Transfer talk – part 2
OK, so the transfer window has shut, of course.
But then who is really “Arsenal quality” if any such thing can be discerned?
Who can go, and who can actually come in?
And is it really true that Emery doesn’t have a defined style?
In part 1, I analysed the squad to state who I believe should be kept, nurtured, or sold.
Here, I will cite some players I believe could be gone or brought in – and in part, I may have contradicted some points I made in part one. However, due to some reflection since then, I have reconsidered some prior points.
Whilst being a member of the German 2014 World Cup squad, alongside former Gunners like Podolski and Mertesacker, and currently Ozil of course.
When he joined us in 2016, he formed a strong initial partnership with Laurent Koscielny, and this led to the “Kostafi” meme. There even was a classic photoshop of a “Kos/Mustafi family” petting “toddler Diego Costa”. This was after the noted 3-0 win vs. Chelsea, which kickstarted their title win that season.
But in the latter part of that season, he dropped off.
And in 17/18, he was very sporadic. And this for me is the key with him. At City lately, he was OK. But then against lesser competition, he has made some critical errors and gaffes.
He has improved somewhat under Emery – he has even said publicly that he values the more methodical environment. But then it seems he lacks the concentration and mentality to be a truly top-level defender. I’m not sure he is the one to make us top four again – or potentially a title-winning or challenging defender.
As a regista-type player, he hasn’t really had the support to perform in this role.
Andrea Pirlo, arguably the best regista of all time, had Gattuso and others of his ilk to protect him. A regista, or deep-lying playmaker, needs space and time to make plays. Jorginho is not performing at Chelsea because their midfield balance is off, and he is being increasingly marked and bullied by the opposition. It’s a major reason why we beat Chelsea last month.
But the midfield balance for much of his time here has been poor. In his first season, he often used to play with Ramsey and/or Wilshere, which means three players who are more progressive in thought or deed. So Xhaka doesn’t have the cover to match his innate game, which is to look up and create from deep.
Moreover, he was billed (comically falsely) as a defensive midfielder, and that was a player we needed at that time in fairness.
But the aforementioned lack of balance in the middle of the park hasn’t aided him, and for this reason, he hasn’t really progressed.
I don’t think he is a bad player – merely not the player we need at this point.
If I were to describe him, he is ball-retainer, who keeps attacks flowing, and will retain possession and help start moves.
But then the additions of Torreira and our need to be more balanced in midfield, Elneny’s ball retention is not really needed as much. He’s not a bad player, to reiterate, but not as expansive as what’s needed.
Nketiah, Saka (loans)
I feel both of these youngsters need loan deals – largely since we will gain more experience and utilise them more via our existing forwards.
Moreover, they both need game time, and won’t get it much at Arsenal bar cup games or Europa League matches.
A lower PL or Championship side, or even going overseas as Smith-Rowe and Nelson have done, could work for them.
Ozil is a player of undoubted technical ability.
However, the fact that he is not being utilised much is monumentally telling. I admire him – but then it’s clear the club has gone in a new direction. The Man City loss saw his exclusion from the starting line-up, and Emery himself has said he’s being omitted for tactical reasons. And an intriguing interview with the BBC’s David Ornstein on Arseblog revealed it could be the club hierarchy and Emery colluding to oust him.
If this is true, then it may be time that our once record signing will go. He may not have been consistent, but then he has provided some great moments for us.
Maguire is a defender who has strong positional sense, strength, heading, and communication and is what we require in this position.
As an England international, he also is a player who had experience in the World Cup, and was one of England’s better players in the competition.
He could provide what we’ve needed at the back for years, and would be in some ways a younger and English Sokratis.
This may be controversial in some measure, but for me, he brings strength and good positional play at Man United, and could here also. He would complement Torreira and Guendouzi well, and would also suit Emery’s style to boot.
The Crystal Palace wide forward is one of the best players outside of the top six. He has shone well at Palace, after starting at Man United, and could succeed as a top player.
He could also follow Kenny Sansom and Ian Wright (Wright Wright) as players from Palace who have done very well at Arsenal.
Everton in early February isn’t doing very well at the moment – and whilst Everton is a historically large club in England, we’re at a higher level. Everton is aspiring to our level, but aren’t there yet, and won’t be in some time. So it could be opportune for us to get a top player like Richarlison, who is a Brazilian international and played well in our ground for his country vs. Uruguay. He would provide the wide forward player that we desperately require.
Nzonzi has PL experience and is a World Cup winner, featuring in the French squad which triumphed in Russia. He can tackle, work hard and pass, and is an example of the midfield type that we require.
Some of these may seem left-field, but they all in various parts match what we need and don’t need.
It’s clear that we have some good players, but also some duds too. And our revival in part is based on good players as much as any new tactical shape or discipline.
Let’s see how this develops over time, and if this new path can get us back into top four and title contention.