Tag Archives: Medhi Benatia

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

What else can Arsenal expect this transfer window?

I am writing this on Saturday evening. Writing my blogs the night before helps me sleep. It could be a cure for insomnia you might say. anyway, by the time it is blogged (set for 8.40am Monday morning), Jamie Vardy might have been already announced as an Arsenal player.

If he has not, the likelihood is that it will happen at some point today (I now have to imagine that I am writing this tomorrow). Whether it has been announced or not, it seems pretty certain that he is on the way in.another-vardy-grap_2911223a

That then creates a good start to the beginning of the transfer window.

I am sure 3 months ago, we all agreed on what Arsenal need:

  • A pacey striker
  • A defensive midfielder
  • A centre back
  • A right winger

So it is two down, two to go. And it is only the 6th of June. The transfer window does not even officially open until the 1st of next month.

It is a good start. And hopefully that is what it is. A start. We still have more to go. Our business is not done. The cheque book should not be closed.

So what can Arsenal expect from the rest of our transfer summer (in before all the negatives nancies say nothing).

Now before I start, this is all my opinion. I am not privy to any information. This is just me putting together 2 and 2 and getting 12.

Ricardo Rodriguez seems to be one on our radar. Reports are that he has a release clause that we are willing to meet. A first choice left back was certainly not on anyone’s list at the end of the season, but he would be a good positive signing.

The consensus was that Kieran Gibbs’ time at Arsenal was coming to an end. That Arsenal should get shot this summer, and bring in a young left back to provide cover for Nacho Monreal, who within a year or two would replace the 30 year old Spaniard. The likes of Leicester City’s Ben Chilwell and Celtic’s Kieran Tierney were mooted. But it seems Rodriguez is top of the list.

This is a surprise at Rodriguez is not a youngster who would be willing to await his chance. He is 23 years old, is Switzerland’s first choice left back, whom he has 37 caps for, and has over played nearly 250 professional games. He certainly would not be coming to be Monreal’s understudy but as a direct competitor.

He is attacking and has a cracking left foot. In the short term, I think he would be coming in to both compete with Monreal, and also be a left footed option on the wing.

Were Rodriguez to come in, that would be 3 potential starters to have joined this summer.

Now I am of the belief that you do not introduce too many 1st XI players at any one time. It takes players time to settle, time to adapt, time to gel. Too many ends up with a disjointed team and history has shown it would create too any dropped points early on in the season.

By the time they have gelled it is too late.

Personally, 3 1st XI players is already too much. 2 maximum. But then we got back to the original shopping list. Signing a top left back still leaves us a right winger and a centre back short.

I honestly can not see the club signing Rodriguez, than adding a first choice centre back and a first choice right winger. It would leave us with one of the other. This will likely be a centre back.

Centre back is clearly more important than a winger. Laurent Koscielny aside, we are not strong enough at the back. Kalidou Koulibaly and Medhi Benatia seem to be the two at the top of our list.

A centre back is a most.

So where does that leave us with the right wing?

I do not think we will get one.

Theo Walcott and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, two who were scheduled to be on their last legs, will be given a lifeline due to Danny Welbeck’s injury.

Again, in my opinion, the plan was obvious. Buy a striker, Welbeck go’s wide where he excells, and Walcott go’s.

With Welbeck out until February at least (don’t expect to see him at all next season) it leaves us short.

But as previously stated, I can not see us integrating a 5th player into the 1st XI. The result is Walcott, Oxlade-Chamberlain, or even Serge Gnabry will start the season on the right wing. The alternative option would be Rodriguez on the left and Alexis Sanchez moving over.

Knowing Arsene and Arsenal, however, it would not be too much of a surprise if we did not buy a centre back and ended up with Henrikh Mkhitaryan on the right.

As for the out goings, I will look into these at another time.

It is going to be a busy summer. Granit Xhaka and Vardy are just the start.

Keenos