Arsenal continue to struggle
Mikel Arteta’s stint in the Arsenal dugout has proven something of a mixed bag to date.
Triumphs in the FA Cup and Community Shield have been followed by a fairly poor 2020/21 campaign, that looks set to see the Gunners finish outside the top-six for a second consecutive season, with no silverware unless they can turn around a Europa League semi-final deficit versus Villarreal.
Of course, Arteta should take some flack for the north Londoners’ struggles, with poor decision-making in terms of team selection having cost Arsenal on a number of occasions.
And though a certain amount of blame should be put on the player, Arteta must also be held accountable for his inability to get Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang – Arsenal’s top scorer over recent seasons and by far the club’s highest earner – playing anywhere close to his scintillating best.
Outside of Arteta’s shortcomings, though, it remains clear that the Gunners’ squad requires improvement in a number of areas.
Given the fact that KSE are not exactly known for pumping huge sums of money into the club, though, if Arsenal hope to continue their rebuild and bring in players to suit Arteta’s style, they will probably need to raise considerable money through player sales.
As such, at 101, we have picked out a number of players whom Arsenal could sell this summer, to provide funds for a much-needed squad overhaul.
The first of these players is Eddie Nketiah, who actually featured fairly regularly during the early months of Arteta’s stint in the Emirates dugout.
However, this season – especially over the last few months – Nketiah has been very much a bit-part player.
In fact, across all of 2021 so far, the attacker has been limited to 104 minutes of action in the Premier League.
With Nketiah of course a striker who does his best work in the six-yard box, it is easy to see why Arteta, who likes his centre-forwards to drop deeper to link up play, isn’t overly keen on the 21-year-old.
In addition, with Folarin Balogun having now signed a new contract, Nketiah has all of the teen, Alexandre Lacazette, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Gabriel Martinelli to compete with for the centre-forward spot.
Even if Lacazette – who has just over a year left on his contract – is sold in the summer, it would still probably make more sense for Arsenal to bring in a proven goalscorer, rather than hand that responsibility to Nketiah, who quite clearly isn’t the type of striker Arteta wants.
The second player whom Arsenal should look to part ways with in the summer is Joe Willock.
Willock is currently on loan at Newcastle United, where his super-sub exploits have earned the Magpies some huge points in their fight for survival.
Across his last three league outings, Willock has scored three goals, and earned Newcastle five points.
Joe Willock: Liverpool heartbreaker 💔pic.twitter.com/FVBmEH8rv6
— Goal (@goal) April 25, 2021
So, Arsenal’s fans may question why the midfielder should be sold this summer, instead of being handed a chance to impress back in the capital.
In Arteta’s system, Willock’s best position would probably be behind the striker, where he could make his trademark bursting runs into the box, as he has done at Newcastle.
And though the 21-year-old did have some success in that role earlier in the season for Arsenal (albeit against some poor Europa League sides), it is hard to argue that the midfielder is a better option than either Emile Smith Rowe or Martin Odegaard.
Granted, Odegaard may not be at the Emirates next season, but would Arsenal fans not rather see Willock sold, and someone with the quality of Emi Buendia brought in instead?
Like Willock, our next player is also currently out on loan from Arsenal.
Ainsley Maitland-Niles has spent the second half of the season with West Brom, where he has showcased glimpses of promise.
However, it is hard to imagine that AMN would be afforded regular football if he returns to the Emirates.
Thomas Partey, Granit Xhaka and Mohamed Elneny are clearly ahead of him in Mikel Arteta’s midfield pecking order.
And though he has been used at left-back in the past, the English international only really looked semi-comfortable when playing as a wing-back in a back-five, a formation Arsenal have since moved away from.
As such, though he would be unlikely to see regular action in north London, Maitland-Niles remains a young, versatile English player whom a number of lower-table Premier League outfits could well express an interest in.
The final player Arsenal should look to move on in the summer is Calum Chambers.
Recent weeks have seen the Englishman afforded more regular chances in Mikel Arteta’s set-up.
However, the Spaniard has largely opted to play Chambers at right-back, a position he is quite clearly too slow to play in on a consistent basis.
And though the 26-year-old is a decent central defender, all of Gabriel, Rob Holding and Pablo Mari appear better options in that spot, with William Saliba’s return in the summer only likely to push Chambers even further down the centre-back pecking order.
Therefore, it would probably be in Arsenal’s best interests to sell the stopper to help fund a move for a new right-back – particularly when taking into account the fact that he will have just a year left on his contract in the summer.
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|1||Manchester City FC||34||47||80|
|2||Manchester United FC||33||29||67|
|3||Leicester City FC||34||22||63|
|5||West Ham United FC||33||10||55|
|7||Tottenham Hotspur FC||33||18||53|
|10||Aston Villa FC||33||10||48|
|12||Wolverhampton Wanderers FC||33||-13||41|
|13||Crystal Palace FC||33||-22||38|
|14||Brighton & Hove Albion FC||34||-4||37|
|17||Newcastle United FC||34||-20||36|
|19||West Bromwich Albion||33||-34||25|
|20||Sheffield United FC||33||-38||17|
|Kane, Harry||Tottenham Hotspur FC||21|
|Salah, Mohamed||Liverpool FC||20|
|Fernandes, Bruno||Manchester United FC||16|
|Son, Heung Min||Tottenham Hotspur FC||16|
|Calvert-Lewin, Dominic||Everton FC||15|
|Bamford, Patrick||Leeds United||14|
|Vardy, Jamie||Leicester City FC||13|
|Watkins, Ollie||Aston Villa FC||13|
|Lacazette, Alexandre||Arsenal FC||13|
|Gundogan, Ilkay||Manchester City FC||12|
|Rashford, Marcus||Manchester United FC||10|
|Wilson, Callum||Newcastle United FC||10|
|Ings, Danny||Southampton FC||10|
|Wood, Chris||Burnley FC||10|
|Aubameyang, Pierre-Emerick||Arsenal FC||10|
|Zaha, Wilfried||Crystal Palace FC||10|
|Iheanacho, Kelechi||Leicester City FC||10|
|Sterling, Raheem||Manchester City FC||9|
|Pereira, Matheus||West Bromwich Albion||9|
|Mahrez, Riyad||Manchester City FC||9|
|Player||Team||Red Cards||Yellow Cards|
|Maguire, Harry||Manchester United FC||0||10|
|Gallagher, Conor||West Bromwich Albion||0||9|
|Milivojevic, Luka||Crystal Palace FC||1||8|
|Lundstram, John||Sheffield United FC||1||8|
|Luiz, Douglas||Aston Villa FC||0||8|
|Hojbjerg, Pierre||Tottenham Hotspur FC||0||8|
|Xhaka, Granit||Arsenal FC||1||7|
|Bellerin, Hector||Arsenal FC||0||8|
|Egan, John||Sheffield United FC||1||7|
|Holgate, Mason||Everton FC||0||8|
|Hayden, Isaac||Newcastle United FC||0||8|
|Soucek, Tomas||West Ham United FC||1||6|
|McGoldrick, David||Sheffield United FC||0||7|
|McGinn, John||Aston Villa FC||0||7|
|Shaw, Luke||Manchester United FC||0||7|
|Neves, Ruben||Wolverhampton Wanderers FC||0||7|
|Reid, Bobby||Fulham FC||0||7|
|Evans, Jonny||Leicester City FC||0||7|
|Alioski, Ezgjan||Leeds United||0||7|
|Kante, N`Golo||Chelsea FC||0||7|
|Kane, Harry||Tottenham Hotspur FC||13|
|Fernandes, Bruno||Manchester United FC||11|
|Son, Heung Min||Tottenham Hotspur FC||10|
|Grealish, Jack||Aston Villa FC||10|
|De Bruyne, Kevin||Manchester City FC||10|
|Rashford, Marcus||Manchester United FC||8|
|Vardy, Jamie||Leicester City FC||7|
|Werner, Timo||Chelsea FC||7|
|Cresswell, Aaron||West Ham United FC||7|
|Digne, Lucas||Everton FC||7|
|Bamford, Patrick||Leeds United||6|
|Sterling, Raheem||Manchester City FC||6|
|Pereira, Matheus||West Bromwich Albion||6|
|Ward-Prowse, James||Southampton FC||6|
|Mane, Sadio||Liverpool FC||6|
|Harrison, Jack||Leeds United||6|
|Neto, Pedro||Wolverhampton Wanderers FC||6|
|Gross, Pascal||Brighton & Hove Albion FC||6|
|Silva, Bernardo||Manchester City FC||6|