The countdown to the premier league has begun and with it our transfer business. The last few weeks has been like a small rollercoaster in a theme park. There have been many ups with incoming players of Dani Ceballos, Nicolas Pepe and Martinelli (Saliba is not included as he returned to St Étienne to learn his trade a little more) and downs with the likes of the attack on Mesut Ozil and Sead Kolasinac (thankfully nobody was hurt.) In addition, we have had the annoyance of some transfers being delayed and false rumours and in some cases our own fan base causing some chaos. There has been a few players now that have left us as well, the likes of Bielek, Ospina and Ameachi leaving for a measly combination of less then 15 million.
We now have until 5pm on Thursday, to make more changes to the squad this year until January. With that in mind, I have to question where do we go from here. There are many possibilities that the window can offer until it is closed. One of them is the fact we need to look at is the defence. Other moves that might be considered could well be upfront and in midfield. So maybe it is time to make a run down of positions and where we potentially still need players.
Just a reminder that these are my views and everyone is of course, entitled to their own opinion.
Starting from the back, we have been looking at positions at centre back and surprisingly at left back. When we actually need some form of cover at right back. Considering that Ainsley Maitland-Niles is not in his preferred position but continues to see progress made in that area was good news but I see him more as a midfielder and is able to bring something a little more different into then others do. As for Jenkinson fans may say he’s deadwood, but for me he has been in the premier league and gained the experience with it, coming into his twilight years now he needs to step up to lodge Ainsley from that right back spot. With Bellerin out until after the season starts it’s time to look at short term business or attempt to find a youth player at right back that can help when needed to? As there’s no guarantee that Bellerin will be the same player he was and when he comes back he might need a little more time to get back into the swing of things, and with Jenkinson unsure of his place anymore. It looks like Emery will stick with Ainsley in the team for the moment.
Now at centre back it has shown we are still lacking considering we brought Saliba but he will not be joining until next season we have found ourselves a little short. Sokratis will be one of the players I would look to fill some void. With the uncertainty of Laurent Koscielny still not arranged as well as rumours of Mustafi being transferred. This currently leaves us with an unfit Rob Holding who will not be able to comeback to full fitness until at least the end of the month. Calum Chambers who has gained a lot more experience in the league although with relegated sides now does not bode well for him. There is the chance youth player Zac Medley could feature but there needs to be less pressure on our younger players. Bringing in a player on loan would be a good option but it is unsure who could come in at this time. We have also been linked with not many players but some that would be worth looking at would be Lewis Dunk (Brighton), Umitti (Barcelona) or in my opinion Lascelles (Newcastle)
At left back we have an ageing Nacho Monreal who has given a lot towards many of our previous successes, it was his goal against United in the FA Cup that got us started and who can’t remember the scenes after that goal? The other option we have is Sead Kolasinac who many fans have suggested playing as a winger as he is not a defender. Sead is a strong player and still works as a wingback, as he enjoys getting forward if the tactics suited him. For me I would stick with Nacho unless he is to be used as a makeshift centre back. We are currently chasing down Kieran Tierney from Celtic, who is younger than both players but is going to take some time to get used to the premier league but if other players can adapt I am sure it will not take long for Tierney to adapt to life in the premier league.
With losing Ramsey, an issue many fans still have with the club is who is going to be that running box to box player, with our new loanee from Real we might have a like for like change. Although some of our previous dealings with Real have proven a bust such as Julio Baptista this could become an ongoing wait and see how he does. For me we have players like Willock, Xhaka, Torriera, Guendouzi, Ozil and I am still waiting for a reason why Mkhitaryan was given the number 7 shirt in the central positions. Backup such as Elneny is questionable, it has been said that the Egyptian manager has told him that he will be not playing for the national side for much longer if he does not move, yet nothing has happened. A good player but would probably suit other clubs better then him being a squad rotational player. However, it looks like we are now set up for the season in the central midfield.
Out wide, we have Nelson, Smith-Rowe, Iwobi and now Pepe. This season will probably see Mkhitaryan may continue to play out wide as well. With a mixture of youth and new players, we might even see Aubameyang playing out wide. Our business right now has been done in this area. I just hope that Pepe can be influential like Eduardo was when he came to the club. Saka might also as well surprise a few.
In attack, we have deadly duo of Aubameyang and Lacazette who will look to continue to be proven goal scorers in any competitions. And the new signing of Martinelli who has been sharp himself has made him look good but considering he is coming to a new league and culture I am expecting him to be a bit part player until he is completely settled in. Which leaves us with Eddie Nkeitiah who has been scoring for fun in preseason this year is his year to step up now and show that we have more guns in the arsenal then just Aubameyang and Lacazette. I would still like to see another striker come in but this looks highly unlikely to happen now.
With the countdown on, I am looking to see and hope that at least two more deals are on the cards before the start of the new season and I hope these will be in defence, where they are needed most.
Roll on Sunday!
Thanks again to our guest @MattLR28