Following the signings of Lucas Torreira and Matteo Guendouzi, it was reported that Arsenal had concluded first team recruitment. The news will have come as a major blow to fans, who firmly believed reports linking the club with the likes of Hirving Lozano, Cristian Pavon and Gelson Martins to fill a position that is currently unoccupied.
Contrary to the ever reliable David Ornstein’s claim, it appears Arsenal could still make more signings this summer, but only if a member of the current first team leaves the club. It would seem that Unai Emery would be looking for a like for like replacement if someone was to exit the club, meaning the only exits that could lead to Arsenal signing a top class winger are Danny Welbeck, Lucas Perez or perhaps Joel Campbell (if he counts).
Before Unai Emery took charge, Lucas Perez appeared to be on his way out, with Lazio very keen to bring him to Rome. Since taking over, Emery appears keen to give Lucas a chance, with the player determined to prove himself at Arsenal. This determination saw Lucas return to pre-season training early, and his Twitter updates indicate that the 30 year old is working harder than ever to prove himself under the new gaffer.
With Lucas set for another chance, Danny Welbeck seems the most likely option to leave the club. The Englishman’s contract expires in 12 months, and Gazidas and co. will not want to lose him for free next summer, so moving him on now makes financial sense.
While the financial aspect of Welbeck’s exit is not to be shunned, the impact of him leaving would also benefit the team. Over the last four years, it’s become abundantly clear that he is not good enough for Arsenal, and fans have seen exactly why Louis Van Gaal wasted no time getting rid of him at Manchester United.
Aside from the odd brilliant moment (Leicester / AC Milan), Welbeck has never come close to proving himself at the club; looking desperately out of his depth at times. While Welbeck will likely be an asset in Unai Emery’s pressing game, he will be a major weakness when the team want to transition quickly from defence to attack, as his touch and end product are simply not good enough for a team hoping to re-establish themselves in the top four.
Welbeck’s sale would also raise the most cash, with a £15-20m fee likely (possibly more if he moves to an English club). But, the third option on the list is Joel Campbell. Like Welbeck, he has just 12 months on his contract, but is only likely to fetch a small fee following a number of failed loan moves, and could well be sold without being replaced.
If all three players remain at the club, they will be competing with Alex Iwobi and Reis Nelson for a spot on the left wing, with Mkhitaryan likely to occupy the right hand side of Arsenal’s midfield. Over the last couple of years, none of these players have impressed, but with new instructions and a new voice at Arsenal, we could very well see these players improve. It’s a big if, but…