Rebuilding the Gunners: Mikel Arteta’s Way

Ever since the mighty Invincibles team moved on, with David Dein leaving his post in 2007 due to “irreconcilable differences” between himself and the rest of the board, Arsenal has been on the decline. Ever since Stan Kroenke, the owner Kroenke Sports & Entertainment(KSE) invested in the team from North London, Arsenal has been infamous for their lack of transfer activity and inadequate below the par signings. It was reported that Stan Kroenke had not put a single penny into the club for the past 5 years. And after the Super League fiasco, fans have had enough and began protests outside the Gunner’s Home, Emirates Stadium. And the founder of Spotify, Daniel Erk currently looking to buy the club but the American’s representatives have stated that the club is not for sale.

For some seasons now, Arsenal have had signings who have misfired and the club struggled to move them on. They’ve been infamous for not investing in key areas of the field and not focusing on squad depth. Even though Arsenal’s transfer activity has been lack-lustre for a long time, former Arsenal manager, Arsene Wenger never failed to bring out the best of an average squad and squeezed out every bit of potential available in the squad. Now, with Mikel Arteta at the helm since day 1 he’s made it clear that he wants to implement his style of play by having his own players and getting rid of the deadwood and manage revenues wisely.

The players who have their days numbered at Arsenal under Mikel Arteta are as follows:

  • GK: BERND LENO (29)

Like a coin, the case with Leno has two sides as well: Firstly, the fans want competition for places and with Ramsdale currently being preferred Leno, he can provide backup to the Englishman and keep him on his toes. And the other half want Arsenal to cash in on Leno who’s been of great service and is currently in his prime so they can get a decent fee should they explore that option. Ramsdale’s current role in the upturn of the Gunners fortune has a role to play as well as he’s seen as one for the future aged currently at 23 years. Although the 29 yr-old has been one of the best shot-stoppers in the Premier League in his time in North London, his distribution and ability to play out from the back has often brought into question. The German has kept 36 sheets in 122 appearances as of now with an excellent save percentage of 66.4%, which shows he can still play at the top level and perform week in week out.

  • CB: PABLO MARI (28)

Brought into the club on loan in the January Transfer Window of the 2019/20 season, Pablo Mari was to give competition to David Luiz, Rob Holding and Sokratis following a long-term injury to Chambers, ruling him out for the rest of the season. Coming into the 2021/22, his third season at Arsenal, it’s fair to say that the Spaniard has had a torrid time in London, dealing with injuries and inconsistent performances. Arsenal are fairly stacked at the centre-back position at the moment with the signing of Ben White in the summer and the likes of Gabriel Magalhaes, Rob Holding and Calum Chambers already at the club, Pablo Mari currently in the sidelines, has his days numbered at the club.

  • LB: SEAD KOLASINAC (28)

One of the few players remaining from the Wenger era, we can expect an exit incoming for Sead Kolasinac, with him in his last year of his contract and likely to move on a free transfer. Joining in the 2018 season from Schalke on a free transfer with the eye to lockdown the position for seasons to come but it has not gone to plan for the 28 yr-old Bosnian who’s had his fair share of injuries and lack of form. Arsenal have since had it difficult to move him on, with Kolasinac returning to Schalke last season on loan. Ultimately, Schalke succumbed to relegation and cut his loan short.

  • CDM: MOHAMED ELNENY (29)

Elneny was seen as one for the future at the time and plans were made to build a team revolving him in the pivot of midfield but it’s been a fall from grace for the Egyptian brought in from Basel. At his time in Arsenal, Elneny was seen as a squad player at best. With the likes of Thomas Partey, Sambi Lokonga, Ainsley Maitland Niles, Arsenal are building a young team with an eye for the future and were keen to move him on and cut their losses short with him sealing a loan deal to Besiktas with a eye to make it permanent but the Turkish club were far from impressed and decided against making a move. But at his time in North London, Elneny has been quite the professional giving his all in training and whenever asked to do a job coming off of the bench.

  • LW/RW: NICOLAS PEPE (26)

Arsenal’s all-time record signing for a staggering £72 million, to form a strike partnership with Aubameyang and Lacazette, it’s a shame the move has not worked out whatsoever. With the Ivorian registering 25 goals and 18 assists in 98 appearances over 3 seasons, he has spent majority of his time on the bench and having spells of brilliances. And yet it’s difficult to say what position is the best for him as he has repeatedly been rotating between the left wing and the right wing. Coming in for a hefty price tag, Pepe was expected to be the signing to propel Arsenal closer to competing for the title. But has been playing second fiddle to young sensations, Bukayo Saka and Emile Smith Rowe who have been at the centre of the resurgence of the North London outfit. So, Arsenal can be forced into cutting their looses with the 26 yr-old Ivorian still very much in his prime.

  • ST: ALEXANDRE LACAZETTE (30)

History has shown when you mix French and Arsenal, you’re in for a gem of a player and Alexandre Lacazette’s past has shown he was the kind of prolific goal scorer, Arsenal were desperately in need of. But during his time at Arsenal, Lacazette has failed to nail down the forward position for a run of games. Across 5 seasons in North London, the Frenchman has 97 goal contributions, scoring 68 in 179 appearances. At times, Lacazette has been proven to be key to the side for his excellent ball holding ability. But the 30 yr-old currently in his final year of his contract, he is likely to move on a free, with Arsenal already in the market for a replacement.

  • ST: EDDIE NKETIAH (22)

Arsenal’s reputated Hale End Academy has been known for producing up and coming talents like Serge Gnabry, Jack Wilshere ,Hector Bellerin, Alex Oxlade Chamberlain and more recently Bukayo Saka, Emith Smith Rowe, Reiss Nelson and Eddie Nketiah heading the list. The 22 yr old currently holds the record for most goals by an England u21 international. At his time at Arsenal, he has 67 appearances and has scored 15 goals with his debut coming in the September of 2017 and in his time, has come off the bench in the majority of games. In the past, he has expressed his will for more playing time with Arteta stating his time as the main striker will come in the future. With Aubameyang and Lacazette already over 30 years of age, it’s unlikely Nketiah will get his chance with Arsenal already in the market for replacements. He will seek a move in the near future in search of playing time, as he hopes to play for the England senior team with Saka and Smith Rowe already in the setup.

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