In his 22 years as Arsenal manager, Arsene Wenger has seen more than his share of talented players grace the field in an Arsenal kit.
From Thierry Henry and Robert Pires to Lee Dixon and Tony Adams, some of legends of the Premier League have spent some of their best years playing for Arsenal, leading Wenger to three Premier League titles and seven FA Cups.
No less than 222 players have played under Wenger, from the Invincible greats to one-time American youth product Frank Simek and the latest debutante, Konstantinos Mavropanos.
Looking back at the last 22 years, it’s difficult to select just 11 players, but we at Pro Soccer Talk have done our best to select the defining best XI for Arsenal in the Arsene Wenger era.
City need these two additions badly, but that’s a lot of cash.
Multiple reports state that Walker, 27, has agreed to join Man City from Tottenham Hotspur in a $65 million deal (that would make him the the most-expensive defender in history) with the England international set to have a medical later this week and then jet off with City on their preseason tour of the U.S. next week. After losing out on Dani Alves to Paris Saint-Germain signing Walker was a priority for City.
As for Mendy, the 22-year-old French international has an incredible engine and his displays last season in the UEFA Champions League have convinced City to spend over $55 million with reports stating City and Monaco are close to an agreement and Mendy could be a City player early next week.
Now, we all know defense was the main issue for City last season and quite frankly it’s been that way for the last five seasons.
After letting Pablo Zabaleta, Bacary Sagna and Gael Clichy leave this summer, Guardiola badly needed full backs and although he has overpaid for them, just like he did for goalkeeper Ederson earlier this summer, he’s got what he wanted.
Walker will provide pace and power from the right back slot and City finally seem to have broken Daniel Levy’s resolved as Spurs’ chairman has played this perfectly. At the end of last season Walker fell out with Mauricio Pochettino and Kieran Trippier impressed as he slotted into the team, so know Spurs already have a replacement for Walker and they’re getting $65 million.
Mendy is the latest in the mass exodus from AS Monaco as the French champions have also sold Portuguese playmaker Bernardo Silva to Man City earlier this summer for $55 million and are set to lose Tiemoue Bakayoko to Chelsea while Arsenal are chasing Thomas Lemar and Kylian Mbappe seems destined for Real Madrid.
Back to City though, and if they complete this double swoop it will be a huge upgrade on their defense from last season as ageing full backs struggled to cope with the extra demands placed on them by Guardiola, and a shaky central defense didn’t help matters with John Stones struggling and Vincent Kompany only able to play the second half of the season when he returned from injury.
Balance is everything for Guardiola and with two attack-minded full backs he now has that. Just like he did at Barcelona with Dani Alves, Maxwell and Eric Abidal, he has full backs who can keep the ball and join the attack but are also quick enough to recover and keep a solid defensive shape after a turnover.
Walker and Mendy will basically play as wing backs for City and will be asked to move inside with the ball, something Walker isn’t too comfortable doing but he has everything else needed to excel at the Etihad Stadium.
Yes, they overpaid, like they usually do for defenders, but City have addressed their needs perfectly just as their preseason kicks up a few notches with the small matter of playing both Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur in the U.S. over the next two weeks.
After agreeing to terminate his contract at Juventus everyone believed Alves, 34, was set to join his former boss Pep Guardiola at City.
On Wednesday he signed for PSG on a two-year deal and will be part of Les Parisiens squad for their U.S tour this summer as they play AS Roma in Denver on July 18, Tottenham in Orlando on July 22 and Juventus in Miami on July 26.
Speaking about his move to PSG, Alves revealed why he chose the French club as he wants to help Unai Emery’s side succeed in the UCL.
“There’s a very interesting project in Paris. I have friends here, I’m a man who loves challenges,” Alves said. “I’ve had the pleasure of winning the Champions League three times and I want to bring my experience here… Our goal is to win the Champions League.”
Alves was reportedly offered $308,000 per week by PSG which is double what Man City offered the Brazilian international right back.
It is also believed that Alves was told he’d be City’s second-choice right back, which suggests that City are confident of landing Kyle Walker from Tottenham Hotspur because right now they don’t have a right back after releasing both Pablo Zabaleta and Bacary Sagna.
The former Barcelona and Sevilla right back was a revelation at Juve last season with his marauding runs causing countless problems for opponents as Juve did the Italian double and lost to Real Madrid in the UEFA Champions League final.
At PSG Alves will have to compete with Serge Aurier and Thomas Meunier but it’s unlikely he will be anything but an influential figure in their starting lineup.
City have missed out an experienced right back who has been a serial winner throughout his career. Alves won six La Liga titles and five Copa del Rey trophies during his time in La Liga with Sevilla and Barcelona, plus he won the Europa League, UCL three times and added two more trophies at Juve last season. For Brazil he remains a key figure and now PSG, rather than Man City, will benefit from his vast experience.