Tag Archives: ryan fraser

The 5 players Arsenal need to sign this summer

Cedric Soares

Arsenal took Southampton right back on loan in January.

He arrived with an injury and then the Covid19 suspension hit meaning he has yet to play a game for the club.

Available for free in the summer, Arsenal would do well to secure his services on a 3-year contract.

Capped 33 times by Portugal, Soares was part of the team that won Euro 2016.

The experienced right back has spent 5 years on the South-Coast, playing 138 games. He has experience, and more importantly Premier League experience.

Some are calling for us to sign Max Aarons – but at £30million it would be a misappropriate use of funds when he would not be first choice.

Soares would be solid cover for Hector Bellerin.

Pablo Mari

Like Soares, Pablo Mari is also on loan. Like Soares, Arsenal should make the deal permanent.

Arsenal are currently overloaded with central defenders. Before even signing Mari, we have 7 at the club (David Luiz, Shkodran Mustafi, Sokratis, Rob Holding, Calum Chambers, William Saliba, Konstantinos Mavropanos).

Signing Mari would take it up to 8, but then the challenge would be to sell or loan out at least 3.

Two of David Luiz, Mustafi and Sokratis should be moved on. Mari is better than the later 2.

Time is also running out for Calum Chambers and Rob Holding.

Both Englishmen have stagnated at Arsenal and unlikely ever be good enough. Neither are young enough to be considered as “having potential”.

Mavropanos has been linked away from the club in recent days. A loan deal for a season would make a lot of sense.

Whilst plenty are linking us to the likes of Dayot Upamecano, we do not have the finances to make many big money signings.

Available for as little as £7million, Mari would add balance to the defence and replace the experience we would lose in Sokratis and Mustafi. He is an organiser and leader of the defence.

Ideally, we should go into next season with Luiz, Mari, Holding / Chambers and Saliba; with either Dan Ballard or Zech Medley as 5th choice.

Thomas Partey

If Arsenal make one big money signing this summer, it needs to be Atletico Madrid midfielder Thomas Partey.

For years, Arsenal have lacked power in the middle of the park for nearly a decade. You have to go back to Abou Diaby for the last time we had midfielder powerhouse; capable of physically destroying an opposing midfield, whilst also having the power and pose to drive forward with the ball.

Calling Partey a defensive midfielder is a disservice to him. Like Patrick Vieira, Yaya Toure and Diaby, he is much more than someone who simple wins the ball and passes it on (think Claude Makelele or Gilberto Silva).

He is the type of midfielder that dominates the game, dictates it with his physicality.

The 27-year-old Ghanaian midfielder is at his peak and would transform Arsenal.

Orkun Kokcu

Dutch-born Turkish youth international Orkun Kocku is one of the biggest prospects in the Dutch top-flight at the moment.

It was reported recently that Arsenal’s technical director Edu is a huge fan of the midfielder and wants to bring him to the Emirates this summer.

With Mesut Ozil set to leave the club on a free transfer in the summer, Arsenal should recruit his replacement this summer, enabling him to play and train alongside the German, before taking the step up for the 2021/22 season.

Our friends over at GunnersTown have an excellent scouting report on Kokcu.

At just 19-years-old, recruiting him this summer would give him a year to adapt to the Premier League before becoming a first team regular in 2021.

Ryan Fraser

Bukayo Saka is going to be a star. But he is still just 18-years-old.

Saka can not be expected to play 50 games next season, and with Nicolas Pepe and Reiss Nelson the other two “natural” wingers at the club, we are one short.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang needs to play down the middle next season, with Gabrial Martinelli backing him up (if Alexandre Lacazette leaves). Neither player is really a winger.

Bournemouth winger Fraser is available on a free transfer. The Scot would give Arsenal some Premier League proven experience alongside Saka without breaking the bank.

The pair could share the load on the left hand side, and give Mikel Arteta the option of playing left or right footed players on both wings.

Final Thoughts: The impact of Covid19 is going to impact the finances of all clubs across Europe this summer. We are not going to see too many teams spending big this summer.

Based on reported fees, the above transfers would cost the club in the region of £80million. Once this is amortised for accounting reason, it would increase the clubs outgoings by around £16million a year.

Arsenal would look to raise funds (and make savings in salaries) by moving on Mustafi, Sokratis, Chambers / Holding and Henrikh Mkhitaryan. In the current market, Arsenal would do well to raise £25-30million.

Selling Alexandre Lacazette could double that, freeing up further wages and providing us with some very important cash to complete the transactions.

With tightening finances, Arsenal are going to have promote some youth next season. The likes of Soares, Mari and Fraser will provide experience alongside those youngsters, whilst Kocku would replace on loan Dani Ceballos as the creativity behind Ozil.

Thomas Partey should be the number one target.


How “frustrating” home grown rules impacting Arsenal’s transfer business

A lot is made about buying home grown players, and the struggle teams face to recruit enough quality of “English” talent to fulfil the Premier League home grown criteria.

People often get the criteria the wrong way round, talking about how each club must register “8 home grown players”. This is not true. They could for all intents and purposes register none.

The rule is about how many “non home grown” players a team can register:

Each club is able to list up to 17 senior players that are not English or Welsh and did not spend a significant period in an English or Welsh academy.

Currently, to be classified as home grown one must be on an English (or Welsh) team for at least three years before the age of twenty-one. It does not matter if the player was born overseas, or what country they play for.

For this reason, the likes of Alex Iwobi (born in Nigeria, plays for Nigeria) and Wilfried Zaha (born in Ivory Coast, plays for Ivory Coast) are considered home grown. And rightly so.

Both came to England at 4 years old, and are very much British citizens as much as they are Nigerian or Ivorian. Both have representing England as youngsters before deciding to play for the country of their both at senior level. Regardless of what people say, I will always class both as British (interestingly when I do this on Twitter, it riles up mainly Nigerian fans who seem to not realise he can be both Nigerian and British).

You then have players such as Hector Bellerin and Cesc Fabregas.

Both signed for Arsenal from Barcelona as teenagers. Both spent 3 years in England before they were 21-years-old.

Both born in Spain, both capped by Spain, yet both are considered as home grown.

The home grown rule was bought in by Greg Dyke in an attempt to improve the English national team. In theory, to force sides to have more “English” players in the squad. But you could essentially have Zaha, Iwobi, Bellerin and Fabregas in the squad, all home grown, non of whom play for England.

You also have the Welsh criteria.

As Swansea, Cardiff and Wrexham play in England, the Premier League count you as home grown even if you were in a Welsh academy.

This means someone like Ben Davies of Tottenham is home grown, despite being born in Wales and playing for Wales.

This does not extend to Scotland, however.

Bournemouth have to register Ryan Fraser (born in Scotland, plays for Scotland) as non home grown. This has probably impacted some top teams signing him this summer.

Arsenal target Kieran Tiernay is the same.

Tiernay was born on the Isle of Man, a self-governing British Crown dependency in the Irish Sea. He moved to Scotland at a young age and came up through Celtic’s academy. Like Fraser, were he to move to England he will not be considered as home grown.

I am sure these rules impact English teams signing Scottish players. Why go for a player from North of the border  when their are better French / German / Spanish players available?

The oddest rule of them all can be seen with Eric Dier.

Dier was born in Cheltenham, England. He plays for the English national team. At the age of 7, he moved with his family to Portugal as his mother got a job with UEFA working on Euro 2004. He is not considered as home grown.

So we have Zaha, Iwobi, Fabregas, Bellerin and Dier. 1 born in England, 4 born abroad. 1 plays for England, 4 play for foreign nations. Yet it is the English born, England international who is not considered as home grown. It all feels a little backwards.

When teams play in Europe, UEFA confuse matters further.

The “Welsh Rule” which means the Premier League considers players who have come up through an academy in Wales does not apply for UEFA competitions.

So back to the aforementioned Ban Davies.

Davies spent all his time in the Swansea academy (bar a brief spell in Denmark as a pre-teen).

Since 12 years old, he has played within the English football pyramid, working his way through the Swansea junior teams before becoming a 1st team regular. The issue is that whilst Swansea play in England, they still come under the Football Association of Wales rather than the English FA. UEFA do not consider him as home grown.

This led Tottenham having to leave him out of their European squad a few years back, something which baffled Mauricio Pochettino.

The fact the UEFA do not consider players to have come through the Welsh system is confusing, as every top Welsh player would have likely have come through the Swansea or Cardiff youth system (unless they moved to England at a very young age).

It also works the other way round. If Swansea or Cardiff were to play in European competition, any English players would be considered as non home grown.

This could create a situation where Swansea are Champions of England, with a squad containing 25 English-born players, but in Europe could only register 17 of them.

Like with Scotland, I wonder how much this impacts English clubs from buying Welsh players? And how many parents would consider moving their child from Wales to an English academy at 15 to ensure that they are eligible for both countries as home grown?

In summary, it is all a bit of a mess.

When an English born, English international is not considered home grown, whilst a Nigerian born, Nigerian international is home grown, something is broken.

Would Arsenal have signed Ryan Fraser if he was home grown? And is that a key reason we are targeting Zaha?