30 hours to go till the deadline of transfer deadline day and it looks like Arsenal have done very good business this summer. We did not spend a silly £90m on Pogba but got Holding, Xhaka, Mustafi and Perez instead which will turn out to be far better business for us on the field, which matters most to us of course. Okay the new German defender still needs to be confirmed but this should be a formality.
If you look at the last twelve months or so, Arsenal have added quality players in all four lines: GK Cech, Defenders Holding and Mustafi, Midfielders Elneny and Xhaka and attacker Perez. We kept all our quality players until now and let’s hope we will survive the next 30 hours as well, and then we have a very, very strong squad (see also the previous post).
It is now time to allow a few players to go on loan or to be sold, as we need to make space for some very promising youngsters and create plenty of playing time for the new arrivals.
It appears that Arsenal are willing to loan out Jack Wilshere but I hope we will keep him. Jack needs to play of course, but he also needs to look after himself and at Arsenal he can get playing time without too much demand on him (as in having to play every game). I also want him to work hard and compete with the likes of Xhaka, Ozil and Cazorla to get into the team. He has the talent to make it. On the other hand, if he lands at a club with a good manager who will use him wisely he could also prosper.
It looks like Chambers will go out on loan and I reckon that is a wise decision. Any youngster who gets bought by Arsenal should go out and learn to stand on their own feet via a loan spell. I wished we had done the same with the likes of Theo and Ox. Chambers is a good player but he has not made enough impression for Wenger to believe he is ready to be a regular starter at Arsenal. So go out there Calum and work your socks off. And from what I saw of Middlesbrough, they try to play good football which should suit him.
The rumour that Gnabry could be sold to Bayern is not very good news. I don’t know the exact contract situation of Gnabry and the club might not have much choice in the matter, but I hope the German is not leaving because he does not feel he will get a proper opportunity to shine at Arsenal.
And that brings me to the Ox. It feels like he has been forever at Arsenal, yet he is still young and keeps threatening to break through. Alex has his moments and we are all in awe of his speed and close ball control, but when it comes to delivering the goods in terms of goals and assists it is just not happening for him. Once again this season, he has periods in which he plays well and is part of the team, but sooner or later he will drop off and become invisible. He was easily our weakest player against Watford on Saturday and this has been the case too many times.
I have said for years here on Bergkampesque that the Ox should go on a season long loan and establish himself outside Arsenal, where he simply has been pampered and protected too much. He will then come back with confidence and will have learned to turn his talents into hard, bankable outcomes.
I now feel it may be too late and would not be surprised if he gets sold in the next 30 hours. With Perez, Alexis, Theo and Ramsey – the Welshman is not a natural winger but he offers extra defensive cover and a very decent goal threat when played out wide – we have four quality players to operate on the wings: and if they are all fit and in form, they should normally play. But as it stands, we also have youngsters like Iwobi, Gnabry and Willock knocking very hard on the door. I feel the Ox has had his chance and we need to create space in the team, so it is out on loan or cashing in time. Time to hit the road, not so much for Jack but definitely for the Ox.