Arsenal have overgone a massive clear-out in recent seasons, and with another transfer window coming up in January it makes sense to be looking at which players will be next.
While there has been a number of outgoings, there has of course been numerous important incomings, and naturally we need to make room in the squad and the wage budget to continue to strengthen our playing squad.
The rumour mill loves to link us with numerous exciting additions, while our outgoings are less of a hot topic, and sometimes we have to analyse the noise and rid ourselves of some nonsense, although our own thinking and that of the club’s can sometimes be very different.
The most likely departees have to be Folarin Balogun, Bernd Leno, Eddie Nketiah and Alexandre Lacazette, but January isn’t always the best time to be overhauling your squad.
I’m going against the above statement however in ruling out an exit for either of Leno or Laca, both of whom could potentially affect the strength of our squad, and with us currently threatening to break into the top four, I don’t see any amount that we could fetch for either of those posing as a risk we would be willing to take.
Balogun on the other hand will surely be leaving on loan. While it would be nice for him to make a miraculous rise in Arteta’s thinking and be what we hope he can be, he remains behind all of Auba, Laca and Nketiah (as well as possibly Martinelli) in the pecking order.
Nketiah is another story, and one who also seems likely to leave on paper. My version of reality is a little different however. He turned down a move this summer supposedly over his demands, but I don’t believe he could have stayed if he didn’t feel wanted. Mikel Arteta certainly does believe in Eddie, and he has had little reason not to on his performances in pre-season or in the EFL Cup so far this term, and I firmly believe that the manager would prefer to sign him up to a new deal. His lack of playing time however may have the forward thinking otherwise, and strong reports that we are expected to bring in a new striker inside the next 12 months will surely only add to his belief that he needs a move. I believe this is much more complicated than it is being portrayed by the news outlets, and I think his agent may well be an instigator in trying to carve out a move with him representing Flo also…
Mo Elneny is another who is into the last season of his contract, and his departure will have little effect on our season, especially with him joining up with the Egypt squad for the AFCON early into 2022. His departure has to be the most likely I believe, while one of our defensive back-ups could also be frustrated with their squad roles.
Pablo Mari, Rob Holding and Calum Chambers are currently well behind Gabriel Magalhaes and Ben White in the pecking order at centre-back, while the Cedric Soares and Takehiro Tomiyasu appear to be ahead at right-back also.
Can you really see Laca or Leno being allowed to leave while we’re still in contention to finish inside the top four?