Tag Archives: thomas lemar

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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Mkhitaryan for Sanchez straight swap a “good deal”?

But we could have got £60million for him in the summer is a common complaint upon hearing that we are about to swap Alexis Sanchez for Henrikh Mkhitaryan, with no cash exchanging hands.

A lot of people are looking at it as we are then getting no money for Sanchez, and therefore it is a bad deal as we could have got £60m in the summer.

Whilst they are not getting any money for Sanchez, what they are getting is a player that Manchester United were happy spending £37.8m on 18 months ago.

When you consider Alexis Sanchez is available on a free in just 5 months, the fact Arsenal are getting a £40m player in a straight swap is as good as Arsenal getting £40m for him.

But we could have got £60m for him in the summer, you still cry. And you are correct.

But had we sold Sanchez in the summer, we would have had to have bought a replacement. And every club in Europe would have known that:

  1. We had £60m to burn
  2. That we were desperate

All of that £60m, and maybe more, would have been invested in his replacement.

So in reality, Arsenal would not have been getting £60m for Sanchez, but swapping Sanchez for whoever his replacement is.

On deadline day, for example, Arsenal bid £90m for Thomas Lemar.

Would spending £30 and swapping Lemar for Sanchez be a good deal? No.

Another player is Julian Draxler. I imagine had we pushed for him, we would have been able to get him for similar to what we sold Sanchez for. So the £60m we got in for Sanchez would have been given straight to PSG for Draxler.

Julian Draxler is a very good player, but is he worth £60m? Would that price have been inflated due to the Sanchez cash? Possibly.

And then compare to the two players mentioned above to Henrikh Mkhitaryan. Are they actually any better?

Mkhitaryan has had a tough 18 months in England, but he would not be the first free-spirited attacking talent to struggle under Jose Mourinho.

For me, he is on a similar level to Julian Draxler. Actually I would say he is better than Draxler as people still talk about the German as having potential, whilst Mkhitaryan is proven.

Then compare Mkhitaryan to Lemar.

One is a player who has had one good season, and struggled this, the other was quality in Germany over a number of years.

So Lemar would have cost us an additional £30m on top of what we got in for Sanchez, and he is not as good as the player we ended up getting.

Had we sold Alexis Sanchez to Manchester City for £40m and then bought Mkhitaryan from Manchester United for £40m, you would probably all be happy.

Now lets chuck Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang into the mix- a deal for £53m is moving closer.

We could end up with a situation where we get both Aubameyang and Mkhitaryan in, with Sanchez leaving, and a net spend of just £53m.

Let’s go back to the alternative deal in the summer of Lemar in, Sanchez out, and a net spend of £30m.

So for an additional £23m on top of what we were willing to spend in the summer, we are getting a Sanchez replacement and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.

Is the deal a good deal for Arsenal? Yes.

Ps: in their last season together at Dormund, the pair scored62 goals between them.

Keenos

Formation more important than spending big for Arsenal

I have read a lot over recent days that Arsenal need to buy this player, or that player. But a bigger problem that needs to be sorted out within the side before we sign anyone is what formation we set out to play.

There is no point going out and spending millions of pounds on players, if we do not play a system that utilising them best.

For about a year, we have played 3 at the back.

Moving forward through the pitch, we have then played a narrow 2 (or 2 Number 10s) behind a single striker. The theory being that this would then get the best out of Alexis Sanchez.

However, in recent games we have returned to 4 at the back. This then affects what happens further up the field, as it results in us playing with two wider forwards, with a single Number 10.

Until Arsene Wenger decides on which formation we play, there really is no point us signing someone.

Formation more important than spending big for Arsenal

Take Thomas Lemar, for example.

He was brilliant for Monaco playing wide left. But Arsenal do not currently play with wide men, so what is the point of spending £90million on him, if we do not play the formation to accommodate him.

The same go’s for Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. He has been heavily linked with Arsenal this week, but he is a centre forward and just 6 months ago, we spent nearly £50m on Alexandre Lacazette.

What is the point then paying a similar amount for another striker, when we only play one up front?

Or Anthony Martial, who we have been linked in a swap deal for Alexis Sanchez.

His best performances for Manchester United have been playing wide. He is not a Number 10. Therefore swapping Sanchez for Martial and keeping with 3 at the back and two behind Lacazette would not get the best from him.

Another Manchester United star we have been linked with his Henrikh Mkhitaryan.

Mkhitaryan is a talented Number 10, and could work alongside Mesut Ozil. But what if Wenger decides to drop the 3 at the back? Mkhitaryan is then forced to play out wide – where he has struggled for Manchester United.

We are likely to sell Theo Walcott in this transfer window as he does not suit the current system. It is easy to forget he scored 19 goals last season on the right hand side of a front 3.

Coming in could be Bordeaux star Malcolm. A right winger. It would be odd to let go of Walcott because he can not play in the current system, to then sign Malcolm, who is also a right sided midfielder.

An option could be to go for the likes of Leon Goretzka or Julian Draxler, who both have the ability to play both at Number 10 and out wide – meaning that they are interchangeable when it comes formation changes. But both seem to have got off the Arsenal Speculation Train in recent weeks.

We need to buy players. That is clear. The first XI is not good enough, neither is the squad.

But there is no point buying players until Wenger makes it certain what formation he wants to play. And we all know the dithering Frenchman will probably not make that decision until April.

There is no point spending big money on players, then not playing that system that gets the best out of them.

Keenos