Thoughts On Park, Santos, Mertesacker, Benayoun, and Arteta

When it rains, it pours, eh!

Most parched Gooner hearts will welcome the flash flood of signings we’ve seen in the last two days. A striker, two creative players, a centre-back, and a left-back cover almost all requirements that have been floating around in fan conversations. Or one could say two international captains, a club captain, and a couple of seasoned pros tick some of the experience and leadership boxes that have been vacant.

Of course, I will be surprised if there aren’t those who crib that the striker is from a relegated club in a weaker league, the attacking players are injury prone, centre-back is slow and the left-back is defensively suspect. Those who seek misery are invariably good at finding and spreading it.

Both sides do have valid points though, and which one you pick probably just depends on your attitude more than anything else. I have reluctantly accepted the fact that with the current policies at the club – which are hard to fathom due to the limited information available – and the demands of the selling clubs in this ridiculous world of football transfers, Arsenal are not likely to sign real game-changers anytime soon. The Sergio Agueros and Javier Pastores of this world are beyond the Gunners. So my expectations have been set at high quality (not the mind-blowing exceptional quality one would so love to have and that was lost when Cesc left), experienced players who can hit the ground running. On that front I am satisfied.

I feel the big impact will not come from the players themselves (that would have applied to almost any signing Arsenal might have made) but from the manner in which they are used. As I have said before, there is no quick fix solution to the issues at the club and that doesn’t change even with five new arrivals.

In this post I just want welcome all the newcomers and share some initial thoughts.

Ju Young Park

Ju, as he likes to be called, has been given the Number 9 shirt. That is quite an honour in my opinion. And hopefully it won’t be the curse that it was for some players in recent times.

I have vague memories of watching him in the World Cup. He looked like a very talented player when he was on the ball but didn’t get on it often enough for my liking. At this moment, I am not convinced he will have the physical strength and stamina to come in and make a mark on the Premiership. But it is just a feeling and I don’t want to hold it over him before the Korean captain even gets a chance to show what he can do. He has talked about working hard and proving that he can cut it at this level so I am gladly willing to suspend judgment.

His cousin at United and predecessor as the captain of the national team has a decent engine and good technique but has not been able to establish himself as a big name. Frankly speaking, a hard working squad player who shows heart and appetite for a fight in tough games might be an excellent unheralded addition to the squad.

On the purely positive side, I really like his close control and vision. It is surprising that a player who can play such passes (video worth watching if not seen already) didn’t have a single assist for Monaco last season (if I am not mistaken). Was that more of a reflection on his team and the reason they went down? Quite possible.

I think JYP can play as a shadow striker in the hole and also on the left flank. If he has the work rate he might pick up the attacking midfielder role in some games and will also be useful on the wings if a lead has to be defended. I haven’t seen him with his back to the goal so it’s hard to say whether he will be able to play as the main striker.

Standing close to six feet tall, Ju-Young Park will also bring some physical presence in both penalty boxes. He is also decent on the dead ball and should provide some competition to others (If the Gunners take it seriously enough!).

I am guessing Park will be blooded-in a tad slower than the others and should start off with some Carling Cup starts and sub appearances in the other games.

This is a nice read that provides some background and history about Park and tells us his first nicknames were “Football Genius” and “Korea’s Hope”. Not surprising given his talent on the ball and an IQ of 150.

Andre Santos

I am finding it hard to write about Santos because I have seen very little of him and it’s impossible to form any sort of an opinion about a left-back based on videos of his goal-scoring exploits.

Simply based on what I have read and seen on Youtube, the Brazilian full-back seems to be a technically excellent attacking player. Will he be targeted by long, aerial balls over his head? Will he struggle without adequate support? I don’t know the answer to those questions but I do know that Wenger has a tendency to pick players after due consideration.

I like the fact that Santos can take free-kicks and that he can shoot from distance. Those two qualities can be immensely helpful and his forward forays can turn Chamakh into a goal-scorer once again if the two strike an understanding. That will take time though.

With Gibbs injured I expect Santos to come into the starting eleven straight away. It will be interesting to see how Wenger rotates the players once the Englishman returns to fitness.

Per Mertesacker

Probably the biggest player among the five signed in the last couple of days, literally and in stature.

At 6’ 6” Mertesacker is a giant and fits the bill of a tall, commanding centre-back that many have been demanding. It’s a quality that can work against him because I see unwarranted expectations being placed on the German. His arrival will not solve Arsenal’s defensive problems but fans and pundits with short memories might make him the fall guy anyway.

I believe he is an excellent reader of the game and has good defensive technique. I also like his composure and confidence on the ball. Initially, I feel he might struggle with the pace of the Premiership even if the physicality is not an issue. His relative lack of speed and slow turning are the only two weaknesses but those can be covered through intelligence (think Busquets or Hangeland).

I am not sure if he will come straight into the starting line-up. And if he does will it push either Vermaelen or Koscielny into midfield, especially when Song is missing? There are some tactical decisions that Wenger will have to make and those paying attention might learn something.

This article talks about a decline in his form over the last season or two. It’s up to Arsene to get the best out of the German international.

Yossi Benayoun

I must confess this one was a real surprise, probably because I’d forgotten all about Benayoun due to his recent injury problems which kept him out of the Chelsea side. But the Israeli captain had a decent enough record with Liverpool which must have impressed the decision makers at Chelsea so the talent is most definitely there.

I love his control, quick feet, calmness in front of goal, and finishing abilities. He is the kind of player who can make a big difference in and around the penalty box. Even when teams have parked the bus, Benayoun can provide that individual spark which unlocks the defence. The Israeli, if he stays fit, can contribute as many goals as Nasri did last year and can assist a few more.

It will be interesting to see where he plays and Wenger will have a tough task in fitting him into the team because his defensive work isn’t all that great (still better than Arshavin). Left side of the attack seems to be the most obvious position but he can also play behind the striker or on the right.

I’d expect him to be behind Gervinho in the pecking order but he will get enough chances during the season to stake a claim for a starting birth. He can also be an excellent sub to have on the bench when chasing a game. Benayoun’s ability to keep the ball and play the possession game will also come in handy in tight games against quality teams.

Mikel Arteta

I have been a big fan of the Spaniard ever since he started playing for Everton. Arteta is an excellent passer of the ball – long and short, can deliver and score from excellent set-pieces (last season was disappointing), can contribute goals from distance, and can hold the ball under pressure, and is fairly strong for his physical stature.

He is the kind of player who can get great value out of Gervinho and Walcott by unleashing their pace through passes from deeper positions. Arteta is also the kind of player who can get a lot out of someone like Chamakh. There are a number of possibilities but the end product will eventually depend on the work done on the training ground. I want to see how Arsene fits the former Everton player alongside Song/Jack/Ramsey.

I don’t think he is that good with his back to the goal or with his runs into the box so it will be a surprise if Arteta plays in an advanced position. Over time, I expect Ramsey to thrive in that position but for now it will probably depend on current fitness and form. I see Arteta more in the Xabi Alonso mould.

Arsene might even play all four of them in some games where dominating the ball is essential, something that will automatically make the defence look sturdy. In that case one of them will have to move to a wider role that Nasri played. The Spaniard can play on the left if need arises.

To sum it all up –

I am fairly satisfied with the business in the transfer market.  Benayoun and Arteta probably have more Premier League experience than anyone in the current squad. There is good diversity and versatility in the new signings. Some obvious holes have been filled. Free-kicks might actually improve overnight! The squad looks much deeper and better balanced than it did a couple of days ago.

The signings aren’t without some questions marks and Wenger will have to earn his wages in order to get the best out of them.

At the very least, we can look forward to the future with a lot more hope and belief.

69 Responses to Thoughts On Park, Santos, Mertesacker, Benayoun, and Arteta

  1. stonroy says:

    great summary

  2. Sam says:

    Great read
    I echo your optimism

  3. Vineet says:

    Strange – Wenger could find Quality and Right players on the deadline day. On the whole ok with Benayoun, Arteta, Mertsacker. Park no clue and hope Santos would be better than Gibbs and Clichy.

    If ManU rout was the first match of the season we could have more players!!!!

    Though my choice would be of a few different players but something is better than nothing

    • santori says:

      Wenger mostly does his shopping very early or very late when prices start to fall.

      No surprises here…unless you believe the media.

      The only surprise was how many he brought in.

      I thought 2 max and he has gone for 5!

  4. Ryobert Pires says:


    Mood: contented.

    True there is no pleasing some but that’s their blood pressure to worry about not mine.

  5. Tim (Kenya) says:

    Completely agree with you on the point about attitude. The signings are good or inadequate depending on ones pessimism or optimism. Am just glad that the club made an effort to address at least some of the problems in the squad as far as signing the ‘right’ players is concerned. I feel that that we can now comfortably compete for a top four spot at the very worst… Love your posts.

  6. Yang says:

    Many people feel relieved for sure. at least, disaster is avoided. AW need to see how AF manage his squad for bench mark. Their squad is assembled with almost bullet proof for all sort of injury and suspension.

    Many players can play different position or understand different role etc These are very important for consistent result and sort of understanding only come from many years of experience.

    I think Arsenal still too many specialist and lack of versatile players. ok and as a South Korea footy fan I hope Park do well. He is very good fit for AW attacking theory perfect link men and good physical battle in him.

    Only problems for Park, I suppose, his finishing is not that sharp and He tend to disappear in tough battle. Personally Utd Park is far better player imho. JS park can draw out team from fire more often than not.

    CY park will do very well, I feel you cannot find better back up striker considering money and time.

  7. Messi's dad says:

    Fair analysis Desi. I’m a bit more optimistic than you.

    In one stroke we seem to have gotten rid of most “deadweights” / fans’ fave scapegoats – Denilson, Clichy, Eboue etc. and gotten sufficient quality in sufficient quantity as well, without seeming to compromise too much potential development opportunities for the younger players.

    I must say, the Park video reminds me of the passing vision of a certain Alex Hleb…

  8. matt says:

    OUT – IN


    Clichy (6m) – Andre Santos (6m)
    Eboue (4m) – Jenkinson (1m)
    Traore (2m) – Mertesacker (8m)

    + Miquel promoted

    Fabregas (29m) – Arteta (10m)
    Nasri (24m) – Chamberlain (6-12m)
    Denilson (loan) – Benayoun (loan)
    Lansbury (loan) – Ryo (5m – from January)

    + Frimpong and Coquelin promoted

    Bendtner (loan) – Gervinho (11m)
    Vela (loan) – Park Chu Young (2m)
    Sunu (2m) – Joel Campbell (1m ..but loaned)

    Net SELL = 67 Million
    Net SPEND = 56 Million

    In my opinoin the only outgoing players that will be missed (footballing wise) are Cesc and Nasri. I consider Gervinho an adequate replacement for Nasri, and bar Sneijder, no one could have replaced Cesc like for like. Arteta is the perfect solution until a Ramsey+Wilshere axis matures to dominate the PL.
    The others outgoing were a whole bunch of average for various reasons. And we’ve replaced them with MUCH better and more experienced players, plus younger players that have superstar potential. What a great mix!
    And if you consider Arsenal only recieved 13m of the Cesc fee upfront, then we actually spent more money than we recieved from transfers.
    To be honest I don’t think it could have gone much better. Plus we will still have money to spend in January if needed.
    Get excited Gooners!! Good times ahead.

    • Alex says:

      I think the fact Arsenal got Benayoun on loan suggests that he is a stop-gap signing, perhaps the club is considering moving for Hazard or Goetze next summer?

      • santori says:

        Absolutely spot on Alex.

        Wenger left it too late in part due to his overindulgence with Nasri.

        By the time he went in, some of the midfield targets had become unavailable due to CL commitment (or at least unavailable for the price pre-CL)

        He has left some spare money for future contract improvements as wage is the main issue this summer.

        The contract renewals of Walcott and RVP come to mind. At very least, we must demonstrate an ability to be very close to competitive with the deep pocket clubs for our top players.

  9. i sum up the signings in forur words


  10. KIP says:


  11. el bizarron says:

    I think Wenger ticked off a lot of boxes with the new players. But I don’t think the team will be a lot better until the tactics are improved. Can’t wait for the Swansea game to see how they line up and play now.

    @Desi – with Fabregas gone, will you be getting a new banner? Which players will grace this one?

  12. Anthony -Nasri- Nwaokoro says:

    this players are really good i watched feneberche when they played their CL qualifier and i saw santos he showed composure on the ball and defends very well Arsene do me a favour, go tank AF for opening ur eyes to see what the fans and press have been telling u. Look how you rushed into the transfer market so desperate. I hope u have learnt your lessons. I PRAY O:::

  13. dodo says:

    all good news yesterday just wish he had done this before a ball was kicked

    • matt says:

      There are 2 reasons why these signings were so last minute.
      1. Arsenal did not have enough roster space for new signings until late in the window (these new 5 players will count as part of the 25 man squad). And..
      2. Because of the deals we were trying to do (quility, experience, at a fair price) we would have jeapordised them if we had tried to complete the moves sooner. Let me explain…
      Take what happened with Mata for instance. It looked like Arsenal had the deal in the bag (13.5mil), and then when other clubs (Spurs, but mainly Chelsea) got a sniff, we were priced out immediately. Chelsea ended up paying 24m and gave him twice the salary we could have. And to be honest I don’t think Chelsea would have even signed him if we didn’t make a bid and alert them to Valencia’s will to sell.
      Similarly if we had tried to sign Mertesacker or Arteta in July for the price we end up paying, do you think we would have been successful? Not a chance. This window there were plenty of clubs (some newly rich) trying to find quility players on the cheap to rebuild. Malaga, PSG, Roma for example, would all have been able to price us out (or at least make us pay 50% more). Catch my drift?
      We have to accept that football has changed. Money isn’t an object to some clubs and respect is certainly dwindling if not a thing of the past. Arsenal is one of the few clubs that do things properly and try and show a bit of class. Be proud of that.
      It sucks that we didn’t have these players for our games so far, but reason for their late arrival are the factors I mentioned (NOT the 8-2).
      Peace gooners

      • gooner4lyf says:

        Excellent Point about the last minute signings!!!

      • santori says:

        As was the case with Mata.

        We weren’t able to compete with wages offered.

        Particularly with the CBack issue and Liverpool in the hunt for a similar pposition (not to mention Chelsea). In the end, Liverpool moved for Coates and we had a clearer run on Metersecker.

        Thank goodness no Cahill, Jagielka or Samba.

  14. Messi's dad says:

    where does this leave forgotten / perennially injured Diaby though? Leaving aside the new arrivals / youngsters stepping up, I thought he was on his own (lack of) merits, in danger of being off-loaded as more often than not for the past 2 seasons, I thought he was showing the kind of form that got Viera, Pires and Henry sold…

    • santori says:

      He will still be of importance.

      Only two players in the squad seem adept at carrying the ball forward through the middle in heavy traffic.

      Jack Wilshere and Diaby.

      • santori says:

        In fact, I’m a bit more worried for Ramsey. Rose tinted glasses but he way lays way too many balls and lsoes possession easily, something Diaby had improved on.

        But for the fact he is British, he would have been roundly dissed.

  15. winston says:

    i believe Arteta and Benayoun will have no problems fitting in to the Arsenal way of playing and will hit the deck running.As for Mertssacker i think getting the best out of him will depend on how he is supported by the defensive mid filder and his fellow centre back(Vermaelon)for the reasons you have mentioned.If Arsene gets this tactically right then he will do very well.And for this reason I think we should get a seperate defensive Coach to get htis right.
    As for Santos from what I have seen of him on you tube He seems excellant going forwards and skilfull but cant help feeling he is going to leave huge gaps behind him.I have my concerns about him

    Park Will come good i think although he will have to be introduced into the game in stages.
    Overall I think these players can deliver the goods but Wenger will need to adapt tactics to get the best out of the team overall.I f we simply stick to our Plan A attacking style all the way then We are probably in for some grief.

    • santori says:

      Which is the good thing about the Arteta signing.

      a) he will not be involved in any Internationals
      b) he is already blooded and up to speed with the PL (scored a goal I believe) with more time under his belt than almost anyone-else in the Arsenal squad.

      Ditto Benayoun.

      I don’t think Metersecker will have too much problem either (with 75 International caps under the belt)

  16. Ruby044 says:

    Unless Wenger adopts a strategy for winning the ball back and works on the shape of the team, which is shambolic at times, I can’t see much changing. I think we can challenge Liverpool for fourth now, but I think the result of the summer sales and 8-2 has made everyone realise that we are no longer contenders and won’t be for some time. The big three seem impenetrable right now. Maybe the six year jibes will end now people don’t think we should automatically win silverware…probably not

    • santori says:

      Which is why we have Park. The Korean will run and chase opposing defenders off the park! 😀

      I don’t think the season is quite as clear cut.

      I’m not exactly impressed with Liverpool (and they have lost Mereiles). We may punch higher than you think and the current champions may fall away (Just as Chelsea look impervious start of last season only to lose their rythm in the middle)

      OTOH 8-2.

      Any coincidence that we have brought in 8 players – Park, Chamberlain, Arteta, Benayoun, Gervinho, Jenkinson, Metersecker and Santos and brought up 2 players – frimpong and Miyaichi? (I’m not counting Campbell who isn’t in the first team)


  17. bc says:

    Overall i am happy with the signings, in Mertesacker we actually signed my 2nd choice Centre Back, Vertonghen would have been my 1st choice. Arteta was right up there on my list, above Scott Parker but under M’Vila. Santos is being harsly underrated by people who know nothing about him, he is better than Gareth Bale in my opinion and will probably end up taking over from Arshavin on the left wing, when he moves on in January and we splash the cash again on Baines. Park will give us far more work than Bendtner and probably as many goals, leaving Benayoun. He is a great crosser and holder of the ball, he is a player that can cover right wing and the attacking midfield. In fact, with 4 of the 5 signings you get players that can cover at least one position.

    If you add these 5 addittions to the other 4 then look at ALL the departures, we are a couple of bodies up in numbers, well up in terms of experience and most importantly we have shifted out a number of players that we all wanted out.

    I believe the clearance job has not finished, Almunia, Squillaci, Chamakh, Arshavin, Diaby & Rosicky could all well leave in January or may be next summer. Although i do think Benayoun will only be here one season.

    That leaves me with the overall squad levels. We are bang on the 25 for A List in the Champions League. We are bang on the 17 “foreigners” for the EPL 25 man rule. Therefore unless we sell some there will be no more additions in January or next summer. Plus we have 10 players possibly joining the squad next summer as homegrown players, some will be sold some will stay on loan and some will be released they are (Bendtner, Denilson, Vela, Botelho, Lansbury, Sczesney, Hoyte, Murphy, Eastmond, Ramsey) With only 3 spaces currently available in the squad for Homegrown players, you would expect Chezzer and Rambo to get 2 of those. It will be interesting to see who is still here out of the other 8 this time next season, i fancy it will be Botelho if anyone.

    • santori says:

      There will be a number of legacy issues next summer : Rosicky and Arsharvin + benayoun will finish his loan spell.

      Plenty of space for either of Goetze, Hazard, Hamsik, Martin, Montolivo, (all playing for ‘smaller’ resourced teams.

  18. arsenal legend says:

    great read….
    im good with the signings but still wanted a dm..though arteta can fill in there i guess when required….mertesacker will certainly be helpful against the sides that cause us problems with long ball such as stoke,bolton etc….
    on a personal note do you stay in india or an other country….just wanted to know out of curiosity coz im indian…and its so good to see you have managed to have a esteemed blog and your thoughts are excellent….hope you give many more great articles…..

  19. AmericanGunnerFan says:

    Excellent analysis.

    The improvement in set-pieces, offensively and defensively, may turn out to be under-rated and crucial in some matches. So will the willingness of these new additions to shoot from outside of the 18 yard box when the opposition “parks the bus” in the box to choke off the passing game. These can more than make up for any loss of creativity

    • santori says:

      Refreshing to have someone-else take corners other than RVP (never understood that) and for that matter freekicks (where we have become rather lame of late)

  20. Ajinkya says:

    I am worried considering the criticism that we are receiving for Mertesacker. Well, he was very good in the national team. But he depends on the players surrounding him. He performed well in the World Cup with the pace of Lahm and Freidrich. He will have the same kind of players in Sagna and Vermaelen or Koscielny, both being fast.
    He was not in the national team that played against Brasil, not in the subs even! Obviously replaced by faster center backs like Badstuber and other young players. But on the other hand I don’t think Cahill is too good as it is said either.
    I think we need a change of tactics and we will be good. Manchester City are very much immovable, we must change tactics according to our opponents. We cannot play high-line as we did before if we play Mertesacker. High-line has proved to be suicidal anyway. Let us see what happens, and hope for the best.

    • santori says:

      You have options.

      TV/Koscielny against faster more mobile teams


      TV(Koscielny)/Metersecker against more physical teams

      Highline tactics have got to be put right regardless.

  21. critic says:

    Great signings, but arsenal season depends upon wenger. He needs to be more tactically astute. Did you know farcelona hammered villareal 5-0 without playing with a proper defender? A great tactical play by guardiola. Of course they have better players than arsenal but tactical flexibility according to which team we are facing is of utmost importance. It shouldn’t depend upon only on home and away criteria.

    Playing and continuing with high line at OT was ridiculous. I am still waiting for a proper analysis of the debacle at OT.

    • JohnW says:

      The good thing with experienced players is that they will always give their opinion. So I think we will get better, because most of the players we have signed have ither been club of country captains, players used to giving their opinion. What will immprove is talking in the dressing rom, on the pitch, etc. This will give the Arsenal platform to blend in the young players. Now Jenkincon, Oxlade, Frimpong, even Ramsey will develope more because they will see true professionals at work.

    • santori says:

      It wasn’t just the highline.

      Persisitng with an open 4-3-3 formation without the necessary players to prosecute it let alone be competitive was near suicide.

      Wenger would have been better following upon Sir Alex in employing the 4-5-1 under those ‘special circumstances’ but he has been inflexible.

      Hopefully, he has armed himself with better tools this time round to make up for some deficiencies. Otherwise, better coaching/tactics will still be preferable to go along with the better balance we have now.

  22. Lanesra says:

    V G post. And I got a lot from reading yours, Matt. What pleases me so much is that there’ll be daring, quality, experience, maturity and leadership on the training pitches for our burgeoning talents to copy. That fact alone justifies most of the signings and I can sleep better! Gooner forever!

    • santori says:

      Never enough for the critics though.

      BBC Roan remarked that our Metersecker purchase was a panic buy and that he was a poor man’s version of Jagielka (in not so many words)

      Did I miss something? How many caps has Jagielka had again? 😀

  23. critic says:

    Also i would like to know this – what’s the difference b/w squillaci and Per??? They both have similar playing styles i guess. At least squillaci had until he started for arsenal.

    The point that scares me is Arsene is buying square pegs for round holes and trying to force them into holes. eg. playing high line at OT with relatively unfamiliar back line, playing arshavin in wings…

    What’s your thought?

    • JohnW says:

      There’s a whole lot of difference between Per and Squillaci. Per is not a hustler, Squillaci is. Per bass his game on reading it intelligently, tackling cleans which you cant say about Squillaci. There has to be a reason why with Per in defence, Germany reached Euro 2008 final and almost squeezed through to the WC final. Yes, his form has fallen a bit, but that has been because of injury, not any thing else. And with Euro 2012 on the horizon, all these players will give their all in order to be included in the party next summer (that is for European players).

  24. JohnW says:

    I think the signings have been made with the hope that in one or two years, some of them will not be there so that Wenger can use his young players. Most of them are injury prone, even Per, so there’ll be a time when our squad is thread-bare! But still i’m happy, because they wont be playing at the same time, so we won’t be scrapping the barrel for some time. The midfield will contain Wilshere, Arteta and Song. Ramsey will always replace Arteta, then Wilshere will move behind and Aaron plays behind the striker. Any squad that sees Arshavin, Chamack and Squillaci play less for us is welcome. If Arsene can play his cards very well, we will really give any team a run for their money. In fact the next five games are crucial, win them and the Gooner confidence will come back, which can see us come back into contention.

    • critic says:

      Arshavin is being wrongly slated here, he was a CAM wenger converted him to a winger who also needs to track back. Unfamiliar position + extra responsibility is ruining arshavin. He must be kicking himself on the decision to join arsenal…

      • santori says:


        Andrei struggles out wide because he has gotten slower with age. That position entails a lot of real estate to cover.

        In a more central and compact patch, Arsharvin coudl regain his lethality and we may benefit from his still excellent vision and distribution as atest by his assists numbers last season.

        With Arteta next to Song behind him, he could have the foundation to maraude and play off of RVP better (Ditto Jack)

  25. Claver says:

    Firstly, excellent post Desi. Good semi-neutral stance.

    I think that Santos, Arteta and Per are decent buys. Experience and game nous. Benayoun is a cast off, like Silvestre.

    I think that the players we have added should buy us some tactical advantage until about January.

    I think also that these were not emergency buys, except for Benayoun. It was always Arsene’s plan (A,B,C etc), except that ‘The Defeat’ must have crystallized his decisions somewhat.

    If we are going for Hazard and M’vila then I think it is essential that we get these done now for January. I have a feeling we will need further signings in January.

    I still believe it is necessary for us to consider that the rules coming might not work and hence raise the team’s average salary.

    We ought to preempt what’s going to happen.

  26. real talk says:

    Good read.
    Don’t know why you kept mentioning “get the best out of chamack” hes an awful player, arsenal need to forget chamack as park will clearly jump ahead of him in the pecking order. Also on the leftside the back up player should be ryo as arshavin has lost everything he ever had. Song should be dropped from the 11 as he is the worst footballer in the team and has been for a longtime, even frimpong is better on the ball plus hes busyier of the two let alone smarter.

    • Gervinho's forehead says:

      Song the worst footballer in the team? Seriously?
      Me thinks someone needs to stop swimming in the shallow end of the gene pool….

      • Greencard usa says:

        Brilliant comment and wonderful metaphor! Permit me to use this line in response to similar situations!

    • critic says:


      can anyone has an IQ of -1? If anyone can it must be this guy…lolz….

      • santori says:

        Song is crucial to the team. Without him (As in second half last season and our rectn 2 games) we go to the toilet. I beg to differ.

  27. TrueGoon says:

    Great read, nice to see the opinion of an optimistic gooner… Disgraceful to see certain bloggers already laying into our new signings before they’ve even stepped onto the pitch.

    I give Mertesacker a lot more credit than most, he’s a solid and organised beast that can make a difference when it comes to defending set pieces and communications between the back line. I would say TV5 and Mertesacker are first choice now… We have seen glimpses of Kocsielny’s qualities but more than often he lets us down. Let’s also not forget that Mertesacker was the captain of Werder and has 75 caps for the National side, these 2 qualities alone show that he is a worthy signing and will also allow TV5 to get forward on more occasions like we saw in his debut season.

    Arteta is the type of player we needed to cover Cesc’s departure and it was exciting to see this pulled off so close to the deadline. Like you rightly said, Wenger’s hard work has just begun but he’s taken a step in the right direction and added experience to an already talented squad.

    Bored of reading cynical crap from “Arsenal fans” this morning. Anyone that still feels negative should realise that we did offer a large fee for Hazard but it was rejected. I would expect us to sign him next season, especially if Lille don’t do well this season. It’s now time to get positive about our team and spread that attitude to other gooners. Do you think we’ll ever win another trophy if a mjaority of the fans do nothing but complain? Take a leaf out of the travelling boys at the Old Trafford game, they were louder than the scumbags for a majority of the game despite the disgraceful scoreline. That was one game with a hell of a weakened squad. The time for bitching is over, get behind the team! GOONER FOR LIFE.

  28. ken vefe says:

    Excellent article. I love the article that I felt it was too short. I’d really like to see more of your write ups.

  29. Nepali Gunner says:

    Just on a personal note, keep up the good work Desi. I’ve narrowed down the Arsenal blogs I read, and this one is among my top 3. Definitely one of the most sensible and well thought out blogs. Keep going my man.

    And I agree with most of what you have said. Solid signings, and gives our team time to grow again. Arteta, if fit, can do wonders for this team.

  30. Elias Gorzador says:

    A sense of exhaustion as the transfer window closes. So much drama. And in the process, a loss of faith and a sense of resignation. Otherwise, why would we have so many trying hard to convince us that what we got is a pretty good deal?

    The truth is that the deals are better than nothing. But since when does Arsenal is happy with mediocrity?

    I am not saying that the new players are ‘mediocre’. I am saying that we have entered an age of pseudo-realism in which we are quite happy with mediocrity. And mediocre seems to have been our motto for the last 3 years.

    The structural problems identified during these weeks of crisis are still there. They have not even been recognized as such by Wenger and his Board.

    Will Wenger change his training methods? Will he look into the problem of injury prone players and reform the physio department? Even more deeply, will we change the wage structure progressively in order to give ourselves some scope for seriously challenging Man City, Man U, Chelsea, and Liverpool in the market?

    I would have been far more convinced had we signed Hazard, Mvila and Marvin. We have not, unfortunately. We could have, of course. Nor have we got rid of the heavy dead wood that is still there.

    So, I am rather sceptical. At the end of the season, we might well find ourselves for the first time in recent memory competing inthe Europa League. This is not impossible. After all, we are now tagged with the 8-2 stigma none of us could have predicted a week or so ago would ever happen.

    I am afraid with that tragedy, the dark door has been opened. I am not sure that it will be closed soon. But I stand to be corrected.

    Finally, to support the team does not mean we have to become blind. Those who believe that everything has been resolved can keep believing this. Only the results at the end of the season will tell the truth.

    • santori says:

      The truth is that you must face reality.

      1) We cannot copete for signings like Mata in the early end of the market as teams like Chelsea simply ahve more resource to outbid us.

      2)Wenger got the timing a little wrong but all the target mids like HAzard were commited to CL by the end of the window. It would have taken a lot more to pry them away and depleted our ability to reinforce all weaknesses had we splashed the dosh in one area.

      We are not in the same league money-wise as Chelsea or City.

      We have to pursue a prudent and intelligent way of squad building.

      Bringing in experienced players who are PL ready was a wise move by Wenger and ocnsidering he got 5 in so late on, he managed to get great value for money (28m all in for 5), yet again.

      • santori says:

        The other thing to consider is that we were discipline and di not break our wage threshold (Arteta taking a pay cut) plus none of the signings are over 15m.

        Some end of the money must be reserved for contract improvement which is the main threat at the moment to us losing top players. No point recruiting them if you can’t keep the wolves at bay.;)

  31. Ju Young Ju Young,
    He’s got that killer pass,
    He’s got that killer strike,
    He’s got an IQ higher than Sam Allardyce!

  32. Arsenal4 says:

    Echo the sentiment -right signings. 🙂

    if we were to be given these in the beginning of the seasons I willbe more than happy. Can’t believe some and particularly the media still slagging the move.

    Honestly, I dont know much about these players except youssi and arteta. I don’t know Gervinho & Nasri before as well. So I won’t bother pretending know how good they are. What makes me happy those signings spot on the positions that we needed. I would say though that Arteta is the most important of all given currently no single player is cesc like to like replacement. As much as I’d like to say Ramsey, he’s still not there yet.

    The season start now, put a consecutive 4 wins in the league we might be back in the mix.
    Up the Arsenal!

  33. Map says:

    If we start playing the pressing game with deep defending team like man u won’t stand a chance with long balls or short passes none will go through in january we might probably see another cb and a winger depending if we got rid of chamakh

  34. Londongooner says:

    Great post! The leadership qualities and experience that has just been brought in should not be underestimated and I think we will see a more rapid development of our talented youngsters such as AOC, Ryo, Frimpong etc.

    Given the crazy prices that the top players go for these days and the stance of our Board, we should not expect too many signings in the 25-35 mill bracket and so I don’t really think Hazard, Zarate, Sneider were ever on the cards.

    Besides I truly feel that AW wanted Nasri there this season but was forced to cash in on him…and probably rightly so, given the possible negative attitude he would have generated in the dressing room.

    Shame about the international break…..I’m really looking forward to see the new players in an Arsenal Shirt. Also looking forward to see which of the new signings get straight into the team, my guess is Santos, Mertesecker and Arteta.

    I hope the fans get behind the team now, even if we get a few poor results why the new players settle in.


    • santori says:

      I believe they were ready for one massive “Special Circumstance” signing had we not landed the likes of Arteta.

      We were down to the wire with the Arteta deal.

      The board must have realised that we would not convince anyone let alone the team IF we did not get the correct signing in midfield. Benayoun on loan would not suffice.

      Therefore they were ready for one bbig punt (reluctantly) if things went belly up with Arteta.

      Albeit, they would have been wise to have cast an eye on the MOntolivo situation in Italy. There was a 26 yr old just entering prime and refusing to sign an extension in his last yr on contract who could play both as playmaker and DM.

      Perhaps Wenger may visit his situation next summer when he is a free agent.

  35. goonergal says:

    I am as happy as I can be with the new signings, Santos would appear to be a typical Brazilian player and has scored lots of goals with the verminator next to him he will have some protection going forward, Mertsacker is a very clean tackler and has a very low count in terms of bookings. Ju as he likes to be called will provide attacking height and strength, and undoubtable heart, Yossi is a very intelligent player, Arteta may be past his very best, but his experience will be invaluable for Jack, so all in all for the price of 1 x Andy Carrol a job well done, I think we will sign a big player in January we certainly have the money , we needed to make the most of our money, last year we suffered as we did not have the depth to make changes when the fixtures start to build up as they most certainly will.

    • santori says:

      No signings in January just as no Chris Samba.

      Contract extensions for Walcott and RVP. We’re going to have to learn from the recent mistake with Nasri.

  36. santori says:

    Worth looking at the sort of goals Benayoun can conjour up again.

    Fantastic feet and a very intelligent player

    Reminds me a little of Pires. I would think he would start out right as an option to Walcott (with Chamberlain also vying)

  37. santori says:

    Great post Desi. Just like to list the players in their respective positions (cover) so we have a good overview of our balance (assuming current 4-3-3)

    FW – RVP, Chamakh, Park, (Chamberlain)
    LW : Forehead, Ryo, AA
    RW : Wally, Benny, Ox
    CAM : Jack, Rambo (AA), Rosicky
    CM : Arteta, Diaby, (Jack)
    DM : Song, Frimpong
    LB : Gibbs, Santos
    RB : Sagna, Jenks
    CB : TV, Per, Koscielny, Djourou
    KP : Szsc, Fab, Vito

    RB cover Jenkinson still concerns me.

    Not sure if Koscielny can be roled as a back up DM if need be.

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