With Unai still not due to speak to the assembled press for another few hours as I write this, I started to think about next season and regardless of whether we secure Champions League football next year or not, who I think will be ‘in the bin’ in the summer.
This list, I might add, is not really a list of players I don’t like. It is a list of footballers who I think the club will decide have very little time in their Arsenal career left. In fact for some of these players I probably even disagree that they should be binned by the club. But with changes needed and surely some exits required to boost our supposedly empty coffers I have a feeling that we’ll see the following players leave for one reason or the other.
I’ve not included the obvious ones here by the way. Ramsey we know is going, for example, so is Cech and Ospina. I also think Lichtsteiner is goner too. Surely. The rest I still believe is up for debate.
Kind of an obvious start but he’s a peripheral player who whilst he hasn’t exactly been bad this season, the club have been trying to oust for a few years, but with his wages it’s been tough. I suspect they’ll move him on in the summer whether he, we, or anybody likes it. And I don’t think it’s the worst thing in the world. I think he can forge a good career elsewhere and I hope he does.
I know his contract is up in the summer and he hasn’t kicked a ball, but it’s still not 100% that he will go this summer, not from what you read. But I think Arsenal will look at his wages, look at his age and injury profile of the last few years and rather than keep him on a new deal for a couple of years, I suspect they’ll look at the £90k-per-week odd that he’s on and think it can be reinvested elsewhere. I just have a feeling on it. They’re being pragmatic and I think they know that there isn’t a lot of ‘wiggle room’ with the squad so I think given what they did with Ramsey in taking that deal off the table, Welbz will be moved on by virtue of the fact that no new deal will be forthcoming.
Not featuring much these days, doesn’t offer that much offensively and isn’t really that great defensively, plus he’s at an age where we could probably get enough money for a mid table team to go for him at a decent price. If you get £10-£15million for him then you’ve made a wee bit of profit on his original purchase price and that can be added to the kitty for the summer. Seems quite an obvious one for me and I know many of you lot probably feel the same.
I like Nacho. He’s been great for us and his versatility has been very useful in recent years. But I get the feeling Emery wants another left back and Kolasinac’s form suggests he isn’t going anywhere any time soon. That only leaves one answer for Nacho and that’s to say our goodbyes and let him move on. Again, I’m not sure whether it’s the right decision or not, it’s just a gut feel I have about what the club will do in the summer and at 32 going on 33 he seems like a prime target for the exit door. It’s not so much about getting a few as I suspect it is freeing up some space in the squad.
I’mnot one for the gnashing of teeth when it comes to Mustafi. He makes mistakes, more than most it feels like, but I suspect he’ll be moved on by the manager because of other options available to us. If you think about it we need to generate cash through sales this summer. We won’t get much from Koscielny, Sokratis only signed in the summer last year and I think has had a better season, whilst the young players of Holding and Mavropanos are surely expected to make a future impact. That gives us four players who will surely be in the team next season. If Chambers comes back and replaces Elneny he can also act as a better option at centre half and if Monreal also moves on then we will need that versatile player like Chambers to play minutes.
So why do I think Mustafi will go? Not because the club think he’s a clown, but because he’s of an age where he can still command a half decent fee and if we got north of £20million I suspect the club will jump at the chance.
This is an interesting one because as much as I think Unai likes him, I think the pragmatism of his wages will see the club look to move on. If you’ve got a player on £200k+ per-week they need to be a star and Mkhi isn’t really that. If he was on half that money I suspect the club would keep him but given that they were telling Özil to ‘do one’ in January, I suspect they might be looking at the same for the Armenian too.
But here’s the thing; I think Özil and Milho’s futures are linked. I think only one will go in the summer and that’s why I’m not putting Özil in this collective of players. I know that might sound strange given the club we’re briefing the world that they were willing to let him move on, but I think with everything calming down a bit added to the fact that on his wages the club simply can’t move him on as there doesn’t seem much interest, that Özil might stay.
I’ve made no secret of the fact that I’m a big Özil fan and of course I’d love him to stay. I couldn’t see it happening a few weeks ago but the fact he dug his heels in, the fact the manager and player seem to have come to some sort of accord, plus the fact that they might be able to offload Mkhi in the summer, night just mean Özil gets a stay of execution in terms of his Arsenal future. At least for another season anyway.
It’s all guesswork of course but I suspect the club might even feel like they’re forced in to keeping him rather than binning him. They’ll certainly not thank Ivan and his management of the club for that.
That’s my main list. I’ve not counted any loan moves as I suspect that list could make this a rather long blog – it’s already longer than I usually do anyway – so that’s players like Nketiah, Willock et al, but I do think that might be the sum of the outgoings. If you look at that list itself it suggests nine players in total if you include those leaving because they’re out of contract.
That leaves quite a bit of work for the manager to be doing. My guess is that two or three positions might be filled up by some younger players getting more game time, but I still think there will need to be at least four coming in during the summer in order to ensure we aren’t too weakened compared to this season’s squad.
I’ve seen discussions over potentially selling one or two of Auba or Lacazette to finance a rebuild but I don’t think the club are that naive to ship on either of the biggest scorers in our team. It just doesn’t make any sense to me.
But what do you think the club will do? I’m not talking about people saying “sell Xhaka cos he’s sh*t” type stuff, I’m talking about what the club will do. Xhaka isn’t going anywhere for example, because he’s an integral part of Unai’s squad, emphasised by his appearance stats this season, so it’s a moot point. But I do wonder who they have planned for the bin and how much cashola they’ll generate for reinvestment.