Arsenal Transfer Rumours: Gunners Who Need Change of Scenery Now
Five key members of the Arsenal squad could benefit from a change of scenery, including the club's captain. He is joined by an international striker who cost in excess of £10 million just last summer.
You won't see the usual suspects occupying this list. The so-called "dead wood," comprised of the likes of Andrei Arshavin and Sebastien Squillaci are already heading for the exit door.
Their departures are all but taken for granted. However, the same is not true for a young French defensive midfielder and a prominent loanee.
Here are the five Arsenal players who would benefit from a change of scenery this summer.
5. Francis Coquelin, Defensive Midfielder
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Once highly touted, Francis Coquelin has failed to establish his first-team credentials. His supporters would argue Coquelin's opportunities have been limited.
However, he plays in a position that has been wide open for several seasons. As a natural defensive midfielder, Coquelin should have brought vital qualities to the Gunners' midfield.
Alex Song has been sold and Abou Diaby and Emmanuel Frimpong have suffered a host of injuries. Yet Coquelin still has not managed to break through.
Even towards the end of the season, when Arsene Wenger played two deep-lying midfielders, Coquelin was left on the bench. The youthful Frenchman has agitated for more first-team opportunities in the past.
He could leave this summer, according to reports in The Daily Express. Finding a new club this summer would be Coquelin's best way of accelerating his career development.
4. Joel Campbell, Striker, Real Betis
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Campbell has been on fine form for the La Liga outfit this season. The Costa Rica star has indicated he would like to remain in Spain permanently, according to ESPNFC.com.
Much was expected from Campbell when Wenger snared him in 2011. However, work permit issues have kept him rooted to the bottom of the pecking order.
Things could get worse if Wenger adds a prominent striker during this transfer window. It might be smart for both club and player for Arsenal to cash in on the forward who only cost them £1 million.
3. Gervinho, Forward
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Talented but frustrating, Gervinho has never become a major force in Arsenal's attack. Mentally fragile, the Ivory Coast forward is being linked with a return to France.
He is still highly thought of in Ligue 1, due to his efforts during Lille's double-winning campaign in 2010/11. Now it appears Lyon want to secure a loan deal for Gervinho, according to reports in Metro.
Wenger may not have finished attempting to refine the rough edges of Gervinho's game. However, it is difficult to envisage Gervinho supplanting any of Arsenal's current forwards.
A move back to France would be an ideal opportunity to revive a career now blighted by flopping at a big club.
2. Lukas Podolski, Forward
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Lukas Podolski divides opinion among many fans. To some, he is considered a world class striker with a sterling international pedigree.
To others, he is overrated and lazy, a player coasting by on reputation alone. Despite some solid numbers in his debut season at Arsenal, Podolski never really met expectations.
He toiled out wide and agitated for a move into the middle. When he finally got his chance at central striker, some of Podolski's performances were abysmal.
That may sound good, but Wenger still needs to make a definite decision about how to best use Podolski. The striker himself also needs to show more effort.
With forward reinforcements seeming like a transfer priority, Podolski could be pushed out into the cold. If he hopes to stay in the international squad, Podolski needs to play consistent football.
1. Thomas Vermaelen, Centre-Back
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Thomas Vermaelen's performances this season endorsed this author's long-held view that he shouldn't be starting for Arsenal. Reckless to the point of madness, Vermaelen was finally ditched in early March.
His demotion sparked an incredible defensive revival during the season's final months. Without Vermaelen's frenzied approach to defending, Arsenal's back four became a calmer, more disciplined unit.
He has also apparently drawn interest from Barcelona, according to The Daily Mail. What is clear is that the Per Mertesacker/Laurent Koscielny partnership secured fourth place for Arsenal.
It would take a compelling argument to break up that duo. There is also Arsenal's consistent links to Swansea City skipper Ashley Williams.
Vermaelen faces intense competition at the international level. The Belgian stopper has to fend off the likes of Jan Vertonghen and Vincent Kompany. He cannot do that from the bench.