It is only January and Winter, but it has been clear for some time now that Arsenal from top to bottom as a football club needs cleansing. Some members of the playing body as well as the coaching staff and maybe the board, need to be culled. The club has been trending in a wrong direction for too long, and finally a large chunk of fans have come to the realization that Mr. Wenger may be the main reason behind this slow regression to how the club was before he took over the helms and for a decade took it to dizzying heights.
Even though we may have knowledge of whom our main problem probably is, we are almost powerless to force the hand of the board to cause any termination of Mr. Wenger’s contract, because $$$$. Despite the fact that the legendary Frenchman could be the bane of our growth, some players currently forming part of the club’s first team squad are some we really could do with better versions of, or without, full stop!
Over the last 12 or so months, those in charge have sold off players whose time may have been up at the club despite years of service, including Kieran Gibbs, Francis Coquelin and much recently, centurion Theo Walcott. Some still on the books of the club have seen a stagnation in their growth for various reasons; injuries, lack of confidence, complacency and simply a lack of drive and will to fight for a place in the team. Poor coaching or management could be said to be a huge reason behind the fall in standards of the following players, whose sale from the club could do it a world of good, PROVIDED, they are ably replaced.
- PETR CECH and DAVID OSPINA.
The club’s two senior goalkeepers have had their shining moments, as few as they have been, but they have had as many if not more head-in-hand moments. Supposed to be the last line of defence for the team, they have not held themselves in glory as consistently as they should, and have cost the points big points. It must be an arduous task to play as goalkeeper behind this prone-to-leak Arsenal defence, more reason why a goalkeeper who is confident and vocal and can marshall the defence along the lines of Jens Lehmann is urgently needed. Buffon has shown goalkeepers can age like fine wine, but our goalkeepers’ performances have shown signing a top quality replacement including the likes of Jack Butland or even Kepa Arrizabalaga should be put on afterburners.
- MATHIEU DEBUCHY.
The Frenchman was hailed as a proper signing from Newcastle when he joined initially in July of 2014. We had obtained a solid right back who we expected to finally replace Sagna after his departure to Oil City. His was a solid start to life in London, but it unfortunately has been curtailed recently by unfortunate injury after injury. When he made a return and looked to return back to form, he would unfortunately be struck by the injury bug which Arsenal has not been able to exterminate for years. He came back into the team recently to fill in as a centre back when we played three at the back, he shone a little but ultimately failed to dazzle, almost an encapsulation of his career so far in North London. A move will help both himself and the club as we can bring in a young versatile player who can fill in at right back, right wing back and even right center back whilst giving starter Hector Bellerin a run for his starting place, something which is sure to give the recently stagnating Spaniard a kick up the backside. Two birds, one French stone.
- MOHAMMED EL NENY.
His goal against Barcelona in our latest rout in Cataluña was a cracker of a shot. We never stood a chance in that tie and seemingly The Pharaoh has never as well in the Arsenal team. Arguably his finest game in recent memory came in the Community Shield when he along with Xhaka bossed the midfield. Opportunities have come his way, he just has not grasped them fully with both hands like he should have and during Xhaka’s rotten run in the team, the manager could not bring himself to have him replace the Swiss. This shows how little the faith the gaffer has in him and the best thing would be to split as soon as possible and not over elongate his stay where he is not needed. His place in the Egyptian first eleven in the World Cup is almost locked in so he can do with sitting on the bench until the mundial rolls around, but he occupies a slot which could be given to a more able and hungrier youngster from the academy, such as Joe Willock.
- CHUBA AKPOM.
In my last piece, I wrote about how Walcott did not seem to grow much in his decade long stay in North London, despite his goal scoring exploits, and one player traveling the same path is Chuba Akpom, without, the goal scoring exploits. A young player from the academy you understand why the faith-in-youth having manager sticks with him, but there are no clear signs to us in the public that he is going to come good. The best thing to do is to either send him out on loan, again or to put him up for sale, albeit with a buyback clause, to ensure if he eventually does show the signs Mr. Wenger and co may be seeing behind closed doors, during training sessions, he could be brought back into the fray. But, right now with the most limited of opportunities, all that will benefit him is consistent game time and it does not seem like he would get that at the club so for the benefit of all parties, out is the only way up.
- DANNY WELBECK.
Daniel Nii Tackie Mensah Welbeck, the England International borne by Ghanaian parents, has overcome a lot to play for two of the largest clubs in England, if not world football. Diagnosed with Osgood-Schlatter disease early in his career and life, which only gets better with rest, this lanky bundle of energy from Manchester joined the Gunners on transfer deadline day in September 2014 yet has failed to regularly hit the heights everyone thought he would, sound familiar? His has been a case of injuries and a lack of confidence hindering his progress, but the man who was sold to us because, ” Welbeck doesn’t have the record of Robin van Persie or Wayne Rooney,” according to Louis Van Gaal, may have reached the end of his time at Arsenal. For a man who is billed as a striker he has had a poor goal scoring record, from Manchester to London and his clumsy, go-lucky skills and techniques may be the reason why. Just as Henry is known for the inside-of-the-boot side footed finish, so is Welbeck known for scoring the ‘uncleanest’ and clumsiest of goals. Lucky rebounds, headers of the shoulder amongst many other unremarkable finishes are the hallmark of the man from Longsight. He brings hard work and drive, yet so much more is demanded from a forward player in the modern game nowadays, and for a man whose final decisions are mostly poor, he does not offer much else. Just like Theo, it may serve him well to play where he can be a leading man without too much scrutiny on his actions. This will give the club a chance to bring in a player like Thomas Lemar, who marries all of Welbeck’s hard work and drive, with skill, technique and a sweet left foot, all in a 22 year old body.
For there to be an advantage enjoyed by the club by any of these players being moved on, they have to be replaced by players more capable and versatile, to improve the overall squad. That is why the additions of Raul Sanllehi and Sven Mislintat could improve the fortunes of this club in the short and long term, ultimately a topic for another day.
I know this opinion may not be popular, because some of us Gunners are some of the most sentimental fans in the world, so do well to leave your opinions in the comments below.
NOTABLE MENTIONS; THESE GUYS COULD STILL SAVE THEIR CAREERS, AT THE CLUB, IF THEY PUT IN THE WORK TO IMPROVE, AND ARE NOT STRUCK BY THAT ELUSIVE INJURY BUG ROAMING LONDON COLNEY;
- HECTOR BELLERIN
- ALEX IWOBI
- STEVE BOULD (YES, STEVE BOULD! FOR A DEFENSIVE MINDED COACH HE’S BEEN TERRIBLE.)