The roster at Arsenal is in definite need of a spring clean after what can only be described as a failed season, a club as big as Arsenal needs to be in the champions league every season to thrive. However, this has been the first season in a while where I think the gunners lack the ammunition to compete on the European stage.
The way I look at the window so far, is that Arsenal can’t do any worse business that letting Ramsey go for free. Before his recent injury, he was the heart of the midfield and looked to be what was missing for Arsenal, he brought a presence to the midfield which is absent with Xhaka and Elneny. However, you can’t blame him for swapping domestic football in rainy London for European football in Sunny Italy.
So far Emery has also riddled some dead wood. Danny Welbeck never reached his full potential and his 70,000 a week wage bill will be a weight off Emery’s shoulders. Peter Cech never performed for Arsenal like he did at Chelsea, where he became one of the best in the world in between the posts, and his departure will give an opportunity for Leno to get more pitch time. After only making 23 appearances in his first and last season, full-back Stephan Lichtsteiner has been released, a signing that raised many eyebrows in North London and a player many Arsenal fans won’t be too sad to see the back of.
To further the released players, a few of the starting 11 from last season can’t feel safe.
There has been a lot of speculation surrounding Mesut Ozil and his future at the Emirates. Emery first began by telling him “it may be best for you to leave the club” and his girlfriend has made it apparent she wants him to return to Turkey. Ozil managed fewer than 30 starts this season, his worst yet at Arsenal.
In my opinion, I think it’s time for him to go, when he is playing well, he is one of the best in the world at taking the ball from the midfield and finding the runs of Aubameyang and Lacazette. However this season he has looked seriously disinterested, scoring 5 goals and getting 2 assists in the Premier League this season.
Racking in 350,000 a week, Ozil is Arsenal’s top earner, so selling him would free up over a million pounds a week to invest in other players and better contracts for current players who are committed to the team and invest in players that aren’t ‘luxury’ footballer and are willing to graft Arsenal back to the champions league.
I also think it’s time for Mustafi and Xhaka to move on. Mustafi’s calamities have become all too apparent this season and he is not Champion’s League quality. His man on man defending is very poor and he always loses his man on set pieces, for example all three of Palace’s goals in arsenal’s 3-2 loss to Crystal Palace featured a mistake from the German Centre back.
Swiss defensive midfielder Granit Xhaka also doesn’t offer Arsenal enough to warrant his £90,000 a week wage. Arsenal never really replaced Patrick Viera in the defensive midfield role, and Xhaka definitely isn’t the man for the job. This season Xhaka made 52 tackles in 29 appearances. Compare this to Watford’s Abdoulaye Doucoure, who has made twice the appearances as Xhaka this season, but made 160 tackles, boasting a 62% tackle rate compared to Xhaka’s 56%.
Rumours around the red side of North London is that Unai Emery has been allocated just £40 million to bolster the squad this summer, which in the current market won’t go far.
Here are the three players I think Arsenal need in the summer to return to the top of English and European football:
The central midfielder is currently playing for Watford, and impressed all season with dominating performances. He is what I think Arsenal has been missing for a long time. Torreira appeared to fill this void at the start of the season but has seemed to have lost his form. Doucoure’s ability to influence the game in the defensive third and create chances in the final third is something no current Arsenal midfielder has the ability to do, scoring 13 goals, creating 9 assists and boasting a 62% tackle completion rate.
The Ajax left back impressed many with his performances in the champions league and has earned himself a spot in the Argentinian national squad after his first full season in Holland. Ageing Nacho Moneral is set to make a shock move to Barcelona and Sead Kolasinac has shown his defensive weaknesses this season and ill-discipline in the wing back role meaning Arsenal has another gap to plug.
Tagliafico’s burst of pace twinned with his level head and 2.4 tackle per game average would make him a great addition to Arsenal’s back line. But he could take a sizable chunk out of the £40 million budget.
In a dream world, as an Arsenal fan, I’d love to see Wilfried Zaha move across the capital, but he would be way too pricey for Emery to even enquire about him.
So the next best thing, Nicholas Pepe, scored an impressive 22 goals in 38 games for LOSC Lille in France this season, and at 24 the Ivory Coast international still has his best years ahead of him.
Arsenal have a catalogue of young, flashy French players who have come and gone, however Nicholas Pepe looks like he has what Arsenal need’s to send them back up the premier league table.
What do you make of these thoughts? Let us know in the comments below!