The Summer Ahead

by Adam Dreyfuss

Arsenal Football Club. When you say those three words, what comes to most people’s minds is a legendary team who were once of the most dominant teams in England.

They’ll probably remember the season where Arsenal went an entire Premier League campaign without losing a match. They think of legends like Thierry Henry, Tony Adams, Dennis Bergkamp, Patrick Vieira, and Ian Wright.

Nowadays this once amazing team is in a constant state of disappointing their fans, finishing either third or fourth every year.

This season could be the worst season since Arsene Wenger took charge back in the mid-1990s, as they will likely finish behind bitter rivals Tottenham (last time that happened was 1995) and even worse, they will see Leicester City win the Premier League.

While every other Premier League team seems to be going forwards towards a title, Arsenal seem to be going in reverse. Leicester are about to win the League. Tottenham have a talented, young team with a great manager in charge.

Manchester City have an abundance of wealth and are about to have the best manager in the world in Pep Guardiola take over.

Manchester United are likely to have Jose Mourinho, who knows how to win in England, takeover. West Ham are moving into a new stadium and are attracting talent to their team.

Liverpool have Jurgen Klopp in charge and are already showing a lot of improvement. Chelsea will be able to pull of good signings this summer under new boss Antonio Conte. Arsenal on the other hand, aren’t looking like they will be making many strides soon.

It is time for change for Arsenal, and this summer there needs to be a lot of player movement, whether it be players coming in or going out. Here is what should happen with a breakdown by position.

Goalkeepers

Petr Cech – Keep

Cech has arguably been one of the league’s best keepers this season and he exudes class and leadership.

David Ospina – Keep

Ospina has been reliable when called upon this season (apart from his shocker against Olympiakos).

Wojciech Szczesny – Sell

Szczesny has been with Arsenal for a while but his attitude and somewhat lackluster performances in the past should be a red flag.

Emiliano Martinez – Sell

He simply has not developed into a good enough goalie for Arsenal.

Left-Backs

Nacho Monreal – Keep

In my opinion, Nacho has been the best left-back in the Premier League this season at attacking and defending.

Kieran Gibbs – Keep

He might not be of first team quality for Arsenal, but he is certainly good enough to be a quality backup LB.

Right-Backs

Hector Bellerin – Keep

Hector made it into the Premier League team of the season and at only 21 years old, he should be made a priority for the future.

Calum Chambers – Keep

He has been unconvincing, but he’s still very young and he should be able to develop into a good RB for the future.

Mathieu Debuchy – Sell

What an awful signing he’s been. He was beaten to his position by an unexperienced teenager last year, and he showed no fight to reclaim the position.

Carl Jenkinson – Keep

He’s not a bad RB and for a third-choice one he’d be quality.

Center-Backs

Laurent Koscielny – Keep

He has been a fantastic CB these past few seasons and he’s looked like a real leader in defense this year.

Per Mertesacker – Keep

He’s no longer good enough to be a starter for Arsenal, but he has great leadership and would be a good option if someone were to get injured.

Gabriel – Sell

What was Wenger thinking when he signed this guy? He can’t speak English and that shows as well as his lack of maturity on the pitch.

Central Defensive Midfielders

Francis Coquelin – Keep

He plays with the most passion out of anybody on the team, and he is arguably the most important player to the team. He should also be named captain next season as he continues to look like a real leader on the team and is constantly instructing others and telling them how to improve.

Mohamed ElNeny – Keep

What a signing he’s been this season. A truly good signing and he’s shown great composure since arriving in January.

Mikel Arteta – Coaching Role

He shouldn’t be sold, nor should he still be playing next year. Simply, he should be on the coaching staff next year due to his great leadership on the field and his diminishing ability.

Mathieu Flamini – Release

Simple. He is awful.

Isaac Hayden – Loan

He’s on loan at Hull City this year and he still looks like he has some talent in him. A loan spell should do him wonders next year.

Central Midfielders

Aaron Ramsey – Keep

Although he hasn’t had a good year, he is still of immense quality. Remember two years ago when he was one of the best players in the league?

Jack Wilshere – Sell

Yes, he’s Arsenal through and through but he’s always injured and he’s always getting in trouble off the field. He may be talented, but he should be sold for a pretty penny.

Wingers

Alexis – Keep

World Class player. Should not be allowed to leave in the summer.

Theo Walcott – Sell

He’s been with Arsenal for 10 years and all he’s done is have 6 good months of form, get injured again and again, and grow a beard.

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain – Loan

What’s wrong with Ox? He’s a good young talent but he hasn’t put it all together. A loan spell would do him wonders.

Joel Campbell – Sell

I love Joel Campbell, and I think he should be given more time in the first team, but he seems unhappy at Arsenal.

Alex Iwobi – Keep

Big 45 has burst onto the scene and he is a future star. No doubt in my mind that he will be a great player in the future.

Wellington Silva – Release

He can’t make it into the Bolton team. Release him.

Serge Gnabry – Loan

Another talented youngster. A loan spell where he features in the first team would do wonders for his potential.

Attacking Midfielders

Mesut Ozil – Keep

Statistically he had the best creative year in PL history, breaking the record for most chances created in a single season (137).

Santi Cazorla – Keep

Santi may have been injured this season, but he is still a great player. Keep him around and you have a creative genius and wizard.

Jon Toral – Release

He hasn’t become the player he was supposed to, and he needs a fresh start elsewhere.

Strikers

Olivier Giroud – Sell

He’s had an absolute shocker of a second half to the season, and he’s proven that he should no longer be at the club.

Danny Welbeck – Keep

Although he’s not the best finisher his creativity and movement doesn’t go unnoticed on the pitch.

Yaya Sanogo – Sell

Sanogo isn’t anywhere near good enough for Arsenal.

Chuba Akpom – Loan

He’s looked pretty good while at loan at Hull, and another loan could potentially see him in the first team.

Manager

Arsene Wenger – Force into retirement.

He’s too much of a legend to fire, but he’s not a good manager anymore. We need a fresh start.

Signings

Center-Back Options

Kostas Manolas – AS Roma
Kalidou Koulibaly – Napoli
Samuel Umtiti – Olympique Lyonnais

Best Option – Kalidou Koulibaly

He’s a great player and this year he almost helped guide Napoli to the Serie A title. Defensively he’s fast enough to compete with strikers on the ground. He’s tall enough to win aerial battles, and he’s strong enough to push players off the ball.

Central Midfielder Options

Granit Xhaka – Borussia Monchengladbach
N’Golo Kante – Leicester City

Best Option – Granit Xhaka

He’s more of a defensive type of midfielder, but he should be able to complement Coquelin in the midfield. He’s still good going forward, but his biggest downside is his anger, which he sometimes has a hard time controlling on the pitch.

Winger Options

James Rodriguez – Real Madrid
Leroy Sane – FC Schalke
Sofiane Feghouli – Valencia

Best Option – James Rodriguez

Rodriguez will likely be leaving Real Madrid in the summer and it would do Arsenal a world of good if they signed him. He is a world class talent and possesses the ability to rival those of Alexis and Ozil.

Striker Options

Alexandre Lacazette – Olympique Lyonnais
Mauro Icardi – Inter Milan
Pierre Emerick Aubameyang – Borussia Dortmund

Best Option – Mauro Icardi

He is a great young player who is already one of the best strikers in Serie A. He also possessed one of the best shot to goal conversion rates in Europe’s top-six leagues.

Other Players to Try and Sign

Harrison Reed – Southampton
Adrien Rabiot – PSG
Rolando Aarons – Newcastle United

Manager – Ronald Koeman

Since taking over at Southampton last year, Koeman has taken a team that was destined for relegation to one of the better teams in the Premier League. Also, due to him being Dutch and his relationship with Dutch soccer, don’t be surprised if he would be able to lure a bunch of the young promising Dutch players to Arsenal.

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