How Arsenal’s 2017–18 Transfer Window Should’ve Gone.
Inspired by a friend who follows Arsenal, I have written an article on how I’d have done business if I was Arsenal manager this summer.
Picture the scene, Arsene Wenger retires after leading the club to an FA Cup. The board decide to put me in charge, and give me a transfer kitty to build a side capable of challenging for the title. This is all arbitrary of course, Arsenal spending the amount of money I would need to spend is more unlikely than me being appointed manager.
Now, 28, Kjaer has been linked with moves to the Premier League since his early days in Denmark with FC Midtjylland. After an impressive two seasons with Fener, the centre-back signed for Sevilla.
Kjaer is the no-nonsense leader at the back that Arsenal have been looking for the over a decade now, he takes no prisoners and at the same time is capable of reading the game well and playing calm football as well as his more aggressive style.
In the last two years, Fener’s defence with “The Viking” was far more tighter and more organised with him in the team.
Arsenal have two very good second choice left backs.
Ryan Bertrand is a solid England international. Whilst Danny Rose is better going forward, Bertrand is far superior at defending, something he has shown in his three seasons at Southampron.
The young Spaniard was perhaps West Ham’s best player last term. His introduction to the team helped clean up a defence that leaked goals like a sieve for a whie.
A fine all round midfielder, capable of playing really classy balls across the pitch and with fine dribbling, he would fit in well with Arsenal’s style of play.
The answer to Arsenal’s defensive midfield woes?
Now at Juventus, Khedira would complement Obiang well in Arsenal’s midfield. Khedira can cover a lot of ground and get forward well, allowing him to contribute to both attack and defence. He is a threat from long shots and his height makes him dangerous at set pieces.
His presence will also free up Granit Xhaka, playing in a holding role since his arrival from Borussia Monchengladbach, the Swiss international would be able to play in a more natural attacking midfield role.
Now, 30, Cavani probably has one major move left in. The Uruguayan forward will guarantee goals and assists. In this set up, he’d play on the right wing allowing him to cut inside, a similar role he played while Zlatan Ibrahimovic was the main man at PSG.
This will also allow the likes of Bertrand and Obiang to play dangerous diagonals into him, Cavani can use his strength to bully most Premier League full backs as a result.
Having joined West Ham from Bayer Leverkusen, Hernandez has returned to the Premier League this summer, though he could’ve been used at the Emirates.
His direct running and poaching would easily complement the inside forwards of Alexis Sanchez and Cavani and would contribute vital goals in important games.
With Rafa Benitez looking to trim the squad following promotion in order to buy new talent, Tim Krul has been put up on transfer.
Krul, 29, would do a good job as a back up to Petr Cech, the Dutchman proving himself as a competent ‘keeper at Premier League level for Newcastle.
The following signings are all ones for the future. Lafont, at 18, has already made over 60 club appearances for Toulouse, rare for a goalkeeper.
He has produced some top saves and shown maturity beyond his years. By coming to Arsenal, he may spend some seasons on loan, but would be a ready made replacement for when Cech retires. He could learn a lot from the Czech legend, too.
Just 22, Iorfa, signed on loan for Ipswich Town after a loss of form for Wolves. However, he is a right back full of potential and would be a cheap, reliable back up to Hector Bellerin. Mathieu Debuchy is well past his sell-by-date due to injuries and age, and Carl Jenkinson needs confidence from playing regular football.
Iorfa is big and strong at 6ft 4 inches tall and was part of the England Under 21 side that won the Toulon tournament in 2016.
The 19 year old midfielder has been in and around Bayern Munich squads for the last couple of seasons. Guardiola and Ancelloti both think highly of him and given they’ve managed deep lying playmakers like Busquets and Pirlo in the past — that’s saying something.
Munir El Haddadi
Nearly 22, Munir has been around the Barcelona first team picture for a few seasons. However, when your competition is Luis Suarez it can be hard to force your way into the first team picture. As a result, Munir could be tempted to depart.
The fact that he has been kept around Camp Nou this long is testament to his ability, he is quick, and is full of skills and good finishing.
There’s going to a bit of a fire sale going on here. With an influx of new names and contracts expiring, it’s inevitable.
With a long list of players to leave, it would perhaps be too time consuming to detail all of them. The gist is they either aren’t good enough, there’s better alternatives or they wouldn’t fit into the style of play. Or they just keep on bottling.
Permanent transfer: Mathieu Debuchy, Kieran Gibbs, Gabriel Paulista, Jack Wilshere, Mesut Ozil, David Ospina, Theo Walcott, Calum Chambers, Francis Coquelin.
On loan: Danny Welbeck, Carl Jenkinson, Chuba Akpom, Mohamed Elneny.
The final squad
First choice XI — Cech, Bellerin, Kjaer, Koscielny, Bertrand, Obiang, Khedira, Cavani, Xhaka, Alexis, Hernandez.
Subs — Krul, Mustafi, Monreal, Ramsey, Chamberlain, Perez, Giroud.
Reserves — Lafont, Iorfa, Dorsch, Iwobi, Munir, Mertesacker, Holding, Cazorla, Reine-Adelaide, Campbell, Maitland-Niles.
Merteacker and Cazorla at their peak would get in the first XI easily, but injuries have taken a toll on their bodies and I don’t think they can be relied up on.
The team would play a high press game, with the full backs pushing up when time allows. The presence of Khedira and Obiang would prevent counter-attacks. The team won’t purely be playing in the floor. The physicality of Cavani and the pace of Bellerin would allow for a more direct style.
Cavani and Alexis cutting inside is bound to cause issues for slower and weaker full backs with Chicharito feeding on any scraps.
Meanwhile, the options on the bench — Chamberlain, Giroud and Ramsey can allow for an effective Plan B if the Plan A isn’t working.
The fact that some many new players need to gel makes me hesitant to say where this side could finish. But I think they’d at least be competitive. The above of course is all my opinion and I wouldn’t claim to be an expert, so any debate is welcome.