This is part 3 of the four-article series analyzing Arsenal’s squad by position (Goalkeeper, Defense, Midfield, and Attack) ahead of the upcoming summer transfer window. Part 3 was about Arsenal team review: The midfield, part 2 was about Arsenal team review: The defense and part 1 was about Arsenal team review: The goalkeepers.
Arsenal facts from the 2016/17 season:
Final position on the PL table: 5th (2nd in 2015/16)
Total points: 75 (71 points in 2015/16)
UEFA competition next season: Europa League (only team among top 6 to not play in the CL)
FA Cup: Champions (13th title – most successful team in history)
League Cup: Quarter-finals (lost 0-2 to Southampton)
Champions League: Round of 16 (lost 2-10 on aggregate to Bayern Munich)
Goals scored: 121 (91 in 2015/16)
Most goals: Alexis Sanchez – 30 goals (Olivier Giroud – 24 goals in 2015/16)
Most Assists: Alexis Sanchez – 19 (Mesut Ozil – 20 in 2015/16)
Alexis Sanchez topped both the goals and assists charts for Arsenal this season but with his contract running out next season it is very important to tie him up with a long-term deal soon. Teams like FC Bayern Munich and Manchester City are ready to offer the 28-year old Chilean lucrative offers to join them this summer.
Hence the main goal heading into the next season would be to give both Sanchez and Ozil lucrative contracts that they can’t refuse. To do this Wenger and the board must free up the wages by selling some players who don’t suit the new formation. Yaya Sanogo has already left the club after his contract expired this season.
On the other hand, it is highly likely that Lucas Perez will leave the club this summer due to lack of opportunities up front in the 2016/17 season according to his agent. It is worth noting that Perez joined the Emirates Stadium only last year from Spanish club Deportivo de La Coruña for a reported fee of around €20m on a 4-year deal, but the forward was never allowed to play his natural centre-forward role this term as he was deployed on the wings.
Perez bagged 19 goals and 11 assists in all competitions last season becoming the only bright spot in an otherwise disappointing season for Deportivo. He was touted to become a better player at Arsenal but it will be unfortunate to see him leave after just one season at the club. However, club manager Wenger has maintained that he would like to keep Perez at the club. Let’s see how this saga unfolds.
Meanwhile, another player that must be sold is Theo Walcott who is one of the club’s highest paid players. Even though he managed to score 19 goals this season finishing 2nd behind only Sanchez on the scoring charts, he was far from convincing. The Englishman still doesn’t track back properly during the counter attack and after spending 11 seasons with the club, he still hasn’t figured out which is his best position.
He has been deployed on both wings and even as a center forward as he wanted to follow the footsteps of club legend Thierry Henry. However, nothing has worked out all these years and offloading him looks to be the right choice, as it will also significantly free up the wages.
Players like Danny Welbeck and Alex Iwobi need to prove themselves next season. They will definitely get ample time to prove themselves next season considering the fact that the North London club will have to cope up with some physically demanding Thursday night UEFA fixtures.
Both Welbeck & Iwobi are extremely talented and have big potential to shine. Hence they must try to make use of every chance they get next season or else they might end up like Walcott as well.
Arsenal has recently been linked with attackers like Kylian Mbappe, Alexandre Lacazette, Riyad Mahrez and even Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang of late. With the necessity to buy at least two attacking players(a striker and a winger), Wenger is expected to be busy this summer to win back the fans after a disastrous campaign this season.
Last but not the least is Olivier Giroud, who has played a part in all of Arsenal’s FA Cup triumphs recently. The Frenchman has now spent 5 full seasons with the Gunners scoring 98 goals and assisting 41 times in 227 games in all competitions. He would have started at least one-third of those games from the bench. Hence his returns are phenomenal.
He is now French national team’s number one striker as well. His left foot, head and motivational spirit on the field are his greatest assets. In his time spent at the club, he has become our very own super-sub scoring crucial goals coming on late the game. With Giroud clearly stating that he would like to stay in North London and fight for the starting place he is expected to carry on with his good work at the club.
With the fixtures of the 2017/18 season out next week, it’ll be only a matter of time before the new season begins. Thus Wenger must be proactive in the transfer market by securing quick and sensible deals if the Frenchman wants to harbor any hope of winning the Premier League after a long gap of 14 years. COYG!!!