Arsenal Transfer Talk: 5 Players the Gunners Must Send Packing
There has justifiably been lots of talk recently about who Arsenal should acquire during the January transfer window to strengthen the squad. With critical pockets of weakness holding the team back, Arsene Wenger must bring in at least one player on a permanent basis.
What has not gotten nearly as much attention is who might be on their way out. A quick look at Arsenal's senior squad shows that the weak spots are being caused by the inability of certain players to perform at an adequate level.
While some of the deadwood must be kept to ensure that the team has depth, there are several men who we know are on their way out.
Here are five who Wenger will (and must) kick out the door sooner or later.
As Andrew Mangan of Arseblog said in his lugubrious summation of Arsenal's draw with Aston Villa, if Marouane Chamakh cannot make the bench when there are no other strikers to compete with, he surely has no future at the club.
Take away his two extra-time goals against Reading in the Capital One Cup, and Chamakh would be goalless since September 17, 2011, when he netted a consolation header against Blackburn.
To put that in perspective: That is one year, two months and nine days ago. Or 436 days, or 311 weekdays. Think about that: You have gone to work for about 300 days since Chamakh last scored a Premier League goal.
It is clear at this point that he will never, in an Arsenal shirt at least, regain the form that made him a star at the beginning of the 2010-11 season. High time, then, for both parties to move on.
There was a time last season when Arsenal fans thought it was a catastrophe to lose Andre Santos. When he sidelined himself for four months in a meaningless Champions League game against Olympiakos, Arsene Wenger was thrown into a selection nightmare.
Now, it's a totally different story.
Santos has been steadily declining in the eyes of supporters and the manager. Kieran Gibbs, now universally regarded as the better player, was consistently preferred in preseason and then as the new campaign got underway.
The Brazilian has his blatant inability to defend to thank for causing his precipitous fall from grace. The coup de grace probably came when Santos openly showed affection to and exchanged shirts with Robin van Persie at halftime in Arsenal's match against Manchester United.
Like Emmanuel Eboue before him, this fan favorite does not have a place at Arsenal any longer.
It was obvious that Sebastien Squillaci was not fit to play for Arsenal after his first season, and Arsene Wenger thew him into a sort of footballing abyss during the summer of 2011.
Squillaci's playing time that year was extremely limited. Four total appearances, none of which came in the Premier League, showed just how far he had fallen.
This season, the Frenchman has failed to walk onto the pitch once, though he did make the bench for Arsenal's 7-5 Capital One Cup victory over Reading.
Currently the No. 6 choice center-back, behind Thomas Vermaelen, Laurent Koscielny, Per Mertesacker, Johan Djourou and Ignasi Miquel, there is little chance that Squillaci will kick a ball off the training ground this season.
One could certainly make a rational case for keeping Tomas Rosicky, but the balance of talent and propensity for injury does not come out favorably for Arsenal.
The Czech did have something of a renaissance during the second half of last season, but he was not able to build upon that this year after suffering another long-term injury. A seemingly routine ankle knock at Euro 2012 eventually needed surgery, and Rosicky still has not returned to training.
I admire his work ethic, dedication to the club and ability to lead when on the pitch. And he would be fantastic backup for Santi Cazorla—a role he would assume without protest. But Arsenal cannot afford to carry a player on the wrong side of 30 that has one of the worst injury records on the team.
The story of Gervinho's time at Arsenal thus far is a sad one, because he has never come close to realizing his full potential.
At the beginning, the argument in his favor was that he needed time to settle after transferring from France. His propensity to retain the ball for too long was infuriating, and his tendency to try the spectacular dribble rather than the simple pass hurt the team.
But by the time the African Cup of Nations arrived in the winter, the main problem with his departure was maintaining depth.
When Gervinho returned, he did not seem like even the decent player he was before. Arsene Wenger benched him for better options, such as Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Yossi Benayoun.
The hope at the beginning of this season was that he would finally settle into his role and blossom. While there was a small period when it looked like this was happening, Gervinho's consistently horrendous first touch and inability to do the basic things well have brought him back down to his original level.
At this point, I think we have to accept this Gervinho as the one that Arsenal will get on most days. And that is simply not good enough.