Whether you’re a fan of Arsene Wenger, or his biggest critic, one thing all Arsenal fans agree on is the need for a very active summer in the transfer market.
Last year, the Gunners ended up as the only side in the top five European leagues not to purchase an outfield player, with the £10million arrival of Petr Cech the only real foray of note into the market.
This time around, however, the sheer force of collective will – emitted like Jedi mind tricks from thousands of expectant fans – means there simply must be a number of new faces at the club.
*These are not the signings you are looking for*
While media outlets the world over will be climbing over themselves to put forward potential signings for next season – with desperate fans nuzzling up to the comforting teats of rumour – it is easy to forget that we may well see a few faces depart the Emirates, too.
Almost for a certainty we will be saying goodbye – in a playing capacity at least – to the likes of Mikel Arteta, Matthieu Flamini, and Tomas Rosicky. Between them, they have an enormous pool of experience, so it would be nice perhaps, for them to stick around the club and offer up some of that to the youth setup – following in the footsteps of Thierry Henry.
We will probably also bid farewell to Matthieu Debuchy, whose unfortunate injuries and impatience have conspired against him, leaving him second choice to Hector Bellerin. He will be in no mood to warm the bench again next season, especially at his age.
Of the remaining squad, I am confident we will lose at least a couple more – either through players looking for more playing time, or simply because things just haven’t work out for them as expected.
Below, we take a quick look at the players who may be plying their trade elsewhere in 2016/17:
There has always been a sense of anticipation with Theo, that somehow there is more to come, that his full potential is just around the corner, waiting to be fulfilled. Certainly, he has endured some misfortune with lengthy injuries but, at 27, he should be in his prime, his potential realised and being reaped. Sadly, it’s not.
The second half of this season has shown that unless the conditions are just right, Theo can often let games pass him by. He has also failed to endear himself to fans with some truly bizarre decision making in recent months.
Chance of leaving? Fairly high in my opinion – but who would be willing to lay out on him?
It became abundantly clear last summer, with the arrival of Petr Cech, that something was going to have to give – and that something was Szczsney.
Arsenal needed a world class goalkeeper between the sticks and the Pole was simply not hitting the heights needed to take us to the next level. He is a goalkeeper of immense talent, of that there is no doubt, but whether he will ever be as good as Cech, or some of the other top European keepers, is a matter of much debate.
Wojciech has also recently made noises about making his loan move to Roma permanent in the summer and, with two very accomplished goalkeepers already in the squad, it is difficult to come up with a reason to fight for him to stay in London.
Chance of him leaving? I think this one ranks very highly on the probability list. It will go down as a near-miss in terms of a player delivering on potential.
Though the hype around the Ox’s arrival at Arsenal wasn’t quite as intense as that which was reserved for Theo Walcott, there was still much expected of the young Englishman.
This season was supposed to be one that finally saw the 22-year-old really stake a claim on a place in the first team squad but, for one reason or another, it simply hasn’t. At times, we have seen some powerful running and ball carrying from Alex, adding impetus wherever he has been at his best.
At other times, he has struggled to make an impact, offering little more than an extra body in midfield. Should a flurry of new arrivals come in during the summer, will he find himself pushed to the back of the queue?
Chance of him leaving? I think Arsene will give him another season to show that he is making real progress. Don’t rule out a loan move, however.
Though he will more than likely end this season as our top goalscorer, it’s difficult to see where Olivier goes from here.
After a strong first half of the year, the Frenchman has crumbled badly to the point of crisis. By his own admission his confidence has been shattered and, with just two games remaining, there is little chance of it returning. He will probably remain on 20 goals for the season – a good return, for sure – but not the kind of return that wins leagues.
There will be a striker signed in the summer – one whose sole purpose will be to add the kind of killer instinct in front of goal that has been missing for a long time. Giroud has never been that kind of guy, he has never pretended to be in fairness to him, but we can’t afford to field a striker who is so badly put-off when things aren’t going his way.
Chance of him leaving? I would certainly not rule out a return to his native France.
When I heard he had signed a new ‘long-term’ contract with Arsenal in 2015 I despaired. I really, really couldn’t see anything in his game that would convince me he was ever going to make it at Arsenal.
I am happy, however, to admit the error of my judgement. When given then chance in the squad, normally as a result of injuries, the 23-year-old has been excellent. He works hard, he passes well, and he has an eye for goal. He will never be Thierry Henry, but I think he can count himself unfortunate not to have featured more regularly for the Gunners this season, particularly given the relatively poor form of others in the side.
Granted, I don’t see him day-in and day-out on the training pitch, but there seems to me enough hunger about him to make him worth another look.
Chance of him leaving? He will certainly attract a few punters this year, particularly given his international and Champions League experience. Should a decent offer come in, would Arsenal really refuse it?