Pardew: Arsenal left it too late for Jonny Evans


Late on transfer deadline day, Arsenal were reported to have had a bid rejected for West Brom’s Jonny Evans.

In the excitement of the Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang signing, and Mesut Ozil signing a new contract, it was news which barely registered at the time.

However, Baggies boss Alan Pardew says he’d made it clear to the Gunners, and other potential suitors, that any last minute attempt to sign the Northern Irish international would prove fruitless.

“It wasn’t for lack of warning to Arsenal and to all the clubs,” he said. “I’ve sat here every week saying don’t make a bid on the last day, because you’re not going to get what you want, really.

“Unless it’s a bid that’s going to knock us off our chair, and it was no way near that. So they [Arsenal] got probably the response they were expecting with that bid, I think.

“Jonny is a very, very important player. He is a great player. He is part of the spine of the team and that’s what I tried to strengthen this window.”

So, it seems like any effort to make defensive a recruitment was very much an afterthought, and not something we took too seriously.

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70 Comments on "Pardew: Arsenal left it too late for Jonny Evans"

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Strange to leave it so late. I can’t believe they are happy with our defence.


They probably didn’t know how much money they would have until right at the end.

If it was a choice between the two I’m happy with what we did.

Dave M

So strange right. So unlike Arsenal to go crazy right at the last minute of the transfer deadline…sigh…


They probably realise that the defensive problems are not going to be solved by new personnel. They’ve played to the manager’s strengths and I’m happy with that.

Plus, the way Pardew is talking, you’d think he was sitting on some Maldini-Campbell hybrid with a couple of decades left on his contract. This guy is part of a relegation defense and is available for 3 million in the summer.




Thanks Alan but for now I think we’re ok without Matthew Lillard’s younger brother.

The Director

Although I am quite happy with our attacking additions and Mesut’s extension, I cannot believe the club neglected to address our defensive issues. While I do not think that it is solely down to our players, surely Arsenal could have attracted a player that improves the CDM or CB position?


Totally agree with this. But can anyone genuinely claim to be surprised that it happened this way? Unfortunately, no.
The new Arsenal motto should be: “We tried.”

The Director

Not really, but the fan in me keeps hoping that “this time will be different”… With our attack sorted, we can hopefully move in the right direction in the summer.

Olivije Žirod

The defensive issues are more because of our style of play than lack of quality at the back (no defender or goalkeeper could change that drastically) and because we can’t kill games. The latter is bigger problem this season. If we will score our chances we will also concede less.

Dave M

Again a lot comes down to tempo. If you play faster, more direct you don’t commit as many players forward and don’t get hit as much on the break yourself. Play slow you need so many forward to keep possession including defenders and you expose your backline…so simple yet Wenger just keeps going back to slow possession football despite the positive results we get when we play faster

alex betel

agree with this the quality of our individual defense is among the top.the system or something needs to change


Leaving it to the last minute? That doesn’t sound like us at all…


but at least they got one low-ball bid in. That certainly fits the profile.

Gofio Gunner

Wenger knew and only did it to annoy Pardew

Eric Blair

Sounds to me like a punt to nothing with a cheap late bid. Either they accepted and we got a cheapish player, or they turned us down and we didn’t lose anything.

I’m pretty happy to be honest, we can use all our funds more wisely in the summer.


hmm… I wonder what will happen if i try to take away the star asset of another club without giving them enough time to replace them. Surely that should be a palatable proposition to that club given that we are low-balling an offer by market standards. What could go wrong?
– Arsenal’s transfer strategy when it came to Johnny Evans


Did Arsene really want him though? We certainly need to improve our defence in major positions particularly a new goal keeper. It seems to me that this was a story that was spun just for the sake of it. Seeing the defensive error Evans made in the FA Cup game I’m not that sorry we didn’t get him…we have heaps of players who can give goals away!




Only downer of the window (Can’t complain though) @20 odd mil if he got us a trophy in the Europa it’s a bargain. Also taking our net spend to 27 mil it’d hardly put us in any financial trouble

Ayush Jain

We should have bought David Luiz on loan and maybe played him in DM and send Rob Holding to Burnley on loan as well. Cant see Holding and Chambers getting much game time till the end of the season.


Could have sent holding on loan to Pardew for half a season so they had a replacement


How is that even a fair comparison. Let us have your best CB and we’ll give you on loan a young inexperienced CB we hope you give minutes to while you get relegated lol


The defence itself isn’t the issue, it’s that defensive midfield position, in the system we play.


Thank god


Good, he would have just come here to sit on the bench, as poor performances Mustafi has had in recent weeks, he is still miles better than Evans. Have people even seen West Brom play? Anyone can defend when you play as defensive as they do.

A Different George

The last time I watched West Brom play, Evans was by a very long way the worst player on the pitch. Just terrible. I thought maybe he was preoccupied with the transfer rumours but, whatever the cause, it was as bad a defensive performance as you are ever likely to see in the Premier League.

Merlin\'s Panini

meh. Couldn’t give a shit about Jonny Evans. There are better centre backs.
It’s a shame we didn’t go for anyone else though.
Seems like the bid of £12 million was just to troll them given he can go for £3 million if they get relegated. A bit like the bankers’ offer when down to the last two boxes in Deal or No Deal.


What better CB could we have gone after as good as Evans and I’m not saying he’s great but for 12M? Even up to 16M?

2G Gunner

The worst thing about making any bid to West Brom is then having to see Pardew’s smug-when-I’ve-got-no-right-to-be mug & hear his whiney voice. Tool!


No worries Alan. We’ll just have him for £3m in the summer once you’ve been relegated.

sixteen swans

Given that everything that comes out of Pardew’s mouth is bollocks and bullshit, I doubt we have anything like the truth of the matter here.

Bring back the turd-o-meter, I say.


To be frank one manure defensive reject a lifetime is one too many Sylvestre I mean ! Are Utd still narked at us palming them off with the hapless and hopeless Ian Ure ?? Plus Danny Welbeck the goal shy forward they so kindly let us have!


Well at least he keeps scoring against manure


“….any effort to make defensive a recruitment was very much an afterthought, and not something we took too seriously”

This does not sound like The Arsenal at all


Thank Evans.

Not the sort of player we should be adding unless on loan.

Valuation too high, age another issue. Not the best defender by any means even if our own currently flatter to deceive.

Buying team are not making due considerations to longer term requirements.

Having said that the current defenders need to keep things simple.

Too many occasions they’ve played the ball back into the danger area instead of clearing it. The latest culprit Mustafi but even Koscielny, AMN, Bellerin (not to mention the younger Cbacks) have all been culpable for this.

Bould has to give clear instructions for them to understand when not to take risks and play from the back.

Having said that I feel a lot of our issues in defense also derive from midfield.

1) The current midfield do not track players running into our box. That especially includes Granit but others (fullbacks) have been guilty too. If anything although mediocre, one thing I can say about Elneny is he does track his runners and if there is any recommendation to start him ahead of Granit, it would be his diligence in this regard.

2) There is insufficient outlet for defense to play out to. Maybe Aubameyang can hold the ball up better but Lacazette has been poor in this regard higher up field. Remember the days when Henry (indeed Giroud) could hold the ball for us?

BUT the midfield itself short of Jack is unable to receive and turn with the ball. None of Elneny, Ramsey or Granit can turn beyond a wide circle and they tend to pass the ball straight back into defense when under the slightest pressure with their backs to goal.

This increases pressure on the defense and they start making high risk passes to play out with the opponents pressing high. Should they elect to hit the ball out, Lacazette does not do the business.

I’m not sure what the solution in midfield is.

There is talk that Alex Song recently training with us having been released by Rubin Kazan could be used if he sufficiently impresses.

BUT he hasn’t been entirely water tight himself with West Ham in later tenure so I can only see him at best as ‘another option’ and frankly a back up just in case of injuries…should he impress enough to even warrant a short stint.

Other than that as mentioned sans a proper DM, the feeble Elneny is perhaps our better option in terms of diligence at the back. Granit baffles everyone. He has the talent but his defensive work is clearly not up to par and he does not keep his head sufficiently on a swivel.

BUT he adds more offensive power than Elneny going forward and his forward vision is that tad better.

It looks though that Wenger may employ a rotating 3 in midfield.

Which means should we say a triangle of Granit, Jack and Mhkitaryan, there may be a system where no one is preferential sitting deep instead each takes turn to cover as the other two push forward to help Ozil behind the two CFs.

In which case the tenacity of Jack and the experience of Mhkitaryan may be what we need to at least plug the gap. It is of course a massive IF but Mhkitaryan can be re-roled to hold deeper and be more cognisant of threats to us on the counter, in much the same way that Wenger got much joy converting Arteta and Santi into the tranquista role.

However I think Wenger as per usual prefers a less structured option and will likely have each of the 3 midfielders rotate as mention although that may not exclude falling back on a more discipline format with the experience player ‘holding’.

We will have to wait and see but certainly midfield issues are far from solved and they will hold the key to both defensive stability and forward over load.

What we can drill is for our Cbacks and fullbacks meanwhile to stop making high risk passes into our middle.(particularly when opponents are around in force) Its basic even schoolkids are taught early on.

Over to you Steve Bould.


On top of that we could have gotten Mahrez for 40-50M by easily threatening Leicester we won’t pay more and force them to sell to us.

Capn Crunch

To be honest, I’m not too fussed about missing out on Evans.

While I do think we clearly need more defensive reinforcement, I don’t think that he is the answer. He is an aging player in the league’s worst team. And on paper, is he really better than Koscielny, Mustafi or Monreal? (Although they are in pretty bad form)

It definitely midfield that needs more strengthening. There is currently nowhere near enough protection for our backline


I agree completely. Not to mention he picked up an injury in the middle of the window.

Good business not to sign him, even at 12M he is too expensive.

Fireman Sam

Yeah I agree. Not worried about missing out on Evans.

How many years now have we al been saying we miss a decent defensive midfielder?!


They left it too late. So perhaps it’s an indication what will be the plan for summer


I think Pardew is up his own arse anyways. If he truly built his team around an aging Evans, he wasn’t going anywhere. £25M? We offered £12M. He can leave in the summer for £3M when the Baggies go down. Do your dance, Alan. Do your dance.

Fireman Sam

Jog on Pardew!


I think we shoud just bench xhaka for AMN and keep elneny in to help AMN adjust


That’s is the bitter truth, put Eleny in DM he is strong in tackling, intercepting and protecting the back four. Watch him at EPL semi final vs chelsea at Emirate

Fireman Sam

Yeah Xhaka is a bloody liability. So switched off and half-hearted in defence.


Sounds like we were hoping WBA would cash in on a smaller offer if we left it to the end.
Evans isn’t a player who excited me. We need younger players for the defense… Rodrigo Caio please.


arsenal always leave it to late, typical wenger, dithering all window then on the last day makes an offer and says we tried, nothing changers

Lack of Perspective

Typical nonsense


We definitely need to address the defensive issues in the squad, but I am glad we didn’t overspend and commit a long deal to Evans. He is not the long-term answer. Wenger needs to give AMN a run at defensive mid to see if he could potentially be the answer there (play him in the current Elneny position for a few matches). Central defenders will not come cheap so not sure if Wenger is really waiting until the Summer when he could potentially sell Mustafi and replace him with someone better. At some point he is going to have to replace Monreal and Koscielny too and not sure if Kolasinic is the long term replacement for Monreal and for Koscielny we really have just three young players behind him none of whom have really proven themselves ready to step in for either center back full time.


Would rather we spend 12M on bringing a few defensive coaches in for a series of workshops with the boys, and a hairdryer session with AF.


For me, I dont like Evans at all and neither do I think that our defenses are as bad as they seem to be.
What baffles me is that we lét Coq go and immediately after we switched back to a systém he thrived in. He is a limited player with a strong defensive aspect, certainly not complete enough to be one of the midfield two, but could have thrived again in a three.


it’s almost like you’re saying there’s no plan…(spoiler: there is no plan)


I think the idea is to use Elneny in that role.
He is good in the deep role. We fell apart when he came off against Swansea.

Billy Bob

What is going on with kolisinac (spelling)? Thought he would be a highlight of this season!!

Laughing Stock

Well, ain’t that a surprise. I’d LOVE to know how much we bid. We’d rather keep 3 mill in the bank than get into the top 4


Lucky we did not take Sideshow Bob either.

We need better solution for defense in the summer.

Sadly Mustafi is one of our stronger assets. It would be a mistake to sell him.

We have other contenders who are even weaker – Holding and Chambers.

Plus we have to consider Koscielny is starting to show wear and tear.

Per doesn’t really factor in as he frankly is just available for us but in de facto, he is biding time for the academy position.

Our defensive options are weak.

Wenger allowed Gabriel to leave before any of the young prospects showed delivery on promise.

All the hype about Holding is similar to that on AMN now.

People have it in their mind the positives and good parts of their play (and there are many) whilst turning a convenient blind eye to their faults yet to be ironed out.

Many complain about Granit for instance not tracking runners into the box (which he is no doubt guilty of hands down) but AMN has also been guilty of this on a number of occasions (not mentioned) which had luck gone the other way would have been at detriment to us.

Hopefully we address the defensive issues in the summer.

meanwhile we need to do two things till then :

1) The defenders need to cut out high risk play trying to work the ball out from their end. NO passes to the middle particularly with opposition in strength lurking. and keep it simple hoof it up field even if it means our forwards may lose the ball for us

2) better midfield balance. Track runners into our box, keep head on swivel. Try to get the best out of Mhkitaryan’s experience to see if he can drop a bit deeper to help either Elneny or Granit. In any case I expect we may be rotating midfield in a triangle between Jack, (granit or Elneny) and Mhkitaryan. But a slightly deeper focused Mhkitaryan for now may help stabilise us and allow more options for defense to play out. Of course Jack’s ability to move the ball forward and receive/turn with the ball is another key we missed against Swansea.

Hopefully we can improve organically. Otherwise it is futile adding first of gold and having feet of clay.

Don Cazorleone

How can someone talk so much, yet say so little.

Lack of Perspective

Our two biggest mistakes this season. Sczezny and Gabriel.


Gabriel was terrible

Michael Osborn

Bit of a “no story” imo. The issue wasnt the timing of our offer it was the ridiculous figures WBA were after for him! We probably did try a cheeky last minute offer but were never going to come close to what they wanted. Get him for the £3m release clause when they get relegated, would be a good squad player for that money..


Still not convinced Johnny Evans is the answer. A capable back up maybe but we need some real quality at CB. More importantly at DM. Maybe AMN can become that but it’s a big ask for a 20 year old. Perhaps waiting till the summer to try and get some real quality (Koulibaly and Fabinho is the dream) at these positions is the way to go. I just don’t see Johnny Evans making a significant difference and playing one of the 3 youngsters (Holding/Chambers/Mavropanos) at CB when needed is a better/cheaper option till we can get a true upgrade.


Maybe they’ve got plans for the summer or is that wishful thinking?


12 million for Evans and they turned it down but we let Giroud go to one of the richest clubs in the world for 18 million.



Pardew’s a cunt

Bring back David Hillier
Bring back David Hillier

So we tried to buy a player who plays for a team with a defensive record nearly as bad as ours? Why? He’s average at best. Give Chambers a run in the team and somebody, any-frickin-body, tell Hank Scorpio to stop slide tacking on the halfway line.


The best defence is to attack!!!!! That’s way probably Arsenal don’t buy defenders


“…I have sat here every week saying that don’t make late bids” and “unless it was a bid that was going to knock us off our chair” Does anyone else think that Alan Purdeux is overly poetic and mildly reflective?


He’s saying just about the only thing he CAN say. If he’d sold him to us (or anyone else) he’d go on about getting a lot of cash for an older player. Now he didn’t sell him, so now he’s acting bullish. Completely normal run-of-the-mill posturing, just like any other manager of any other club (our own included) would do.
I’m happy we didn’t get him. Our defenders aren’t beyond reproach, but surely our problem is not with personnel, but with how we play what we have. I’d love a world class DM, or a world class defender, but.. we could get anyone in there, and we’d still concede avoidable goals because of the lack of coherence between defence and midfield when we’re defending.


Admittedly, landing the complex triangle swap must have been very stressful (and a great feat, really, for our negotiating team). But strengthening the defence was hardly contingent on the other deals going through. I suspect we might have negotiated transfer of other players, and only turned to Evans when this broke down.