With many of our major stars contracts in limbo and the manager situation up in the air, it seems Arsenal need to restart. Who ever the manager is there seems likely to be major changes in the playing staff as well as backroom staff.
The article will be based on the assumption that Arsene Wenger will be the manager for next season and Sanchez/Ozil will go. It does not take into account the contract situations of the other players such as Wilshere, Gibbs, The Ox and Cazorla to name a few of the others. Below are just some issues I think the club need to address on the pitch.
When Arsenal were at their best Wenger would constantly buy the best youth players from all over the world. Players such as Fabregas, Cliche, Oxlade Chamberlen, Theo Walcott and Van Persie were all brought in at a younger age, we also went after Christiano Ronaldo. We are losing top quality players to Chelsea and Man City, they offer higher wages but much less chance into the first team. Some of you may suggest putting all the investment into the first team now but strong clubs survive on long term planning.
We need to have a big recruitment drive across the world, particularly following how Dortmund attract top young talents.
Long term first team replacements: Goalkeeper
I think Cech is a top class goalkeeper but with age against him and the likely departure of David Ospina Arsenal need to start looking long term. The candidates for this role are:
Joe Hart – Would be an ideal keeper for the next 5/6 seasons for Arsenal. He brings a bit of leadership and passion to Arsenal something we lack. The only question is if Manchester City would sell him to us.
Jordon Pickford – Although he has only one season of first team experience under his belt, he has already shown he has quality. The transfer could be more likely if Sunderland relegate this season. He would have to wait his time though to displace Cech. Is he willing to wait his time?
Gianlugi Donnaruma – Only 19 but is already Milan’s number one and also heir apparent to Buffon. It would take massive offer to take him from Milan and also to fend off interest from other big clubs in Europe.
Long term first team replacements: Outfield
Our troubles seem to have stemmed from the Santi Cazorla from injury. We do not have another player who can transition the play from deeper in midfield all the way into attack. With his age, contract situation and injury record it might be worth bringing in a younger player to replace him long term.
With Ozil and Sanchez also likely to leave that leaves a serious lack of goals and assists drained from this side. The suggested players are:
Asier Illarramendi – Although he probably is slightly more defensive than Cazorla, he is still a player capable of controlling a midfield. Constantly linked with Arsenal it could actually happen this year.
Kylian Mbappe – If we were sitting here 10 years ago Mbappe would already have been an Arsenal player. Young, French, plays up front or on the wing and a hot prospect. This signing could go down as another we have missed in five years time when he is banging the goals in for a rival of ours.
Bernardo Silva – A player who can offer something a bit different. I think we probably will not get this man with Man Utd and Chelsea also in for him, but trying for him might not be the worst thing. If we can persuade him to join Arsenal it could be the game changer we need. A little like the Bergkamp signing.
Romelu Lukaku – Again another player Arsenal should be going for if we are to show any ambition. Yes he will be expensive but given his age the return will be there from Lukaku. It looks like he will leave Everton with many clubs circling around. Arsenal should be one of these clubs.
Arsenal should also look to buy stronger players who add value with work rate passion and those who are tactically aware. These are skills that the current Arsenal squad are lacking.