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A Transfer window to ensure the right experience to blend with the Best Arsenal Youth since George Graham inherited in 1986.

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Work to do

It is ‘that’ time of year again, crazy season, the January Transfer Window. Because of the unusual end to last season and the consequent later summer window we find ourselves back here swiftly. The mid-season opportunity to strengthen is of course, always trickier for clubs, with value harder to find and for Arsenal, Edu and Arteta, it will be no different.

However, Arsenal’s cause has been helped considerably by three back-to-back wins, which will make the task for those selling a move to The Emirates that much easier. The prospect now is to sign for a project that is blending quality experience with exciting young talent.

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Leaving?

I feel therefore this window, should be more about replacing the exiting experience with better quality experience as opposed to bolstering and already exciting tranche of younger players. With the likes of Kolasinac, Mustafi, Sokratis and maybe even Ozil departing, regardless of our individual views on their ability Arteta is losing some older statesmen. If he and Edu are to bring in new players for this squad, they surely must be players in their mid-20 approaching their peak and ideally, for me at least, Premier League ready.

In reality, Arteta has seniority and experience in attack with Aubameyang and Lacazette and in defence he still has David Luiz to mentor his younger peers for the remainder of the campaign. Bellerin too is the club’s longest serving active squad member and Tierney, Mari, Gabriel and Holding are all seasoned professionals. Where he lacks quality and experience combined is in the midfield area and particularly at the creative end.

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Long-term partner needed

Elneny is a good squad stalwart, Ceballos is talented but young and not our player, Willock is an enigma and his box to box to attributes do not really fit, Willian seems a failed gamble and Smith Rowe is super talented yet untested and injury prone. With Guendouzi unlikely to earn a reprieve, that leaves only Torreira, who could be recalled, Arteta’s go to man Granit Xhaka and the big hope, Thomas Partey. The Swiss is not perhaps every fan’s favourite, but he is vastly experienced the squad is bereft of that valued commodity in a key area of the pitch.

Therefore, in this window I believe Edu will have been tasked with potentially bringing in two midfielders. One of creative disposition to share the creative load with Emile Smith-Rowe, centrally and to mentor the young Englishman. The second, in my honest opinion, will be the long-term central midfield partner of choice for Thomas Partey. I strongly believe that 2020/21 will be the last season where Xhaka is first choice and Arteta needs a true defensive midfielder, but with more mobility and pace than the Swiss International. I am not saying they will be the players, but it is this rational that sees Arsenal liked to Buendia and Brandt for need number one and Bissouma for need number two. I favour the Argentinian, purely as he is more used to the English leagues and the Brighton player seems a perfect foil for Partey in the longer-term. Idrissa Gueye, who is unsettled at PSG, also fits the profile perfectly, although he is 31 so may be too old.

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Fits the bill

Any activity comes downs to available money and reducing the wage bill and I think with the exits being primarily loans, until the summer, Arteta too may have to utilise that medium this month. If we can bring in only one of the two now, then I think it needs to be the experienced link between the midfield and attack to challenge Smith-Rowe. This window is about balancing the books, trimming the wage bill, and moving on the players Arteta does not see in his plans. If he and Edu can do that and push on with the current group, then I believe the Board will back the duo in the summer window.

As so often in the latter years of Wenger, the squad is only one or two quality players away from being one capable of challenging. The difference now is that Arteta does acknowledge The weaknesses I believe, and he genuinely has a more exciting core of young talent than any new manager inherited since George Graham in 1987.  If he can show he can develop and integrate these young stars for the remainder of this season I am confident KSE will back him come June to supplement with high quality.

This is the unedited version of my Sun Football Fan’s View from Saturday 

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3 Responses to A Transfer window to ensure the right experience to blend with the Best Arsenal Youth since George Graham inherited in 1986.

  1. Johannes January 11, 2021 at 9:47 am #

    I agree that Attacking central midfielder is the position which currently needs a bit more experienced player than Emile Smith Rowe.

    I don’t agree that Arsenal need a traditional defensive midfielder. Arsenal don’t play with that kind of formation and tactics. It’s also what Emery said, it doesn’t fit to tactics. Arteta has not commented about it, but he plays very similar to Emery especially now when he finally changed the formation back to system which utilize central attacking midfielder.

    What they need is a little bit like Xhaka. An upgrade to Xhaka would be the same abilities, but faster track backing cababilities.A good player physically and technically who possess great burst of speed on first meters of running.

    Arsenal is playing with high defensive line which can be tested with long balls if opposite team have fast forwards. Also space between midfield and defensive line can be tested if opposite teams have forwards with good off the ball movement and creative midfielder.

    Long balls usually needs pace from defenders. Many times full back helps central defenders on these situations.
    A space between midfield and defence is the one where Xhaka is not at his best what comes to defending. His track backing is too slow and that’s why he is forced to foul.

    I admit, defensive midfielder is a choice for these situations, but it means that Arsenal should change their formation and sacrifice either attacking midfielder of wide players. As an attacking team this is not what we want.

    I think on this transfer window central midfielder can cope the rest of the season. It would be ideal to bring in a player who is going to take shirt of Ceballos on next season. But i think instead of that I would be looking a player to right wing. Especially Willian is uneffective there, but most of the time so is Pepe. That means Saka is only effective right wing player. It’s something to think about…

    • Dave Seager January 12, 2021 at 9:36 am #

      It is all about terminology Johannes. You say we don’t need a DM and then agree we need a more mobile version of Xhaka who would be our deepest lying CM when Partey plays I believe. So we actually agree I think 🙂

  2. allezkev January 12, 2021 at 11:24 am #

    Buendia certainly seems the flavour of the month, but I cannot imagine Norwich wanting to risk their ambition to bounce straight back into the Premier League by selling a key component of their squad. £40m was mentioned so that puts him up into the Thomas Partey category and I’m not sure if he’s that good?
    I saw some stats on him recently from last season when he playing in the Premier League, a lot of it didn’t mean much to me but I noticed that he scored one goal, which isn’t that impressive to me but that he had 7 assists, is 7 good, I’m not really sure how it goes? Does he take all the Norwich corners and free kicks?

    Bissouma is another and he certainly seems to fit the bill, a big midfield enforcer similar in stature to Partey so a good companion for our Ghanaian or cover for him if he’s unavailable. On the downside is his propensity to pick up cards, but then I guess that goes with the territory of the job description but he it seems won’t be available until the summer.

    And that’s the thing, I’m not sure that Arsenal can do the right business this January and as we cannot afford to waste anymore of the restricted funds we have to spend due to the lack of income then I’ve accepted that the majority of the business we do this month will be outgoing and I’m very comfortable with that.

    We’ve brought in Omar Rekik from Hertha and I’ve read good things about him, those are the kind of low risk transfers we should be looking at in this climate.

    Maybe it’s just me but I’m not too worried about Smith Rowe, yeah I know he’s had some injuries during his growing years but he looks ready to me now, he 20 he’s not 16, he’s doing a great job for us and I see no reason to fret about his ability to play half a season as long as Arteta uses him wisely. I’m sure that he wants to play every minute he can.

    Good post Dave.

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