How Arsenal can potentially restart in 2017/2018

arsenal-logo

With many of our major stars contracts in limbo and the manager situation up in the air, it seems Arsenal need to restart. Who ever the manager is there seems likely to be major changes in the playing staff as well as backroom staff.

The article will be based on the assumption that Arsene Wenger will be the manager for next season and Sanchez/Ozil will go. It does not take into account the contract situations of  the other players such as Wilshere, Gibbs, The Ox and Cazorla to name a few of the others. Below are just some issues I think the club need to address on the pitch.

Youth investment:

When Arsenal were at their best Wenger would constantly buy the best youth players from all over the world. Players such as Fabregas, Cliche, Oxlade Chamberlen, Theo Walcott and Van Persie were all brought in at a younger age, we also went after Christiano Ronaldo. We are losing top quality players to Chelsea and Man City, they offer higher wages but much less chance into the first team. Some of you may suggest putting all the investment into the first team now but strong clubs survive on long term planning.

We need to have a big recruitment drive across the world, particularly following how Dortmund attract top young talents.

Long term first team replacements: Goalkeeper

I think Cech is a top class goalkeeper but with age against him and the likely departure of David Ospina Arsenal need to start looking long term. The candidates for this role are:

Joe Hart – Would be an ideal keeper for the next 5/6 seasons for Arsenal. He brings a bit of leadership and passion to Arsenal something we lack. The only question is if Manchester City would sell him to us.

Jordon Pickford – Although he has only one season of first team experience under his belt, he has already shown he has quality. The transfer could be more likely if Sunderland relegate this season. He would have to wait his time though to displace Cech. Is he willing to wait his time?

Gianlugi Donnaruma – Only 19 but is already Milan’s number one and also heir apparent to Buffon. It would take massive offer to take him from Milan and also to fend off interest from other big clubs in Europe.

Long term first team replacements: Outfield

Our troubles seem to have stemmed from the Santi Cazorla from injury. We do not have another player who can transition the play from deeper in midfield all the way into attack. With his age, contract situation and injury record it might be worth bringing in a younger player to replace him long term.

With Ozil and Sanchez also likely to leave that leaves a serious lack of goals and assists drained from this side. The suggested players are:

Asier Illarramendi – Although he probably is slightly more defensive than Cazorla, he is still a player capable of controlling a midfield. Constantly linked with Arsenal it could actually happen this year.

Kylian Mbappe – If we were sitting here 10 years ago Mbappe would already have been an Arsenal player. Young, French, plays up front or on the wing and a hot prospect. This signing could go down as another we have missed in five years time when he is banging the goals in for a rival of ours.

Bernardo Silva – A player who can offer something a bit different. I think we probably will not get this man with Man Utd and Chelsea also in for him, but trying for him might not be the worst thing. If we can persuade him to join Arsenal it could be the game changer we need. A little like the Bergkamp signing.

Romelu Lukaku – Again another player Arsenal should be going for if we are to show any ambition. Yes he will be expensive but given his age the return will be there from Lukaku. It looks like he will leave Everton with many clubs circling around. Arsenal should be one of these clubs.

Arsenal should also look to buy stronger players who add value with work rate passion and those who are tactically aware. These are skills that the current Arsenal squad are lacking.

Leadership and defensive composure under question!

FC-Barcelona-v-Arsenal-FC-UEFA-Champions-League-Round-of-16-Second-Leg.jpg

It annoys me when a pundit such as Graham Souness talks about Arsenal. For years he’s been blubbering on about defensive frailties and a lack of leadership at the club. He constantly talks about how Arsenal can never win the league under Mr Wenger.

Over the years I have overlooked his comments as being someone from the ‘Old School’, i.e. someone who was dirty and did not care about the beautiful side of the game. However it is getting harder and harder to ignore such voices.

Everything the Souness spouts on about seems to be right, when the going gets to the toughest Arsenal fold like a pack of cards. Alexis aside there seemed to be no one on that field against Man City who really could, pass, shoot or even run.

The problems stem from Granit Xhaka in midfield, I have never seen such a weak performance, especially from a player who came with a massive reputation. He still has age and time to improve, but he will have to learn very fast.

Behind Xhaka and Coquelen we had our so called captain Koscielny and Gabriel. The later probably could not get into the Sunderland side on current form. Neither player showed any kind of dominance, no leadership and most worrying of all, the ability to string a simple 2 yard pass together.

Koscielny on his day is probably one of the leagues top defenders, but he can also have days where he has an absolute stinker. Yes he does not have Mustafi next to him to help out, but surely for such a good defender he can do better. Is he really the right choice of captain?

It is time Arsenal invested in a leader, he doesn’t have to be better than what we have he just needs to knock a few heads together in times of toughness. Viera, Adams or Keown would have rallied the troops at 1-0 up yesterday, this is something the Koscielny simply can’t do. Even an average player such as James McCarthy would make a difference. He might not be as talented as Coquelen or Xhaka but he surely will bring more in terms of the physical and mental side to the side. Danny Drinkwater is another who comes into this category. Players like these will improve their game, but bring another side to the game.

Ultimately I still truly believe that Arsenal missed a golden opportunity to get Jurgon Klop, this surely will be something we will rue in years to come. Wenger has an important January to come, if he is not wise we will see another battle for fourth.

Long term Cazorla replacements

santi-cazorla-reuters_m.jpg

The Arsenal November curse (if this really exists) seems to have struck again, with no win in 3 games. Although this year it hasn’t been as bad as past seasons, I prefer to think of it that we have played three top sides and not lost. One worrying thing which has been highlighted though is Arsenal poor performances, lacking any fluidity going forward from the back. Can this be linked back to the injury to Santi Cazorla?

His last game was in the 6-0 win against Ludogerorets, since this game I cant remember a match that Arsenal have been that convincing. We have had a poor 0-0 draw against Middlesborough, Giroud saving the day against Sunderland and Man Utd late on, a laboured 3-2 win against Ludogerorets and draws against Spurs and PSG where we were outplayed. Cazorla’s absence may not be the only issue, Ozil’s poor form and Sanchez fitness issues could also be a factor.

Wenger has also hinted that Cazorla is this years Wilshere/Rosicky/Diaby or Vermealen as he doesn’t know of an exact return date from injury. Couple this with Cazorla turning 32 next month Arsenal need to start looking elsewhere for his long term replacement. See below my thoughts on potential options:

Jack Wilshere: (Current Side: AFC Bournemouth – Loan – Age: 24)

I personally think we have missed Wilshere this season, ironically he hasn’t had an injury yet at Bournemouth and is putting in great performances week in week out.  He would be starting alongside Coquelin for me in the absence of Santi.  Would it be a risk to put all our eggs in the Wilshere basket going forward? If he can stay fit (BIG IF) he’s the guy to make us tick in the absence of Santi.

Leon Goretzka: (Current Side: Schalke 04 – Age: 21)

Another German midfielder off the conveyor belt. He fits the build as to what Arsenal require from a midfielder. Primarily a defensive midfielder, but a goal scoring one. At 6’2 in height he has the power Arsenal lack in midfield, age is on his side, he has captained Germany at younger age groups and he also has the ability to get forward and grab important goals. His passing and movement are a bit in question compared to the likes of Cazorla but this is something that can be worked on. His natural ability to control a midfield would be a huge bonus for Arsenal.

Koke: (Current Side: Athletico Madrid – Age: 24)

A well known player in European football, Koke has a very similar game to Santi Cazorla. Being comfortable in a deeper midfield role but also very technically sound. His knowledge of plays and vision is similar to that of Xavi Alonso. Such a signing would be a statement, the only question is if he would want to leave Athletico Madrid, if so it would be close to £50mil.

Manuel Lanzini: (Current Side: West Ham – Age: 23)

A bit of a surprise inclusion into the list of potential replacements to Cazorla but in my mind an able replacement. He has experience of the league and living in London and we have seen how much of a talent he is, at 23 he will only get better. Like Cazorla he is able to play in both the attacking positions or a deeper role. We saw in the Arsenal game away at Upton Park last season how he bossed the midfield, not with strength and power but with a clever football brain. The only downside is that West ham made his loan signing permanent at the start of this season, so there would be no sale unless its a outlandish price.

My choice would be to assess Jack Wilshere’s fitness at the end of the season and possibly giving him the chance to take over first.

The Chuba Akpom Debate

What must it feel to have come through the Arsenal academy from a young age and actually don the shirt?  At Arsenal we have had plenty of great players through the history of the club, as well as plenty of hyped up players not to make it. Jack Wilshere and Alex Iwobi being the latest to be a success. Another of these young men hoping to make his name in the red and white kit is Chuba Akpom, but does he really have a future at the club?

Some people may think the debate starts and ends with his poor goal scoring record at senior level. This being 7 goals in 66 appearances, meaning he currently is a one goal in 9 goal striker. Break this down further and it shows that all 7 goals have come this season for Hull City on loan. So if you read his stats for this season he is now a 1 goal in 5 games striker. Looking at his game time it seems that he was not starting the majority of games for Hull but coming on quite often, this again should be noted.

Minutes on the pitch is definitely an argument to say that stats do not always reflect the truth. There should be a note next to these stats that shows his actual minutes on the pitch. His game time for Arsenal has been very limited, he was at the club in a period where Yaya Sanogo was constantly playing and constantly failing. It has to be asked why was Akpom not afforded the same opportunity?

Our rivals Manchester City and Man Utd have both been forced put faith in their young strikers this season (Rashford and Inhanacho) with great success, showing that no matter of your age and experience a goal scorer can cope at the top level. Akom’s record through the younger age groups of English football show he is a natural in front of goal. The saying is that a goal scorer knows where the net is at any level.

Wenger forgot that Akpom could have been an option in February when Theo was slowly going off form, Giroud was playing every game, getting battered on his own and Welbeck was still injured. With creative players like Ozil and Sanchez behind him I could have seen Akpom chipping in with a few important moments coming off the bench in games such as Norwich away or West Brom where we had lost.

I am not suggesting for one second that he will be the next superstar in world football but think the talents there from a player who has been at the club since the age of 6 should be given a bit of time. It wasn’t long ago that Wenger called him the next big striker for Arsenal. With Welbeck now injured this is an opportunity that Wenger must give and Akpom must take. We will surely be in for that big name striker in the summer and that should not change irrelevant of Chuba Akpom.

I feel that he could be a good 3rd strike option behind the new striker and Giroud. If he doesn’t cut it by January next season (When Welbeck should be back) then we always have the option then to cut lose. On another note we probably will be getting rid of a few home grown players in the Summer, with Walcott, The Ox, Gibbs and Jenkinson all linked to moves away (So much for that English Core). Having another Englishman who’s Arsenal through and through can only help the cause.

So come on Wenger, GET THAT CHEQUE BOOK OUT, and also show faith in Akpom!!!!!!

First Stan, then Gazidas & then Wenger

img24936294.jpg

We play Norwich later this afternoon and it seems that all fans have all reached boiling point. This is the culmination of 12 years of promises, lies and on field disappointment. Fingers are being pointed to all parties involved, including Arsene Wenger blaming fans for making the atmosphere for his players.

The fundamental questions need to be asked by those of any power at Arsenal. The key question is in regards to what the fans want? It seems that Silent Stan cares only for the profitability of the club. Ivan Gazidas is his yes man, while Arsene Wenger is blinded by all business targets.

What these three people do not understand is that, by winning more trophies and having better players will in turn increase Arsenal’s profitability. It will also increase the mood of the fans and encourage fans to keep coming and spending money with the club they love.

The reported £8million that Wenger gets a season does matter to us, especially after we have seen managers with a lot less reputation/salaries outperform Mr Wenger. What hurts more is that a side like Leicester or our rivals Tottenham can take advantage of all other teams falling but we can’t. The players we do have are adequate, they are better than most sides in the league (probably only 2nd to Man City), the fault lies with Wenger. Not adding the extra 2 players season in season out to change a top four side into champions is just stupid.

All money talk aside I think we have reached the point where it is evident that Wenger and Kronke will not change, while Gazidas is happy to go along with any decision by his two masters to have any courage to say anything contrary. All three need to go now, we all know nothing will change for next season. At most what will change will be Wenger goes and his replacement is appointed by Kronke and Gazidas (two men who nothing about football). If this does happen we still need to continue the protests until the other two muppets have gone. Stan Kronke should have a conversation with his friend Randy Learner about football. It took Learner a relegation out of the league and a severe loss of money to realise what he has done.

What the club really does need is for Silent Stan to go first, selling to Usmanov, Gazidas goes with him being replaced by David Dein and then Wenger goes. I do live in a dream world sometimes, none of this will happen, but as an Arsenal fan we could only dream about this.

2016 The Year Of The Ox?

Oxlade-Chamberlain

The Ox (Alex Oxlade Chamberlain) is now 22 years of age. In my opinion that is no longer an age where we can say he is a kid. Up to now we have seen a few little injuries halt his career just at times when he is kicking on. One such example was when he was set to play a leading part in the 2014 world cup, but had to miss the tournament.

We have played him on the right, left and occasionally through the middle. What is his best position? His pace lends himself to a counter attacking side, which makes him handy in big games. I personally would love to see him given a chance playing behind Theo Walcott in a number 10 role against Bayern Munich. This is game I feel we can experiment as no one expects Arsenal to get anything here.

Technically he is up there with the likes of Sterling and Barkley, but the less he starts for Arsenal will hurt his chances of starting for England. This could be one of his most important seasons, with hard work he could achieve it all this season. Who knows if he can force himself into the Arsenal and England side there is great opportunities out there this season for both to make history.

One of the few times we have played him in that position was against AC Milan a few seasons back were he ran the show. For the time being for The Ox its about being a squad player, but with a few good performances he could be an absolute superstar. I foresee that 2016 will be the year that Alex Oxlade Chamberlain kicks on from being a talented youngster to a world superstar.

Crazy Transfer Window & John Stones Hijack Deal

This is the first transfer window since Uefa decided to relax FFP, it also is the another summer where the TV money sky rocketed yet again. These two factors combined have created a crazy transfer window.

One where all Premier League clubs can afford to compete for the worlds best players as well as hold other clubs to ransom over the sale of their star players. Add to the mix the FA’s plea to get more English players in each side the value of English players intensify’s. Having said that the most ridicules transfer story was the one linking Neymar to Man Utd.

So now we know the going rate in the current transfer market the question is why are Arsenal not playing ball? We are still looking for the cheaper options that are unproven. This is probably the reason we are not getting Benzema. I suggest we put all our money up front this window and go in for the following players: Cavani, Illeremendi/Carvalho and why not try to hijack the Stones deal?

John Stones Chelsea

In my opinion the side that signs Stones will get best English defender for the next decade or so. This means that despite there being an over inflated transfer value on most players, Stones may actually be worth the money.

I believe he is already good enough to get a place in Arsenal, Chelsea or Man Utd’s first XI. With Koscielny having a on going injury problem and Mertesacker getting older we probably need another quality CB. I think Gabriel has everything to quality, whilst Callum Chambers needs game time to develop into a good CB.

It seems that Stones will end up at Chelsea, seeing as they have chased him all summer and he now has submitted a transfer request. This does not stop us from putting in a bid for the player.

gun__1412581247_chambers_england2

If we did put any bid together, Everton may be more willing to except a bid from any other club apart from Chelsea who have publicly chased their man. As part of the bid I would also loan them Callum Chambers. He could really benefit by first team football at Everton who do not have many other CB’s. That is a win win situation for all. Chambers gets first team football, Stones gets his wish to play in the Champions League, Everton get good money and a potentially quality replacement and Arsenal get a top CB.

What is the worst that can happen? We may miss out on the player but may force Chelsea to pay even more for him. Saying all this I know we will not go in for Stones and will miss out on yet another quality English player.

Do you think Arsenal should sign another CB?