The Transfer Window is open and Arsenal’s Business is concluded

Yay, Gooners, the transfer window is open!

Too bad we already finished our business by signing Petr Čech…

Cech signed job done?

Yes, I do believe our squad is complete already: we added a reliable, experienced and the points-winning goalkeeper we have been lacking since David Seaman. The Czech will provide some extra security to our back line and hopefully inspire Wojciech Szczesny to follow his footsteps.

It’s very unfortunate for David Ooooooooospina because he did well but when you have the chance to sign a true world class player like Petr Čech, you simply can’t turn it down.

I don’t think we need to add any additional players – provided no one leaves, obviously – because we currently have a 26-men squad (not including the likes of Martinez, Bielik, Hayden, Zelalem and those on loan), according to the Club’s website; it’s a huge squad already. Arsène Wenger would have some real issues keeping everyone’s happy, hence I don’t see any more players coming in.

The Media keep linking us with midfielders and strikers from all over the world but I’m tempted to class that as rubbish – like the Arturo Vidal stories proved to be.

Vidal linked rubbished

It seems to me that many of players already at the Club have slipped under the radar or are being underestimated, either young prospects who could make their breakthrough or experienced men willing to win their place back.

Based on the line-up selected by Arsène Wenger towards the end of the season, here is a summary of all options which are already on hand for the manager. Hopefully it will give you an idea of the completeness and varied in skills our squad already is:



Current choice: David Ospina

33-years old Czech international Petr Čech has been signed to be our first-choice goalie, otherwise he wouldn’t have ever left Chelsea; his vast experience and undoubted ability will certainly be an asset for the team and he’s a clear upgrade on all our current goalkeepers.

Wojciech Szczesny will play in both domestic cups and try to make the best of the opportunity to work with a great player and an outstanding professional, up to him to develop into the great keeper he could be and – why not – quickly restore himself as first-choice between the sticks.

Emiliano Martinez will be our third goalkeeper, while David Ospina seems to be on his way to Turkey after a very decent debut season – which sounds a bit unfair to the Colombian.



Current choice: Hector BELLERÍN, Per MERTESACKER, Laurent KOSCIELNY, Nacho MONREAL

Arsène Wenger struggled to put together a solid defensive unit last summer, letting Vermaelen, Sagna and Jenkinson go and bringing in only Calum Chambers and Mathieu Débuchy. Thise decisions did cost us some points early in the season since Mertesacker was horribly out of shape and Koscielny suffered some injuries, leaving us exposed. The problem has been addressed since, with the arrival of Gabriel, but if it wasn’t for Bellerín’s emergence we would have been in trouble again.

Whether it was luck or not, we are now in a very good position as we have two very valid options for each role, each of the players offering something different: Laurent Koscielny is undoubtedly our best defender and first name on the team sheet, while Per Mertesacker looks like the perfect partner for the Frenchman and is likely to keep his status of automatic starter despite the increasing criticism of a part of the supporters. He might be slow, he might be a poor jumper but he’s been reliable as ever since soon as he rediscovered some form and suddenly our defensive line looked solid again, which in my opinion is not a coincidence.

Pushing to start this season?

Brazilian centre-back Gabriel looked promising in his outings and offers pace, aggression and aerial force with his impressive jumping. I won’t be surprised to see him getting minutes along the season and become a real threat for the regular starters. Calum Chambers will surely continue his development as centre-back and is seen as the long-term replacement for our Big “Friendly” German, we will see if he can be Arsenal’s happy story of 2016 and follow in the footsteps of Francis Coquelin and Hector Bellerín. Speaking about the young Spaniard, he will have some torrid time keeping a fit Mathieu Débuchy out of the team: he took the chance while the former Newcastle man was out with a damaged shoulder but he will have a real challenger next season – a player who might not be as good offensively but offers a great knowledge and strength defensively.

Debuchy will want his place back for sure

Same goes for Nacho Monreal and Kieran Gibbs, both equally capable of being our first-choice left-back although very different: depending on the balance of the team, Arsène Wenger could start the Spaniard to be sure he’d have the flank well covered or pick the Englishman to have relentless, continuous overlaps on the left –hand side.

Is a defensive line composed of Débuchy, Chambers, Gabriel and Gibbs really worse than the one we used to see in recent weeks? I don’t think so.



Current choice: Francis COQUELIN, Santi CAZORLA, Mesut ÖZIL

In my humble opinion, our midfield is the best in the league.

Arsène Wenger has a plethora of options available for each position, none of which can really be labelled as second choice; we have Santi Cazorla, Jack Wilshere, Aaron Ramsey, Mesut Özil, and Tomas Rosicky all available for an offensive role in midfield – either central or wide – and at the same time three of them could play a deeper role, in contention with or alongside Francis Coquelin and Mikel Arteta.

Did not finish season in first choice centre 3 and fans want more CMs?

As you can see, we’re not shy with options.

It will be hard to find the perfect combination but I would focus on our captain, first: he’s been too soon treated like a liability since Francis Coquelin made his breakthrough, however I feel he still has a lot to offer since his passing ability, vision and touch are far superior than that of the young Frenchman.

Think about the game against Swansea at home, when Francis Coquelin had virtually nothing to do defensively, and imagine what Mikel Arteta could have brought in terms of tempo handling, to increase pressure on opponents; in games like that, having to passers like him and Santi Cazorla could prove to be the difference between a win and a draw or loss. Don’t write off Mikel Arteta just yet, Gooners.

Fully fit with 6 months training the skipper has a role to play

Why would we need to add another defensive midfielder, then? Consider I am ignoring Mathieu Flamini, too, who’s going nowhere this summer…

Moving higher on the pitch, we have so many different skills that I almost find it embarrassing for our opponents: we have technique, vision, speed, trickery and stamina all over the place, the only thing we might be lacking is height but Francis Coquelin (and a certain Claude Makélélé before him) proved you don’t need to be a giant to be an excellent defensive midfielder.

We’re packed with quality and will continuously have solution on the bench, in case games didn’t go as well as Arsène Wenger planned.



Current choice: Alexis SANCHEZ, Aaron RAMSEY, Olivier GIROUD

I’m not the biggest fan of Olivier Giroud but he has shown he has the right attributes to lead our attacking line; he’s strong, he can hold the ball up and keep defenders busy while his teammates dart into the box – and he can score goals, too!

Alongside him, we have that beauty of a player called Alexis Sanchez – who bagged twenty five goals in his first season and has been the signing of the season in the Premier League: his trickery, finishing, acceleration and work rate are unbelievable and will be our main resource in our quest for glory. He will keep running from the left and terrorise defenders, no doubts about it.

Then we have two different profiles, both equally on the verge of having a storming season: Theo Walcott and Danny Welbeck.

One or both will have a storming season for club and country

The former – shall he sign da ting – has shown glimpses of his excellent self against West Brom and Aston Villa, I’m sure Arsène Wenger has plans to play him centrally to make the most of his intelligent runs and cool finishing. He took a lot of time to recover from his knee injury, the preseason could be crucial to build the sharpness and confidence he desperately needs.

Danny he has goals in him – a lot of goals – and I would place an outside bet on him becoming a regular in our XI; the latter had a mixed first season at the Club (not many goals, not many assists but a lot of work for the team) but has all the qualities to become a leading force: he is strong, he is quick and works harder than anyone – except Alexis Sanchez, of course.

He’s not as efficient as he should be in front of goal but this is one of the aspects of the game that can’t be improved, he will benefit from working with Arsène Wenger – who has a record of transforming goals-shy strikers in merciless machines.

I genuinely can’t wait to see how Danny Welbeck develops; he has the potential to be our secret weapon.

Last but not least, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain: the right wing role seems to be custom-tailored on him, it’s up to the guy to find consistency and effectiveness; he has pace, directness and skills to break opponents’ lines and create chances, he lacks regularity in his performances but it’s quite usual in young players – and the guy is yet to turn 22!

Ox stays fit and the sky is the limit, lierally

Fitness is a bit of a concern and will be key to transform him into a great player, this year could definitely be his year – another outside bet for me.


I let you play a game of combinations, taking all the players from our current squad and shape your ideal XI: you’ll be amazed to discover how many of your favourites you’d be forced to leave out of the team!

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19 Responses to The Transfer Window is open and Arsenal’s Business is concluded

  1. John July 1, 2015 at 4:29 pm #

    I am a long time supporter of AFC, long before you were born. I can assure you that the squad as it is today will NOT win the Premier League in 2015/16.

    It will only take 2/3 injuries and a lot of luck but that squad is just not good enough to make it, you wait and see.

    • Traveen Charleston July 1, 2015 at 4:51 pm #

      You are right regarding most things, but I do not agree with you on Arteta. He isn’t a CDM and even while the team is looking to attack, he makes a lot of sideways passes and slows down the game’s tempo. I think if Wenger signs another solid CDM our squad will be better able to complete for the title. Because, as you said we have 2 good players for every position except CDM. And I’ve never before heard of an Italian supporting Arsenal, it’s really great to have you on board.

      • AndreaR July 2, 2015 at 7:24 am #

        Hi Traveen,
        thanks for taking the time to comment on this 😉

        I believe Arteta can do his job in front of our back four, although I reckon is a different kind of defensive midfielder compared to Coquelin.
        If the team defends “2015 style”, Arteta’s aging legs won’t be a liability, if he’s abandoned to himself than we could be in trouble…
        About his sideway passing, it’s becoming more of a legend: numbers show he makes two passes forward for each back pass, he knows when to improve the tempo and when to slow things down

    • AndreaR July 2, 2015 at 7:14 am #

      Hi John,
      honestly, can’t see many better contenders out there; Chelsea will be favourite, again, but then we’re on level with City and way better than United/Liverpool already.

      Injuries could be a factor but we can’t bring players based on that risk, we’d end up with 30+ players and a squad impossible to manage.

      I do believe we have some tricks up our sleeves, players like Walcott, Welbeck or Chamberlain could really turn into some reliable assets.

      We’ll wait and see!

  2. July 1, 2015 at 4:51 pm #

    Good article and I fear you may be right. I also think the comment above is correct. We are probably two players short, a quality DM and a 20 goal a season striker. Having said that we were the best team from January. If we can have less injuries who knows.

    • AndreaR July 2, 2015 at 7:33 am #

      Hi Arthur,
      thanks for your comments, I really hope your fears will be confirmed next May!

      In my opinion, Welbeck and Walcott could easily become our 20-goals a season striker – or at least share the burden between them.

  3. Goonermay68 July 1, 2015 at 5:01 pm #

    While I’ve been around similar to John many many years. I think overall it’s the best squad we have for a long long time .but an injury to coquelin would leave us open Arteta and Flamini ARE not good enough no one else could do the same job so holding a defo also a world class centre forward to complement Sanchez, Ozil,Walcott, welbeck And Giroud .All top sides never stop spending. Message to Wenger ( who never listens as he thinks he know best) SO FAR SO GOOD .NOW STEP UP TO THE NEXT LEVEL.AND WIN THE LEAGUE.

    • AndreaR July 2, 2015 at 7:38 am #

      Hi Gonnermay68,

      appreciate you took the time to read and comment, it’s true that an injury to Coquelin could be a problem but let’s not forget how much Arteta did for the team, he can provide reliable and quality cover whenever needed.
      It will mainly depend on the lenght of a potential injury but I trust magic Shad and expect our injury record to be far better next season.

  4. mugisha July 1, 2015 at 5:07 pm #

    we need a proven striker and defensive midfielder bt not better than qouclin & gabial replacing metesker
    .then we are good to go even in champions league

  5. Alex Field July 1, 2015 at 5:33 pm #

    I hope you are very wrong but in the deep recesses of my mind i fear you may be correct how the hell he expects to win the EPL with no Real striker god alone knows
    We need a CDM as least since le coq was fantastic for his 1/2 season but can he do it over a sustained push can they all do it under pressure its ok going on an unbeaten run when you really have bugger all league wise to play for due to the old man and his intransigence last transfer window we started with 6 defenders to fill 4 spots!!! so found ourselves to all intents and purposes out of the title race in mid October!!
    With our injuries record and his record of keeping injury prone players through to my mind miss placed loyalty (where was van purse strings loyalty? signed a new contract on the treatment table i fully fit season and he was off!!) na$ri off to city and their money as soon as he could same with the others that went for money.only thing players these days are loyal to ins fattening their bank accounts what i think he needs to find is his ruthless side if he ever had one!! or we will never win the EPL while he is manager

    • AndreaR July 2, 2015 at 9:11 am #

      Thank you Alex,
      I agree not signing a defender last summer was a gamble which back-fired in a very spectacular way – we paid a high price to that.

      That said, I wouldn’t change our “loyalty” policy just because of a handful of greedy players, karma uses to strike accurately (RvP, anyone?)

      Time will tell whether Coquelin can last all season, which I think he can if he keeps his head down and stick to his role; about strikers, no “real” striker seem to be available at the moment and ours have enough goals between them to fire us to the top.
      Giroud, Sanchez, Walcott and Welbeck have unique abilities and are completely complementar to each other – hopefully next term will be even more unpredictable going forward.

  6. Baskara July 1, 2015 at 7:15 pm #

    I also believe our squad is complete already just IF noone will gets injury. Coquelin & Giroud doesn’t have a reliable subtitutes.

    Arteta surely not a DM, he doesn’t blocks, intercepts and clears like Le Coq, but we need him as a captain, so get rid of Flamini and buy a ideal DM.
    And Arsenal also needs a proven striker. We can’t rely on Alexis & Giroud, Alexis got to much game, he even not in holiday yet, he will be late to get fit next season just like Ozil & Per last season. And what if Giroud injury in that time? Sell Rosicky to make room for 25 player, he even barely play last season.

    • AndreaR July 2, 2015 at 8:53 am #

      Thanks Beskara,

      unfortunately you can’t simply get rid of a player if he wants to see his contract out and Wenger will never freeze a player out; Flamini is staying on board, hence there’s no room for a 4th midfielder.
      I do believe Arteta can do a job in front of our back four, perhaps with a runner alongside him (Ramsey or Wilshere) but not the whole season.

      Alexis will get the rest he deserves, as AW confirmed, which will give Walcott, Chamberlain and Welbeck some playing time; about Giroud, I’m sure Welbeck could even become a better option compared to the Frenchman

  7. Jesper July 1, 2015 at 8:31 pm #

    Must say very nice article. Good to see fans putting trust in our current squad. The already available quality is often overlooked. Arsene has proved that team cohesion beats individual quality or buying new players, as he managed to become 4th with youngsters and mediocre players for so long. Its actually funny to think he proved his own theory by losing so many points in september 2014 because so many new players needed to fit in.

    Still, I agree with Basaka that – if we want to be title contenders – we are very dependent on the fitness of our players. Apart from that I believe we have many players that have not proven themselves for over a whole season. Wellbeck, Walcott, Ox, Jack and also Rambo can be awesome but non of them is capable of taking the team by hand.

    Therefore I hope we sign another winger like Alexis, because every major force in Europe has two world class wingers. Robben-Ribbery, Neymar-Messi, Bale-Ronaldo.

    Its hard to find one but if we do I feel it will lift the teamspirit to amazing levels. And when you want a trophy, good players will sit on the bench.

    • AndreaR July 2, 2015 at 8:47 am #

      Hi Jesper, thanks for your comment!

      Interesting point about wingers, do you think Chamberlain can become THAT winger? I believe he has the quality to do so, let’s see.

      Anyhoo, if I had to pick a winger from across Europe, it’s be Marco Reus any day 😉

  8. Rocky July 2, 2015 at 1:28 am #

    Nice article.

    Agree with Jesper. Need to sign one more proven world class winger.
    We used to have two world class wingers in Pires and Ljungberg.

  9. Nicho July 2, 2015 at 2:37 am #

    Much depends on whether all the players can simultaneously blossom ala 2013/14 Ramsey, and keep fit.

    • AndreaR July 2, 2015 at 8:49 am #

      Hi Nicho,

      thanks for taking the time to read and comment my blog, I agree that would be key.

      However, not all the players need to blossom – it’d be great if the likes of Wilshere, Welbeck, Chamberlain and Walcott could sporadically provide goals throught the season.

      And yes, fitness will be key too.

  10. Titus Uganda July 7, 2015 at 12:29 pm #

    Y’ello all
    After long years of Arsenal minus a league title, its time for Wenger to wakeup and make us (fans) happy.
    For sure Arsenal my heart club can’t win league title with Giroud as a leading bullet.
    We need only to two international players ( striker and CDM ).
    Otherwise enjoy conversation.

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