Arsenal set for busy end to transfer window

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The transfer window will slam shut on Wednesday at 11.30pm. Less than 60 hours to go. And in that 60 hours, Arsenal still have a lot of work to do.

Shkodran Mustafi and Lucas Perez

The deals are all but done for Shkodran Mustafi and Lucas Perez. Fees agreed, contracts signed, medicals reportedly completed. All we are waiting for his the FA to reopen Tuesday morning so that we can send across the official paperwork, and the deal is then signed, sealed and completed.

I would imagine as I am writing this, both players are at London Colney and/or the stadium getting their promo photos done. Arsenal might even announce both deals today before they have been full ratified by the FA.

Mustafi has been called up for Germany’s friendly game against Finland on 31 August 2016 and the 2018 FIFA World Cup qualification game against Norway on 4 September 2016. Perez unsurprisingly not selected for Spain.

Both Mustafi and Perez will be able to use the international break in different ways to gain full match sharpness and be ready for the home game against Southampton on September 10th.

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Defenders Loaned Out

The exit door could be very busy at London Colney over the next 60 hours with numerous players slated to be loaned out.

Arsenal are ready to allow Mathieu Debuchy to depart the club. Most likely on a season-long loan. A reported calf injury could hamper the deal, but a club will likely take a gamble and get the French international in. His destination likely to be somewhere in Turkey, or the mid-lower reaches of Italy’s Serie A.Mathieu+Debuchy+Calum+Chambers+Manchester+a7sYRe78Nyrl

Also exiting will be Calum Chambers. Since his breakthrough 2 seasons ago, he has struggled to nail a place in the team, mainly down to lack of playing time. He needs to go somewhere in the Premier League and play a season at centreback. We will want him to go somewhere where he will be guaranteed to play every game. Hull and Middlesbrough seem like the front runners.

Letting both go would leave Arsenal with just one recognised right back whilst Carl Jenkinson recovers from his injury, but Mustafi has played at right back before for both club and country. I would also imagine a deal for Chambers would involve a recall clause.

Major Exit?

Could we see Theo Walcott or Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain leave the club over the next few days?

Serge Gnabry

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The next out of the door could be Serge Gnabry. Top scorer for Germany at the Olympics, he was in impressive form. But is there a place for him at Arsenal?

With Alexis Sanchez, Theo Walcott, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Alex Iwobi & new boy Lucas Perez ahead of him, he will struggle for game time.

One thing Arsenal have to take into account is his contract. It expires at the end of this season. the club would probably prefer a loan deal for the barley-21 German star, but that would open the risk of losing him for nothing at the end of the season if we do not tie him down to a new contract.

Arsenal might be willing to cut their losses with Gnabry and sell for a cut price deal.

He will end up in Germany, whether on loan or a permanent deal.

David Ospina

I began writing this thinking we might see David Ospina make the surprise move to Barcelona to provide competition for Marc-André ter Stegen, replacing Claudio Bravo. But they have already secured Jasper Cillessen. That door is now closed, but it would not surprise me if someone came in for a late bid for the Colombian, with the offer of first team football.

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Minor Loan Deals

The likes of Yaya Sanogo, Chuba Akpom and Jeff Reine-Adelaide could well see themselves also exit the club in loan deals.

With the changes to the loan system coming into place, we can not think that we will keep Akpom and The Jeff to play against Nottingham Forest before loaning them out. A decision will have to be made on them in the coming days.

As for Sanogo, any loan deal will be an option, or we might just put him down and turn him into glue.

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Late Madness

It has been the slogan of our summer after a Twitter ITK tweeted that Arsenal were going to do a madness.

So far the predictions that we would smash our transfer record has not happened, but you feel that if all the domino’s fall into place, we could see one more final transfer on the last day of the season.

Could Arsenal take advantage of Daniel Sturridge’s unhappiness under Jurgen Klopp at Liverpool? Or a move for long term linked Antoine Griezmann or Julian Draxler? Or maybe a big money move for James Rodgriguez or Isco? Or will Dimitri Payet become Arsene Wengers man?

We have the money there, we could still make a late move for someone.

Keenos

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Lucas Perez & Shkodran Mustafi – Panic Buys or Brilliant Purchases?

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Lucas Perez and Shkodran Mustafi. Had I said them two names to you about 6 months ago, 70% of you would have said who and the other 30% would have pretended to know who they are whilst frantically searching out their Wikipedia pages.

But here we are, in August, and both are set to become Arsenal players. And we still do not know anything about either.

Mustafi came into most people conscious when he scored against Ukraine at Euro 2016.

He then failed to start another game as everyone quickly put him in their Fantasy Football team and just as quickly took him out.

As for Lucas Perez (is it Lucas or Perez?), anyone that says they have seen him play is most likely a liar. No one had heard of him 48 hours ago. The only thing we really know about him is the Squawka statistics doing the round comparing him favourably to Antoine Griezmann.

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Two signings, one from nowhere, has led to accusations of Arsene Wenger Panic Buying.

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I do find it interesting that the main paper and journalist running with this line is John Cross and The Mirror. How John Cross’s view on Arsene Wenger has done a 180 since his book came out is incredible.

5 years of his head being up Wenger’s arse whilst writing the book. As soon as he no longer needs Wenger, he starts slating the man just for hits on his articles and a regular slot on TalkSport. But I digress.

Were Perez and Mustafi panic buys? To understand whether they were, you have to understand how clubs come up with their transfer targets.

For those that have not read the brilliant book Nowhere Men by Michael Calvin, teams tend to follow the following process when identifying and securing a transfer.

First is establishing what type of player they need. If they play like Arsenal and are looking for full backs, they need to bring in an attacking full back who is good at getting forward, has plenty of stamina and pace. It is then up to the scouts to go out and find these players.

There is no point scouting a defensive, slow, full back if that is not the type of player you need. The scouts go out with the player description and attempt to discover that player.

For example, with Granit Xhaka, Arsenal clearly targeted defensive midfielders who had a good pass completion ratio. This is also why we signed Mohamad Elneny. We did not need a N’Golo Kante or Victor Wanyama, players who run around a bit but are poor footballers, as that is not how we play.

The players singled out by the scouts then become a list which usually go’s on a white board in a secret room. I will let the book take over.

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So the likes of Lucas Perez would have appeared on the list. Probably not at the top. The top would have been, say, Antoine Griezmann, Julian Draxler, Henrikh Mkhitaryan and so on. As targets no longer became targets, either by joining other clubs, showing no interest, or being more expensive in fee or salary than we were willing to pay, they get rubbed off. And you move down that list until you get to a player that you reach a deal with.

In this case, that player was Lucas Perez.

Now there were reports that we rejected a chance to sign him a month ago. And again 2 weeks ago. This was not because we did not want him. But because at the time we were chasing other targets. He might have been 8th or 9th on the list, and when offered him, we were still pursuing number 3. The list is fast moving and it evolves.

There are normally numerous lists, with different players in different positions. Up to 9 or 10 players for each, maybe even more. And this is why we get linked to so many players. If they are on the list, we are scouting them regularly. Watching them week in week out. By the time you add the youth players with potential, the list of players Arsenal are watching at any one time can easily reach over 100.

This does not mean we are going to sign 100 players, it just means we are watching them. So when the lazy journalists link us to a player, there is actually some truth in it. We are probably watching him. But what the press do not know that player sits on the list. How seriously we are watching him. All they really know is we are potentially interested.

So Lucas Perez and Shkodran Mustafi would have been on a white board in a locked from in London Colney which is only accessible by Arsene Wenger and his inner circle.

The players would have been scouted thoroughly and ordered by who is the priority. And over the summer that list would have worked through until we reach the point we did last night with two deals being doing for Perez and Mustafi.

My betting is that Mustafi was high up on a list. But we never really planned to sign a centre back this summer. And that we only started going for him once Gabriel became injured.

Perez would have been on a list, mid to low down on that list, with other targets above him. Likely added by the scout we poached from Leicester. Interesting that the 2 sides that were interested, Arsenal and Everton, have both poached Leicester back room staff. Those targets have not been secured, which is why he will find himself wearing The Arsenal Number 9 shirt next this season.

Now whether you think we worked quickly through the list, or have signed the right players, or have over spent or under spent, that is a different debate for a different blog.

Neither Perez or Mustafi were panic buys. Adding that sort of title to an article is merely to grab hits.

We might not have heard of either of them 6 months ago, but the Arsenal scouting and coaching staff would have. And we should welcome them to The Arsenal. Back them. If they give 100%, lets give them 100% back.

It might be too little to late. But we were not in a state of panic.

Keenos

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Lucas Perez, Aaron Ramsey, Chris Coleman & Watford Away

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Lucas Perez

So we all know how it works by now:

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So a player gets his move away from the club, or his new contract, and Arsenal simply get used, abused and spat out. At no point were Arsenal actually interested, but the furore caused leads fans to get excited, than disappointed, then attack the club.

I doubt if Arsenal are interested in Lucas Perez (and fully expect this article to be RT’d thousands of times when we do sign him). We have been linked to so many players this summer.  Moist is either press speculation, or, like with Riyad Mahrez, an agent using the Arsenal name to gain publicity to get a better deal.

Let’s stop believing everything we read.

Aaron Ramsey

Arsene Wenger was right when, after Liverpool, he said he just can not win (0 wins from 2 games shows that).

He did not player Laurent Koscielny, Mesut Ozil or Olivier Giroud, and was bashed left, right and centre over it. But had they played, and got injured, everyone would have moaned that they were rushed back, not given the correct time off.

Fast forward 10 days, and Aaron Ramsey is out injured for a month after playing in the opening game of the season against Liverpool.

Chris Coleman has gone on to say: “I think we all expected him to [miss the start of the season].

“So I don’t know what happened between then and when he ended up on the pitch.

“Obviously only Arsenal can answer that. I think, to a man, it was a bit of a surprise he started.”

And there we have the catch 22 Arsene Wenger was talking about. He plays a player, that player gets injured, people moan that he should not have played him. He does not play a player, giving him a bit more rest, people then moan he should have played him.

Due to suspension, Aaron Ramsey’s last game for Wales was 1st July. A week before Laurent Koscileny and Olivier Giroud. In fact, the Frenchmen played 3 more games after Aaron Ramsey’s last game.

Koscielny returned to the Arsenal starting 11 for Leicester. A week after the first game. So Coleman’s talk about Ramsey being treated differently is completely rubbish.

I also laugh at Chris Coleman’s dig at Arsene Wenger “A lot has been said about their injury list, they’re doing the same things now as they’ve always done – they’re not going to change now.”

So he is moaning that we treated Ramsey different to Koscielny, than saying we are doing the same as we have always done? How can both of these be correct?

Chris Coleman is an average manager who got lucky by coming into a Wales team with someone like Gareth Bale in it.

Coleman managed 117 games for Coventry, he had a win percentage of 29.1%. I think he has been listening to former Dutch physio and career critique Raymond “unemployed” Verheijen too much.

Watford Away

So we have a distraction of the transfer window coming up in the shape of Watford away. At least those of us who go have something else to think about / look forward too. A decent trip that is local but still feels like an away game.

At times like this I feel sorry for those who live their footballing lives from behind a keyboard, or on a smart phone. It must be hard sitting their day in day out, not having a game to look forward to, not having the release of 90 minutes.

Enjoy your bitching and moaning online before, during and after the game. I will be in the pub, in the ground, then in the pub again, enjoying the company of my pals.

Up the Arsenal.

Keenos

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