Arsenal picked up their first away points of 2018 and ensured Arsene Wenger was to leave football in winning style. However, aside from the fantastic memories the Frenchman will leave behind, the atmosphere at the Emirates is far from happy.
Arsenal ended the season in 6th place, their worst finish under Wenger and without a trophy to show for their lack of thereat in the Premier League. Taking a look at the squad, it’s clear to see where the issue lies and no matter how good the attack looks at times, with an excellent home record of scoring goals, it’s the leaky defence which has all too often let the Gunners down.
So with a new manager coming in, and new backroom staff too, it’ll be exciting for the fans to see which players will be coming through, but even more exciting to see which ones are being let go. I’m sure if you asked Arsenal fans today which players they want to see the back of, a few names will certainly pop up on a majority of those lists.
Starting the summer clear out at the Emirates, here’s the players who will be packing their bags as soon as the window opens.
The German defender entered the Premier League as an extreme promising signing, having played for Valencia and was in Germany’s World Cup winning squad in 2014. This season, he’s been a shadow of his former self as he struggled with the very basics, making errors that lead to goals on a consistent basis.
The saving grace for the 24-year-old is indeed his age and former manager Wenger believed Mustafi has the ability to become a better player. “He is a young defender who has had ups and downs. I believe overall he has potential. He is one of the guys who is committed and goes for the challenges”, said Wenger quoted by The Independent.
Whether the new manager will see a similar stance remains to be seen, especially as he’s been omitted from Germany’s World Cup squad this year, but in my opinion, Mustafi’s time is up.
The back-up keeper who should have really replaced a clearly over-the-hill Petr Cech as first choice, will be eager to seek pastures new at a club that will value him. The Colombian keeper is Arsenal’s cup choice and with exits from every competition, he didn’t get much game time.
Surprisingly, Cech’s poor form didn’t allow Ospina to take rank and this will be disappointing for the Colombia star. There’s rumours of him heading back to South America and depending on circumstances, he might well take it.
“Boca are one of the biggest clubs, not only in South America but in the world. You always keep the door open to the possibility of joining a club like that,” Ospina commented for The Sun.
With Cech very much a major part of Arsenal’s squad and with no reason for him to leave, Ospina could be tempted to head for the exit door.
Arsenal’s main man in the centre of the field, Aaron Ramsey is subject to a big-money move away from the club he’s been at for the last 10 years. The Welshman has improved his game incredibly, going from being a bit player to one of the first names on the team sheet.
His skill and goalscoring ability makes him a standout player but his contract is due to run out next season. With no Champions League football yet again and a manager who may not make things better, the 27-year-old might not stick around.
You wouldn’t blame him as he’s hitting the peak of his career and in fairness, Arsenal’s new manager could bring about funds for him.
Speaking of funds, there’s one player who will definitely cost a fair penny in today’s transfer market and that’s 23-year-old Hector Bellerin. Perhaps a shock entry but there have been rumours of late of a bid from Juventus coming up in the coming months and there’s been some interest from Manchester United. Bellerin was subject to a summer of transfer to Barcelona all of last season but reaffirmed his desire to stay at London time and time again – this time, he reiterated to the Evening Standard. “I’ve got a long contract, I have been in London for a very long time; this is what I call my home right now.”
The Spaniard has been heavily criticised this year due to a poor defensive performance and his attacking skills have left a lot to be desired. If the right-back will move on from the Emirates, whether it’s his choice or not, it’ll come as a shock as there’s no real replacement for the young star. Yet, if Arsenal can make some severe funds from his departure, I can very well see Bellerin making a move abroad.
Arsenal will be under the watchful eye of every Gunners fan as the search for a new manager goes on. Whoever comes in will have to make sure the squad are at the best yet to be able to close the gap on the top four and be a competitive force in all competitions. The defence will surely be the priority but making sure key players stay as well as removing deadwood and unhappy players from the club will be pivotal. It’ll make for the most exciting summer yet.