The silly season has begun. Transfer rumours are flooding in thick and fast, the only thing missing is the mandatory Cesc Fabregas link.
It’s not difficult to see why however. Arsene Wenger, likely in charge for his 20th and final season at the club, has some serious rebuilding to do especially should a few players be put on the market.
Let’s start with the players out of contract. Mikes Arteta, Mathieu Flamini and Tomas Rosicky are all destined to leave Emirates this season. All three of the over-30’s have hardly featured this campaign. Mathieu Debuchy seems certain to be moving on, his injury woes continue as the Frenchman is set to miss Euro 2016 with a thigh injury he picked up on loan at Bordeaux (via Daily Mail).
When we dig even deeper there are some serious questions to be asked of the futures of a couple of individuals who, for the right price, could be sold this summer. Theo Walcott and Olivier Giroud have been touted as potential players to be sold this summer, while Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain has been linked with a return to former club Southampton.
Danny Welbeck’s long term injury is another serious consideration and only reinforces the need for a striker/s this summer. Wenger knows as much and will certainly make this position one of his priorities in the off-season.
Then there’s the final layer and perhaps the worst-case scenario. Arsenal’s two biggest stars Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Özil face contract negotiations this summer, and after Arsenal’s disappointing league campaign, questions have been asked of their allegiance to the club after familiar failings. Hopefully new bumper deals and the promise of some heavy transfer spending can be enough to convince them to sign the dotted line.
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Additionally, David Ospina and Per Mertesacker’s futures aren’t set in stone either. Both are on the fringes at the club, but would be wise try our best to keep them as they are very useful, established squad players.
So let’s look at the likely departures this summer:
Out: Arteta, Flamini, Rosicky, Debuchy, Walcott, Campbell & Ospina
We can supplement the loss of some of these players with a few rising stars from the academy, while Granit Xhaka seems an inevitable purchase to bolster the engine room. Wojciech Szczesny will probably be brought back into the fray and be Petr Cech’s understudy.
Ideally 5-6 players are needed.
Centre back:– Mertesacker is on the decline, Gabriel is far from the finished article and Chambers has rarely featured and looks primed to provide backup at right back. We need to start planning for the future and not place our hopes on Chambers alone who could benefit from a season on loan next term. We need someone in the John Stones mould who is promising and would benefit from training and plying his trade alongside a strong defensive unit.
Right Back: Carl Jenkinson has returned to the club and could be earmarked as Hector Bellerin’s backup next season with Calum Chambers as another option. The difficult campaign under Slaven Bilic at West Ham United has thrown into question Jenkinson’s ability to compete at the top level. Ideally we need someone established who can compete with Bellerin and act as a bit of a mentor. Someone like Debuchy but who actually wants to be at the club.
Midfielder: Losing Arteta, Rosicky and Flamini leaves a gaping hole in the experience department. But that just means Santi Cazorla, Ozil and to some extent Aaron Ramsey need to step into their boots. Granit Xhaka’s signing will help to sure up the box to box, combative department with Francis Coquelin and Mohamed Elneny the other options. It’s unlikely Wenger will be buying any others with Wilshere also in the mix.
Winger: The emergence of Alex Iwobi has really made it difficult for Joel Campbell to get a look in now. The Costa Rican has actually performed very well when called upon and is a very useful squad player. But it’s clear Oxlade-Chamberlain (when fit) and Iwobi are further ahead in the managers thinking than Campbell that could force him to move on this summer. Wenger would be wise not to rely on The Ox or Iwobi this campaign however, while Walcott seems likely to move meaning we need at least one winger, two if Campbell leaves.
Luxury signing – Versatile No 10: If a player like Mario Götze or Marco Reus became available, they’d be excellent signings that could not only cover Mesut Özil in the hole but add versatility to the wider areas. Don’t see it happening, but with all the cash available and room in the squad it would be a smart decision.
Striker: Don’t even need to elaborate too much on this really. The one position that needs serious investment. One top class centre forward will be enough to supplement Olivier Giroud next season, however a young up and comer wouldn’t go amiss who could get some minutes from the wing.
Do you think we’re missing anything else Gooners? Share your thoughts below…