With countless rumors swirling around Arsenal FC this summer, there is bound to be some turmoil at the club, even if Arsene Wenger is strict in his transfer policy.
All Arsenal fans know that there is a significant amount of dead wood at the club, and with players like Cesc Fabregas strongly linked with a move away from the Emirates, it is vital that Wenger buys the correct replacements.
Equally important is selling off the right players to create a stable culture at the club. They need players who actually want to wear the red and white, and take it as a privilege to play for the Gunners. To dedicated fans, it was obvious during the last campaign who needed to go, and the club can only move forward if those players depart.
So here I present five players who should arrive at the Emirates and five who should depart during this summer. If the requisite additions are made and the right players leave, Arsenal will be back in the top two and should finally end their prolonged trophy drought.
Those who frequently read my work on Bleacher Report know that I am as big a fan of the German giant as there is.
Not only is Mertesacker the definition of a perfect defender, he is the ideal, pure antidote to Arsenal's defensive problems. The Gunners lack height; Mertesacker is 6'6". The Gunners lack leadership; Mertesacker is the captain of his Bremen side. The Gunners lack defensive discipline; Mertesacker incredibly picked up only one yellow card in all competitions with Bremen and Germany.
Simply put, Mertesacker is everything Arsenal needs on defense. And to make the pot even sweeter, the German is in the final year of his contract, has expressed great interest in the Premier League, and can be had for the low price of £10 million.
The perfect signing.
Aside from center back, Arsenal's greatest need at present is a consistent goal-scorer to partner with Robin van Persie who can only think of one thing when he touches the ball: scoring goals. Falcao would fill that void perfectly.
Though the Colombian played for Porto in the Portugese Liga, which is a much weaker league than the Premier League, his goal-scoring record is astounding. In 22 games for Porto in the domestic league, Falcao scored a whopping 16 goals.
What makes him even more impressive is his finishing, as he only needed 17 shots to get those goals. To further prove his credibility, the Colombian added another 17 goals in only 14 Europa League games.
Falcao is one of those players who simply knows where the goal is at all times. Arsenal desperately needs a player like that, considering how timid and reluctant they looked in goal for much of last season.
Falcao will not come cheap, though. For around £25 million, he would add a new dimension to the Arsenal attack, and I'm sure Robin van Persie would appreciate Arsene Wenger taking his advice.
Most will be extremely surprised that I included Samri Nasri on this list, but hear me out. There are reasons behind his placement here.
Nasri's situation is beginning to transform itself into another Cesc Fabregas saga. That is especially unfortunate considering that Nasri is not as good as Fabregas, as important to the team or a long time member of the club.
Based on five months of success (unfortunately for Samir, a season lasts nine), why should Arsenal and its supporters be wrapped up in the Frenchman's nonsense about a new contract? There is no need to waste an entire summer with one player's shenanigans.
If Nasri cannot accept the paltry £90 thousand per week wages that Arsenal are offering, then goodbye, nice knowing you, have fun among the nameless moneybags of Manchester City.
Samir will be an insignificant footnote in the history of Arsenal, and we should be just as ready to bid farewell to him as we were to Overmars, Petit, and the others who believed they were too good for the red and white. Besides, there are even better, more consistent players who can fill Nasri's hole, like...
If Samir wants to go off and give himself the opportunity to win the Ballon d'Or somewhere else, I would be more than happy – giddy, in fact – if Wenger reinvested the transfer money from the sale of Nasri to buy Juan Mata.
The 23-year-old Spaniard is a player who possesses a deft touch on the ball, is a skillful dribbler like Nasri, has excellent creativeness and vision, and also has a good shot. Operating centrally or on the left wing, Mata could easily fill the void left by our (hopefully) departing Frenchman.
This is a case, however, where Wenger must man up, so to speak. In order to pull this transfer off, which would take about £18 million, Arsene would actually have to reinvest the money gained from the sale of Nasri and spend it on an established player, rather than promoting a youngster or buying some unknown prodigy from Ligue 2.
However, it can be done, and a great buy like Mata, contrary to what Arsene Wenger will tell you, will help Arsenal win.
With Gael Clichy gone to Manchester City, Arsenal is in need of a quality left back, even if Kieran Gibbs has potential. I know that Arsene Wenger has strongly hinted that the often injured Gibbs will take over Clichy's spot. This article is about who Arsenal should sign though, and here we will use common sense.
Cissokho has nearly everything you look for in a left back. He has searing pace, good crossing ability, excellent strength, and the ability to run for days on end. He is also superb defensively, as his unparalleled quickness allows him to keep up with the fastest players in the world and turn instantly.
So what is preventing this well-rounded player of immense quality from putting on an Arsenal shirt next season? Wenger. I still support the manager, but with Gibbs's lack of defensive ability and constant fitness issues, it might be the perfect time to spring for Cissokho at £15 million while Gibbs gets some experience on loan at a Premier League team like Bolton and proves he can stay fit.
If Denilson is not the player that Arsenal supporters would most like to sell, he must be in the top two.
On countless occasions during this past season the Brazilian showed little to no effort at all, and the only times he was involved in play resulted in major defensive lapses or lazy sideways passing. It was Denilson, remember, who put in such awful performances against the likes of Leyton Orient and Leeds United (where he conceded a penalty that added another game to our schedule) that led fans to question his merits.
Thankfully, he asked to be sold at the end of last season, but he somehow remains a member of the squad and has proven to be unsellable. Frankly, even getting a penny in return for never having to watch another hapless Denilson display again would constitute a major success, especially considering his appallingly high £50 thousand per week wages.
Let's all hope that his 15 shirt is vacated by the start of the season, regardless of the fee that comes in.
If Denilson is not the player that Arsenal fans would most like to see depart this summer, it is the error-prone Spanish goalkeeper Manuel Almunia. At least Arsenal fans get the satisfaction of knowing that, unlike Denilson, the 34-year-old Spaniard will be on the move.
I find it hard to believe that there is any Gooner that can witness the hapless Almunia step between the posts without having a heart attack, let alone wish for him to stay.
He has committed countless errors and has single handedly cost Arsenal points time and time again. If we only count his blunders against West Bron alone during this past season, we have lost five points because of inexplicable decisions made by a goalkeeper who never should have worn the cannon. In other words, we would have finished in third place, ahead of Manchester City, had Almunia not been our starting goalkeeper.
The good news is that Almunia is as good as gone, with Malaga rumored to be interested and Wojiech Szczesny forcing Wenger's hand.
Another giant piece of dead wood that must be moved on for Arsenal to effectively move forward as a football club is Sebastien Squillaci.
The experienced Frenchman showed over and over again this past season that he could not keep up with the pace of the Premier League and did not excel in any area. In short, Squillaci is a very mediocre player who is not up to the standards at Arsenal.
Arsenal needs a defender with aerial prowess, a physical style of play, the capability to be a leader of men, and solid Premier League experience. It is no fault of Squillaci's, but he simply does not possess these characteristics, which a center back at a club like Arsenal must possess.
However, I do know of one player who is available that does possess all of these traits...
Just like Mertesacker, Christopher Samba of Blackburn Rovers is the perfect antidote to all of Arsenal's defensive woes, and is the exact opposite of Sebastien Squillaci.The Congolese center back possesses exactly what the Gunners need on defense.
He is extremely tall, standing at 6'4" with a massive frame. Samba would give Arsenal that purely physical enforcing presence that they have lacked for years. Partner Samba with Vermaelen in the center of the defense, and you have two leaders and organizers who give everything on every possession.
Those who witnessed Samba's incredible display at Upton Park at the end of the season know how one defender like Samba can single handedly win a match for a team with such a spirited, devoted performance.
At £12 million, Samba would represent a fantastic value for the Gunners, and one can only hope that Wenger can learn from his mistakes and buy Samba.
Unlike Denilson, Almunia, or Squillaci, Rosicky does add things to the squad. He brings experience and creativeness. The problem is, the former would not be necessary if the aforementioned additions were brought in, and Rosicky has not shown the creative ability recently that he had shown in the past.
Our number seven rarely played last season, and when he did, as in the Carling Cup final, it was difficult to see how he was an asset to the squad. Scoring only one goal in all competitions – against Leyton Orient – it seems that the 30-year-old Czech Republic captain is succumbing to father time and has outlasted his effectiveness at a club like Arsenal.
If Rosicky does stay, it will be due to one reason: Cesc Fabregas. Rosicky is Cesc's best friend at the club, and the Spaniard's already close ties with a move to Barcelona (to play with his friends) would become a lot closer if his best friend at Arsenal were to depart.
True, it would be sad in a way to part with Rosicky, considering that his awful hamstring troubles put him in a Vermaelen-like situation. But with extremely promising youngsters waiting in the wings such as Henri Lansbury, it is the perfect time for experience to give way to youth.
If Arsene Wenger manages to pull off this move and most of the others listed here, Arsenal will be in a much better position to win silverware next season instead of having their frailties exposed yet again.