The majority of fans have come to the realisation that Arsenal that need to improve their midfield.
However, excluding Dani Ceballos, who in the midfield ranks should Arsenal be keeping hold of ahead of the (hopeful) arrivals of new signings? Assessing who could go and who could stay will be on Mikel Arteta’s mind at the moment as he attempts to juggle an overly bloated squad.
Granit Xhaka is a very divisive player among Arsenal fans. Some say he is vital to the way Arteta wants us to play with his elite short and long ball-playing ability. On the other hand, many people feel that Xhaka’s lack of mobility and defensive awareness is a massive problem for Arsenal as he doesn’t offer enough protection to the back four.
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For me, although I don’t disagree that Xhaka does have many flaws in his game, the leadership and passion that he shows, the huge role he played in Arsenal’s massive improvement under Arteta’s and winning the FA Cup last season can’t go unnoticed. Arteta sees Xhaka as an important part of the team and I agree.
Mesut Ozil was a player that Arteta put his trust at the start of his reign while we were playing a 4-2-3-1 formation, but that very quickly changed as we moved into the 3-4-3 formation. Ozil is someone that can only be used in a very specific system and there is simply no room for someone that isn’t willing to work hard enough on the defensive aspect of things
The German is 31 years old and has entered the last year of his contract. It’s quite evident that Arsenal won’t be offering the German a new deal and will be allowed to walk away on a free transfer next summer. Personally, I would much rather see the available minutes go to the likes of Joe Willock and Emile Smith Rowe to let those academy stars develop their game, rather than investing any more time into someone we know is not going to be apart of the clubs long term future.
Verdict: Sell (if we can, which we can’t)
What started off as such a promising Arsenal career just hast worked out for Lucas Torreira. He has great reading of the game but just doesn’t have the presence, composure or ball playing ability required to succeed in Arteta’s system.
Torriera is someone that could be of massive use to many teams in Europe and although I still believe there is definitely a good player in there, I think it would suit all parties for Torreira to look for a move away from England. He needs a fresh start abroad to see the success he was having during the beginning of his Arsenal career.
As it is, it’s a matter of time.
Verdict: Ideally Sell (loan move imminent anyway)
Matteo Guendouzi is someone that has come under massive scrutiny since the 2-1 defeat to Brighton at the AMEX last season, and hasn’t recovered since. Guendouzi has enormous potential on the field but his attitude problems are not acceptable and Arteta clearly feels the same way.
That defeat last season was, in fact, his last game for Arsenal and has constantly been left out of the matchday squad since.
As it currently stands, it seems like the future of Matteo Guendouzi isn’t set in stone either way. If he is willing to mature and start to act like an adult, I would love to keep him, but if he continues to have off-field issues that are a constant distraction to the squad, selling him would make the most sense from an Arsenal point of view. For now, I feel otherwise.
Mohamed Elneny has impressed in the first four games of the season and has started to put a move away in doubt.
Arteta has used him to help protect the defence and we don’t have anyone else in the squad that brings what he brings to the table. Works hard for 90 minutes, gives the defence solid protection while also carrying a decent level of technical ability.
Although Elneny has had a positive start to the season, I just don’t think the Egyptian is at the required level to take Arsenal to where we want to be in the short-term or the long-term future.
Joe Willock is someone that has all the physical attributes to make it at Arsenal and just needs consistent game time to improve the rest if his game.
He has been blessed with a terrific engine and carries the ball well through the midfield. Furthermore, he’s a very powerful runner that is also very good in the tackle and presses brilliantly.
I feel that a loan move away to a Premier League club could do Willock wonders as I don’t think he will get the regular game time at Arsenal this season, especially if Houssem Aouar joins before the deadline.
He definitely has a very promising future at the club, and if he is able to get the guidance from Arteta and grow his confidence through regular minutes, he could flourish.
Emile Smith Rowe
The reports coming out are that Arteta wants to keep Emile Smith Rowe as a part of the squad this season, and it’s easy to understand why. Arsenal fans have set such high expectations for the 20-year-old, with his direct style of play being enjoyable to watch while he’s showed how good he can be in the Championship during his loan last season.
One of the most exciting prospects to come out of the Hale End Academy in years, I can’t wait to see what the future holds for Smith Rowe. He has all the qualities to succeed at Arsenal and although we haven’t seen a whole lot of him in the Arsenal first team, he is absolutely destined for the top.
Overall, Arsenal has a decent set of midfielders at the club right now but nowhere near good enough to compete for the Premier League which is ultimately where we want to be in the future.