Arsene Wenger, speaking like a man who will be in charge come the summer, believes Arsenal will not require wholesale changes but some additions to strengthen the squad, however he hinted there will be exits claiming ‘a bigger squad is impossible’.
The Gunners look likely to miss out on Champions League football next season even if they manage to win their last two remaining games against Sunderland and Everton, and while Wenger will find this difficult to comprehend after 21 seasons of finishing in the top four, he claimed there will be no need to rip apart the team.
There is still no official word on whether the Arsenal boss will remain in charge come the summer with his current contract set to expire, but you cannot help but feel an extension is almost certainly likely to happen.
Pressed on the size of his squad ahead of a must-win tie at home to Sunderland, Wenger alluded to the fact the group of players at his dispense is large at present, which signals a clear intent to clear some players out this summer as they look to strengthen the squad in the upcoming transfer window.
“We have a very big squad at the moment that is already difficult enough to manage,” the Frenchman said (via Daily Star). “A bigger squad is impossible.”
“If we finish outside the top four, it will maybe be down to one point,” he added.
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“One point would be difficult to swallow but that should not as well change the judgment on the quality of the team to a way where you think you have absolutely to change everything.
“It will mean just keep the same focus to try to strengthen the squad. We know where it has to be and that’s what the club will have to do.”
A deal for Sead Kolasinac seems tied up, which means the end for either Nacho Monreal or Kieran Gibbs, probably the latter given he is out of contract in 2018 and has struggled to surpass Monreal who also offers some versatility to play in central defence.
The Gunners seriously require an established and exciting centre forward whether Alexis Sanchez stays or goes, while Mesut Ozil’s future is in serious doubt given his history in contract negotiations.
Elsewhere, the futures of several key players remain up in the air with Aaron Ramsey and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain still yet to agree fresh terms with the club, while Lucas Perez seems almost certain to depart in the summer after struggling to break into the lineup and even missing the match day squad despite returning to full fitness.
Arsenal have a huge summer ahead with plenty of ‘outs’ and hopefully many exciting ‘ins’ as the transfer window draws closer. It looks as if Arsene Wenger will inevitably take the reigns for one more season at least to challenge for the title with an improved and leaner squad.