Half of Arsenal’s mid-field and attack will be different next season

By Tony Attwood

It has been interesting to read comments on blogs which but a short while ago were calling for “glass ankles” Van Persie to be set aside, and yet without a blink (or an admission that they were wrong) are now blaming the Arsenal management for not having tied the same VP into a long term contract several years ago.

It has also been interesting reading the questions that are being proposed for this week’s meeting between fans’ groups and Ivan Gazidis – for they are remarkably similar to the questions that were put a year ago when Mr Gazidis attended the AGM of Arsenal Independent Supporters’ Association.   Perhaps I remember that meeting better than most as I was given the job of being the warm-up act for Mr Gazidis and my talk on the latest publication of the Arsenal History Society, given as we waited for Mr Gazidis entry, was not exactly what everyone had come to hear.  (I thought I did rather well, but then, it was my 10 minutes of fame).

So I can only assume that those putting forward these same questions as last year to Mr Gazidis either have short memories, or haven’t bothered to look at the questions asked last year, or haven’t actually noticed how much the team is about to change.

It is true that we have no dramatic news on the defence as yet, although I fully expect Coquelin to step up and take a much stronger role.  (That may not seem dramatic to anyone who doesn’t take in the matches live, but believe me this kid is brilliant).

But leaving that aside, in midfield and attack the signs are there for all to see.

In midfield I anticipate a line-up along the lines of


Arteta Wilshere

while in attack I rather fancy

Oxlade Chamberlain  Van Persie   Podolski


Back-ups and changes there are aplenty – not least with Gervinho, Walcott, Ramsey and Rosicky all available, but if those two sets of three outlined above are indeed the standard starting lineup when all are fit, then we do indeed have a 50% change.  True Oxlade Chamberlain did indeed play some games, but he was hardly a regular.  This coming season I expect that to be different.

Just how different those of us who have seen some of his contributions could indeed testify, but even if you don’t want to take my word for it, consider what Marco Van Basten said.  He  described AOC as “a gem” – and with that sort of comment you really do have to take notice.As you will have noticed the rave reviews are now pouring in for Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.  Playing for England it isn’t that he did a Pele like performance aged 18 (although I think Pele was 17 when he exploded on the pitch for Brazil) but he is certainly impressing the pundits.

Journalists who can only snarl when a player wears an Arsenal shirt, often change their tune when he turns up for England, and here is a case in point as they are suddenly noticing a player with pace and a lack of nerves.

He is powerful, there’s no doubt, although as Mr Wenger clearly has seen, he fades a bit at the moment – but then he’s only 18 and only had a year of Mr Wenger’s dietary control.  More strength will undoubtedly come.

But where to play him.  Winger?  That’s where I have put him with an ability to cut inside and scare the hell out of backtracking defenders.  But he could also be in the attacking midfield role.  Or defensive midfield even.  We’ve seen bits of him doing everything at Arsenal, but the fear must be that this England manager will do what so many have done before him and keep to the old ways, doing what we have done before, and fitting a remarkable player into a staid system that reduces creativity.  But even if this happens the Ox will undoubtedly come back to his true form upon return to London.

My hope is strengthened by the story that says that while he was at the club again, Thierry Henry was giving the youngster advice.  And who better to tell you how to develop your game than a player of such ability who lost his way and allowed Mr Wenger to rebuild his approach with him?  Robin VP also had some words of guidance too, reported as, “keep being patient, keep working hard, keep learning off all the boys and your time will come. When it does, make sure you grab it with two hands”.

Apparently the Ox has 11 GCSEs, which tends to indicate a spot of intellect and a willingness to learn, and he is still very much developing.  As is Jack Wilshere, who as you might have noted, I have put in the same team as Alex next season, thus making two of my three new faces.

Alex Oxlade Chamberlain appeared in 16 league games last season often as a sub.  Supposing he becomes a regular, and supposing Jack becomes a regular too.  That suddenly is 18% of the entire team changed around.  Add in Podolski and 27% of the team is now different.   Or 50% of the midfield and attack.

I think there is more to come – but that is one hell of a start.

68 Replies to “Half of Arsenal’s mid-field and attack will be different next season”

  1. I’m also excited for AOC next year, one of the most rewarding parts of watching sports is seeing a young player grow into their game.

    It opens the question, however, of whatever will we do with Theo? He had easily his best season in goals + assists, but IMHO did not make as consistent an impact on the team as Arteta or Robin. I can see the team using more player rotation (situational/tactical, rather than injury-driven, hopefully), but every team does indeed have a first choice XI…

  2. I really dont trust Song at cdm. Thats why were in desperate need of M’vila in my opinion. Song would be perfect in a rotation with Arteta and Wilshere in front of a sitting dm, but hes not nearly disciplined enough to play in that position by himself.

  3. Wilshere will need time to recover and the Euros will determine the Ox Walcott dilemma.

  4. Danish
    You are very consisitant wherever you blog 🙂
    Van Persie was always crocked and we just had a full season out of him. You may be right. Let’s hope you’re wrong.

  5. Dire – Song doesn’t even play as a defensive midfielder, Arteta plays that role, and does it very well. If Song were expected to play the “disciplined” CDM role, he could do it, he’s done if very well in the past, but usually someone sits behind him, beit Arteta, Diaby or Denilson. Even wilshere arguably played behind him two seasons ago.
    Song got 16 assists last year without taking corners or freekicks, while at the same time contributing heavily to the defensive side of the midfield. That’s a massive indication of how good this guy is and we really should appreciate him more at arsenal. We could easily have dropped from the top 4, even a few seasons ago, without Alex Song. He’s been our most consistent performer over the past few seasons, and it’s been extremely rare that you couldn’t say that he was one of our best 3 or 4 players in a game.

  6. These options “Gervinho, Walcott, Ramsey and Rosicky” are good but we need at least two of :
    -a creative midfielder
    -a defensive midfielder (if he can play cb as well even better)..

    If VP goes, please add a striker in the list..

  7. @goonermichael,

    the article is not questioning the fact that he almost always had injury problems. It simply seeks an answer to why people are now asking why Wenger failed to tie him down to a long contract a few years ago, at which period same people were equally asking why Wenger Wenger did not offload him bcos of his glass ankles.

    Any answer to that?

  8. am also in support of Dire. we strongly need M’vila. Song has always left our dmf empty which opened our defence most of the time resulting in unworthy goals.

  9. AM/CM/DM:

    First-team quality:

    Jack Wilshere
    Mikel Arteta
    Alex Song
    Thomas Rosicky (could be sold if interested parties)
    Ibrahim Afellay (Please buy)
    Yann M’Vila (Please buy)

    Back up:

    Francis Coquelin
    Aaron Ramsey (could be sold if interested parties)
    Henri Lansbury (could be sold if interested parties)
    Emmanuel Frimpong (might be better to loan)
    Abou Diaby (sell please)

  10. WINGS:

    First-team quality:

    Lukas Podolski
    Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain
    Theo Walcott (could be sold if interested parties)
    Dempsey (Please buy)

    Back up:

    Ryo Miyaichi (loan)

  11. sagna will be out for a few month so either coq or jenks will play right back.

    What chances of Bartley, Aneke, Afobe, Lansbury, Silva (can he come to England yet?), Cambell (ditto), Ryo, getting a game next year?

    Have we all given up on Bendy, Denilson, Vela, Arshavin?

    Any chance of Diaby keeping fit?

    I think with current squad, all we need is a sub goalie and possibly another good striker. We seem blessed in midfield.

    looking forward to the new season already!

  12. We don’t need any CDM. We will always have 2 CM who are good in collecting balls, whether they are Song/Arteta, Arteta/Aaron or Song/Jack. And Diaby of course if he stays fit. I believe Mr. Wenger will develop Aaron and Jack into all-round CMs, who can attack and defend well. Then we will have four all-round CMs! The ATM spot will belong to Rosicky/Jack/Aaron. Our midfield will dominate the EPL! Yeah, they will.

    I believe that Theo will still be the first choice over The Ox at winger. I love The Ox but he still have a lot to learn. And don’t forget that Theo is still developing too. Add Podolski and Gervinho and we will have one hell of competition!

    If RVP stays, our team will be great. If he doesn’t, maybe Theo will be moved into striker role with Podolski, and that will be very interesting. Maybe another TH14 is being produced!

  13. I strongly suspect that Wenger want keen competition for all positions. Thus, i am not convinced that he has ended his search for new faces in the mid-field and everywhere else in the team.
    I also believe he wants to have the option of “game changers” sitting on the bench at every game so that if needed, the last 25minutes can be as fast and furious as possible to increase our chances of winning close games.
    We cannot rule out the possibility of Diaby, Gervinho, Ramsey and Walcott upping their games so that it is not that easy to casually exclude them from the starting team. There is also the steve Bould factor which may subtly inflence arsenal’s preferred players and priorities for the team that is lined up.
    Thus, it is very early days to guess at the shape of arsenal’s mid-field next season.

  14. I confess that two or three seasons ago I was saying that RVP was fit only to be a super-sub.

    At the same time I was singing the praises of Song; and of Walcott as a winger.

    I must say now that the prospect of that midfield is exciting – tenacious AND skilfull to a man!

    I do admire OxC (he reminds me of Rooney before he went to the dark side) but I would rather see Walcott stay (in the first XI) and shine and let OxC come on to provide a burst of energy against tired backs.

    Thanks again Tony – I look forwared to predictions on the most controversial part of our team 🙂

  15. I’m happy about AOC’s development but my real expectation is coquelin,dat kid is superbrilliant,i’ve lost count of how many positions arsene had him play this past season and his performed extremely well in all those position. That kid is the one that actually excites me not oxlade really.

  16. Look forward to Ox, and as you say, Coquelin next season.
    Guess to contract situations of VP, Theo and possibly Song? are cause for concern but no point in ruining the summer, if VP does not sign,I hope we hold him to his last year and give someone else time to bed in.
    Also worth noting our new coaches, Bould as assistant and Banfield as 1st team coach. Some have suggested our coaching team needs freshening up, increasing, and place more emphasis on defence. Those who made such suggestions now have their resolution, and for those who say Wenger appoints only yes men, nobody who knows anything about Bould can ever accuse him of being that.
    An exciting season hopefully beckons. The stakes are very high, I do not expect Chelsea or Liverpool to screw up the league as much as they did last year, both will probably spend a fortune….ok as Liverpool did last year

  17. You are assuming that Wilshere will come straight back into the team?
    Even if his recovery goes well, it will take at least half-way into the season for him to hit peak. And when he does , I will expect him to provide the forward drive and take on defenders. That’s why I still think we need a player like Yann Mvilla

  18. if we dont sell wallcott, then he’ll def be in the starting 11 otherwise it’d be a waste of all the game time we’ve invested in him already. so i see ox being used more as a sub n regularly in early stages of cup games. + we got podolski and gervinho, hu wudnt be too happy being 2nd choice. tbh i wud like to see arshavin back, this makes competetion for places higher but i tnk it’s the best solution with the cheapest cost.lol, both financially and in terms of time. it really seems like we’ve got plenty of players to fill midfeild n attacking positions, so maybe we just need 2 players that can play CDM/CB or CB/LB/RB

  19. Ogban, I think that is a fair point, and of course I don’t know exactly how his recovery is going, but I am told that with that final minor op out of the way he is going to move straight into training, before the others get back.

    Of course he may not be there straight off, but other injuries aside I would expect him to be playing for 80% of the season.

    What is good is that I think we have enough cover to be able to leave him out from time to time, so he doesn’t overdo it.

  20. Bored ! Bored ! Bored of all this speculative crap.
    I don’t give a flying F**k who plays for arsenal next season.

    None of us know who will or won’t, the fact is players come, and players go, they’re predominantly greedy , self-centered twats that don’t give a toss for the fans anyway , so why should we waste our time fretting about them.

    All I ask of who ever is playing for us, is they give a 100% every time they pull the shirt on.

    Simple !

    Roll on next season with who ever !

  21. you know as much as i wud like us to win the league n CL, i wouldnt want to do it by compromising our policies…. it really makes me proud to be a gooner that we can do all that we have with the policies we’ve adopted.
    you look at other teams in the league hu dont have any sort of policy/ free policy and look where they are. look at wat we’ve done given our constraints.
    if we do win the league by compromising our policies it wud just be a hollow victory, we wud win 1 title compared to scums 18/19… but if we win it with our policies we’ll become the first self sufficient team in history to win a major title, n that wud just be miles ahead of any other record set by another team

  22. guys let’s look at da mf only, so many players are there to rotate on but over reliance on RVP upfront won’t win us trophies that’s if stay a true Goon next season.We dearly need another fire power upfront to add to RVP n Podolosk, the likes of Giroud n or Lorent.

  23. guys let’s not look at da mf only, so many players are there to rotate on but over reliance on RVP upfront won’t win us trophies that’s if stay a true Goon next season.We dearly need another fire power upfront to add to RVP n Podolosk, the likes of Giroud n or Lorent.

  24. I think the ox will be tried as our creative midfielder next season. i think a new dm aside our midfield will not see any more arrivals. the new signing song arteta wilshire diaby ramsey lansbury coquelin frimpong henderson eisfeld and the ox will be our options. i expect eastmond denilson and ozyakup to move on.

    up front could see the most changes with rvp walcott park chamakh arshavin bendtner watt and vela all possibly moving. as it stands only ryo gervinho and podolski look nailed on. with afobe and campbell as possibilities depending who stays who goes

  25. Here is a silverware winning team for next season:


    Sagna Vermaelen Kolscieny/Nkoulou Vertoghen/Gibbs

    M’Villa Song

    Giroud/Oxlade Wilshere/Arteta/Affellay Podolski

    Van Persie
    Walcott, Rosicky, Gervinho,

    Diaby, Asharvin, Ramsey, Vela, Denilson, Benda

  26. Without Song our defense would have looked far worst the past few seasons. Look at the record with and without him in the lineup. This season he seemed to just tired near the end of the season.

    Let’s hope Wilshire doesn’t turn out to be Ramsey. Injuries can take awhile to recover from.

  27. Hi all,

    I agree with what Tony says with the exception of us not requiring an ATM. I’m not advocating who arsene should buy but I do believe we need a premier player in this position or either one the cusp of being a top player.

    The reason for this is yes, I do not believe wilshere should have pressure put on him this season to perform every minute as he is coming back from a serious season long injury, i mean, if he plays 50% of the games then that would be good- we don’t want him to play with the pressure that ramsey had to play with this season.

    Do we know how many game Diaby is going to be fit for this season?

    Ramsey is still developing and should be rotated (like wilshere) in the ATM and deeper CM role with quite a bit of bench/rest time in between.

    And then we come to Rosicky, the stats for our ATM are below and are not amazing. He is a top player but can he stay injury free all season and improve on his stats below? -I mean, 2 goals for our second most offensive position, is that really enough?

    Total 38 2 6

    So, if wenger can shift a few of the unrequired players and get them off the wage list, then I would like to see an ATM, and may I not, not 1 that is hyped by the media but 1 whom Wenger has trailed for a while.

    -In DM/CM we have arty, song, coquelin, wilshere, ramsey; quite adequately covered with quality if you ask me.

    Hope all (lol, well some of you understand my reasoning)

  28. On the whole, I will be excited for next season on the provision that RVP stays (even if he doesn’t sign) cuz wit the current team we will finish top 4 again (if not higher) and if RVP decides to go post-next season, podolski will no doubt naturally move into RVP’s position and excell!

  29. Looking at his coments in the press today I think RvP will go.

    The comment that he and the club have decided to wait to make the statement can only be bad news. If he decided to tay they would just announce it and let him get on with the Euros.

    The fact we have decided not to stay anything to means its to help us in our quest for a striker and to not effect the sales of season tickets etc.

    if we dont replace him we stand no chance of improving from last year. Cheslea will, Liverpool will Man U will Man City will. The Spuds will be worse off than us.


  30. I find myself once again agreeing with Mandy Dodd and very much with Grizz.
    I would like RVP to stay but not at any price as he is fagile desp[ite a great season and will be getting into his 30s. However I would prefer tyey kept him to play out his contract rather than sell him on. Anybody would think that the whole of Arsenals futute depends on not losing RVP. The loss of Stapleton and Brady in one short period was a far greater blow to the team and we survived.
    As to RVP going to Juventos well good luck. They have no money and are corrupt and when the Prime Minister of Italy is in favour of suspending the Italian league now that is a sparkling reccomendation.

  31. I do not think VP is a lost cause yet, he actually says he wants to concentrate on winning the European Chapionship then carry on winning IN THE Champions league, no reason he cannot stay doing the latter with Arsenal.
    Brd, personally,I do not think anything has yet been decided with VP maybe he wants to see what we do this summer and he is playing a game? He has stated that wherever he goes, he will always be a Gooner, I hope that rules out another EPL club should the worst happen. Maybe he will stay, or maybe he wants out, seems very few actually know. The fact is we can keep him another year, he only cost us £2.75m, Wenger has hinted he is more than prepared to do this. He was stopped from doing so with Nasri, but RVP is a whole new ball game. If we should let him go to city this summer, I will state now, as a fan, I will feel less than impressed with the club, what more ammunition for those who would knock us …that would send out the worst possible message, and will surely be the most damning indictment of Wengers loyalty and desire to develop players. but we shall see…

  32. hmmm. I’m not sure I agree with this piece. Both Oxlade and Wilshire are good, but not ready to take spots as our primary starters.

    In the case of Wilshire, its a matter of 1. lack of experience, 2. having missed a year, and 3. an inability to finish.

    In the case of Oxlade, its simply a matter of youth and inexperience.

    I expect both of them to fully establish themselves as first team starters over the course of the next season, but not from the very beginning. Furthermore, I think Gervinho will be interesting to watch, with a year under his belt in the EPL, he could really step it up. This next season will really be do-or-die for Walcott. Theo is still young, but if he doesn’t have that break through season next year, then its time for him to move on.

    I think Diaby will be the surprise player of 2012/13… not unlike Rosicky was for us this year. I’d also love to see us sign Dempsey. He can score goals, play in a lot of different positions, and he is tough. Add to Affeley to the mix, and we would finally have the depth in midfield and attack that we need to challenge in 4 competitions (which requires a lot of rotation and resting of players).

  33. Left full back is where our real concern should be.Both Gibbs and Santos are lacking in their defensive rolls.To me,our best player this season is ALEX SONG.Every game he thrived in we won and when ever he struggle th teame had a poor game.This guy is our un sung HERO.

  34. When I consider our guaranteed new signings for next season
    i.e. Podolski, Wilshere, Diaby, Oxlade C, Cocquelin,Frimpong and Jenkinson, I begin to wonder whether we need anyone else.

  35. From the past experience, I thinkk we need one more quality CB, a world class attacking MF& an out and out strker. No need of GK if we can keek Mannone.
    Team (for each positon prferred sequence) for next season.
    GK- szeczny, Mannone,
    RB – Sangna, Jenkinson, Koscielny
    CB – TV, Koscielny,NEW MAN, Matsacker, Miguel
    LB – Santos, Gibbs, TV, Miguel
    DM – Coqueline, Song, Frimpong
    MF – Arteta, jack, OX
    AM – NEW MAN, OX, RVP,Campbell
    RW – Theo, OX, Gervinjo, Campbell
    LW – Gervinjo,Podolski, Miyachi, Campbell
    SR – RVP, NEW MAN, Campbell, Afobe

  36. I am still drawn on the RVP situation myself with alot depending on his fitness after the Euros. You have to remember, the season just gone is the first time he has been fit and available for the whole season (At least I can’t think of another) and there is no doubt that he is an amazing player when fit, it’ is just the last part of that, “when fit”. When he is not fit, it is like not having the player, infact with the 25 man rule, it is worse, it leaves us with 24 players.

    My belief is if he gets injured at the Euros, we should sell him if we can and only if we can get a quality replacement in. Of course, if RVP comes back from the Euros injury free and is ready to play straight away (I will be suprised) then we should keep him but right now, it is the wrong time to get sentimental over what he has done in the past being a reason to keep him.

  37. I am positive RVP is smart enough to know that no signings will be made unil after the Euros,as players wanting to move will be hoping to impress to raise their profile.
    It’s obvious that he’s still eager to stay,pending exactly which new players are brought in to the club.

  38. @DocBrody

    Frimpong is behind Coquelin, but yes I agree we need Song as our first “Defensive” midfielder.

    IMO we need 4 players that will turn this squad into a top 4 challenging one to a top 2 to championship team. They are;

    Central Defender
    Defensive midfielder
    Attacking Midfielder

    If I could I’d get


    sagna koscielny vermaelen gibbs
    arteta m’vila
    walcott podolski
    van persie

    bench: giroud, ox, rosicky, wilshere, vertonghen, santos, fabianski

  39. Think you are right Scott, the word is that he wants proof we can challenge, but whether that means new players, keeping his favoured players (Walcott / Song?) ditching players he does not rate, a change of coaching emphasis or something to do with his own personal terms is only speculation. Maybe the club for what may even be a good reason do not want to give him what he is asking for but cannot exactly come out and admit it?

  40. Potential B side to contest the Carling and FA Cups

    Jenkinson Mertesacker Vertonghen Santos
    Song Coquelin
    Miyaichi Gervinho

  41. SA, not sure Verthongen would be happy on the bench,though he could be a good signing – he seems destined to end up down the road… and I think things could soon start to happen at Barca for Affelay – he could be hard to get…unless we have someone they want – as we quite often do. Think your mention of Suarez is interesting though – take it you mean the Mattias version?

  42. We won’t know the reasoning behind any decision made,Mandy.
    It’s frustrating,but also very ethical the way Wenger handles signings and resignings.
    Realistically,it’s none of our business…..is between the two parties.
    One thing that constantly pisses me off about the narks…..A rumour starts about Wenger being interested in a player.
    It goes berserk on the net with tips that a deals done,or is at least close.
    Wenger and the club say nothing.
    The player signs elsewhere.
    Anoher player we’ve let slip through our fingers is the cry,for a player we don’t even know the club spoke to in the first place.
    This happens every transfer season.
    When will these idiots accept the fact that nobody from Arsenal talks about targets?
    Prime example…Vertonghen.
    Nobody can show me anything other than rumours and innuendo the club even thought of looking at him.
    Everything I read from the man itself said categorically he wanted to go to Spurs,but it will be another deal our club stuffed up…..work that it,because I can’t ll.

  43. Yes Mandy, Mathais Suarez from Anderlecht. Last I heard he had struggled to get a work permit to come to England and that Bayern Munich have taken the lead, but I think there is still a chance we could end up with him.

    Vertonghen would need to fight for his place in the starting lineup. Yes I have put M’Vila ahead of Song but that is because I’d like to see Arteta more involved in our attacking play next season. Vertonghen needs to displace Vermaelen/Koscielny with performances, not walk straight in. If he wants that he should go to Spurs.

    I think Afellay could be surplus to requirements at Barca mate. Looking at their wide options they have the likes of Pedro and Id say Cuenca ahead of him at this stage. In midfielde the plan there is to incorporate Cesc with Xavi, Iniesta and Busquetes somehow. So there might be a chance to get this player for a reasonable fee. And whats great is that he has ALREADY been to Spain so no lure back 😀

    Bottom line is we need players, otherwise we looking at another fruitless season by Arsenal FC standards. Lets be pro active and make our movements before its too late



    i was thinking of a team like this with a strong bench??

  45. An interesting article Tony. What we don’t know is how quickly Wilshere and Diaby will recover and if they will be able to play a full part next season.

    My preference would be to add one additional quality midfielder to the squad, probably a defensive midfielder. At present Arteta has been playing a fairly deep role, but he is capable of playing further forward if required, I think that addition would give us considerable versatility. The addition would also allow Wilshere and Coquelin to (re)establish themselves in the squad without too much pressure. Also we need to take into account that we could lose Song to the ANC for 6 weeks or so.

    Up fromt the prospect of RVP and Podolski playing together is mouthwatering. These 2 supported by Walcott, Ox or Gervinho would be one of the most formidable front lines in the EPL. Lets hope RVP stays.

    There are other positions where AW may wish to strngthen, I don’t know if others agree, but I am facinated by the way in which AW manoeuvres, builds and rebuilds the team. But for now, if we keep the core of the present team and add one quality midfielder we will be well placed for next season.

  46. Personally think Ramsey will be a real key player, with a noticable improvement. He’s got a lot of unfair criticism directed at him (and still does from some), but he’s still young, has overcome a lot in the last 18 months for his club and country, most of it beyond his control, but has handled it with a lot of maturity and hard work throughout. Now that he’s got a full season under his belt, and can push on. Good on him!

  47. We will never know who Wenger will buy or even if he will add any more first team players from the outside. I find it though, intriguing to speculate who will come back from loan or move up from the reserves/youth;
    Wellington?, Campbell?, Bartley?, Miquel?, Lansbury?, Miyaichi?, Yennaris?, Afobe?, Aneke?, Ozyakup?, Eisfeld?, Bothelo?, Arshavin?, Bendtner?, Vela?, Denilson?, Mannone?

    Any takers?

  48. Just wondering out aloud here.
    Is there any reason Arteta could not be our designated Defensive Midfielder????
    He showed last season he has the discipline to stay back,and that was when not even playing he position.
    He has he experience and can read a game better than 99.9% of players out there,and our record when he played v when he was missing last season is incredible.
    Thoughts guys???

  49. Arteta and Song both play in positions that do not actually fit any orthodox footballing positions…that is one reason why, some of our fans shoot out at Song for being caught out! But then Alex is own player and Wenger employs him in a way which suits the team…he is amazing. As far using Arteta as DM…I think his current role is the best which again does not fit a typical definition…let him play where he plays even now and let him do what he does! But I do and not saying that we have a weak team, but I think a strong DM can help us sort out the defensive lapses that we have suffered!

  50. @T2T,
    With players like that waiting in the wings, Wenger’s idea of a bona fide Reserve League seems more and more attractive.

  51. Nicky,he’s the one guy we have that will pull he trigger,and it’s brilliant to see.
    Panic buy my arse….he’s been super for us.

  52. Walter, I realise it could be another duff lead, but what can you tell us about Anderlecht’s Lucas Biglia, please?

  53. I agree with your point Big Al, but the issue with those two clubs, they will make huge mistakes on players, or for that matter, managers, and go out and spend spend spend until they get it right, as they will by law of averages in the end. Especially Chelsea. We cannot, or will not sanction this sort of spending making it very difficult to compete with such clubs….despite finishing well ahead of these two in the league this season.
    The big winners last season were Chelsea and City, from which we can deduce it now takes roughly a spending, and most of it, a loss of £1bn to win a MAJOR trophy for a team in this country. Even Utd, winners before this last season regularly spent a lot of money, ok ultimately offset by the C Ronaldo fee to some degree. £1bn to win the league, we can do our best but would be mad to try and compete with that on a purely financial level. Lets just stop selling players to City and hope, maybe in the opinion of some, against hope…that FFP can in some way stop this madness.
    If Usmanov came in, if he and his followers are to be believed, we would join the sugardaddy clubs, and probably do very well in the short term, but that route is a one way ticket to Leeds Pompey Rangers one day, neither Chelsea, City, or us funded extravagantly by Usmanov could ever carry on existing in such a way should the benefactor leave…. for whatever reason.

  54. Mandy,that’s one thing I’d love to see our club do.
    Have it written into a new players contract they will not be sold to any side in the top 6 at the time.
    Stuff them,let them find their own talent instead of buying ours.
    If a player wants to move,send him to Russia……plenty of cash to be earned there.

  55. @Tony,
    This is all your fault,how dare you indulge in speculation, eh?
    I read here (in the comments section) that Gibbs and Santos’ contribution over the course of the season has been so so. God help us!
    as for the OX, we will see when wilshere’s back.

  56. Norm,

    To give you some information about Biglia:

    26 years – 1,78m – 5ft10in

    He is what you can call a technical defensive midfielder. Not that hard tackling one that goes for it. He has his supporters but also his critics.

    To be honest I don’t follow the Belgium league that much so I must admit I have never seen him play a whole game.

    Since 2011 he is chosen for the national team of Argentina and in the place of others like Mascherano, Gago, Cambiasso. So I think he can play a bit.

    But he is surely not a beast more a technical player with a good pass and he is considered to be a player that doesn’t go for his own success on the pitch but mainly plays a supportive role for the top players.
    He is also captain of Anderlecht and he has won 3 league titles in his 6 season there and 1 Belgian cup and 3 Belgian super cups.

  57. the chances of us getting an attacking midfielder, or a goal scoring midfielder, as i am sure that is what most mean, seems to be buying, not development.
    The argument goes that we never to replaced fabregas and nasri, which conveniently forgets that we more or less faced the same problems breaking teams down because teams actually play a similar game against arsenal and if we are to get anything out of any games, it is by teasing teams out of the team bus parked inconsiderately on the pitch across whatever goal they are defending. It seems convenient to forget for the purposes of their argument that man utd, chelsea and man city employed this tactic as well as pretty much everyone in the league.
    So what they are in essence asking for is a player who will defend, attack, keep goal and act as traffic enforcement body all by himself as all van persie’s goals were things created all by himself.
    And if we are not going to buy an improvement on fabregas, what is the point? isn’t more reasonable to buy a striker who can play from the flanks and knows his way around the box, like the club has done, than buy a midfielder?

  58. Thanks for the Info, Walter.
    Wow, 26 years old,there must be some truth to this, it might go without saying (try telling that to a fleet street sports hack) that arsenal are after a technically gifted player, but over voting age, now that is news worthy!

  59. Lovely article Tony, terima kasih.

    I love the triangle of Song/Arteta/Jack. I think they will be the best in EPL, more than Yaya/Barry/De Jong.

    Song, Arteta and Jack can defend, and also can attack.

    Damien Luu, I agree with you, another TH14 being produced. Arsene developt Theo to be a striker.

    About RVP, maybe he will goes, but I don’t worry too much, we still have Vermaelen. 🙂

  60. For the big clubs its all about playing Russian (Oilygarchy) roulette like City,Chelsea,Barca, PSG and Real do each season OR doing it the Arsenal Way; buying diamonds in the rough and polishing them up, developing youth and academy players as well as reserves and managing your Club like it was a business, and not a plaything for rich owner(s).
    The third choice is to develop or discover and transfer in decent players who get sold on for marginal profit, which helps keep the Club afloat. This is done by 80% of the EPL clubs AND most other European teams as well. The South Americans also follow this model to some extent. Frankly I prefer AFC’s model over any other…and so does EUFA/FIFA and most reasonably erudite Football economists.

  61. 3.43, @Ugandan Goon

    I don’t quite understand your line of thought…

  62. Hi All, i think Arsene knows better than us all who knew that he will bring in Arteta(Panic buy!!!)or Santos? Arsene knows and he knows better as of VP i wonder wots wrong with you guys,Van-persie said that his life is between the four ladies wot they decide he goes with dat and as far as all of you know the ladies decided long time ago.
    As of the whore-lists they wont keep their mouth shut otherwise they will be fired,so wait for more mambo-jambos. For me i would love to have another experienced goal keeper, God forbid but if like some season ago we lost two goal keepers. So if szczesny and manone get injured wont we see Alumunia back in goal?????

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