Arsenal 2018-19: Spanish David Moyes

mikeford

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It's official. The club has unveiled Unai Emery as the man who takes over for Arsene Wenger after 22 years.


Figured we might as well start a new thread now.

This is pretty much the biggest moment for Arsenal since the ill-fated Champions League final in 2006.
 

PedroSpecialK

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I am devastated that there are apparently 0 people with "Oglethorpe" in their name at Arsenal

To add some substance - I think it's a good hire, and the early signs that he's focusing on maximizing Aubameyang and playing Ramsey centrally bodes well.
 

shaggydog2000

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I'm definitely in the cautiously optimistic camp. I like that he has actual coaching experience. That's nice.
 

ifmanis5

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Anyone else is such a breath of fresh air at this point that it's hard not to be a little optimistic. They basically flushed a few years down the toilet. In general, the guy following the big guy is not a great place to be but fingers crossed.
 

mikeford

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I am devastated that there are apparently 0 people with "Oglethorpe" in their name at Arsenal

To add some substance - I think it's a good hire, and the early signs that he's focusing on maximizing Aubameyang and playing Ramsey centrally bodes well.
I find it interesting that he keyed on molding the team around PEA and Ramsey, when Ramsey isn't signed beyond next season and neither of them are Arsenal's highest paid player.
 

JimBoSox9

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It's been two days, and mikeford is already laying the groundwork to make Ozil his new binky of hate. Fast work! Kudos

That said, it seems cray cray to me to retain Wilshire but let Ramsey walk, even at his higher wage level. I have to imagine the Welshman wants a salary just a notch or two below the top earners, and the club will want a bit of a look-see the first few months of the season to make sure his fitness rates before ponying up, but I'd be rather stunned if he wasn't extended by January. There's no one available for under 30-40 mil who can replace what he does for our midfield.
 

fletcherpost

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I like the appointment. For one: He's no David Moyes, he's won trophies, domestically and in Europe. He's managed big players with big egos. And by all acounts he's a bit of a boffin/nerd when it comes to video/tactical analysis.

Can he improve and develop players? I think he's shown he can, from his time at Sevilla and Valenica.
I think Arteta would have been a mistake, but we'll never know now. And Emery might not work out, but I think there's room for a lot of optimism if you're a gooner.

Just as well we've got a World Cup to bridge the close season gap - i cannae wait till the start of next season. it's gonna be great, and it's gonna be carnage.
 

67YAZ

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I find it interesting that he keyed on molding the team around PEA and Ramsey, when Ramsey isn't signed beyond next season and neither of them are Arsenal's highest paid player.
Only Emery knows how they’ll line up in August, but projecting from his Sevilla sides (I don’t think the 4-3-3 at PSG was Emery’s choice)...

Emery’s 4-2-3-1 morphs into a 4-5-1 when defending & and a 3-4-3 in attack. It makes total sense to key on Auba because he’s the kind of intelligent, hard working, & fast #9 that can hit on the counter and press well. He’ll be asked to harass CBs and DMs and then take good positions when the ball is played wide. Not sure if this means Lacazette becomes an over-qualified rotation player.

I’m guessing that Emery eyes Ramsey as a #8 that can fluidly swap roles with #10 during play. M’bia and Banega did this wonderfully at Sevilla. It made the midfield dynamic, but it also relied on Krychowiak staying home and destroying any plays that slip through the gap. (I’ll bet Arsenal buys Krychowiak at a discount rate this summer.)

I think Mkhitaryan could play that #10 role. He used to play deeper at Dortmund and did fantastically on Klopp’s dynamic midfield. Where that leaves Özil one can only guess.
 

67YAZ

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Maybe things can be patched up, but Krychowiak called Emery a liar after he was loaned out to West Brom. I wouldn't bet on that signing.
Oh, missed that. Sounds juicy.

Seri is another good possibility with his reasonable release clause, provided he isn't still waiting on an offer from Barca.
 
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lars10

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Hit that ignore button then, bud
I hate this club and everyone at it.
And so it ends. 22 years in charge, 0 success in Europe on any scale.
Any chance you can tone down the negativity though next year? You’ve started the Arsenal thread now twice but go back and read last year’s.. there are about ten posts at the beginning of the year that engender discussion and then thirty or so that are just fly by posts talking about how much you hate the team, that you root for them etc. people come here to talk about Arsenal or at least I do.. and some of those posts are just thread killers...like the one above
 

mikeford

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Ornstein has spoken

Arsenal are getting Dortmund greek boi Sokrates Popadopalous (I'm definitely not spelling this kids name right ever in my life) for 16 mil.

So that's 1 CB off the to-do list. With Koscielny most likely done for his career at Arsenal, I'd like to get another in as well. Don't really want any part of continuing to start Mustafi and neither Chambers nor Holding are every-game-starter players.
 

shaggydog2000

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The new guys appear to believe Greek defenders are the new market inefficiency. I hope they are right.
 

mikeford

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Not sure how much input Emery actually has on transfers at this point. They made a seemingly specific point of calling him a head coach rather than a manager. I think this is all Sven's doing. He had this guy at Dortmund after all.
 

shaggydog2000

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Not sure how much input Emery actually has on transfers at this point. They made a seemingly specific point of calling him a head coach rather than a manager. I think this is all Sven's doing. He had this guy at Dortmund after all.
That's who I was referring to. They also brought in Mavropanos 6 months ago, which it would have been hard for Emery to have input on.
 

mikeford

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@Frankie_Hobbs 55m
Arsenal are expected to complete the signing of Sokratis Papastathopoulos this week. They are also in the market for another central defender, a central midfielder and continue negotiations with Stephan Lichtsteiner. [@standardsport]

Interesting that there's no mention of a GK, something I feel we desperately need since Cech is ancient and on decline and Ospina is just not good. Glad to see the club knows we need more than 1 CB though.
 

fletcherpost

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Yikes, i'm reading that Wenger is favourite to take over at Real Madrid. True or not, football is strange.
 

NHbeau

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In a weird way Arsene is perfect for an aging team like Real. He's all about man management and not exactly high pressure training. He'll let them play how they want, he'll defend them in the press. And has the Name. Meh. I can see it working.
 

mikeford

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In a weird way Arsene is perfect for an aging team like Real. He's all about man management and not exactly high pressure training. He'll let them play how they want, he'll defend them in the press. And has the Name. Meh. I can see it working.
He couldn't manage the egos of Alexis and Özil. You think he can handle RONALDO?
 

Morgan's Magic Snowplow

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A few updates:

On the transfer front, many rumors suggest that Arsenal are close to signing Lucas Torreira, an Uruguayan defensive midfielder, for something in the neighborhood of 30m euro. I won't pretend to have watched a bunch of Sampdoria matches or to have a meaningful opinion on him, but the player's profile - a short, quick, skilled, press-resistant defensive midfielder (Verratti is the aspirational comparison you hear a lot) - makes a lot of sense for Arsenal, as we've badly missed this kind of player since Santi Cazorla's Achilles tendons imploded.

The new Premier League schedule has us starting with City at home then Chelsea away, or two of the toughest six fixtures of the entire season right from the jump. Welcome to England, Señor Emery! The obvious downside is that Emery will still be whipping the side into shape and we stand a chance of getting buried right from the beginning. On the other hand, we may actually catch City at a good time - they have many more players in their side at the World Cup, a number of whom are likely to make it to the quarterfinals or beyond. Some of those players may not be available for a match on August 11.
 

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German reports have Bernd Leno (just missed out the WC roster as the 4th keeper) from Bayer Leverkusen going to Arsenal tomorrow. The clause in his contract is for 25mil.€. I don´t think he´s the best keeper, I don´t know how he will react to getting bumped more often on crosses in the Premier League. He´s about good in most areas and his best thing might be shot-reaction. For a relative young keeper (turned 26 in march) he has a lot of experience: 233 Bundesliga games (7 seasons with 30+), 20 DFB cup matches, 37 CL matches (+4qualification matches), 10 Europa League matches. But of course, only 6 games for Germany, as there´s Neuer and ter Stegen in front of him.
 

InstaFace

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btw, I'm a few weeks late on this, but Sokratis is the fuckin' real deal. I watched a majority of Dortmund's games this year and last (because Pulisic) and leaving aside Aubameyang who of course left midyear, he might be Dortmund's best player - say what you will about Reus and Schurrle and Castro and Weigl. Just great footwork and instincts in central defense, and when everything was going to shit against Monaco in the UCL QFs a year ago, he was the only one who looked like he had his head about him and still was playing with some pride. He doesn't have Koscielny's pace, but then again few do (and now, neither does Koscielny...). At 16M GBP, he's an absolute steal, and frankly I'm shocked Dortmund let him go for so "little".
 

Morgan's Magic Snowplow

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Wilshere announced on Instagram that he is leaving the club. Apparently Emery made it clear that he wasn't in his plans. It didn't work out but I will always have nothing but fondness for Jack, whose principal limitation was glass ankles. He played 3800 minutes when he was 18/19 years old - not atypical for a mainstay at a club in multiple competitions - and never got within 1000 minutes of that figure for the next seven years. This sport is far too competitive for anybody to develop properly if they're spending that much time on the training table.

Torreira seems to be the direct replacement. There have been a thousand signs and hints and now Sampdoria's president has confirmed that the player is gone.


With Leno and Lichsteiner in the fold and Sokratis seemingly very likely, this has been a very productive window so far. The signings aren't super sexy but they all improve serious areas of need for the club. Wenger left us in a bad spot - a team that needs a rebuild but also need to get back into the Champion's League after a two year absence. I'd like to see at least one more high-upside young player (in addition to Torreira) brought in, preferably a winger. But overall I think the new management is doing a good job with some smart signings and balancing building for the future with increasing near-term competitiveness.

One lingering issue is whether both Ramsey and Ozil can have a real future at the club. Emery has favored the 4-2-3-1 throughout his career and he has always liked midfielders that do the dirty work of keeping the team ticking in possession, shielding the back line, and maintaining tactical discipline. Elneny and Xhaka have signed new deals since Emery was announced and are clearly in his plans for the position, as is Torreira and, possibly, Maitland-Niles. In an Emery world, Ramsey is a 10 or a winger. Can you play Ramsey and Ozil in the same team in Emery's 4-2-3-1? In theory you can, but neither are ideal fits for the wing and that's doubly true if the opposite side "winger" is Mkhi, another player that is more a midfielder than a forward. I'm sympathetic to the notion that depth is good and squad selection problems have a way of solving themselves via injury. But Ozil is the highest paid player at the club and Ramsey, if given a new contract, would possibly be the second. I wouldn't be shocked if one of the two is sold this summer and I think it might not be a bad idea, as long as the money was productively reinvested in other areas.
 
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Morgan's Magic Snowplow

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I watched Torreira for the first time today in the Uruguay-Russia match. Not the best test, especially with Russia playing with 10 for much of the game. But I really liked what I saw overall. He is a quick feisty little fucker that isn't afraid to get stuck in, he's nifty and confident on the ball at the base of Uruguay's diamond midfield, and without the ball he seemed to always be well positioned, able to step up to harass players and break up play but very quick to recover as well. I don't know how he'll do in the end but I already like him better than Xhaka.
 

slamminsammya

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btw, I'm a few weeks late on this, but Sokratis is the fuckin' real deal. I watched a majority of Dortmund's games this year and last (because Pulisic) and leaving aside Aubameyang who of course left midyear, he might be Dortmund's best player - say what you will about Reus and Schurrle and Castro and Weigl. Just great footwork and instincts in central defense, and when everything was going to shit against Monaco in the UCL QFs a year ago, he was the only one who looked like he had his head about him and still was playing with some pride. He doesn't have Koscielny's pace, but then again few do (and now, neither does Koscielny...). At 16M GBP, he's an absolute steal, and frankly I'm shocked Dortmund let him go for so "little".
Its not such a crazy low number when you consider that

i) He is already 30, and

ii) He only had one year remaining on his deal at Dortmund.
 

shaggydog2000

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I think we're all going to like Xhaka more once he starts working with a hands-on manager who is more capable of getting the best out of him.
They re-signed Xhaka after hiring Emery, so it would make sense that he wants to use both he and Torreira in the central midfield. How that works with Ramsey et al is to be seen. There would seem to be one or two extra attacking players if that is the plan.
 

JimBoSox9

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Especially if Banega also signs, I'm betting Ramsey is going to see more time as a wide forward next to Ozil then he will in central midfield.
 

Morgan's Magic Snowplow

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Chambers also just reportedly signed a new deal, following Xhaka, Elneny, and Maitland-Niles, as well as Ozil, Auba, and Mkhi over the winter.

I think the contracts are less about Emery's preferences and more about the new regime understanding that extending players is important to maintaining their asset value and your control over the roster, as opposed to Wenger's inane approach of just letting all his players run down their contracts at roughly the same time.

If Ramsey signs, the only relatively important players not signed through 2021 at this point will be Monreal (2019), Kos (2020), Welbeck (2019), and Iwobi (2020). The first two are probably entering the series-of-one-year-deals phase of their careers. My guess is that Welbeck leaves this summer. Not sure about Iwobi.
 

coremiller

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Because when you've got a team that just finished 6th, you've no choice but to extend everyone's contracts and bring the whole gang back.
 

ConigliarosPotential

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If you assume - as I'm inclined to assume - that Wenger seriously lost his touch in training and developing his young players in particular over the last few years, and that Emery may prove to be a much better teacher than Wenger, perhaps selling low on some of these guys might be a bad idea? Sign 'em now and sell 'em in the winter or next summer if needs be, I say.
 

mikeford

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Even following that logic, Chambers wasn't expiring. He had a deal through 2019. Emery had plenty of time to evaluate him and THEN extend him if they wanted to. It just makes no sense. Maybe they needed to hit the minimum for homegrown or some crap.
 

Morgan's Magic Snowplow

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The logic is simple: Players are assets but they lose their value when their contracts run down. So as long as a player is not old, terrible, or demanding wages way out of line with their talent, you generally want to extend them. I’m not high on Chambers but he’s not terrible and I doubt his new wages are ludicrously high.
 

rguilmar

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I watched Torreira for the first time today in the Uruguay-Russia match. Not the best test, especially with Russia playing with 10 for much of the game. But I really liked what I saw overall. He is a quick feisty little fucker that isn't afraid to get stuck in, he's nifty and confident on the ball at the base of Uruguay's diamond midfield, and without the ball he seemed to always be well positioned, able to step up to harass players and break up play but very quick to recover as well. I don't know how he'll do in the end but I already like him better than Xhaka.
Yeah, you guys will love Torreira. Decent passer, won’t hold onto the ball much, nice long range shot. But that’s all gravy. He’s a tough sob who seemingly intercepts every pass on the ground and he’s a really sure tackler. Not much of a ball winner in the air, mostly due to the fact that he’s so short. But on the ground, that ball is his. I watched him a ton last year at Samp (a fun team to watch btw, mostly due to Lucas). I was hoping he’d stay for one more year, but it was clear that his talent had outgrown the club.
 

Morgan's Magic Snowplow

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Yeah, you guys will love Torreira. Decent passer, won’t hold onto the ball much, nice long range shot. But that’s all gravy. He’s a tough sob who seemingly intercepts every pass on the ground and he’s a really sure tackler. Not much of a ball winner in the air, mostly due to the fact that he’s so short. But on the ground, that ball is his. I watched him a ton last year at Samp (a fun team to watch btw, mostly due to Lucas). I was hoping he’d stay for one more year, but it was clear that his talent had outgrown the club.
Great to hear. I’m going to be pissed if we lose him bc we couldn’t close the deal before the cup began. Many reports suggest it’s done but until it’s announced you never know.
 

mikeford

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The Oracle says Torreia should be done in a week and that's a wrap on first team additions but there could be some youth signings or "ones for the future" after.

The midfield composition scares the hell out of me with only Ramsey really seeming to fit a true "central midfield" role. We'll see how Emery works around it.