Arsenal 21-22: Brexit FC

mikeford

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Sheffield want 30m minimum for Ramsdale and Arsenal have apparently offered 18 up front with 8 in bonuses or add ons or what have you.

Cant imagine that gets it over the line but I guess it depends how broke Sheffield United is.
 

Tuff Ghost

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Was Ramsdale that bad, in total, last year? I honestly don't know, but for an age 22 season on a terrible team, he seemed alright to me. He was the Blades' player of the season (he had signed with them at £18.5 million after being Bournemouth's player of the year the prior season). It seems like he had two different seasons last year (first half- bad, second half- good). It's not shocking that a 22 year old keeper on a horrible team could have peaks-and-valleys, but if there is something to his second half being predictive, then I can see how they may project future success.
Opta’s xGA perhaps illustrates best the remarkable transformation that has gone on. Where the 22-year-old conceded 32 goals in the opening 19 league games when United’s xGA stood at 27.34, the second half of the campaign saw Ramsdale let in 31 goals when xGA was 35.51.
- The Athletic

Post-Shot xG minus actual G per 90:
  • Martinez: +0.20
  • Leno: +0.12
  • Ramsdale: +0.05
Crosses Stopped %:
  • Ramsdale: 9.5%
  • Martinez: 8.4%
  • Leno: 8.4%
He passed the ball long constantly (for example, 91.5% goal kicks were launched), so he'd be asked to play rather differently at Arsenal where they like to play the ball out of the back.

With him just having turned 23 years old in May and being homegrown player, I can see what they may be thinking, but I truly don't know and would not feel confident saying it is a good or bad move yet (obviously the money will factor in as well).

He's 6'4" and seems to make himself a pretty big target. This Athletic article reviews some of his saves and performances back in March when he was having his upturn in performance.

I suppose this post goes a long way to basically just quote Operation Ivy:
"All I know is that I don't know / All I know is that I don't know nothing / ...And that's fine"
 

mikeford

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Arseblog's podcast had a Sheffield United guy on to talk about Ramsdale last week and basically said the guy had a shocking early part of the season and then straightened himself out.

Sheffield bought him for 18m so they obviously aren't letting him go for less than that but I can't imagine he's done enough to raise his value 12m when you could probably just buy Sam Johnstone for 12-15m outright.
 

Morgan's Magic Snowplow

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If we get Ramsdale for something around 20m AND it doesn't materially affect our ability to sign a CM and a CAM by the end of the window, I'm totally fine with it.

He actually seems like a fairly promising young goalkeeper and I think there is some value in getting Leno's replacement a year early, so that he can learn the system and the coaching staff can become reasonably sure that the guy will be a success. I just don't want it come at the expense of signing players in the two positions we absolutely must address.
 

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Selling Emi Martinez then going back into the market for a Gk to replace Leno has to be among the worst business any club has done in the past few years not connected to buying overhyped Liverpool “prospects”.

What did they get for Martinez wasn’t it somewhere around 20 million? Just a baffling set of decisions
 
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Time to Mo Vaughn

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Selling semi Martinez then going back into the market for a Gk to replace Leno has to be among the worst business any club has done in the past few years not connected to buying overhyped Liverpool “prospects”.
What did they get for Martinez wasn’t it somewhere around 20 million? Just a baffling set of decisions
Honestly, a big club should probably be pick up Runnarson. Keepers seem to become stars after leaving Arsenal. Scezny, Emi Martinez and even Ospina had a big jump. Leno will probably overtake Neuer at the top of the German depth chart as soon as he leaves Arsenal.
 

Morgan's Magic Snowplow

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Selling Emi Martinez then going back into the market for a Gk to replace Leno has to be among the worst business any club has done in the past few years not connected to buying overhyped Liverpool “prospects”.

What did they get for Martinez wasn’t it somewhere around 20 million? Just a baffling set of decisions
Not every club has an unlimited transfer budget and can just basically buy whatever they want in any given window without regard to player sales.

Martinez was a lifelong backup prone to serious lapses in judgement with six weeks of stellar play under his belt and who could fetch 20m in the market. He also gave the club an ultimatum: Make me the unquestioned #1 next year or sell me. Leno was coming off an injury and had zero market in a Covid year. And if the club wanted to bring in any players beyond Gabriel they needed to raise money from sales.

The choice was to sell Emi for 20m or to make Emi the #1, have Leno (the club's player of the season the year before and who had arguably been one of the league's best five keepers for a few years running) as a very disgruntled backup, and not be able to buy Partey. Selling Martinez was absolutely the right decision given all those constraints and almost any football executive or manager would have done the same.
 
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didn't realize Ramsdale was that young...felt like he was Bournemouth's starter for so long before their relegation...let's just hope it's not some Ramsdale curse where he gets relegated for the third straight season
 

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Not every club has an unlimited transfer budget and can just basically buy whatever they want in any given window without regard to player sales.

Martinez was a lifelong backup prone to serious lapses in judgement with six weeks of stellar play under his belt and who could fetch 20m in the market. He also gave the club an ultimatum: Make me the unquestioned #1 next year or sell me. Leno was coming off an injury and had zero market in a Covid year. And if the club wanted to bring in any players beyond Gabriel they needed to raise money from sales.

The choice was to sell Emi for 20m or to make Emi the #1, have Leno (the club's player of the season the year before and who had arguably been one of the league's best five keepers for a few years running) as a very disgruntled backup, and not be able to buy Partey. Selling Martinez was absolutely the right decision given all those constraints and almost any football executive or manager would have done the same.
Well put. I was going to post a similar response, but I then saw that you had already covered it better than I would have.
 

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After Odegaard's written statement thanking Arsenal, I had assumed he was definitely not returning, but it appears the rumors are going to start back up again. This seems like something that could drag on until the end of the window. Real Madrid could use the money and Odegaard seems to be a top choice of Arteta (much more so than Aouar and probably more so than Maddison due to price), so I can see it happening.

https://arseblog.news/2021/07/reports-odegaard-open-to-arsenal-return/
 

Morgan's Magic Snowplow

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After Odegaard's written statement thanking Arsenal, I had assumed he was definitely not returning, but it appears the rumors are going to start back up again. This seems like something that could drag on until the end of the window. Real Madrid could use the money and Odegaard seems to be a top choice of Arteta (much more so than Aouar and probably more so than Maddison due to price), so I can see it happening.

https://arseblog.news/2021/07/reports-odegaard-open-to-arsenal-return/
I would love Odegaard back. He lost form after his injury for a while but I thought we played our best stuff all season with him at the center of things in that run between the Leeds match and the disastrous international break where everybody (including Odegaard) got injured. I think given his age and skill set he has a higher ceiling than Maddison or somebody like Bernardo Silva (who also has been rumored as a possibility, assumedly after a Grealish signing).
 

Tuff Ghost

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I also would like to see Odegaard back. Arsenal seem to have a clear plan this off-season, in addition to getting younger players, they recognized their weakness in progressive passing.

Last season, they had the 5th highest passing total distance, but the 13th highest progressive passing total distance. The days of the horseshoe passing pattern are hopefully coming to an end.
42966
- fbref

Lokonga is known for progressive passing capability, as is Ben White (who is also good at progressive carries and dribbles). They are setting up to be pretty dynamic if this all comes together. And if it does, I think Pepe could have a breakout type of season if surrounded by the right players and system.

Odegaard also functioned differently from Smith Rowe; sometimes I have seen discussions where people discuss them as analogs for one another, but they definitely can function together and accomplish different things. Smith Rowe can find spaces behind the lines and Odegaard can make the passes and carries to advance the ball. I would not be surprised to see Smith Rowe score more frequently in the coming years, also.
42967
 

Morgan's Magic Snowplow

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I agree that Odegaard and Smith-Rowe are very compatible.

Assuming we stick with a 4-2-3-1 as our basic formation, Arteta's ideal seems to be having two creators and one goal scoring wide forward playing behind the central striker. If we get Odegaard, then rotation is theoretically pretty simple.

CF: Start Auba when fit.
Creators: Start 2/3 of Odegaard, Smith Rowe, Saka.
Wide goal scorer: Start one of Pepe or Martinelli (Saka may be able to do this role too).

The two behind the striker that don't start and the backup CF, whether that's Laca or Balogun, are your main sub options to come on around 60-70 minutes.

I think that group will score plenty of goals if the midfield and defense can give them a proper platform by progressing the ball more effectively and also by tackling more aggressively. We had the lowest number of tackles in the entire league last year and I think it was mainly because with limited athletes like Xhaka, Luiz, Holding, and Ceballos in the spine, our strategy after losing the ball was basically to just fall back. We would press high sometimes out of goal kicks or other settled situations but if we didn't win the ball high, we just retreated to our defensive shape rather than continuing to really contest the ball in midfield. While a sensible defensive strategy, that is such a drag on your offense as you have so few opportunities to transition at speed against an unsettled defense. Replacing Xhaka, Luiz, and Ceballos with superior athletes in Lokonga, White, and hopefully another CM signing will go a long way toward giving us the ability to play more aggressively defensively and create those opportunities for the offense.
 

mikeford

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Would you rather have Maddison or MO?

I would take Maddison in a vacuum, knowing full well Maddison costs way way more.

Real apparently want 35m for MO.
 

Tuff Ghost

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Would you rather have Maddison or MO?

I would take Maddison in a vacuum, knowing full well Maddison costs way way more.

Real apparently want 35m for MO.
I think in a vacuum, I would go with Maddison, but in reality Odegaard. The thought of having a legit goal-scoring threat who can generate a high volume of quality shots jumping right into the midfield is exciting. He's great at progressive passing and also would be nice to have on free kicks.

With that said, I have three concerns that I think most worry me:
  • The price. If Leicester City wants, say, £70m and we can have Odegaard for £35m, then add another holding midfielder (i.e. a Neves or much less likely, Locatelli) with some of the savings, I'd take the Odegaard+ scenario.
  • The injuries. A hip injury scares me and he had to have surgery on it. He struggled with fitness the whole end of the season once he was back. At Arsenal, he'd have a season out of Europe and be able to rotate in and out when needed, so maybe he'd be back to full strength after last year's congested schedule, but the hip thing scares me, especially at such a high cost/salary.
  • The age difference. Maddison is not old by any stretch, he's turning 25 this fall, but Odegaard (turning 23 in December) might be a slightly better fit in the current squad's age profile, making for better timing in future success (or a future sale).
I also have hope that Smith Rowe might develop into more of a goal-scoring threat in the coming seasons, achieving a portion of what Maddison is capable of doing. Either way, if Arsenal start the year with Maddison or Odegaard on the squad, I'll definitely look forward to watching either player (Maddison is more inherently exciting to think about, for whatever that's worth).
 

Morgan's Magic Snowplow

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I prefer Odegaard for the same reasons that TG nicely summarizes.

Maddison also scares me a bit simply because he is coming from a direct rival (if we're being honest, Leicester is essentially our level right now in terms of competing for Europa League places or maybe a shot at CL if a wealthier club falters) known to be relatively savvy in the market, which makes one naturally wonder why they are willing to sell him to us. There is always asymmetric information in transfers, as the selling club knows more about the player's personality and has a broader view on their medical history. But this is like a case where you are not only buying a used car and worried about getting a lemon (the classic asymmetric information scenario in economics), but you are buying it from a sworn enemy. So if that enemy smiles at you and says that they're actually willing to give you a great deal on that car, you should at least ask yourself what is going on before cutting a check.
 

67YAZ

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Maddison also scares me a bit simply because he is coming from a direct rival (if we're being honest, Leicester is essentially our level right now in terms of competing for Europa League places or maybe a shot at CL if a wealthier club falters) known to be relatively savvy in the market, which makes one naturally wonder why they are willing to sell him to us. There is always asymmetric information in transfers, as the selling club knows more about the player's personality and has a broader view on their medical history. But this is like a case where you are not only buying a used car and worried about getting a lemon (the classic asymmetric information scenario in economics), but you are buying it from a sworn enemy. So if that enemy smiles at you and says that they're actually willing to give you a great deal on that car, you should at least ask yourself what is going on before cutting a check.
I think you're a touch too cynical. In recent years, Leicester has sold Kante and Drinkwater to Chelsea as well as Mahrez to City. This is their business model - sell high on your breakthrough stars and then reinvest in more young talent (and pray Vardy never retires). And it's worked so well because Jon Rudkin runs one of the best scouting, recruitment, and development operations in the world. I have no doubt he's got a short list of Maddison replacements on his desktop.

That said, with Maddison on £100k/week for 3 more seasons and Leicester in the Europa League with an eye on the UCL...I think they keep Maddison unless a massive offer like £70m comes through. Or he forces his way out. But Rodgers seems to have found a nice structure for Iheanacho and Maddison to play together, which provided a lot of creativity and goals from the space behind Vardy. I expect they roll with that again this season and see if it can't improve with a healthy Maddison.
 

The Gray Eagle

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Wait, is Tajon going to be sold to Arsenal?
Better add Turner to the deal too. I bet Willian, Runarsson, and Kolasinac will do well in the MLS after this swap deal.

Well maybe not Runarsson.
 

mikeford

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Ben White's official.

They gave him Saliba's squad number in case anyone genuinely thinks that guy is ever playing for Arsenal again.
 

mikeford

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Thomas Partey was injured during a friendly against a rival club who we play for real in 3 weeks.

Everyone who makes decisions at Arsenal FC is an absolute disgrace and should be run out of town on a rail.
 

shaggydog2000

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how is this an overreaction when the club has been in fucking freefall for 10 years. this is just the most recent in a massively long line of fuck ups.
So are they not supposed to play any starters during preseason, or just the ones that are going to get injured?

I'll hang up and listen.
 

Morgan's Magic Snowplow

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There are some claims floating around the internet to the effect that Partey's ankle isn't that bad. We should know pretty soon.

Main takeaways from the Chelsea match:

I'm glad we're experimenting with a higher line and Chelsea is an excellent stress test for that given their speedy, talented attackers. We've clearly got a ways to go before we can play that way in a match that matters against a team like this, both in terms of improving our execution of the high press and also in terms of getting the right players into the mix. White and Gabriel are clearly going to be more effective in this kind of system than Holding and Mari. But I also wonder whether our midfield is going to press well enough for this style if it includes Xhaka and Chambers (who effectively becomes the right sided guy in a three man line a lot when we have the ball and therefore is in that space when we need to press and recover the ball).

We don't have any other options right now with Saka and Martinelli not yet back and a CAM not yet signed, but the Auba-Laca-Pepe frontline has never really worked and never will, IMO. Not enough creativity and ball carrying ability on the wings. We really, really, really need to move to a system that never plays Auba and Laca in the side together again. Buying both of them six months apart was like a curse Wenger put on the team and its still haunting us four years later.

Sambi really needs to play against Brentford if Partey is out. I am 95% sure that Arteta will opt for Elneny instead and I think that choice says a lot about his weaknesses as a manager. He'll prefer a completely static, uncreative but tactically reliable Xhaka-Elneny midfield over taking a little risk on the more talented guy.
 

mikeford

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They extended Xhaka's contract til 2025. He also got a pay rise.

I... honestly have no idea what they're trying to do anymore. This guy was out the door for the ENTIRE SUMMER and now he's just back for the remainder of his prime years?
 
They extended Xhaka's contract til 2025. He also got a pay rise.

I... honestly have no idea what they're trying to do anymore. This guy was out the door for the ENTIRE SUMMER and now he's just back for the remainder of his prime years?
See, if you posted like this more often, I'd be on your side all the time. Completely agree that this doesn't make any sense at all to me.
 

mikeford

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Like I understand the logic behind it. They want to protect their asset in the event they go to sell later on. But it just makes no sense because if the most anyone was willing to pay was 12m this summer why the hell is Xhaka gonna be worth more a year older? What could he realistically do this year to INCREASE his transfer value?
 

Morgan's Magic Snowplow

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The idea that this move could protect his value is crazy. Nobody is offering more money for him next year when he is a year older and on higher wages.

I don't support the extension one bit but the best explanation I can offer is this: Arteta sees him as an important player both on and off the pitch, he wants him to fully buy into the project after playing footsie with Mourinho all summer, and they don't mind giving him the extra years because they see him transitioning to squad player/mentor role over time and tacking a couple years onto his contract at around £6m per year isn't actually a very big expenditure.

All that said, I would have much preferred to just let him run his current deal down if we are keeping him.
 

mikeford

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I think doing this also completely closes the door on actually bringing in another CM to pair with Partey because you would not be paying Xhaka this much to ride pine.
 

Morgan's Magic Snowplow

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I think doing this also completely closes the door on actually bringing in another CM to pair with Partey because you would not be paying Xhaka this much to ride pine.
Oh for sure.

The plan is probably to ride the Xhaka-Partey pairing for the near future and then allow Lokonga plus academy products Miguel Azeez and Charlie Patino chances to get into the first team and eventually supplant one or both of them.

Lokonga has looked very impressive, and composed beyond his years, in preseason games so far but who knows what happens when the bullets really start to fly. Azeez and Patino are the two highest rated kids in the academy system and maybe two of the highest rated academy players we've had in recent years, period. But that leap is always super uncertain and even if they develop well its hard to expect them to be any more than squad players over the next couple years.
 

Morgan's Magic Snowplow

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Nelson was incredibly highly rated when he was 16-17 years old. He was viewed as one of the very best players in England in his age bracket and it wasn't because he was a physical monster or anything like that. He had all the necessary physical attributes but was mainly a magician with a football (and still is basically). And he was dominant in U23 football even as a 17 year old. But then he just never made the step up. He hit adversity in senior football, both at Arsenal and when he went to Germany on loan, and for whatever reason has never managed to deal with the higher level or figure out a way to adapt his game that would allow him to still be an influential player at that level. I think it just shows how much mentality matters - the determination to make it, the self-confidence to deal with setbacks, and also just the football intelligence to make adjustments to your game.
 

mikeford

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Yeah, that's why Saka will probably be okay after what happened at Euros and another player would have their career and life tank.

I actually think Reiss could still turn out to be a fantastic player but he will never do it at Arsenal. He won't get the chance to here. I honestly hope Vieira takes him to Palace.
 

mikeford

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With Messi moving to PSG, I believe the door might crack back open for MO if Mbappe then moves to Real. That would make Odegaard expendable for sure.
 

mikeford

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Team looks essentially no different than last year. The exact same problems are still present. There is absolutely nothing going in the final 3rd and Aubameyang looks "LeBron on a random Tuesday in February" level bored with playing this game.
 

Morgan's Magic Snowplow

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I didn't see the pre-season game today, only the highlights.

From what I saw, however, its not too different than Chelsea. Defensively we're practicing playing this more aggressive style with a higher line. Not only is it a work-in-progress, but the LCB we want for that tactic (Gabriel) isn't there. Mari just doesn't have the athleticism and one-on-one defending skills for that kind of system. And we're clearly still just ironing out a bunch of kinks. My suspicion is that we put this on the shelf for a while when the real games start. Offensively, playing Auba and Laca together continues to be shit, just as it has been for about three years now. Arteta doesn't really have other options for the LW with Saka still working back into shape, Martinellli not back yet, and the mystery CAM signing (which would allow ESR to play on the left) not yet in the fold. So I don't think we're really seeing what the team will look like in that respect. My biggest worry, however, is that neither Auba or Laca is good enough anymore to really be the main main at CF. We desperately need to find some team to take one of them, even if it means no transfer fee and just paying the wages, and to bring in another striker who can offer something different.

All in all, I think Mike is right though that the team basically has the same problems as last year. White and Lokonga both look like good signings so far but are just really playing the roles Luiz and Ceballos did, they're not going to be revolutionizing the team (at least at this stage of their careers and integration). So having the same problems isn't really a surprise since its just the same team, but currently playing without Partey, Saka (for the most part), Martinelli, Gabriel or the Odegaard replacement (which still could be Odegaard himself).

I think to really change the dynamic of the team we would need a different kind of CAM signing or a new striker, that's what would make a big difference. Getting Gabriel back and eventually really being able to lean into this high pressing style with him and White paired together at the back could also make a difference over time.

Reliable reports are suggesting that we've agreed a few with Newcastle of £25m for Willock, which would be good business. I assume that has to mean the CAM signing is happening. But I think we need more than that.
 
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mikeford

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Big Real Madrid ITK accounts are all coming out today and saying a decision has been made to keep Dani Ceballos and sell Martin Odegaard.

Cannot possibly imagine why you would make that call but time to get it done, Edu. Go get our actual #10.
 

Morgan's Magic Snowplow

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An Odegaard reunion makes sense for everybody involved.

But I can see us spending a long time haggling over the price (we probably already are to be honest). Real aren't buying anybody except mayyyybbee Mbappe in the last days of the window so they lose nothing by dragging this out for another couple weeks and seeing if we're wiling to pay a stupid amount.
 

mikeford

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What's the limit you'd put on this? I wouldn't go higher than 30m.

And I think Real needs to offload wages still even with Varane and Ramos out the door.