Connect in the back of the net

In highly unusual circumstances for the club, Arsenal have made two early signings in the summer transfer window.

With the free acquisition of Bosnia left-back Sead Kolašinac and club recording signing forward Alexandre Lacazette from Lyon, the Gunners have undoubtedly strengthened their squad.

Acquisitions may not be over for Arsenal as they still have heavy interest in Monaco stars Thomas Lemar and Kylian Mbappé and slight interest in Leicester winger Riyad Mahrez.

Arsenal have a big squad. Players will be sold against their will. Others who want to be sold might stay.

It’s a difficult task to balance the money, playing time, and talent of a large squad. The suits at the club will surely want to make some of that money back from the Lacazette transfer — especially if they go after more signings.

We know Arsenal have to sell players, so who should it be? Here are three players Arsenal can sell that still have market value.

 

Theo Walcott

Appearances: 406
Goals: 103
Assits: 79
Market Value (according to Transfermarkt): €20 million

A potential disappointing end to Walcott’s long Arsenal tenure, which has had its ups and downs.

Theo has been at the club since 2006 coming from Southampton as a youngster. He’s had moments of brilliance where he looked like a real star.

He’s demanded to play centrally, then walked back on it. He also seems to step up during a contract year.

Regardless of what happens to him I will never forget his run against Liverpool in the 2008 Champions League quarter-finals at Anfield. Or the famous “2-0” hand signal to the Spurs fans after going off with injury during the 2014 FA Cup Third Round.

I’ll be sad to see him go. I just can’t get his performance against Crystal Palace last season out of my head.

Theo wore the captain’s armband that day and provided no leadership and more importantly offered nothing on the pitch in a match which saw Arsenal produce one of their worst performances in recent history.

He disappears too often. Has there ever been a less impressive 19-goal season?

It’s hard to see him fitting into the 3-4-3 on a regular basis. If he does leave, I’ll be sad to see him go.

If the boss keeps him, hopefully he makes me eat my words and bangs in another twenty goals for Arsenal. Regardless, 103 goals is very impressive.

 

Jack Wilshere

Appearances: 160
Goals: 12
Assists: 24
Market Value (according to Transfermarkt): €18 million

Oh Jack. This one makes me sad.

Whenever someone thinks of Jack two things usually come to mind, Barcelona 2009 and injuries.

He looked like one of the best midfielders it the world during that match and easily could have been. He possesses a unique skill set that makes him seem more Spanish than English.

Through no fault of his own, injuries have absolutely derailed his progress. Without them, he would undoubtedly be Arsenal and England’s starting central midfielder and captain of one or both.

He surpassed Fabregas’s record as the youngest ever Arsenal debutant and it was all there for him. In a move in which I disagreed with at the time, he was loaned to Bournemouth last season.

For a player of his caliber, you would expect him to truly jump off the screen there — he did not. Arsenal need depth in central midfield and Jack could be a useful squad player if he chooses to accept that role.

If not, he’s best served going somewhere where he can get regular football, which is probably not at Arsenal.

 

Kieran Gibbs

Appearances: 236
Goals: 6
Assists: 25
Market Value (according to Transfermarkt): €10 million

Another long-serving Arsenal player, Gibbs finds himself outside of the starting XI.

Nacho Monreal has firmly cemented his place as Arsenal’s first choice left-back over the last couple seasons. Gibbs got match time during the league cup, where he would sometimes captain the young side.

However, Premier League minutes were difficult to come by. Even when Arsenal switched to a back three, Oxlade-Chamberlain would find himself as Monreal’s replacement at left wing back, if the Spaniard was injured or filling in at left center back.

Gibbs’s place in the pecking order was only compounded by the addition of Sead Kolašinac, who will surely be featuring regularly at left wing back. Gibbs hasn’t been spectacular, nor he has been terrible.

For Arsenal to really push on they need players who are consistently performing at a high level. Unless he is okay with getting very low minutes this season, Gibbs would be best served finding another club.

Recently promoted Newcastle have expressed interest, which could be a good fit for him.

 

Arsenal are better off not selling all three at once

As these three players are English, Arsenal might be reluctant to let all of them go in one summer window which could severely hamper their ability to maintain the Premier League’s “Homegrown Player” rule.

Other players not mentioned in the Arsenal squad that will most likely leave are David Ospina, Mathieu Debuchy, and Lucas Perez. They were not included in this list as their market value is quite small.

If Arsenal were to sell Walcott, Wilshere, and Gibbs they would approach reimbursing themselves for the Lacazette fee. With more signings potentially on the way players will find themselves at new clubs come next season.

It’s important to have depth and rotation, considering Arsenal will be playing on Thursdays for the Europa League — thus having less time to prepare for Premier League matches.

During Arsenal’s annual injury crisis maybe I’ll regret typing this article when Petr Cech has to start at striker. All in all, Arsenal seem to be building to start the season with a three at the back.

The squad needs to be trimmed down slightly and the overall quality of the players needs to be at a high level to bring Arsenal back to the summit of the Premier League — where they belong.

 

Written by Kyle Keenan

Follow Kyle on Twitter @kyleskeenan

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