Arsenal are in the middle of a managerial and backroom overhaul, and chances are that the new guys will want to make a few changes to the club’s roster, as well. But according to the uncannily prescient David Ornstein, they’ll be starting with only about £50 million, which isn’t nearly enough with today’s prices for players. Arsenal will have to sell a few players this summer, both to open up spots on the team and to finance any bringing in of players. There are a couple of players that the club probably should sell, and a few more that could be sold, but don’t need to in order to open up spots on the team—here’s why they should (or could) go this summer.
Jack is firmly in the “should sell” category, because he’s perhaps the most obvious potential source of cash that Arsenal have right now. Although he hasn’t been hurt in a while, he does have an injury history, and more importantly, his play since coming back from Bournemouth hasn’t been up to Arsenal’s midfield standards. Arsenal have Mesut Özil, Henrikh Mkhitaryan, and Aaron Ramsey on their roster, all of whom can provide better service to Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette up front, as well as a handful of academy players who can serve as depth in that part of the field and will need a bit of game time in order to progress as players. There just isn’t much room for Wilshere anymore, especially considering that he often seems to get in the way of the club’s top three midfield choices.
Wilshere and the club are in the middle of contract negotiations, but it would probably be better for both parties if Wilshere were to end up somewhere else—he might be able to get more playing time and regain his spot on the England roster, and Arsenal would get some money to add to their transfer budget.
Another entry for the “should sell” list. One of Arsène Wenger’s more questionable decisions during his time as manager was his loyalty to Ospina—in the past few seasons, Arsenal’s second-choice goalkeeper was given almost every non-Premier League outing possible. Wenger’s principles backfired a bit here, leaving Arsenal more vulnerable than they needed to be in some important games, and
Mikel Arteta the new manager, whoever it is, will probably want to change that policy. Ospina is fine for depth, sort of, but he’s a little flaily and has a habit of leaving the goal line too often. Furthermore, Petr Cech isn’t getting any younger, so Arsenal will need to bring in another first-string keeper soon—they’ll need money to do that, most likely, and a spot in the squad.
The “Could Sells”
This was a much more difficult list to fill than the “should sell” list—Arsenal need to bring in a few defensive players this summer, but there aren’t a ton of people that need to leave, and if Arsenal want to bring in a lot of cash, then they’ll have to start selling off depth, which won’t necessarily help them, especially in the long run.
Alex Iwobi and Mohamed Elneny come to mind here, as both are good squad players who can’t expect to start most matches—but both of those guys are also good to have around in a pinch, especially Elneny. Iwobi is a workable substitute in attacking midfield, and Elneny brings stability to the other end of the midfield and provides some cover for Arsenal’s less-than-ideal back line. Shkodran Mustafi is another option, maybe—he’s had some rather poor games recently, but we’ve also seen him play quite well; it could be that he just needs someone smarter than him calling the shots, and a player like that should already be on Arsenal’s shopping list.
Aside from Wilshere and Ospina, the backroom staff and
Arteta the new manager, whoever it is, have some serious thinking to do if they want to raise more money for transfers. Arsenal are close to filling all of the holes in the squad, but they’ll probably need a little more than £50 million to do it (unless they really clean up with free transfers), and I wouldn’t be surprised if the club loses a bit of its current depth along the way.