Two of the top three targets that can be achieved at Arsenal this season are, if not winning the EPL, that they must finish in the top 3 and secondly, must win the Europa League and finally, the third target: the F A Cup.
Let no one tell us that all these are not achievable. We can win two of the three mentioned above. With just a bit of luck all the three.
The early plans and preparations of the Emery team inspires much confidence. The plans are not utopian: they are pragmatic. Down to earth. They directly address the problems and seek to overcome those with the best possible and affordable solutions.
All this is achieved with positive thinking. “A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity. An optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.” (Winston Churchill ). Pray, what is Difficulty? Einstein said : “In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity.” It is this type of optimism in the ‘ Team Arsenal ‘ thinking and actions that makes one believe that Arsenal will achieve their targets.
‘ Team Arsenal ‘ has been a fortunate victim of various combinations of fortuitous circumstances and positive coincidental events resulting in Lady Luck smiling coyly at them!
The Gunners had to think hard and long about being pragmatic first. When they did, it appears that they went full throttle and took their chances and concluded the transfer/s without too much fuss . One major factor , perhaps , was the thinking that they had to make up for lack of funds by making their own luck, by taking calculated risks and backing their own logic: nothing ventured, nothing gained!!
Their first signing was a reiteration by them that they believed fully in what they wanted to do and they made bold to do it.
Thus their first signing was a free transfer. Lichsteiner was their selection: perhaps, more by force of compulsion and convenience of free transfer! The collateral advantage was the leadership qualities of the player; and then the quality and class of the player himself.
Lichsteiner’s captaincy, leadership, quality of performance, his fitness, stamina, endurance and his self-confidence in taking on the best in the world, when his team, Switzerland, held the mighty Brazilians to a draw, was the kind of performance Arsenal followers had not seen from an Arsenal player for a long time.That show of character in a tense match was a statement in itself and also a message for his new team-mates at the Emirates. He had just raised the bar and they better shape-up !!
It is not necessary to go into microscopic details of Emery’s other ” choices “. It will be ideal if we can sift the chaff from the grain that the transfer rumour mills are churning out.
It is a fact that the Arsenal transfer budget is said to be limited to €70 Million.Anything more than this has to be supplemented through player sales.
Jack Wilshere has bid adieu to Arsenal as per the arsenal.com website. The website also confirms that as on 19 june 2018, that ” Bernd Leno has agreed to join us from Bayer Leverkusen. ” Head Coach , Unai Emery is quoted as stating, “We are very pleased that Bernd Leno will be joining us. Bernd is a goalkeeper of high quality and experience. He has been a top performer and regular number one goalkeeper with Leverkusen in the Bundesliga for the past seven years. We are all excited that Bernd has chosen Arsenal Football Club and look forward to start working with him in pre-season.” The website Arsenal.com adds: “The deal is subject to the completion of regulatory processes.”
The transfer of Sokratis Papasthapolous of Dortmund to Arsenal is expected to be announced in the first week of July , 2018,being the start of the new fiscal year for Dortmund.
The signing of Lucas Torreira , Sampdoria , [representing Uruguay in the ongoing Soccer W C , in Russia] is expected to be announced shortly. It is said that Sampdoria President Massimo Ferrero has stated in a TV interview that Torreira has joined Arsenal for €30m. Formal announcement is expected anytime soon].
Leno is a goalkeeper while Lichsteiner , Sokratis and Torreira will man the defence. With Bellerin and Monreal also present , perhaps as early preferences, logic dictates that this should conclude the signings in the defence sector
With Mesut Ozil, one of the very best mid-fielders in the world and Mikhitariyan, another world class player along with the versatile Ramsey and the recent extension signing of Granit Xhaka makes for a fairly reliable mid-field.
And when you look at the front line , the classy Aubameyang and the technically sound Lacazette , make for some hope. But, alas, if you could only live on free air, water and hope!! We need more fire power up front to last the entire season of perhaps more than 55+ high tension matches. what with the expected and inevitable injury concerns, worse, dip or lack of form and so on. We need affordable quality in depth.
Whether the Arsenal Mid-field and Attack , with the other bit players can deliver at least 85 goals is highly debatable. With better and more organised defence, the gap between goals scored and conceded can be reduced.
Arsenal will be competing at high levels in EPL , Europa League and The F A Cup. It will be a crowded schedule with high intensity games. They will be travelling quite a lot, especially in the Europa League. At times they could be playing 2 to 3 games a week. They will not have much time to recover between matches. And in case of any injuries, life can be very tough indeed. There is every need to be adding to the midfield and attack at the most economic costs.There cannot be any compromise on this.It is vital that this is done now. Not in the January window.There is no point in postponing the inevitable. If this means selling players to bolster the squad , so be it.
The following additions are eminently feasible and definitely possible.
Max Mayer and Gelson Mertins are both available on free transfers. Max Meyer plays in the heart of the Midfield . He is an attacking midfielder; can play as an attacker or also a deep-lying midfielder or a holding midfielder.He will be a fantastic signing if Arsenal exert themselves; especially considering the fact that Wilshere has departed from Arsenal.This 22 year old is most definitely an upgrade on Wilshere [his market value is in the region of €32.5m: at Schalke, he was reported to be earning €38K/week]. It is certain that Unai Emery can bring him to Arsenal. He is a steal on a free transfer.
Gelson Mertins , from Sporting Lisbon is one of the fastest midfielders, playing on the right. “Martins has pace to burn and the skills to beat a man. He’s a classic winger with excellent dribbling skills and he loves to beat his opposite man on the outside before getting a cross into the box ” [Skysports]. He has expressed his preference for Arsenal over others many times. It seems he was furious, yes furious, when Sporting Lisbon rejected Arsenal’s offer earlier this transfer window. He is a free agent and he was earning €21 k/week.
His pace on the right, either in the midfield or up front will be a great asset for Arsenal, especially in a crowded calendar. He brings class and quality to the side and at just 22 years of age, he could be a great long term addition to the squad , he could be the Ronaldo or Van Persie we missed out in an earlier era.
Both the players above are free. No great costs are involved – bar players personal agreements.
And here are three others who may cost about €65m together.
There is no need to go into details regarding the PSV’s incredibly pacy and hugely talented winger, the right footed, 21 year old H.Lozano representing Mexico in the ongoing WC. Arsenal are very much interested in him. In today’s bloated market, he is available at only €28m. He could be easily slotted to the left of Mikhitariyan in the midfield.
Young and incredibly pacy and a fine dribbler to boot , 21 year year old Cristan Pavon of Boca Jrs, is a natural left winger and being right footed can play wide. Like Gelson Mertins and Lozano, who are adept at dribbling and at an incredible pace, Pavon can be more than a handful to the best of defences in the world. He will play to the left of Aubemiyang and in front of Lozano.
And finally, Nils Petersen, captain of Freiberg, who single handedly scored 10 goals out of 34 scored totally by Freiberg, in 2016-17 and kept them from going down; and in 2017-18, scored 15 goals out of 35 scored by Freiberg– and again kept them from relegation. He was the 2nd top scorer in Bundesliga [after Lewandowski] with 15 goals. He was an inspirational player and a terrific leader and captain.
www.dw.com, in its sports coloumn wrote on Nils Petersen : “A striker with Nils Petersen’s leadership qualities,goal-scoring prowess and ability to make a quick impact could make all the difference.” The same site said that Nils Petersen’s selection in the provisional German squad was, ” Simply put, it’s because Petersen deserves it. The Bundesliga’s highest scoring German player this season, indeed the highest scoring German in any of Europe’s top leagues, should naturally be a consideration for Löw going into the World Cup. Petersen’s 15 league goals were also the difference between survival and relegation. Without them, Freiburg would have been 19 points worse-off; relegated in last position. ”
Playing much like Giroud at Arsenal as the supersub, the website contuined “One thing Petersen offers above all others, however, is his ability to score ‘Jokertöre’ – goals from the bench. The 29-year old is the Bundesliga’s all-time top-scoring substitute, with 20. It’s a talent which could prove invaluable in the latter stages of the tournament.”
It further said, that Löw likes his squad members to be team players who prioritize the collective above all else. Petersen’s calm leadership at Freiburg this season has certainly shown that, and Löw should have no reservations about his character. Germany’s coach knows that if his side are go all the way again this summer, it won’t be without their fair share of close shaves and tense encounters. “A striker with Nils Petersen’s leadership qualities, goal-scoring prowess and ability to make a quick impact could make all the difference.”
Petersen is 28 and a striker with the type of character, leadership and footballing qualities that Emery wants Arsenal to have. He will cost about €18m. He was one among the four who missed out a place in the German squad [the four not selected were Nils Petersen , Le Roy Sane , Bernd Leno and Jonathan Tah]. Considering the footballing talents and his leadership qualities he brings to the table and his supersub achievements , he is worth his weight in gold.This kind of a super and unique talent does not come knocking every day.Emery must sign him up.
Overall, Leno (€22m), Torrera (€26.5m) and Sokratis (€16m) will cost about €64.5m. This is the defence cost. C.Pavon (€20m) , Lozano (€28m) and Petersen (€18m) will cost about €66m in total: that is the midfield and forward/strikers cost .
In total that would be €130.5m. Arsenal would have raise about €60m from player sales. This is eminently possible.
Most of them are youngsters and are for the long term. If Arsenal make it to the top three in EPL, or win the Europa League, as they will, with these players, they will more than easily recoup their investments for this year and perhaps reinvest in further strengthening their squad to meet the challenges of playing in the Champions League next season.
And finally : be positive –” Yesterday is not ours to recover, but tomorrow is ours to win or lose.” Lyndon B Johnson. Unai Emery and Team Arsenal , please note carefully!!!!
Elsewhere on Untold
- The Arsenal Goalkeepers – how many do Arsenal need, and who will be first choice?
- Just 50 days to go: which clubs are spending, which are selling?
- The Arsenal youngsters destined to become household names
The latest post from our series on Henry Norris at the Arsenal