When Arsenal made their ill-fated bid to prise Jamie Vardy away from Leicester it seemed as if this transfer window was going to be a little more exciting than most at the Emirates (the glamour signing of Ozil excepted). Arsene Wenger, after all, is renowned for being fairly careful with his (or rather the club’s) money, at the same time as seeming to take a degree of pride in not doing anything as obvious as buying someone who’s really good at scoring important goals.
The Vardy bid, however, signals that this season may be different, perhaps bolstered by factors such as the fact that Arsenal just blew their best chance for years to win the title, and the knowledge that all of the other big teams are likely to come back bigger and better. At the same time as bolstering his squad, of course, Wenger is going to have to clear out some of what is euphemistically referred to as the ‘dead wood’, moving on those players who have become surplus to requirements. Just in case he’s struggling to think of the right candidates, here are a few suggestions:
The 29 year old may seem like a strange first choice, given that he’s currently playing for France at the Euros, but the Vardy bid, not to mention rumours linking Arsenal to strikers such as Lacazette and Lukaku would suggest that Wenger is less than completely happy with the player. A return of 16 Premier League goals last season isn’t overly impressive for a team hoping to challenge for the title, particularly since three of them came in the form of a hat trick against Villa. Wenger may well decide it’s time to freshen up his forward options.
Remember when Theo Walcott was the old Marcus Rashford? There comes a time, however, when potential has to be turned into something concrete and Walcott has, in recent seasons, seemed incapable of performing at the highest level consistently. The arrival of Danny Welbeck pushed him further down the pecking order and, although he only signed a contract extension last summer, both player and club may feel that a fresh start elsewhere is the best option.
The French full back is currently out on loan at Bordeaux, and the form of Hector Bellerin, who replaced him in the first team, not to mention the return of Carl Jenkinson from his loan at West Ham, may prompt Wenger to decide that it’s not really worth bringing him back across the channel.
Oxlade-Chamberlain is a player who boasts more raw talent and potential than most, but seems unable to convert this into an end product on a regular basis. Fitness problems and a lack of form limited his first team starts at Arsenal last year, and at the age of 23 he may decide that a move to another club and a regular starting spot would kick start his career.
When the Arsenal tradition of rotating first choice keepers was brought to an end by the signing of Peter Cech it surely spelled the beginning of the end for Szczesny. The fact that deputy stopper David Ospina has shown he’s up to the task of filling in when necessary means that the 26 year old Polish international’s loan spell at Roma is likely to mark the end of his Arsenal career.