Tag Archives: Konstantinos Mavropanos

Mavropanos should leave Arsenal…but only temporarily

Today’s Arsenal related transfer news comes in the shape of Konstantinos Mavropanos and that ‘FIVE Bundesliga clubs eye summer swoop for young defender’.

Arsenal have too many central defenders next season, which has delayed the club offering a new deal to David Luiz.

David Luiz
Shkodran Mustafi
Calum Chambers
Rob Holding
William Saliba
Konstantinos Mavropanos

Arsenal do not need 7 central defenders. At most we need 5. Maybe even just 4 senior ones with Dan Ballard of Zech Medley backing them up.

The management are also extremely keen on making Pablo Mari’s loan deal a permanent.

If Mari does sign, that would leave the club with 8 centre backs. That means 3 more to stay on top of the Spaniard and Saliba.

The preference of the club is that David Luiz remains for one more season. The Brazilian has been one of the first names on the team sheet under both Unai Emery and Mikel Arteta. No player has played more games this season.

Luiz remaining depends on whether the club can sell either Sokratis or Mustafi.

If either Sokratis and Mustafi leaves, Luiz will stay. If Arsenal can not sell either, the Brazilian will leave.

This summer will also probably see the end of the road for either Rob Holding or Calum Chambers.

Neither has progressed much in recent years and are now both 25-years-old. The Englishmen are also on relatively low wages. Both are good sellable assets and would generate a lot of interest from Premier League side.

That would leave Arsenal with:

Mustafi / Sokratis
Holding / Chambers

5 defenders excluding Mavropanos.

But Mavropanos should not be sold.

The Greek is still just 22, and whilst it has been a couple of seasons since he put in a handful of OK performances at the back end of 2012/18, there is player there.

Like many players, he needs games.

Mavropanos has shown progression in the short time he has spent at Nurnberg in the German second division, but he needs to keep playing – both to progress as a player and to continue to prove his fitness.

Come 2021, the contracts run out for Luiz (if he signs a 1 year extension), Sokratis and Mustafi. That would leave the club with just 3 senior central defenders in Saliba, Mari and Holding / Chambers.

The worry for Arsenal will be that whilst we are overloaded for defenders going into 2020/21, the case for 2021/22 is looking very diufferent.

It would make a lot of sense to loan Mavropanos out to a Bundesliga side to play a full season next year, and then bring him back for 2021.

He will still be just 23 and, if he has progressed in Germany, will be well set to compete with Saliba and Mari for a starting place.

That would leave us in 2021 with:

Chambers / Holding

Arsenal would then have the option of buying a superstar defender if we need to improve the back line (with whoever has stayed between Chambers and Holding moving on) whilst promoting either Dan Ballard or Zech Medley to fill the 5th centre back squad.

A loan move away for Mavropanos will enable us to keep our options open in a years time.



What does the future hold for 6 Arsenal youngsters

Konstantinos Mavropanos

I have seen a lot of people put the 20-year-old Greek centre back into their starting XI’s for next season. This is premature.

Let’s look at it logically. He played 3 Premier League games last season. Was excellent in one (defeat to United), little to do in the second (5-0 win over Burnley) and was sent off after 15 minutes in the 3rd (Leicester).

He looks a strong, talented boy, but there is zero justification to to call for him to start alongside Sokratis against Manchester City.

I saw one fan tweet that “Mavropanos should start to help Sokratis get used to the pace of the Premie League”. But who will then help Mavropanos?

I do expect the Greek man to be involved next year; with Laurent Koscielny out until 2019 he will be battling it out with Rob Holding as 4th choice centre back.

He will get plenty of game time in the first half of the season, with Europa League and League Cup games. Either he or Rob Holding will go out on loan in the second half depending on Koscielny’s return to fitness and the form and fitness of others.

Reiss Nelson

A bit like Mavropanos now, Reiss Nelson suffered from overhyping last season, and did not progress as some fans would have hoped. But this is more due to their high expectations rather than his performances.

It is easy to forget he is still just 18.

I expect Nelson to be evolved more this season.

With our transfer business seemingly over for the summer, it is unlikely we will sign the player to fill the skill gap between Iwobi and Mkhitaryan that I desire. Instead it seems Lucas Perez will be that player, for a season at least.

Like Mavropanos, I expect him to play a big part in the Europa League and League Cup, where he will play alongside Iwobi.

He has a fairly simple to explain task. Over the next 6 months he needs to outperform both Iwobi and Perez in those Europa League games.

That is not to say if he doesn’t he will be written off. This time next year he will still be 19. Just the performances could dictate what happens to him in the second half of the season and what happens to Iwobi and Perez next season.

If Nelson out performs the pair in those early “b-team” games; he might find himself ahead of them in the pecking order for the second half of the season.

If he does not move ahead of them, it would be worthwhile sending him out on loan to a play-off chasing Championship side in the second half of the season. One where he would get 20 or so games.

If he has a solid season, at Arsenal or on loan, Iwobi and Perez should be worried about their futures.

Jeff Reine-Adelaide

The young Frenchman has not built on a promising early start to his Arsenal career.

He joined the club 3 years ago and you do not feel he has progressed too much in that time.

He suffered an injury in early 2017 which ruled him out for 12 months which has hampered his progress.

Jeff’s big issue is Nelson has moved ahead of him in the pecking order. The young Englishman is 2 years his junior.

Nelson already looks better than his elder team mate, so you have to think Jeff will be sent on loan for the entire season.

Eddie Nketiah

Another to suffer from a lot of hype after two goals against Norwich last season.

Still just 19-years-old, you have to wonder where he will get game time next season.

Arsenal are likely to play one upfront. That will leave Nketiah behind Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Alexandre Lacazette and Danny Welbeck.

Some will say he should be ahead of Welbeck, those people are idiots. The England international might not be everyone’s cup of tea but he is better than young-Eddie.

With Welbeck’s contract set to expire next season, I would like to see Nketiah sent on loan to a top end Championship side. His task will be to show that next season, when Welbeck leaves, he is ready to be 3rd choice Arsenal striker.

Ainsley Maitland-Niles

He is going nowhere.

28 games last season, I expect a similar amount of game time this season. Only difference is this season he will be a central midfielder rather than a utility man.

I am excited for his future.

Emile Smith Rowe

17-year-old Emile Smith Rowe looks to be this summer’s break through youth player after he was added to the experienced squad for the game against Boreham Wood.

Smith Rowe was Arsenal’s standout performer in their run to the FA Youth Cup final, although he was part of the side that fell 7-1 on aggregate to Chelsea. The attacking midfielder won the Under-17 World Cup with England last summer.

He has described as a mixture of Mesut Ozil and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain due to his ability to unlock defences with his passing and ability to drive forward with the ball.

Next season will see him hopefully train full time with the first team. Hew is unlikely to go on loan as Arsenal will wish to continue his development training and learning from the likes of Ozil and Henrikh Mkhitaryan.

A move out on loan will be pencilled in for 2019/20.


Arsenal’s New Signings: Hit, miss or Jury’s Out?

Sead Kolasinac

Named in the Bundesliga Team of the Season last season, the left back looked at bargain when he arrived on a free transfer, Kolasinac scored on his debut against Chelsea in the 2017 FA Community Shield. He made his Premier League debut on the opening day, providing an assist in a 4–3 win over Leicester City.

With Arsenal playing 3 at the back, he made the left wing back position his own, with Nacho Monreal flourishing on the left hand side of back 3. In the early months, he gave the team the aggression it had missed for some time, living up to his “tank” nickname.

He was named Arsenal Player of the Month in both August and October, with Nacho Monreal winning the prize in September.

Towards the end of 2017, both a formation change and injury saw him fall out of the side, firstly with Aisnley-Maitland Niles playing on the left, then Nacho Monreal returning to left back when we returned to a back 4.

Questions were raised over his defensive awareness as the reasoning behind him finding himself on the bench, but it was as much to do with Nacho Monreal’s great form – the 32 year old Spaniard showing that there is life in the old dog yet.

Kolasinac returned to the first team in the later part of the season, as Wenger begun to rest players in the league for the Europa League.

Going forward he has shown his class with 5 goals and 4 assists. To bring this into perspective, this is as many goals as Alex Oxlade Chamberlain has scored for Liverpool.

Just 24, he has shown enough this season to be Monreal’s long term replacement at left back. He is certainly not as bad defensively as some critics perhaps say.

Alexandre Lacazette

Scoring after 94 seconds on his debut against Leicester City, the Frenchman’s season certainly began with a bang. He went on to score in both Arsenal’s next two home games, becoming the first Arsenal player to score in his first three home league appearances for the club since Brian Marwood in September 1988.

By the time December hit, it was 8 goals from his first 16 games. A fabulous start. And then it went down hill.

1 goal in his next 13 games had fans starting to question the record signing. What followed was 8 weeks on the sidelines following Arsenal’s 1-0 defeat to Tottenham.

He returned in April against Stoke City, scoring the third goal of the game following Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s decision to allow his fellow striker to take a penalty.

With that his confidence returned and he scored 8 goals in 9 games.

The clubs top scorer this season, it does feel one of 3 thirds. Brilliant in the first 3rd. Poor in the second 3rd. Brilliant in the final third. But if 17 goals is considered a poor return in his first season, it only bodes well for the future.

Konstantinos Mavropanos

The 20 year old Greek defender was signed in January with a view to spend the second half of the season on loan in Germany. A decision to put him on the bench in the League Cup game against Chelsea meant this was not longer possible.

This left Mavropanos playing in the U23s for the majority of the season.

He made his Premier League debut in a 2–1 defeat against Manchester United at Old Trafford. Despite the defeat, his performance was praised by fans and pundits.

Mavropanos made his home debut in the club’s next home match – the 5-0 victory over Burnley.

His red card against Leicester City shows how quickly football can change.

It is important not to go OTT with Mavropanos; and we must remember that he has only played a handful of senior games in England, but physically, he looks brilliant.

Henrikh Mkhitaryan

Part of the deal that took Alexis Sanchez to Manchester United, he made his first start for Arsenal in a 5–1 home win over Everton, claiming three assists. That match was probably the highlight of his Arsenal career thus far.

A knee injury in April caused him to miss almost the entire month. That break seemed to have broken his rhythm and affected him settling at the club, leaving him with just 7 Premier League starts.

3 goals and 5 assists in his first 14 games is a decent return, but Jose Mourinho’s question marks over his fragility hang over his head.

If he stays fit, he will be a good foil for Mesut Ozil.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang

Whilst Mkhitaryan was the man who replaced Sanchez on the pitch, Aubameyang has replaced the Chilean as the figure head of the team.

He has continued his performances that he put in for Borussia Dortmund, scoring on his debut against Everton.

Aubameyang’s appearances were restricted due to be cup tied in the Europa League. You do have to wonder if he was not cup tied – due to UEFA’s odd rules – we probably would have gone on to beat Atletico Madrid in the semi-final. Him and Lacazette would have been too much to handle for 10 man Madrid.

It is not just the 8 goals in 12 games that has been impressive, but the way he lifted the entire club.

Alexis Sanchez was moody and selfish. Aubameyang plays with a smile on his face, and reminds me of Thierry Henry in that he is as delighted to see a team mate score as scoring himself.

Giving the ball to Lacazette against Stoke City showed he was a team player. Understanding a fellow striker struggling, his act led to Lacazette re-finding his form. You can not imagine Sanchez doing similar.

With new World Cup Aubameyang (and Mkhitaryan) will get a proper rest and full pre-season. He could be devastating next year.