With Aaron Ramsey, Petr Cech and Danny Welbeck leaving Arsenal next month, there may be more players walking towards the exit door after them. The stance that the squad isn’t of sufficient quality to compete for the top of the Premier League and that an overhaul is badly needed can hardly be argued against at this point, especially given that the Gunners failed to beat Brighton and Hove Albion at the Emirates on Sunday and have practically lost all hope of finishing within the top four.
There is of course, the hope of qualifying for next season’s Champions League through this season’s Europa League, but there are still a few hurdles on that path as well. Nonetheless, that must be the main focus of manager Unai Emery and his team for what remains of the 2018/19.
After that, it’s business time in terms of transfers. Who will go, who will stay, who will come in? Apart from the cases of Ramsey, Cech and Welbeck, those questions cannot be answered with any certainty at this point.
But media outlets, as is their wont, have their own ideas about it. For example, Goal.com believe that Arsenal are looking to secure the funds for new signings by selling Mesut Ozil and Henrikh Mkhitaryan. Many stories have been told about Ozil recently, and he is definitely one of the players whose future is unclear. He has been playing much less than he would have liked to, but since injury ended Ramsey’s 11-year spell with the club, the German’s influence in the team has grown somewhat. Whether that will be enough to convince Emery or not, remains to be seen.
But if Ozil does leave the club, it makes very little sense to allow Mkhitaryan to leave as well. He may have had an injury-hit season, but the Armenian is certainly a high quality player that needs to be given a proper go in the team.
The report also says Stephan Lichtsteiner will leave the club, and that is a much more believable claim. The Swiss international has proved himself incapable of doing a job even as a squad player, and whenever he was on the pitch, the defence looked a shambles. Even more than usual.
As for incoming transfers, it’s painfully obvious that a quality centre-back must be at the top of the list.