Here were are post season and Arsenal and their frustrated fan base enter a summer of frenzied media and social media speculation of who will arrive and who will depart the playing staff ahead of the 2019/20 campaign. What we all know, or think we know is that having failed in his first season to regain Champions League football for the club the wheeling and dealing this summer will have to be just that, because fresh funds for player signings are not likely to be high. Emery and the Arsenal management will have to endeavour to sell players and reasonable prices, off the back of a disappointing end to the season, culminating in a limp capitulation in the Europa League Final, when a Champions League place was at stake.
For me at least, there can still be positivity and certainly, this summer window has more questions and fascination for supporters than usual. There are some many factors at play and I believe the early activity will perhaps allow us to see more of what Emery has planned and if he truly is the man to take Arsenal forward. Perhaps the following might assist your reaction to the players Arsenal are linked to and inform our speculation.
Here are the Top 5 things to look out for in the coming window:
- Can Arsenal move quickly and buy the targets they require before having to sell those they want to sell or those who they do not necessarily want to sell but the offers are just too good to refuse? For example if there truly is a £70m offer for Aubameyang can we buy the attacking player we want before accepting our top scorer is leaving. If so, might that player on his own cost more than the reported war chest? This is a risky play but a reversal of the order will see the prices asked of us for replacements increase.
- Will the players sold and crucially those who we see arrive or are targeted give us a clue to Emery’s go to formation for the new season? For example is he dies allow one of his star strikes to leave and continued to be linked to fast wingers, does that tell us he will revert to 4231 or opt for 433? To my mind Ryan Fraser, for example, is not that type of winger but could be converted to a left wing back so that might suggest a continuation of 3412. Whereas Yannick Carrasco does suggest the 4231 reversion or 433.
- What oh what to do with Mesut Ozil? The player seems happy to stay but I cannot see any way he will be a regular under Emery moving forwards. Even if Emery does revert to 4231 he will almost certainly want a 10 who can dribble, beat a man, as an alternative to passing to break the opposition lines and most importantly. Ozil is not this player but his wages for a squad player restrict Emery’s manoeuvring in the transfer market.
- Later in the window and as we enter pre-season it will be telling to see which of the talented youngsters are pushing their manager for roles in the first team squad and which may require another season on loan. Having the coach who has worked with many of them, Freddie Ljungberg promoted to the first team coaching staff is likely to influence this of course. Nelson, Willock, Saka, Smith-Rowe and potentially Bielik will all have serious first team aspirations. We can add Calum Chambers to this group after a successful personal season, albeit in an unsuccessful team. That said Chambers is one of those who can raise cash if sold.
- Lastly, the provocative question is whether Stan Kroenke might surprise the collective Arsenal fanbase by adding to the limited transfer budget we have all read so much about. Even if this is in the short-term with the possibility of recouping the out-lay later in the window (as per point one,) this might change our fortunes dramatically. The suggested double swoop for Praet and Anderson at Sampdoria suggests he may.
My advice is sit back and enjoy the ride but I do feel the above might inform the bumpiness!!