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A great transfer window means Arsenal can still challenge for the Top Four

Some of the comments these past few days are just laughable. by Tony T

I don’t think people even realise what it is to support a football club anymore. The spending power of the likes of Man City, PSG, Madrid, Barcelona and now Newcastle have only made things worse for those with wild imaginations.

Let’s be clear that Arsenal football club has a rich history and whilst the last few years have not been the best in terms of success on and possibly off the pitch, it takes time to rebuild after the Wenger era and there needs to be an element of trust.

The Kroenke’s have backed Arteta and whilst it has been just over 2 years since the man has taken charge, he has to deal with a huge squad and some hefty wage bills. To be fair to the owners, they have spent big only 6 months ago, and to be fair to Arteta, he has instilled a sense of discipline and his way – whether people like it or not, he is the manager and that’s a sign of a no-nonsense manager. Those making a mockery of the likes of Ozil, Auba etc., are just bonkers. There is a fine balance between legacy and taking the mickey – both players achieved great things in the first few years and then tailed off. Sitting on c£10-15m annual wages, if you’re not bothered to be a team player, adhere to the disciplines and at least perform, then you’re off I’m afraid – nobody is bigger than the team.

People are whining about no incomings, but do you know how many players we actually had on the books? Finally, we have a team that is recognisable, and we know what each player’s role is. I’m not to bother about the fact that we didn’t manage to get anyone in this window – It is excruciatingly hard to bring quality in January and whilst Vlahovic would have been great, never bring someone who doesn’t want to come.

I’m however very pleased we’ve managed to offload a few and trim the squad. Let’s be clear, we only have 17 league games over 4-5 months, that’s about 3-4 league games a month. No long-term injuries in the current squad and we have a squad of about 18 first team players – which if they work their socks off for their manager, we should still challenge for that top 4.

GK – Ramsdale/Leno
WBL – Tierney/Tavares
WBR – Tomiyasu/Cedric
CB – Gabriel/White/Holding
DM – Xhaka/Elneny
CM – Partey/Lokonga/ (Patino as back up)
AM – Odegaard/ESR
RW – Saka/Pepe
LW – Martinelli
ST – Lacazette/Nketiah

To be honest that is not a bad squad (20 players) at all. We will probably, and I expect to, lose Leno, Cedric, Elneny, Nketiah and Pepe in the next window. That’s 5 more gone and possibly further losses of Lacazette and Xhaka. We will then be down to 12 first team players.

Of those currently out, I expect the following to leave in the summer – Guendouzi to leave permanently to Marseille, Torreira to leave permanently to Fiorentina, AMN to leave to Roma permanently, Mavropanos to Stuttgart. All the above have option to buy (except AMN) which I believe will be triggered. I also believe Bellerin, Nelson, Mari and Runarsson will leave permanently in the summer. You add others that left this window – Chambers, Kolasinac, Auba etc., and you can see what an herculean task it is managing a squad this size, some not good enough, some with egos who want to play without performing, and more than anything else, if a manager wants to get a few players in – where is the space from a footballing and financing point of view with all these wages?

The only player I’d like to see back is Saliba, let’s see what happens in the summer.

I think these last few windows have been the best in a few years. We’ve had a host of players that we had to move on, some signings under MA and Edu were below par (Willian, Cedric, Mari etc.) but I do believe they needed some immediate replacements for those that had to move on like Ozil, Sokratis, Mustafi etc.

Either way, come the summer we will have about 12-15 top young players from the current crop, a massively reduced wage bill and hopefully a bit of firepower to go and add some real quality.

The final left standing would be:
GK – Ramsdale
LB – Tierney/Tavares
CB – Gabriel, White, Holding, Saliba
RB – Tomiyasu
DM – ?
CM – Partey/Lokonga
AM – Odegaard/ESR
RW – Saka
LW – Martinelli
ST -??

That’s 14 players – so we need a couple of strikers, a couple of wingers and a couple of defensive midfielders and a backup for Tomiyasu at RB. It seems Matt Turner will be the backup for Ramsdale.
Hoping for a good summer with quality additions. But a lot of hard work is and was needed to just empty the room. So many had to be moved first to then be able to plan the incomings.

For now, I’m happy with the squad and to be honest the first XI is as good as we’ve had in a while. Some players are still very young but have a lot of talent and with the right application and desire, we could go on a run. Some quality additions in the summer and we could see a genuine team emerging.

Lastly, I just want to clarify that I’m not an MA fan, but I’m willing to give him time to implement a squad he needs and more than anything give him the benefit of what he, Edu and the Kroenke’s are trying to build.

They have spent money, they have bought well, they are instilling a sense of discipline and club come first mentality and my hope is that before long we will be a force to reckon with – but it takes time.

Until then get behind the team and support them.

Tony T


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