Tag Archives: thomas lemar

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

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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 do Arsenal need to do in January?

Sign a reinforcement

We have to be realistic when it comes to the January transfer window.

History shows that not much business is done in January. That sides will not go out and buy 5 it 6 players. Arsenal have notoriously done little business in January, and I do not expect that to change.

I would be surprised if Arsene Wenger signed more than a single player.

We recently conducted a poll on Twitter about what you, the fans, would like to see us sign in January:

Over 1,200 participated and the vote was fairly evenly split between a centre back, a defensive midfielder, and a replacement for Ozil or Sanchez.

For me it depends what play comes available – often in January you are governed by an individual wanting to make a move rather.

This means that if someone like Virgil van Dyke does agitate for a move away once more, we should go for him. But we should not settle for someone inferior just for the sake of getting in a centre back.

Likewise if Thomas Lemar or Julian Draxler want a January move, the doors to the Marble Halls should be open.

Once player looking like he wants a move is former Blackburn central midfielder Steven Nzonzi.

Currently at Sevilla, the 28-year-old has reportedly fallen out with manager Eduardo Berizzo. With a £35m release clause, it is a deal which could be tied up quite quickly. Whether he is the right player for Arsenal, however, is another debate.

What is for certain is Arsenal need to buy someone in January to keep the squad moving and fresh. With us fighting for 3 trophies, and in the race for 4th place, we need reinforcements.

Keep Sanchez and Ozil

Over the summer, arsenal stood firm over Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil. They mad it clear, they would rather let both run their contracts down and leave for nothing rather than sell them.

Towards the end of the window, Arsenal looked set to let Sanchez leave to Manchester City, with Thomas Lemar set to come in. Lemar decided to turn Arsenal down causing the Sanchez deal feel through.

This lead to both Sanchez and Ozil staying.

4 months on and I imagine Arsenal’s position has not changed.

Despite the poor form of Alexis Sanchez, I would be surprised if the club let either him or Ozil go in January without having signed a replacement.

If we do let them go without signing a replacement, you then have to question why we did not just do so in the summer when both players value would have been twice as much – Sanchez to Manchester City was reportedly a £60m deal.

With the club still fighting for 3 trophies, as well as in the hunt for a Top 4 finish, it would be odd for the club to sell either without replacing.

Arsenal need to keep both Sanchez and Ozil until the end of the season, unless a replacement is bought in January.

Secure Leon Goretzka

I have been a fan of Schalke midfielder Leon Goretzka for some time. The 22 year old German midfielder is a terrific all-round midfielder. There is a whole host of players available on a free transfer this summer, and Leon Goretzka is the best of the bunch.

Arsenal are able to do a deal for the German in January to join in the summer, and should make the move and secure his signature.

Whilst Goretzka would not be a direct replacement for Ozil and Sanchez, he would go some way to replacing them.

I believe his future is playing deeper than he does for Schalke. Like Kevin de Bruyne does for Manchester City – dictating play from deep but also joining in the attack.

Playing Goretzka deeper would then free up to push Aaron Ramsey further forward – his more natural position.

Getting in Goretzka will be a big statement for next season that we are already making top quality signings.

Keenos