As Bjork might say it is oh so quiet
on Arsenal Land at the moment. So what better than to throw up the 2016-17 squad/summer transfers/VentYourAngerHere thread
In all seriousness, where do you expect Arsenal to stand, heading into the middle of August? And what would you realistically like
to see happen with the squad over the summer?
There has been a lot of talk regarding an overhaul of the squad and, whilst I expect most of it is whimsical media click-bait, I do also feel we are at a point where Wenger may be forced into a rethink. He has put inordinate faith in his squad and they have failed him. Building along home-grown lines hasn't worked out as he would have expected. And with no outfield moves last summer and the build-up of fan frustration to unprecedented levels, it is difficult to envisage even the stubborn Wenger not conceding that he needs to make changes.
Given that Wenger will never change his policy of bringing through youth (and rightly so), it is also interesting that he has waxed lyrical about the current 16-20 generation at the club recently. The squad is at saturation level already; if he is contemplating integrating one or two of the youth players, the only way we are doing so - and increasing quality within the first team - is to cut some of the squad players that are not contributing.
My 'definites' for next season would stand as:Keepers
I see four reasonable routes that we improve the team in the summer; centreback, deep midfield, wide, upfront.
Defensively I actually wouldn't change too much at all. Gabriel has been no worse than early Koscielny and I think will flourish with an extended run. For all he is mocked, I also think Mertesacker brings far more to the side than is often realised. An experienced head who has won the big trophies, I'm not keen on that experience leaving the squad. My four centrebacks would remain the same as now. I'd also keep Gibbs as challenger to Monreal, although I could see him considering a move. Jenkinson - reasonable player who loves Arsenal - would return as Bellerin's understudy. Then it is up to him to fight for his place and fight off Chambers as a secondary option.
Deep midfield is where I make my signing. Arteta, Flamini and Rosicky shouldn't be near the squad next year and I prefer Ramsey wider. That gives us Coquelin, Elneny, Cazorla and Wilshere for two positions. As Wilshere is barely an option, that needs strengthened. And it should be with someone who can play either as the enforcing midfielder (Coquelin) or has enough game-craft to play alongside him. We need to increase our workable combinations.
My second acquisition would be either at wide midfield or upfront, whichever proved feasible, preferably upfront. Attacking midfield is where I'd look to make a cull. Oxlade-Chamberlain would be on my hitlist. He is like candy floss. Looks tasty, but has no substance and too much of it makes you sick. I don't see the point of him within the squad. His goal rate is pitiful, he doesn't have the killer pass of his peers, and is a '30 minute player'. I wouldn't start him ahead of Ramsey, nor Campbell, and I'd prefer Sanchez right with Iwobi/Welbeck left, or even Wilshere in the position. Ergo, there is no place/point to him - and if a sacrifice allows some real quality to be added, this is the call I'd make.
The other option is to invest in a forward as competition with Giroud/Welbeck, and drop Welbeck back as a wide option. As much as I hate to say it, considering he has been about my favourite player at the club for years, I think the Oxlade-Chamberlain decision really does also need to be applied to Walcott. He doesn't seem to fit the mold of current Arsenal and his impact this year has been vastly underwhelming. Both Campbell and Iwobi have shown more chops to fit within the team, and I think Wenger would be wise to continue to put his faith in these two.