Category Archives: Dungate

The Rest of the Transfer Window and Arsenal….

Written by Benjamin Dungate

image

What to make of Arsenal’s transfer activity. What there is of it.

The signs are not promising. The usual noises are coming out of the club. Talk of “spending big if the right player is available.” We have heard it all before.

The mention of having already spent big is concerning though. Yes, by any measure of normality the club has spent big. But in today’s inflated lunacy £30M is nothing. That gets you a good player that is unproven in the league.

Ivan Gazidis’s recent comments regarding our limited efforts in the window thus far were not exactly lapped up by Gooners, and the Arsenal Chief Executive attempting to downplay the importance of signing players or spending money was a rare faux pas from someone who is normally well spoken and practiced when speaking to the media.

Arsene Wenger the next day though, attempted to pour water on the blaze caused by Gazidis, placing emphasis on Arsenal’s continuous efforts in the market. It was quite bullish, and means there may just be a ray of optimism to latch onto.

So this talk of coughing up if the right player is there is rubbish. Gonzalo Higuain was available. Yes £94M is a ridiculous amount and clearly far too much for anyone, let alone a 28 year old but that is the market at the moment.

Alexandre Lacazette is also available and no less proven in the hustle and bustle of the Premier League than Higuain but at 25 at least he has time on his side. His market value is £48M. Once again, a hefty gamble.

Edinson Cavani is probably available but God only knows how much he would cost.

So who are you left with? Part-exing Olivier Giroud in any deal is totally unacceptable. Only a fool would use a proven, if unprolific, striker as a make-weight when buying in someone knew who is no more likely to succeed.

There is obvious clamour for the club to blow everything on Romelu Lukaku but I am not so sure on him either. He was good last season but his showing for Belgium in the Euros, particularly against Italy, highlighted how far he still has to go to reach his ceiling.

Obviously a young strikers ability should not be judged solely on one game against an Italian 3 man defence but neither should it be viewed on how he performed against a Republic Of Ireland team who were on the whole, poor.

In the end I find myself having some sympathy with Arsene Wenger. He is dammed if he doesn’t and dammed if he does and it goes wrong.

I would love to see Lacazette or Higuain come in but not at the expense of Giroud. His link-up play is second to none and his is dominant in the air. I think the key to it is not smashing £50M because the fans demand it, but in maybe modifying our formation and tactics to use more efficiently what we already have.

As gauling as it is, I think we will be left aghast on August 31st that the club once again failed to adequately recruit.

Kos Is The Boss, But Who Should Be His Deputy?

Written by Benjamin Dungate.
Having been an Arsenal fan through the George Graham era and having played the ‘Makelele’ role as well as right back during my Sunday League days, I feel I am ideally suited to pass comment on Arsenal’s defensive options for the upcoming season​ – well, better than the rest of the idiot pundits who seem to criminally underrate Koscielny.

 

We are lucky enough to have arguably the finest central defender in the Premier League in Laurent Koscielny. He opitimises everything you want in a modern day defender. He is fast, he reads the game well, he is aggressive in the tackle, good in the air and he chips in with some goals too. He has also taken on a leadership role within the team and will be a good shout as captain, no matter his lack of vocal strength!

 

Arsenal also have good options in the full back positions. Hector Bellerin is only going to improve and Monreal is a 7 out of 10 every game. But who should partner Koscielny?

 

I love Per Mertesacker as much as any Gooner and thought he would be perfect even before he was actually purchased. But I think the BFG’s days as a first choice are numbered. Positionally he is still a fine defender but seems to have lost whatever it is that elevates a player above being just good. At the very same time, Laurent Koscielny seems to acquired it.

 

The decision to just go out an buy a new defender though is not one to be rushed in to. For what we need is not necessarilly to buy the best defender we can, but to buy the best defender we can who compliments what we already have.

 

The complications arise when you look at Koscielny’s skill set. For not only is he our best defensive barrier he can also supply a threat when he comes out of defence to join an attack.

 

Of course if we cast our mind back to when Thomas Vermaelen was still at the club, there were issues when the two of them played together. Time has past since then though and Kos is a much finer defender and player in general than he was then.

 

So what sort of partner should Arsene search for to support Koscielny? One who will stay back and offer him the freedom to occasionally step into midfield or one who is perhaps better on the ball than Kos and be the one who ventures forward.

 

It is a difficult decison but ultimately we have no way of knowing what the right decision is until one is made. Playing alongside Mertesacker has improved Koscielny’s game but now a new, better partner is needed and Gabriel is not the man to fill that role for me.

 

There are some exciting defenders out there such as Konstantinos Manolas and Skrodran Mustafi. Both with huge potential and both very different in their styles. Or maybe the answer is already within our ranks in young Callum Chambers…

 

Whichever direction the manager chooses to go in, it is something that needs addressing before the season kicks off.
Written by Benjamin Dungate.