Arsenal Reboot: the Perfect Summer Scenario (and it’s totally doable)


‘Arsenal and the ideal summer scenario’

Talent and impatience. A difficult concoction.

Amidst the frustration of not having the budget of those we are trying to catch, Arsenal need credit for their work in the Academy.
This is the hope for progress and the chance to catch up.
Thankfully, the Ljungberg promotion will have given these players hope. A very smart and needed move.

There are problems though….

  1. They are potential, not proven.
  2. Emery misused the Academy last year.
  3. The success of Jadon Sancho going from Academy to €100M talent in 18 months and that changing the landscape,
    ….. and the biggest problem……
  4. Impatience

In the past a player like Xavier Amaechi at the age of 18, would have been told that the chances of making it to the first team is small. That he needs to play through all the levels before he gets a chance.

This is changing. In fact it’s changed.

Call it entitlement. Call it unrealistic.
Call it whatever you want, Arsenal have to deal with it and either persuade them to show patience or give them the chance.

This chance ordinarily comes during pre season.
So, here is the next problem.
Almost all of the first team squad will be at most of the pre season giving very few opportunities to these players.
Cech, Lichsteiner, Ramsey and Welbeck leaving opens up opportunity but it’s the timing of the transfers that may prove to be pivotal.

Emiliano Martinez Arsenal


If we want Martinez to potentially be number 2 and we are thinking of buying a number 2 or 3 keeper then we need to buy him late in the window and give Martinez the chance to play 50% of the pre season minutes. We don’t need a new transfer to take this opportunity from Martinez.

Right Back/Right Wing Back

Ideally, we need Osei Tutu to be given an opportunity before he’s sent on loan. If we had endless funds I’d be ok with replacing Lichsteiner as Bellerin’s back up (and first choice RB for first part of season) but with limited funds we need to try to see if Osei Tutu can be that player. Alternative option could be to look at Dani Alves. He’s free and wants to play in the Premier League.

Left Back/Left Wing Back

Another position that needs a signing unless Zech Medley can change that opinion. A centre back that has been tried at left back. I’d try him at CM too.

Again, do we have the budget for all that we need? If that’s in doubt, give Medley most of pre season.
Alternatively, I’ve wondered for a while if we could excite the fan base by signing arguably the best left wing back in the world, Marcelo. He’s apparently looking to move after being the best in his position for almost a decade.


Centre back

This needs to be our first signing.
We need to give this player a full pre season as the most important partnership in a team is at Centre Back. I’m thinking it’s Sokratis plus one. Certainly until Holding returns.
I’d love to be able to afford Ibrahima Konate from RB Leipzig.

Box to box midfielder

I have 6 ideas.

Five of them come from the current squad.

It will all depend on whether Emery plays a three man midfield. I’d love to see 4-3-3 with wingers, a DM, a passer and a line breaking box to box midfielder.

Option 1 and 2: Joe Willock and Emile Smith Rowe

Replace Ramsey’s minutes with a combination of the talents of these two.
Could arguably play as the third man runner in a 3 man midfield or an AM in a 4-2-3-1

Option 3 and 4: Iwobi and Mkhi

I’ve always thought that both Iwobi and Mkhi are the third man in a midfield three, not wingers or AM’s.
Their main talent is running with the ball from deep.
Take away the pressure to create from Iwobi in particular and ask him to break the lines and penetrate on the dribble, then feed the wingers and get in box. Iwobi’s success in the final third has actually been finishing from inside the box, not from off the dribble.
I’d try both of them and sell one of them. Mkhi’s wages would make me lean towards selling him.

Option 5: AMN

This would be my first choice.
The guy is a natural at breaking lines on the dribble. He glides. Needs to offer a goal threat if he wants to become first choice but it’s time to give him a chance to play in his natural position.

Option 6: New player

I’d love Foden on loan but City would never do that.
Very interested in Dani Ceballos and VanDer Beek.


With Rabiot going to Juve I’m wondering if Matuidi will become available. Not an eye catching player but much like Wijnaldum, all his coaches have chosen him over others his whole career.
Also, with the midfield I’m hoping for, we will need some seniority.

I’m afraid.
After starting last season giving accountability to our best players, Emery then seemed to go with seniority over talent.

Central Midfielder:

The stars are aligning for Krystian Bielik.

Torreira, ElNeny and Guendouzi will miss a portion of pre season and Ramsey has gone.
I know he is also playing this summer but he has a golden opportunity to forego some of his rest to play in midfield during pre season.
Quite honestly, unless we plan on playing a one man Swiss midfield in pre season we have no options based on who Emery played in midfield last season.
This may also open up an opportunity for another CB/CM from the U-23’s, Ben Sheaf.
If you’ve seen Zech Medley win balls with his 4 ft legs and stride away, you’d want to see him at CM too!

It will come as no surprise to those that read regularly that I think that Bielik should be the breakout player at Arsenal of all the loanees/academy players. It might be at Centre Back but I think he’s a CM.

This is your chance, Krystian!


Again, timing is vital in how we handle this situation.
If we go on tour with Mkhi and Iwobi as wide options then I will weep.

If the plan is to sell Ozil and Mkhi, be bold. Don’t take them on tour. If you do you will have to play them or they will upset the group. If they aren’t going to be around and you also subsequently upset their potential replacement then you may have lost him too.
Take Saka, Amaechi and Nelson and give them significant minutes.
We play the worlds best teams in pre season who will also have many of their first team available.

Let’s see if Bukayo Saka can take on David Alaba!
If he can then the confidence he would gain would maybe mean he’s probably gonna do fairly well against Luke Shaw.

In order for this to happen it would become important to ideally sign your wingers at the end of the window.

It’s not as important for Carrasco, Fraser etc…, to acclimatize than for us to see if we could perhaps save on a winger because 2 of those 3 looked amazing in pre season against top players. We could then spend more on a centre back and get perhaps get ‘top class’ as you’d have an extra £30M.


I think that our whole window is on hold until we persuade Auba and/or Laca to stay.
If one is leaving then the knock on affect is huge. Maybe Martinelli becomes back up to Lacazette?
Maybe we don’t sign Fraser, we get Zaha and play 4-3-3?
Maybe that leaves more £££ for a centre back?

Much like the wingers, don’t send Nketiah or John Jules on loan yet or make a signing yet. Let them play on tour and make your decision after you’ve seen if Eddie can make life very difficult for Varane.
Eddie Nketiah looks nervous to me.
Show confidence in him and see what he can do.

Do you remember last seasons pre season?
Bits and pieces at best, right?
After it was over did you care about the results or did you care that Emile Smith Rowe and Matteo Guendouzi were given significant time and looked great!

Matteo Guendouzi played in most of our games last season because he was given significant time at the age of 18 and the confidence of the coach.
People were saying we had a £50M player. Remember?

For those wondering if I’m wanting 50% of our starting line up to be 21 and younger, I’m not.
I’d like Krystian Bielik to show he can do what Guendouzi did. I think he’s got a higher ceiling.
I’d like one of our wingers to start too.
I’d like the rest to be valued as competitive options for our bench.
Saka on the bench if Nelson is struggling. Medley as an option at CM against Burnley at home, not ElNeny.
Willock brought on when we need a goal instead of Guendouzi.
Amaechi and ESR start our first Europa and League Cup game.

We just need to pick and choose their moments as there are enough to encourage almost all of them to see Arsenal Football Club as their club.

Do you follow @mike_mmcdonald and @GunnersTown?

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12 Responses to Arsenal Reboot: the Perfect Summer Scenario (and it’s totally doable)

  1. Lari03 June 20, 2019 at 11:18 am #

    Nice work Mike.

    May I give my candid opinion?

    1. Reiss Nelson
    Nice loan at Hoffenheim, but we missed having a wide pacy forward.
    He had played as wingback under Wenger, he did well in preseason under Emery. Yet he was sent on loan.

    It doesn’t really inspire confidence in Unai Emery, because we were exposed and found no solutions.

  2. Lari03 June 20, 2019 at 11:28 am #

    2. Chambers

    Nice loan move.

    He has a bit part role to play as right back, defensive midfielder and central defender. He played as right back at Southampton in his early years, he may not be perfect but he can graft steady performances. Plus he has 4 years on his contract and he’s homegrown.

    Making him a squad player with a defined role helps us as a team.

  3. Lari03 June 20, 2019 at 11:35 am #

    3. Krystian Bielik

    I guess we both foresaw his emergence before most people did. He has similar tenacity compared to Torreira and he is a right footed Xhaka. Let’s overload our midfield with talent and we will gradually get closer to our desired level of technicality.

    His goals at the U21 European championship aside, if you watch him play for Charlton you find a grafter and hardworker, he can be beaten on the dribble, but he doesn’t have Xhaka’s slow defensive awareness, he tries to make things right.

    On that note, I’d say we need him

  4. Lari03 June 20, 2019 at 11:43 am #

    4. Ainsley Maitland Niles

    The man needs no introduction, make him a part of our midfield. He can add some finesse to our play and he has incredible recovery pace.

    At this rate I would make an unpopular suggestion and tout Rafa Benitez as the best person to work with Arsenal’s team and to entrench the squad rotation style which can bring the best out of our current crop of players.

    A man who led Liverpool to a champion’s league final, Chelsea to their first Europa league title and took Newcastle from the Championship and kept them in the premiership despite their financial situation is no small tactician.

    While most prefer Carlo Ancelloti, I rate him.

  5. Lari03 June 20, 2019 at 11:47 am #

    5. Xavier Amaechi and Bukayo Saka

    I would suggest we play both in preseason and loan 1 of them. Renew Xavier’s contract and send him on loan to Germany, keep the younger Saka in London and send him on a half season loan by January, if they are surplus to our wing requirements.

  6. Lari03 June 20, 2019 at 11:59 am #

    6. Emile Smith Rowe and Joe Willock

    This duo have the potential to remind us of young Ramsey and Wilshere. They need to stay in the first team and to be integrated over the season with Õzil being the only player ahead of both in a 4-2-3-1 formation as attacking midfielders. They will grow into the technical midfield talents we expect them to be.

    However they need League rotation for development and integration.

    I imagine there’s something special about Smith-Rowe for Leipzig to have a desire for him to be another loan this season. Willock has shown he can be explosive from his Europa league final showing.

    Some competition between them and assured minutes in premier league games will do them good. They are academy players so they won’t increase the squad space.

    If one continuously falls below standard then he can go on loan by January. I think a definite plan of rotation and a sense of responsibility will help both players grow.

  7. Lari03 June 20, 2019 at 12:07 pm #

    7. Gabriel Martinelli

    If he were to be signed would either make Iwobi step up or bench him. That’s if he gets a work permit as an exceptional talent.

    I would take him straight to our first team and see if he blends in well, he may be our €100m sale like Dembele for Dortmund, so it is important to have similar players like Reiss, Xavier, Iwobi and Saka watching to see the benchmark for what a young winger at Arsenal should be.

    If we sell great players and win trophies why would anyone complain? As long as we keep churning out great players right? So we need a stellar youth to step up like Anelka from wayback to set a standard.

  8. Lari03 June 20, 2019 at 12:13 pm #

    8. Eddie Nketiah

    I feel for the guy. A perfect Arsenal player with skill and knowledge of Arsene’s way, held back from playing.
    He has not thrown tantrums like Xavier and he was the most maligned player after Elneny. I would keep him because he’s a great player, if Lacazette were to be sold then we can buy Duvan Zapata and pair him with Eddie to take over from Aubameyang.

  9. Lari03 June 20, 2019 at 12:24 pm #

    9.Left back and Centre back

    Along with a winger, if we buy experienced pros here then we can perform better with the youth group mentioned above.

    @LB Kierian Tierney
    @CB William Saliba

    We could sign Saliba and send Mavropanos on a half season loan to Saint Etienne.

    Phase out Koscielny and Mustafi and let Mavropanos, Holding, Saliba, Bielik, Chambers and Sokratis be our major centre backs.

    Kolasinac as left wingback, while Tierney is our new leftback.

    Net spend if Carrasco comes £70m.

    Net spend if Martinelli comes £46.5m

    Kierian Tierney -£20m
    William Saliba – £20m

    Outgoings if achievable
    1. Mustafi
    2. Koscielny
    3. Elneny
    4. Mhkitaryan
    5. Jenkinson

  10. Lari03 June 20, 2019 at 12:44 pm #

    1. Bernd Leno
    2. Emiliano Damian Martinez

    Right backs
    1. Hector Bellerin
    2. Calum Chambers

    Left backs
    1. New Player(Kierian Tierney?)
    2. Seäd Kolasinac
    3. Monreal

    Centre backs
    1. Sokratis
    2. Holding
    3. New player (William Saliba)
    4. Mavropanos
    5. Krystian Bielik

    Central Midfielders
    1. Lucas Torreira
    2. Matteo Guendouzi
    3. Ainsley Maitland Niles
    4. Granit Xhaka

    Attacking midfielders
    1. Mesút Õzil
    2. Henrikh Mhkitaryan
    3. Joe Willock
    4. Emile Smith Rowe

    Left wing forward
    1. Alex Iwobi
    2 New player (Carrasco or Martinelli)

    Right wing forward
    1. Reiss Nelson
    2. Bukayo Saka or Xavier Amaechi

    1. Alexander Lacazette
    2. Pierre Emerick Aubameyang
    3. Eddie Nketiah

    About 27 players and 3 new signings in key positions so we can play a 4-2-3-1 formation and we have a plan to rotate in every position depending on the opposition or competition.

    3 defensive auxiliary players in Bielik, Chambers and Ainsley Maitland Niles. Either interchanging as defensive midfielders or fullbacks.

    We have proven midfield resources to rotate with Mhkitaryan as an additional body in the box to box position.p

  11. NexusDeanTheFraud June 20, 2019 at 4:13 pm #

    Thank god you’re not in charge of our transfer business this summer.

  12. Matt June 21, 2019 at 7:06 am #

    The one good thing to come from the Europa League is that Nelson, Willock, Nketiah, Smith-Rowe and Saka have all played more first team minutes than they probably would’ve a few years ago, and are all now in-and-around the first team. Were it not for missing a portion of last season with injury, I’m sure Amaechi would be up there. Maybe even Osei-Tutu as well. I’m not saying the first 6 will all make it here, but we need to at least provide them with opportunity this season. Again, being in the Europa League will make this easier.

    Given our financial situation, I think Mustafi + Elneny out, Chambers + Bielik in, would be a good move. Bielik is an improvement on Elneny and Chambers is no worse than Mustafi. Both offer greater versatility, with Chambers counting towards the home grown quota and also able to help cover RB while Bellerin is out. Aside from Mustafi and Elneny, I think we need to actively try to move on Koscielny, (at least one of) Kolasinac/ Monreal, Jenkinson, Ozil and Mkhitaryan, hopefully raising funds for a first choice CB, first choice winger and a first choice LB. Ideally I’d like a first choice CM, first choice AM, backup keeper, backup left back backup right back and another first team winger as well, but those are the priorities.

    I also agree with and have thought playing Iwobi deeper/ more centrally would be a better option. That is where he broke through for us originally in the FA Cup. His end product is appalling but he is an excellent ball-carrier. I remember a goal in that FA Cup campaign where he carried the ball across the pitch and released Oxlade-Chamberlain, who crossed for Alexis to score. It is something we should definitely consider as we could potentially improve our midfield AND create space/ opportunity for Nelson, Saka and Amaechi.

    Would leave us with Leno, Martinez, Bellerin, new CB signing, Sokratis, Holding, Mavropanos, Chambers, Bielik, new LB signing, Kolasinac/ Monreal, Xhaka, Torreira, Maitland-Niles, Iwobi, new winger signing, Aubameyang and Lacazette as our “senior” players, with (Okonkwo?), Guendouzi, Willock, Smith-Rowe, Nelson, Saka, Amaechi, Nketiah (and Martinelli?) as the more “senior U21” players.

    Unfortunately I think we’ll struggle to move on all of the players I listed. I hate to say it but I would probably consider moving on Aubameyang and/ or Lacazette if a really good offer came in, to fund further transfer business.

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