Posted on April 03, 2017 by ADMIN

Full Analysis of the WHOLE Arsenal Squad – Who should stay?

***WIELDING THE AXE***

Whether you’re #WENGEROUT or #RESPECTAW, or even if you haven’t chartered a biplane to carry a Twitter-handled banner over The Midlands recently, there’s a whole load more divisive fun to be had in debating which members of the cowering ‘Class of 2017’ to offload for next season. Perhaps hashtags should be trending for all first-team players? #1WOJCIECHSZCZESNYOUT versus #55AINSLEYMAITLANDNILESIN? Could prove pricey to put those up in the sky. But here, for what it’s worth, are my Yes, No and Maybes. Scarily, I’ve got just 17 of 40 players signed up for 2017/18…

By Matt Goldsmith

Key –
+ = In (17)
X = Out (12)
? = ? (11) (*Stats correct as of 01/04/2017)

1. Wojciech Szczesny
X
Age – 26
Contract – 30.06.2017
The No2 spot may well be available next season should David Ospina get the axe but I think it’s unanimously accepted that the Kamikaze keeper’s days at the Emirates are over. Contract is up in the summer but Roma are yet to say for certain whether they will take the option to make his loan stay a permanent deal, although a ‘source’ close to the player told the Italian press that he wants to stay in Rome. Ciao Sir Chesney, thanks for the memories and selfies.

2. Mathieu Debuchy
X
Age – 31
Contract – 30.06.2019
Clearly decent enough on his day but for various reasons it just hasn’t worked out for Frenchman. You would question his ambition if he was happy to settle for another season of collecting his pay check and splinters from the subs bench in his derriere. Bon voyage.

3. Kieran Gibbs
?
Age – 27
Contract – 30.06.2018
Remember that photo of the new ‘British core’ (Jenkinson, Ramsey, Wilshere, Gibbs and the Ox) signing new deals in 2012? Nice idea at the time, weren’t it? In the brief glimpses we’ve had of Gibbo since and in this, another crocked season, the forgotten full back seems to have hit the weights a bit and looked a revelation in the 4-1 Champions League win over Basle. There’ll be no shortage of volunteers to drop Nacho Monreal at Luton Airport for his return flight to Malaga in June, but should Gibbs be given first dibs on the vacancy? He’s already got the No.3 shirt, now he just needs two functioning legs to go with it… even one would be an improvement on Monreal, surely?

4. Per Mertesacker
X
Age – 32
Contract – 30.06.2018
With regret, it’s a “no” to the skipper. A class act and shrewd reader of the game but the lanky one has always possessed the turning circle of a freight ship and, a bit like his predecessor, Arteta, there was a clear moment where you could see that the legs had finally given up the ghost. A year out with a serious injury won’t have improved the situation, either. Let’s hope he hauls himself out on to the Emirates pitch for one last hurrah – the BFG deserves a big, ahum, send off.

5. Gabriel
?
Age – 26
Contract – 30.06.2019
Has all the raw materials – pace, aggression, aerial presence – to mix it in the Premier League mosh pit but a lack of polish and questions over his temperament are clear. A number of former players have given the Brazilian their backing but he’s clearly in need of a sustained run of games… scary prospect. Should the club show its faith in English duo Calum Chambers and Rob Holding instead?

6. Laurent Koscielny
+
Age – 31
Contract – 30.06.2020
The rightful heir to the armband. Holds the creaking door shut almost single-handedly at times and doesn’t deserve to get shown up like he does. You wouldn’t hold it against Kos if he asks serious questions about his and the club’s future this summer. While there are signs of a viable partnership developing with Mustafi, Koscielny deserves more defensive support around him and, new manager or not, has to be the leading man if we are to reign in the “attack at all costs” approach a smidge.

7. Alexis Sanchez
X
Age – 28
Contract – 30.06.2018
Involved in the most goals (26 in 29 Premier League games), most minutes played, best points per game average, best prime number shirted player in the division… etc. Our Mr Muscle wants it all. But following ‘glove gate’ and training ground shenanigans, the team spirit has clearly been dented – can you put a stat on that? What has been a mutually beneficial stint for both parties will hopefully come to an equally amicable end this summer for the greater good. Having proved himself one of the beasts of the world game for club and country over the past three years, the jostling for the his signature began some time ago. PSG? Juve? A club winning trophies in London? The Chilean can follow previous ‘Le Sulks’ out of the N5 exit door – Gazidis and the money men just need to make sure we don’t get stiffed on the transfer fee like we have in the past.

8. Aaron Ramsey
?
Age – 26
Contract – 30.06.2018
As we know, it’s all or nothing with Rambo – Cup final winning goal scorer, Euro 2016 star or, yet again, a of the symbol of the malaise and injury-plagued element of an underachieving squad. Like Gibbs, Wilshere, et al, you’re willing Rambo to be at the heart of it all but question marks remain over his ability to: A) Get fit B) Stay fit C) Find some consistency D) Carve out a niche for himself. Given a clean bill of health, he’s the goal-getting midfielder of your dreams… but as we tend to bulk buy our attacking midfielders and ‘Number 10s’, he may yet cause us nightmares for one of our rivals.

9. Lucas Perez
?
Age – 28
Contract – 30.06.2020
Feel for the Spaniard. Brought in, essentially, to fill the void left by Welbeck’s prolonged/wholly predictable long-term absence, Lucas has remained predominantly in the vast ‘Alexis shadow’. Having done the business when called upon – his strike against Bournemouth and Champions League hat-trick – there’s clearly a tidy finisher waiting in the wings. Will he take the initiative and return to Spain or will play the long game and wait to see the ins and outs at the Emirates?

10. Jack Wilshere
X
Age – 25
Contract – 30.06.2018
The biggest name of a ruthless, but necessary, cull. Perhaps a ‘Henry-esque’ homecoming will be on the cards one day but over the past few years, Jack’s been a long way off the pace – physically and mentally. Zero goals in 23 league games for Bournemouth paints one picture, as does a mere 17 tackles (N’Golo Kante = 101). Yes, lazy comparisons with Kante are everywhere but, unlike the small yet mighty Frenchman, Jack (all 5ft 6in of him) is simply steamrollered by ‘Vieira like’ midfield monsters these days. And, unless until he magically shoots up 2ft over night – ala Tom Hanks in Big – or puts his ankle troubles behind him, he won’t ever replicate the prodigious displays of his youth. He has more heart and pride in the club than 99% of the squad put together but he won’t be the first homegrown star to make his way elsewhere. Time to top up his Dorset tan or perhaps a move to even sunnier climbs would be the making of him?

11. Mesut Ozil
X
Age – 28
Contract – 30.06.2018
Wilshere’s passion genetically spliced with Ozil’s talent, that’s the dream… #weirdscience. Having given us fleeting glimpses of the “Best No.10 on the planet” with his telepathic link up with Alexis, the all-seeing one has effectively been in hibernation since December. With our backs currently pressed firmly against the wall, to have the club’s ‘X Factor’ signing operating on light duties has rightly drawn the ire of the paying punters. The £200,000-a-week-plus deal on the table could be better used stockpiling the protein shakes fridge at the training ground. Auf Wiedersen, Pet.

12. Olivier Giroud
+
Age – 28
Contract – 30.06.2018
There’s still genuine love for our very much maligned and misunderstood Frenchman. Granted, the squad needs some battled-hardened munters adding to it this summer… I’m talking proper face like a welder’s bench brothers …but there’s still room for our Gallic Gladiator. Oli’s never going to be the Lewandowski or Higuain No.9 that ‘spunk the budget’ supporters bleat on about and, yes, he goes from balmy to Baltic spells in front of goal, but think West Brom, Man Utd, Preston, or even the consolation at Chelsea this season – the guy turns up when everyone else has downed tools.

13. David Ospina
X
Age – 28
Contract – 30.06.2019
Seems well liked within the squad and has enjoyed his moments in the sun – last season at Shite Hart Lane; PSG away – but the lightweight keeper too often looks flimsy when tin hats are required, and his form has never seemed to match the kind of heroics he has shown in a Colombia shirt.

14. Theo Walcott
X
Age – 28
Contract – 30.06.2019
It’s 100 and out for Theo. Thank you for a decade of loyal service: the ton of goals; that run at Anfield in 2008; the Cup final opener; and the spasmodic hat-tricks. But now’s the time to take the plunge: winger or striker? There was that old quote from Harry Redknapp about Theo “not making a splash when he ran through a puddle” but, in reality, the guy’s been treading water for years. Feel free to come back and score the inevitable hat-trick against us sometime soon though, Theo!

15. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain
?
Age – 23
Contract – 30.06.2018
Has got five years in hand on his mate, Theo, but the Ox’s is another career that’s stagnated to such an extent that such rare talents as Alex Iwobi and Jake Livermore are getting the nod ahead of him for club and country. Winger (Yes)? Centre mid (No)? Depends which pundit you ask. But 12 league starts this season suggests that he and his bosses better decide sooner rather than later or risk throwing another English talent on to the funeral pyre. Where would a move take him? Another ‘top six’ club could bring yet more closed doors and a Scott Sinclair-style disappearing act. Everton? Back to Southampton? Surely he’s too good for that.

16. Rob Holding
+
Age – 21
Contract – 30.06.2020
Keep calm and carry on. In the mix with England U21s and being gradually eased into the first team. Having done his time with Bolton, he should be kept with the squad rather than loaned next season. Bodes well.

17. Alex Iwobi
+
Age – 20
Contract – 30.06.2020
Quick feet, positional awareness and an eye for a killer pass in the final third. Deserved his deal and senior recognition this season but 23 league appearances (including 18 starts!) makes you wonder what dirt he’s got on Wenger… the combination to the safe? A taped Kroenke confessional – ‘What’s an Arsenal?’.Cameos from the bench next season will help avoid the kind of burn out that’s affected previous homegrown hopefuls.

18. Nacho Monreal
X
Age – 31
Contract – 30.06.2019
Enough is enough. The Spaniard’s form has nosedived since last season’s ‘Steady Eddie’ performances. Whether Gibbs gets the nod or not remains to be seen but the club need to go seriously left field in the market this summer.

19. Santi Cazorla
+
Age – 32
Contract – 30.06.2017
Come back Santi, all is forgiven! A fully fit Cazorla is still one of the first names on the teamsheet – and he could seamlessly step into Ozil’s shoes. Hopefully there’s a few years left in those stunted yet magical legs yet.

20. Shkodran Mustafi
+
Age – 24
Contract – 30.06.2021
Le Prof’s track record of signing centre backs reads like a who’s who of transfer deadline day misdials: Cygan, Senderos, Stepanovs, Silvestre… and had the latest in that illustrious list, Gabriel, not been injured in pre-season then the boss may not have had his fingers prised off the coffers to invest in the World Cup winner. The young German’s pairing with Koscielny looks like it could be the base of a strong unit… if only they can encourage the other eight outfield players to glance towards their own goal now and again.

21. Calum Chambers
+
Age – 22
Contract – 30.06.2020
A year’s among the Teesside chimneys in a spectacularly dull, yet well drilled Middlesbrough side may have helped to iron out the rash flaws in the youngster’s game. Having played in a back three will certainly have glossed over some of his shortcomings but the England international has the pace and mobility to slot in should, Heaven forbid we repeal the ‘thou shall play 4-2-3-1 ad infinitum’ mantra.

22. Yaya Sanogo
X
Age – 24
Contract – 30.06.2017
A swap deal for the twin brother who scored four in the Emirates Cup v Benfica would be ideal. But seriously. No.

23. Danny Welbeck
+
Age – 26
Contract – 30.06.2019
Welbz has sprinkled some much needed salt & presence back into the side after a year out. He’s looked sharp in his first games back and, if he can keep his fitness and finds a more ruthless edge in front of goal, Danny’s definitely a champion for the big occasion and deserving of a run in the side ahead of Walcott, Iwobi, etc.

24. Hector Bellerin
+
Age – 22
Contract – 30.06.2023
100%. Inevitably, we will endure summer(s) of the Catalan being talked up for a return to Arsenal ‘B’ but recent sound bites suggest that if Wenger stays, Bellerin will, too. Maybe that’s one good reason for the ‘Wexit’ brigade to wind it in a notch.

25. Carl Jenkinson
+
Age – 25
Contract – 30.06.2018
A player that deserves to come in from the cold. Unlucky (lucky?) that his loan spell at West Ham was cut short by injury but once Debuchy is ushered out the door, Jenko could prove solid back up. Could he learn to fill in at left back? What we do know is that he’s way too good for an Allardyce Crystal Palace side.

26. Emiliano Martinez
+
Age – 24
Contract – “long-term deal” signed in November 2016
Has the frame and stature of a class keeper in the making and the Argentine youngster’s best years are ahead of him. “Arsenal means everything to me… I love this club and I want to be the No.1 goalkeeper here for many years,” he once pledged. Mixed fortunes during loans spells in the Championship and a failure to dislodge Szczesny, Ospina or Cech have filed him under the “too young for a top level keeper, yet” category, but worth keeping hold of.

28. Joel Campbell
?
Age – 24
Contract – 30.06.2018
Unlucky to be shipped out. The ‘stats’ – you know the kind of crap: ‘Sprints Attempted’; ‘Aerial Dual Success’, etc – perhaps don’t match the player seen with the naked eye? A season in and out of the Sporting team (3 goals / 4 assists in 25 games) has done little to kick the Costa Rican on during his loan spell in Portugal… but a month’s layoff with an abductor tear does at least prove there is muscle under the sturdy frame. His pace and eye for an assist & goal would have been welcome back here this year. Worth seeing out the final year of his deal.

29. Granit Xhaka
+
Age – 24
Contract – 30.06.2021
Can’t explain the compulsion to compare Xhaka with Gilles Grimandi but it does show how Wenger has made his name off budget buys, like the £3m paid for a 7/10 player like Gilles Grimandi, rather than splashing the Francs on targets whose reputation precedes them. Now a club scout, Grimandi once said, “The fans want us to bring in star names, but they don’t all grasp our economic limitations”. Yes, (sadly) the game has moved on since ‘98 but at £35m, Xhaka has proved the kind of expensive flop that Wenger has guarded against all these years. The Swiss has been a conscientious objector in the midfield battle ground (53 tackles compared to Kante’s 101) in his first season but is likely to be kept on, if for no other reason than to save face.

31. Jeff Reine-Adelaide
?
Age – 19
Contract – 30.06.2017
Meh. Wenger has called him a “special talent” but the France U19 international has just looked another typically nonchalant academy let down when thrust into the first team.

32. Chuba Akpom
X
Age – 21
Contract – 30.06.2019
Always gets his and our hopes up with eye-catching performances and goals during pre-season tours but in the cold light of day the striker needs to cut the apron strings and start his career in earnest. Has looked the part in the Championship and could do worse than take Benik Afobe’s rise back to the top flight as his inspiration.

33. Petr Cech
+
Age – 34
Contract – 30.06.2019
Another one struck down by our unerring knack of making quality defensive players look a shambles. Despite a ropey season it’s definitely worth sticking with Big Pete. Me and a mate have a bet on that Cech will never save a penalty for us… he signposts which way he’s diving so early that he may as well wear indicators, which isn’t ideal for a side that’s shipped a load of spot kicks.

34. Francis Coquelin
X
Age – 25
Contract – 30.06.2021
Only recently signed a long-term extension but surely the race is run for the running man. Nobody will underestimate how the forgotten Frenchman answered our SOS (save our season) to help lift the Cup in 2014, but those halcyon few months have definitely proved Fran’s peak, over which his form has steadily toppled ever since. Aged just 25 he has time on his side, and a lot to offer a new club looking for someone to cover the midfield miles.

35. Mohamed Elneny
+
Age – 24
Contract – 30.06.2020
Underappreciated and underused. As always, the AFCON – bunged slap bang in the middle of the season – robbed Prem clubs of key men at a vital time in the season… especially as our Mo was busy scoring for Egypt in the final. Calm, tidy and effective in the engine room, he’s definitely ahead of the likes of Xhaka, Cocquelin and Wilshere in the queue – time to start making the most of what we’ve got.

37. Krystian Bielik
+
Age – 19
Contract – 30.06.2020
Captain of the U23s has been at the centre of the improved fortunes of the junior sides in recent years. A loan at Birmingham will give him his first real step into the big boys’ leagues. Worth a first-team shirt again next season.

40. Gedion Zelalem
?
Age – 20
Contract – “long-term deal” signed in January 2017
Loans at Rangers, Brentford and currently VVV in Holland will have expanded the horizons of the well travelled Ethiopian-German-American further still. If he stays on, you know the drill by know: Zelalem will pop up in the League Cup next season before heading out on loan when we graciously bow out after a couple of rounds. What happens thereafter is in the lap of the gods.

55. Ainsley Maitland-Niles
+
Age – 19
Contract – “long-term deal” signed in November 2014
Not enough game time during his loan spell at Ipswich Town last year according to his mother who offered out Mick McCarthy. Brave. But her son particularly impressed in his preferred central midfield position in the FA Cup 5-0 romp at Southampton in January. Captained England U20s and is one to bring closer into the first-team fold next season – but his claims that Ozil is his “role model” are a concern.

57. Stephy Mavididi
?
Age – 19
Contract – “long-term deal” signed in July 2015
Marked out as one to watch over the last couple of years and was unfortunate that his recent loan at Charlton was cut short by injury after just five games. Another England youth international that the club may want to keep a close eye on over the next year before making a call on his future.

68. Chris Willock
+
Age – 19
Contract – 30.06.2017
Rated very highly at the club and currently shining for the England youth sides – including a belting goal for the U19s recently. Vital the club keep hold of our best young talent, especially amid reported interest from other Premier League clubs.

Dan Crowley
?
Age – 19
Contract – 30.06.2017
The ‘next Jack Wilshere’ has, similarly to the real thing, found first-team action out on loan. Barnsley, Oxford United and GA Eagles have served as destinations, the latest of which recently yielded a first Eredivisie goal for the former Aston Villa youngster. League Cup potential before another loan next season, perhaps?

Jon Toral
?
Age – 22
Contract – “long-term deal” signed in January 2017
More than 100 first-team matches already under his belt courtesy of spells at Brentford, Birmingham City, Granada and, most recently, Rangers. If Hector’s fellow former Barca pal can help ward off interest from their old club then that alone earns Toral his place in the squad.

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12 thoughts on “Full Analysis of the WHOLE Arsenal Squad – Who should stay?

  1. davidnz

    Until the “announcement”
    we have to hold fire on
    predicting next seasons squad.
    If Arsene stays we know he has his style and favourites.
    What do we know about the new manager if one is coming in?
    There is a rumour about that the board
    are to demand a much higher ambition level
    with said bespoke bigger budget.
    But we have been told that before.
    May be the club is preparing to announce a raft of
    exciting new plans momentarily?
    The number one name on the team sheet is the Manager
    and right now we do not know who that will be yet.
    Make the “announcement” please 🙂

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 0

  2. frank

    Well done, you put a lot of effort into this article.

    There would be a few I would keep, depending if Wenger signs on or not because I would like to see how they would go at Arsenal with a different manager.

    Wojciech Szczesny is still young for a keeper
    Francis Coquelin would be better with a defensive mid
    Theo Walcott scores enough goals to keep
    Chuba Akpom should get at least the same chance as Sanogo

    Danny Welbeck is the one I’m not sure about staying. He just doesn’t create or score enough goals.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 6

  3. Jansen

    Lot of effort! Thank you.

    I think (not unlike davidnz) that all depends on who will be the manager next year. If it is Wenger, it makes no difference who comes and who goes as we have seen for the past 10years.

    If there is a new manager I would like to dream that he could convince Sanchez to stay and build a team around him. Not only do we need a few WC players and Sanchez is our only one at the moment, we also need some real fighters who have a winning mentality.

    I would also like to think a new manager would realize that Giroud doesn’t belong in a title winning side especially at his age.

    I would expect a new manager or Wenger to keep Ospina and rightfully so IMO.

    I would keep Campbell but Wenger clearly sees him as a mistake.

    If anyone wants Xhaka for decent money I would be open.

    Just bring me Simeoni or another good manager (Allegri? Koeman?) and I will be happy even if we finish 10th what we should expect in any event, also if Wenger stays.

    Top Gooner!. Agree or not?: Thumb up 19 Thumb down 4

  4. Juhi McLovin

    Giroud is 30*. And turns 31 in September. I disagree on him: he should leave. There’s nothing more he can offer. We have Perez and Welbeck who can be 2nd choice forwards. Bring in a real, goal-scoring striker.

    Top Gooner!. Agree or not?: Thumb up 18 Thumb down 5

  5. Tas

    it looks like no one is arguing for AW to stay anymore here on Justarsenal or anywhere else, the only people who want AW to stay are retired opposition players turned pundits or guests on TV, no one can say we are not loyal because we had him for 21 years and worshiped him for at least 17 of those years and tolerated a further one or two more years but now its turning biter into him against supporters and he should stay loyal to his club which made him a fortune and world famous and like i said worshiped, if he is to be remembered in a fond way he should kick the shi7 out of the board and leave 🙂

    Top Gooner!. Agree or not?: Thumb up 20 Thumb down 2

  6. arsenalfan1

    Lot of effort went into the article, so congratulations to the writer of it on that point.

    I do think that the manager being the most important part of the ‘team’ should not have been excluded.

    Sanchez as an ‘OUT’ when it is his winning mentality clashing with the loser mentality of the manager is difficult to comprehend.

    Conte turned malcontents at Chelsea into Premiership winning players. What a difference a manager can make.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 2

  7. Midkemma

    Szcz should be kept for 12 months, I know Szcz needed to grow up but he appears to be doing so at Roma, he has played 2 games more than Cech and he has kept 8 more clean sheets while conceding 6 less goals.

    Roma have wanted to buy him but we value him too high for them.

    Let us not forget he did share the golden glove with Cech and Cech had Chelsea parking the bus in front of him.

    The guy has massive potential still and being sent away seems to have given him a kick up the backside and as such, why not give him another chance? It would encourage other players who go out on loan that the loan is for the development and not 1 step away from being sold.

    Top Gooner!. Agree or not?: Thumb up 16 Thumb down 0

    1. Gooner Craig

      I agree bro, I have faith.. well, hope lol that Schezzer can come back, compete and eventually take the gloves off of Cech.

      He would have won the golden glove and not have to share if AW didn’t play Fabianski in the last game of the season to prep him for the FA cup final in the next game!

      Rate this comment: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  8. Rare Admirall

    Wenger Out, Otherwise we shall pout,big time,
    This time,
    Thanks for The Memories…..But it’s time to Go.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 1

  9. Gooner Craig

    I really enjoyed reading this article. I like to read different opinions on the squad (ins/outs, etcs).

    I pretty much agree with your evaluations. I’d try to keep Sanchez and hope Jack can return and become the hero he’s been long touted to be, although that looks unlikely!

    A few of the ‘?’ Over players I also agree with, as I can only imagine that with the right ingredients (manager? Tactics? Formation? Senzu beans?) that players like Ramsey, Ox, Perez, Gabriel, maybe even Joel? Maybe-maybe Le Coq? Could become actual realise their potential and play to it consistently. Although maybe I’m just too faithful in my team? But I’ll equally be happy if they were upgraded with better quality (although I like Ox and Jack, hopefully they can step up?!)

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

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