Arsenal’s £350million problem

Unai Emery is a good manager who has had success everywhere he has been.

Mikel Arteta is a highly rated young coach, who has drawn praise from Jurgen Klopp, Arsene Wenger and Mauricio Pochettino.

Both men are good at their job. But they are being let down by the players around them.

The same issues we had in Arsene Wenger’s last season were present through-out Emery’s tenure and have not disappeared under Arteta.

The FA Cup win, and victories over Liverpool, Manchester United, Manchester City and Chelsea last year papered over some cracks. Defeats to Brighton and Aston Villa as the football returned from lockdown showed the Jekyll and Hyde team that we are.

Arsenal’s biggest problem is that the core group of players that have been with the club for the last 3 and a bit seasons are simply not good enough, and firstly Emery and then Arteta are paying the price.

We have amassed a squad of players that is lacking in quality, lacking in consistency and lacking in the right attitude.

And the issue is that due to the money that they are on and the length of contracts handed out, both Emery and Arteta, alongside Raul Sanllehi and Edu, have struggled to move them on.

That means neither Emery or Arteta have been able to build the squad they want. They have had to utilise the legacy players mainly bought in during Arsene Wenger’s later years, who have proved for some time that they are not god enough.

Now this is not a blog blaming Wenger for everything that has gone wrong.

He sanctioned the signing of some of those players, contracts were agreed by Ivan Gazidis, recruitment by Sven Mislintat. And Emery, Arteta, Sanllehi and Edu have not had perfect records of bringing players in.

But we have a good dozen or so players that need to be shipped out, and most of them pre-date Wenger leaving.

Take Mesut Ozil and Sokratis.

The pair are not even registered to play in either the Premier League or Europa League but will earn £23million between them this season.

We demand more of Stan Kroenke, but why would he invest when he sees £23million going out the door on players that do not play?

Then we have the likes of Granit Xhaka, Sead Kolasinac, Shkodran Mustafi for starters

Xhaka and Mustafi are in their 5th and Kolasinac his 4th. Have any of them every done it on a consistent enough basis to justify still being here? No.

They earn a combined £15million.

Is anyone keeping a running total? If not we are up to £38million a year. And we are not done yet.

Calum Chambers joined the club in 2014. This is his 7th season at Arsenal. He has been shopped out on loan to Fulham and Middlesbrough. Relegated at both.

Whilst Rob Holding is now in his 5th season at the club.

I like the pair. They seem to be normal lads. But are they ever going to be good enough for The Arsenal? At 25-years-old, we need to stop talking about what they might become and focus on what they are. Two lower-mid table Premier League central defenders. You’d maybe keep one of them around as a squad player, but certainly do not need both.

Both earn in the region of £40,000. Another £2million.

All these players mentioned so far bar Xhaka is fringe player. A squad player. And the two unregistered players. They earn in the region of £40million a year between them. Nd none of them are good enough.

Over 5 years that is £200million.

And then we come on to the likes of David Luiz and Willian. Two newer signings.

The Brazilian pair earn £15million  year.

They were short term options signed out of desperation. Both should be surplus to requirements at the end of this year. But we will probably end up stuck with Willian.

And then we have “senior pros” Hector Bellerin and Alexandre Lacazette.

I love Bellerin. He is a fantastic person and personality, and gets grief from some fans just because he is a little different. But as a player he is no better now then he was in 2016 as a 21 year old.

Lacazette has yet to do anything that has justified his £45million transfer fee and huge wages. He is the 5th highest earning player at the club but would not get into most peoples starting XI.

Bellerin and Luiz also earn £15million a year.

So we have Ozil and Sokratis. Xhaka, Mustafi, and Kolasinac. Chambers or Holding. Willian and Luiz. Bellerin and Lacazette.

That is 10 players who are not really up for it. Who have proved over up to 8 years that they are not the quality to take us forward. And they earn between them around £70million a year. That is one third of our wage bill on 10 players who are not good enough.

Over 5 years, those 10 players will cost Arsenal £350million.

Imagine the improvements on the squad Arsenal could make with a further £350m to be spent on transfer fees and 5 year contracts.

So if we got the 10 players clearly not good enough off our wage bill, that give allow us to finance 5 new signings. Players that improve the top end of the squad. Players like Thomas Partey and Gabriel Magalhães. Sign the likes of Max Aarons, Houssem Aouar, Dominik Szoboszlai.

“But we are losing 10 and only signing 5” you cry.

Yes, but lets remember 2 of those 10 are unregistered, and we currently have a 31-man squad.

Losing 10, signing 5 would see us with a 26-man squad, that would contain more quality than quality, looking something like this:

You can then fill in the gaps with the players you would want, but what it highlights is that due to having 10 players who are not really good enough, Arteta (and before him Emery) is being denied 5 players they do want. 5 players that would all probably start in the XI. 50% of the outfield players.

Until we ship out those players who have let us down time and again, we will not move forward as a club regardless of who the manager is.

The good news if that the contracts of Ozil, Mustafi, Sokratis and Luiz are expiring at the end of this season, so 4 of the 10 will naturally leave.

The club should be able to find buyers for Lacazette, Bellerin, Xhaka, Kolasinac & Chambers/Holding, even if we only accept a minimal transfer fee for them. That would leave just Willian.

Once these players are shipped out, even if it is just 7 of the 10, Edu and Arteta will then have the funds to rebuild the squad. Stronger, leaner, hungrier, better.

Keenos

9 thoughts on “Arsenal’s £350million problem

  1. Dulyn Joned

    What a load of bollocks!!!!
    I agree that Wenger has left behind a bag of shite for Emery and now Arteta….
    But its all about IF we could shift these 10 players we would be OK…
    Firstly who would want any of these overhyped, overpaid, overrated players and even think about giving us a transfer fee for any of them…
    Secondly who would want to join our 14th placed club…
    Thirdly Arteta should be getting some sort of tune out of this team, instead every week he’s choping and changing… Its not working Mikel!!!!

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  2. paul35mm

    How many different ways are there to say rubbish?

    The players aren’t good enough they players do not have the right attitude, It’s all Arsene Wenger’s fault. It’s all Ozil’s fault.
    Arsenal has become like every other club; short-sighted, reactionary, and unstable. Rich clubs, can afford instability because they can buy their way out of trouble, but clubs that live on the budget imposed by their footballing revenues need stability and vision to succeed.

    Arsenal had that. They pissed it away to appease a minority of vocal fans who demanded change. You got your change. This is what change looks like.

    For twenty years Arsenal enjoyed the vision and direction provided by a visionary coach. For half of his tenure, critics said ‘top four is not good enough!’ and demanded Wenger be sacked for finishing in the Champions League places, but not wining the title. The Wenger-out mob got their wish and the most successful coach in club history was pushed out.

    What the last three seasons show is that Arsenal were, for most of Arsene Wenger’s tenure, punching above their weight; finishing higher than their talent allowed because of good coaching. Under lesser managers, Arsenal have languished.

    Unai Emery was ‘successful’ at all of his previous jobs? Really? He won the Europa League with Villareal and he won Ligue 1 with PSG. The Europa League is a second-tier trophy, certainly no more prestigious than the FA Cup, and my dead aunt could win Ligue 1 with PSG. Emery was sacked by PSG because he could not manage their top players.

    Mikel Arteta is a new coach coming into a team with a lot of history and high expectations. He is struggling to win. His best attacking midfielder is not even ion the roster, being punished for off-field, non-football reasons. Sokratis was left out for refusing to sign elsewhere for less money and because the club has nine, that’s right, nine center backs on the roster (Sokratis, David Luiz, Gabriel, William Saliba, Calum Chambers, Rob Holding, Shkodran Mustafi,, Konstantine Mavropanos (on loan but still an Arsenal player) and Pablo Mari).

    The team paid 28 million for Saliba, loaned him out, played him once in a cup, and are looking to loan him again. Gabriel may or may not be the second coming of Virgil van Dijk, but he’s been anointed after ten games. Chambers enjoyed similar accolades once, as did Holding, from the most fickle fans in football. Now they aren’t good enough. Maybe they aren’t, but who is? If the standard is the best center back in the league, then good luck finding two of them.

    The answer is always get rid of the players and bring in new players. 16 first-team players have come in since Arsene Wenger left. Nicolas Pepe, Gabriel Martinez, Mateo Guendouzi, Dani Ceballos, Denis Suarez, David Luiz, Thomas Partey, Kieran Tierney, Gabriel, Bernd Leno, Pablo Mari, Cedric Soares, Willian, Lucas Toerriera, Stephan Lichsteiner, and Soktratis.

    Assuming the club was not deliberately trying to get worse, 16 new players is more than enough to make a difference. There would be no need to play a single Arsene Wenger era players if the recruited players were better. And yet… The best striker is still Aubameyang, The new defenders have done mildly better than the old ones, due as much to a focus on defending than any improvement in personnel. Willian had one good game so far. Pepe, none this season. Partey played a little and got hurt. Elneny has become a fan favorite, with Xhaka sitting behind Ceballos or Partey.

    You can’t really blame a player who isn’t playing for your team’s woes unless you are an Arsenal fan.

    Martinez – good prospect – looks promising
    Guendouzi – undisciplined – head case – no goals, average passing, lots of effort
    Pepe – good, not great. Gervinho minus the cool hair
    Suarez – nuff said
    Ceballos – not as good as Ramsey
    Luiz – Mustafi with better hair
    Partey – too son to tell
    Tierney – is he really better than Kolasinac, or just a different name
    Gabriel – the annointed one – Or is he Holding with fewer games to prove it. – not seeing Koscielny here.
    Leno – not as good as Szczesny, Cech, or Martinez
    Mari – impossible to say after 1 game
    Soares – career mid-table man, well behind Bellerin
    Willian – had a good game. Once Cool hair though
    Torreira – rave reviews, then reality set in limited range, no pace, no goals worse than Coquelin
    Lichsteiner – Arsenal played Mustafi at right back over him – nuff said
    Sokratis – decent, not great – not better than either Koscielny or Mustafi – just different.

    As far as the kids Arsenal is bringing thrugh. Arsene Wenger players, every last one of them. Sako, Willock, Reiss Nelson, Maitland-Niles, Nketiah,

    Hmmmm.

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  3. G C (Chris) Parker

    Almost in total agreement with you! The thing that I would change is your list of players that we should retain and not seek to sell. if the right opportunity arose I would look to move on : Pepe, Leno, Holding & Chambers. Plus allow Ceballos to return to RM when his loan here expires. Also I have my doubts about Saliba. There’s just something not adding up with this youngster!

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  4. Gee

    Why do mesut and sokaratis have to be shipped out? For footballing reasons? But with the players we have in the squad we have the worst start in prem history.
    I stopped believing the bullshit coming out the club a long time ago.
    do you realise due to politics at the club we have not picked our strongest 11 in 2 yrs!!
    We had politics with Sven and Raul, we had politics with the club n ozil, the club n Ramsey, the club n Raul, the club n 55 staff Inc scouts, the club n emery, the club and the some of the old board who decided to leave, that’s of the top of the head. How much a influence do you think Arsene was with these issues?

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  5. Billy Bob Thornton

    Players that aren’t good enough – the main component is their attitude, that isn’t good enough. It is highlighted by playing well against better sides and looking disinterested against other sides.

    Attitudes shaped by desire and winning mentality – who is the squad has that. Who are the candidates for captain?

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  6. Rob gtaham

    I agree with most of this article but we call kreonke but surely as owner of this great club he should have stopped this mayhem or been advised to stop this wanton spending on players not good enough

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