I remember saying before last season started that Arsenal had one of the strongest squads in the Premier League, in form of depth and individual skill. Maybe only behind City. I believe that to be true now as well, only a bit further behind City.
So, I don’t think we need an overhaul of the squad at all. Far more players should go out than come in, because as I mentioned in the previous post, we currently have an excess of squad players. And with Szczesny and Wilshere coming back, it’s like two new signings.
Now, for the sake of the discussion and the fact that no one will know for a while, I presume and dearly hope Alexis, Özil, Szczesny, Wilshere, Ramsey and Chamberlain all sign new contracts. It will be the toughest but most important job for Arsenal this summer, because they’re all important players, who will need replacements if failed to keep.
Arsenal would be wise to move out their unessential players now. The ones who are simply not needed, not good enough, or wants more playing time, to prevent a squad too big to manage, and to actually gain money from their transfers while still on contract.
Players such as Jenkinson, Debuchy, Campbell and Lucas are the most obvious ones to go. Other players who would not be needed and should be let go are Ospina, Martinez, Gibbs, Elneny and possibly Walcott or Welbeck. I say Walcott or Welbeck because Arsenal have neglected signing a striker for too long now, and a new top shelf centre- forward should be done this summer. If this finally happens, I don’t see much room for one of Walcott or Welbeck, especially not if Wenger plans to continue using the successful 3-4-3 system without wingers.
Holding has been so impressive that he’s moved ahead of Chambers in the centre back hierarchy. It would be a good idea to loan Chambers out for another season, and reevaluated his position in a year, when Mertesacker possibly retires as his contract then expires.
With those players gone, Szczesny and Wilshere back, and a new striker, Arsenal would have a first team squad of 22 players. Slightly smaller than last season’s squad, but much stronger. We should not forget exciting prospects such as Bielik, Bramall, Bennacer, Dragomir, Zelalem, Maitland- Niles, Crowley, Mavididi and Nelson, who could be leaned on if needed, and could get a couple of matches throughout the season as well.
Szczesny and Wilshere would effectively replace Ospina and Elneny with greater importance to the first team. New signing Kolasinac seems to be a clear upgrade from Gibbs, and a challenge for Monreal. A top striker, such as Mbappé or Lacazette, would surely be a better candidate than injury- prone Welbeck or winger Walcott.
This proposal has the best possible outcome for Arsenal to take the important steps forward after taken a step backwards last season, and for the club’s ambition to properly challenge for the top titles. It results in two new signings (Kolasinac and new striker) and nine departures from the club this summer. From the departing players, the club would accumulate roughly 50 million by my calculations. That’s not bad for unessential players, who would only play a handful of matches. And it would pay nearly half of Mbappé’s price…
My next post will be about Szczesny and Wilshere, and why they should be given new contracts this summer, with reassurance of a significant role in the team and its future.