Tag Archives: jordan pickford

Should the top sides fear Everton’s spending?

Over £90m spent and the transfer window has not even been open a week. Everton have done some business. Some very expensive business. But should the top sides like Manchester United, Chelsea and Arsenal fear them?

Whilst smaller sides might look at them in jealousy – they have outspent the likes of Liverpool, Spurs, WBA & Manchester City – is their big spending really anything to scare anyone?

Jordan Pickford is a very good young goal keeper. But at around £30m he is a massive signing. The second most expensive keeper of all time.

I would love Pickford at Arsenal. As 2nd choice keeper. This is a man who got relegated. Bottom of the league. 20th. He is not even one of the top 3 English goal keepers. Would he get into any top side? Probably not. Everton is his level.

Then you have Micheal Keane. A centre back. Released by Man U. Everton have also spent £30m on him. He ain’t no Rob Holding. Ain’t no Calum Chambers.

Being Burnley’s best centre back is like being Burnley’s fittest bird. It means nothing. A town full or rotters. £30m on Michael Keane? You’re having a laugh.

I have no idea if this is Keane, Klassen, Pickford or Sandro. Probably not Onyekuru though.

Davy Klassen is next up. Got a lot of goals and assists in Holland did Davy. Another £25m spent. But is he any better than James McCarthy or Gareth Barry? Probably not.

The Dutch league is unpredictable. Just ask Middlesbrough and Alfonso Alves. More recently look at Jordy Claise at Southampton. He can barely complete 90 minutes for the South-Coast club.

Henry Onyekuru is the type of bloke that sent every club in English football an Email about his uncle being worth billions and if you click this link you will get 10%.

Everton clicked the link and ended up spending £6.8m, whilst Onyekuru will be no where to be seen. Talk about a 419 scam.

Sandro Ramirez, in fairness, is a good value signing. But people are comparing him to Kylian Mbappe? Give it a rest. The last young Spanish striker to join the Premier League was Xisco. He is still trawling Geordie night clubs asking lasses to let him see their thong. He is 31.

Whilst Everton’s early moves to spend near enough £100m, it has to be remembered that Romelu Lukaku and Ross Barkely are going to leave the club. And none of those joining are anywhere near as good as the outgoing duo.

And now I read they might get the over weight granny-shagger on a free transfer.

Nothing really to see at Everton except for a lot money spent on a lot of tripe.

Who will be Arsenal’s number 2 next year?

Who will be Arsenal’s number 2 next year?

In an ideal world, playing Football Manager on my lap top, I would have signed Jordan Pickford this summer.

The deal would have been easy. With Petr Cech coming to the end of his career, Pickford would have come in as Arsenal’s number two. With Arsenal in the Europa League, Pickford would have got all the cup games. League Cup and Europa League games in the first half of the year. Europa League and FA Cup in the second half.

This would amount to around 20 games depending on our progress in the 3 competitions. All a while giving Pickford the chance to train alongside a goal keeping legend, and Arsenal a close up opportunity to judge whether Pickford really is a future superstar.

After the 1st year, Cech would then be put down and Pickford, if he has shown he can deal with the extra scrutiny and expectations at a top club, would step up to be Arsenal’s number one for the next 10 years.

In joining Everton, Pickford has actually made a good decision. Rather than be a number two at Arsenal, Manchester United or Chelsea, he has joined a lesser team where he will go straight in as number one. With Joe Hart out of form and Jack Butland still not 100% after his long term injury, Pickford is giving himself the best outside chance to be England Number 1 at the World Cup in 2018.

At the very least, as long as he stays injury free, you would expect him to leap over Tom Heaton and Fraser Forster and be on the plane to Russia.

A couple of decent years for Everton, the top clubs will then be knocking on his door offering him the chance of the Number 1 jersey.

The price of £30m might be excessive, but Everton might have just signed their goal keeper for the next 10 years – that then works out at £3m a year. Or if he performs well and in 2 years joins Manchester City, Manchester United or Chelsea as their new number 1, you have to think they would be willing to pay £50m – especially considering the way transfer prices are inflating each year.

With Pickford off the table, this removes one potential option for a future understudy for Petr Cech.

Current number 2, David Ospina, is surely finally going to leave this summer? How long can a class keeper, and regular for his country, stay as number 2, playing a a dozen or so games a year?

It is clear Arsene Wenger does not think he is good enough to be number 1 in the Premier League, so he will surely be shipped out. Long term interest from Fenerbache might finally turn into a transfer.

We then have Wojciech Szczesny.

Many fans have looked at the stats and decided Szczesny was the best keeper in Italy last year, when he was on loan to Roma. They see Juventus looking to make a £14m offer for his services as the eventual replacement for Gianluigi Buffon. “If he is good enough to replace the greatest of all time, why is he not good enough for Arsenal” a friend asked me yesterday.

A valid question, and my response was reasonable. “He has had enough chances at Arsenal.”

Whilst Szczesny’s natural ability has never been in question, what is between his ears has been.

A tendency to lose concentration that led to mistakes that cost goals, and a few attitude issues, saw Szczesny lose his place in the Arsenal first team on more than one occasion. Things came to a head in January when Szczesny made errors leading to both goals in Arsenal’s 2–0 defeat at Southampton. His response was to go to the showers for a smoke, and he was dropped for the rest of the season.

Sent on loan to Italy, he has matured in the 2 years he has been at Roma, but old habits die hard. He was dropped in 2016 after once again being caught smoking following a 6-1 defeat to Barcelona. And whilst he often made match winning saves, the mistakes have not been eradicated from his game.

For me, if we still planned for him to be number 1, he should have been bought back from loan last season, number 2 for Arsenal in 2016/17 and then moved to 1st choice this season.

With a year left on his contract, Arsenal will do well to cash in on him.

That then leaves us with Emiliano Martinez.

The giant Argentinean looked OK in his very small handful of games this season. But has he really shown enough to be number 2 next season.

Let me switch the question around. If Petr Cech picked up a season long injury on 1st September 2017, would you be happy with Martinez coming in for the remainder of the season? Or until January 1st? The answer is probably no.

He might be a decent 3rd choice keeper. But he has simply not shown enough that he can be Cech’s back up. And with Arsenal also needing to search for a new first choice keeper over the next 12 months, Martinez is simply not good enough.

He would be worth keeping around for as long as he wants to be 3rd choice, but, like Vito Mannone before him, he will never be more than that at Arsenal.

That leaves Arsenal in an awkward situation. We need to go out and find a 2nd choice keeper who is happy being an understudy to Petr Cech. Happy with the Europa League games. But is good enough to replace Cech if he picks up an injury. In an ideal world, it would be someone under 25 who could then replace Cech in a years time.

When you look at the top 6’s current Number 2, you see the calibre of goal keeper we need to target (based on 2016/17):

Chelsea: Asmir Begovic
Tottenham: Michel Vorm
Manchester City: Willy Caballero
Liverpool: Loris Karius
Arsenal: David Ospina
Manchester United: Sergio Romero
Everton: Joel Robles

All 7 have been regular number for top flight sides in England, Spain, Germany or France. 4 of the 7 have played for their country, 3 of which have been their countries undisputed number 1 at some point in their career.

It will not be easy finding a number two.

Would the likes of Joe Hart, Fraser Forster or Jack Butland be happy putting their World Cup place at risk? Probably not. Maybe Arsenal could go another route and encourage the now-surplus-to-requirements Maarten Stekelenburg to finish his career as number 2 at Arsenal? Not one for the future but certainly good enough to deputise for Cech. Adrian at West Ham could be a similar senior option if they sign Joe Hart.

Could Arsenal make a move for AC Milan youngster Gianluigi Donnarumma? He certainly has the talent the be a future number one and at just 18 might be willing to spend a year behind Petr Cech to continue learning his trade. Although to go from AC Milan number 1 to arsenal number 2 might take some encouraging. With a year left on his current Milan deal, it is a move Arsenal could make.

Another young Italian is Simone Scuffet at Udinese. At 21 he is older than Donnarumma, but less experienced. Another who could be future number 1, but is he currently good enough to take over from Cech were Cech to get injured? Possibly not.

A final option (well not the final option, but the last name I am going to mention) is Germany’s Timo Horn. At 24 he has a big future ahead of him, and has already totted up over 150 games for Koln. At the 2016 Olympics, he was Germany’s starting goal keeper.

He has been compared in his career to Liverpool’s Loris Karius – who had a rough 1st year in the North-West. But he would be coming in for a year to play 2nd fiddle to Cech, rather than Karius who came in as number one

There are plenty of other options for Arsenal this summer, and it will be an interesting one to watch unfold and see what route Wenger takes us down.



A wish list for Arsenal – 5 players we need to sign

I found this in my drafts. I wrote it before the FA Cup Final. I have no idea why I did not publish it earlier, but here it is.

Every year I write a wish list. A prediction. I play football manager with myself. Attempt to build the Arsenal squad. Who I want to see come in, who I think will leave, what I think the squad will look like next year.

Here are my thoughts on the 2017/18 season…

In goal, Wojciech Szczesny and David Ospina will leave the club. We will raise £20-30m be selling them both. In their place, we should go for Sunderland’s Jordan Pickford.

Valued at £30m, we could pretty much get him for free if we get a decent value for the other two keepers. At worst we would be looking at a £10m outlay. Personally, I do not think Pickford is ready to play for a team like Arsenal.

It is easy at Sunderland. Saving 20 shots a game, not getting criticised if you concede 6, as you have said another 14. At Arsenal – and other top clubs – you come under higher scrutiny. By getting in Pickford now, we could easily play him in the cups whilst an understudy to Petr Cech. He will learn form the goal keeping legend, and this time next year, will take over as number one.

A deal for Sead Kolasinac looks done. A free transfer. Ignore the price tag. He is the best left back in the Bundesliga.

With his height and physicality, he could drop inside and become the left side of a 3 at the back. With Nacho Monreal also offering similar attributes, it could be a case of flipping a coin to decide who players where. Kieran Gibbs will make way.

In the middle of the park, I have been a long term fan of Renato Sanches.

He went for big money to Bayern Munich last year, but has struggled to nail down a spot. Munich could well look cash in before what they owe on him increases again.

Sanches has the physicality in the middle of the park that we have missed. An all round central midfielder, he can defend and attack, pass and tackle. He covers the ground and could become an absolute beast in the middle of the park alongside Granit Xhaka.

Moving forward, after their poor season last year, Riyad Mahrez might come available.

At the right price, he could provide competition for Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil. If we get him in early, it would also take the pressure off if we lose either player as we would already have a replacement.

Mahrez would also do a job on the wing, if we decide to move Sanchez up top (or behind Sanchez alongside Ozil).

Having a choice between Ozil, Sanchez and Mahrez is something we could certainly accommodate.

Finally we have Kylian Mbappe. The young striker is going to be very expensive. I am not 100% sure on him. He has the talent. But his price tag does not quite justify what he has done so far. He would be a luxury signing if signing him does not mean we have to give up on other targets. I would not sacrifice (for example) signing Sanches and Mahrez to bring in Mbappe, but once sales come in, we could free up enough money to sign the wonderkid.

It will be interesting to see how many we sign.

Note: This was originally written before we won the FA Cup Final