6 Players Arsenal Should Clear Out in the 2016 Summer Transfer Window
With the transfer window now open, Arsenal fans are devouring speculation about who might arrive at the club this summer. However, it’s important to remember that there are limitations on squad size in both the Champions League and Premier League. In order to bring in new faces, Arsene Wenger will have to let some players go.
Mikel Arteta, Tomas Rosicky and Mathieu Flamini were all released at the end of their contracts, but we'll identify six more players the Gunners should ship out if Wenger opts to clear the decks.
Read on to discover the first of the potential departures from the Emirates Stadium this summer.
French full-back Mathieu Debuchy appears almost certain to leave the club this summer. In many ways, it feels as if he’s already gone. Debuchy was so out of favour last season that he was allowed to join Bordeaux on loan in January.
Having already effectively been deemed surplus to requirements, it seems like a matter of time until a permanent departure takes place. According to Turkish newspaper Sabah (h/t the Sun), Besiktas are one of his potential suitors:
Besiktas want to offer out-of-favour Arsenal defender Mathieu Debuchy an escape route from north London, according to reports in Turkey.
The Turkish giants want him on loan, but it could turn into a permanent move if the 30-year-old French international impresses claim Turkish newspaper Sabah.
With Hector Bellerin now clearly the first choice at full-back, and Carl Jenkinson back from his loan spell at West Ham, there is no need to retain Debuchy in the squad. Calum Chambers is also capable of filling in at right-back if necessary.
While the Gunners would undoubtedly prefer a permanent deal to recoup some of the fee they paid Newcastle for Debuchy’s services, they may also accept a loan offer. Ultimately, there is no room left in the squad for the disgruntled Frenchman.
For some time, Yaya Sanogo has been widely regarded as a young striker of considerable promise. However, the truth is he will turn 24 next season and still seems no closer to fulfilling his potential.
Last season was particularly disastrous for Sanogo. First, he was sent on loan to Ajax in the Eredivisie. However, he played just 47 minutes in his first six months with the club before the loan was cut short.
Sanogo was then sent to Charlton—a club that has helped with the development of Arsenal loanees like Alex Song and Francis Coquelin in the past. While Sanogo did hit a hat-trick against Reading, those were his only goals for the club in a spell that was also marred by a sending off for violent conduct.
Given his injury record, signing Sanogo was always somewhat speculative. However, it now seems safe to say that it was a gamble that has not paid off. Arsenal may need a new centre-forward next season, but Sanogo is plainly miles away from being ready to compete for that role. It may be time for Arsene Wenger to cut his losses with the misfiring striker.
Theo Walcott could be the most notable departure from Arsenal this summer.
It’s only been 12 months since Walcott signed a new long-term contract with the club. That ought to have granted him a fresh start—especially with the opportunity to establish himself in a new position as a centre-forward.
However, that transition has not quite gone to plan. Asked about Walcott’s development as a centre-forward, Arsene manager Arsene Wenger told ESPN FC's Mattias Karen:
Not as well as you could have expected. He had good periods in the season. I think recently he has gone through a much more difficult period. But he will come back. ...
The problem with Theo is he wants to play on the right and through the middle. You have to fix yourself somewhere. When he does go through the middle he thinks maybe it's better for me on the right.
Now, Wenger’s patience appears to be running thin. Walcott did not start another Premier League game after March’s 3-2 defeat at Old Trafford. Simon Burnton of the Guardian has reported on West Ham’s supposed interest in Walcott, and there would certainly be other clubs intrigued by his availability.
After 10 years with the club, it may be time for Walcott and Arsenal to go their separate ways.
Having comprehensively lost his battle with Nacho Monreal for the left-back role, it may now be best for all parties if Kieran Gibbs moves on.
Gibbs made just three Premier League starts last season, and only one of those came in his preferred position at full-back. Monreal was so remarkably consistent that Arsene Wenger was clearly loathe to rotate.
That had significant repercussions for Gibbs, who unsurprisingly fell out of contention for Roy Hodgson’s Euro 2016 squad. If he wants to revive his international ambitions, he'll need to join a club where he can play more regularly.
Peter O’Rourke of ESPN FC has already reported that a “frustrated” Gibbs could leave Arsenal this summer. It’s hard to imagine Wenger putting up too much of a fight. The former Wimbledon trainee’s development appears to have stalled somewhat. A move may be what’s required to reignite his career.
German midfielder Serge Gnabry is almost the forgotten man of the Arsenal squad. He joined West Brom on loan at the start of last season but barely got a look-in under Tony Pulis.
Gnabry managed just 12 minutes of football at the Hawthorns before being sent back to Arsenal in January. Although he did not make a senior appearance for the Gunners last season, he did start to build up some form and fitness with the U21 side.
Nevertheless, it feels as if it may be too little too late for Gnabry. With the younger Alex Iwobi now ahead of him in the pecking order, it’s difficult to see where he could break into the first team.
Gnabry is still only 20, so it’s possible Arsene Wenger might prefer to loan him out rather than sanction a permanent deal.
Has Arsene Wenger lost faith in Per Mertesacker?
At the end of last season, the giant German found himself dropped from the side in favour of the erratic but athletic Gabriel Paulista.
In truth, neither Mertesacker nor Gabriel was particularly convincing as Laurent Koscielny's regular partner. However, Gabriel is still young enough to improve. With Mertesacker soon to turn 32, it would be no great surprise if Wenger was considering dispensing his veteran centre-half.
Who do you think Arsenal should sell this summer? Let us know below.