Tag Archives: william saliba

Do Arsenal risk squad disharmony with 8 potential “new signings”

“8 new signings” would be crazy turnover for a single summer. Nearly 1 third of the squad. But having been sensible in January, this is the situation Arsenal could be in this summer.

If all goes well, Arsenal could add Gabriel, Thomas Partey, Dani Ceballos & Amadou Diawara to the confirmed summer signings of Willian, Pablo Mari and Cedric Soares.

Add in William Saliba and that will be 7 new signings this summer, and an 8th player signed last season but was left parked at his old club for a season.

Usually this amount of turnover would take 6 months for players to settle and gel. But Arsenal’s forward planning means it is a doable transfer window.

Cedric Soares

Joining in January on loan, Arsenal quickly snapped Portuguese right back on a free transfer once his contract at Southampton had expired.

He has already been at the club for nearly 7 months, training with team mates. With 5 appearances in the bag for Arsenal and 120 Premier League appearances under his belt for Southampton, he will not take any settling down what so ever.

Pablo Mari

Like Cedric Soares, Pablo Mari joined Arsenal on loan in January before a deal was completed in June.

Due to injury, he has played just 3 games for Arsenal in the 7 months he has been at the club.

But that 7 months takes out the usual half year a player takes to settle.

When he returns to full training, he will not require any integrating into the squad.

Willian

339 games for Chelsea, 234 in the Premier League. The only thing Willian will need is how much further London Colney is round the M25 from Cobham. About 45 miles.

He might not have played for Arsenal previously, but there will not be too many players who have played more Premier League games than him next season.

Dani Ceballos

Hopefully we get a deal over the line for Dani Ceballos – whether it is a permanent deal or another loan deal.

Having now played 36 games for Arsenal, the axis of Ceballos and Granit Xhaka was a key reason Arsenal won the FA Cup.

He might be a “new signing” this summer, but he will not be a new face at the training ground.

William Saliba

Opposite to Dani Ceballos is William Saliba.

He signed permanently last summer, but then spent the season on loan at St Etienne

Saliba will take some time to settle, which is why it is important that club kept David Luiz.

Gabriel

Not yet done but Arsenal are hopefully of getting the deal over the line.

Gabriel will be in the same boat as William Saliba. A new face in the training ground.

David Luiz will be key helping Gabriel and Saliba settle.

Thomas Partey

Atletico Madrid midfielder would be a big coup for Arsenal. He will be another new face.

Amadou Diaware

Likewise Diawara will be a new face.


So Arsenal could make 7 new signings this summer, with William Saliba being an 8th new player. Yet of the 8, only 5 would have not yet played for Arsenal and be a new face in the training ground, and of those 5, 4 come with no Premier League experience.

I would usually worry about so many new signings. But with half of them now being new faces, Arsenal would have improved the squad without too much disruption.

We just then need to lose half dozen players (Sokratis, Rob Holding, Ainsley Maitland Niles, Matteo Guendouzi, Lucas Torerria, Alex Lacazette) to make space for them.

Onwards and upwards.

Keenos

Mustafi to stay, Guendouzi to go as Arsenal look to go 6th

Games are coming thick and fast now.

Tonight we play Leicester. And if it feels like we only played a couple of days ago; that is because we did.

Whilst some managers have complained about the short turn around for players, the actual truth is that teams in Europe are in this situation every season.

Arsenal would have played Saturday / Sunday and Tuesday / Wednesday for 6 weeks (bar a game against Southampton on a Thursday).

This is not much difference than what clubs do in November and October, jumping from weekend Premier League games to mid-week European and League Cup matches.

The only major difference is there is no international break (which sees players fly across the globe) and the furthest a club would have to travel is either Newcastle or Bournemouth rather than taking midnight flights to deepest darkest Eastern Europe, also known as Belarus.

For teams like Arsenal, players will be used to playing twice a week. And the lack of long travel for Euro aways is actually easier on their body.

Teams lower down in the league might complain that they do not have the resources to play twice a week for long periods, but you never hear them feel sorry for top clubs when they arrive back in the UK from Moscow at 3am Friday morning, and then need to be in Newcastle for a noon kick off on Sunday.

Plenty of news floating about this morning.

The first is Arsenal are considering a new deal for Shkodran Mustafi.

He has been in fine form since returning to the team under Mikel Arteta, and has always been a good centre back. He just makes a mistake every 7 or 8 games that leads to conceding a goal. And it always seemed to lead to a goal which saw Arsenal lose, rather than a consultation goal in a 5-1 victory.

With his deal running out next summer, Arsenal need to make the decision soon.

The club have been impressed with his contribution during the Covid19 pandemic. The German donated over 16,000 meals and other emergency supplies to people in Islington.

He has stepped up as a personality within the squad, and maybe the club have looked at the finances and what players are available on the market and decided Mustafi might be the best choice?

With Pablo Mari signing, David Luiz staying and William Saliba returning, adding Mustafi and one of Rob Holding or Calum Chambers would not be a bad group of central defenders.

Since Arteta took over, Arsenal have conceded 14 goals in 15 league games. Only Liverpool and Manchester United have conceded less (11). Across all games Arsenal have kept 10 clean sheets in 21 games.

The current defenders at the club are certainly making a case to be kept, rather than big investment made in another new central defender.

My gut is stick with what we have, Saliba and Mari are new signings, and then next summer recruit someone to replace David Luiz is Mari, Saliba or Mustafi do not form a solid partnership.

LONDON, ENGLAND – OCTOBER 24: Shkodran Mustafi of Arsenal embraces Matteo Guendouzi of Arsenal after the UEFA Europa League group F match between Arsenal FC and Vitoria Guimaraes at Emirates Stadium on October 24, 2019 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Naomi Baker/Getty Images)

On William Saliba, a headline this morning is that “Arsenal have made a U-turn” with allowing him to play in the French Cup final.

This story has always been written from a very odd standpoint.

The media criticised Arsenal for “going back on an agreement” that “angered Saint-Étienne.” But then the truth came out that Saint-Étienne were demanding an additional £2.5million for Saliba to play one game.

Why would Arsenal pay the French side £2.5million to pay one game when not contracted to? – remember the original loan deal had expired so a new temporary loan deal would have to be agreed.

Arsenal were painted in the media as the bad guys, when it is clear that all Saint-Étienne was the money.

Now it is reported that “Arsenal have made a U-turn”. Again, making it appear Arsenal were the bad guys.

Chances are it is Saint-Étienne who have U-turned; realising that having their first choice central defender play a final is more important than the £2.5million they wanted Arsenal to pay.

The French side basically had a choice:

  1. Accept no fee, get Saliba for the final
  2. Do not accept no fee, don’t get Saliba for the final, receive no money

In both situations they do not get money; but in only one situation they get their on-loan defender for their biggest game in recent history.

We end today with the rumours over Matteo Guendouzi.

David Ornstein broke the news last night that the Frenchman had been training alone since the post-match spat with Brighton.

It shows Arteta’s authoritarian stance.

Guendouzi has previously mocked Unai Emery, cause issues for Freddie Ljungberg and was dropped following a row with coaching staff during the mid-season trip to Dubai.

A lot of Guendouzi’s behaviour can be labelled as “immature”.

From mocking Emery’s accent to taking his shirt off at dinner and waving it over his head in Dubai. Whilst he is only 21-years-old, footballers need to grow up quickly.

Everyone has been impressed with the maturity shown by Bukayo Saka. He talks well and behaves in the way you would expect of an Arsenal youngster.

Compare Guendouzi to Declan Rice.

They are the same age, but in recent weeks Rice has stepped up as a leader on the pitch for West Ham, captaining them a few times. He is showing the mentality needed to become a top player. Guendouzi is not.

The ball is now in Guendouzi’s court.

He either needs to take responsibility for his behaviour, his actions; stop being the class clown and concentrate on his football. Or be sold.

Guendouzi’s current deal runs out in 2022. This summer he should be signing a new 5-year double your money deal. Instead he could find himself being shipped out.

There will be no shortage of suiters for the midfielder, who is still one of the brightest prospects in Europe. Like with Mario Balotelli and other problem players, managers will think “if he matures, I can get him to play, there could be a world class player in there”.

Arsenal might be best off getting cashing in rather than hoping he quickly matures.

The £40million he would raise would be key transfer funds, almost paying for Thomas Partey.

On a final note, we remember the 52 people that died in the 7/7 London bombings; 15 years ago today. We shall never surrender.

Keenos

Could this be Arsenal’s best transfer window in over a decade?

A short apology for the lack of blogs in recent weeks. Real life has taken over and with work being at its peak period, annual leave and weddings I have barely had enough time to think, let alone write a blog.

It has been 6 days since my last blog and a lot has happened since I blogged that Arsenal’s transfers were heating up.

On the Thursday I was at a wedding, sweltering in my suit in an old stately home with no air conditioning. Anyone that has ever met me will know that I am not the fittest of blokes. Let’s just say there was a lot of perspiration.

Since my blog last Tuesday Arsenal confirmed that signing of Dani Ceballos on loan and William Saliba, who was immediately loaned back to St Etienne.

Both transfers interest me because of the deals themselves.

Ceballos is a wonderful player, but the loan deal does not include an option to buy. This means if he excels and has a good season, Arsenal will probably have to pay even more to secure him next summer. This makes me feel that we see him as short term option.

Next summer Ozil will only have 1 year left on his contract. We will have to go big to replace him – an attacking midfielder will be next seasons marquee signing. That is perhaps why we have opted against paying (or pledging to pay) a fee for Ceballos. We want to ensure that we have enough in the bank to go big on a target, rather than have £20 or £30million less due to buying Ceballos.

Of course, if Ceballos does perform, he could become that marquee signing.

Saliba has also been loaned back to St Etienne.

At 18 we have clearly signed him with the long term in view. A replacement for Sokratis in 12 to 24 months rather than an immediate replacement for Laurent Koscielny or Shkodran Mustafi.

My feeling all along was that a senior starting central defender would only come in once Mustafi has left the club.

On a side note, the booing of Mustafi by Arsenal fans was childish. Grow up.

If Koscielny is released by the club in the coming weeks, it leaves us with Sokratis, Mustafi, Rob Holding, Calum Chambers and Kostadinos Mavropanos. Signing a 6th central defender does not make sense. Either Mustafi or Chambers will be moved on 1st.

Then in 2020, Saliba returns and we have our new centre back signing, Holding, Saliba, Chambers and Mavropanos (or Medley or Ballard).

Over the next couple of days Arsenal will confirm Nicolas Pepe, who flew home from Miami last night.

The French-born-Ivorian will be a real statement of intent. He is one of the best wingers in Europe and it shows that top players would rather play for top clubs who are temporarily out of the Champions League, then small clubs who do not win trophies.

It would not surprise anyone if we did the deal for Kieran Tierney towards the end of the week.

Carlo Ancelotti has recently announced that Napoli are out of the running leaving Arsenal with no opposition for the signing.

Arsenal have reportedly met Celtic’s asking price, but the Glasgow’s 2nd club are unhappy with the structure of the deal, preferring the full fee upfront. Expect the deadlock to be broken this week.

That would leave Arsenal having signed Gabriel Martinelli, William Saliba, Dani Ceballos, Nicolas Pepe and Kieran Tiernay. It would be nearly £125million spent excluding whatever fee we have paid for the Ceballos loan deal.

We have always said that the £40million was a lie. We have been proved right. We are not ITK, we just did the maths and looked beyond the clickbait headlines.

The last piece of the jigsaw this summer would be that central defensive signing to replace Mustafi. If we complete that, Raul & Edu should be congratulated on a very good 1st summer transfer window under the new regime.

It is going to be another exciting week.

Keenos