Category Archives: Arsenal

Emile Smith Rowe Easter Eggs

This will be geekish but did anyone else spot the Easter eggs in the Emile Smith Rowe contract announcement?

Firstly we have the new number announcement. Number 10.

This announcement was made on the anniversary of Arsenal’s last great number 10’s testimonial game – Dennis Bergkamp.

Not only was it the number, but look at the length of the video.

32 seconds.

Smith Rowe’s old number? 32.

It will mean nothing to most and the majority won’t care. But stuff like that I love.

Have a good day.

Keenos

Abraham, Willian, New Keeper and More

Tammy Abraham

Will write a bigger blog on Tammy Abraham at some point but a quick few thoughts:

  • Abraham is a good striker and would be an alternative option as 2nd choice
  • He reminds me of Danny Welbeck in that he can play both as a hold up man and run in behind, but is not particularly spectacular at either
  • Personally I would rather give Gabriel Martinelli and Folarin Balogun the chance to back up Pierre Emerick-Aubameyang if Alexandre Lacazette leaves
  • But if Mikel Arteta decides to play either Martinelli or Aubameyang on the left wing, we probably do need another striker
  • Just not sure we should be spending £40million on Abraham

Willian

Read an article yesterday which described Willian as a “prisoner” at Arsenal.

The story went that Willian wants out of Arsenal, but teams are reluctant to match his current contract of £220k a week.

Arsenal would probably be willing to let Willian leave for nothing. We are not forcing him to stay.

It is Willian (and his representatives) that will be demanding any new club match his current Arsenal contract.

If he really wanted a move away, he would accept a lower salary.

It is his choice to remain at Arsenal as a “prisoner” earning £220k a week then move elsewhere and earn half of that.

New Keeper

The pendulum seems to have swung back towards Aaron Ramsdale from Sam Johnstone.

At the weekend the feeling was Arsenal had switched their focus towards Johnstone, believing they could get him a lot cheaper than Ramsdale, but it seems that is not the case.

The rumoured price for Ramsdale seems to have dropped from £40m to £30m whilst the Johnstone price is hovering around £20m – certainly not the cut price Arsenal would have hoped.

As for André Onana, Arsenal have been put off by his drug ban and African Cup of Nations representation.

The Ajax keeper would not be available to play until November and would also miss 6 weeks at the beginning of 2022.

Whilst he is hugely cheaper than Ramsdale and Johnstone, we probably would have only done a deal for him if Bernd Leno left.

The English pair are seen as number 2s, whilst Onana would expect first team football.

Martinez

With use linked with Ramsdale at £30million, a few critics have been saying “let Martinez go for £20m only to sign Ramsdale for £30m”.

Those saying this ignore the differences in the transfers.

Martinez had a year left on his contract, wanted to leave to be number 1 and only really Aston Villa were interested in him. Arsenal were not in a position to strong arm Villa into paying more.

The fact Martinez still talks about Arsenal in every interview whilst barely mentions Villa shows he probably regrets leaving us.

Ramsdale at £30million is too expensive, but the £20m we got for Martinez was a good deal.

Leeds and Villa

Seen a few Leeds and Villa fans “mocking” Arsenal in recent days, saying we are no longer a big club, etc, etc having finished 8th.

Reality is they would celebrate finishing 8th (would be Villa’s best season in a decade and Leeds United’s best in 20 years) as a huge success.

And that is what makes us a big club and them still having Championship mentality.

For us, finishing 8th is failure. For Villa and Leeds it is a success.

Keenos

New deals shows Arteta’s trust in youth

A few weeks ago we discussed how Arsenal were showing transfer policy shift with Taveres and Lokonga pursuit.

The impending signing of Ben White – just 23 – is a continuation of this policy.

With Gabriel also just 23 and Kieran Tierney 24, Edu is clearly building a defence for the future.

Depending on who is singed at right back to replace Hector Bellerin, Arsenal will be starting the campaign with one of the youngest back 4’s in the league – but also a back 4 with plenty of experience despite their ages.

A very intelligent player' – Arsenal complete Albert Sambi Lokonga deal |  Arsenal | The Guardian

For a long time, Mikel Arteta has taken flack from some quarters for “hating youth.”

This criticism has always baffled me when you consider the game development of both Bukayo Saka and Emile Smith Rowe in the last 12 months.

Against Southampton in December, Arteta put out a starting XI which averaged just 24 years and 349 days old, the youngest starting XI for the Gunners at the Emirates in a Premier League game since September 2012.

In the last 6 months, we have seen new contracts for Gabriel Martinelli, Bukayo Saka, Kieran Tierney and Folrian Balogun. Smith Rowe is on the verge of a new deal and Taveres and Lokonga have joined the club.

Add in the incoming Ben White and trust in Gabriel, that is 9 players aged 24 or under who all have their long term future at Arsenal secured.

The majority of criticism towards Arteta for “destroying young players” seems to come from those who have an unhealthy obsession with Matteo Guendouzi and William Saliba.

Arteta did not destroy Guendouzi. Guendouzi destroyed Guendouzi.

An ego too big for his age and talent, he has issues at L’Orient, issues under Unai Emery, under Freddie Ljungberg and when out on loan at Hertha Berlin last season.

He is 22 going on 8 with his child-like clown behaviour, strops and attitude.

As for Saliba, Marseille manager Jorge Sampaoli has told him that he has “a lot to improve”.

The feeling at Arsenal is that Saliba is a fantastic natural talent but at just 20-years-old is not ready. That he needs game time to progress but is best off getting those minutes elsewhere out of the limelight where his mistakes will not be highlighted as much.

Those criticising Arteta than clutch at straws by bringing up Reiss Nelson and Folrian Balogun.

There are some fans that believe players “should get a chance” regardless of the situation and what they have shown.

For Nelson to have got more of a chance with Arsenal, he would have been starting ahead of either Nicolas Pepe or Bukayo Saka on the right hand side.

The fact is just as Nelson was gearing up for his chance, Saka burst on the scene, overtook him and is 2 years younger.

Saka is simply better than Nelson which is why he is starting ahead of him.

As for the Nketiah / Balogun debate; it is interesting that the people who criticise Arteta for not giving youth a chance are then criticising Arteta for giving Nketiah a chance.

It almost feels like they dismiss the young players that Arteta gives a chance too, whilst supporting those he has not yet. As if there is another agenda at play which has nothing to do with Arteta and his policy on youth players, but Arteta and the players he has not given a chance too yet.

Ideally Arsenal wanted Balogun to sign earlier so that he could spend 6 months on loan like Nketiah did with Leeds. The lack of signature on the contract meant that could not happen.

And regardless, last season Nketiah played just 415 minutes of Premier League football whilst Balogun sat in his contract dispute.

Arsenal have 2 fantastic strikers in Aubameyang and Lacazette; so even without Nketiah, Balogun would have got very little game time.

And even if he got more game time, you feel those moaning would complain that it was not given to Martinelli. Likewise I bet if Nelson got game time some would moan why that was not given to Omari Hutchinson.

I have even seen some use Miguel Azeez as another example of Arteta “not giving youth a chance”.

Azeez is just 18 years old and only stepped up from U18 to the Premier League 2 last season.

This is where some fans want their cake and eat it.

They will demand Arteta plays a kid, and then if he plays and gets injured they will say he played too much too young. Why not just let a player develop at his own pace?

In the last 6 months Arsenal have lowered the age of the squad, changed the clubs transfer policy and secured our best young talents on new long term deals.

How about we end the discussion on the way Arteta treats young players and just back the kids he backs?

Keenos