So the shape of our summer is starting to ebb out into the media.
- Darwin Nunes
- Yourri Tielemans
- Marcus Rashford
- I suspect we’ll read some bits about Rúben Neves at some point as well.
All four names move us up a level, no question about it. Tielemans is the hottest and most likely. He isn’t going to sign a new deal with Leicester, he has 1 year left to go on his deal, I suspect Sambi Lokonga and maybe even Thierry (who loves him) have whispered some things in his ear.
What I like about the players we’re linked to is they all sit in a very specific category of players.
Just look at the lead strikers we’ve been linked with.
- Alex Isak
- Haaland (lol)
The commonality is clear.
Tall and wirey: A little like Adebayor. Setpieces have been a big feature of our game this season, but we haven’t had a striker that can do things in the box. Height and power is going to be huge for us this summer. I know holding the ball up isn’t just the preserve of the tall, but it sure helps when you have a large wingspan. We will have an actual target man that can challenge in the air as well. All this talk of Jesus and Jonathan David… I’m just not sure our main striker will be shorter than 6ft1.
Speed & Power: Lacazette does an exceptional job at linking play, but his main weakness is he can’t link play then attack the box. He doesn’t have the power. All the linked strikers look like they have some speed in the legs. I think Alex Isak is the fastest of the lot, but I suspect he’ll be very low down the pecking order because he doesn’t score goals. I have Rashford in my list above, but I suspect any attempt at bringing him to Arsenal will be because he’s so flexible in where he can play, he’s one of the fastest in the league, that pace under a great coach could be fine tuned and honor without doubt.
Goals: We can just continue that previous point about Alex Isak. Just take a moment to remember the hysterics from the base this January when people wanted to gamble £75m him. He’s scored 1 goal in the league since November 1st. Can you imagine the vitriol Edu and Arteta would be getting if he’d have tanked that bad for us? Whoever we sign needs to have a record of goals. I don’t want to need to read and essay about why we’re signing a striker that doesn’t have them. We have £60m to spend, we don’t need to debate whether goals are important, the are THE thing we need if we’re to affect the top 2. Tammy has 23 goals in Italy, an extremely tough league to score in. Darwin has 26 in 33. Rashford has nearly 100 Premier League goals before he’s 25.
Link-up play: I don’t think we’ll be looking for a player to do exactly the same as Lacazette. I think Laca over compensates with link-up play because he’s lost his edge with goals. But it is imperative that the striker we sign is not THE solution to our goals, because that lessens the unpredictability Arteta has been baking into the side this season. Season 1 of Mikel was all about Auba, if he didn’t score, we didn’t score. When his goals dried up, so did our progress.
We need a striker that can act as a creator, a player that causes problems in front of goal, but also with their vision. Rashford has a goal or assist every other game, he’s as much a provider as he is a finisher. I think creativity will factor into who we sign as well. Even if it isn’t apparent with the numbers, it will be a consideration as to whether they can develop some of that in their game. Remember fans saying Ramsdale was a hoofer at Sheff U? Well, the scouts knew Chris Wilder signed him for other reasons, then he was sacked. The club knew Bournemouth weren’t a hoofer team. Certain things aren’t always present in the seasons priors data.
Age: Remember the target: Arsenal want to be competing for the league in 2 years time. The plan was Europe this season, Champions League the season after, title contending the season after. If you sign Lewa, you’ll have a 37 yr old leading the line when you are fully baked as a team. We need to look at younger players that can grow with us. Don’t expect anyone over the age of 25 and don’t expect them to hit peak after game one. We’ll sign someone that can develop with us.
Character: I read a Tammy tweet from when he was a kid, he said something like, ‘I’m to be trying to be in FIFA to worry about playing it’. That’s a great line and it gives a small glimpse into who he is as a character. Nunez has made it out of South America to Europe, that is a beast of a journey, he will have the right character. Rashford is just a best in class human. We need to continue to the focus on the people we’re bringing in.
We aren’t signing an ego, we aren’t signing someone that’ll kill our wage structure, we will do our research and ask around. We have a lean squad of players that all want to be at Arsenal right now… that culture needs to be gently grown. No dickheads.
Ok, that’s all I have time for today.
Call your mum, right now. x