If I didn’t support Arsenal, I’d choose Arsenal: Season Review …Part Three (of 3)

If I didn’t support Arsenal, I’d choose Arsenal

Season Review …Part Three (of 3)

If you you need to catch up first, Part 1 is here, and Part 2 is here.


  • Firstly, we desperately need to be respected sellers. Example…Leno to Fulham for 3 bags of Monster Munch left the Fulham board rolling around on the floor whilst eating the other 5 bags of Monster Munch that they had to offer. Whether Tierney is worth 40M after riding the bench is somewhat irrelevant as it’s his value to the buying club that is the lens you have to look through. Unless it’s City who want him to buckle up on their bench, Newcastle, Villa or whoever are wanting him to be a 5 year first choice starter. Balogun, same thing. Nketiah, same thing. If we sell all three, I’d expect at least 110M. At least.
  • My first signing would be Declan Rice. He would be an amazing signing. For many reasons. If we do get him then perhaps the biggest benefit will be perception. When was the last time a player chose Arsenal over Bayern Munich? It would not necessarily shock others but impress them and give other top players the impression that Arsenal are now batting at the top of the order. Beyond that I want PL experience (ideally), strength and power, elite ball winning ability in the tackle, duels, aerial ability and the ability to read the game and intercept. I also want the ability to run with the ball, have vision and passing ability, press resistance and as a Brucey Bonus, I’ll take shooting and a large spoonful of leadership. It’s hard to argue that he doesn’t have all of this. Check this image out..

Rice Stats

Added to all this he can play DM, left 8 and was raised as a CB. I don’t agree with people that say that you should only pay the huge fees for strikers. I think you pay the huge fees for ‘highly influential’ players.

  • My second signing would be Xavi Simons. The elite Swiss Amy Knife. Another very interesting image…

Xavi Simons stats

Arteta is building a team with a fluid front line. Players that can play in ‘spaces’ not positions. It’s important that we understand this because this is the language he uses. Gone are the days of ‘this is your position.’ Positions are like base camps but the army is a team and can switch camps as long as all base camps are occupied. Gabby J, Trossard and soon Martinelli can play in all of them. Saka has spent his entire short career playing everywhere but CB and keeper. Nelson can play East or West. As you now know, I think Gabby can play left 8 as can Trossard and Saka. The rotational players, ESR and Vieira, are used in an equal number of camps. Arteta has tried Nketiah on the left with patchy success which is why I think he might upgrade. It might also be why the rumours circling Balogun aren’t of him staying. He is a stick on CF. Not sure that’s Arteta’s bag. He would be mine as I see him as a Plan B or even Plan A against defences that allow running behind. His strength and one of our current weaknesses. Which brings me to my third signing…..

  • Rasmus Hojlund.

If I was head coach at Arsenal/Sporting Director/highly influential water boy, I would ALWAYS have a target man in my squad. In fact I’d have two. One in the background being raised like a cute puppy. More of a Great Dane, I suppose. I’d pet him often and have those Champions League level dog treats in a dispenser. A target man doesn’t have to be first choice. There are just so so many times during the season where you need the power, aerial ability and strength of this Great Dane. Part of the reason that City score so fluidly is that they have a striker that occupies BOTH Centre Backs. As we now have our biggest goal threat out wide wouldn’t it be even more effective to give them even more space to attack? Gabby J does a fantastic job at being as physical as you could expect from a 5”9 striker. As tough as he is though, apart from Lisandro Martinez, all of his markers are significantly bigger. He only attracts both CB’s when he turns and dribbles. This is why I’d try him in Xhaka’s role as this SPACE (forget the position label) allows his strength to be used more frequently. Anyway, back to Hojlund. I chose the right analogy as the Great Dane I’m looking at so happens to be Danish. Well done  me.

He is at the beginning of his career but if you are not buying him as first choice you can possibly risk €40M before he becomes a €90M player. I could tell you about his qualities but I’ll short track it. He has a very similar list to Haaland. It would be like paying Salzburg €40M before he went to Dortmund. Would we have done that knowing that he was going to turn out the player he currently is? He’s also a handsome chap and Haaland looks like an abnormally oversized baby so there’s that too…

I had the honour of coaching a chap called Mark Sherrod throughout his childhood. He went on to play for Houston Dynamo’s and San Jose Earthquakes in the MLS. I have no doubt that he would’ve been the USA striker at the last World Cup. He was everything that they’ve needed for decades. His career was stopped shortly after it started by two brutal injuries. I mention this because he showed me what is the most important quality in a striker…. hunger. I want that at Arsenal. It’s the missing piece. It is the foundation for a player that values movement like RVP did. For bravery in the most crowded area. I could go on. My grand plan as ‘highly influential water boy’ would be to try/playJesus at left 8 with Saka and Martinelli wide and Hojlund or Balogun at striker. I’d have ESR, Trossard, Simons and Nelson as options.

If Hojlund goes to Utd, which seems more likely, Vlahovic is in the same mould and Elye Wahi looks like he could go to the top. Very interesting stat here…

Elye Wahi

I’d also be interested in resuscitating Scamacca. There is a real player in there. Would be a good bench option.

  • My next recruit would be Moises Caicedo. If the phrase is ‘Jack of all trades, but master of none,’ then I’m starting the ‘Zach of all trades, and master of some.’ This describes Caicedo. Closest we’ve seen to Kante the pick pocket. I’ve got a suspicion that he might be used as a left 8. We need a master pick pocket artist in that already effective press. Much like all of Arteta’s signings recently, he can cover at least two spaces. Again, offers that ingredient that will confuse opponents.
  • Of all the right backs we’ve been rumored to be looking at, the one I like most is Ivan Fresneda.

Ivan Fresneda

Young man. Confident young man. Doesn’t have the frame of a young man though.  I do wonder if we are waiting for pre season to watch to see if Livramento at Southampton has lost anything after his big injury. A late bid in August, maybe.

Arsenal Lineup 23/24

All this may change if Partey leaves.

There are even more options than can fit on this line up. I could see Zinchenko playing Xhaka’s position and Arsenal signing Rafa Guerreiro on a free to play left back/inverted left back.


Having told you what I think we should do, here is what I think the club will do;

Joao Cancelo 55M

Moises Caicedo 85M

Declan Rice 95M

Arda Guler 30M

Marcos Leonardo 22M

An experienced 3rd choice keeper (maybe Steve Ogrizovic)

Total: 287M


These are the players I think we sell;


Alex Runarsson loan

Arthur Okonkwo loan


Pablo Mari £6M

Auston Trusty £4M

Rob Holding £8M

Kieran Tierney £35M

Cedric Free

Nuno Tavares 8M


Sambi Lokonga £13M

Charlie Patino £5M

Granit Xhaka £15M

Fabio Vieira loan to Wolves

Marquinhos loan


Folarin Balogun £35M

Pepe loan

Total: 129M

Net spend: £158M

Thanks for reading all three parts of this review.

I’m so excited for next season.

Choosing Arsenal. What a brilliant decision we made !


Mike McDonald

, , , , ,

5 Responses to If I didn’t support Arsenal, I’d choose Arsenal: Season Review …Part Three (of 3)

  1. Roger G June 9, 2023 at 2:35 pm #

    All makes really true sense ,

  2. Francis Redheart June 9, 2023 at 3:40 pm #

    Hello Mikey,

    Thanks for your posts. They are full of insights as usual. I’m really interested in our evolution for the next season coupled with Arteta’s preference to have the new players incorporated very early.

    What do you feel about Zubimendi?

    Looking forward to the Champions League final tomorrow. It could be us next year

    Warm Regards

  3. Will June 9, 2023 at 11:03 pm #

    Wow, I love your line-up! Jesus at left 8 is genius!

  4. Andy June 10, 2023 at 3:26 pm #

    Mike, I now to your knowledge and love the thoughts. Where do you get the time? Steve Ogrizovic is a good shout. I’m sure he won the FA cup. And I spat my lunch out laughing at Haarland the oversized baby. I’ll be supporting Milan tonight.

  5. Tikpo August 2, 2023 at 8:52 am #

    Well well. I see some of your predictions are close to what we have done in the transfer market one week before the new season sets off.
    What are your thoughts on what to expect this season.

Your thoughts?

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Designed by Batmandela