Things are happening at Arsenal. Lots of things.
A friend said to me earlier in the week “let’s review when the window shuts” but I am bored. So let’s review now.
Bernd Leno has joined the club from Bayern Leverkusen. He is expected to come in as number one with Petr Cech relegated to second choice.
David Ospina will make way with Matt Macey stepping up to be 3rd choice. Macey is important as you do not really want your 3rd choice keeper to take up a home grown place.
The first choice defence (as is) next season is set to be Héctor Bellerin, Shkodran Mustafi, Sokratis and Nacho Monreal – the Greek man joining in July.
Second string back four is Stephan Lichtsteiner, Calum Chambers, Rob Holding Saed Kolasinac.
There is not much point discussing Laurent Koscielny as he is out until 2019, whilst Konstantinos Mavropanos is still just 20. He will remain part of the first team squad giving us a much needed 5th option – getting some Europa League time if someone ahead of him is out injured.
I would not be too surprised if Chambers left us with Caglar Soyuncu coming in.
As it stands, we look to have plenty of strength in depth in defence…
Bellerin Mustafi Sokratis Monreal
Lichtsteiner Chambers Holding Kolasinac
Looking at the players we have in the squad, 4321 looks the most suitable formation.
Granit Xhaka and Aaron Ramsey will likely flank new boy Lucas Torreira (once the deal is done).
I expect Jack Wilshere to leave (note: this was written before he announced he was leaving). That leaves us with just Mohamed Elneny and Ainsley Maitland-Niles.
5 midfielders for the positions. We are still one short. Whilst Joe Willock is a talent, next year might be a year too early for the 18 year old. He would get some game time in the Europa League, but Arsenal need to target an understudy for Aaron Ramsey – who has missed 15+ Premier League games in both of the last two seasons.
Xhaka Torreira Ramsey
Elneny AMN ???
The two behind the one wiote themselves. Mesut Ozil and Henrik Mkhitaryan. We also have Alex Iwobi. We need to fill the talent gap between Iwobi and Mkhitaryan.
I have a criteria:
Comfortable hugging the touch line
Technical enough to play inside
Better than Iwobi, and plenty of names.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Alexandre Lacazette and Danny Welbeck are the best striking options in the league.
Welbeck might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but I challenge you to name a better third choice striker. https://shewore.com/2018/05/10/arsenal-striker-best-in-the-league/
That gives us a 22 man squad (AMN, Willock and Mavropanos need to be “declared”).
It also means we have 14 of 17 non home grown spaces filled.
Ultimately we can go out and buy another 3 players on top of Leno, Lichtsteiner, Sokratis & Torreira without consideration of their passport.
Another central midfielder to back-up Ramsey. Another attacking midfielder who can p;lay out wide. And potentially another central defender.
You can perhaps see why Iwobi and Welbeck are important, and why Arsenal should keep the fringe pair next season.
If Arsenal did “get rid” of them, we would have to replace them with other home grown players – or buy a home grown player in midfield (or not swap out Chambers).
Danny Welbeck has gone to the World Cup. Except for Jamie Vardy, Harry Kane & Marcus Rashford, there are no other strikers who are superior to him. And the names mentioned above would not join Arsenal to be 3rd choice behind Aubameyang and Lacazette.
Personally, I would keep both Iwobi and Welbeck. Send Reiss Nelson and Eddie Nketiah on loan, with both young Englishmen become the potential home grown replacements for Iwobi and Welbeck.
What is clear is the new management trio are building a strong squad, and getting business done early.