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The real Arsenal transfer news: who we are actually signing in January.

By Tony Attwood

I am going to try an experiment, and see if it is possible to write a series of articles about the next window’s transfers (ie Jan 2018), with commentaries that are not based on rampant negativity (“Arsenal must plug this gap now!!!”) and outright fantasy.  An antidote to the make-believe gossip.

Of course I don’t have any detailed inside knowledge of what the club is about to do; the last person they would ever tip off is someone who writes a blog.  But even so, a little voice inside my head says it must be possible to produce a preview of transfers based on facts, statistics and reality.

So I take as my starting point this little gem from the Independent today about the Arsenal: “There was scant improvement to the playing squad in the summer.”

Just to remind you we gained Kolasinac and Lacazette while out went out the Ox, Szczesny, Gabriel, Gibbs, Lukas, Jenkinson, Sanogo, Martinez, Campbell.   None of those nine players who left either permanently or on loan were regulars in the first team through the season, while Kolasinac and Lacazette have become just that.   The Ox is the only one who could have been seen as about to make it all happen, but he wasn’t really making it, and his time at Liverpool thus far suggests that maybe he was not a superstar waiting to happen.

So that’s my baseline: I have to do a bit better than that comment above, as well as a bit better than “Arsenal fans will be worried that…” and a fair bit better than “Arsenal will sell Mustafi who is desperate to leave and buy Mbappe”, which was the staple diet of last summer.

The question is, how is it to be done?  If we don’t have inside information and don’t have fantasy and make believe, what do we have?  The answer must be logic, analysis and need.  So that is what I will use and in this episode I am going to start at the back with the keepers.

Last summer we were told in no uncertain terms that we were going to sign Kasper Schmeichel  to “solve our goalkeeping crisis.”  Wojciech Szczesny didn’t come back either, as we were told was certain to happen.  Iker Casillas from Porto was also firmly tipped but he didn’t appear.   Pontus Dahlberg of Gothenburg was “being keenly watched” but he didn’t sign and the bid that we were told would happen “in a day or two” for Jordon Pickford of Sunderland did not emerge.

There was some feeling last season that Cech was past his best, although he started getting rave reviews again this season, especially in the Burnley match, so maybe that feeling has been bypassed.  There was a lot of talk of Ospina going because of his lack of consistency.  Turkey was the destination only that too didn’t happen.

Cech is one of 14 keepers in the PL who has started each league game thus far, and to date has kept more clean sheets than any other keeper except De Gea.  In Ospina we have a player who seems happy to play second fiddle, picking up appearances in non-PL games.  He is also the most capped goalkeeper in the history of the Colombia national team..

Third in the list is Damián Emiliano Martínez currently on loan to Getafe CF as their second keeper, and not actually getting much playing time.  It is a one year deal, and he has played once thus far.  Behind these three keepers are the over 21 academy players Deyan Iliev and Matt Macey.

 So what do we need?  In time we need either Ospina or Martinez to step up into Cech’s shoes, or to buy a PL ranked keeper to replace Cech who is now 35 and will be 36 by the start of next season.  But remember,  David Seaman left Arsenal aged 40, so age alone is not enough to move him on.  Thus only a serious decline in Cech’s ability or a serious injury could cause us to buy a new first XI keeper, plus a decision that neither Martinez nor Ospina are ready to step up to permanent first team duties.

Of course Martinez or Ospina could decide they have had enough and move on, or the club might decide that they are not good enough to keep, even as a backup keeper.  But it should also be remembered that two of our positions in the 25 list are occupied by backup keepers beyond these first three of Cech, Ospina and Martinez, so in terms of the production line it looks like we are quite well provisioned.

Thus I would say, in relation to “Cech to go and have a new keeper in to replace him, as was proposed in the summer transfer rumours…” such a development is  very unlikely.

Ospina to move on?  If he has had enough of being a backup keeper (like Łukasz Fabiański before him, after he won his FA Cup winners’ medal), then possibly.  Otherwise no; excellent backup keepers are hard to find – and we’ve potentially got several.

Martinez to move on?  Much depends on what the thinking was with his loan.  If the agreement was that he should have a year of sitting on the bench in Spain, then that could be a prelude to him returning to Arsenal as the new number 2 keeper next season, if Ospina does leave.

OK, this is not as exciting (or insane) as Arsenal to buy Leicester City’s keeper, but I suspect it is more realistic.  All in all, the chances of us buying a new goalkeeper are small.  The most likely chance would be if Ospina wanted to play lots of games, and Martinez and the other academy graduates are not considered good enough to be an Arsenal back up keeper.  That is several “ifs” all at once.

Next time I’ll have a look at wing backs.   Sorry for the lack of drama, but that’s reality for you.

 

 

18 comments to The real Arsenal transfer news: who we are actually signing in January.

  • Jax

    I wouldn’t be surprised if we signed no one at all in January as our new transfers guru Raul Sanllehi from Barca isn’t (as far as I know) starting with us until February.

  • Max Kerr

    More than any other rubbish regurgitated around the fantasy media, the issue of goalkeepers at Arsenal stands out. In addition to the above – and, by the way, I think Martinez and Macey both look great prospects – both Keto and Virginia in the Academy are highly thought of, and a young scholar called Arthur Okonkwo is coming up behind. There are also Alex Crean, Deyan Iliev and Ryan Huddart, that I know of. Obviously, we do not yet have a complete team of goalkeepers, so still need three or four more!

  • Andrew Crawshaw

    Tony,

    I agree the chances of us changing any of our goalkeepers in the January window are vanishingly small

  • Henry Root

    The news about Sanllehi joining complicates speculation about who we may be signing. While he is not here until February it is highly possible he might have suggested some possibilities to the team negotiating transfers. We may pass in this window as deals are harder to do or we may sell out of contract players who would go for nothing in the summer. It would be difficult to do this without replacing at least one of them without incurring too much ire.
    Your analysis of the goalkeeping situation looks sound to me. I think Cech is not only a good keeper but an admirable role model for younger players. Ospina is disappointing in my view but young Martinez is full of promise and his loan to Getafe is not helping him develop.Its outside our control unless we have a recall option . I also liked the look of young Macey when I saw him. I don’t expect any serious movement among the goalkeepers until the summer unless Martinez cuts his loan short and moves elsewhere.

  • GoingGoingGooner

    I don’t think we shall sign anyone in January.

    Keeping in mind that we have a manageable injury situation, that few top players are available and they would be expensive in January, and we have to husband our resources to possibly get players to replace Oezil or Alexis, should they leave, I would suggest we shall just monitor what is going on and play football.

  • Samuel Akinsola Adebosin

    From Arsenal point of view, the Cojonesless Hornets collapsing 0-2 in 25 minutes to Ashley Young of the Red Devils is unacceptable as Man Utd are expected by Arsenal to drop points in this PL match tonight at the Vicarage Road. But Spurs falling 2-0 to the Foxes in the first half at the Kings Power Stadium is a welcome news to Arsenal. But the Foxes should watch their back line in the 2nd half not to allow King Harry Kane and his able assistant, Dele Alli and co breach their fort.

  • Samuel Akinsola Adebosin

    Barring any injuries from now till January window that could necessitate the signing of new player or players, but even without such occurrence happening, but still, I think Arsenal will sign one top quality player probably a midfielder with good antecedent of goals scoring habit during the coming transfer window to strengthen their would be reshuffled first team squad. More so, if Arsenal are in a strong position in the table contending for the lifting of this season’s Premier League Title trophy.

  • Andy Mack

    Players coming in January will have to be reflected by players going out, unless we’ve found a clever way of circumnavigating the 25 player squad limit (and as $iteh haven’t found a way to do so, I doubt we will!).
    The lack of game-time for Martinez is very disappointing. It’s the one thing he really needs before making the step up to become our No 2 GK.

  • colario

    Hi Gord. As someone has commented for once an article about Arsenal that is not negative. I think most of what it is written is common to most history of Arsenal type books.

    My one criticism is that the failure to tile the photos with the info about the content of the photos.

    The one doubt as to fact is how Chapman got the idea of white sleeves. There other accounts of this but I dont’ object too strongly to the paper promoting their report’s version.

  • para

    “The answer must be logic, analysis and need”

    The thing about all three is that they are so dependent on perspective, that is, on the person doing the logical, analysis and need and their own perspective, which will/may be different to other peoples perspective.

    So we either agree, because we have a similar perspective, or we disagree because our perspective is vastly different.

    //
    It is clear that Arsenal is starting/preparing to change the organisation of itself, and we can only wait to see if it works as intended. We all hope it works and propels Arsenal back to being a force, where other teams fear to play us.

  • Brickfields Gunners

    @ Gord – 29/11/2017 at 2:26 am -Nice link . And a very good article .

  • Markyb

    Para, they fear us but know they can ‘ get in our faces’ with impunity and get gifted penalties

  • Butland COYG Ospina has too many Joe moments for my liking, Rooney may have just taken his no:1 jersey if England are lucky. In terms of midfield, I still rate W. Carvalho as does CR7 unfortunately but quite rightly and that’s from in my opinion (perspective) the best player to have graced the planet! An earlier debate regarding Messi, Ronaldinho, Ronaldo (not the fat one) and Neymar was considered not of that ilk at all, Mbappe was considered an interesting prospect though!

    I would consider a nominal fee for Meyer who will not be signing as I think he is a great little player who offers a combination of the talents of Ozil, Wilshere and Ramsey and I do expect us to be much closer to City and top spot come mid Feb.

    A CB is still something to look at, Schindler is looking akin to a Ligue 2 Koscielny and again was excellent despite the demolition last night, if you look good getting thrashed as a central defender you must be noteworthy, played like he fancied a bit of London life!

    Anyone know how Carl and the young left back (his name slips my mind and I won’t risk losing what I’ve written checking) are doing as this would serve as the full back ‘crisis’ (a standard media approach) solution.

    As Wenger said neither Ozil nor Sanchez will be leaving in January and despite the ever growing coats of the latter I do still expect them to be here at the end of the coming summer window. With performances like last nights and in the derby Andrew tweets like “focus and ignore the noise” it would seem that Mesut has decided to take on his own mantel, the new woman is working wonders it seems, behind every great man….

    Up front I am still waiting for Chuna to make his move, it looks like an Andy Cole and that certainly was one that got away.

    I’m sorry I rushed it but I couldn’t wait, I’m inundated even with a breif spell off work due to injury to remain assured I won’t miss the next instalment.

    Andrew is out but I think Giroud would have been my prwfeeence for the next fixture and Welbeck is 100% likely to score if he comes on, a boyhood fan slighted.

    I expect nothing but three points to propel us 1 point from 2nd and will WHU turn the corner, nobody can play that badly for that long, poor Slavan, he must be chucking from his arm chair! D W L in their next three against City, Chelsea and us, 13 is the magic number, win 13/13 to truly prove Emirates is becoming a fortress, we are winning so singing shouldn’t be a problem and as Sterling proved you can win even when the whistle should have gone already!

    COYG!

  • Thnx Gord, Mail did something good, they also have an inside track on a lot of transfers…. where’s my trench, carrot and magnifying glass when I need them!?!

  • Cohen that’s it, brain you took your sweet merry!

    And Takuma, his visa situation, shame goals are hard to come by at Stuttgart, although the league in general isn’t dishing out too many goals with them sitting mid table on minus GD!

    Of the players to be looked at, it would seem as though little or nothing should be expected until the summer, with even fringe players aware that winners medals are still on the cards for the remaining 4 competitions given we won the first we entered! Oh sorry Shield doesn’t count, well unless you win the league!

    How much did the bad refereeing cost us last season £80m?

  • Also I liked this and I quote Merson here, yes I know Paul…. anyways the point is this

    ” It just shows you it doesn’t matter who you are, how much money you get, when your confidence goes, that is it. They’re only human. It’s hard to get that confidence back”

    So wait if Hmm… confidence, so what do you call it when the Anglo UK media (sky owned by majority) intentionally affect confidence then!? Isn’t that like corporate sabotage?

  • Amber (deflection, avoidance£ Rudd has been extremely quiet given the situation with Tramp, Republicans and Murdoch and Co regarding that bid!

    Wait they are investigating links between Russia, America and Brexshit, wait really! Oh I get it now!

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