It’s clear from Arsenal’s dismal season that Unai Emery has a lot of work to do but it’s not only the defensive issues that will cause him to have the odd sleepless night, they may also come with constructing a midfield engine that can dominate the opposition.
Let’s assume that Emery is a fan of Aaron Ramsey, which has been recently muted. Then add to that the Finesse and drive of Mkhitaryan and promise of Maitland Niles and you will be left with the conundrum of either Ozil or Wilshere. Ozil has shown glimpses of his glorious talent, as has Wilshere who’s contract is almost at an end.
Whatever way you look at it, Wilshere is, unfortunately, the most expendable. Neither player has consistently impressed in the last campaign and Emery may even look at Perez and Aubameyang in an advanced wing role with Lacazette as a traditional forward option. The Spaniard has certainly favoured a single forward in the past but with Perez and Aubameyang, he has two quick players who can also fashion goals.
This idea and possibly the inclusion of another midfielder thought to be Jean Seri will effectively bring to an end Wilshere’s Arsenal career. A source tells me that Wilshere has come to terms with leaving the club, especially now that Wenger has gone. Wilshere’s problem is not just injuries, he has failed to squeeze the likes of Ozil or Cazorla out of their positions and had the departing Spaniard been fit, he may only have been an occasional substitute.
The word on Cazorla is that he is unlikely to be the magical player he once was and that the medical team forwarded a report which recommended that a contract extension was too much of a risk. The rigours of a long premiership campaign and the cup run would aggravate the Achilles and that he could break down again over the course of a season.
Even knowing this, Wilshere is increasingly surplus to requirements at present and only a considerable change of heart or adjustment to the player’s role will see him at the Emirates next season. The players at Emery’s disposal simply don’t fit together in midfield and like in defence, all permutations have been exhausted.
Nothing will be concluded until Emery and Mislintat can attract replacements and at the very best Wilshere will either get a fraction of his wage or a short extension, both of which will prove to be unpalatable to the player. Ozil, who recently signed a contract extension may find that he needs additional support creatively or he may have to go outside his comfort zone by making a sustained contribution.
Emery admires the player but wants everyone in his team to break up the play, chase and harass the opposition. He likes creative players to provide additional cover when they are out of possession, which may impact on the German’s free-flowing role under Wenger. We will see within a season, if the World Cup winner can make that adjustment or he too, may also find himself on his way out of the Emirates.
Kolasinac and Ramsey are thought to be the epitome of Emery’s philosophy, hard-working, fearless and physical and I wouldn’t be surprised if Kolasinac is used in the defensive midfielder role if Arsenal struggle in the transfer market. Questions about Xhaka and Mustafi have asked frequently all season and neither has reached the level required consistently, which may see one or both depart at the earliest opportunity.
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