Corentin Tolisso – A Realistic Midfield Addition

Image Attrribution – December 16, 2018 – Source – Footbol/Flickr

As football remains postponed during this time of uncertainty, the transfer gossip columns continue to produce names linked with Arsenal.

The effects that the coronavirus and the subsequent lockdown will have on the summer transfer window are still unclear. It is still unknown if there will be a summer transfer window at all as the domestic European leagues and UEFA will be hoping to complete the current season at some point in June or July. The financial implications are also a problem. Will clubs have the money to go out and spend big on players in the wake of this difficult economic time for businesses?

Regardless, the lack of football has ramped up transfer speculation in recent days. One of the names that has been linked with Arsenal in several publications is French midfielder Corentin Tolisso. The French international is a box-to box midfielder and was part of the France squad that won the 2018 World Cup.

Growing up in the town of Tarare in eastern France , Tolisso signed with Lyon at the age of 12 and progressed through the club’s academy. After turning professional at 18, Tolisso proved himself to be a prolific goal scoring threat from midfield, notching 29 goals in 160 games. In his final season he scored 14 goals in 47 appearances and attracted the attention of several top European clubs, eventually moving to Bayern in the summer of 2017.

From there, his success continued as he scored 10 goals in 40 games for Bayern in his first season, winning his first Bundesliga title with the club. That summer he was selected as one of the 23 players in Didier Deschamps’s World Cup squad and played a crucial role in France’s campaign as they went on to beat Croatia in the final and lift the World Cup.

A World Cup winner and Bundesliga champion, Tolisso’s career should have really taken off at this point but for whatever reason he has struggled to replicate his past form in the last two seasons. This has led to speculation of a change of scenery for the 25-year-old midfielder, who might be looking to move on this summer.

Many of the rumours suggest that Tolisso could be available for as little as £22 million, which is difficult to believe in this market. But with the coronavirus lockdown leaving many clubs in financial trouble, perhaps an offer like this could tempt Bayern to sell one of their fringe players to get them off their books.

Arsenal fan and season ticket holder, Gary Jones, likes the idea of bringing in a new midfielder, stating “I think it’s vital that we bring in a new midfielder this summer. Having not really replaced Ramsey last summer, we really need a creative force in the midfield who can also pop up with a goal and this guy seems to fit the bill. The absence of a creative force in midfield has been glaring this year and it has certainly been one our biggest weaknesses.

It is true that the Arsenal midfield has struggled this year. The likes of Torreira, Guendouzi, Xhaka and Ceballos have all flattered to deceive in a season where we needed players to step up and take on the mantle left by Ramsey. Torreira and Guendouzi are young and have shown glimpses of quality this season. Ceballos is only here on loan and is likely to go back to Madrid in the summer. And who knows what will happen with Xhaka!

The addition of a player like Tolisso would certainly be welcome and I would imagine at the top of Arteta’s wish list. Whether we will be able to attract a player of this quality in our current state remains to be seen.

Jonathan David – Further Fuelling Speculation of a New Striker

Image Attribution – February 8, 2016 – Source – Canada Soccer/Flickr

The transfer rumours concerning Arsenal’s two most valuable talents – Aubameyang and Lacazette – continue to swirl amid links to yet another bright young forward.

In the last couple of days, the club have been linked by various sources to 20-year-old Canadian international Jonathan David. The young striker who plays his club football for Gent in the Belgian First Division, has scored 37 goals in 83 games for the East Flanders club since turning professional in the summer of 2018.

Such a quick start for a young striker playing abroad shows that the player has the potential to achieve big things in Europe, and he’s even scored 7 goals for Gent in the Europa League over the last two seasons.

Born in Brooklyn, New York City, David grew up in Ottawa, Canada, the son of Haitian immigrants. His talent was recognised early in Canada, where he played for a multitude of teams in Ottawa before being picked up by Gent. He represented Canada at U17 and U23 level before making his debut for the senior side in 2018, at just eighteen years old.

However, the more speculation there is about the possibility of new strikers coming into the club this summer, the more nervous fans have become online. There really shouldn’t be any need for forward additions this summer, with Aubameyang and Lacazette being the two senior strikers, plus Martinelli and Nketiah providing additional options through the middle.

Arsenal fan and season ticket-holder, Gary Jones, resents the idea of Aubameyang or Lacazette leaving, stating “We need our best players to stay if we want to rebuild effectively. That way we can focus on our main weakness which has definitely been the defence this year. If we have to shift focus to replacing players who we were hoping to keep, it will just interrupt any progress we were hoping to make this summer.”

It remains to be seen whether we will need to replace Aubameyang or Lacazette but the signs do not look good. However, perhaps under new leadership the squad will benefit from a freshen up and a change of player personnel. We can but hope.

Odsonne Edouard – The End for Auba and/or Laca?

Image Attribution – February 16, 2020 – Source – Soccer Meraki/Flickr

As the Coronavirus pandemic rages on and we find ourselves stuck inside on lockdown for over a week, the depressing lack of football seems to be having more of an effect on people.

At first, the novelty of the situation seemed to distract from the sudden interruption in routine. But after a few weeks the uncertainty of the pandemic seems to have put a halt to all news football related, including the ever-present transfer gossip.

However, there have been a couple of stories that have been doing the rounds in recent weeks. The most interesting of the handful are the rumours linking Arsenal with 22-year-old Celtic striker Odsonne Edouard. The France U21 international has had a prolific 18 months in Glasgow, scoring 51 goals in 97 appearances for the Hoops.

Although the Socttish league might not be the highest quality, to be achieving those kind of numbers at such a young age is impressive especially in such a physical league. It would suggest that he would have no problem adapting to the physicality of the Premier League. At 6 foot 2, he could provide the type of aerial threat that we haven’t seen at our place since the departure of Giroud two years ago.

While the story hasn’t gained massive traction in the media, the links are still interesting as this type of signing could spell the end for either or both of Aubameyang and Lacazette. As previously discussed, Aubameyang’s contract situation means Arsenal will be forced to sell him in the summer if he does not sign a new contract soon. In addition, Lacazette’s poor form this season has led to fans questioning whether he is really the answer up front.

Arsenal fan and season-ticket holder Gary Jones stated, “I can’t see Aubameyang staying on beyond this season to be honest. I was surprised we got him in the first place. I would like to see a young and physical striker like this Celtic lad come in, but really you want so see the young lads like Nketiah and Martinelli breakthrough as the main striker.”

The rumours about a new striker will continue to rumble on. A young, tall, athletic and prolific option like Edouard is the type of player that could appeal to fans. The fact he is at Celtic and would probably be an affordable option will no doubt appeal to the board.

This is probably a player to keep an eye on.

Diogo Jota – A Sensible Option

Image Attribution – September 22, 2019 – Source – NNN News/Flickr

With sport around the world currently on Corona-watch and the high possibility of the remainder of the Premier League season being called off in some shape or form, speculation about summer transfers has started increasing.

As there will be no football to discuss for at least three weeks and probably longer, rumours about potential transfers is one of the few things that you can count on newspapers and fan forums to start circulating during the absence of football on the pitch.

However, the speculation about Wolves and Portugal forward Diogo Jota seems to have been picked up by all media outlets and is a transfer that would make a lot of sense given the circumstances.

Perhaps the most surprising thing about Jota is that he is just 23 years old. No doubt any fan who has watched Wolves over the past two seasons will have been impressed by many of their players, but Jota is certainly one of their stand-out talents. He has racked up 43 goals in 120 appearances for Wolves in the past two-and-a-half seasons and made his senior debut for the Portuguese national team last year.

Primarily a forward, Jota can operate through the middle or just behind the striker. A small and pacey player, Wolves have deployed him mainly in a front two, playing just off the back of Jimenez. This kind of versatility is perhaps something we’ve missed in our team in recent years, with Aubameyang clearly not as comfortable playing off the left hand side and Lacazette not being able to play anywhere else but as the main striker.

Speaking of Aubameyang and Lacazette, the signing of a player like Jota would presumably be a replacement for one of the aforementioned two. With Aubameyang going into the final year of his deal and not signing a new contract, it is likely that he will be offloaded this summer unless something drastic happens between now and then. As for Lacazette, his lack of form this season has been another concern altogether.

The news this week coming out of the club is that the hierarchy has put together three different transfer plans which depend on where we finish in the league this season. One for if we finish in a Champions League spot (unlikely), one for if we finish in a Europa League spot, and one for if we finish outside the European places altogether. Budget and quality of player will be the main factors in these transfer plans.

Fellow blogger and Arsenal fan, George Muddiman, believes Jota would be a good signing for Arsenal, stating “He’s a young and dynamic player and would hopefully fall into our price range. His Premier League experience is also a great plus, especially after seeing the way the likes of Pepe has struggled to settle this season. This would be a signing I would really like to see happen.”

Where Jota might land in these transfer plans is anyone’s guess. Wolves would no doubt be looking for a sizeable fee for one of their most prolific forwards and with Arsenal potentially being out of Europe next season, we are unlikely to make the kind of bid they are looking for.

Willian – Probably Not the Answer

Image Attribution – Sept. 19, 2013 – Source: Photos Soccer/Flickr

The West Ham game on Saturday highlighted an all too familiar theme with Arsenal’s attacking threat – or lack of – as we struggled to break down a very mediocre side battling relegation.

A name that has been thrown in to the mix to help improve the club’s attacking problems is Willian. After seven years at Chelsea, the Brazilian winger will be available on a free this summer – an aspect that will no doubt be appealing to the Arsenal hierarchy.

A potential negative about the transfer is the fact that Willian is now 31 years old. After seven successful seasons at Chelsea, during which he was linked with Barcelona on numerous occasions, the general opinion of Arsenal fans online seems to be that he is past his best. The potential transfer also comes with a series of other negative implications.

Another downside of the Willian link is that his preferred position is on the right hand side of a front three. This also happens to be the position of our £80 million record signing, Nicholas Pepe, who has struggled to hit the heights that Arsenal fans hoped he would in his first season. However, the Pepe transfer is one that Arsenal cannot afford not to work, and bringing in Willian would only give Pepe less game time.

Bringing in a player like Willian would also stifle the progression of a promising young player like Reiss Nelson, who is increasingly looking like he could be a starter in the near future. Nelson’s progression has already been hampered by injury and the transfer of Pepe last summer. The addition of another squad player in his position would probably see Nelson forced to go back out on loan for game time or possibly even sold in a permanent deal.

The issue of age is also something to take into consideration with Willian. With Arsenal reportedly wanting to promote youth and bring down the combined age of the squad, signing a 31 year old winger with only a couple of good seasons left in him would not fit that plan. The minimum financial risk of bringing in Willian on a free is a positive, but doesn’t outweigh the fact that it would be going against the idea of building something new at the club.

George Muddiman, an Arsenal fan and fellow blogger, is similarly unenthusiastic about the prospect of bringing in Willian, stating “I don’t think it would be the smartest signing. He’s out of contract in the summer and looking for one last big pay day. We should really be looking forward and bringing in younger and more exciting players.”

Something else to consider with this speculation is the presence of super-agent Kia Joorabchian. An Arsenal fan, Joorabchian has newfound power at the club, representing both David Luiz and Cedric Soares (signed in January) as the club look to cement ties with some of the more powerful agents in football.

Willian would be a decent addition as he would bring vast Premier League experience and a background of winning to the club. But it is difficult to get excited about a player who has been around for a long time and is currently sat on the Chelsea bench.

Thomas Partey – One to Fix Arsenal’s Midfield Issues?

Image Attribution – (Feb. 19, 2019 – Source: Angel Martinez/Getty Images Europe)

After a fairly quiet January transfer window, the attention of fans will soon turn to Mikel Arteta’s first summer transfer window in charge at Arsenal. The defensive loan signings of Pablo Mari and Cedric Soares last month, plus the arrival of William Saliba this summer has seemingly been enough to appease fans on the defensive side of things.

However, the lacklustre performances this season have no doubt stemmed from a questionable midfield which has flattered to deceive in terms of creativity and asserting control over games. Virtually every midfielder – Xhaka, Guendouzi, Torreira, Ceballos and Ozil – has attracted criticism at some point this season, with fans expecting a fresh face or two to join this summer.

The scope of what standard of player the club can attract will almost certainly depend on whether we can achieve Champions League football, or even Europa League football at this point. However, with the club winning three games on the bounce to go four points off Man United in 5th, and Man City receiving a two year ban from European competitions, optimism is high for the first time in a while.

Perhaps that is why the club has been linked with one of the most accomplished defensive midfielders in European football this week. Thomas Partey has been a regular in Atletico Madrid’s side for the past few years, and the athletic, six-foot plus Ghanaian has been linked with various English clubs over the past year. Whether the 26-year-old would be open to a move to England is unclear, but various sources have linked us with a £42 million bid, which would supposedly trigger Partey’s release clause.

No doubt this would be a great coup for Arteta in his first summer back at the club. The midfielder has made over 150 appearances for Atletico in the past four years, adapting well to Simeone’s demanding style of play. But other clubs such as Man United might prove a more tempting destination for Partey, as they would almost certainly offer him higher wages.

Obviously, there will be plenty more links to alternative midfield options in the coming months, but Partey is certainly an exciting player for the club to be linked with.

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