Jul 25

Arsenal Transfer Analysis: Phil Jagielka

28, Defender, Everton

As with all the articles I do on a player linked with Arsenal, this piece will attempt to cover a few interesting pieces of the player’s identity and biography. Over the past few weeks a number of journalists have stepped out to say that they believed Jagielka to be the primary target for Arsène Wenger rather than Gary Cahill. Wenger has made a £10m bid for the player which has been turned down, and this is the reason Jagielka will be covered in this piece.

The first thing that struck me when I heard of an Englishman who was snapping ferocious tackles in at Sheffield United under Neil Warnock was; where does his name come from? Turns out he is of Polish descent and was born Philip Nikodem Jagielka in Sale, Greater Manchester. His grandparents fled Poland after the Second World War. As a young teenager he started off as a schoolboy at Everton, before joining The Blades at 15 years of age. There his talent as a defensive midfielder, with a rocket propelled work rate and a physicality to dominate the midfield in the Championship, allowed him to make a real name for himself. A great season in 2005-06 allowed him to play a mammoth 46 games and score 8 goals. He won the Championship award for best player that season. The following year they were promoted. His year in the Premier League with United was ultimately a disappointment as they were relegated. However, his versatility lead to one of the highlights of the season. Forced to play in goal against Arsenal after Paddy Kenny was injured, they managed to secure a famous 1-0 victory. He even made an excellent late save from Robin Van Persie.

Jagielka’s life has had sadness as well. His grandfather was a potential and unproven murder victim of serial killer Harold Shipman. He said “When my grandfather died, he put his hand on my right shoulder and said, ‘I think I’ll stay here a while in case he wakes up so he doesn’t scare people. I didn’t think anything of it at the time, but I do now.” Whilst recovering from a cruciate injury last year, 3 masked men from an organised criminal gaang burst into his rented £2.5m mansion with knives and threatened Jagielka. They stole valuables and a Range Rover, which was later found abandoned.

Having joined Everton, he found a gritty and ambitious Scottish manager under David Moyes prepared to support him fully and smooth his rough edges. Having moved back into centre defence he showed the grittiness of an old school tough centre defender, with the passing game to take the ball and move it forward. Moyes pushes Jagielka, not just as a footballer, as a man and leader. Moyes said in March this year that he could potentially become an England captain but that ‘he needs to drive himself on to be that person; it has to come from within.’ The undertone of that comment is that Jagielka maybe lacks the aggressive, cutting edge of John Terry or Rio Ferdinand. Moyes also said ‘Sometimes he suffers from self doubt’, whilst ‘he should be looking at himself as a future Everton captain and he agrees that he has to start being a leader.’ Interesting that Arsenal supporters point to Jagielka as the natural leader, when even his own manager says he does not (yet) have that element in his personality. I would hope Wenger is able to spend the money to buy a taller player with less injury problems, younger and better passing skills. Therefore we return to Gary Cahill. Bolton Wanderers are waiting to see if Chelsea or Manchester City make a move for him.

Everton are notoriously tough negotiators, well known for driving prices extremely high and turning a seemingly simple deal into a long running saga. Turning down £10m for a player turning 29 years of age in less than a month is brave decision, despite the fact Wenger offered £12m last season. If Everton are asking for a £15m then that is a lot of money considering he does not even meet the mandate of what Arsenal genuinely need. In short, this deal is doomed until there is an immense shift in policy from Everton to sell or Arsenal to pay substantially more. A huge, angry, commanding centre back with natural leadership skills must be the requisite qualities for the next Arsenal centre defender Wenger purchases to deal with the set piece problems we have. Jagielka could play a simple and limited centre back role alongside Vermaelen or Djourou. He would likely allow them, as the more comfortable passers to bring out the ball. However alongside Laurent Koscielny, I just do not see that pairing as having the muscularity or presence to change anything about our current spinal weakness.

Jagielka would bring other qualities if he were to sign for Arsenal. He does not have an ego (a trademark Wenger plus), has a good work rate, a positive attitude and a knack for digging deep to grind the best standards of play from his team mates. If he had a nastier side, a tendency to grip opposition players by the throat as the dark art masters from Inter Milan do at corners, I would be keener.

For all Arsenal transfer analysis, tactical discussions and anything else then Follow me on Twitter: @Detective82.



22 Responses to “Arsenal Transfer Analysis: Phil Jagielka”

  1. john says:

    why is everyone obsessed with height. jags is really good in the air, like vermaelen not the tallest but really good. i like cahill too, and would pay more for him due to his age and does not have the injury history. But jags is what we need he is a far better player than anyone gives him credit for. much better than the likes of mertisacker and samba which are two players no where near the level we need. you have to be good on your feet and quick to play in the arsenal team. you need to be competative and good timing of tackels to play for us which is what jags and cahill have. samba turns like a bus and the story about mertasacker i just find laughable. my friends in germany think it is a joke him being linked with arsenal. back to the height thing, we give away a fair few goals on set plays which seem to be a really big part of the prem these days. defending set plays is a team effort and one tall bloke wont solve it. we need to be more concentrated and much more copetative, organized, and react to the second ball better. most of this comes through leadership on the pitch, and i think jags, vermaelen will make a huge difference. also goal keepers are vital for this section of the game. i have faith in shnzney how ever you spell his name. in short as an arsenal fan the last thing i want is a tall bus that can not run, or turn at the heart of our team. we do not defend our 18 yard line like stoke or blackburn we push up the pitch and press. we need speed to defend counter attacks, and more leadership at set plays. but saying all this i would take anyone over squallchi.!!!!

  2. Adam says:

    I’ll be so, so disappointed if Jagielka is our centre back signing. Another centre back who’s barely 6 foot. Cahill is just such a better option, he’s a perfect fit. If it’s gonna be £12-15m for Jagielka or £17m for Cahill there SURELY has to be only one winner. Cahill is the defender that’s gonna be first choice for England for many years to come, not Jagielka.

  3. Bogz says:

    Vermaelen is our only centerback thats under 6 foot…And I don’t think Cahill would be a better fit. Jagielka is a much better defender on the ground than Cahill. And in the air, I believe the stats will prove that Jagielka edges out Cahill there too. I think there’s a little too much hype around Cahill, probably due to the fact that he’s relatively young and has had good preformances, but one can argue that Cahill was able to bve first choice due to Jagielka’s injury layoff last season. IMO, Jagielka is the best defender England has (he’s not even a real defender if you count the fact that he was a DM)

  4. henry says:

    adam what makes cahill better than jags???? i think we should get the pair of them and push vermaelen into midfield. jagielka for me anyday. better player than cahill. i hope we get one of these guys.

  5. john says:

    jagielka then cahill

  6. John Green says:

    Height means very little when a player is brave, willing to attack the ball and has a good leap. Jagielka isn’t much worse off than Sylvain Distin in the air, and he’s 6ft 4. Joseph Yobo and Joleon Lescott where pretty much on par with him in that area, and once again, alot taller.

    Signing a player who’s 6ft 3 won’t automatically solve your problem at set pieces. Organisation, leadership and bravery also comes into play, and Jags is certainly blessed in these areas. I think your problem is more deeper rooted than that, personally. He’s also quick and athletic, which would be suited to the high line Wenger favours.

    What does he lack? He’s not a natural ball playing centre half, that’s one thing I’d say, and as pointed out, he’s 28 now. That being said, Arsenal give there defenders more options in terms of movement which would help him out in that area.

    Cahill would undoubtably be the better long term option given his age, but don’t be fooled by the height of Jags. He’s no Samba in the air, but he’s perfectly capable. He doesn’t get bullied in the air.

  7. Gerry Lennon says:

    I agree with your analysis. I think two things are at play here. One, the bid here was lower than the asking price because Moyes doesn’t want to lose him, and so over-prices him.
    I also think it is a distraction from other ideas for this position. Whilst media and fans alike chatter about this, the more serious options are being carried out elsewhere.
    It is not as though this is the 28th of August and others are snapping up centrebacks. Until the Cesc thing is sorted, and the more difficult task of finding out available options there, this will be on the backburner for a while yet.

  8. ameed says:

    we need just 2 players to achieve something this year !! 1- per merasacker – 6 foot 6 , available for 13 million pounds ( 15 million euro from werder bremen ) !! and we need a reliable quick left back – aly cissokho would be the perfect choice for us ( available also for 13 million pounds ) !!! sell eboue to galatasaray for 4 million pounds , squillaci 3 million pounds , bendtner 10 million pounds , and we are done !!!

  9. GunnerMacedonia says:

    today is the 25th of july, wenger said we should expect moving on the transfer window in the end of july, but where is the progress? all i see is that bolton says we havent made an offer yet, blackburn the same, everton have experience with lescott and will resist until they get what they want … idk what is gonna happen, but i sure expect signing a central defender before the emirates cup begins, if not i believe it would take a lot of time to adapt.
    p.s. did anyone see squill`s brawl with podolski? surprised me a lot, if we stick with him, i hope he becomes more aggresive

  10. Marty Price says:

    I would hope that it would be Cahill or Samba, someone who can organize others and win in the air. Wenge has known or should know that set pieces kill the Gnners, and yet there is no movement. Don’t wee they are waiting on Barsa to buy Cesc and provide funs. Barsa does not have the 40 mil and want him on the cheap and that is why they continually tap him up. Either you do or you don’t, and I do not think Wenger has the stones to pull the trigger on either Cahill or Samba. Jagielka should stay right where he is, as this is not really an unpgrade. so all this conjecture leads us no where, and the squad is probably set…Oh yea, take the 20 mil for Nasri and run.

  11. Andy Mack says:

    Marty Price, any idea where this mythical ‘£20m for Nasri’ figure comes from (apart from the NewsRags? I can’t see anyone paying 20m for a good but inconsistant player like Nasri with only 1 year left on his contract. If it was 3 years then it would probably be more but in the last year of a contract… we didn’t get that for TH14 who had a proven history.

  12. Marty Price says:

    Andy I agree with you completely…it is assinine to quote the rags, as Arsenal do not trade/tapup or anything in public. If they can get that type of money for Nasri, let Evra pay it…sell him to ManU or whatever. The management of the team know they have to get more consistency out of the back, lets see what they do. I do not feel that Jagielka is the answer.

  13. George says:

    Wenger doesnt usually deviate from his formation in pre-season and in regular season. We can expect Vermaelen to stay in the centre instead of playing on the left, but then we would have 4 CBs with the likes of Squil, Djourou and Kos. That is a very sufficient number. Wenger doesnt look like he is looking to move Squil. He wants Bartley to gain more experience on loan but that doesnt affect the equation, we have 4 first team CBs at the club. I would not be surprised if Wenger doesnt sign any CB at the end of the day. Although the best move is to sell Squil and get Cahill.

  14. Daymee says:

    The hopes of signing a defender this summer are very slim. I’ll tell you why.
    (1) Cahill is Wenger’s most preferred option. Bolton want 17mil for a player that will walk on a Bosman in 12 months time. Arsene Wanker will NEVER ever pay even half of that for him. Why? Because when he wanted Chamakh he refused to spend more than he felt Chamakh was worth at the time. Wenger refused to budge and he made sure he paid NOTHING for Chamakh. He must think “why should he pay top dollar for Cahill when he knows he can prolly land the player on a free next year?” This is the same manager who gambled on winning the title in 2010 when he needed a striker but refused to pay money for the “then Chamakh” and this was at a time when Van Persie and our other strikers were injured. Arshavin had to play up front. That season went down the drain because Wenger refused to bring in a striker, instead opted to dig his heels in and land Chamakh on a free. In the end he landed the player on a free. But look how “shit” he is now? That’s not my point. My point is that Wenger regards strikers more than defenders. If Wenger can spend 15mil on a striker or attacking midfielder, he will NOT spend the same amount on a defender! His highest buy was Vermaelen as a defender. Forget Cahill guys, Wenger will not sign a player who can walk on a free in 12 months for any serious money. He simply will NOT do it!

    Samba? He is prolly a player that will attack balls in the air all day if in an Arsenal defence. He will be a good addition at least better than some we have there now. But will Wenger spend over 10mil for him either? There is no excuse for not having signed a defender by now. I very much doubt it will be done. I can imagine some on this blog will disagree with me but I will be back to remind you I told you so! Don’t expect any signings. Wenger will call Vermaelen a new signing before the season opens. Hard to swallow but I’ve prepared myself for the worst.

  15. RVP says:

    Was it not only a few years ago that Jagielka said Arsenal were nothing but “Cry Babies”? The centre back doesn’t have to be English, Diego Lugoan or even Diego Godin would be ideal

  16. RVP says:

    Was it not only a few years ago that Jagielka said Arsenal were nothing but “Cry Babies”? The centre back doesn’t have to be English, Diego Lugano or even Diego Godin would be ideal

  17. ibycu2187 says:

    Marty price,
    Can you show me evidence where Cahill has organized his defence at Bolton? No one has shown me yet that Cahill or Jagielka has organizational capabilities, which we desperately need.

  18. Chabbz Hettiarachchi (@chabbzh) says:

    john you clearly don’t know who per Mertasacker is. He has more experince, Power, Aerial ability, timing of tackling and awareness more than any of the other defenders linked. Apart from Alex who is most recently linked. I think they go on par. I hate Germany International football because I just hate Ballack and Klose. So I used to watch all the matches to get a kick out of the mistakes they do. Sadly for me they did not make much mistakes, at times they did which made me happy. However watching so many Germany games and the premier league. I think I can spot who the better defender is. Definetely Mertasacker no doubt.

    Jagielka shines in Everton since the only better player in that back four is Leighton Baines. However how many times did Everton Conceed last time? So why are people brainless. I don’t understand. How many times did Blackburn conceed? When it was Samba and Phil Jones. Man Utd almost failed to draw their away game thanks to them two. Definetely Samba is better than Phil. I see all out option better than phil.

    I think the best option is from all defenders linked is Alex. The only doubt in him is he is Injury prone and we do not wont more injury prone players. 2nd would be Cahil without a doubt. We got a young team. Cahill is a brilliant defender, great lad young and energatic. Third is definetely mertasacker no doubt. So I don’t understand why we are running behind Jag all the time. I do not like him. He is good enough to be a star at Everton, but not for Gunners to win trophies. I prefer having Koscielny partner Vermalen and not spent a penny on a defender rather than getting Jagielka.

  19. GunnerMacedonia says:

    @Chabbz Hettiarachchi (@chabbzh): talking about alex from chelsea? no way they will be selling their player to us, you can just forget about him. although i reckon he and vermaelen would destroy opponents

  20. mike says:


  21. Foots says:

    Bloody hell. You’re all defensive experts. Some good comments. Well thought through. Dayme has a point with the bosman issue but I’m sure Wenger will buy a defender. Someone to put in the middle when he has to stick Verm at left back. Chamack. We really need that plum Diaby to shine this season. I Hope he can step up and be consistent after all the faith AW has put in him. Arsharvin too. He’s saying good things (for once) all we need is some of his magic back. He really should play just in front of the midfield with VP. They would be awesome. Use the wings a bit more to mix it up a bit but that means that there needs to be more heads than VP’s on the box when TW or Gerv crosses. There are a whole load of attacking options for us to explore and with our passing game and movement that alone keeps us up there.
    So we used to be crap when we went to up North to Bolton or Stoke and lost to the big teams. We are better at that now. We can beat big teams but we need to beat them more, we need to be strong until the last day of the season, we need to defend set pieces better and hold on to leads or at least score more than the opposition and not crumble when they scor a couple. Finally who want to see someone with a large pair of bollocks aty Arsenal. Someone who will pick us up when we are feeling vulnerable, breed confidence and self belief. I want to see us 3-0 down and come back to win 4-3. Grit and determination. Never say never. Sometimes it’s about what a player can give you off the ball that makes him an asset to the team. Someone in the role of Samba. Imagine that giant on your team. Throwing himself at everything. Growling at you. Walking down the tunnel with him on your side. Pretty boy sexy slick going forward and rock solid die hard animal brick wall at the back. There’s my manager of the minute speech. I hope you enjoyed my vision. See you in the Bars when we win the league. I’ll buy you a drink and if your not sure what I look like i’m the one who looks like Samba.

  22. colin says:

    Chris Samba all day for me. Commands respect from opposing strikers, extreemly strong in the tackle and is a commanding prescence in the air. If you add Samba to what we already have we will rival Man u’s defence and most certainly bring home some silverware next year.


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