The Arsenal Rebuild – Fixing Holes (Pre-season)

Blog post #3

As seen in my first post the Arsenal squad is pretty well rounded. However, with my decision to try and play Sanchez up top as a complete striker, I felt we were left a little thin in the AML position. This was to be my main focus of the summer window.

I also pointed out that with the fairly long injuries to Mertesacker and Paulista, we needed some back-up in the centre-back position.

Here is what I did with the £40,000,000 budget given to me.

transfers in

Not  the most exciting window, but most of our budget was spent on Keita. We needed someone that could try and command a spot for the first team, and that’s where he comes in.

Keita Balde – £30m (£40m)


While he is young, he has some fantastic attributes. His pace, dribbling and flair are all a highlight, with many player traits to go with them. He even accepted a rotation status in his contract, which should allow me to rotate him with Iwobi without causing an upset.

You could say we even managed quite a big victory in the summer transfer window.

spurs offer keita

That’s right. Our arch rivals Spurs offered a very similar amount to us. Both offers were accepted by Mainz, yet our boy Keita Balde chose The Gunners.

Stefan Bell – £7.75m

Not the most inspiring signing, but considering most of our budget was spent on Keita, and the fact we were looking for a squad player, Stefan Bell sort of fit the picture.

Stefan Bell

What I liked about him the most were his great mental attributes. He seems like a solid centre-back that should do a job when called upon. Even if the transfer doesn’t work out, we may be able to profit on him as he is only 24 years old.

Injury Crisis

Unfortunately, as it seems to be the case with Arsenal, we have a bit of an injury crisis.

Mustafi Injury

We have 3 first team centre-backs out injured, and for quite some time. While I already knew about Mertesacker and Paulista, Mustafi was a new one that came towards the end of our pre-seaosn fixtures. A huge blow! It looks like Bell may have to be thrust into the limelight sooner than he might of thought.

We even got hit by an injury to Cazorla for 5-7 weeks. Cazorla is really our only back-up to Ozil in the number 10 role, and without him available, a lot of pressure will be on Ozil.

This injury crisis had led me to think about my formations. I am currently training a standard 4-2-3-1 formation, with Ozil sitting in the number 10 role.

A counter attacking 4-3-3 with a holding defensive midfielder. With this formation, Ozil may not play, or may be shifted out wide in an advanced playmaker role.

And my third formation is a 5-2-2-1 formation, operating with 2 AMC’s. This may even be switched to a 5-2-1-2 formation with one of the AMC’s pushing up to a striker role. Having Giroud supporting Sanchez up top in a target man role may work extremely well.

Pre-season Results

But let’s not dwell on our injuries too much, let’s look for some positives.

During our pre-season fixtures, we managed to only concede 1 goal, through 7 matches.

Preseason Results

While it’s never good to jump to conclusions based solely off pre-season fixtures, I am still pleased with the way the team performed. We played some fairly good teams in the likes of Celtic, AZ and Roma.

Pre-season Top Goal Scorers

6 Goals: Sanchez
4 Goals: Giroud
3 Goals: Keita
1 Goal: Iwobi, Walcott, Ozil, Monreal, Ramsey & Elneny

The Next Update

My next update of the Arsenal Rebuild will see us take a look at our opening fixtures in August.

august fixtures

We have two tough games against Chelsea and Liverpool. Starting off badly could snow-ball so we must kick-off strong and grab some wins.