Arsene Wenger is doing the proverbial “get HR to sack an employee you don’t like whilst you are on holiday” as Arsenal are set to say goodbye to 4 players this week whilst the majority of the squad and management of the club are sunning themselves in China.
Wojciech Szczesny is set to finally complete his move to Juventus for £10m.
A lot of people recently have been defending the Big Pole and saying Arsenal should not sell him. They have also questioned how low his transfer fee is. Unfortunately, you can not force a player to stay if he does not want too.
Szczesny’s contract runs out in a year, after which he could leave on a free. No matter how often fans stick on Twitter or Facebook that Ospina is leaving and Cech getting old, we should keep Szczesny who can replace Cech, you can not do much when the player himself wants to leave.
This is also why the fee is so low. Juventus want him, he wants Juventus. With a year left on his contract, Arsenal did not have much power when it came to negotiations. Of course, some will say that he should never have been allowed to go down to his last year, but this is a man who has spent the last 2 seasons on loan. A new contract would not have been considered by either party.
Could Arsenal have sold him 2 years ago? Perhaps. But only loan deals came in for him at the time. Same as last year. And I guess the thinking was that there is still a chance after his loan deal that he might end up staying. He did not, and we are selling him to Juventus.
£10m is not that much in the current climate when Jordan Pickford is going for £30m.
Arsenal need to move on to get stronger, and unfortunately Szczesny is part of the Wilshere / Walcott group of players that were perhaps never quite good enough. Never had the right mental attributes to become truly world class.
I am disappointed in this one as having watched England at the recent U21 tournament, Chambers showed his quality. But then it has to be remembered that this is at a youth level.
The problem for Arsenal is that they have two very good, young centre backs in Chambers and Rob Holding. Both need development, and both need game time to develop. As Manchester United showed when they were trying to develop both Chris Smalling and Phil Jones, this is not easy. And looking at both Jones and Smalling’s career, you have to wonder if they both hindered each others development.
You can often only give game time to one youngster, especially at centre back, so one had to go.
A loan deal would have perhaps been preferable for Arsenal again, but this would possibly not have been the ideal deal for Calum Chambers.
Chambers does have an outside shot at making the plane for England in Russia 2018, but he will only get that shot if he plays week in week out in the Premier League. He will get that chance at someone like Crystal Palace. And playing underneath a ball playing centre back like Frank de Boer will be good for his career.
If you look at the situation coldly, Chambers is currently Arsenal’s 8th choice centre back, with Laurent Koscielny, Shkodran Mustafi, Per Mertesacker, Gabriel, Rob Holding, Nacho Monreal and new boy Sead Kolasinac ahead of him.
Before you point out that Monreal and Kolasinac are left backs. You are correct, but at 3 at the back, one will play on the left side of the back 3. And if that one is injured, the other will drop inside to replace them. The left footed-ness gives the defence essential balance.
An argument could be made against keeping Per Mertesacker and Gabriel ahead of Calum Chambers.
Mertesacker has a year left at Arsenal before moving into a coaching role. He was immense in the Cup Final, and his experience and leadership will be important. He will be a big part of Rob Holding’s development, and likely to play alongside him in the Europa League.
Personally I would have preferred to keep Chambers over Gabriel. But if one payer is knocking on your door asking to leave, and you have clubs interested in him, and the other player is content to stay as a squad player, and there is zero interest, it leaves you with little option.
I do worry about cover at right back. Chambers would have been Hector Bellerin’s cover in this position, and with him going, and 2 more right backs potentially set to leave, it results in Arsenal just having the Spanish as a natural right back.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain can play at right wing back, if we go for a back 3, and Mustafi has played right back for Germany, so there is cover. I imagine Ainsley Naitland-Miles or Reiss Nelson will be given the chance in the Europa League and League Cup.
My only hope is that with Chambers, we have a buy back clause, as within 3 seasons, Mertesacker will be gone, and Koscielny on his last legs. If he does develop and fulfil his potential, a Calum chambers in 3 years time could be the ideal signing for Arsenal.
When we signed Chambers, he was a huge investment, a surprise. At least we are getting our money back and more.
Arsenal also look set to finally get Mathieu Debuchy off the wage bill. The Frenchman’s Arsenal career never really took off, for a multitude of reasons. He has had a lot of bad luck in his Arsenal career.
A lot of fans will label Debuchy’s 3 year career at Arsenal as a flop, after just 13 league games in 3 years. But this is a man who arrived as France’s first choice right back, had some horrendous injuries, and ended up giving way for Hector Bellerin. He was just unlucky in his situation.
At 31, a return to French football with Nice on a free transfer is good for all parties, as Arsenal slash £70,000 off their wage bill.
The last player set to say his goodbyes this week is Kieran Gibbs.
It is incredible to think that Gibbs made his Arsenal debut 10 years ago, yet some still talk about him having potential. He is 28 in September and his career has ground to a halt in recent years.
The talent with Gibbs has always been there, the fitness not so much. And that is what has let him down over the years.
Recent years, he has fallen behind Nacho Monreal in the pecking order. The signing of Sead Kolasinac – the who made the Bundesiliga team of the year last year – was the final nail in the coffin for Gibbs.
There seem to be plenty of suitors for the Englishman, and he will have his choice of whoever meets the £10m asking price.
Alongside the likes of Walcott, Szczesny & Wilshere, he is another one who has underachieved. Your mind go’s back 4 years to that picture of young, English players signing a new contract, and have to wonder what happened.
We might all have our opinion on why the careers of Szczesny, Chambers, Gibbs and Debuchy, and whether they should have been kept or sold earlier.
I look at it with an open mind. We are set to raise £40m and save £215,000 a week in wages by selling our 3rd choice keeper, 8th choice centre back, 3rd choice left back, and our 4th choice right back. As long as we spend what we bring in, that is a good deal.
By the time we sell on Carl Jenkinson, Jack Wilshere, Lucas Perez and Joel Campbell, that will be nearly £25,000,000 wiped off our wage bill in 8 players that started a combined total of 12 league games last year.
Hopefully the club is clearing out the surplus players and will redistribute the saved wages to those that deserve it (Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil) as well as get in a few more senior players.