As Arsenal fans fret over the possibility of going into a new season without any defensive recruitment, Unai Emery says the club will only sign players who can ‘really improve’ the squad.

The Gunners rearguard was exposed again during last night’s 2-1 defeat to Barcelona. An own goal from Ainsley Maitland-Niles and poor marking from our centre-halves allowed Luis Suarez to snatch a late winner, and it highlighted the need for improvement at the back.

As of yet, we’ve added no defenders to the squad, and have lost the quality and experience of Laurent Koscielny due to his refusal to play. Calum Chambers has returned from his loan at Fulham, but Rob Holding and Hector Bellerin are still sidelined as they recover from cruciate knee ligament injuries.

Speaking after the game in Spain, Emery was quizzed on transfers, and insisted that signings would only be made if they can make things better.

“Only if we can sign a player who really, really can improve our squad, then we are going to do that,” he said.

“If not, then not. We have good competitive players to achieve or try to achieve our target this season and we are going to be looking at something if we can sign someone, but with this idea.

“Only, and only, if we can improve.”

You don’t need to be the world’s greatest joke writer to fire off a zinger here about how almost anything could be an improvement on what we have, but it almost seems too easy.

The reality is we need to be better back there, and the only way we can do it is via the market. Over to you, Raul.

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Channelling his inner Arene right there


Top, top quality

Yellow Ribbon

Lol, exactly what I thought as I was reading through it.

High gunner

hahaha I think many of us did.. Fuck I miss Wenger :))) Anyone knows what he is up to nowadays? still no news?

Dave M

Staying as far the fuKc away from this sort of critiquing as he can 😉


my thoughts too – translates to ‘we are not making anymore signings this window’




No it translates to we aren’t signing anyone unless they can improve us – in other words a Van Dijk type signing.


This nonsense again. Listen, Pepe is nice, but we know we can pull attacking players. We have yet to see evidence of top-shelf defensive recruitments.

The Arsenal Twitter account can work double overtime, but unless defenders (plural) are brought in, we’ve seen this script before. It’s boring.


No need to panic, we got some top self destructive defensive player!


Don’t listen or watch then, absolutely no one is forcing you!


Right now the loan or free market is all we can realistically hope to find a centre back. If we dont get anybody and we lose Koscielny, we’re worse than last season. For all the positives about Pepe, if the defense isn’t improved, we’ll struggle, there’s no doubt. An injury to Sokratis and we’re royally screwed.

Whisper this softly but but there is a certain inanimate carbon rod that’s currently available which would instantly improve our defence…

Dave M

What a market to get “top top quality”…players that are unwanted by their teams and aren’t valuable enough to sell for proper or young guys that are unproven and need first team football experience (jeez the later sounds a lot like a guy we just sold…).


After Pepe, one is almost tempted to actually believe this is not such drivel. Raul’s done made me an optimist for once. I am not used to this feeling.


What… what’s it like?


Now all he needs to do is trot out the “We are working very hard in the transfer market, every minute of the day.” and he would have won the Arsene Wenger Transfer window quote bingo.

Dave M

And then the final salvo before running with what we got:
“We are in the transfer market, but we are focused on concentrating on our players – we have to get them ready for the season.”
Arsene Wenger 2016 (Arseblog News Item).


And we have Rob holding coming back from injury. He is like a new signing


Improve the team…shouldn’t be too difficult to find a defender to improve our defense!

Dave M

Krystian Bielik?


Deja vu


Who’s he? Can he play CB?


Look a bit like Eric Cantona to me so probably just continuing our aim of playing 11 attacking players.


I’m hoping my new round faith after the Pepe signing isn’t misplaced! The worry is this sounds a bit like latter year Wenger – first you say you want to get player in position X, then you say you are working constantly to bring someone in, then you’ll only buy if they will improve the team, then finally you don’t buy but it’s because you couldn’t find ‘top, top quality’…


That means just about anyone, or anything in terms of center backs?

Matty Cakes

“Only if we can sign a player who really, really can improve our squad, then we are going to do that,”

Swap deal between us and The Dog & Duck, Fat Dave for Mustafi incoming

Said aboud

Sign back line leave monreal mustafi chambers nile if u dont see gud players who fit de team den EPL will show u…remember WENGER leaved de club bcoz of his sheet like yours den b aware.

Juan Cornetto

I beg your pardon?


Something about Arsene’s bed linen

Walmart Heiress

Bin laden you say?




As frustrating as it is, I’d prefer to take a loan signing now than be stuck with another mediocre defender on a four year contract.

Then let’s get one next summer when we hopefully have more cash.


More cash, and a ready made Saliba

Eduardo da Silva

Of course any one will sign players that will improve their team. For crying out loud most CB from the tram that hit us last season can improve us.




Read between the lines. He says we have learned from the Mustafi fiasco.


Surely, there are waaaay better defenders in Ligue Un or anywhere than Mustafi… I was not this frentic even when senderos/cygan/squillaci was playing for us… But Mustafi…. Tt guy is on another level.


Can we please stop this mustafi bashing, every player needs all the confidence in the world even Messi, constantly nagging on this guy, Is doing us no good, was he the one who scored the own goal? He’s market value keeps dropping because of our bashing, I saw a stat on sun news yesterday which clearly showed mustafi out performed 80m maguire
Am not saying he’s perfect, let’s support him while he’s still around


No, his market value keeps dropping because he’s garbage.
I very much doubt professional football teams make multi-million euro decisions based on reading Twitter.
They have scouts watch players play – which seems to be why there haven’t been that many offers for Mustafi.


Mustafi is soo bad that signing cahill on free is like signing a world class player. We really need cover for right back.


Interesting to see that the tide is (finally) turning and that the vast majority of Gooners on this site now appear to acknowledge how bad Mustafi really is. He wouldn’t get into the training grounds of the other “top” clubs, let alone be a first team regular but we keep on playing him, waiting for the next error to cost us on the pitch.


Right back need cover, left back need change, but the most urgent problem is CB. With 4 days left in the trasnfer window and having splashed so much on Pepe, we can only hope to solve on one problem, the most critical one which is CB.

The only sp*rs i like is san antonio

Dani Alves is free and worth a shot for me at right back

Tankard Gooner

Pretty sure dani alves joined some club in Brazil.


If CB is not purchase/loan for this transfer window, i think it should be deem as a failure despite our recruitment of Pepe and co.

Sir John King

I think this is wise. Better than to sign players who make us worse.


We should’ve bought Joachim Andersen. At this time of window, there really isn’t that much defenders available in our budget who can play from the back (Emery style). After the sale of Harry Maguire, I can only see Tarkowaski or Ben Mee of Burnley who can can improve this defense but their passing from back and composure on the ball is still a doubtful. Not to mention the price (40-50m) that comes with it.
So, it is better to wait out and buy a quality center back rather than buying overpriced players who might become the next mustafi.


I can see Raul doing a ‘Godfather’ with Mustafi. Take him out on a row boat and only Raul comes back. Here’s hoping we can sign a CB before Thursday. I may be wrong, but it feels like the Tierney thing has dragged on because he simply isn’t fit and wouldn’t pass a medical right now. Little point pushing for a transfer for an injured player, ahem, Kallstrom, ahem.


The truth is that the defence is a shambles. We have three centre backs that are not fit for purpose: Kos – in dispute with the club and surely can’t stay on; Mustafi and Chambers – just not good enough. We all know about Mustafi. His dwindling band of supporters on this site is getting smaller each time he plays, I wonder why?. As to Chambers, he was given a good run in the team, unlike many youngsters, and wasn’t up to it. At Fulham he played mainly in midfield. He was apparently voted their “Player of the Year” (whatever… Read more »


Can Welbz play CB? he is still available.


As far as I’m concerned, getting rid of Ozil was his only KPI for the off-season


Emery’s KPI? Good morning. Did you have a good sleep?


Saka should be “thrown” in to the fray(gradually). He has shown his quality, AND, how else are they expected to learn and improve?

Dingle goonie

Well get ready for the 5-4 and 6-5 wins (feeling positive this morning)

The only sp*rs i like is san antonio

Any Defender is better than mustafi right about now. If we don’t have enough money, try the free market. Dani Alves and Garry Cahill at least can make up the numbers for us for a season before we seriously search next year

The defensive problems have been known for a long time. Why should it be better next year?

The only sp*rs i like is san antonio

Would you prefer we don’t buy anyone and relegated to the championship instead?
Being pesimistic is one thing. But give up without try to buy a better player than mustafi first, that is plain stupid




What if we convert Elneny to a CB? 😮


While Holding has a better positional awareness than Mustafi, he is regrettably too slow when facing the likes of Salah and Mane. Chambers did not convince against Barcelona, and is probably a better defensive midfielder than central defender.

Bielek was sold without ever being tried in the first team. The injured Mavropanos is hardly Arsenal’s saviour either. Sokratis is top class, but he needs a good partner. Wallets must be opened (again).


Arsenals back 4 if we don’t sign defenders this season ..
God. Will. Help. Us



I’m sorry guys but you’re really not talking this seriously, this isn’t a computer game. Finding a defender in today’s market that wants to come to Arsenal and improve us is very hard to do. Man Utd are about to pay £80m for a defender and will he get them where they need to be? Is he worth the money? Defenders at the level teams like Arsenal need are rare, we’ve tried to half arse it and where has it got us? We’ve spent a lot of money on that will do defenders and we’ve paid the price, literally with… Read more »


Yes, I’m sure we’re all behind the team but that won’t make any difference if the defence just isn’t up to the job. The “surrender” that happened towards the end of last season happened on the pitch – not in the stands.


You DO REALIZE that Robstar is actually Holding…right? If I could thumb this up 1000 times I would. Try this experiment, play Arsenal manager with us. Your job while speaking to the cameras is to 1) instill confidence in fans, players, staff and ownership that you know the team needs improvement, you are always looking for better players, you will make good business and team players recommendations and decisions. 2) You have confidence in and appreciation for those players who work their asses off every day and although you are always looking to improve they will always have your respect,… Read more »


Mustafi may have dropped a bit in performance, he and we may wish we had alternate choices but you tell me this. IF…IF the fans made a pact to support and cheer him on no matter what. If they stood up and clapped whenever his name was spoken or he came on or off the pitch. NO MATTER WHAT. What would happen? Would that be the best recruitment tool ever for Arsenal? How would the press write about it? How much would that help him and the club…Arseblog could be the experiment initiator and that would be a wonderful experiment.… Read more »


You make a great point but all I’m saying is come the start of the season I will be cheering on Arsenal not any one player. Saying the clock is ticking or 48 hours left sounds great in a blog post but useless in real life. We’ve brought Debuchy, Gabriele, Gallas that bloke from Man Utd and a whole host of defenders because the clock was ticking. Did any of those names and more get us to where we wanted to be? Now I ask the question again to Arseblog and all Arsenal fans because I genuinely don’t have the… Read more »


well said, Robstar. couldn’t agree with you more.

Cultured determination

We’re on a roll with the pepe deal. Lets,smash the record and sign kaloubaly from napoli then. This will give them the financial muscle they need to sign someone like pepe.


Here’s a zinger for you, would you rather that you have to sign harry maguire for $80 million or keep Mustafi but obviously don’t spend that money


Maguire is overrated. I attended England-Croatia during the World Cup. At 1-0 to England, Maguire signalled to his team mates to park the bus. As very often is the case, this backfired. The bus was not parked, but turned, full speed towards the English goal.


and you think he decided to change the entire emphasis of Englands World cup semi final strategy on his own do you? Not the fact it was instructed to him via the bench? ok lol

Cultured determination

Only top top quality that can improve us. My colleagues tell me im a screw up at work. At least once a day. Hey, that’s 1 screw up every 8 hours! Much less frequently than mustafi.


Improvement you say.. maybe we could partner Kermit the frog with Sokratis. Pretty sure his arm flailing is an improvement on Mustafis


It’s frustrating but I get what he’s saying. We’ve paid “top money” for the likes of Mustafi and regrettably that now looks like money down the drain and we can’t shift him or get the best from him as he’s mentally shot now. The one time the excuse that there’s no value in the market happens to actually be true is unfortunately in this window. Great defenders will go for ridiculous money, but more likely will stay with their club because they are doing a great job. Leicester might have got £80m for Maguire, but now Bournemouth want £75m for… Read more »


But what he don’t seem to realise is anything is got to be better than what we got now ? Surely


Tierney and loan cahill for a season as our two CB’s, just a thought ,


At least this doesn’t rule out Long John Silva coming in at CB