Telegraphs view of who should stay or go.

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Telegraphs view of who should stay or go.

Postby Tenbob » Mon Apr 29, 2019 4:16 pm

Agree with most of this apart from Xhaka and Leno

Daniel Zeqiri
29 APRIL 2019 • 12:39PM
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Arsenal's league position and Europa League progress is approximately on par with pre-season expectations, but the continuation of their dismal away form and bloated goals against column is behind calls for a radical summer of renewal.

Their summer business could depend on whether they sneak into the Champions League, and the views of the proposed technical director Arsenal are still reportedly searching for to replace Sven Mislintat.

Here, we assess the squad and deliver our verdict on who should survive a summer cull.

Goalkeepers

BERND LENO (Age: 27; Apps: 34; Signed 2018; Contract expires in 2023)

There were doubts over Leno's suitability after a few stagnant seasons at Bayer Leverkusen, but he has been more like the goalkeeper he once promised to be in an impressive first season at Arsenal. Made a catalogue of crucial saves that have won Arsenal points, and his distribution is excellent and well-judged. The £25 million Arsenal spent on the German looks sound value compared to Chelsea's record outlay on Kepa Arrizabalaga. A slight weakness under crosses and high balls perhaps, but the last of Arsenal's problems. The priority should be ensuring he is less busy.

Verdict: Keep and hope his form continues.


PETR CECH (Age: 36; Apps: 136; Signed 2015; Contract expires in 2019)

Started the season well - with his hands at least - but his style of goalkeeping looks a little dated which is understandable. Is retiring at the end of the season and could return to Chelsea in a technical role, so there is no decision to be made.

Verdict: Gloves very much hanging up.

DAVID OSPINA (Age: 30; Apps: 69; Signed 2014; Contract expires in 2020)

Has started 16 Serie A games on loan at Napoli who have an option to buy. The Colombian has had a fine career with 91 international caps and spells at some top European clubs, but has never convinced at Arsenal where he has looked skittish and vulnerable. A similar style of goalkeeper to Leno, but not as good.

Verdict: Hope Napoli take up their option or sell elsewhere for peanuts.

EMILIANO MARTINEZ (Age: 26; Apps: 14; Signed NA; Contract expires in 2022)

Has impressed on loan at Reading, but the fact he has never threatened to establish himself anywhere by the age of 26 is a worry. Martinez has always looked an interesting prospect, with a huge frame and great technical ability with both feet. Would be decent back-up to Leno, but at his age he should be looking to go and start regularly somewhere. No chance of displacing Leno, realistically.

Verdict: Try to keep, but player likely to push for a move.

Others to consider: Dejan Iliev and Matt Macey look a long way from first-team contention. Arthur Okonkwo is one to watch: the 17-year-old has played for the Under-23s this season and looks a fantastic prospect.

Emiliano Martinez in action for Reading
Emiliano Martinez has impressed while on loan at Reading CREDIT: GETTY IMAGES

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Arsenal
Defenders

HECTOR BELLERIN (Age: 26; Apps: 14; Signed NA; Contract expires in 2022)

Possibly Arsenal's most valuable player, and capable of becoming one of the best right-backs around if he recovers fully from his knee injury with no serious complications. Signing Bellerin up on a six-and-a-half-year deal was one of Arsenal's best bits of contract management, and he is one of the few outfield players you could hang your hat on to build around. Interest from Champions League contenders will likely arrive though, possibly from boyhood club Barcelona.

Verdict:Keep.

STEPHAN LICHTSTEINER (Age: 35; Apps: 21; Signed 2018; Contract expires in 2019)

There was some sense behind this signing: an experienced Juventus defender on a free transfer to act as back-up to Bellerin. Unfortunately, it has been a case of the wrong league at the wrong time for the Swiss who has looked well short of Premier League pace and essentially unplayable (not in the positive sense of the word) in recent months.

Verdict: Release.

CARL JENKINSON (Age: 27; Apps: 70; Signed 2011; Contract expires in 2019)

An honest player who can never be faulted for effort, but is sadly nowhere near the standard required and should have moved on years ago. Some decent cup performances raised hopes he might be passable back-up, but his league start against Crystal Palace pricked those illusions.

Verdict: Release.

SOKRATIS (Age: 30; Apps: 36; Signed 2018; Contract expires in 2021)

Has equipped himself well and brings much-needed speed and battling qualities to Arsenal's back-line. Far from impeccable positionally, Sokratis is a good one-on-one defender who relishes duels and has demonstrated organisational qualities at times. One concern is he seems prone to niggly injuries.

Verdict: Keep.

Laurent Koscielny after Arsenal's win in Naples
Laurent Koscielny's return has been magnificent - but does he have another year in him? CREDIT: GETTY IMAGES
LAURENT KOSCIELNY (Age: 30; Apps: 36; Signed 2018; Contract expires in 2020)

A difficult decision. Koscielny's return from a ruptured achilles at 33 has been one of the stories of the season, and he still looks integral to Arsenal having any semblance of defensive calm and solidity. However, there have been signs in April that the workload is taking its toll on the legs and nobody could begrudge him a few sunny years in the south of France in the autumn of his career. One of the best players of the Emirates era, but should not be relied upon to this extent.

Verdict: Sell with best wishes, or keep as fourth-choice in a Vincent Kompany-esque role.

SHKODRAN MUSTAFI (Age: 27; Apps: 36; Signed 2016; Contract expires in 2021)

Arsenal overpaid when they blew £35 million on Mustafi. Has acquired the reputation of class clown, but in fairness there were some promising displays in his first couple of seasons notably against Chelsea and Spurs. Mustafi was impetuous and error-prone, but there was hope maturity and new coaching could settle him down.

Mustafi has got worse. The line-breaking passing that was once a redeeming feature has gone to pot, and he compensates for a lack of speed and strength by flying into tackles and going to ground. It draws a round of applause when it works, but leaves his team-mates in trouble when it does not. There is an air of immaturity about him, and that is unlikely to change. He is part of the reason Emery has felt compelled to play a back three, which restricts his options further up the pitch.

Verdict: Sell.

KONSTANTINOS MAVROPANOS (Age: 21; Apps: 3; Signed 2018; Contract expires in 2023)

The noise around Mavropanos is very positive, but in reality we cannot possibly know what exactly Arsenal have on their hands. His height and turn of speed mark him out from some of Arsenal's other centre-backs and is a good foundation, but still has so much development to do. Emery has not exactly rushed to promote him, either.

That said, unless a particularly attractive loan option is on the table it might be best for Mavropanos to stay and stake a claim. Battling away in the Championship does not really prepare a defender for playing at a top six side who generally play with a higher line and have more of the ball.

Verdict: Keep and give more cup minutes.

Shkodran Mustafi after Wilfried Zaha put Crystal Palace in front at the Emirates
Mustafi has attracted the ire of Arsenal fans CREDIT: REUTERS
ROB HOLDING (Age: 23; Apps: 60; Signed 2016; Contract expires in 2023)

One of Arsenal's most consistent performers before a knee injury ruled him out for the season. His passing out from the back has been sorely missed. Lacks a yard of pace, but plays with a healthy amount of controlled aggression and looks to have the right temperament.

Verdict: Keep.

CALUM CHAMBERS (Age: 24; Apps: 83; Signed 2014; Contract expires in 2022)

Very much up in the air. Chambers has done well at relegated Fulham, although two managers have preferred him in a central midfield role. Seems unlikely he will ever be good enough there for Arsenal, who already have three deep-lying midfelders. Is certainly behind Holding in the pecking order at centre-back. Fulham like him and have the money to make the deal permanent if they wish. English, so should attract a decent fee that can fund other moves.

Verdict: Sell. Although there is a chance Emery's pragmatism leads him to value Chambers' versatility.

NACHO MONREAL (Age: 33; Apps: 243; Signed 2013; Contract expires in 2020)

An unsung hero for Arsenal since his Janaury 2013 arrival, and as good as any left-back in the league at his best. However, time has caught up with Monreal who was never blessed with speed to begin with. Now looks very vulnerable against any winger with pace, and cannot get up and down the pitch repeatedly to support attacks like Emery wants from his full-backs. Arguably more useful as the left centre-half in a three than as a full-back.

Verdict: Thank for his service but sell.

SEAD KOLASINAC (Age: 25; Apps: 68; Signed 2017; Contract expires in 2022)

Feels like a stretch to even classify him as a defender. A truly baffling footballer: built like a centre-back, plays like a wide-forward but often passes like a Conference player. Kolasinac does a couple of things really well. The timing of runs on the overlap are superb and he has a nice variety of deliveries when he does get to the line, often picking someone out rather than smashing it across the area. Has contributed significantly to Arsenal's attack, although less so in recent weeks.

However, does not look a natural defender when picked in a flat four at left-back and is remarkably untidy and scratchy in possession with the exception of the final-third. Bizarre.

Verdict: Signing two left-backs in the summer is not feasible, so keep as second-choice to play against weaker opposition at home or if Emery wants to switch to a back three. Could still attract a fee next summer.

Sead Kolasinac against Rennes
Sead Kolasinac has been a big part of Arsenal's attacking - but what about his defending? CREDIT: GETTY IMAGES
AINSLEY MAITLAND-NILES (Age: 21; Apps: 65; Signed NA; Contract expires in 2023)

Is he a defender or a midfielder? With Jenkinson and Lichtsteiner sure to move on, Maitland-Niles has the chance to establish himself as back-up for Bellerin at worst. A young player with an array of attractive technical and physical attributes, Maitland-Niles has all-but everything you would want in a modern player. The question is, does he have the nous and game-smarts to bring it all together and if so, in what position? His performances have fluctuated like many youngsters, but no reason to give up on him just yet.

Verdict: Keep and review the situation next summer.

Midfielders

Aaron Ramsey is joining Juventus on a free transfer this summer so is not included.
GRANIT XHAKA (Age: 26; Apps: 130; Signed 2016; Contract expires in 2023)

Few would deny Xhaka's defensive work has improved under Emery, and his partnership with Lucas Torreira showed great promise. Often criticised, Xhaka has nevertheless been picked by every manager he has worked with for his progressive passing and ability to dictate the tempo from deep and he has a lot more good games than bad.

Nevertheless, there remains a propensity for the costly individual error. Since Xhaka became a fixture in the team in 2016, Arsenal's away form has also tanked. Correlation or causation? That will be debated.

There might come a time when Arsenal look to upgrade to a midfielder with greater range and fewer weaknesses but they have more pressing needs this summer.

Verdict: Keep.

LUCAS TORREIRA (Age: 23; Apps: 46; Signed 2018; Contract expires in 2023)

His influence has faded in the second half of the season, but there is confidence the £25 million Arsenal paid for Torreira will turn out to be a great piece of business. Offers Arsenal's midfield bite and sprinting speed, attributes not on offer from any other player. Far from a mere anchorman, Torreira has also shown he break into advanced positions and get involved in the last third. One worry is how many kicks and knocks he seems to attract. In long seasons with no winter break, perhaps he needs to protect himself a little more.

Verdict: Keep.

Lucas Torreira Arsenal vs Napoli
Lucas Torreira is a cause for optimism at Arsenal next season CREDIT: REUTERS
MATTEO GUENDOUZI (Age: 20; Apps: 43; Signed 2018; Contract expires in 2022)

Surpassed all expectations in the early part of the season, but like fellow new arrival Torreira has fallen off the pace in recent months. Still a player of immense potential and personality, his performances at Stamford Bridge and the Etihad stood out due to the way he demanded the ball and tried to get Arsenal playing. A forward-thinking passer and capable of skipping past his man. His defending needs work however, and his intensity and diligence in his department has receded badly of late.

Verdict: Keep.

MOHAMED ELNENY (Age: 26; Apps: 88; Signed 2016; Contract expires in 2022)

Emery has used him in emergencies only, and clearly does not fancy him. Was a £5 million midfielder when he signed, and he looks a £5 million midfielder today. Very limited, and offers little that cannot be provided by Arsenal's other midfielders.

Verdict: Sell.

DENIS SUAREZ (Age: 25, on loan from Barcelona)

Has barely featured and struggled with injury. There was a reason Arsenal refused to accept an obligation to buy in their loan deal with Barcelona, and they look set to send him back to Catalonia.

Verdict: Refuse option to sign.

ALEX IWOBI (Age: 22; Apps: 146; Signed NA; Contract expires in 2022)

One of the marked improvers in the autumn, Iwobi has played with more directness and improved his strength and conditioning this season. One of the few players in Arsenal's squad who can beat players with a dribble, Iwobi has proved useful to Emery as a wide player who likes to drift inside and occupy the half-spaces.

Unfortunately, Iwobi is not a consistent goal threat and as he approaches his 150th first-team appearance that is unlikely to ever be the case. Comparisons with the devastating wide-forwards at top six rivals are unflattering, but are perhaps comparisons between apples and oranges. Iwobi's technique and ball retention in tight spaces is outstanding - he is very difficult to dispossess - and one wonders if these qualities would be more useful in a slightly deeper, more central position.

The trajectory of Mousa Dembele's career from goal-shy forward to controlling midfielder would be a fine example to follow.

Verdict: Keep but consider repurposing.

Alex Iwobi in action against Tottenham
Unai Emery has used Alex Iwobi regularly this season CREDIT: REUTERS
HENRIKH MKHITARYAN (Age: 30; Apps: 52; Signed 2018; Contract expires in 2021)

As one of the few Arsenal players comfortable in a wider starting position, Mkhitaryan should in a theory be a really useful player for Emery. He has had his moments. Six goals and four league assists is reasonable, and he had a six-week purple patch after returning from injury in February.

Outside of that spell however, his execution and end product has been wildly inconsistent and his poor performances dip well below the technical standard you expect from a player of his standing. His £180,000 per week wage also has to be considered when evaluating his future, and surely that salary could be spread across two younger prospects with more defined roles.

Verdict: Pour some honey in Mino Raiola's ear and try to sell.

MESUT OZIL (Age: 30; Apps: 227; Signed 2013; Contract expires in 2021)

The saga around which Arsenal's summer business will revolve. Is Mesut Ozil good enough to play for Arsenal? Of course. Are Arsenal a better team with Mesut Ozil playing and playing well? Of course. The question is, could his £350,000 per week salary be re-allocated in such a way that makes Arsenal a stronger team overall? There is a strong argument that it could.

That is leaving aside the awkward personal and tactical relationship between Emery and Ozil, which even during his reintegration in the team has had the air of an uneasy truce. Is there even a buyer on the market? Is Ozil even the slightest bit interested in moving? Could Arsenal afford to lose Ozil, Mkhitaryan and Ramsey in one summer? There would surely be some short-term pain, but then they are not exactly pulling up trees so maybe it is worth taking the plunge.

As you can tell, there are more questions than answers.

Verdict: Who knows. If I were a betting man, Ozil trundling through next season and moving when he has just a year left on that contract might be the most likely outcome.

Others to consider: Arsenal have their best crop of youngsters in many a year. Reiss Nelson and Emile Smith Rowe are on loan in the Bundesliga, Joe Willock's goalscoring from midfield has exploded with the Under-23s while the younger pair of Bukayo Saka and Xavier Amaechi look like the dynamic, dribbling wide players Arsenal lack. The probability is they won't all make the cut, but could a promotion or two give Arsenal some needed freshness?

Mesut Ozil after scoring against Crystal Palace
Arsenal's summer could be shaped by whether or not Mesut Ozil stays or goes CREDIT: PA
Forwards

PIERRE EMERICK-AUBAMEYANG (Age: 29; Apps: 60; Signed 2018; Contract expires in 2021)

Aubameyang has done at Arsenal what he has done for several seasons and that is score goals aplenty. Has exceptional movement in the penalty area and sniffs out clear-cut chances, even if he misses his fair share. Shared minutes with Alexandre Lacazette without many visible tantrums.

There is an argument Arsenal should sell one of their star strikers to raise funds, and Aubameyang could be the more likely candidate as the older of the pair. However, it would cost Arsenal as much to replace the goals they would be losing, and their chances of finding a forward of Aubameyang's calibre are next to none. It would be running to stand still.

Verdict: Keep.

ALEXANDRE LACAZETTE (Age: 27; Apps: 84; Signed 2017; Contract expires in 2022)

Has played with much more authority and aggression than in his debut season, and has been one of Arsenal's most impressive performers. Scores goals in big games at the Emirates and his combination play with those around him is superb.

While a very good all-rounder though, it would be fair to say Lacazette is not quite an elite level goalscorer. He has enjoyed a good campaign, but is stuck on 13 league goals. He has also not scored many away from home across his first two seasons in England. That reflects Arsenal's problems on the road of course, but also reveals something about Lacazette. He is a very collaborative striker who likes to have runners and partners in close proximity. When he becomes isolated, he can be smothered quite easily. He is not a soloist.

Like Roberto Firmino at Liverpool, Arsenal might see the best of Lacazette with two wide forwards either side of him.

Verdict: Keep.

DANNY WELBECK (Age: 28; Apps: 84; Signed 2014; Contract expires in 2019)

Unfortunate to sustain yet another serious injury, and in most cases you would say it was one too many and let the player leave on a free. Except, in a strange way, Welbeck is quite a difficult player to replace. How much would it cost Arsenal to sign an international forward who can play centrally or on the flanks, is strong in the air and an effective presser? Oh, and they know they are coming to be third-choice. If Welbeck's recovery goes well, it might be worth keeping him around.

Verdict: Keep, unless a younger replacement is lined up for little money and the same wages.

EDDIE NKETIAH (Age: 19; Apps: 8; Signed NA; Contract is 'long-term')

Has a knack of scoring goals at every level he plays, but looks a fair way off being a first-team option.

Verdict: Loan out.

Related Topics
“ Arsenal come streaming forward now in surely what will be their last attack. A good ball by Dixon, finding Smith, for Thomas, charging through the midfield. Thomas, it's up for grabs now! Thomas! ”
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Telegraphs view of who should stay or go.

Postby Rainham Red » Mon Apr 29, 2019 5:06 pm

Great post Tenbob. Here are my thoughts:

Leno Keep
Bellerin Keep
Lichtsteiner Go
Jenkinson Go
Sokratis Keep
Mustafi (I`ll drive him to the station)
Mavropanos Keep
Chambers Keep but play him Central Defence
Monreal Keep for one more season
Kolasinac Go
Maitland-Niles Keep
Xhaka Go
Terreira Keep
Elneny Keep
Suarez Who?
Iwobi Keep
Mkhitaryan Go
Ozil Keep
PEA Keep
Laca Keep
Welbeck Keep
Emery Give him another season if we don`t make a real challenge for the title he should go

You are right about our youngsters they look really promising
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Re: Telegraphs view of who should stay or go.

Postby Red Snapper » Mon Apr 29, 2019 6:57 pm

As usual RR and I are in almost complete agreement but I'd keep Kolasinac and pay for Elneny's flight back to Egypt myself.
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Re: Telegraphs view of who should stay or go.

Postby Tenbob » Mon Apr 29, 2019 7:46 pm

Mkhitaryan has become the number 1 player I want out.
Followed by my old favourite Ozil,Xhaka and Mustafi.
I also think Leno is not up to it and there is a lot better out there.Pope of Burnley to name one.
“ Arsenal come streaming forward now in surely what will be their last attack. A good ball by Dixon, finding Smith, for Thomas, charging through the midfield. Thomas, it's up for grabs now! Thomas! ”
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Re: Telegraphs view of who should stay or go.

Postby Rainham Red » Tue Apr 30, 2019 8:33 am

Tenbob wrote:Mkhitaryan has become the number 1 player I want out.
Followed by my old favourite Ozil,Xhaka and Mustafi.
I also think Leno is not up to it and there is a lot better out there.Pope of Burnley to name one.


Why I said keep Ozil is because he has no intention to leave anyway and will see out his contract. In my opinion Leno will develop into a top Goalie some of his saves verge on the miraculous. As for Pope I think he was trained by a Japanese Kamikaze pilot or he isn`t right in the head.
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Re: Telegraphs view of who should stay or go.

Postby Tenbob » Tue Apr 30, 2019 1:32 pm

Leno reminds me of Manniger, great shot saver but lacks authority at corners and high balls.
Your right he could improve like Utds keeper did after his first season.
“ Arsenal come streaming forward now in surely what will be their last attack. A good ball by Dixon, finding Smith, for Thomas, charging through the midfield. Thomas, it's up for grabs now! Thomas! ”
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Telegraphs view of who should stay or go.

Postby potter » Fri May 03, 2019 6:55 pm

Leno will be number1 with Martinez back from Reading as back up for the cups. 2 good keepers and cost effective
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