Ozil story and are now taking it to a new level. See todays headline….
    ‘Mesut Ozil demands crunch talks with Arsene Wenger over Arsenal future’

  • geekaybee

    On the odd occasion that I am on a queque at the till at a supermarket and it’s being held up by some woman at the till who is rummaging through her bag to find her purse, and when she finally locates it, finds she hasn’t enough money to pay the total cost and so dithers about while deciding what she will leave and what she will actually buy. Why is it that an image of Wenger comes into my mind ?

  • andy bishop

    lies, damned lies and statistics

  • Edward Winters

    Much in agreement. But don’t forget Zellalem.

  • Samrat Jha

    @ geekaybee do you not think that whatever comes into your mind should be printed in the Nature journal?

  • Dex

    I think we have an excellent squad, I expect gabriel to show what a great defender he is and with Cech behind him and the rest of the back 4, we are well set.

    However, we have deficiencies in the squad, deficiencies Wenger acknowledged, to state we dont need any other players, or that anyone “demanding” transfers isnt a real Gooner, or “doesnt really know Arsenal” is pretty arrogant, IMO. Sorry

  • Terry

    There isn’t a season gone by that injuries have not impacted on the team. So why will 2015/6 be any diffetent. Teams with depth of quality will do the best and Arsenal are still short of a couple of players.

  • Pete

    Terry – because the evidence shows that things are improving. Shad Forsythe was a huge signing last summer but he needs time for his methods to work in terms of injury prevention. The club continues to invest huge amounts in broader medical and conditioning facilities.

  • Andy Mack

    I haven’t actually seen what AW said but I’d be surprised if he said ‘we will not buy a forward’ which is emphatic and has no leeway. Much more likely ‘we are not looking to buy a forward’ so that if one of his favourites does suddenly become available at an attractive price then he can buy them without looking like a Liverpoo owner (a liar!).

    As for Higuain, he had his chance to force a move to us instead of Napoli but he chose them and €uros. It’s unlikely he’ll get another chance to join us, and if it arises then it’ll be at an attractive price. Certainly not at £60odd million being suggested.

  • Andy Mack

    Terry, our issue has been multiple injuries in specific positions. You can’t have a 3rd LB or 4th RW with top level international experience and expect them to be happy and the team to keep the ‘team spirit’ that AW is always strong on. We have U21 and U19s etc that can cover when necessary. The worry is that we’ll get multiple injuries in multiple positions and need to play 2 or 3 youngsters in the same game, but no one can plan for that. Both RM and Barca have had to move FBs or MFs into the CB position before now, as even they appreciate there’s only so much single position depth any squad can realistically have. How many experienced defenders did the PL winners have in their squad last season.

  • Shakabula Gooner

    Tony, Terry @ 9.41am
    You left out the great deals Wenger has done in the back office: the fitness, strength and speed trainers, etc. Not that you haven’t covered it though, in other related previous postings.

    I think these back office signings answer Terry’s concerns. What Wenger has done is to tackle the area of this matter that is within his ambit to deal with: improve our players’ fitness, strength and the way they run such that they can’t be easily bullied or pushed around or injured under intense running, stopping and skipping around…The other areas such as player protection by referees and plain hard luck, he has allowed for by building a bigger squad.

    However, it is not unlikely that Terry’s contribution is influenced by his concern to have, for example, a Schnerderlin signed as a cover for a Coquelin or vice versa. In this and in many areas relating to Wenger’s transfer strategy, majority of Arsenal fans have simply refused to acknowledge that Wenger prefers to do things slightly differently and to understand why, much less to appreciate the strategic advantages of his preference.

    Wenger prefers to have a back-up for a Coquelin in his team that is younger than Coquelin. Since Coquelin is 23years old, such a backup should preferably be 18-20 years old. This means that Wenger thinks 3-4years ahead for the team in each transfer window.

    Where, in the closing season, a huge qualitative gap between the capabilities of the first team player and the expectations of the coach has arisen, then there is a strong reason to be on the look-out in the transfer window for a qualitative replacement for the first team player. Otherwise, Wenger’s major agenda in the transfer window are young players who can come into the team in 2-3years; however, for great young talents, the transition can be as short as 6months (e.g. Anelka).

    This was Wenger’s strategy in 1990’s when there was no new stadium to pay for; it still is today, when the outstanding stadium bills is no longer a dragging, heavy burden on the club’s finances.

    Arsenal fans who expected that he would suddenly become like Rodgers, Benitez or Redknapp (i.e. coaches of mid-table clubs that like to splurge) or ManC, ManU and Chelsea coaches who, because of the huge resources available to them, must spend to win trophies annually had merely failed to study and understand Wenger’s transfer strategy.

    The main problem for Wenger and Arsenal with the strategy during the years of drought was that the club’s first team players’ exodus accelerated faster than planned and yet the funds to replace such players directly from the instant transfer markets weren’t available.

    Now that stability has returned, as evidenced by our back-to-back FA cup win and with virtually the entire team that delivered last year’s performance still intact. So, he is doing exactly as he had always done: he is looking for young talents that are capable of renewing and enhancing the team in 1-3year’s time. He saying, for example, why go for Higuain BEFORE finding a way to integrate Walcott fully into the squad? Why buy Schnederlin when Coquelin did superbly in the position in the last 6months of last season and with comparable stats as Schnederlin’s and when the club already have 1 or 2 17-20 year olds in the squad and more of such are available in the transfer window for less than £3million, who can deputize for Coquelin within the next 6months to 18months? Why not just renew Arteta’s contract, just in case a desperate situation arises during the transition phase?

    The advantage of the Wenger track is that it is much, much cheaper; it enhances player development and confidence building, it promotes longterm team work and familiarization with the Arsenal way of playing football it minimizes unhealthy or destructive rivalry – when players in the same age bracket have to go head-to-head for a shirt; rather, it promotes mentoring within the team. recruited players see what is going on; they see concern for their short term evolution and a clear path into the first team and can buy into the vision.

    The disadvantage is that it doesn’t seem to guarantee a “team that can win things” at the beginning of each season. This accounts for why Arsenal is always underrated at the beginning of each season but, as our early and recent history under Wenger shows, it doesn’t mean that the team wouldn’t go on to win things by the end of the season. It has always been interesting to me that though fans and pundits almost always rate Wenger/Arsenal low at the onset of each season, the coaches of the clubs he competes with NEVER!

  • insideright

    The really big money being spent by Arsenal at the moment is on the massive expansion and improvement of the training and medical facilities from the Academy upwards.
    If that investment can keep all players fitter for longer and improve the chances of finding more emerging youngsters then it will be the best way of spending money.
    After all, resorting to the transfer market is, to an extent, an admission of failure to get things right internally.

  • arse_or_brain

    i totally agree large amounts of investments are being spent on the future and our biggest opposition for several years have been injuries. Three players who all spent a large amount of last season injured and could have a big impact this season are the Ox, Serge and Isaac Hayden also Chambers started the season like a train and then loss of form made him a forgoten man with some fans. Gabriel really is like a new signing because of his lack of games and then you have the lads who have made great progress with the U21s last year Crowley and Iwobi. Ive not even mentioned Chuba who has a big season in front of him so all in all we have the deepest quality squad weve had in years.

  • rich


    Funny you mention Liverpool as i was just reading an article in the Mail about them that I believe is a stinkingly good reference point for much of the key work here over the years.

    This is the same Mail that employs Durham to slaughter us once a week.

    What do they have to say about Liverpool…well, they conclude that, sadly for them, this great institution are a selling club who will struggle to make the top four.

    That’s not the interesting part though- the interesting part is that, first, there’s an air of sadness about liverpool’s troubles, and then there’s a whole article of mitigation for them (including, hilariously, us having our stability through our manager! Oh, and the stadium that same manager’s work was key to securing)

    How does it work that the reasons- principally the immense financial advantages of rivals- which justify Liverpool’s struggles and make them understandable, did not exist for us (even though they did) when that paper was basically imploring us to ditch our failing manager throughout a period when he achieved what the paper states would be a great achievement for Liverpool now? We’ll, it doesn’t quite add up does it.

    I hesitate to direct you to that dismal place, folks, but you should all have a read of this one.

  • rich

    stinkingly? No idea. Maybe strikingly or even stonkingly, but it wasn’t stinkingly

  • omgarsenal

    Geekaybee……maybe this image of Wenger that is stuck in what passes for your brain is due to your personal experiences and fantasies rather than Football reality? Wenger works over years to bring in the players he targets, it is the media that has filled your little cranium with this BS that you came here to spout. Next time try putting your brain in gear before putting pen to paper or more accurately fingers to keyboard!

  • Edda71

    If Francis coquelin keeps anything near the form he was in last year, I rate him much higher than Shneiderlin. And with Arteta as backup I dont feel the need for AW to buy another DM. The only position i would want Wenger to look at is CF. But only if he can find anyone that is clearly better than Olivier Giroud. So then we are talking about players like Benzema, Higuain or Zlatan. But how likely are that ? Actually I think both Man Utd and Liverpool are even worse off at the striker department at the moment. Even Chelsea and City only have 1 striker i rate higher than Giroud.

    People scream for us to buy more depth, but of the top 6 teams I really think we are the team with the most depth of all. Which of the other teams have more than 3 good Centreback ? Which of the oter teams have better backup right and left backs as Bellerin and Gibbs ?? Which of the other teams have to leave players like Walcott, OX, and Wilshere on the bench ???

    If Chelsea gets half as much injuries next season as we did last year, we will see how much strength in depth they have…

  • Keeping our best players(first and second 11) should be the number 1 priority, then adding one or two quality players would do more good than harm( because some of the players would frown at more signings), in our quest to retain the Fa cup, win the Epl and Cl( am i dreaming to much) a striker Lewandoski and a Dm david Alaba.

  • Ok atleast a quality striker could be Enough for now.

  • Jerry

    Great write up on the background improvements made by the club. Arsenal building up appropriately for long term success.

    @Edda, interesting you mention United’s striker department. I kid you not, I heard a pundit say, even though RVP is gone and possibly Di Maria departing, their strikers will be fine as long as Rooney is up front. Yes, the same Rooney that played 1000 more minutes than Giroud and but scored less total goals and had a much lower conversion rate than our striker!

  • Gord

    I don’t know if this news or not. JustFootball is running a story about Sterling, and QPR. They are saying that there is a 20% sale clause in his Liverpool contract, and hence QPR stands to gain 9.8 million pounds from the sale.

    That is about the same as the FFP fine they are disputing with the Championship. It might be prudent for QPR to just pay the fine with the windfall they just received.

  • Gord

    Three new articles about Jenkinson at He did sign, and he was loaned to WestHam. Wenger talks about him, as does the Ox.

    Best of luck at WHam this year Carl!

    No mention of the other loan rumour.

    Happy birthday to Gnabry.

  • Mandy Dodd

    Agree Pete, Shad at least seems to be having a real positive influence, apparently one of his former cohorts has been signed as well. As for players, the most relaxed I have felt for many a summer, I don’t give a flying whatever whether we sign or not as long as Wenger is happy with who we have.

  • dieter


    Openly hostile as you are and always will be… If You are not at least the Honorary President of this site You certainly act like one, although with no dignity whatsovever.

    Are You sure that You are the right person to talk about “Football reality”? I wouldn’t be.

  • Menace

    omgarsenal – bollocks to those that criticise you. I agree with your response to the ‘used tampon’ in the handbag.

  • GroovT

    It would be interesting to learn more about StatDNA, and what the software (i guess it’s a software) is actually doing.

    In my own undertanding, Wenger did say Arsenal is not in the market for a forward playing behind the striker. Wenger gave that answer specifically about Sterling. Thus we might not be in the market for a forward playing behind the striker, but we could be in the market for a proper striker, can’t we?
    I suspect as well the StatDNA will show to Wenger the lack of accuracy of Giroud (around 40%, which is low in comparison to other strikers in top PL clubs)