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October 2016
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DONE DEAL. Yes we really have built a team while the media weren’t looking.

By Walter Broeckx

On the facebook group of my supporters club in Belgium, we have had, over the last few weeks, time to run a poll over each position on the field and consider who we think should be played in that position.

The result of this poll gave us the following team

  • Goal: Cech.
  • Right back: Bellerin
  • Central defenders: Gabriel – Koscielny
  • Left back: Monreal
  • Defensive midfielders: Coquelin – Cazorla (deep lying playmaker one could say)
  • Playmaker: Özil
  • Right attack: The Ox
  • Left attack: Alexis
  • Up front: Giroud.

Now of course we can ask questions about the knowledge of my friends in Belgium but I think most would be satisfied with this starting line up in any match.

But I must say that I didn’t agree with the general consensus based on the voting. However that is democracy for you of course. Being chairman of the supporters club doesn’t allow me to I dictate to all and sundry.

If you ask me what and where I disagree I still would put Per in the place of Gabriel in my favourite starting line-up. And sorry for the Ox but I still would prefer Theo at the right side of the attack if I were be the boss. And can you really leave out a player like Ramsey…?

But in a way this is all not that important even though it might and probably will be for the players. What is more important however is if we look at the players that are left out of this team. Because if we do this we could also start with this team:

  • In goal: Ooooospina (couldn’t resist)  [That’s all right – Tony]
  • Right back: Debuchy
  • Central defenders: Per – Chambers
  • Left back: Gibbs
  • Defensive midfielders: Arteta – Rosicky (deep lying playmaker one could say)
  • Playmaker: Wilshere
  • Right attack: Ramsey
  • Left attack: Welbeck
  • Up front: Theo

Now who would have any trouble when starting a match with this team? I wouldn’t have any trouble with it at all.

I know some of the positions are not really filled up in the best way. One can argue about the right attack position from Ramsey and play him next to Arteta more central and play Rosicky there. Or you could even put Flamini in the mix who seems to be staying at Arsenal after all and who hasn’t been included in any of the line ups.

And then you can still put all the players in a shaker, shake it all about a bit and mix them up at free will and you still would get a decent team no matter who you play picked as the first or second choice.

And in many cases the difference was marginal. In fact many people argued about the right and left back places that it could and should depend on whom we are playing. If you want to go out on an all attack scenario you play Bellerin and Gibbs. If you want and need a bit more holding back at either flank you can play Debuchy or Monreal.

The main message from this little time-passing exercise however was that it has opened a lot of eyes. We need a …(fill in ) type of player to fight for the title. That can be a ‘world class striker’ (Messi or Ronaldo come to mind – oh they aren’t real strikers….) or a beast of a defensive midfielder. But after seeing this it has struck a few people that we actually are rather well stocked with players for the moment.

Do you need a big centre forward who can link up and bring others in play? We got Giroud. And we have Welbeck. Do you need a fast small centre forward who can run past defenders at speed? We’ve got Theo. We’ve got Alexis. So whatever the rumour mills are saying we’ve got different solutions and even more than one player for the solution. That makes me think that if we were to buy someone for that position it has to be a real world class player.

He has to be a major upgrade to the players we have. And to be honest I don’t know any realistic target that would be a major upgrade. Probably a few who could be a minor upgrade but not a major upgrade. And what is the use to go for minor upgrades? Better save the money for the moment a real major upgrade becomes available.

And the same can be said about a few positions.

And another astonishing thought is the fact that we even seem to have players waiting in the wings to fill up the places of the aging players. Per is the oldest defender but we could put Chambers in his place in a few seasons depending on his fitness.

Arteta getting too old next season? What about Hayden? Will he have a breakthrough season this year? Or Bielik in that position in the next seasons? The same names for Flamini of course.

Another older player is Rosicky. But with the young talents of Iwobi, Jeff Reine-Adelaide couldn’t they step in his shoes in the next season?

Santi is also one of the older players now but again the same names crop up to replace him and then I would add Crowley in the mix as he reminds me a lot to the little Spanish magician.

The good thing is that many of the players we have are still rather young and are now entering the best years of their career. Theo, Jack, Aaron still have a lot of good years in front of them.

And then to think that we still have a bit of money to buy who we want if they come available at a decent price and not the over inflated prices we see mentioned in the media. Prices that I hope we will not pay anytime soon for any player.

I’ve said it before and will say it again: the squad we have is capable of winning everything. The only thing we need to avoid is too many injuries at the same time with the same type of players. But with all the players having been put in different positions in the last couple of seasons, most of them can fill in in different positions. And in avoiding the injuries we will need the cooperation of the refs. But that is a completely different story and it will be interesting to see how one of our bogey refs is doing next Sunday.

In the season of transfer speculation and rumours the media have missed out on something. Something we have been seeing developing for a few years. Wenger was building a team, adding with some great buys, but the core of the team has been the result of slowly building from a young age. We have seen it coming but I must admit that even I was taken by surprise by seeing what a great squad we now suddenly have at our  disposal.

Almost 22 players equal to the task and able to play in multiple positions. And somehow the media missed out on it. But that somehow doesn’t really surprise us, doesn’t it?


The books

Woolwich Arsenal: The club that changed football – Arsenal’s early years

Making the Arsenal – how the modern Arsenal was born in 1910

The Crowd at Woolwich Arsenal

39 comments to DONE DEAL. Yes we really have built a team while the media weren’t looking.

  • Finally we’ve been able to publish an article with the headline DONE DEAL which actually shows that the deals have really been done.

    The only trouble is, I’ve got to start thinking of a new headline to use.

  • nicky

    In choosing any team to represent our great Club next term, I would prefer to await the closure of the current Transfer Window.
    Who knows who might emerge during the next month. 😉

  • Hisham

    Indeed we are a DONE DEAL Walter! Thanks for this.

    Let’s hope that not only the media is not aware but the managers and coaches of the teams we are facing are also not aware of the many options available to Monsieur Wenger. We had 2/3 surprises last year in the team that they couldn’t work out in time whem playing against us.

    Barring injuries, let’s pray that M. Wenger has the talismanic ability to put out the right team to achieve a positive result every time we play. He has all the tools available in his hands now. Not that I’m putting any pressure here, mind you.

  • Tiny Tim

    Largely agree, but:

    Theo’s contract rumblings worry me greatly. If he goes, we will need a replacement sharpish – pacy world class strikers don’t grow on trees! I’m pretty sure that this is why we’re being linked with so many strikers this summer.

    Mikel Arteta is getting well passed his best and I fear any team with him in the holding midfield role is going to risk reverting to the spineless displays of a 2013 and earlier. Also it might be a bit early for Isaac Hayden to step up. A midfield enforcer would be gratefully received. 🙂

  • Laos gooner

    Nice usage of media sensationalism with lots of capital letters. I think Sir Hardly would approve. I for one am glad Sir Arsene has the selection to make and not myself. I would support any line up we put out regardless. I shall concentrate on my own team for now where I have to get 32 players to fit 16 starting positions. That includes the bench before anyone gives out puzzled looks. As ever a good article from Untold

  • Tiny Tim – I believe Theo has re-signed.

  • bc

    Personally I would have welbeck on the flank as his goalscoring ability is secondary to theo.

    However, whilst we do now have 2 players competing for each position, if we want to challenge for the big 2 trophies, certain positions need to be improved upon. Players like arteta, rosicky, flamini are quite simply squaddies at best. That for me opens up 2 slots straight away in your 22 and for me that would be another dm and a world class centre forward. One could also argue that if we signed another winger, Welbeck would also become a “squaddie” The squad currently sits on 24 players classed as over 21, however, I believe campbell and wellington will be sold and Loaned out respectively. Martinez might also move out on loan later in the window or when the loan window re-opens. He is too good to get no match time at all. That would mean we could sign up to 3 or even 4 players, though I think 4 is not required. But if there was an opportunity to grab benzema, lewandowski, suarez, cavani or ibrohimivc, along with a dm like wanyama, krychowiak, illarimendi, or one of the benders and a winger like reus, griezmann, Ribery, robben or drawer then wenger should do all he can to bring players of that ilk into the squad.

  • pussy mou

    I can promise you that our next big headline would be the buying od Marco Rues. And that Benzima and Pedro would end up at Manchester United. I can also promise u that we would beat united 5 nill this season. We would win all the trophies without much competition. Adlaide is the new C, Ronaldo. I would tell you more next summer if you stay alive. Am the God of Football if u don’t know. COYG, do u know wat dat means? Think about it.

  • NW

    One of my observations from transfer of this year is that Mr. Wenger still has the hunger and really plans to stay for a long time.

    The reason? Some may expect Arsenal to make more “big name purchases” with the improved financial position but before adding “big names”, Arsene has been busy adding young talents!!!

    Now we see the fruit of his talent + passion in growing young players… The team seems to have an endless “in relative sense” supply of young players to waiting to fill up spots in first team.

    Don’t forget that Ramsey, Wilshere, Walcott, Ox, Gibbs and Wellbeck are still very young (don’t even mention chambers, Bellerin)… Even Ozil, Alexis, OOOOspina all have yet to reach their prime age.

    So basically, we will be seeing the same group of players in 5 years and young players purchased will fill up those who will leave.

    Do you think this is the planning for a manager who will be leaving in one or two years? 🙂

    There is no doubt that Wenger will add top top players to the team because honestly, these players are rare and may not be available when they are young. Actually experience from top players purchased will help the players to grow even faster. Yet, for the next 5 to 10 years, at least 2/3 of Arsenal first team will be playes grown up at Arsenal.

    Adding world class players is not about EPL. Its about mounting a challenge to CL. Realistically, it is still a bit far to reach.

    It is very hard to further improve this team. The improvement may be slight even if a large sum is paid. Taht is called “law of diminishing returns”. It is even harder because Wenger rarely buy players over 27/28 of age.

    I home Arsene can pull out a magical signning but even if he doesn’t, this is still a team we can expect a lot from.

  • Sleekwhale

    Lovely write up Walter. I have seen this coming for some time now as the squad looks as complete as could ever be unless some Demi-god walks into the squad. The most important thing that keeps my mind jogging is the constant repetition on belief within the squad. The fact that they believe in themselves means that they would no doubt trust each other to help the team. Mind you, the day we defeat Chelsea, it will be a while before we lose to them again. I also have strong belief in this team irrespective of whether we buy a marquee striker or not.

  • Menace

    I am surprised that so many names have been linked with our squad when realistically it has a beautiful mix of experience & youth.

    We do however need some real balanced quality in midfield to ensure success.

    There is only one club that can give us the solution. This club has fantastic statistics of 98% accuracy & total football monopoly. It is the one & only magnificent game controlling PGMO! Any of their ‘players’ in our midfield will really give us the balance that has been lacking from our recent history. They obviously have an ownership issue & yacht holidays don’t come easily. We might have facilities for shopping in USA or some lumps of steel to decorate a gardens art, but bimbos, yachts & dim sum are not amongst our offerings.

    Which of the players others have mentioned can beat my choice? None!!

    😉 😉 😉

  • Robert

    Nice one, Walter. Thank you. You’ve clearly demonstrated the depth in quality of our squad *and* the enormous tactical flexibility we have in all areas.

    What’s interesting is that none of the other title aspirants have that squad quality in depth.

    Chelsea made do with a small group of players last season, and they were clearly running out of puff at the end. Lucky for them they were dumped out of the FA Cup and the CL. I can’t see the Spending One using any of the 31 Chelsea Rent Boys this year. In fact, it appears they’re pimping out a few more.

    Man City will have to sell players to make room for any non-homegrowns, and I doubt they’ll be able to pick up a max of 4 21+ year old homegrowns. With an ageing defence and non-performing prima-donnas in the centre, they could find it hard going. But they do have Sterling, so all is rosy.

    Man U don’t have a team, they have a bunch of individuals who could take 6 months to understand Van Gaal’s philosophy. The Glazers would not be impressed.

    Liverpool ditto, but it could take Rogers 6 months to understand his own philosophy.

    Out of 4 managers you potentially have 3 dead men walking – and maybe the Surly One is pouting so much these days because his boss has told him to make do. New stadiums cost a lot and the Russian economy is tanking, mate. So, no way, José.

    One can but dream.

  • JK

    Walter, good write up. We have good depth of players in all positions. However, I would not play our captain in the holding midfield role.

    Instead I will use Rambo in that area, and get one of the youngsters like Jeff in the wide areas. Another option is Issac Hayden who looks good and will do with more exposure and playing time.

    I am not sure, but yes the captain is an afterthought for me for now.


  • Jerry

    Amazing to see the strength of our team! It is even more incredible considering that it was built the right way!

    A couple of the younger players look to be leaving on loan. Toral on a season long loan to Birmingham City and Hayden to Hull.

  • Mandy Dodd

    It’s official caz and theo sign extensions , great news

  • JK

    Um Jerry, Hayden to hull? Didn’t see that though.

  • Ogbuehi Don Ndubuka

    The team is indeed promising and can lead fans to the promissory land.That notwithstanding, I still feel we need a dogged finisher to give GIROUD a chase for NO 9. Am not certain, if Arsene cant find this player. An assassin of player who can make Chelsea defense have nightmares on a match day is what ARSENAL need most now.

  • proudkev

    Strongest squad we have had since the Invincibles and a fit one too. We will not be dropping silly points due to injuries like at the start of last season, so I think we will be in the title race all season. I believe we will win it. If we do lift that trophy, there are going to be some really miserable people around and incredibly some of them are likely to be those who have misguidedly convinced themselves they are supporters.

  • Jerry

    Sorry about the Hayden to Hull, looks like that is just a rumor from ESPN and the Guardian.

    On even better news, Walcott and Cazorla sign new deals!

    Walcott’s deal is 4 years (until 2019) according to his twitter page.

  • Jerry

    Sorry the Hayden to Hull was just a rumor by ESPN and the Guardian. It was in the same article announces the Toral loan deal so I thought it was official already as well.

  • JK

    @jerry, yup I googled and got the news.

    Thanks for clarifying.

    Up for the coming game?

  • Jambug




    Sorry, got a bit over excited there. 🙂

  • apo Armani

    July 31, 2015 at 10:24 am

    Yes those players from PGMOB will ultimately have a huge bearing on how our season pans out; if they decide to put in HONEST efforts we will be hard to beat, if they falter – we will have again the same difficulties as previous seasons!!

  • Damilare

    Oui Cazorla! Oui Theo!

    Viva Arsenal!

  • para

    Walter 🙂

    A weight has been lifted, Theo and our Messi signed, just in time for Sunday.
    All is looking good peoples, all is looking good.

    COYG. The goal is clear, the road filled with challenges that we are capable of brushing aside, and i ask ALL Arsenal supporters and fans to GET BEHIND THE TEAM this season, where ever you are.

  • Mick

    Theo and Santi have both signed. Both were going to leave during this transfer window according to the misguided media know it all’s. Yet again they are wrong and finish up with large quantities of egg on their stupid faces.

  • Mandy Dodd

    Been a good day , two of my favorite players extend contracts and we beat the Aussies!

  • Jerry

    Wish I could be there for the game, but living in the U.S. Only get limited opportunities to get out there.

    Hull just announced the Hayden loan as well

  • Andy Mack

    Walter, don’t you like our No 27 then?

  • JK


    The only official news is Dan Crowley on loan. Nothing on Hayden.

    Ah.. I am much much further away compared to where you are.. I am from Singapore

  • JK


    Yes we have good depth and good camaraderie. However we must face the toughest teams with lots of mental strength and bring out our free scoring boots.

    That is when we can really do it. I am positive, but we will see when the season progresses.


  • Brickfields Gunners

    The younglings played well yesterday, despite being reduced to 10 men halfway in the first half.
    Fortune was the man of the match ,and really looks a very good addition to the team and a great prospect for the future .

  • Jerry

    It’s amazing to see how the club has grown globally. You’re in Singapore, I’m in the U.S., Walter in Belgium, I believe Gord in Canada, etc..

    Here’s a link to Hayden announcing signing with Hull for the Tear on his Twitter page

  • Simonrose77


    Er, why?

    Exactly what has changed since last season? Oh, we’ve finally bought a decent goalkeeper. So Petr Cech is suddenly gonna transform us into Premier League champions, is he? I don’t see it. The fundamental problems which have existed at Arsenal for years have not disappeared. We still have a second-rate lead goalscorer in Giroud; are missing a first-class defensive midfielder; and worst of all, have a manager whose big game management is extremely suspect. And we are cursed with this “fourth is a trophy” losers’ mentality which has sucked the hunger out of the squad.

    So why all this optimism?

    I’ll tell you what will happen this season: we will start well and will probably be top of the table at some point early on; then all the weaknesses will again appear. Our lack of a world-class striker, lack of depth in defensive midfield, and Wenger’s weak big-game management will cost us any chance of either the Premier League or the Champions’ League. So we’ll finish in our usual third or fourth place and do nothing again in Europe.

    But don’t worry: Sam and the Board will be delighted. Full stadia every week, lots of TV money and plenty of merchandising revenue will make it yet another successful season at Arsenal Inc. And that’s what really matters at the end of the day.

    And Wenger will continue to pocket his considerable salary for mediocrity. And the muppet fans will still think that he’s God.

    I can’t wait for the start of the season

  • Andy Mack

    Simonrose77, Clearly you’ve never been involved in any high level team sport or you’d understand that ‘magic’ doesn’t happen overnight. It takes a while for players to know where their team mates will move to (knowing ‘where they are’ is too slow at to level), to understand their strengths and weaknesses and to play both ‘as a team’ and with ‘team spirit’. Was the Invincibles 11 players that joined one season and clicked straight away?

    Our problem ‘fan wise’ it that we’ve too many people that aren’t stupid so they can grasp certain aspects of tactics/squad/ team relationships, but they’re not clever enough to understand the whole package……

  • Mandy Dodd

    Simon Rose, quite a lot has changed in the last two seasons, I am sure you will recognise. Money, top signings, keeping key players, trophies. Sounds pretty positive to me.
    If Giroud stays fit, he will approach thirty goals in this team, whatever your misgivings about him, we have two more players who will get themselves twenty plus as well.
    Big game management, Wenger , like Clough and even Purple Nose prefers wherever possible for players to work it out for themselves, unlike the control freaked automatons the likes of Jose breeds. Wengers methods take time, team spirit and quality, in the last decade, he hasn’t always had those, but this team certainly have quality and have had time to gel.
    I suspect you may be one of those fans who constantly moan about Wenger in comparison to the perceived qualities of the likes of Jose. If so , you are due a long spell of misery, what Arsenal stands for means the club will never allow an eye gouging cheat to manage , no matter what the short term success the likes may bring.

  • Jambug


    Once our injury list reduced to a reasonable level at the turn of the year, we went on to be the best team in the PL in the 2nd half of the season.

    That team is still very much in tact with the addition of Cech.

    What’s to change?

  • thierryhenry

    Completely with you Walt!! And I have faith that Theo will show the world he is a TOP centre forward. I think everyone forgot how good he was before the injury and he looks even more powerful now (plus he’s just signed da ting!). But yes, we are in an amazing position at the moment. Plus 3 trophies in the last two years is a great springboard for more! COYG