Analysis – Which players should Arsenal keep or sell this summer?

Which players should be welcomed at the Emirates and which ones should be shown the door

It’s still more than three months until the summer transfer window and rumors about the incomings and outgoings at Arsenal are already in the discussions .

We will look at every Arsenal player and decide whether the club should keep the player or sell him come the summer of 2021. Also, we must point out that we won’t include players who have recently signed for the club (there will be few exceptions).

Bernd Leno: Since his move from Bayer Leverkusen in 2018, he has been one of the most consistent players at the Emirates. In the 98 appearances he has made for the Gunners, the 28-year-old has conceded 114 goals and kept 29 clean sheets on the way. The German also came second in the club’s yearly Player of the Season Awards last season. Keep.

Maty Ryan: The Australian made the switch from Brighton to Arsenal on loan in the January transfer window. The former Seagulls’ first choice had an impressive debut against Aston Villa, even though the Gunners went onto lose that game. Despite the player boasting vast experience in Belgium, Spain and England, Arsenal should be looking at keepers who bring the homegrown ticket with them.

Freddie Woodman and David Raya have been repeatedly looked at by the club, and their signing in the summer would make more sense. Don’t sign.

Alex Runarsson: The Iceland international joined the club after goalkeeper coach Inaki Cana recommended his former protégé to the club’s representatives. Even though the 26-year-old, who has seven international appearances, has majority of his career ahead of him, the third-choice goalkeeping spot should be given to an academy player. Teams like Liverpool, Chelsea, Man Utd and even Man City has/had a homegrown player in the third slot for the keeper, to ease them in the HG rule of the Premier League. Having more flexibility in recruiting players in the forward, midfield and defensive positions makes a lot of sense. Sell.

Hector Bellerin: The former Barcelona academy product has had mixed performances since he made a comeback from the serious ACL injury he suffered against Chelsea at the start of the 2019 campaign. But cashing in on Bellerin, who is 26 years old, with a pacier and younger full-back should be the priority at London Colney. Sell.

David Luiz: The majority of the Arsenal faithful were aggrieved when they came to know that Arsenal extended Luiz’s contract for a further year in the summer of 2020. Even though he has had shaky moments in an Arsenal shirt, Mikel Arteta has been really impressed with the 33-year-old since day one. When Martinelli and Saka were asked about the one Arsenal player who helped them to settle in the first team premises, both, without a hesitation said “David Luiz.” One of the reasons Arsenal have an extremely healthy environment at London Colney is due to the presence of the former Brazil international. Keep.

Calum Chambers: Although Mikel Arteta was impressed with his former teammate when he first joined the club, luck hasn’t been on Chambers’ side to aid that impression. The 26-year-old was injured in Arteta’s first home match in charge of the club. What followed was a lengthy lay off from the pitch. In his absence, the Gunners went and bought two center-backs which made Arsenal well stocked in his place. Although he played in two Europa League games, his shot at getting back to Arteta’s team looks highly unlikely. With a year left on his contract come summer 2021, Arsenal might well try to cash in on him. Sell.

Pablo Mari: Despite the Brazilian being used sparingly in the first team due to his injuries, he has looked more than ready when he was called upon. He was part of the team which showed great character in the post-Christmas period, taking Arsenal from a bottom half team to a team fighting for European places. Even though he is not one of the fastest defenders you will see, his game intelligence is one of the best assets that Arsenal can use to their own benefit. Keep.

Cedric: This was a signing which really touched the wrong nerve of the Arsenal faithful. The Portuguese’s loan deal was made permanent in the summer and some Arsenal fans even went far by saying “Worst Arsenal signing of the decade.” This was unfair, due to the fact that he had barely played for the Gunners. But the European Champion showed that he isn’t just another piece of their squad. His presence has made Arteta feel better about the full back positions. When Hector Bellerin showed some signs of slacking off, the Spaniard was replaced by the 29 year old. Arsenal looked a completely different side on the right wing, with Bukayo Saka and Cedric combining to great effect. Thus, he has the ability to cover in both left and right back slots if the situation asks for it. Keep.

Rob Holding: After fully recovering from the ACL injury, Arteta has showed his trust on the 25-year-old former Bolton defender. He has been used frequently and has been one of the more consistent players in this sluggish Arsenal side. Even though the Englishman is not the fanciest of players, he does the job when it needs to be done with the least mistakes. Keep.

William Saliba: Arsenal must give him every chance.  This is a player who has already shown maturity beyond his years on numerous occasions. Keep.

Sead Kolasinac: I think we can all agree that the full back has no future at Arsenal and won’t be returning. Sell.

Konstantinos Mavropanos: The Greek has been superb for Stuttgart this season. The board at Stuttgart were so impressed with his performances at Tier 2 Nurnberg last season that they extended his stay for a further year in Germany but he has gone up a Division. Arsenal have still high hopes for the 23-year-old. Keep.

Joe Willock and Maitland Niles: The duo are currently out on loan in Newcastle and West Brom respectively. Although both had some good spells under Arteta, that has come far and few in between. If they do want to enter Arteta’s first team, the initial step would be to make the grade at their respective clubs. It may sound a bit harsh but Arsenal could sell both of them before signing better players for their push for the Champions League. Sell.

Bukayo Saka: Do we really need to say a word? Keep.

Emile Smith Rowe: Do we? Keep.

Thomas Partey: Are you sure? Keep.

Dani Ceballos: Reports emerged last week that Arsenal will need to stump up £22million if they wish to sign Dani Ceballos on a permanent basis. The Spanish international is one of the hardest workers on the pitch. The 24-year-old is well adept at making ferocious tackles and defense splitting passes. However, he has made just 12 starts this season at the Emirates. Although Ceballos is an extremely good footballer, Arsenal should look at other profiles who would do a more efficient job at the center of the team. Return.

Mo Elneny: Nobody would have imagined Elneny staying at Arsenal for the remainder of the 2020/21 campaign. The Egyptian has had some good games in an Arsenal shirt this season but Edu and Arteta must prefer younger and better players in terms of quality. Sell.

Granit Xhaka: This is where there is a huge division among the Arsenal fans. Some say that he should be given a new contract due to his importance at North London. Whereas some prefer not seeing him around next season. At 28 and with two years left on his contract, he is far too ponderous on the ball and inconsistent for Arsenal to go to him and say, “We are giving you a contract extension.” Sell.

Matteo Guendouzi: The 21-year-old is regarded highly across Europe. But when you put in his “complex attitude” into the fold, it is a different ask. Arsenal could well have sold the Frenchman in the summer by offering him in exchange deals for Houssem Aouar and Thomas Partey. But all their endeavors were a failure. Reports emerged in Germany that Guendouzi will be given a second chance at Arsenal this summer. And he deserves one even though he has an “attitude problem.” Keep.

Lucas Torreira: The player on numerous occasions has shown his unwillingness to continue his career at Arsenal or more precisely, England. Even though Arsenal fans had many hopes for him when he arrived in 2018 after he shone at the World Cup, he can be put in the box of “one that wasn’t meant to be.” Sell.

Willian: Oh boy! Here we go again. Arteta and Edu must admit that they got it wrong with the former Chelsea man. Not only is the winger ineffective, the minutes he is getting is usually at the expense of younger players such as Martinelli, Pepe and Reiss Nelson. Sell!!!

Alex Lacazette: The forward will turn 30 this summer and if Arsenal give him a contract extension at this stage, they might fall into a similar hole as Mesut Ozil. Players running down their contracts feels like a daily sight for the Arsenal faithful. That needs to change for good. Sell.

Aubameyang: He is not leaving and nobody wants him to leave, it is as simple as that. Keep.

Eddie Nketiah: West Ham looked at the U21 striker briefly in January to fill the void left by Sebastian Haller but they never considered him a serious option. Given that he will have a year left on his contract, extending it in the coming months and then moving him on this or the next summer might be a wise decision. Sell.

Yash Bisht

READ MORE:  Have Arsenal already lined up our new left-back?


    1. The only way Arteta stays for me is if Arsenal finish in top 6 (at least) or win the Europa League. Nothing else will do for me. It’s been a disaster so far and nothing is improving under him. No impact!

  1. Very great, well thought out article. I would have loved to see which players you would recommend coming in, though (realistic options). I almost agree with all of them. Except for Lacazette. I think Lacazette is still our best 9 because of his ability to hold up play and I like Auba more from the left. You also didn’t mention Nelson

    My buys would be Raya/Woodman, Bertrand, a new right back, Locatelli as a replacement for Xhaka, to try to sign Odegaard on a permanent deal and Brandt.

  2. I would agree with the list but the reality is that we will be stuck with the majority of the current squad. Onward and downward..

  3. Nice. I only disagree with Cedric whom I would sell too and NOT to keep Luiz. He’s a back up RB and we have a homegrown quota to fill..

    I would bring in:

    Ryan/Runarsson -> Woodman/Rui Silva
    LB -> Tyrick Mitchell
    Luiz -> Saliba
    Chambers -> Mavropanos
    Cedric -> Fabien Centonze
    Bellerin -> Emerson Royal
    Xhaka -> Teun Koopmeiners
    Elneny -> Torreira/Guendouzi
    Willock -> Azeez
    Nketiah -> Balogun
    Ödegaard/Willian/Nelson -> Emi Buendia
    Ceballos -> ???

    Lacazette -> This is a difficult one. There aren’t profilic strikers available for moderate prices. How about Aguero if he wants to stay in England? Similar to Suarez’ situation last summer. If Aguero would accept a 1+1 contract, with moderate signing-on-fee and wages (let’s say no more than what Laca now earns), would you sign him? Suarez (also Mkhitaryan) contract right now consist a lot on performance bonuses. Like 1 million for 15 goals and so on.

    1. Oh and I don’t know if we will need another CB or not but Cristian Romero is astonishing at the moment for Atalanta. Apparently they have an option to buy from Juventus, but if they don’t, we should snap him up. He’s experienced, yet young, great at antipicating and a good tackler.

    2. McLovin I think it would be risky to get rid of both right backs at in the same window. You cannot always guarantee that new players will hit the ground running. You can get rid of Cedric after the new RB has proved himself
      Personally I don’t have a problem with Cedric as a back up. He’s proven he’s reliable when called upon and as a plus can effectively deputize at LB when required

  4. Fair assessment. Beleive it or not I would keep xaka for now. He has been consistent.

    I would get rid of Luiz because we have mavrapanos and saliba so don’t see any reason to keep him. Chambers is actually a decent player so would keep him over Luiz.

    Lacca gotta go he is a decent striker but we need world class. I think we should spend the money but to be honest I can’t think of any player who really stands out for me to be no.1 striker for arsenal maybe florian and martinelli need more time upfront

  5. Sell/Dont re-sign

    Maitland Niles
    And of course Arteta and Bould

  6. No one will a pay a bean for Runnerson Elneny or Luiz so just release them.
    Chambers is a cheap quota player so he will stay.
    Lacazette Torreira Kolasinac Mari Cedric are on fat salaries so unless we give them away they will all run down their contracts like Sanchez Ozil Ramsey Mustafi Socritis all did to get one last retirement package. Sell Willian? To who? No one is going to buy a washed up has been and pay his fat salary too.
    Xhaka is Arteta mark2 and is here for ever. Maitland Niles Nketia and Willock know they are valuable home grown assets and can leave on a free when they are ready so they will just run down their contracts like Ramsey Ozil et all have. Guendouzi is a smart cookie comfortable in Germany or France on loan collecting his salary before leaving on a free for an even bigger salary package. Saliba is costing 25 mill and not playing for 2 seasons. He too was given the push like Guendouzi but can have the last laugh by running down his contract and leaving on a free when he is 24.
    All the players have learned from Post covid clubs are all massively in debt and won’t pay pre covid transfer fees and precovid salaries. So players won’t move but just run down their contracts leave on a free for a salary similar to what they are getting now. And there is sweet FA any club can do about it 🙂

    1. I think we will try to sell or probably loan out 5 or 6. It will be a difficult window but hopefully we can get in 2 or 3 in midfield and wing who can add a bit of energy and cleverness. Same with CF. Another LB too.
      I hope we don’t bring back Guendouzi. He was relegated to the bench for a poor Berlin team in their recent games against Bayern and Leipzig. He embarrassed himself again when coming on as sub on Sunday. He’s too much hassle with little reward.

  7. One proven theory that most football fans don’t appreciate is that making too many changes in a single window is unwise. What happens when you buy half a squad and the new players take time to adapt or turn out to be flops? Even if you wanted to replace Xhaka, it would be wiser to keep his experience around just in case your new midfielder doesn’t hit the ground running or is plagued by injuries like is common with players from other leagues (Thiago, Partey, Ziyech….)
    Secondly, getting rid of players on a contract isn’t that simple. Some of us think selling players is analogous to selling goods in a convenience store where you display your goods and people will come buying at will. It’s not that simple. The purchasing club, the player and agent, and the selling club must all be in agreement. Good luck getting rid of Willian! You make it look as easy as buying ice cream

    1. Lemme tell you how easy it is, willian, why did we buy him????, xhaka wanted to go bremen where he deserves to be and we kept him, why???, Niles wanted to go for a good price but we never considered it, why??? we signed a mediocre goalkeeper and replaced him with another mediocre, we kept luiz when we should have trusted saliba, we could not have been worse than what we are now!!! elney was ready to go i wonder why we kept him

    2. U got it right. Onyango.

      There’s alot behind the scenes. It’s not as easy as it looks.
      There’s always politics and time, team chemistry etc.
      Its not like playing a game. Well the complex game also need time to gel.
      Some players need other better players to raise their standards.

  8. Do you people realize laca is worse than giroud, what does hold up play help, those are silly excuses for keeping laca, no. one to be sold followed by xhaka, they are killing my team

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