Why Arsenal will be looking to sign a couple of Italians this summer

By Tony Attwood

I’ve made the point a few times that the media is not very good at asking “why?” questions when it comes to football debate.  One might also say that they are not very good at asking “what happens next?”

In the immediate aftermath of Mr Wenger’s announcement about his resignation rumours about transfers continued unabated, before being switched to rumours about who will be the new manager.  Since then the two have oscillated as the topic of the day in between the “all you need to know” stories about each game, and the “what we learned” stories after each game.

But few are considering the order of things to come.

Quite clearly we can’t do any transfer market deals until we have the new manager signed and sorted.  Now it is possible that on the day after Mr Wenger says his farewells the new man will be announced.  That would be good because it would give the summer for him to work with the transfer team to try and bring in the players he wants.  Indeed it is possible that the deal for the new manager is genuinely already in place, and that new player recruitment has already started, but no one is saying anything until Mr Wenger has left.

However there’s a problem with that approach because no big name player is going to sign for Arsenal until he knows who the new manager is going to be, because with top players the manager and his reputation is part of their consideration of how they will be treated.

So there is every reason to get the new man named within a few days of Mr Wenger leaving – if that is possible.

Then there will be the work on doing the transfer deals which are never as simple as the news media like to make out.  And this year that is going to be harder than ever because of the world cup and a whole series of decisions already taken, which for the moment the media is ignoring.   But when we look at the timetable we start to see something rather weird…   The end of playing days is….

Last Arsenal League game: 13 May

Uefa Cup Final:  16 May

Mr G Southgate, the manager of England, has magnanimously announced that those players who are not involved in subsequent games (like the FA Cup Final or a European final) will be allowed one week’s holiday before joining the England team, meaning that he will probably get everyone together around 22 May.

Other countries will probably do the same, and will also probably endevour to ban chats with agents and the like during the world cup.

Traditionally England go out of the competition quite early, but it is more likely that most of the players Arsenal want will not be English.  Some will have the bonus of not being registered with a country that is in the world cup, so they will be easy to deal with, but for the rest there will have to be a delay.

All in all what this means is that if Arsenal do not have the new manager ready to roll and take over immediately after Arsenal’s season ends his transfer dealings will be restricted to non-world cup players for a while.

Of course different countries leave the world cup at different times – the full competition runs from 14 June to 15 July.  The group stages are over by the end of June so quite a few players will then be coming home.  But then…

Arsenal’s first pre-season fixture, under two weeks after the end of the world cup: 28 July

But this summer the Premier League has voted to fix its own transfer window dates, with clubs not allowed to buy in any new players after 9 August.  They can, under these new self-imposed rules, continued to flog off unwanted players until 31 August, but they can’t buy in anyone new.

The new season starts on August 11.

So let’s pull this together

May 13: Last Arsenal League game for Mr Wenger.

May 16: Uefa Cup final.

May 22: England players get together.  Other countries in the competition will probably observe a similar call up date.

June 14: World Cup starts.

June 28: Group stage of world cup ends.

June 30: Players for countries knocked out in group stages return home.

July 15: World Cup Final.

July 28: Pre-season fixtures start for Arsenal, but without any players who were in the World Cup, since all are guaranteed one month’s rest at the end of their season before they start pre-season training, and even those with countries knocked out at the first opportunity will not be back yet with the club.

July 30: Players involved in World Cup but knocked out after first group stages return to club for pre-season training.

August 9: Purchasing of players for Premier League clubs ends.

August 11: New season begins but without any World Cup players unless they were with countries knocked out in the first group stages and are rushed back after just two weeks pre-season training.

August 15: Players involved in World Cup final return to clubs for pre-season training!

August 31: Selling of players stops.

Of course players who are not with countries in the world cup will not be tangled up in this mess, but there are 32 countries involved each with 23 players which makes over 700 players tangled up in the WC.  I rather fancy Italian players will be at a premium this summer.


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13 Replies to “Why Arsenal will be looking to sign a couple of Italians this summer”

  1. Tony,

    so from what you are saying, PL clubs will be hiring only until August 9th and firing until August 31st ?
    So basically this means that players fired after August 8th will all go to Europe ? Or am I reading this wrong ?

    Considering how few UK players cross the Channel south, I’d say there is a sell out of non UK players on the way to prepare for Brexit…..
    This begs another question : when is the ‘official’ squad to be announced. I mean the one with the right number of UK born/assimilated players ? August 9th or August 31st ? Because this will have an effect on club behaviour, the later date enabling them to test players for 3 weeks and dump them if necessary.

    The more I look at the dates, the more I am wondering what they were thinking ? Or am I missing something ? Was this devised to minimise transfers ?

  2. This article posting makes sense in that since Italy will not be at the 2018 World Cup finals, the availability of the Italian players in the transfer market before and during the summer World Cup games will be bumper for harvesting by any interested top clubs in the 5 European Leagues which could probably includes Arsenal.

    But on a little contrary, Arsenal FC who doesn’t have an incumbent manager yet since no announcement to that effect has been made by the Arsenal board may not necessarily swooped on the Italian players as such. For, Arsenal already have a strong standing Gunners team built in place by Mr Arsene Wenger, the outgoing Arsenal manager. But will need to be fine tuned in the defense-line, central midfield and in the striking position for better efficiency next summer campaign with one new top class signing each for all the 3 departments either for replacement or for strengthening.

    In this wise, I think Mavropanos has proved in the Man Utd game at Old Trafford in the PL yesterday that he could replace the outgoing Arsenal captain, Per Mertasacker who is retiring from playing for Arsenal at the end of this campaign to take a coaching role job at the Arsenal academy school. Thus, one problem might have been taken care of. But for his Achilles injury that refused to go away and couple with his advancing in age, I think it’s pertinent if Laurent Koscielny who is having these issues is replaced in the summer with a young top quality centre-back signing within the age of 23-25 years who ticked all the boxes in centreback job. Hmmm, difficult.

    And in the central midfield, definitely, Arsenal will need to sign a specialist top grade holding midfielder to work in tandem with Granit Xhaka in holding midfield job for Arsenal next summer campaign with of course Maitland-Niles as the understudy for that department. And lastly, I would think the Arsenal striker’s dept still need an upgrade despite the importation of Lacazette and Aubameyang to improve it. Top quality striker signing in the summer who has a proven 20 League goals and above record in one of the top 4th clubs in the 5 top European Leagues who is between 23-25 year old in age will do as a replacement to Danny Welbeck who is mostly lackluster in regular goals scoring for Arsenal in the PL if my objective view as a Gooner is taking seriously

    Will all these 3 upgrades done next summer and with the advance top modern coaching the new manager is expected to bring to the Gunners, Arsenal should be very ready to challenge Man C, Man U, Liverpool, Tottenham Hs and Chelsea to pip them all to the PL Title win next season.

    Main while, the remaining 22 Arsene Wenger’s senior Gunners including the young Gunners of Nelson, Willock, Nketiah, Osei- Tutu, Vald Dragomir and some other top ones in the Arsenal U21 and PL 2 team should remain at Arsenal next summer and be kept by the incoming Arsenal new manager.

  3. Prospective candidates I imagine will be waiting to see the outcome of Thursday game and whether we might be in champions league next season

  4. Keep your eye on the Buvac story coming out of Anfield.
    He’s had a “row” with Klopp after 17 years and 24 hours before a CL semi.
    He is apparently the brains behind Klopp and loves the pressing game.
    That would teach the Scousers not to make the Suarez deal public.

  5. This is why I hope that the correlation between the apparently limited budget of the new man and Wenger’s departure signals that Arsene intends to push through a number big deals before his departure.

    SAF did this and it would be wise in this instance. Should Santi feature and be offered a contract, nothing much Beowulf but change.

    Securing Meyer on a nfree, suits our needs, and is financially sound, Kroenke likes thrifty.

    Butland suits our game, giving that same shot bstoppingn ability but more height, unfinished he fits well and adds to home grown quota.

    Dipping a toe but avoiding heavy outlays on Oblak, De Gea, Courtois, Ter Stegen, or Leno makes sense, given that the big spenders are all looking at Brie big names quite seriously.. Real need a points saver, PSG need more in key areas, Kante is ideal as is Courtois. Barcelona, would prefer an upgrade, and need midfield and defensive additions. United, will be desperate to cling to their Botox every asset, but base Gea as with Hazard shouldn certainly be bombing on to progress.

    Diallo, not travelling, suits our game and project, provides LB cover without directly impacting squad selection.

    Mavrapanos was excellent, Callum also, shame it was Fellini and a short GK.

    Oblak, De Gea save or collect, or get fouled. Ospina can’t reach, Cech has flashbacks and stays at home.

    Golovin is a blooming good spot and goes straight in to the 11.

    Golovin needs sorting pre- games, but in doubt Russia leave their group, but I doubt he balks at an offer, same for the Cossacks!

    £50 would get you Ndidi or Carvalho, both likely to progress, with change left for a Mustarfi replacement, should you release Danny or Xhaka or Shkodran himself.

    I’d kick Danny out, go lead a line.

    Xhaka, he got lucky on the break, he showed less but discipline as Captain, and failed to track Pogba after a slide.

    Sounded said and I said right:


    Mustarfi just looks well bout of sorts, Valencia made the CL spots, England may be his problem. Has a bit of Podilski going on.

    Alexis anonymous again.

    Arsene admits timing was not his own, which reflects my earlier sentiment and directly impact our thoughts raising this question about transfers.

    I never walk back away from a contract! So nwhy ndo nyou try oust your in demand manager in ba WC year, when he progresses the club, stands to return to CL football Nat Brie first brine of asking via an European final????

    United took five nyears and 3 managers and via the same route but spent £500m!

    I can only nrepeat:


    Massively impressed by Niles, Nelson, Kostas & Chambers. Willock not covering a overworked Bellerin, cost us the second goal.

    He’s protecting Nketiah, we’ve got a Diamond.

    Well worth the loss!

  6. Agent embargos at WC mean nothing, but it’s how you pick up gem DM’s and CB’s.

    I wanna see Joel Campbell play, this boy is frustrating.

    I quite expect us to make some very early signings. It would be best.

    Why do I feel increasingly, Xhaka and Mustarfi aren’t his players?? Combined £70m and not any of our 4 key forwards.

  7. A new manager will have to solve our defensive issues. There is a lot of quality material there that can do much better with a better coaching as Mavropanos, the final gem presented by Arsene Wenger, has shown on his debut. Chambers, Holding and Mavropanos are three central defenders for the future. It will be down to coaching when that future will start.

    Laurent Koscielny has a year or two at the top level left, with a limited playing time as his heels, sadly, gave it all for Arsenal.

    Shkodran Mustafi – with all his inconsistency – will stay at Arsenal unless we find someone who can boost our transfer budget and pay most of the 35 million fee we paid to Valencia for Mustafi.

    The BFG retiring is also a huge blow but it’s a great thing our youngsters will have him around to learn stuff about positioning and how brain can be mightier than brawns.

    We also need to address our keeper issue. Whilst I’m fan of both Čech and Ospina, we will have to find a goalkeeper who can communicate better with the defenders. Oblak is too expensive for Arsenal so I’d rather go by Tony’s wish and sign an Italian keeper. Not Vito Mannone but someone more like Mattia Perin. It seems Timo Horn is a more likely signing though. He is a German keeper from Köln and apparently highly rated by Mislintat. I have a dissenting opinion on that one but I’m not in charge for a good reason.

    Bellerin’s back-up might be Osei-Tutu. He might follow Bellerin’s footsteps or/and use European games next season (if we are going to play Europa League) and cup games to gain experience.

    Kolašinac will have a free summer as Bosnia and Herzegovina won’t play in Russia which means he will have enough time to heal his injury. Seo hasn’t been himself ever since the injuries have kicked in and for his style of play, he needs to be 100 percent fit. Nacho is 32 so I reckon someone from our young team will wait anxiously for a chance to stand in for him/Seo in League Cup or Europa League.

    Whoever becomes our new manager has to solve our issue with defensive midfield first in order to sort things out at the back.

    Ramsey’s new contract is the most important deal to be signed. He has one year left and departure of the manager who has put his faith even in the days when Aaron wasn’t at his best and when idiots among our fans were wishing death upon him might be the reason for Aaron to decide against signing a new deal. He is 28, in his best football years, so there is a good reason why we should stick by him.

    Elneny has already signed a new deal which means we have a reliable back-up option.

    Santi Cazorla is still on our books but our new manager might decide against giving him a new deal due to his fitness issues. It’s a shame that such a lovable player has spent so much time on the sidelines in the lsst two-and-half years – our trophy haul might have included at least one league title.

    Jack Wilshere has gone hot and cold. He is not a bad player but I don’t see him at the required level for Arsenal.

    Granit Xhaka might stay, if anything because he looks more mature and composed in the second half of 2018.

    Ainsley Maitland-Niles still has to learn a lot but he looks like a fantastic prospect. Physically strong, intelligent in duels, quick enough to play on either flank…there is a top prospect there, let’s just hope the next manager will have enough patience and knowledge how to develop him.

    Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Mesut Özil, Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang are the poker of aces that should bang goals for fun next season. Aside from Lacazette who is 25, all other players are in their peak years which means they should play their best football next season. Mesut will have a long World Cup as Germany never go out before quarterfinals. Same might happen with Lacazette if he gets a call-up into a powerful French squad. Auba and Micki play for international teams that didn’t qualify so they can relax over summer and prepare for their first full season at Arsenal.

    Danny Welbeck might get a call-up for England. His contract is up in 2019 and I have mixed feelings for him. He is a lovable lad but he is more like a first option at Everton or Burnley than a back-up at Arsenal. He has been very useful in Europa League but I don’t think he’ll ever be able to use his Henry-sque frame and quickness in a proper way.

    Eddie Nketiah has shown a glimpse of his talent. He is still a raw prospect as well as Reiss Nelson but both of them should be part of our exciting future.

    Alex Iwobi is too young to be written off but he has to take a more serious approach to training and improve his technical skills, especially when it comes to shooting.

    My guess is, we will go after a goalkeeper, a central defender and a defensive midfielder next summer. Given the inflation of prices and the fact we are still far from Champions League football, we might need to make a few sales to get enough money to sign desired players.

  8. @grooney – The banner stays as part of the club legacy. Just because the manager leaves doesn’t mean the banner has to go.

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