Arsenal 20-21: Artetenal and/or Kia Joorabchian Futebol Clube

Morgan's Magic Snowplow

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Lots of big questions going into the new season:

To what degree will Kroenke back Arteta in the transfer market? Will we sign every available Joorabchian client or just half of the available Joorabchian clients? Even if Arsenal do most things right and continue to improve, can they compete for top four with City and Liverpool not going anywhere and United and Chelsea both in the ascendancy?

As far as the nitty gritty of the transfer market, indications so far are positive about resigning Auba and we appear to be inching closer to signing Willian on a free, which would be an excellent cheap squad building move in my view. Anything beyond that seems very unclear. I'm optimistic about signing Ceballos permanently or, at a minimum, loaning him another year. But that just keeps us treading water with a midfield that definitely needs more help, especially creatively, so I'd be surprised if there isn't some other signing to come there. Another CB also looks like a possibility, with some recent links today to Lille Brazilian CB Gabriel Magalhaes. That rumor smells like one that might have legs, given the Edu/Brazil ties and Raul Sanllehi's strong connections to the Lille management. All this will need to be at least partially funded by some outgoings. We'll try to sell/give away some of our mediocre CBs like Holding, Mustafi, or Sokratis, especially if we do buy another one. Guendouzi seems destined to leave, although I haven't seen any solid rumors about a destination. Rumors continue to percolate about Lacazette possibly leaving, which would make sense in my book if we could get a decent fee. I think there is at least a chance that Bellerin leaves (we have three RBs, which is one too many, and Arteta seems to really believe in AMN). And we should probably make a decision on our starting keeper and sell the other: We're strapped enough for cash that it doesn't make sense to have a backup keeper that could command a good fee used to strengthen elsewhere.

In less than eight months, Arteta has put his stamp on the team, both culturally and tactically. Now we'll get to really see what he thinks about the squad, where it needs improvement, and who is in his plans. It should be interesting to watch at the very least.
 
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shaggydog2000

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There are also rumors that Elneny could be sold to Trabzonspor, which sounds like an alien race on Rick and Morty. I'm sure that wouldn't net us all that much, but maybe it pays for half of Willian's salary between the fee and Elneny's salary. Torreira could also be sold if they bring in another midfielder. He just doesn't seem to get used much and doesn't have the passing skills Arteta wants in midfield.

I think a lot of dead wood is going to be cleared out from the CB position. I'd like it to be Mustafi and Sokratis, but we know Holding and Chambers are going to be easier to sell because of age and Britishness.

There are a whole lot of possible moving parts, and not much time to move them all in.
 

Time to Mo Vaughn

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Some of them have been mentioned but who's on their way out are some of my biggest questions:

Ozil is probably the biggest name, and they'll have to eat some of his wages to do it, but if he's not even making game day squads, it's not good for anyone that he's here.
Guendouzi's attitude, seems to have found him a way out of town, and although I think there's some talent, I don't mind setting the culture and getting rid of the prima donnas.
Mustafi and Xhaka are two players I was sure were out, but both saw dramatic improvement under Arteta.
Lacazette makes a ton of sense to me because he and Aubamayeng really don't seem to complement each other well on the pitch at the same time, and I'd rather keep PEA.
Every time I see Torreira play internationally, he's amazing, but he has not done anything for Arsenal under two managers. Here I was thinking Torreira/Guendouzi are the holding mids of the future and Xhaka could be the last one standing.
Keeper - I'm in general agreement that it does make sense to have two Keepers that should be starting on the same roster, especially when they're within six months of age. I lean to keeping Leno unless he will fetch 10M more than Martinez.
 

Morgan's Magic Snowplow

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There are also rumors that Elneny could be sold to Trabzonspor, which sounds like an alien race on Rick and Morty. I'm sure that wouldn't net us all that much, but maybe it pays for half of Willian's salary between the fee and Elneny's salary. Torreira could also be sold if they bring in another midfielder. He just doesn't seem to get used much and doesn't have the passing skills Arteta wants in midfield.

I think a lot of dead wood is going to be cleared out from the CB position. I'd like it to be Mustafi and Sokratis, but we know Holding and Chambers are going to be easier to sell because of age and Britishness.

There are a whole lot of possible moving parts, and not much time to move them all in.
Some of them have been mentioned but who's on their way out are some of my biggest questions:

Ozil is probably the biggest name, and they'll have to eat some of his wages to do it, but if he's not even making game day squads, it's not good for anyone that he's here.
Guendouzi's attitude, seems to have found him a way out of town, and although I think there's some talent, I don't mind setting the culture and getting rid of the prima donnas.
Mustafi and Xhaka are two players I was sure were out, but both saw dramatic improvement under Arteta.
Lacazette makes a ton of sense to me because he and Aubamayeng really don't seem to complement each other well on the pitch at the same time, and I'd rather keep PEA.
Every time I see Torreira play internationally, he's amazing, but he has not done anything for Arsenal under two managers. Here I was thinking Torreira/Guendouzi are the holding mids of the future and Xhaka could be the last one standing.
Keeper - I'm in general agreement that it does make sense to have two Keepers that should be starting on the same roster, especially when they're within six months of age. I lean to keeping Leno unless he will fetch 10M more than Martinez.
I agree with both of you guys that the outgoings are vital but also kind of tricky. The Covid situation really makes this hard for a club in Arsenal's position that should be trying to churn the roster.

From what I understand clubs in Italy and Spain are fairly hard up financially and those would likely be the best destinations for a number of our players, including Torreira, Lacazette, and Bellerin. Laca is at least useful enough that clubs with actual resources in those countries are at least reported to be interested (Juve and Atletico mainly).

Selling within the Premier League seems like it might be a bit easier. Players like Chambers, Holding, and Nelson might be able to command small fees from clubs looking for proven English talent.

I fully expect Ozil to sit on his ass and play Fortnite all year, cashing his 350K per week. He seems to have very little desire to leave London or actually play football.
 

shaggydog2000

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I fully expect Ozil to sit on his ass and play Fortnite all year, cashing his 350K per week. He seems to have very little desire to leave London or actually play football.
I think he'd need a pretty golden opportunity to leave. Some place with good marketing opportunities, leisurely pace, and a major city. He's not heading to Turkey, that market is tapped out for him and the clubs don't pay players what he is getting now. That's why I thought the DC move that got talked about earlier this year might happen. He'd have to give up a big chunk of his salary and hope to make it up in endorsements, but he'd have a longer shelf life there. He's not moving just to play, he obviously doesn't mind not doing that.
 

mikeford

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They should just buy out his contract and kick his ass out of the club. He absolutely cannot be allowed to set foot in the training ground next year.
 

PedroSpecialK

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I think he'd need a pretty golden opportunity to leave. Some place with good marketing opportunities, leisurely pace, and a major city. He's not heading to Turkey, that market is tapped out for him and the clubs don't pay players what he is getting now.
On the contrary, I think a move to Erdogan's pet club Başakşehir would make a ton of sense all around. They are one of the few Turkish clubs with the solvency to continue paying their players high wages (namely, Gael Clichy and Edin Visca at this point) - add in Ozil's support of Erdogan, the availability of off-the-books compensation, and the fact that Arsenal would be footing some of his wages, I'd put money on that being his destination.
 

Morgan's Magic Snowplow

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Two pieces of Arsenal news today were the departure of international scouting chief, and very longtime scout, Francis Cagigao and more rumors that Arsenal are moving forward with signing Willian and loaning Coutinho. One obvious possibility is that Cagigao clashed with Sanllehi/Edu regarding their strategy of working with superagents like Kia to have access to their players. But it also seems possible that Arteta has been unimpressed by our scouting department and was at least tacitly supportive of a shake up at the top.

I have mixed feelings about the whole thing. I think there is a real danger of leaning too much on Raul's rolodex approach to player recruitment and giving superagents too much influence at the club. On the other hand, I'm not convinced that Cagigao (who is still hanging his hat on finding Cesc Fabregas) was a particularly effective leader of international scouting or the man to lead that part of the club into the future.

While I really like the Willian signing, I'm a bit more wary of the Coutinho loan idea. He is still a really really good player, even if he'll never live up to the ridiculous fee that Barca paid for him. But he'll cost a good chunk of change for a single year and I feel like his best position has always been LW rather than attacking midfield. If Willian is in the fold, we are pretty covered on the wings but really need that creative CAM player and I'd rather see us find a different and potentially permanent solution
 

67YAZ

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I'm a bit more wary of the Coutinho loan idea. He is still a really really good player, even if he'll never live up to the ridiculous fee that Barca paid for him. But he'll cost a good chunk of change for a single year and I feel like his best position has always been LW rather than attacking midfield. If Willian is in the fold, we are pretty covered on the wings but really need that creative CAM player and I'd rather see us find a different and potentially permanent solution
I've kept a keen eye on Coutinho even after leaving Liverpool because I think he's a fascinating player - beautifully skilled, but in some pretty specific ways. We can only project at the tactics Arteta is plotting for next season and presumably, he has a clear role for Coutinho that we can only guess at.

That said, this past season at Bayern, Coutinho dropped down to being a regular rotation option, only getting into about half the league and UCL matches. Almost all of these appearances came as a attacking central mid sitting behind Lewandowski or attacking left mid cutting in. The passing, vision, and creativity are still there as is that unstoppable right-footed-curler-from-the-left-edge-of-the-box, but there was even less defensive effort than in the past. Coutinho never really fit Klopp's system because he didn't consistently go full out with the press. And then Barca was just a mess of inconsistent playing time and system changes. It's been a while since Countinho was a regular in the XI playing with confidence and swagger.

The most clear role for him at Arsenal would be attacking left mid - sell Laca, move Auba central, and allow Coutinho to stay high on the left and provide a lot of creativity and long shots to open up space for the other attackers. But then why also bring in Willian?

I don't think Countinho is well suited for the central Ceballos role - he just doesn't do enough defensive work. Even at City, KDB does a lot of tracking back and shuttling the ball in his role, much more of a box-to-box player than Coutinho has ever been. It's hard to see the fit.
 

Morgan's Magic Snowplow

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I've kept a keen eye on Coutinho even after leaving Liverpool because I think he's a fascinating player - beautifully skilled, but in some pretty specific ways. We can only project at the tactics Arteta is plotting for next season and presumably, he has a clear role for Coutinho that we can only guess at.

That said, this past season at Bayern, Coutinho dropped down to being a regular rotation option, only getting into about half the league and UCL matches. Almost all of these appearances came as a attacking central mid sitting behind Lewandowski or attacking left mid cutting in. The passing, vision, and creativity are still there as is that unstoppable right-footed-curler-from-the-left-edge-of-the-box, but there was even less defensive effort than in the past. Coutinho never really fit Klopp's system because he didn't consistently go full out with the press. And then Barca was just a mess of inconsistent playing time and system changes. It's been a while since Countinho was a regular in the XI playing with confidence and swagger.

The most clear role for him at Arsenal would be attacking left mid - sell Laca, move Auba central, and allow Coutinho to stay high on the left and provide a lot of creativity and long shots to open up space for the other attackers. But then why also bring in Willian?

I don't think Countinho is well suited for the central Ceballos role - he just doesn't do enough defensive work. Even at City, KDB does a lot of tracking back and shuttling the ball in his role, much more of a box-to-box player than Coutinho has ever been. It's hard to see the fit.
Thanks for the scouting report, which all sounds pretty reasonable to me.

Several of the usual suspect English journos are now saying that Arsenal will not sign Coutinho if they sign Willian, which I think would be the for best, particularly given what you say. These guys are not usually all that reliable but this has the feel of a club briefing type thing.

View: https://twitter.com/Matt_Law_DT/status/1291100975508402178
 
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mikeford

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Super do not want Coutinho. Do not see what problem he solves for Arsenal, plus Liverpool obviously got better without him, Barca didn't need him, etc etc. Gotta assume he's an asshole in the room.
 

67YAZ

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Just came across this very cool graphic showing the evolution of Arsenal’s passing from Emery to Arteta.

 

Tuff Ghost

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I do like Willian, so I am somewhat happy about this, but there are a few things I cannot shake:
  1. Kia Joorabchian may as well be Arsenal's head of football at this point
  2. Willian turns 32 in three days
  3. I don't want them to become a Chelsea retirement home, although, it will be fun to root for Pulisic in 2030.
If they had not also signed Cedric to a 4 year deal, the Kia thing would be slightly less worrying.

Arteta has appeared to be vocal in what he wants in regards to squad-building, so I will trust that he values both players and it's not just because Raul likes hanging with his buddy Kia.

The squad will be different come mid-September, but in its current state, I wonder how Willian fits in. Lacazette seems like the likely odd-man out, so maybe Aubameyang is central, with Willian/Pepe out-wide. I also wonder how Saka will be used next year. Maybe going back to more of a wing-back role? It's good to have some attacking depth, especially now that they are back in Europa, and I think Willian is a more traditional winger than Aubameyang, so they could work together nicely.

Edit:
I failed to mention that the fact that Willian is a free-transfer is a nice bonus due to the reported financial struggles of the team and the impending 55-staff member layoffs. (This side-note from the Athletic is unsurprising: "The LA Rams, the NFL team the Kroenkes own in America, have not yet made any cutbacks.")
 
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coremiller

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I really don't understand the plan here. Willian is a decent enough player and there's no fee but why are Arsenal signing anyone of his age at his wages? Arsenal are currently not nearly good enough to compete for the CL spots, they probably won't be competitive next season without spending major money this summer which seems unlikely, and Willian is not going to put them over the top next season. They should be giving the wages and minutes to players who are on the way up, not on the way down, with the goal of building a truly competitive side 2-3 years from now. They have a lot of promising young players, they should be finding out which ones can make the grade, not letting Willian play out the string.
 

Tuff Ghost

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I really don't understand the plan here. Willian is a decent enough player and there's no fee but why are Arsenal signing anyone of his age at his wages? Arsenal are currently not nearly good enough to compete for the CL spots, they probably won't be competitive next season without spending major money this summer which seems unlikely, and Willian is not going to put them over the top next season. They should be giving the wages and minutes to players who are on the way up, not on the way down, with the goal of building a truly competitive side 2-3 years from now. They have a lot of promising young players, they should be finding out which ones can make the grade, not letting Willian play out the string.
They also (at the moment, at least) have Aubameyang, a world-class player, a caliber of player they won't be replacing anytime soon. They have Arteta who wants to build a competitive team with a culture of winning. I think it is not dissimilar from how Belichick always wants to put out the best possible team.

Who is Willian going to block? They can still play Saka. Maybe Reiss Nelson gets some less time. Okay, that's fine. Martinelli is out for a while, so he cannot be expected to do much next year. If the team can start winning and develop a competitive culture, that is more valuable than Reiss Nelson getting x more minutes, unchallenged, I think. If Nelson proves himself or Willian fades, Arteta has shown he'll have no problem demoting an underperforming player.
 
According to The Guardian, several of Arsenal's main European scouts are being let go - separate from the 55 job losses announced yesterday:
I wonder what Arteta makes of all of this.
 

Morgan's Magic Snowplow

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They also (at the moment, at least) have Aubameyang, a world-class player, a caliber of player they won't be replacing anytime soon. They have Arteta who wants to build a competitive team with a culture of winning. I think it is not dissimilar from how Belichick always wants to put out the best possible team.

Who is Willian going to block? They can still play Saka. Maybe Reiss Nelson gets some less time. Okay, that's fine. Martinelli is out for a while, so he cannot be expected to do much next year. If the team can start winning and develop a competitive culture, that is more valuable than Reiss Nelson getting x more minutes, unchallenged, I think. If Nelson proves himself or Willian fades, Arteta has shown he'll have no problem demoting an underperforming player.
Agreed. This year is also going to be an absolute bear in terms of fixture congestion, with the league schedule compressed by a month. We needed another wing option and we were already very highly weighted toward very young players in this area, so Willian on a relatively affordable free transfer is a good way to address that depth need while improving quality of the side and still leaving plenty of minutes for Saka and, when he returns, Martinelli.

Arsenal have a ton of promising young players but you can't expect to be Ajax 1995. The best way to integrate and improve very young players is to give them enough minutes to learn and grow, while not getting physically jaded or mentally overwhelmed. You can't just throw a team of 19-22 year olds out there for every match.
 

Time to Mo Vaughn

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I really don't understand the plan here. Willian is a decent enough player and there's no fee but why are Arsenal signing anyone of his age at his wages? Arsenal are currently not nearly good enough to compete for the CL spots, they probably won't be competitive next season without spending major money this summer which seems unlikely, and Willian is not going to put them over the top next season. They should be giving the wages and minutes to players who are on the way up, not on the way down, with the goal of building a truly competitive side 2-3 years from now. They have a lot of promising young players, they should be finding out which ones can make the grade, not letting Willian play out the string.
Why can't they? I would put the odds against them finishing in the top 4 next year, but I see no reason they can't compete for it. Coming into the season, many thought the additions of Pepe, Tierney, Ceballos would give them a shot to be competitive for a 4th place finish. Emery was an absolute disaster, so certainly you have to think the talent of the team is above the results of where they actually finished. In the past few weeks they beat Liverpool, City and Chelsea. Chelsea went from finishing 10th in 2015-2016 to winning the premier league in 2016-2017.
 

swiftaw

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According to The Guardian, several of Arsenal's main European scouts are being let go - separate from the 55 job losses announced yesterday:
I wonder what Arteta makes of all of this.
Why do you need scouts when Kia will just bring the players to you? :)
 

coremiller

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Why can't they? I would put the odds against them finishing in the top 4 next year, but I see no reason they can't compete for it. Coming into the season, many thought the additions of Pepe, Tierney, Ceballos would give them a shot to be competitive for a 4th place finish. Emery was an absolute disaster, so certainly you have to think the talent of the team is above the results of where they actually finished. In the past few weeks they beat Liverpool, City and Chelsea. Chelsea went from finishing 10th in 2015-2016 to winning the premier league in 2016-2017.
Because Arsenal were really not good this year. Both FBRef and Understat had Arsenal with a negative expected goal difference, and there was no improvement after Arteta replaced Emery. In particular the defense was really bad, which was predictable because it was bad the year before as well. The defense did not improve under Arteta.

Arsenal had a great goalkeeping season, which somewhat covered up how bad the defense was. Both Leno and Martinez were excellent. But your goalkeepers saving 11 goals above average is very difficult to repeat.

I do think Arsenal will be better next year. I think Arteta is a promising manager, they will learn his system better, and full seasons from Tierney and Bellerin will help. But they are starting from a deep hole. They could be much improved and still only be the 6th or 7th best team and well off the top four. It's really, really hard to improve by ~25 goals in one year with no significant additions.

EDIT: I screwed up the date search for the Arteta-only part of the season, so I took those numbers out.
 
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Tuff Ghost

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Arsenal have reached a verbal agreement on a 2-year Aubameyang extension. I think this is great news; he is a joy to watch and a true talent.
According to The Telegraph (£), Arsenal have reached a verbal agreement with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang over a two-year contract extension that will keep him at the club until 2023.
 

shaggydog2000

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I really don't understand the plan here. Willian is a decent enough player and there's no fee but why are Arsenal signing anyone of his age at his wages? Arsenal are currently not nearly good enough to compete for the CL spots, they probably won't be competitive next season without spending major money this summer which seems unlikely, and Willian is not going to put them over the top next season. They should be giving the wages and minutes to players who are on the way up, not on the way down, with the goal of building a truly competitive side 2-3 years from now. They have a lot of promising young players, they should be finding out which ones can make the grade, not letting Willian play out the string.

I crunched some numbers yesterday on what the records and goals for and against would have been like if you extrapolated the results under each manager. Because I was bored. The right hand side has a running average that is reset for each manager, and a projection of that over a full 38 game season. Now this doesn't account for the schedules not being equivalent, and I wasn't able to weight the schedules, etc.

Basically, under Emery they played like Burnley or Sheffield United. Under Ljunberg and his hamstrung staff they played like West Ham. Under Arteta they played somewhere in the area of Chelsea and Tottenham (better projected goal differential than either) or Leicester (in points). Now this is all very rough, but I don't think it's crazy to think they could be a borderline Champions league team next year under a full season of Arteta and with the right additions. They played like it under him this year even with their crap defense. Just taking out the Ljunberg debacle in the middle of the season probably would have allowed them to finish in 5th or 6th place. Man City and Liverpool are clearly far ahead, but from 3rd-6th the teams all have significant flaws and I think Arsenal can compete with them.

33123
 

Tuff Ghost

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Because Arsenal were really not good this year. Both FBRef and Understat had Arsenal with a negative expected goal difference, and there was no improvement after Arteta replaced Emery.
Everyone in this thread knows that Arsenal have flaws. We also saw the team structure and organization transform under Arteta in a pandemic-interrupted half-season of football, in which he himself caught COVID-19, and saw multiple injuries to the squad. I do not think it is unreasonable for Arsenal supporters to experience a few good vibes this summer and to believe that Arteta can take them to better places in the coming years, especially after winning their 14th FA Cup days ago.

As an aside, I am also not going to head over to the Spurs thread to remind you that Spurs had a +14 goal differential this season, but that was overachieving by 19 goals because they had an xG differential of -5 and an xPts value that would put them 12th in the table. (Link)
 

shaggydog2000

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Arsenal have reached a verbal agreement on a 2-year Aubameyang extension. I think this is great news; he is a joy to watch and a true talent.

Great to hear, and that seems like the right term to extend him for.
 

coremiller

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Everyone in this thread knows that Arsenal have flaws. We also saw the team structure and organization transform under Arteta in a pandemic-interrupted half-season of football, in which he himself caught COVID-19, and saw multiple injuries to the squad. I do not think it is unreasonable for Arsenal supporters to experience a few good vibes this summer and to believe that Arteta can take them to better places in the coming years, especially after winning their 14th FA Cup days ago.

As an aside, I am also not going to head over to the Spurs thread to remind you that Spurs had a +14 goal differential this season, but that was overachieving by 19 goals because they had an xG differential of -5 and an xPts value that would put them 12th in the table. (Link)
Oh I know Spurs were not good this year either (I had to sit through watching most of their matches), they were about as equally bad as Arsenal. I'm a little more optimistic about Spurs for a few reasons:

- Spurs have a history of overperforming their xG, which they've now done six years in a row. They may have players with unique abilities that allow them to do this. In particular, Son and Kane are above-average finishers (both G>xG for their whole careers) and Lloris has been a top-notch goalkeeper for a long time. Arsenal don't have that same track record. Spurs could regress to their xG, but they are a little less likely to do so than Arsenal are.
- Two seasons ago, Spurs were really good with most of the same players, most of which have not aged out of their primes. Arsenal were pretty good two years ago (but not as good as Spurs), but of their 15 players to play more than 1000 minutes that season, only 6 did so this season (Xhaka, Bellerin, Mustafi, Lacazette, Ozil, PEA). For Spurs it's 10/14. I think Spurs have a more talented core and I think there's s chance they could regain their past form.
- In addition to starting from a more talented core (the above point), I like Spurs' additions the past two years better (so far for this summer). I'd rather have Lo Celso, Ndombele, Sessegnon, Bergwijn, and Hojberg than Pepe, Tierney, Saliba, Luiz, Cedric, Martinelli, and Willian. I like Tierney the best of Arsenal's signings but I thought at the time Pepe was a vast overpay and misallocation of resources for a team that badly needed defensive upgrades. Arsenal would have been much better off spending the Pepe money on CBs.
- Arsenal's squad is not ideally aligned to the age curve -- too many are either too young or too old. PAE, Luiz, Sokratis, Ozil are all on the wrong side of 30 and Lacazette will be 29, while they've got a lot of young players 24 or younger (Saka, Guendozi, Torreira, Maitland-Niles, Tierney, Willock, Martinelli). Soccer players peak on average at 25-28. I think Arsenal's young guys will get better but it's likely to be offset by a decline from the older players.
 
Not that I want to read too much into Arteta's very promising start - because it's entirely possible that he regresses and isn't quite as good as we think - but if he really is the manager he seems to be, I wonder what his long-term plans might be. There's certainly no guarantee that he sees himself staying at Arsenal for life; Arsenal hasn't had a manager in a long time that left the club in search of a more exciting appointment, but Arsenal isn't the tippy-top-level club it once was, and Arteta easily could look to jump ship if he doesn't get the backing he wants or sees a ceiling in north London that other more attractive clubs don't have. I mean, if he leads Arsenal to a Top 4 finish and the Europa League title next year, you could easily see both Barcelona and Real Madrid come calling, couldn't you? That would be a nice problem to have in many ways, but unless he sees himself as Arsenal's equivalent of Klopp at Liverpool, I think we need to brace ourselves for the possibility that he might not be at the club forever.

On the other hand...
I'm a little more optimistic about Spurs for a few reasons:
...Jose Mourinho is the Tottenham manager. So I'm not at all optimistic about Spurs, except from an Arsenal perspective.
 

Morgan's Magic Snowplow

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- In addition to starting from a more talented core (the above point), I like Spurs' additions the past two years better (so far for this summer). I'd rather have Lo Celso, Ndombele, Sessegnon, Bergwijn, and Hojberg than Pepe, Tierney, Saliba, Luiz, Cedric, Martinelli, and Willian. I like Tierney the best of Arsenal's signings but I thought at the time Pepe was a vast overpay and misallocation of resources for a team that badly needed defensive upgrades. Arsenal would have been much better off spending the Pepe money on CBs.
I can't tell whether you're just trolling or whether you've worn the Spurs tinted glasses so long that you actually believe this.
 

coremiller

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I can't tell whether you're just trolling or whether you've worn the Spurs tinted glasses so long that you actually believe this.
I am (as I've made clear in the Spurs thread) very high on Ndombele and I"m bearish on Pepe. As I've said I like Tierney but the rest are old guys (Luiz, Willian), young projects (Saliba, Martinelli), and an agent sop who hardly played since signing (Cedric). If Pepe makes the leap and the young projects work out I'd reconsider.

On the other hand...

...Jose Mourinho is the Tottenham manager. So I'm not at all optimistic about Spurs, except from an Arsenal perspective.
This is admittedly a strong counterpoint.
 

shaggydog2000

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I am (as I've made clear in the Spurs thread) very high on Ndombele and I"m bearish on Pepe. As I've said I like Tierney but the rest are old guys (Luiz, Willian), young projects (Saliba, Martinelli), and an agent sop who hardly played since signing (Cedric). If Pepe makes the leap and the young projects work out I'd reconsider.



This is admittedly a strong counterpoint.
Well, if Mo follows his recent pattern, this will be the good season before the implosion. So hope it works out for you. But not too well.
 

Morgan's Magic Snowplow

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I am (as I've made clear in the Spurs thread) very high on Ndombele and I"m bearish on Pepe. As I've said I like Tierney but the rest are old guys (Luiz, Willian), young projects (Saliba, Martinelli), and an agent sop who hardly played since signing (Cedric). If Pepe makes the leap and the young projects work out I'd reconsider.
We paid too much for Pepe but his all around game improved a lot over the course of the season, he was one of our best players against both Chelsea and City, and he was pretty unlucky not to get on the score sheet a couple more times after the restart. He may never live up to the price tag while still being a good player not out of place starting at RW for a top team. I don't have a strong opinion on N'Dombele other than noting that he played >60 minutes twice in 2020 and seems like a terrible match for Jose Mourinho.

Saliba and Martinelli are indeed projects, but projects with legitimately world class potential. You need top players to compete at the highest levels so I'd much rather have two guys like that with very high ceilings than any of the other players Spurs have acquired (beyond N'Dombele).
 

Tuff Ghost

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- Spurs have a history of overperforming their xG, which they've now done six years in a row. They may have players with unique abilities that allow them to do this. In particular, Son and Kane are above-average finishers (both G>xG for their whole careers) and Lloris has been a top-notch goalkeeper for a long time. Arsenal don't have that same track record. Spurs could regress to their xG, but they are a little less likely to do so than Arsenal are.
- Two seasons ago, Spurs were really good with most of the same players, most of which have not aged out of their primes.
Others responded about the player comparison points, of which I also disagree, but I wanted to respond to the points of (1.) Spurs being overachievers and (2.) the fact that they continue to return a lot of the same players.

(1.) Spurs over the past 5 years have averaged 6.3 more points than their expected points. Arsenal over the past 5 years have averaged 4.2 more points than their expected points. I don't think this is some secret weapon that can be counted on to make the difference next year.

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(2.) The downward trend for Spurs (and Arsenal is also obviously trending downward) does not seem to indicate a team that is going to suddenly go back to their levels in 2016/17 just because they keep trotting out a lot of familiar faces. The opposite could just as easily be argued (staleness, complacency contributing to downward trend, etc.).
 

coremiller

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Others responded about the player comparison points, of which I also disagree, but I wanted to respond to the points of (1.) Spurs being overachievers and (2.) the fact that they continue to return a lot of the same players.

(1.) Spurs over the past 5 years have averaged 6.3 more points than their expected points. Arsenal over the past 5 years have averaged 4.2 more points than their expected points. I don't think this is some secret weapon that can be counted on to make the difference next year.

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(2.) The downward trend for Spurs (and Arsenal is also obviously trending downward) does not seem to indicate a team that is going to suddenly go back to their levels in 2016/17 just because they keep trotting out a lot of familiar faces. The opposite could just as easily be argued (staleness, complacency contributing to downward trend, etc.).
I"m not saying these things WILL happen, they very well may not. I just think that there is some non-trivial meaningful probability they could happen and that makes me more optimistic about Spurs. Put differently, I think the distribution of Spurs' potential outcomes has a larger positive tail than Arsenal's.

It's also quite plausible that Spurs' outcome distribution has a larger negative tail, if, say, Mourinho drives the team into the ground, something I think is less likely with Arteta at Arsenal.
 

Tuff Ghost

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It sounds as if the midfield could look a bit different come next season.
  • Guendouzi has seemingly shot his way out of town by not meeting Arteta's expectations (oh, and choking Maupay), and there is a rumor that Emery would be interested in bringing him to his new club, Villarreal (link).
  • Torreira is rumored to be allowed to leave this summer, with AC Milan having interest (link)
It also has been reported that Ainsley Maitland-Niles was placed on the transfer list (link). Arseblog speculates that some of the potential money brought in for these exits could be used towards Thomas Partey, a player we discussed a little bit in the previous Arsenal thread when there were rumors of Arsenal's interest.
Were the club to recoup the £26 million fee paid for Torreira in 2018 and also get sizable sums for Ainsley Maitland-Niles, who is also seemingly set to exit, and Matteo Guendouzi, it would go some way to making up the cash needed to sign Thomas Partey. The Atletico Madrid player is valued around the €50 million mark.
If the net change is losing Guendouzi, Torreira, and AMN, but bringing in Partey and extending Ceballos, I'd be good with that. There is also the rumor of interest in Lille defender Gabriel Magalhães (mentioned in the opening post of this thread by Morgan's Magic Snowplow) that could be another expenditure. We are slowly starting to see a glimpse of Arteta's vision for the squad take shape (not his Manchester City-level finances dream version, but the realistic Europa version of building a squad).
 

Zososoxfan

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It sounds as if the midfield could look a bit different come next season.
  • Guendouzi has seemingly shot his way out of town by not meeting Arteta's expectations (oh, and choking Maupay), and there is a rumor that Emery would be interested in bringing him to his new club, Villarreal (link).
  • Torreira is rumored to be allowed to leave this summer, with AC Milan having interest (link)
It also has been reported that Ainsley Maitland-Niles was placed on the transfer list (link). Arseblog speculates that some of the potential money brought in for these exits could be used towards Thomas Partey, a player we discussed a little bit in the previous Arsenal thread when there were rumors of Arsenal's interest.


If the net change is losing Guendouzi, Torreira, and AMN, but bringing in Partey and extending Ceballos, I'd be good with that. There is also the rumor of interest in Lille defender Gabriel Magalhães (mentioned in the opening post of this thread by Morgan's Magic Snowplow) that could be another expenditure. We are slowly starting to see a glimpse of Arteta's vision for the squad take shape (not his Manchester City-level finances dream version, but the realistic Europa version of building a squad).
I did not foresee the Torreira signing falling flat. My memory of his quality makes me think he might be a good fit at Barca in the abstract. Unfortunately, Barca is such a clusterfuck at the moment that the club probably isn't even looking to sign a DMF (sigh). If he leaves Arsenal, I bet he fetches a solid fee to another UEL-level side outside of the EPL, reestablishes his value, and ends up at a UCL-quality club.
 

Tuff Ghost

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I did not foresee the Torreira signing falling flat. My memory of his quality makes me think he might be a good fit at Barca in the abstract. Unfortunately, Barca is such a clusterfuck at the moment that the club probably isn't even looking to sign a DMF (sigh). If he leaves Arsenal, I bet he fetches a solid fee to another UEL-level side outside of the EPL, reestablishes his value, and ends up at a UCL-quality club.
Torreira is really a tough player for me to understand currently. My evaluation of him has gone down since the fall of 2018 when I thought he would have a long future at Arsenal. He may have been partially and temporarily ruined by Emery trying to play him as an attacking midfielder. He is not good at advancing the ball, he has little creativity, and is poorly suited to that type of role. He still is a good defensive player, but for a team like Arsenal that struggle creatively currently, his limitations have been more apparent.

His ankle injury in March made it tough to get a great feel for how Arteta evaluates him, but he seemed to favor Xhaka and Ceballos over him, which tells me it is probably best for him to move on, even if he someday emerges as a better player than he is now. It just does not seem like it was going to work out perfectly for him at Arsenal. Maybe that's Arsenal's failure to properly develop a player of his potential, or maybe it is simply that Torreira does not really want to be at Arsenal (link), thus he'd never truly buy-in to Arteta's vision.
 

Zososoxfan

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Torreira is really a tough player for me to understand currently. My evaluation of him has gone down since the fall of 2018 when I thought he would have a long future at Arsenal. He may have been partially and temporarily ruined by Emery trying to play him as an attacking midfielder. He is not good at advancing the ball, he has little creativity, and is poorly suited to that type of role. He still is a good defensive player, but for a team like Arsenal that struggle creatively currently, his limitations have been more apparent.

His ankle injury in March made it tough to get a great feel for how Arteta evaluates him, but he seemed to favor Xhaka and Ceballos over him, which tells me it is probably best for him to move on, even if he someday emerges as a better player than he is now. It just does not seem like it was going to work out perfectly for him at Arsenal. Maybe that's Arsenal's failure to properly develop a player of his potential, or maybe it is simply that Torreira does not really want to be at Arsenal (link), thus he'd never truly buy-in to Arteta's vision.
Agree with most of this. The most surprising thing you wrote here, which is accurate, is that the MF pair of Ceballos and Xhaka is able to command the center of the pitch both defensively and support the offense. This is where Tierney's value is most apparent as he is a bona fide sword and not a shield at FB and reduces the offensive responsibility on the 2 CMF. Having really strong attackers also keeps the opposing defense pinned back. Arsenal may lack some balance with all the attacking coming down the left, but Pepe and Saka's development could really help here. All this said, Arteta is papering over a mostly poor defensive group with good tactics. Better clubs will likely find a way to exploit this now that they have more tape on Arteta.
 

Morgan's Magic Snowplow

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It sounds as if the midfield could look a bit different come next season.
  • Guendouzi has seemingly shot his way out of town by not meeting Arteta's expectations (oh, and choking Maupay), and there is a rumor that Emery would be interested in bringing him to his new club, Villarreal (link).
  • Torreira is rumored to be allowed to leave this summer, with AC Milan having interest (link)
It also has been reported that Ainsley Maitland-Niles was placed on the transfer list (link). Arseblog speculates that some of the potential money brought in for these exits could be used towards Thomas Partey, a player we discussed a little bit in the previous Arsenal thread when there were rumors of Arsenal's interest.


If the net change is losing Guendouzi, Torreira, and AMN, but bringing in Partey and extending Ceballos, I'd be good with that. There is also the rumor of interest in Lille defender Gabriel Magalhães (mentioned in the opening post of this thread by Morgan's Magic Snowplow) that could be another expenditure. We are slowly starting to see a glimpse of Arteta's vision for the squad take shape (not his Manchester City-level finances dream version, but the realistic Europa version of building a squad).
We also had a link today to my white whale midfield signing, Houssem Aouar from Lyon. This has always been a huge longshot since lots of bigger and more attractive clubs have been linked with him, City most prominently as the replacement for David Silva. But if they decide that its time to give more minutes to Foden, and a bunch of other things fall Arsenal's way too, then maybe we have a chance. Lyon will probably sell as they don't have European football next year, are likely strapped for cash, and they have a number of other young central midfielders.

Aouar is a different kind of player than Partey but if we're going to spend big on a central midfielder I'd rather have it be him.
 
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Tuff Ghost

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We also had a link today to my white whale midfield signing, Houssem Aouar from Lyon. This has always been a huge longshot since lots of bigger and more attractive clubs have been linked with him, City most prominently as the replacement for David Silva. But if they decide that its time to give more minutes to Foden, and a bunch of other things fall Arsenal's way too, then maybe we have a chance. Lyon will probably sell as they don't have European football next year, are likely strapped for cash, and they have a number of other young central midfielders.

Aouar is a different kind of player than Partey but if we're going to spend big on a central midfielder I'd rather have it be him.
I had not heard this; thanks, now I am dreaming of him, too! I may have to prioritize watching the Juve-Lyon match today instead of City-Real Madrid.
 

Tuff Ghost

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Watching not the match you're interested in, but the match with a player tenuously linked to your club: this way madness lies.
No, I will weep no more. In such a transfer-window
To shut me out? Pour on; I will endure.
In such a window as this? O Aouar, Upamecano!
Your old kind dreamer, whose Arsenal-support gave all—
O, that way madness lies; let me shun that;
No more of that.


Yeah, I suppose I'll watch City.
 

67YAZ

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We also had a link today to my white whale midfield signing, Houssem Aouar from Lyon. This has always been a huge longshot since lots of bigger and more attractive clubs have been linked with him, City most prominently as the replacement for David Silva. But if they decide that its time to give more minutes to Foden, and a bunch of other things fall Arsenal's way too, then maybe we have a chance. Lyon will probably sell as they don't have European football next year, are likely strapped for cash, and they have a number of other young central midfielders.

Aouar is a different kind of player than Partey but if we're going to spend big on a central midfielder I'd rather have it be him.
Aouar has been in the Liverpool rumor mill consistently for at least 3 years now. It would be a disappointment if he ended up at anywhere else. He’s just a remarkable young player.

Lyon are in a rough spot. They do need the money, but transfer fees are down and some of the big ones are being paid in installments. Lyon could decide to scrape by this year, try to qualify for Europe, and reap a bigger fee from Aouar next summer.
 

Morgan's Magic Snowplow

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Willian official. This team was sorely lacking creativity and playmaking from the wings and attacking midfield so Willian helps address a real need at a relatively affordable price.

The squad has a number of other holes, especially in central midfield. Edu says Willian is the "start of a big process" of squad rebalancing that will take a long time. So we will see what else the summer brings.

View: https://twitter.com/Arsenal/status/1294197121634242561
 

shaggydog2000

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Certainly when you factor in the fact that he came on a free, leaving the club more up front cash to fix the midfield and defense, he's a good pickup. He does something the team hasn't been great at, which is advance the ball into the final third. He's not a key cog to build the team around, but he helps. But with how long moves take these days, they all kind of feel anti-climactic, don't they?
 

Morgan's Magic Snowplow

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Raul Sanllehi just got canned. Details are unclear but it appears possibly related to an internal investigation into payments made to intermediaries during the Pepe transfer. I wonder whether Raul was pushing money to his cronies like Mendes and Kia and getting some kind of kickback.

In any case, that changes quite a lot, as Raul was the driver of the agent oriented approach to doing things at the club. Vinai Venkatesham will take his position but in footballing matters I would think this gives much more power to Edu and Arteta.

Sacking your head of football during an important transfer window can’t be a good idea in general. But in the long run I think this is probably for the best.
 
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mikeford

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Sacking your head of football during an important transfer window can’t be a good idea in general. But in the long run I think this is probably for the best.
I'm pretty pumped tbh. I do not think Raul was taking Arsenal in a good direction with his player evaluations and basically only working with Kia.

I hope Edu doesn't continue this Kia love affair.

Some internet scuttlebutt saying Bergkamp may be on-boarded as DoF.
 

Morgan's Magic Snowplow

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I'm pretty pumped tbh. I do not think Raul was taking Arsenal in a good direction with his player evaluations and basically only working with Kia.

I hope Edu doesn't continue this Kia love affair.
Agreed. Edu and Kia go way way back so I bet they stay tight, but hopefully Edu realizes there need to be limits and an empowered Arteta certainly has no incentive to take anymore Kia players unless he actually wants them.

Lots of scuttlebutt going around this afternoon that Arsenal have "won the race" to sign Lillie CB Gabriel Magalhaes, although I haven't yet seen it confirmed by a particularly reliable source yet.
 

mikeford

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Dortmund just got an 18 year old Brazilian wunderkind on loan for 2 years from Real.

His agent? Kia.

So why exactly are we working with this guy and signing his older, shitty clients if he's not going to also facilitate bringing in kids like this?

Man alive get this guy as far away from our club as possible. I think he's Edu's actual agent though so he probably won't be excised like the cancer he is.
 
The 2020-21 fixture list is out, and in their first seven games Arsenal have to travel to Liverpool, Man City and Man United. Which...could work out great, if those fixtures have no crowds but games further down the line do. (The first North London derby is also away at Spurs on 5 December; Arsenal's first home fixture against a traditional powerhouse isn't until Boxing Day, against Chelsea.)