Tag Archives: Unai Emery

Two out as Arsenal look to finance move for Samuel Umtiti

Arsenal have been heavily linked with Barcelona central defender Samuel Umtiti in recent weeks. At the moment it feels a bit like the media are putting 2 and 2 together and getting 5.

Umtiti has dropped to 3rd choice centre back for the Spanish giants this season, although this has more to do with a troublesome knee injury than anything else.

Since regaining fitness, Umtiti has found himself behind Gerard Pique and compatriot Clement Lenglet.

With Barcelona chasing Ajax defender Matthijs de Ligt, the talk is Barcelona will need to cash in on one of their other 3 defenders to accommodate him.

It is unlikely they will sell Gerard Pique, and the experienced campaigner would unlikely command a high transfer fee. That leaves Umtiti and Lenglet.

Umtiti would command a bigger transfer fee than Lenglet, and would also likely be less happy to sit on the bench behind de Ligt and Pique. All this in the mixing pot has led to the rumours that Umtiti will be off this summer.

The two clubs he has been linked with are Arsenal and Manchester United – the two Premier League sides most in need of a centre back; although Chelsea are surely going to be desperate for one this summer as well.

Umtiti would be a brilliant signing for Arsenal.

25-years-old, he is an athletic centre back who is naturally left sided. You can foresee him fitting in nicely alongside Sokratis in the short term.

The stumbling block however will be the fee.

Umtiti has been touted around at the £60million mark, which would take up the majority of Arsenal’s existing transfer kitty.

So how would Arsenal afford Umtiti whilst leaving enough money to buy a central midfielder, winger and a left back?

The easy answer is that they need to sell to be, and we have to sellable central defenders who could find themselves surplus to requirements were Umtiti to join.

The first is Shokdran Mustasfi.

The German international has had a tough time of late, with every error magnified online.

He is not as bad as some people make out, but he is not the level required for a starting central defender.

Unai Emery has been unable to drop him recently despite poor form. Injuries to Rob Holding, Laurent Koscielny and Kostadinos Mavropanos have left Arsenal with two fit central defenders.

With Sokratis set for a 2 match ban, Mustafi has a part to play in the run in.

Despite his poor recent form, Arsenal would still be able to command a decent fee for Mustafi.

He is not on huge wages (£90,000 per week) and would start for every team outside of the top 6. Were Everton, Wolves, Watford or Leicester to move for him, Arsenal could easily recoup £20million.

Umtiti should be seen as a direct replacement for Mustafi.

If Arsenal made the two deals, it would leave us with Umtiti, Sokratis, Holding, Koscielny and Mavropanos as out defensive options. It would give us strong cover.

The man not mentioned above is Calum Chambers, and he is another that Arsenal should cash in on.

Chambers is currently performing well at Fulham. Despite their struggles, he has been their shining light playing central midfield.

His good form has led for some Arsenal fans to call for his return, but his time at Arsenal is clearly up.

Chambers left on loan to Fulham having found himself behind Sokratis, Mustafi, Holding and Koscielny in the pecking order. He has since made a bit of a name for himself playing in the middle of the park for Fulham.

Were he to return he would still be 5th choice centre back at best (if we signed Umtiti) and would also be behind Granit Xhaka, Lucas Torreira and Matteo Guendouzi.

Taking into account how little game time Ainsley Maitland-Niles has had (in the middle of the park or Mohamed Elneny, Chambers would simply not play.

Due to his good form at Fulham, Arsenal would likely receive £20m+ for him.

Any of the promoted sides would snap him up, as well as the lower end Premier League teams. He would be an asset to all of them.

So were Arsenal to sell Chambers and Mustafi, we would raise over £40million, which would be 2/3s of Umtiti’s transfer fee. That would leave plenty more in the pot to improve elsewhere.

Maybe Arsenal should go in with £80million and snap up both Umtiti and Malcolm?

Going to be a big summer for Unai Emery.



Unai Emery has best “first season win ratio” of top 4 rivals

Unai Emery’s win percentage after 47 games stands at 61.7%

This is higher than any of Mauricio Pochettino’s, Pep Guardiola or Jurgen Klopp’s 1st season in England:

Unai Emery: 61.7%
Pep Guardiola: 58.9%
Mauricio Pochettino: 50.9%
Jurgen Klopp: 44.2%

Now I expect Liverpool fans to moan that “Jurgen Klopp came half way through the season”. So these are the year by year figures:

Jurgen Klopp

2015/16: 44.2%
2016/17: 57.5%
2017/18: 55.4%
2018/19: 67.4%

Unai Emery

2018/19 – 61.7%

Emery’s record v Pochettino is also favourable, with the long-term Tottenham manager only bettering Emery’s current win %age once:


2014/15: 44.2%
2015/16: 49.1%
2016/17: 62.3%
2017/18: 60.0%
2018/19: 61.7%


2018/19: 61.7%

Unai Emery’s (current) win ratio is Arsenal’s 3rd best of the decade::

UE – 2018/19: 61.7%
AW- 2017/18: 51.7%
AW- 2016/17: 63.4%
AW- 2015/16: 51.8%
AW- 2014/15: 61.8%
AW- 2013/14: 60.3%
AW- 2012/13: 54.71%
AW- 2011/12: 57.4%
AW- 2010/11: 50.0%
AW- 2009/10: 60.0%

And finally…

I know it is early in Unai Emery’s career but:

Unai Emery: 61.7%
Arsene Wenger: 57.2%

Of course, a good win ratio is nothing if it does not lead to winning trophies.


Has Denis Suarez fallen out of favour at Arsenal?

What is happening with Denis Suarez?

When Arsenal were first linked with Denis Suarez in January, it was clear that Unai emery was pushing for a move for him because he no longer wished to utilise Aaron Ramsey or Mesut Ozil.

There was talk at the time that had Arsenal completed the move early enough in the month, that they might release Ramsey to Juventus earlier – making a couple of million from the deal whilst boasting the Italian’s Champions League chances.

It was a long drawn out transfer process.

Arsenal wanted the Spaniard with an option to buy at the end of the season, Barcelona wanted to either insert a compulsory purchase order in the deal, or have Suarez sign a new deal to protect them from losing him on a free in 18 months.

In the end Suarez agreed a new contract with Barcelona, and Arsenal secured their man on a loan with an option to buy.

It is now two months to the day since Suarez completed his move to Arsenal and he is still awaiting his first start.

To date Suarez only has a handful of substitute appearances to his name. Meanwhile Ramsey and Ozil have returned to Emery’s first team plans – starting 9 of the last 10 games between them.

It is odd watching Ramsey or Ozil starting pretty much every game whilst the man signed to “replace” them is on the bench, getting 10 minutes here, 12 minutes there.

So what is happening with Suarez?

The first theory is that he is still very much part of Emery’s future plans. That we moved for an early loan deal for him so that he could spend 6 months acclimatising to the Premier League whilst Arsenal have both Ramsey and Ozil still at the club.

He would not be under pressure to play, and could spend his time getting both physically and mentality prepared for the Premier League. Bulking up in the gym and physical training sessions meaning that come August, he is ready to go.

This argument is logical, and we have previously seen Arsenal do this before with Emmanuel Adebayor and Jose Reyes. Both signed in January with the view of getting prepared for the next season.

With Ramsey joining Juventus at the end of the season, Arsenal will need a replacement. Suarez will be that replacement and by the time August comes, he would be fully acclimatised to the Premier League.

Getting Suarez in now takes the pressure off the summer, meaning we can concentrate on signing a centre back, left back and winger, without having to be considered about replacing Ramsey.

A second argument is that he is not fully fit.

Prior to joining Arsenal, he had played just 10 games this season for Barcelona, with his only 2 starts coming in the Copa del Rey against Spanish 3rd tier side Cultural y Deportiva Leonesa.

To have barely played in 2018/19 is a problem.

With the added physicality of the Premier League, Suarez would have arrived nowhere near match sharp, and it is taking him a while to get up to speed.

The final theory is that having pursued Suarez, Emery no longer fancies him.

Emery has seen the man he managed at Sevilla up close at London Colney. Alongside Ramsey and Ozil and he is clearly inferior. Not up to it. Not a player for a top tier challenging team.

Having seen him train amongst his peers, Emery does not see a future for the 25-year-old at Arsenal and has already made the decision not to make the move permanent in the summer. He will pursue other options to replace Ramsey; like Christopher Nkunku, whom Arsenal were also heavily linked with in January.

Suarez has become a short term option to a problem that never really existed, and in the summer Arsenal will decide to pursue Nkunku to replace Ramsey, and return Suarez to Barcelona.

The situation of Denis Suarez at Arsenal is interesting, and he is seemingly no closer to starting a game for Arsenal then he was whilst a Barcelona player.

With the club chasing 3rd place, and Ozil and Ramsey returning to Emery’s 1st team plans, I doubt we will see Suarez start a game this season.