Wednesday, June 07, 2017

Potential departures at Arsenal for 2017-18 season

2016-17 season's done and Arsenal ended up at the fifth position in the league - their worst position in the past 2 decades. That's right, we were always in the top 4 for the past 20 years. It became so routine that fans - within and outside - started ridiculing the consistency. Wenger kept on harping that top 4 in the premier league is nothing short of a trophy in itself. Football fans ridiculed him for this statement. And now, when you see top managers like Guardiola, Klopp and Mourinho fighting for the "coveted" top 4 position, we start to realize that Wenger was way ahead of times. 

This is by no means a defense of Wenger. 

As an Arsenal fan, I admit I am disappointed. We were among the top mid season only to lose out of reckoning the way only we can do. We kept on losing and dropping points and the contenders around us kept on minting points. It reaches a virtual knockout situation and we won 10 out of last 11 games with FA Cup and a 5th position in the league. Tottenham finished above Arsenal for the first time in last 20 years, to add insult to injuries. 

But that's past now. Post that, Wenger signed a 2 year extension. That clears the air regarding the managerial position. The next step is to strengthen the squad - retaining top talent, buying those crucial elements to complete the squad and removing the fringe players. Ozil and Sanchez saga appears to continue. I want them retained. Ox is another player I want to remain with us. He can be a huge asset in the wing back position (more so if Bellerin goes back to Barcelona) and also in his preferred position of central midfield. More on this later. 
Arsenal - which players will be sold this season in transfer window
Let's talk about potential departures. Following players, I feel, might / should be allowed to let go by Arsenal - 

GK - David Ospina: No one wants to play second fiddle in a team. Petr Cech is rightfully the better player and deserves to be no 1 at Arsenal. That doesn't mean Ospina is bad. He is a great player and needs to play often. He will leave, for sure. 

Defender - Gibbs: Gibbs is a long timer at Arsenal but failed to cement the preferred left back at Arsenal. He had his moments when Cole left, but failed to fully capitalize. Wenger then bought Monreal and hasn't looked back since. Monreal can also be the backup centre back in case of injuries or rotation. The only issue with Monreal is his age and Arsenal needed a young left back to compete. Enter Kolasinac. Sadly, that means Gibbs has to leave. 

Defender - Debuchy: Debuchy just didn't fit in at Arsenal. He was expected to replace outgoing Sagna. What made matters worse for Debuchy was the resurgence of Bellerin as the first choice right back. Add injuries and you have a player who hardly made a name for himself at Arsenal. He will leave Arsenal, maybe to France.  

Midfielder - Wilshere: Sometimes you need to make a decision you don't like. Maybe it will end up being a bad decision. But something's got to give. Personally, I am a big fan of Wilshere when in full form. His goal against Norwich is a goal for the ages. His passion for Arsenal is unparalleled. He used to be Wenger's blue eyed boy. I always felt he will truly replace Cazorla and be the future captain of Arsenal. But that is yet to happen. Injuries played a huge part. He had a productive season playing for Bournemouth as a loanee until injured, again. Arsenal needs to let him leave. For his benefit, for his future and for his career. 

Forward - Perez: I made a mistake analyzing Perez' arrival at Arsenal last year. I expected Perez to compete with Giroud for the lone strikers role. Wenger used Sanchez instead. And the plan worked. For Arsenal, not for Perez. Maybe Wenger thought of Perez as a backup option for Sanchez and Giroud. Then Welbeck came back from injury and Perez lost out. It completely backfired for Perez who now wants to leave (and rightfully so). His departure will be a loss to Arsenal, but has to happen. Perez, thank you for that amazing hat-trick in champions league. 

Forward - Sanogo: He didn't fulfill his promises, got injured, contract ends in June this year and will leave. It didn't work out. All the best to Yaya. 

Other players who can be considered in possible departure list include Coquelin (especially if Xhaka cements his position in midfield, Walcott (lots of promises but lacks consistency) , Bellerin (not sure if he has it in him to reject Barcelona). 

Let's see how ruthless Wenger will be in the transfer window. Until next time. 

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