Raul Sanllehi Steps Up To The Plate, And Arsenal’s Transfer Business May Not Yet Be Complete

Online Ed: Reflections on the summer window

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Before assessing this summer’s transfer window, we should remember that there is still the opportunity to offload players to clubs abroad where the window extends for longer. The players it would seem that the club are still trying to find buyers for are the obvious ones – Ozil, Mkhitaryan, Mustafi, Elneny and perhaps Kolasinac. There is reputedly interest in Ozil from DC United, who significantly are selling Wayne Rooney to Derby in January. One suspects Arsenal might sell cheap simply for the wage bill saving.

However, the final summer 2019 sale to an English club came yesterday when Alex Iwobi was transferred for a reported £27.3m (rising to approx £34m with potential add-ons, presumably appearance and success related). Most will see this as a good piece of business, as although Iwobi unquestionably had some decent performances for the club, he was never a consistent starter, and his goal return was on the low side for an attacking player. He goes with no hard feelings, and should see more first team football at Everton. Good luck to him, I am sure he will get a warm welcome when he returns to the Emirates with his new club. It is to be hoped that, positionally, Nicholas Pepe is a serious upgrade.

It was a busy deadline day for the club, at least in terms of completing deals. Arsenal fans were crying out for a centre back, understandably given the number of goals conceded last season. Numbers-wise, there was not an issue until the sale of Koscielny. They also had Soktratis, Holding, Mustafi, Chambers and Mavropanos. Enough for them to feel they could cash in on Krystian Bielik, sold to Derby for £10m. However, with the departure of Koscielny, they were also a little light on numbers – especially if Unai Emery has any plans to play three central defenders with any regularity as he did last season.

David Luiz is 32 years old, two years younger than Koscielny, and has won leagues and European trophies in his time with Chelsea. He certainly knows the Premier League. He does have the odd mistake in him – we’ve seen that too often to pretend otherwise, but arguably he’s no worse than a lot of the other options on that score. So a bargain basement upgrade on the departing club captain. It should be remembered that the long term plan is now the St Etienne signing William Saliba, who will join up with Arsenal next summer after a further season in France. So on that front, Luiz looks like a stopgap, but certainly one who Arsenal fans seem happy about.

The deal for Kieran Tierney was finally concluded, and the player passed a medical which suggests his current injury is something that should pass. He’s had no pre-season though, so don’t expect him to be rushed back. It might be a month before he makes his debut.

So with the recent deals – Pepe, the Ceballos loan, Tierney and Luiz, the Gooners I have spoken to are now excited for the start of the season. I’d caution this with the reality that the new players have not had time to gel so things might not smooth out for the first couple of months. The aim is to get back into the Champions League, pure and simple, whether by top four or winning the Europa League. Arsenal came very close on both fronts last season, but fell short. The feeling is that, with Chelsea hampered and Manchester United unpredictable, there is a decent chance, with the new players, of the Gunners re-joining the European elite.

One thing the window has shown is the ability of Raul Sanllehi to do deals which appear to extract the maximum out of the little amount of money he has to play with. He certainly had an uneven hand when it came to the budget, one that would not give him much chance on either the best usa casino sites or in a newzealand casino – the odds were long on squad significant improvement. But when the maths are done, it looks like he has done some assiduous deals, albeit taking a chance on a couple of the more expensive purchases coming good.

Let’s do some maths – the figures (taken from transfermarkt.co.uk) are what we can estimate the club are actually paying this summer from their budget…

Spent on players bought
Martinelli - £6.03m
Saliba - £3.7m (the remainder of £24.3m due to follow post arrival)
Ceballos - £4.1m loan fee
Nicholas Pepe - £18m (3 futher instalments of £18m due over the next three summers bringing total to £72m)
Kieran Tierney - £24.3m
David Luiz - £7.83m
Total out – approx. £63.96m

Players sold…
Alex Iwobi - £27.3m
Krystian Bielik - £7.38m
Laurent Koscielny - £4.5m
David Ospina - £3.15m
Carl Jenkinson - £1.98m
Takum Asano - £0.9m
Total in – approx. £45.21m

Total spent - £18.75m

So less than £19m of the estimated £44m budget spent – although payments of £78.3m outstanding on Saliba and Pepe will have to go out over the course of the next three summers. Sanllehi has structured these deals on the basis that Unai Emery can get the club back into the Champions League at the end of the forthcoming campaign.

So although in the headlines, Arsenal have splashed the cash, it’s kudos to Raul Sanllehi and his right hand man Huss Fahmy. They have brokered deals that have brought them some breathing space financially, and there is the possibility that more funds may be incoming with sales to foreign clubs before their own deadline dates. The club could even end up making a profit in this window. Stan Kroenke would be delighted. Given what the club had to spend, fans are simply happy to see some fresh faces that give cause for optimism.

Meaning the return of some feelgood factor to the club. At least in the short term. Of course, this could all fall flat very soon if the early matches do not go well, but for now, I think it's fair to say that, with the belief the club had so little to play with, it feels like a better transfer window than it might have been. Yes, we’d have liked a younger, more expensive centre back, but we’ll have to wait a year for Saliba and hope that turns out to be a bargain deal. Arsenal did come close last season. In 2019-20 they have to deliver.

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  1. itsRonagain2

    Aug 10, 2019, 10:33 #114566

    Lads - hats off to the clubs business side though, have to say. The way they present themselves publicly as paupers (45mill) and then structure the buys and sales (and particularly the timings of them) is a masterclass in money management subject of course to how much they're paying these players. The real effect on the pitch is very much an unknown, but the clubs priority (sustainability model) is preserved excellently. I just cant see it as a clear declaration of intent to make the club a challenging club again on the pitch. I may be wrong.

  2. itsRonagain2

    Aug 10, 2019, 09:42 #114562

    AM- All true mate. The clubs been treading the line between rational (arguably but dubiously) decision making and simply averting fan disquiet for years, the emphasis being on the latter. These buys in this window are another window dressing job, designed to create the image theyre all for change while in real terms spending next to nothing. This Tierney looks like being yet another soft tissue injury ridden absentee. He ll do well at Arsenal!

  3. markymark

    Aug 10, 2019, 09:41 #114561

    Lie. * - low down Agrbts * - agents Poxy spell checker grrrrr...

  4. markymark

    Aug 10, 2019, 09:39 #114560

    ArsenalMagna - I reckon Arsenal didn’t want to be on the £200k per week train that UTD created. It’s always easy looking back but 2 x £200k per week contracts for Ozil and Sanchez after the Villa final would have done an awful lot to sort the mess. It’s not like either Wengo or comic partner Ivan were lacking experience but then they covered themselves in their “Class” bubble and probably therefore didn’t get the lie down dirty talk from Agrbts and gauge the coming inflationary wind. Having said all that without the disaster over both deals possibly Wengo and Ivan still might be clinging on. So silver linings and all that. I’m absolutely convinced that Josh’s visit and review not only ended Wenger’s reign but caused sufficient disquiet in Ivan to jump ship before he was pushed.

  5. ArsenalMagna

    Aug 10, 2019, 08:56 #114559

    Understand the disappointment that we haven't shifted all the deadwood, but seriously, their continued presence is ultimately due to the supreme idiocy of Wenger and Gazidis, and shouldn't be held against Raul and co. Wenger/Gazidis's player purchases/contract extensions were simply too calamitous to be easily overturned. Giving Ozil £17.5m per year wages might be the worst decision in the history of Arsenal Football Club. It didn't take hindsight to realise that he's always been a slight upgrade on Adel Taraabt - amazing against weak opposition with great players around him, but poor in all other circumstances. Even Ozil's purchase initially was a panic buy by the board to compensate for Wenger's ignorant inability to gauge the strength of his own squad or the importance of fan feeling. Re: Mkhitaryan, there's actually a SkySports article that breaks down how highly effective he is on the counterattack, but we don't play to his strengths. I do appreciate however that he doesn't do enough defensively. Why do we have him? Because Arsenal ran down Sanchez's contract and by Jan were in a tight spot. Why did they cling to Sanchez for too long? Much the same as with Ozil: an idiotic attempt to save face, given the previous exodus of stars years beforehand. As for Mustafi, even the Barca president publicly stated that we'd paid way too much for him when he first signed, so the writing was on the wall early with that one... Elneny will likely be sold, but if he isn't it's because the previous regime were far too 'generous' in handing out large salaries...

  6. John F

    Aug 10, 2019, 06:37 #114558

    I have the same feelings about Dic k as you Mark my only hope is that he just didn't have the players to carry out his style of play especially with the lack of width.The team did look jaded and clueless towards the end of the season.My concerns started with a game that we won against Huddesfield it was a dismal second half performance that carried on into the final few games.

  7. markymark

    Aug 10, 2019, 05:42 #114557

    On the Le Grove site he’s been saying since day 1 Unai does not have the personality to do it. It remains to me a real 50/50 thing. I have to admit being pretty horrified over the last 6 weeks of the season. The Brighton game was just god awful and the Europa complete humiliation , as bad as anything under Wenger. What I wasn’t left with though was direct dislike of the coach. I suppose that personal antipathy was built up over the years . Let’s hope he can do it, at last the club though is taking back control, no more messiah complex. If the coach can’t mend it he’s off. In comparison to last year I think replacements will now be easier to get as it’s pretty obvious that a structure is in place

  8. mad max

    Aug 10, 2019, 04:58 #114556

    come on guys, so much negativity on here it's been a good window all things considered, Jenkinson, koscielney, lichtsteiner, iwobi all gone the possibility of mustafi and elneney gone by the end of august we're finally getting rid of the wenger poor signings. david luiz despite his flaws is twice the player mustafi is. Ceballos is a great addition, Tierney is gonna be great for us, pepe will be a premier league superstar, we've got saliba coming next summer who looks the real deal, at last we're showing some real ambition, my only concern is the coach emery is not the right man to really push us a forward , I agree with Cornish his English is appalling, repeating the same words over and over again, total gibberish, but for the first time in years I feel optimistic we've got a half decent squad I think we'll mak e top 4 comfortably we only missed out by a point last season don't forget C.OY.G

  9. itsRonagain2

    Aug 9, 2019, 23:01 #114555

    Hi Marky. Agree about both of them Coaches. Neither should really fill their Clubs fans with faith. I don’t think OGS will last long unless he gets off to a flyer. Lampard has got that job because they can’t buy anybody and he comes cheap. His appt is a reflection of Abramovitches waining interest and involvement there I think now. Player wise though, on a good day with a fair wind I still think both clubs have got more than we have because of what s gone before the 2 coaches and not for what either has yet done. Lampard s on a hiding to nothing. We, as a club is still feeling inferior to such as Utd and Chelsea because of the years of being belted by them. I hope this time will be different of course but it could take some years to rd build a club collective strong mentality again. We re still a club with mentally fragile players I feel. Perhaps the new guys can give us an injection of belief and a bit of a swagger? I hope so. Try as I might though and I have really tried, I can’t find a reason to have much faith in Emery. His English is better than my Spanish but honestly, he just spouts jibberish. Perhaps he has interpreters for the players but if not, lord knows what they must think. He seems a nice guy , a genuine guy too but does he have the force of personality to drive us forward? I m not convinced. Same with OGS at Man U. He’s seems like a bloke who’s first concern is to be liked. A bad mistake if I m right. I don’t think Lampard has such hang up s.

  10. markymark

    Aug 9, 2019, 20:19 #114554

    Ron2 it’s interesting regarding Chelsea and Man U as both managers have question marks. I can’t make my mind up about Lampard. I once heard a very weird story about Lampard senior and did wonder if Frank Junior also has a bit of a dark side going on. Then you’ve got Ole with his Rashy , Pogy and any other 5 year old nickname where everyone is smiling and no ones ever sad. Sounds like a frigging madhouse. I’d genuinely rather be Arsenal rather than UTD at the moment . Further issues for UTD is that it’s becoming increasingly common for players to turn them down. Literally used to be unheard of. Not sure if people are aware but UTD do all their transfer business in Mayfair. Rather sad really that they put this great big London Office spread then the reality hits home when you see Salford. Better off not hiding it and push the biggest local city / pride of the North thing. But Woodward is losing their soul as he chases yet another business partner for the club.

  11. Goonhogday

    Aug 9, 2019, 19:31 #114553

    If Arsenal are going to be more active in transfer windows from now on, I’d better consider changing my username! I only chose it because of the countless groundhog days of transfer inactivity in the past decade!

  12. mbg

    Aug 9, 2019, 18:49 #114552

    It would be good to see Ozil off loaded nothing is going to change with him regardless of new season, impressed with the Luiz signing, we'll get a good idea on Sunday if things are going to be different, hopefully they are.

  13. itsRonagain2

    Aug 9, 2019, 18:34 #114551

    There’s nothing wrong with the optimism. It’s good to see some after all thesd years. We won’t know the effect until about October anyway guys will we. Perhaps the best approach is to take the view that the impetus to change things is a rolling program needing 3 seasons or so to mature and that these changes are ones made in the foothills of the program. Agree with Marky tho. Emery needs minimum 4th to survive in the job. I’m not convinced he ll crack it. Hope to be wrong. PS. The irony of it. All of those years mocking and jibing at Wengers 4th is a trophy mantra. Now the club and most of the fans are well and truly in the same school of thought that we castigated Wengo for. How the once mighty are fallen. 4th would truly be a miracle for this squad. Man U and Chelsea do appear hamstrung and hindered but I’d still back either to best Arsenal more often than not.

  14. CORNISH GOONER

    Aug 9, 2019, 18:32 #114550

    Ebening all!! Dick is still talking pidgin bollocks at press conferences but has added a few longer words to a limited vocabulary that relies too heavily on "big", "opportunity" & "possibility" - but then I can't really understand Pep either. As a seasoned cynic of all matters Arsenal I now think, long overdue, I can see a new ruthless approach at the club - I would bet that 2 out of Mikki,Mustafi & Elneny will be gone by the end of this month. The deals are shrewd & this is now virtually Dick's squad & so, if he fails to make top 4 then he will be shown the door too. £ were clearly limited - hence the clever payments structures. Luiz for all his issues is clearly a stop gap AND an upgrade, being a proper athlete. With our limited budget where were the other CB opportunities pray tell?? The only names I heard were a hugely overpriced novice from The Bundeslieg or a suspect, unwanted 24 year old from Juve. And the young up & coming guys for the next season or so look to give us the chance of real progress in defence. I think we will have a rocky start though & just hope that the inevitable bedding in time is tolerated by the fanbase. I am feeling much more optimistic because, for the first time since he acquired our franchise, I now think Stanley could become an irrelevance - which is exactly what his sort should be.

  15. John F

    Aug 9, 2019, 18:16 #114549

    Interesting story coming out on the forum that Kolasinac and Ozil are not in the squad due to ongoing security issues after the car jacking.

  16. markymark

    Aug 9, 2019, 17:39 #114548

    Rumours were heavy that we were after Upamecano but a deal couldn’t be done. Saliba is meant to be the man for 2020. I’d like to think that Holding could also come through again.

  17. Bard

    Aug 9, 2019, 17:21 #114547

    RobG you make an great point. Some of the other clubs are a bit of a mess so 4th spot might be on the cards for a club with ambition and nous. In which case why the f*** didnt we go all out to buy a top defender, instead of taking a Chelsea reject and a bunch of forwards. Remember Luiz was CB and Capt for Brazil when they got absolutely stuff 7-1 by Germany in the World Cup semi. He will score the odd cracker but this is a retirement gig at Arsenal.

  18. markymark

    Aug 9, 2019, 17:17 #114546

    Not sure if people are kidding themselves more a realisation that members of the board have finally got things moving. Say what you want about the quality of signings but I’ll happily buy a round to anyone who can convince me that the deals done this window would have been completed over 5 entire windows with Ivan and the Great Wengo in charge. Beer is waiting ! Sure Luiz is kicking the can down the road but quite frankly so many spots to fix and apparently the solution reached during the deep dive was lack of offensive wing play stiffled our away form. Whether we agree with this or not. The players in are addressing that issue. Luiz’s stats are better than Kos’s So he appears to be an upgrade. If Unai doesn’t get 4th then he’s gone and it’s someone else’s turn. No one will come? Well a coach will have two of the best French talents in world football + a great bunch coming through. I’m not deluded , kidding myself or anything else. What I’m excited about is real change with a go getter like Dein. We need someone who can play dirty with the agents. We now have that man.

  19. RobG

    Aug 9, 2019, 17:14 #114545

    Without getting carried away - that was a FAR better window than I could have hoped or indeed, did fear. So credit to Raul. Clearly he is a man with a big fat black 'contacts book' and he knows the numbers to call. If we could move say Mkhitaryan and Elneny, with a bit of money for the latter, then it will be a really good window. The squad is being reshaped and refreshed ; and not before time. The other point is that City are clearly stronger; Liverpool aren't weaker and - like it or not - Spurs are clearly stronger. But Chelsea are demonstrably weaker and Utd strike me as bit of a mess, still. So that 'magic' 4th place is right there for the taking. Just finally - I wonder if our dear old ex boss will come out of 'retirement' this window ? I wouldn't bet on it !

  20. Don Howe

    Aug 9, 2019, 16:51 #114543

    Well gentlemen, the proof of the defensive pudding will be in the eating. Will Luiz and Sokratis run the defence as a unit and will they be allowed to do so? Call me hopelessly naive ( You're hopelessly naive - Ed) but I was rather pleased by the Luiz signing. We need winners and people with experience. If Emery wanted him that means that they can get on. I'm looking forward to the season and that will be even more so if we can offload Ozil and Xhaka. Playing with 11 men will be a revelation in itself.

  21. John F

    Aug 9, 2019, 16:39 #114542

    The younger players coming through will also bolster the team but I think it is a season too early to see the real potential of this sqaud.I am expecting a dodgy start with Bellerin,Tierney,Holding not ready.Chambers played very well for Fulham as a DM and would be useful cover as for Luiz I agree with Bard. He is sulker who could well disrupt the changing room and whenever I saw him line up against us I thought we had a chance.He is a Peter Cec h signing and one that Wenger would of made.

  22. itsRonagain2

    Aug 9, 2019, 16:30 #114541

    Bard seems to have struck a nerve. Not sure quite why. Hes exactly right in my view. Faced with a deep rooted seriously acute problem of hapless and cowardly defending having been endemic in the team for 12 years, how is signing Luiz any type of solution? To suggest that it is, is quite frankly daft and nothing more than kicking the can down the road to pick it up another day. Has nobody ever seen him? Hes a liability. He has a great shot. He can pass a ball like Glenn Hoddle could but defensively hes a massive risk as hes prone to gaffs of immense proportions. Ask yourself why Lampard has got rid of him. Once again Arsenal opt for easy and cheap. Its chronic. Luiz is 32 and isnt going to become a tough, resilient and commanding defender who can boss and organise his defenders under Emery who clearly rates defending as highly as Wengo did. The way to cure a major problem caused by a negligent fraud of a broken past Coach isnt to copy what he did in creating the problem in the first place. I feel sorry for the kid Tierney. He s got to play with this maverick and may have his game and maybe his career f------d up by doing so, the same as other promising younger players did by being asked to play alongside inept performers under Wengo. A good window? Who the hell are some of you trying to kid? Yourselves i suspect.? Buying him creates more doubt in my mind over whether this Coach is the man to turn things around and casts greater doubt upon how long he ll even last in the job.

  23. markymark

    Aug 9, 2019, 14:31 #114540

    Bard - Think saying Luiz is hopeless is over the top. Whether you say it was all the other parts of Chelsea’s defence he still was part of systems that nullified Messi on a couple of occasions. He had been caught out of position a few times in his career but I think it’s safely said he’s an upgrade on Mustafi who seems a man with a confidence crisis. His stats for blocks and passing far exceed KOS as well so definitely an upgrade. In a world of average defending I don’t see any great improvement in Maguire who’s come unstuck against Auba on a few occasions. The re-emerging Arsenal will not be on a continuous plane or indeed at the same level throughout. It might be next season end it will be great team in the making shame about Unai. Just as likely is he may storm us into 3rd. The old problems of Ozil , Mitty , Mustafi will become less not more burdensome. At least one or more is likely to go prior to 2021. It appears we can survive and perhaps thrive whilst still being hit by their wage structure

  24. markymark

    Aug 9, 2019, 14:21 #114539

    Pints* ?!? Meant points but then again I would by Raul a pint or likely large Rioja

  25. markymark

    Aug 9, 2019, 14:19 #114538

    Rob Admin - very good point but I’d also extend that to a certain Ivan Gazidis. Even though he joined his mates ( Hedge Funders ) at AC Milan. Might his mates not have a look over at Raul and think hang on in one transfer window he’s out done 10 years of Ivan at Arsenal. Two pints from me. 1: this will not go unnoticed, in that a club could easily try and throw shed loads of cash as Raul to solve their problems. Therefore he does need looking after . 2: Raul constantly mentioned Huss during the AISA shindig so it would suggest a lot of the spade work is carried out by him. Again he needs looking after. Losing Sven was one thing losing further technical/ execs could be very damaging. Hopefully all are still all guns ablazing for the project.

  26. Bard

    Aug 9, 2019, 14:08 #114537

    Sorry to be a bit of a downer guys but I fail to see how this is a particularly good window. We have failed to get rid of some of the useless big earners like Mikki, Mustafi or Ozil. Yes we have off loaded a few peripheral players but we still have one hell of a wage bill. Pepe might be a good buy but he isnt a worldie just get and as for buying Luiz, my word the writer presumably as some kind of joke says " he has a mistake in him" that is some understatement. He is a hopeless defender, he's rash, his positional play is poor and his concentration is close to zero. Yes he scores the odd goal but the last thing we need is another show pony. Think Sylvestre, Gallas. How shite were they ? Good luck to Iwobi, with better coaching he could have been a much better player but sadly he was a victim of the ' sort it out yourself' approach under Wenger.

  27. GoonerRon

    Aug 9, 2019, 13:58 #114536

    @ Kevin - don’t forget the reported £3m for Dom Thompson and £2.25m for Amaechi. Also, much like our deal for Pépé, most of our outgoing sales will involve some form of instalments (I think ‘standard’ transfer terms tend to be 50% immediately and 50% in 12 months time), so unlikely we’ve bought in quite so much immediately.

  28. ArsenalMagna

    Aug 9, 2019, 13:02 #114535

    I think this has been a really good window all things considered, but I don't think it will suffice to get us into the top 4. On paper at least, the players we've got are good: Pepe was coveted by a number of clubs including Bayern, Napoli and was said to have Liverpool's interest too, so that's encouraging. He's deadly on the counterattack so expecting good things from him away from home potentially; his dribbling and shooting stats are impressive and that's where were deficient last campaign, though he might need a year to adjust to the EPL. Luiz can be sublime or dreadful - hard to call on that one, but think he could struggle in such an open system. Think it's worth mentioning though that Holding and Chambers' return means Mustafi is now 5th choice so he may not even play next season, which is good. Holding and Luiz could be a great partnership if they're at their best. Tierney very hard to call. Ceballos could be great in that he's a good dribbler/passer and is a ready-made excuse to drop the hapless Ozil. All that said, this feels somewhat academic, because probably Emery will continue to play unbalanced football, fail to develop a good counterattacking doctrine, will have to often play Ozil to save face (i.e. make it look like the club did not commit a huge error in giving him £17.5m per year, even though we all know they did), will knacker the first XI with the Europa League which we won't win and will in turn hinder our top 4 challenge. The optimist in me says that as we were third in the 'home' table last season, our new signings will pull us from 9th to 4th/5th in the 'away' table given their ability to dribble/counter, but the pessimist in me says that, for the aforementioned things mentioned re: Emery, we will miss top 4. It might actually be better to miss top 4, as otherwise it's more Wenger-esque gung ho football for years to come. Sad really, because if we just played balance football I'd have no concerns about our ability to make top 4 given the atrocious defences of the EPL.

  29. Rob Admin

    Aug 9, 2019, 10:16 #114534

    I would imagine that A.Wenger of Strasbourg is not sitting too comfortably this morning. All those barren transfer windows and BS he spun, what changed?

  30. Pauljames

    Aug 9, 2019, 09:55 #114533

    Would be churlish to knock our business this window, although obviously we don’t yet know how it’s all going to work out. The reality is we are a Europa League club with a fairly low transfer budget, so we are doing well to attract players like Pepe and Ceballos in my book.

  31. Paulo75

    Aug 9, 2019, 09:25 #114532

    Full credit to Sanllehi as you say. He has given Unai the tools he needs to achieve the clubs ambitions. Now its over to Unai and esoecially the players to deliver. If we can offload, in particular, Ozil, Miki and Mustafi I think that would be a transfer market that would have exceeded all fans hopes and expectations. Luiz's pro's and cons are well documented but for the fee paid and his know how of the League I think this could prove to be an excellent addition. Sokratis and Holding should provide suitable options in centre defence. I also think Luiz may be an option in holding midfield as required - the one position where I think we are still weak physically. There should be goals aplenty with Aubameyang, Lacazette and Pepe and also have a feeling Martinelli might weigh in with a few given the chance. Personally I have moved from a feeling of dread of the new season coming to one of quiet optimism.

  32. GoonerRon

    Aug 9, 2019, 09:01 #114531

    I think it’s been a very encouraging window. We needed a full back, winger, CB, CM and to integrate some of the academy players into the first team. Job done. Obviously, we’ll see how they get on but in terms of addressing some of the issues we have had a really good go. We have completed over 20 transfer / loan transactions which is a high volume of work in such a short window, and given the widely reported budget we had, we’ve made it work hard for us. My guess is we’ve reduced the bloated wage bill by c. £20m net with all the comings and goings - that could be increased by c. £8m if Elneny and Mustafi get offloaded in the foreign transfer window. Lastly, Emery seems set on a back 4 having played it for the majority of minutes in preseason so we should see some structural consistency to our approach which can only help performances. We won’t know for sure how we’ll fare until we get into the season but to these eyes our squad looks stronger and with more variation available in terms of players types, abilities etc, something I’m not sure can be said about Man U or Chelsea.