Arsenal fans have had to suffer a lot over the years, but the loss to Olympiacos on Thursday showed everything that’s wrong with this team.
They went into the home leg with a 1-0 lead so it looked like a foregone conclusion, especially after Pierre Emerick Aubameyang scored a lovely goal in extra time.
You have to think that it would be a defence-first mentality in the final minutes, but they went AWOL to allow a late winner and then the Gabonese star even contrived to miss a sitter to salvage things at the death.
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That’s led to claims from The Sun that they might end up £60m worse off due to their European failings, so that money will need to be made up somehow.
It’s clear that the squad needs a lot of work this Summer and it sounds like players will need to be sold first to raise funds, so here’s a look at those players who could be sold.
This isn’t a punishment for that miss, he’s actually a fantastic player and his record of 17 goals in 25 Premier League games is outstanding, but they need some long term thinking here. He turns 31 in the Summer and it’s not clear if he will sign a new deal, so this will be the only real chance to cash in. They should still get decent money for him, and it will stop them from letting him go for free in a year’s time where it will be even harder to replace him.
The Spaniard is clearly a popular player and can be exciting to watch when he’s on form, but he’s just had too many injury problems in recent years. It’s unlikely they would get a giant fee for him at this point, but Barcelona have problems at right back and they’ve shown a tendency to turn to former youth products in the past. He’s only played in the league seven times this campaign so it’s not like he’s a bedrock of the team, and a more reliable option is needed to help bolster the defence.
This would be one almighty decision to make in a political sense, but he’s flattered to deceive most of the time and we’ve seen in the past that new managers like to move on from players signed by the previous regime. He arrived with a big fee and reputation from Lille, but he appears to have more in common with Gervinho at this point, and four goals and six assists in the league isn’t enough to justify his price tag. It might be tough to recoup the whole transfer fee, but it might just be best to cut their losses and move on.
This would be harsh and it will purely come down to how Mikel Arteta feels about the Scottish star, but Bukayo Saka has shown he could be a long term answer at left back. The former Celtic man has been so unlucky with injuries and should be good enough to step up next year, but Brendan Rodgers was a big fan before and might look to sign him for Leicester if given a chance.
That tantrum seems like so long ago just now, but it’s still hard to see him actually coming back from that and having a long term career at Arsenal. On the pitch he’s too rash and loose in possession, and he’s openly spoken about a return to the Bundesliga before, so he could also go to raise some funds.
There are plenty more players who don’t look good enough such as David Luiz, Shkodran Mustafi, Callum Chambers and Sead Kolasinac – and that’s just the defenders. They might not raise too much money but could still be sold too.
It looks like there could be a big turnover in the squad this Summer, so it will be fascinating to see what happens as Mikel Arteta looks to craft his squad for next season.