Tag Archives: jonny evans

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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Why are Arsenal targeting Jonny Evans?

Jonny Evans had been a supposed Arsenal target for 18 months. When you say his name, a lot of Arsenal fans laugh. Why would we want a Manchester United reject who currently plays for WBA?

But then Manchester City, until recently, were also heavily linked with them. So clearly he is a player that, even if some fans do not rate, the likes of Pep Guardiola does.

So why are Arsenal targeting the Northern Irishman?

Arsenal need a centre back: with Per Mertesacker set to leave on a free transfer, Laurent Koscielny having ongoing injury issues, and Holding, Chambers and Mavropanos all still young and inexperienced, Arsenal need an experienced centre back to partner Shkodran Mustafi.

Evans is Premier League proven: Manchester City are about to spend £57m on Aymeric Laporte. As they have shown over the years, it is very easy to spend a lot of money on a centre back and get it wrong (John Stones – £47.5m, Nicolas Otamendi – £32m, Eliaquim Mangala – £40m, Matija Nastasic – £12m , Stefan Savic – £6m). Buying foreign, buying potential, is a big risk. Arguably their two best centre backs in recent years were their cheapest – Vincent Kompany (£6.7m) and Martín Demichelis (£3.5m).

With Jonny Evans, Arsenal are signing a player with over 250 Premier League appearances, 130 of which have been for Manchester United, the rest for WBA – so he has the right mix of being involved in successful teams and being a battle hardened centre back.

Age: John Stones was a big risk for Manchester City due to his lack of experience. Arsenal have the likes of Calum chambers, Rob Holding and the new Greek lad Mavropanos. They have youthful talent covered, but with Per going, the experience is dramatically reduced.

I was surprised that Evans was just 30 years old. I thought he was a lot older than that. He is a player who has looked after himself and does not have a poor injury record. He could have another 5 / 6 years at the top level.

Leadership: We have lacked a good leader for a decade. Jonny Evans is captain  of WBA and Northern Ireland.

Not only is he a captain, he is also an organiser. Often when Koscielny and Mustafi play together, the centre of the defence looks lost, disorganised. Evans is a director, someone who his centre back partner and the full backs can take their lead from.

Style of play: It perhaps go’s against Jonny Evans that he is very much a British centre back. He is no nonsense. But is that not what we have missed recently? Someone who can put their head in, who knows when to clear their lines, a simplistic player who sees defending as his main job.

But Evans can also play. Occasionally at Manchester United he moved into central midfield. He is not just a thug like Ryan Shawcross, he can actually play a bit as well.

Winner: Johnny Evans has 3 Premier League winners medals. In the 2012/13 season, with Nemanja Vidic injured, Evans was Rio Ferdinand’s partner at the back, as Manchester United won the league comfortably.

Home grown: It might not seem like much, but Premier League rules dictate you can only have 17 foreign players in your squad. Evans, having been at Manchester United since he 9, is home grown. This then frees up a foreign based squad position for players in alternative positions.

Price:  Finally, his price. This is where you all moan.

The fact is, Arsenal do not have a bottomless pit of money like Manchester City. We can not afford to spend £300m just on centre backs in the hope 2 of them make it. Evans is just £10m. If WBA get relegated, he reportedly has a £3m release clause.

So you are getting a Premier League proven centre back, a leader, a winner, for £10m. When yo use Virgil van Dijk going for £75m, Arsenal would be getting a steal for Evans. And at £3m, it would be a no brainer in the summer.


If you want a no nonsense, Premier League experienced defender, who would fit in straight away, you could do a lot worse than Evans for £10m.

Yes, Arsenal could target a Raphael Varane or Samuel Umtiti, or whichever centre back everyone that plays FIFA is currently using, but spending big does not guarantee you are getting what you pay for – as seen by Manchester City’s exploits in the central defence market.

Evans would be a reliable, experienced centre back to put alongside Mustafi.

 

Keenos