Tag Archives: Idrissa Gueye

Who should Arsenal target this summer?

On Friday, we dissected the squad to look at what we actually need in the summer to improve the first team and squad. From this, it was a common consensus that Arsenal need:

  1. A first choice goal keeper
  2. A first choice centre back
  3. A first choice defensive midfielder
  4. A squad winger

So I was then asked the above.

Simply put, who should Arsenal sign?

We were already working on a blog to discuss this, putting potential signings into 4 categories:

  1. Money no object
  2. Realistic signing
  3. Realistic signing
  4. Budget option

With the help of EastLondonGooner, we completed the list. Here are the players who would make up our fantasy target list:

Money No Object

Jan Oblak  – Goalkeeper

The Atletico Madrid goalkeeper has been one of the most consistent in Europe over the last 2 and a half years.

Atletico paid €16 million for the Slovenian international in 2014. The 25 year old would be a big money signing, his release clause is reported at €100m, but would be first choice keeper for the next 10 years.

Samuel Umtiti – Centreback

Barcelona are starting to worry that the French centreback has a £54m release clause is too low. And in the current market it probably is.

Umtiti is just 6 months older than Manchester City’s new record signing Aymeric Laporte – who cost City £57m. Umtiti also keeps his compatriot out of the national side.

A left footed, left sided centre back, he would provide great balance to Shkodran Mustafi on the right hand side.

Sual Niguez – Defensive Midfielder

I am a massive fan of Saul Niguez for a few years.. The Atletico Madrid player is a terrific player. He is an all action central midfielder, reminding me a lot of Steven Gerrard. He can defend, he can attack. He can pass, he can score.

For Atletico, he tends to play in a more advanced position, but this is due to their defensive approach to the game. At an attacking side like Arsenal, he would have the skills and ability to adapt to playing deeper.

Would Atletico Madrid let him go? Certainly not easily, but they are traditionally a club who have to sell before they buy. With Diego Simeone set to leave Madrid this summer, there might be an exodus to follow.

Could a deal involving Alexandre Lacazette be of interest?

Thomas Lemar – Winger

Arsenal had a £90m deal for the young Frenchman collapse on the summer 2017 deadline day. Interest was not renewed in him in January as Arsenal instead secured Henrik Mkhitaryan as replacement for Alexis Sanchez.

Having also signed Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, and with Mesut Ozil signing a new contract, I would be surprised if Arsenal re-enter the race for Thomas Lemar. It would be a lot of money spent on a player who would not be guaranteed a start (unless Arsenal return to 4231).

Realistic Signing

Jack Butland – Goalkeeper

The Stoke City stopped became the the youngest goalkeeper to play for the senior England team when he made his debut in August 2012.

6 years on and he seems to have recovered from the ankle injury which same him miss almost all of the 2016/17 season.

25 years old, 6ft 5in and English, it would take Arsenal back to the days of David Seaman having England’s number 1 (which I am sure he will be at this summers World Cup).

Kostas Manolas – Centreback

Arsenal reportedly failed with 2 deadline day deals. One of which was allegedly for long-term target Manolas.

The Greek centreback has been on Arsenal’s radar since 2015, could 2018 be the year Arsenal finally secure their man?

Fabinho  – Defensive Midfielder

The Brazilian was heavily linked with Manchester United in the summer, but with Kylian Mbappe, Bernardo Silva and Tiémoué Bakayoko leaving, Monaco managed to hold on to both Fabinho and Thomas Lemar.

This summer will see sides go in for the pair again, and this time it might be Fabinho who is top of Arsenal’s wish list, rather than Thomas Lemar.

Malcom – Winger

A deal for Malcom to Arsenal would have been completed in January if the Mkhitaryan and Aubameyang deals did not present themselves.

Arsenal pulled away from the deal, but this could be a temporary measure. If has given the club an additional 6 months to look at and monitor the talented young winger.

A deal for around £25m could be completed early in the summer.

Realistic Signing (2)

Alban Lafont – Goalkeeper

When it comes to young goal keepers, all the talk is about AC Milan’s Gianluigi Donnarumma, but at just 19 years old, Frenchman Lafont is quietly building a reputation for himself.

Already with over 90 first team games, this is his 3rd season as Toulouse’s number one.

With Petr Cech having one more year on his contract, a move for Lafont would be great for succession planning, as the veteran goalkeeper takes a back seat and mentors the youngster.

David de Gea had a tough time when he came to England, Lafont will go through similar. But the investment in De Gea worked out for Manchester United. With the right coaches and enough game time, Lafont could become one of the worlds best.

Harry Maguire – Centreback

The Leicester City defender seems to grow in stature every time I see him.

Not a fashionable name, he joined Leicester from Hull City in June 2017 and his career has continued on a upward curve.

From Sheffield United to Hull City to Leicester City, he would not be the name at the top of many peoples lists, but he is turning into a top Premier League defender and has recently forced his way into England reckoning.

He has the no-nonsense defensive attributes that you would expect from someone who has made his way up through the leagues, but he can play as well. I have been very impressed with his ability on the ball when in an England shirt.

25 in March, he is a serious contender.

Jean-Michael Seri – Defensive Midfielder

We are struggling to transition the ball from defence to attack. Something that has ended up leaving Mesut Ozil isolated and coming deeper to get the ball.

Santi Cazorla has not been replaced. Xhaka was supposed to be that replacement, starting out attacks from deep, but too often he gives the ball away in dangerous places leading to goals conceded.

Seri is a diminutive, hard working midfielder who has a £33 million release clause.

He is a defensive midfielder who covers a lot of ground, so would fit in perfectly with Aaron Ramsey and Jack Wilshere either side.

Leon Bailey – Winger

The 20-year-old Jamaican speedster joined Bayer Leverkusen for €20 million in the  2016/17 transfer window. He has broken through to the first team this season, scoring 8 goals in his 16 appearances.

At a reported £35m, he is a lot of money for an unproven talent. But he is a talent.

With the growing contingent of German speakers at the club, Bailey could fit right in

Budget Option

Danijel Subašić – Goalkeeper

At 33, the Monaco goalkeeper would be a short term solution to replacing Petr Cech.

Having been at Monaco for 7 years, he signed a year extension to his current deal in the summer of 2017, taking him through to the end of 2020.

He may wish to see out his career at Monaco, but a chance to join a massive club in the twilight of his career might be too much to turn down. And would Monaco turn down £10-15m for the ageing goal keeper?

Jonny Evans – Centreback

Alan Pardew gloated the day the transfer window shut that Arsenal had failed with a £12m bid for the Northern Irish centreback. He laughed as he said it would have taken an offer twice that amount for WBA to accept the bid.

Arsenal could have the last laugh as the experienced defender could be available for as little as £3million if WBA get relegated.

Idrissa Gueye – Defensive Midfielder

In the 2016 calendar year, the Everton midfielder made the most successful tackles and interceptions out of any player in Europe’s top five leagues.

Gueye is a strong tackler, but he can also play from the back and is able to distribute quickly – something which Granit Xhaka struggles with.

He is a proven Premier League player that would immediately improve the Arsenal squad.

Florian Thauvin – Winger

If you are scratching your head thinking I recognise this name it is probably because you will remember him for a poor spell at Newcastle in 2015.

After not settling in the North-East, he was loaned back to Marseille before rejoining the club he left for the Geordies in 2017.

Since returning to Marseille, he has returned to the sparkling form that led Newcastle to pay £15m for him – scoring 29 goals in the last 18 months in France.

An outside bet to make France’s World Cup squad, if Arsenal do not require a first team winger, the speedster could be a cheap, but quality, option.

So in summary:

If we have missed anyone, please leave a name in the comments below!

Keenos

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Arsenal: 5 to target, 5 to avoid in January

5 to target

Leon Goretzka

The 22 year old German is available on a free transfer in the summer. It might be logical to get a contract in place in January, securing him for the summer, but I would prefer we signed him in January for a reduced transfer fee and gave him 6 months to acclimatise to the Premier League.

With Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil set to leave for nothing in the summer, both require replacing.

Getting in someone of the talent of Goretzka for a low price (or even a free if we do wait) frees the money up to replace that other number 10 we are missing.

A powerful attacking midfielder, Goretzka reminds me of Michael Ballack and would be the perfect replacement for either Mesut Ozil or Alexis Sanchez.

He has the talent to be as good as the likes of Ozil and Kevin de Bruyne.

Signing him should be a no brainer.

Julian Draxler

We have been linked with Julian Draxler forever. It is incredible to think that he is just 24.

Since joining PSG a year ago, the German international has struggled to make an impact on the first team – starting just 10 games this season.

With PSG considering a bid for Alexis Sanchez, and having the likes of Neymar and Mbappe staring week in week out, Draxler is surplus to requirements.

Draxler is competing with the likes of Mesut Ozil, Toni Kroos, Mario Götze, Leroy Sané, Leon Goretzka, Julian Brandt & Thomas Muller for a place in Germany’s World Cup squad. Those 7 are playing regulary for their clubs. Draxler isn’t.

A move to Arsenal could reignite his hopes of making the German squad for Russia 2018

Raphael Varane

With Real Madrid looking to offload a whole host of players to fund a summer spending spree, French centre back Raphael Varane might end up on his way out, despite only just signing a new 5 year deal with the Spaniards.

At just 23-years-old, Varane has both youth and experience on his side.

When you consider Virgil van Dijk has just gone for £75m, if Arsenal can pick up Varane for £40m or less, it would be brilliant business.

Leon Bailey

With Arsenal returning to 4 at the back, the future might also see a return to playing 4231. With Arsene Wenger’s reluctance to play Theo Walcott wide right, a move for Bayer Leverkusen’s talented Jamaican winger.

The 20-year-old speedster joined the German outfit €20 million in 2016/17 transfer window. He has broken through to the first team this season, scoring 8 goals in his 16 appearances.

The reported £35m might be too much for an unproven talent, but if we can recoup half of that by selling Theo Walcott, it offsets the risk.

Idrissa Gueye

When Arsenal were linked with N’Golo Kante 18 months ago, a lot of people scoffed at the notion of signing the Frenchman as he was not the big name they demanded – despite being one of the stand out midfielders in the Premier League. Kante went on to win the Premier League with Chelsea and be named PFA Player of the Year.

Everton’s Idrissa Gueye is in a similar boat.

People look at the Senegalese midfielder as the man who was relegated with Aston Villa, and not the player who in 2016 calendar year, made the most successful tackles and interceptions out of any player in Europe’s top five leagues.

Gueye is a strong tackler, but he can also play from the back and is able to distribute quickly – something which Granit Xhaka struggles with.

We have needed a player like Gueye for some time and, with the current midfielder partnership of Granit Xhaka and Aaron Ramsey not offering enough solidity, he would be a proven Premier League player that would immediately improve our squad.

Likely to be able to get him for under £30m.

5 to avoid

Thomas Lemar

I banged the Thomas Lemar drum most of the summer. When we were linked with him for the region of £40m, I felt we should have moved for him.

As that price target rose, by what felt like £10m a week up until we offered £90m for him I deadline day, I went cold on the Frenchman.

He is still a long term target for Arsenal, but his 2017/18 form is concerning. Just the two goals and 4 assists in Ligue 1 and the Champions League.

Compare this to 11 goals and 14 assists in those competitions and it would indicate a player who has gone backwards this season.

Rather than move for him in January, I would rather we wait until the summer, allowing new Head Scout Sven Mislinta to run the rule over him.

Arda Turan

We seem to have been forever linked with Turkish midfield Arda Turan since the day he joined Barcelona back in 2015.

The former Atletico Madrid star as never really settled in the Nou Camp, finding himself on the fringes of the first team.

A move for Turan – who is 31 in January – would be very short termist.

We would be better saving the £35m he would cost to put towards a long term attacking midfielder, someone who is of the required quality and longevity, rather than someone who is not good enough.

Medhi Benatia

The Juventus centre back has been linked recently with a move to Arsenal – with reports from Italy that the Old Lady have rejected a £35m bid for him.

I would be concerned about Arsenal signing a centre back who has been let go by Bayern Munich, and potentially Juventus.

At 30, his injury record is concerning – he has played just 35 games since joining Juventus 18 months ago.

We need to reinforce the defence, but Benatia does not solve our problems.

Wilfried Zaha

It is incredible to think that it was 5 years ago that Sir Alex Ferguson signed the then 20-year-old Wilfried Zaha as a leaving present for Manchester United.

He failed to make a start under David Moyes, only scoring with Moyses’ daughter before being shipped out on loan to Cardiff after just 6 months.

A loan move back to Crystal Palace followed the next season, before he rejoined his boyhood club permanently.

Zaha has a lot of skill and ability, but little end product – he has scored 17 goals since 2013.

When you compare that to Theo Walcott who scored 19 last season, it shows how much Zaha flatters to deceive.

We dumped an average winger in Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain in the summer. It does not make sense to replace him with someone else who is not good enough.

Richarlison

The Brazilian attacker has settled quickly in the Premier League, scoring 5 goals in 14 games.

Arsenal could take the risk and sign the man who Watford spent £11.2 million on in the summer. A transfer would likely cost twice that in January. If he continues his form, and the way transfer fees are going, that fee could treble by the summer.

£25m for a player with 14 appearances in England? I would rather pay £35m once he has proven himself for a season.

Keenos