The recent arrivals under Wenger should not be cast aside by the new manager

by Billy “the dog” McGraw

With talk from some on what looks to me increasingly like the lunatic fringe of football journalism, about how half the squad need changing, I thought I’d have  meander around some of the players who have arrived or emerged in what we now know to be the last couple of years of Mr Wenger at Arsenal.

Henrikh Mkhitaryan

For a player who was an absolute reject at Man U and subject to a load of abuse from their manager I think he’s done well – not just as a player but as an interesting pairing with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.   Indeed, brilliant as Alexis could be at times it was great to see a player who didn’t have to be the centre of all attention all the time, and nice not to have to listen to stories about difficulties in the changing room here, but to find them turning up over there.

He has scored and assisted and settled in well before his injury.  I’ve great hopes for next season.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang

A perfect transfer at every level.  He does what he is paid to do (score goals), and throws in a few nice sidelines by appreciating at once the local rivalry.  Six goals and one assist in his first seven, he was directly involved in more goals in his first seven Premier League games than any other Arsenal player in the entire history of the PL.

No period of adjustment – he’s been straight in there.  What more could we ask for?

Alexandre Lacazette

It really has taken a little while to get going – but this is how most transfers work, as we’ve explored on this site so many times before.  Currently being tipped to be transferred to Atletico Madrid by the Daily Express, I very much hope this is just at the normal level of tittle tattle.

13 goals in 30 league games is OK, but not brilliant, but he has adjusted more and more of late and all the signs are very encouraging and for a brilliant partnership with Aub and Mk next season.

Konstantinos Mavropanos

He’s been in the squad but not played yet, instead has been playing for the under 23s, so we are waiting to see what the club bought.

Sead Kolasinac

Looked astounding for a free transfer and earning player of the month awards but then wasn’t so sound after all it seems.  But he’s knocked up over 30 appearances and this could well be another case of first season adjustment.

Ainsley Maitland-Niles

Had been appearing occasionally before this season as he made the transition from the under 23s, and now he looks superb.  Calm, organised, talented and can play in multiple positions.  If he’d cost us loads of money he would look worth it.  But as one of our own coming up through the ranks, that’s even better.  No wonder he played 30 times when on loan with Ipswich.  Brilliant work from the youth section of the club to bring him through, and for guiding him through a troubled home life.

Granit Xhaka

The criticism has died down somewhat, although that doesn’t mean people are appreciating what he does – which is deliver a very high number of passes indeed to get the team moving from defensive positions.  He joined aged 23, and has clearly improved since he came from the Bundesliga.  Maybe I am still out on my own in seeing what he brings to the side, but surely others are seeing improvement all the time too.

Shkodran Mustafi

He’s played 51 times for us and 20 times for Germany, and he gets a lot of stick.   But maybe people forget that all players have good and bad games and the aim is not always to sign superman, but players who can be afforded and can deliver when on the pitch.  He’s not perfect, but the calls for him to be replaced suggest that it is easy to go into the transfer market, buy a player who is for sale and willing to come here, and get him to fit in from the start.  I suspect we’ll see more of him next season and with further consistency.

Lucas Pérez

Back on a season-long loan with Deportivo and he’s made 31 appearances for them.  He’s now 29 and I can’t see any way back.  All the club can do is try and get some money back.

Takuma Asano

Clearly without any chance of getting a work permit, and now seemingly less likely to in these insular times.  But he’s still only 23, and has played 12 times for Japan, so maybe…  He’s played 37 games for Stuttgart in this and last season, so he’s getting the games.

Rob Holding

I still see Rob at £2.7m as the deal of the decade and think he has a great future, hopefully with us.  Despite his youth (just 22) he’s knocked up 19 appearances for us.  I just hope that in the post-Wenger era we can still find deals like this.  I see him as a long term fixture at the club, increasingly getting a hold on his position in the team.   Bolton’s directors should all resign for allowing this young man to leave for such a pittance.

Petr Cech

He’s now 35 – not an impossible age for a keeper to continue, but there have been doubts.  Ospina is not seen as a long-term successor, but we do have a whole plethora of young keepers awaiting their chance, with Matt Macey at the top of the ladder.  Macey is perhaps too young to take a new manager’s eye immediately, so it could be that Cech gets another season before Macey steps up or we get in a new keeper.

Mohamed Elneny

For £11m transfer cost this guy now looks a bargain and a half, which makes his recent injury even more frustrating all round.  I see him as one of those Wenger buys which happen out of nowhere, with no other club circling, and ultimately we get to see what Wenger saw two years before.

Cohen Bramall

With Mr Wenger going I think this unexpected transfer and the dream it brought to the 20 year old is not destined to go further for Arsenal.  But maybe we’ve helped him find a place in a lower league which would still be a major step forwards for him.  And I really hope he has enjoyed the experience.

Eddie Nketiah, Joseph Willock, Reiss Nelson

What Mr Wenger gave Arsenal was an endless stream of talent from the youth teams – a stream of talent that most clubs could only dream about.  I do hope these three guys are not just cast aside by the new manager because they all look very promising to me.

That’s 17 players (I think) and the vast majority are either in the “certain to continue” or “likely to continue” category for me, which of course makes my view utterly different from the “get rid of half the squad” approach.  These players are only ones brought in, in recent transfer windows or up from the junior ranks of course, but mostly I see them as a success.  It doesn’t mean that we can’t upgrade in some positions, but for me it proves the point that this is not a squad that needs to be utterly transformed.

But then, that’s just my view.

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16 Replies to “The recent arrivals under Wenger should not be cast aside by the new manager”

  1. You forgot young Calum Chambers. I think him and Holding could well become our centre back pairing in a few years time,

  2. I too hope that these players are retained , and given a chance to work with the new manager . Am sure the new man is already assessing all of the above .I particularly like Rob Holding , and hope he plays more regularly.

  3. I cannot decide who has won? Rex Riley or Arsene? Thinking! Thinking! Thinking!

  4. I think the new Arsenal manager who us are yet to know will assess Le Boss 25 man senior team on ground excluding BFG and probably Santi Cazorla too thus reducie the number to 23 for proper scrutiny to know who among the 23 can fit into his plans and be retained in the reshuffled Arsenal 25 man senior team squad.

    Nonetheless, since the new manager may not request to sign more than 2-3 new players of proven top quality to replace BFG and Cazorla in the defense-line and in the midfield initially, then if he thinks to further get another striker to replace Danny Welbeck for a better efficiency in goals scoring by the Arsenal forward line will be preferable to him. Then for instance, he could go for Anthony Martial of Man Utd who will likely be available in the next summer window for acquisition. And I think Arsenal should avail themselves with the opportunity of that availability and acquire him.

    With 2-3 new signings of: a centreback, a midfield enforcer and a striker by Arsenal in the next summer window for a start, I think the new Arsenal manager if it happens to be Patrick Vieira should be done for his first summer campaign in the PL as Arsenal manager by retaining all the remaining 22 senior team Gunners Le Boss will be leaving behind for him to inherit.

    But if is not Patrick Vieira that will takeover from Le Boss but another person, well I can’t say what may happen. For, it could totally acted different from what I’ve said above. Another possible option is to give the job to Steve Bould, the current Arsenal assistant manager but he MUST do the needful for Arsenal by doing the 3 signings that I’ve mentioned above.

  5. Colario your being mischievous , I also wonder how many of Riley’s sidekicks influence results over the years , there were too many incidences to be random events in games , along with the constant media sniping at Arsene it must have affected his decision , can’t wait for the book

  6. OT
    If Patrick Vieira is ready to manage AFC then my preference is for him to be the one to takeover from AW. Who better than an AW product and AFC legend and proven leader to take things further from where we are now. Just my thoughts.

  7. Yes of course. But the question that’s needed asking is, why has Patrick Vieira not apply in writing to the Arsenal CEO to get the soon to be vacant Arsenal manager job, and followup his application with phone calls to Ivan Gazidis, the AFC CEO and to the members of the Arsenal board of directors soliciting for their supports to get the job? And even a phone call to Stan Kroenke, the AFC majority shareholder asking him to let him have the job will not be bad but be good if Patrick Vieira is very serious in getting the Arsenal manager job. But for him to be waiting to be called on phone by Mr Gazidis asking him if he’ll be interested to take the job has an air of arrogancy in it from Patrick Vieira. If truly he wants the Arsenal manager job despite he’s being very rich and financially comfortable but still believes and confident he can deliver to Arsenal what they will want him to deliver to them from the onset of his 1st season tenure as the Gunners manager, I.e. the Premier League Title and the CL Title. Then, let him apply for the job now without further delays and follow it up to get it. That is how it is done. And us the Gooners will wait to see if he’ll be given the job.

  8. I agree that this is not a squad that needs to be utterly transformed.

    And although he’s not a recent arrival, I would love to see Joel Campbell
    come back to Arsenal from his latest loan spell, and be given a proper chance
    at cementing a place in the team/squad.

  9. Whether you are talking changing managers or changing players, the only people who know what is going on are people who work for the team. There are people in the medja making up stories. There are people in the blogosphere that are making up stories. There are managers making up stories. There are players making up stories.

    Nobody has access to information. Which is as it should be. It is none of our business to chose a new player or manager. Lots of people are interested, this doesn’t mean it is any of their business. If they want to make something like this, their business, they should go buy a team.

  10. Respectfully, I feel this article or to be precise the headline is out of place. Implying a future coach would have a negative bias against on pretty much 2/3rds of the squad is not something I’d expect fromUA, even if in the article, it is explained that is the view of some in the so-called press.

    Irony does not transpire on the web…


    Patrick who ? I mean…who has he managed ? Where are his managing credentials ? I’m absolutely not against him, I admire the player, the way he behaved, the smartness. But managing Arsenal out of nowhere ? Even Zidane was a a youth coach for a few years. Do you believe he’d get 2 or 3 years to settle in, survive the rookie mistakes, etc ?

  11. @ Chris,
    Every new appointee will have to go through a baptism of fire! Vieira no less. Besides is he not currently manager of a New York football side? Whatever I say here were just my own thoughts on a choice of Manager. Kroenke has never impressed me as an owner but he will end up sanctioning the final choice. Whoever that is we are lumped with it.

  12. Overall pretty fundamental for findings, however….

    Mustarfi has shown near Cygan like inconsistency, which seems to be totally linked to a lack of concentration and desire to focus. A very millennial issue. I don’t believe that he has already served his time at the club, however I very much doubt his conviction where the nclub is concerned and find him particularly guilt you of letting the incumbent manager down.

    Unlike Monreal not hasn’t been solely a biological issue, and he has not made many effort not address his poor form, lack of communication and tendency ton bark but around after Beverly defensive collapse.

    Add to this his physical detractions, pace, acceleration and height, I have quite serious doubts about his credentials as a starter.

    In fact adding to that, his recent admissions, I question his overall nmoralityn and broke ethic, given his egotistical and casual dismissal of his own poor form given the consequence of it.

    Moving on:

    Asano having played ninternationally and at club level should quote unquote fulfil visa criteria. I ncould be wrong, it now I said bathe but home office.

    Holding, Callum, Nelson, Niles shouldn’t all be hetb sufficient time now to be impress and na little ninpetus. Iwobi, ha she ngonen from tabloid darling, to underperforming upstart, I do feel the two are inextricably linked especially as nether swap deal nor upgrades, Walcott/Giroud for Aubameyang have proven to be quite fitting anyones notion of a failing Arsenal. The boy needs to not reassess, but unlike Mustarfi is at an age bwheren it Nissan far more more acceptable, as no need do not expect Nahum to naignle handesly win us trophies; yet.
    Not unlike one CR7 I need can see a rare and very raw talent.

    Otherwise; Elneny and Kolasinac, have both equipped themselves very well, with in my opinion opportunities not afforded nquite enough. It seems that we need are not permitted Keepn out needy players fit. I cite my name preference not ton play Mo against Wedt Ham, prefering Newcaste, one we neon won comfortably the other night the other lost due to lax defending and a lack of a screening player.

    Lacazette has been underwhelming given Girouds contributions a team a fraction of the price, coming mfrom tje nsame league. Although given that Andrei has had nron adapt his game significantly where the team had to fit Oliver, I accept a work in progress!

    Aaron, Mikhi, are absent by virtue of their quality when called upon.

    Hector, Koscielny, Chambers and and Jack have produced, but will need to kick on. The next best feel games nwoupdn be nan ideal start.

    Xhaka although no frustrating, I saw no composure and no a maturity in his performance on Saturday, missing all nton ften and not will need to men present far more often I feel to nensuren he cements his place nat nthe club. Like Vieria; better later than not never, many similar faults, plenty additional specs, very bhandy bin material not duels. Neither man were defensively mindedness Nat but then start, let’s nhopen he not warms to the new task, seems one who Newhouse the new occasions and not thrives in the intensity.

    Ospina, great major news stopper, severely hampered by by NGOs not stature nor when collecting, although nin enjoy not that being Wenger saw Nat not the nWC what bI do do nand notion the action I called for. Unfortunately, like real our style calls for a higher calibre GK.

    Cech, seems nam little niece in new denial, and has failed too often to manage the fundamental.
    A lack of mobility and no vulnerability in nthe air maybe a step too far for the veteran.

    Willock will need to make much of pre-season, similarly to Zelalem, Cohen and Mavrapanos, although nin expect ngreat things not of all our U23’s

    It was these types that made Pep and Barcelona the envy of most if not all.

    2-3, additions, if we are pipelining 2-3 additions.


  13. If anyone comes in on Mr Wenger’s salary that is, more or less, equivalent to the TV rights money paid for 2 EPL games per season. In exchange for that, they have to stretch their arms wide and protect the Board from the fans.

    More, unless someone can persuade an Arab oil-state to take over the club, there will never be enough money to buy the best players for each position in the team, never enough money to buy the best players as reserves. They will not have the money to buy a squad of the 23 best players on the planet.

    More, they have the weeks and the period of the World Cup to bottom out, and then consider, what caused Mr Wenger’s sudden, abrupt, departure.

    More, they know they will have to deal with a media that defends the owners of the club first and last and will keep their readers hooked by the constant, 100%, 24/7, distraction of focusing on the manager, first and last and always.

    More, the prospective manager will know the referees of the EPL are a law unto themselves
    More, the prospective manager knows every player he or she has to deal with, at every moment, is always one text away from their agent.

    From the passing train window the stadium is magnificent, and very huge. The ego has to be able to look at it and not quake. The new manager has to be able to walk in there.

  14. @ colario – 25/04/2018 at 9:41 am – I think that most of us feel that the true lovers of the Arsenal and the real purists of the beautiful game , would feel like losers . Then again time and tide waits for no man , and we knew that this day would dawn .

    But I do suppose that those who were afraid of /or resented his honesty , doggedness, dedication , commitment and steadfastness, would sleep a lot easier (albeit temporarily!), now that he’s about to leave the EPL.

    Most of us await his book/s that would blow the lid on all that is shitty in the English game. Hopefully that ought to render those crooks , insomniacs !

  15. According to majority of the media, Luis Enrique will be the next Arsenal manager. No Messi, no Suarez, and no Neymar so it will be interesting. But I prefer Tuchel to be Arsenal next manager.

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