Arsenal Times
The Ins and Outs Loans and Groans of Arsenal Transfers
By Matt Sadler
July 10 2018

If David Ornstein’s tweets are to be believed then our soon-to-be-completed move for Uruguay’s Lucas Torreira could well be the last “first team” purchase we make this summer(eek!).

This is following the signings of Stephan Lichtsteiner, Bernd Leno and Sokratis Papastathopoulos. That doesn’t necessarily spell the end of our transfer business altogether, however, as we’re apparently close to signing Lorient’s 19 year old French midfielder Matteo Guendouzi, and have been linked with a move for Barcelona’s 16 year old Spanish left back Joel Lopez all summer, so we may still look to sign up-and-comers.

 Solid Business

I’d say that our business so far this summer has been solid, rather than spectacular, with us signing a lot of experience in defence, possibly to complement the comparative youth of Bellerin, Chambers, Holding and Mavropanos. Lichtsteiner brings a wealth of experience and should provide much needed cover and competition for Bellerin, Leno immediately improves our goalkeeper situation, Sokratis is an improvement on all of our other centre backs, and Torreira, who impressed me at the World Cup, looks like the sort of midfielder we’ve needed. Though not a player I know anything about, Guendouzi is apparently able to play as a deep lying-playmaker or as a box-to-box midfielder and boasts a good passing range, so he sounds similar to Xhaka.

 Any further business?

Though our first team transfer business may well be close to completion, there are still a out of reas myself and many others will feel require investment. Personally, I’d be pretty disappointed if we didn’t sign anyone else.

 One such area is centre back. Koscielny’s long term injury leaves us with Sokratis, Shkodran Mustafi and a number of “unestablished” central defenders (Chambers, Holding, Mavropanos, Bielik and Sheaf). Mustafi, a man who only seems capable of the occasional 8 out of 10 performance, hidden amongst a much larger number of 4 out of 10 performances, has been linked with a move to Juventus and could well leave. Regardless of what happens with Mustafi, I still feel we could use another centre back. We have been linked with Freiburg’s Çağlar Söyüncü a lot this summer. We really should’ve signed Harry Maguire when Keown recommended him…

 At left back, Nacho Monreal is being linked with a move to Sociedad. Though I feel this is one unlikely departure, Monreal was a bit hit-and-miss at times last season and is 32, so I wouldn’t be against him leaving provided we signed an improvement (Cash + Mustafi for Alex Sandro? We can dream…). Despite the signings of Torreira and Guendouzi, I still feel our midfield is pretty lightweight. As much as I like Xhaka, or at least the idea of Xhaka, he is an inconsistent performer, and Aaron Ramsey’s future remains uncertain. We’re still being linked with a move for 29 year old French midfielder Steven N’Zonzi, an old favourite of Emery’s at Sevilla.

 Our attacking force contains a number of top talents like Aubameyang, Ozil, Mkhitaryan and Lacazette, so I wouldn’t expect any further signings there. However, the previous two transfer windows saw us sell Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Theo Walcott and Alexis, essentially depriving us of our main sources of pace and width. We were linked with Bordeaux’s Brazilian winger Malcom in January, though that has gone quiet, and we have been linked with a loan move for Barcelona’s Ousmane Dembele (yeah right!).

 Departures?

Our current squad size means there will have to be a number of departures, especially if we want to bring in anyone else. With five goalkeepers we could see at least two, probably David Ospina and Emi Martinez, departing, while Carl Jenkinson, Joel Campbell and Chuba Akpom are surplus to requirements.

 Stay or go?

Cohen Bramall will have to be named as an over 21 player if we are to use him, but he has yet to impress so far, so we could see that experiment ending in failure. Likewise we haven’t seen enough from the once highly rated Krystian Bielik. Lucas Perez has recently changed his social media pictures to ones of him in Arsenal gear, so he could be given another chance, but I wouldn’t be surprised if he left as he is well down the pecking order. Aaron Ramsey and Danny Welbeck could leave if their contract situations aren’t resolved.

Loan

Holding and Reine-Adelaide are possible candidates to leave on loan. “Top youngsters” Ben Sheaf, Joe Willock, Josh DaSilva, Reiss Nelson and Eddie Nketiah could also be candidates to go out on loan, though they may be used for the Europa League.

 How Arsenal could line up

 Emery is said to favour the 4-2-3-1 and 4-3-3 formations, meaning we could line up like this

 A-Team

 

-------------------Leno

 

Bellerin – Mustafi – Sokratis – Monreal

 

-------Torreira – Xhaka – Ramsey

 

-------Ozil – Aubameyang – Mkhitaryan

 

B-Team

 

---------------------------Cech

 

Lichtsteiner – Chambers – Mavropanos – Kolasinac

 

----Maitland-Niles – Guendouzi – Elneny

 

-----------Welbeck – Lacazette – Iwobi

 

Leftovers

 

Ospina, Martinez, Macey, Bramall, Koscielny, Holding, Jenkinson, Reine-Adelaide, Lucas, Campbell, Akpom.

 

Notable youngsters

 Bielik, Sheaf, Willock, DaSilva, Nelson, Nketiah, Mavididi.

 Conclusion

 When you look at it on paper we really aren’t a million miles away from having a squad that can get us back into the Champions League, though I’m not confident they’ll be many more incoming.

 What do you think? Where do we still need to strengthen? Who needs to go?