Analysis – How far realistically are Arsenal away from being a title-winning side? – Just Arsenal News

Analysis – How far realistically are Arsenal away from being a title-winning side?  – Just Arsenal News post thumbnail image

When can Arsenal challenge for the PL title again? by AndersS

I am sure, we are all hoping it is next season, but how many of us, think it is realistic? I don’t.

We haven’t really challenged for the title in many years.Although, we finished 2nd to Leicester 6-7 years ago, we weren’t really challenging in the run in. The only challengers were actually Spurs, but they finished with only 2 points in their last 4 games, which meant we narrowly beat them to second place. The last time we finished above them in the league.

So it is even longer ago that we actually challenged.

Barring a miracle, like Leicester, to build a serious title challenge, obviously takes a team with high-quality players.

I would say, at least the starting 11 all need to have individual qualities close to the highest level. There are of course often some stand-out stars like De Bruyne at City, but the rest of the team will have to be high quality as well, and with no obvious weak areas.

That’s how I see it, and the task at hand is then to build such a team.

Normally, I don’t engage much in discussions about individual player’s qualities or the tactic, we need to use. I prefer to leave that to people with much more knowledge about it. But please excuse me for venturing a little bit down that road here.

If I look at our current preferred players and use my limited knowledge to asses, how many players we have, who are, or potentially could be, players with the required quality to challenge for the title over a whole season, I get a picture, which looks like the below. I challenge you to make your own evaluation of each player, and see what you get. The method being looking at each player and making a judgment:

  1. Do they have the quality already to be part of a title winning team, providing the rest of the team is ready as well, or
  2. How long will it take to develop the quality, if indeed possible for that particular player

See if you agree:

G.K.:Ramsdale (ready, or max. 1 year from being ready).I don’t know, if we can count Leno, or if he is on the way out.

Goalkeeping conclusion is we may need a new back-up keeper, but we potentially have title winning quality.

Defenders:Tomiasu (1-2 years from being ready)White (1 year from being ready)Gabriel (ready, a Brazil international of high quality)Tierney (ready, but his repeated injuries may be a problem)Holding (will never acquire the necessary quality, but maybe he can be a back-up, if only it isn’t in too many games)Tavares (question mark? Has potential, but may not quite make it)Cedric (OK as occasional back-up)Saliba (will leave him out, as I understand he isn’t certain to play for us)

My conclusion about the defense is, we are close to having a starting 4, with the necessary quality, but LB could be a problem, as Tierney often is injured, and Tavares may not be the back-up, we have hoped for. It makes sense to me that we are being connected to LB’s in the transfer window.

Midfielders:Partey (ready)Xhaka (not quite ready IMO, and his age indicates he may never quite get there)Odegaard (1-2 years away from being ready)Lokonga (I am not sure, but if at all, then at least 2-3 years development is needed)Elneny (not quite good enough to be a starter in a title winning side)ESR (1-2 years, but may be difficult to fit in)Flores (?? Possibly in 2-3 years)AMN (will not make it IMO)

Midfield conclusion is that we need at least 1 more player, who can acquire the necessary quality in 1-2 years.

Attackers:Saka (ready or max 1 year from being ready)Martinelli (1-2 years from being ready)

Pepe (I doubt he will ever be the answer)

Nketiah (maybe in 2-3 years)Balogun (maybe in 2-3 years)Nelson (never more than a back-up)

The conclusion is of course, we are in dire need of 1 attacker/forward, who is “certain” to provide us goals and who can last at least 2-3 years and be part of a potential title winning team.

Being an optimist, I would say, we have around 5 players (Ramsdale, Gabriel, Tierney, Partey and Saka), who all could be part of a potential title winning starting line-up this coming season, if only there were another 6 players already with the same high quality.

This actually means, if we were to mount a title challenge already next season, we would need at least 6 new players of the highest quality. Even if we had Santa Claus as our owner, it wouldn’t happen. In fact, even if the money was there, the Financial Fair Play rules would probably prevent us from such an “investment”.

So if we are to mount a title challenge, it can’t be next season, no matter what. We have to look to the future.

This is where it becomes interesting, I think.

The 5 players, who are ready, all have the age and potential to become even better in the next 2-3 years. So if we can keep them, and the 3-4 players, who have a huge potential to acquire the necessary quality in the next 2-3 years, continue their development, we actually do have a promising situation. With a few more players added in the right positions, we could get there I think. But we have to have the patience and the discipline to stay the course, if we want to become PL champions.

I can’t see it happening quicker. Yes, we could possibly spend a lot of money on one or two fully established players in their late twenties, and it could make us stronger short term. But my hope is, that we are only looking at players who potentially will be at their peak, not only now, but especially in 2-3 years.

I will be surprised, if we sign any player older than 25-26 years.


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