With once again a transfer deadline approaching, it has been quite clear to see that Wenger is removing dead wood from the first team selection. While Alexandre Lacazette and Sead Kolašinac joined the club, the Arsenal transfer news has mainly been about leaving players. Wojciech Szczesny left the club, along with Gabriel Paulista, John Toral, Yaya Sanogo and a number of other players. It is also expected that Lucas Perez might be on his way back to Spain to rejoin Deportivo. I actually think it is understandable though, and I even think more should be leaving. Here’s my view on the current first team squad, and what should or should not happen in the next week if you ask me. Let’s see if you agree with me.
The goalkeeper position
Petr Cech has been untouchable for the past few seasons. And understandably so. He is top quality and brings a lot of experience into the team. However, I think he is not as consistent as he should be. Also, he is not getting any younger. He has been brilliant at times, but on the other side he has conceded a number of unnecessary goals as well. Same goes for David Ospina. You want a goalkeeper to always score at least a 7 out of 10. Both men score a 10 in one game, a 4 in another game. Let’s give them both the benefit of the doubt for now, but one more inconsistent season, and decisions will have to be made. Especially with Szczesny leaving on a transfer to Juventus as well, who has done okay in Italy for the past few seasons. The Polish stalwart might well have been good competition for the current two goalkeepers.
The centre back position
What everyone could see as well was that we were lacking in the central defender position at Stoke, forcing Wenger to play Monreal as a centre back. The Spaniard has done that before, but it is clear that it’s not his actual position. However, the 3-defender formation has been an interesting project so far though and I do understand Gabriel was not going to have a lot of playing time in that formation. If Koscielny and Mertesacker are also available, he would be the third choice centre back, with Rob Holding also breathing down his neck. With Holding more likely to settle for a third-choice role, it’s easy to understand why Gabriel was allowed a transfer. And yes, I have also read the rumours regarding Virgil van Dijk. It would be a massive signing but I don’t think there is any truth in these rumours. If the Dutchman is to leave, I really expect him to go to Liverpool. I wouldn’t mind being wrong in the end though…
The wing back positions
A similar situation is happening at both the left and right back positions. In the new formation, It is expected that Kolašinac will be first choice on the left followed by Monreal, where Mustafi and Bellerín will battle it out for the right side. A number of players who can also play at that position will no longer be needed. Think of Mathieu Debuchy for example. The Frenchman has never been a first choice and has also been loaned out before. With him being the third choice on the right it might be best for him to leave the club. It would save us a lot of wage budget and it will also benefit his career if he goes somewhere where he will actually play. As Callum Chambers is still relatively young I would keep him as a backup for when an injury might occur at either right back or centre back. Kieran Gibbs has been very loyal to Arsenal, but if I were him I would consider a transfer, or at least a loan move. He needs to play as well and is likely to be set for another season of minimal playing time.
The midfield positions
The midfield is currently well-staffed if you ask me. There is enough depth to cover all but the worst injury crisis. The defensive work can be done by Coquelin, Elneny and if needed Xhaka. The Swiss can also play in a more central role or even an attacking role, where Mesut Özil, Aaron Ramsey, Santi Cazorla and Jack Wilshere are also available. In the new formation there is room for more midfielders than before, so this is reasonable depth. Only thing that will remain to be seen is whether every one of these players will accept a certain rotation from time to time. Although I still think of hime more as a winger, The Ox might also be in the mix for the midfield positions.
Wenger has a fair share of wingers to pick from. He can opt for Oxlade-Chamberlain or Walcott on the right, with Ainsley Maitland-Niles a third choice when needed due to suspension or injury. On the left you can pick Alexis or Iwobi, or maybe even Danny Welbeck. During pre-season, we have also been seeing Reiss Nelson in that position but I don’t think he will be featuring a lot in the coming season. A loan move might benefit him though. Several rumours have been doing their rounds though regarding a possible signing of Julian Draxler. I think that might be a great addition. The German left winger is thought to be unhappy with his current situation at PSG and might be available for around 32 million pounds. If I were Wenger, I’d try to get him. However, the Frenchman is expected to only make a move if Alexis will leave Arsenal. It would be a decent choice to fill Alexis’ shoes if the Chilean does decide to move away from the club before the transfer deadline.
Last but not least, the strikers
No need for fresh faces here. I am still buzzing from us signing Alexandre Lacazette. Let’s hope he can really bring what we were lacking up front. And if he’s not having a good day or is suspended or injured, it’s still a nice thought that we can always bring Olivier Giroud. Third choice in that position would be Danny Welbeck, but to be honest I am not sure what we should do. Welbeck has always been a positive character to have around, but with his injury record to date I doubt if he will ever be a real threat to Giroud and Lacazette. If he can settle for third choice it’s fine with me, if not he should leave. We can always throw Chuba Akpom on. He is yet to prove himself but I don’t see any reason why we should not give him a chance. Missing someone? Correct. I have not even taken Lucas Pérez into consideration. I really expect him to leave within next week. He has never had a decent chance with us, and I doubt if he would ever will should he stay. If I were him, I would definitely leave too.