Tag Archives: william saliba

A lot has happened in a week at The Arsenal

A lot has happened in the week I have been off.

Firstly we had Laurent Koscielny going William Gallas on us.

I always liked Koscielny. He seemed to hold himself well and was a good role model, a good captain. He seemed to understand what it means to play for The Arsenal. That is why it came as a shock when he refused to fly out to America on the pre-season tour.

With Arsenal chasing central defenders this summer, it was felt that it was important to keep hold of Koscielny for one more season.

With William Saliba set to sign and be loaned straight back to St Etienne, a second senior central defender would likely be purchased, with Shkodran Mustafi making way. Koscielny would then be kept as experience cover to the new signing, Sokratis and Rob Holding; with Saliba joining Arsenal in a year to replace his senior compatriot.

Koscielny’s actions were disappointing and will have ramifications to Arsenal’s transfer targets this summer.

It is likely that we will now lose the Frenchman and that will result in Mustafi remaining. That will mean less funds raised to buy a top central defender and could see us scrap those plans and going into the new season with Mustafi, Holding and Sokratis as our central defensive options.

Koscielny has tarnished his Arsenal legacy.

We then have the “will they won’t they” signings of Saliba and Kieran Tierney.

Both deals were reportedly very close not to long ago, but both have stalled.

Tottenham have reportedly come in for Saliba, despite a deal being agreed with Arsenal and “in the hands of the lawyers” according to David Ornstein. According to top soccer betting sites, Arsenal are still favourites for the deal

On Ornstein; he is not longer as reliable as he once was with his source within the club having left (reportedly Ivan himself). Recently he has taken to reporting what others like Sky’s Kaveh Solhekol has already broke. Take what he says these days with the same pinch of salt you would others.

Tierney deal is dragging along. Arsenal had a second bid rejected due to the structure of the deal.

Arsenal have a right to be cautious, with the Scotsman still recovering from a double hernia. £25million upfront would secure the man, but he would be unable to pass a medical. It would be a risk, which is why Arsenal are trying to do a deal where Celtic will get their £25million based on appearances.

I still think Arsenal will get the deal over the line.

You then had the fake bid for Nicolas Pepe.

Arsenal reportedly bid £72million for the Ivorian, an offer which was quickly debunked by many. Whilst I have no doubt Arsenal did not make an offer for the Lille winger, he should certainly be on our radar.

Younger and better than Wilfried Zaha, I would rather Arsenal spent £60million on Pepe than his national team mate.

Yesterday we had the launch of the #WeCareDoYou campaign by many prominent Arsenal groups.

The strongly written letter to Stan Kroenke got the attention it deserved and was picked up by every major media outlet.

With nearly 100,000 Arsenal fans backing the letter, it carries a clear and conscience undertone. We are not happy.

I have a few on Kroenke which anyone that follows me on Twitter will know. The letter is not asking him to pump billions in, nor is it spreading any fake news about him taking money out. It is calling on him to show that he cares, and lead Arsenal back on the right track.

Our identity as a club has ebbed away over the last few years. Some of it due to Kroenke’s leadership, other due to the previous custodians. Much to do with how Ivan Gazidis ran the club.

You can probably track Arsenal’s identity demise back to 2002 when Arsenal changed the badge of marketing and copywrite reasons. Since then the club has been a mess.

Now not everything that has gone wrong is Kroenke’s fault, but as sole owner of Arsenal he now has the final say in where the club is going. And the club needs to get back on course.

It will take a while, you do not turn a cruise liner on a six pence. But the letter is the start, and hopefully Kroenke (and perhaps more importantly Raul Sanllehi) does listen, does take things into account, and does show that he cares.

Finally Arsenal played last night, beating Colorado Rapids 3-0 with Gabriel Martinelli, Bukayo Saka and James Olayinka getting on the score sheet.

I am not going to pretend to have watched the game, but there is a good write up on Jorge Bird’s Arsenal Youth Blog.

Arsenal’s 1st senior pre-season contained a youthful looking line up. Hopefully with another year in the Europa League we will see many of those players develop.

On Thursday Arsenal face Bayern Munich.

Keenos

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Why Arsenal signing William Saliba and sending him on loan makes PERFECT sense

Rumours circulated yesterday that Arsenal had agreed terms with 18-year-old French central defender William Saliba. All is to remain is to agree a fee with St Etienne.

Part of the expected deal is that Saliba remains at St Etienne on loan for next season. It is a term that makes complete sense.

Whilst most will question why we are buying a much needed central defender for £20million, only to loan him out, it makes a lot of sense once you work through everything logically.

Saliba will not be Arsenal’s only central defensive signing this summer.

With Shkodran Mustafi likely to be sold, it would leave Arsenal with just 3 senior centre backs. Laurent Koscielny, Sokratis and Rob Holding. Holding is injured and Koscielny is in nearly ready for the knackers’ yard.

It would be a very naive decision if Arsenal let Mustafi leave and do not buy a senior replacement. That senior replacement would not be Saliba.

So let’s imagine Arsenal sold Mustafi and signed a senior central defender – someone aged around 25-years-old and Saliba. It would leave us with:

Sokratis
New CB
Rob Holding
Laurent Koscielny
William Saliba
Calum Chambers
Kostadinos Mavropanos

With 7 central defenders, something would have to give.

For a start, I imagine Calum chambers would be sold. His fee would basically pay for Saliba; getting rid of any budget concerns. That would leave us with 6.

You do not need 6 central defenders in the squad. 5 maximum. That means you can afford to loan someone out. Remember Chambers spent last season out on loan.

So you buy a starting XI replacement for Mustafi. You then buy a replacement for Chambers; who spends a year on loan akin to Chambers spending. The status quo of squad numbers remains the same. 5 central defenders with 1 on loan:

Sokratis
New CB
Rob Holding
Laurent Koscielny
Kostadinos Mavropanos

Loaned: William Saliba
Sold: Shkodran Mustafi, Calum Chambers

It is important that young players play. Over the years so many talented teenagers have failed to progress to senior professionals due to lack of game time.

Saliba is just 18-years-old and has just half a season of 1st team football under his belt. A full season on loan at St Etienne, playing week in week out will return a much better player.

In 2020 Arsenal would then be getting a 19-year-old defender with over 60 senior games to his name. He would then be much closer to challenging for the 1st team.

So let’s fast forward to 2020. Laurent Koscielny leaves. Saliba joins up with the first team:

Sokratis
New CB
Rob Holding
William Saliba
Kostadinos Mavropanos

Sokratis will then  be 32-years-old and have 1 year left on his contract. With the new central defender established having played a full year of Premier League football, it will then be a choice of who plays next to him. Either Sokratis, Holding or Saliba.

Saliba would still be just 19-years-old at this point, so we would not have to rush his development. He could comfortably spend a season as 3rd choice centre back for the 2020/21 season before kicking on to be 1st choice a season later.

Buying a senior centre back to replace Mustafi and then Saliba to replace Chambers and spend a year on loan makes perfect sense. It would show brilliant foresight and succession planning.

And once we shift Chambers, Saliba will have next to zero net impact on our transfer budget.

Keenos

Arsenal Set For French Shopping Spree

When Arsene Wenger left Arsenal in 2018, you would think the days of the club shopping in France, or buying French players had come to an end.

In the two transfer windows under Sven Mislintat’s eye, Arsenal looked at Germany, at players that Mislintat knew. The likes of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Henrik Mkhitaryan, Sokratis, Kostadinos Mavropanos and Bernd Leno.

With Unai Emery, Raul Sanllehi and Francis Cagigao running things now, you would have thought Arsenal would be focusing on the Spanish market. But this summer it seems Arsenal are back shopping on the other side of the English Channel.

The team already has a Gaelic feel, with Laurent Koscielny, Matteo Guendouzi, Alexandre Lacazette and French-born Aubameyang and having managed in France for 2 years, Emery would have extensive scouting reports of Ligue 1

With France having won the last World Cup and having some of the most exciting playhers in the world coming through, it is perhaps sensible that Arsenal are returning to a market they know well.

So who are the French or Ligue 1 based players Arsenal are looking at?

Alexis Claude Maurice

Arsenal could well return to Lorient this summer following the acquisition of Matteo Guendouzi last to sign French forward Alexis Claude Maurice.

Our friends over at GunnersTown wrote about the youngster back in January and he comes highly recommended.

It seems like Arsenal are looking beyon the more established wingers in France – the likes of Nicolas Pepe and  Ismael Sarr – and are looking at the next generation.

Christopher Nkunku

Part of that next generation is Charles Nkunku was Unai Emery would have worked with whilst at PSG.

Arsenal were linked with him in January. A late deal fell through at the last.

Versatility is the key with Nkunku, with him having played in Ligue 1 in midfield, attack and defence. A French Ainsley Maitland Niles. Could be a good asset to add in the middle of the park alongside Niles, Geundouzi, Granit Xhaka and Lucas Torreira

William Saliba

Arsenal are also looking to France for a long term replacement for Laurent Koscielny.

18-year-old St Etienne defender is reportedly top of the list, although the £26million I have seen quoted does seem a lot for a player with only a handful of appearances.

St Etienne reportedly want to sell but be loaned the player back for next season.

Samuel Umtiti

25-year-old Samuel Umtiti is reportedly on the way out of Barcelona, with Arsenal and Manchester United leading the way.

The French central defender has been plagued by injured and lost his starting place for Barcelona earlier this last season.

He is a proven international class defender, but there have to be question marks over those knees.

Ibrahima Konaté & Dayot Upamecano

Arsenal have been linked with RB Leipzig pair Ibrahima Konaté & Dayot Upamecano already this summer.

The pair sit between Saliba and Umtiti in terms of experience.

Upamecano is a little more experienced, with Konaté perhaps being a little more talented. There is not much to split them.

Adrien Rabiot

The last man on this list is someone we have been linked with for what feels like a decade.

Despite having been around forever, Rabiot is still only 24.

Emery is reportedly targeting a box to box midfielder to compete alongside Granit Xhaka and Lucas Torreira.

Having worked with Emery before, and available on a free transfer, Rabiot could be a good replacement for Aaron Ramsey (the defensive side of his game at least).

He has had a troublesome couple of years and his attitude left him to miss out on a potential World Cup medal. But he is a talent.


It would not surprise me to see Arsenal sign at least two from this list over the summer.

Keenos