Arteta and Edu on the Same Page Regarding Departures
With the help of Edu Gaspar, Mikel Arteta has assembled the team he needs to challenge again for the Premier League title in the forthcoming season. Arteta and his team will be remembered for leading the division for 248 days last season, only to lose pole position to Manchester City, as the Gunners lacked the depth and experience to sustain their place at the top with a Manchester City juggernaut breathing down their necks.
This summer, Arsenal conducted their business early, confirming deals for Kai Havertz, Jurrien Timber and a British world record fee for Declan Rice, who have spent some time together and are adapting to life at Arsenal. Following the exciting 5-3 win over Barcelona in the magnificent So-Fi Stadium in California, Edu Gaspar stated that having 30 players is unsustainable, and it is the same sentiment that has been echoed by Mikel Arteta,
“We have 30 players here which is unsustainable, and obviously the market is still open, and things can happen – but we are prepared,”
“We are really happy with the squad we have at the moment [in terms of quality]; we obviously have improvements to make in terms of what we want to do in games, and we have to do that. Overall, I’m really pleased with the team.”
If you recall sometime in April 2022, Arteta mentioned that what he ideally wants in a squad is 22 outfield players and three goalkeepers. We all know Arteta isn’t big on rotation, trusting the same set of players that come up with the goods for him, but this summer he mentioned something about being unpredictable, which essentially means that the gaffer might spring a surprise or two in his lineups – like Leandro Trossard getting the nod ahead of Gabriel Martinelli, or Timber taking Ben White’s place, or Havertz playing alongside Martin Odegaard with only Declan Rice as the anchor man, instead of a double pivot featuring Rice and Thomas Partey. With so much talent at his disposal, Arteta has what he needs to keep the squad fresh as he competes on all four fronts this season, with the priority still being winning the Premier League for the first time in 20 years.
A few weeks ago, I reviewed the squad that traveled to the United States preseason tour, and there were some very notable absentees from the list. Reiss Nelson just signed a contract extension with the club and was certainly left out due to injury with Academy graduate, Amario Cozier-Duberry taking his place in the squad. Emile Smith Rowe and Thomas Partey were left out of the initial squad, with Smith Rowe recuperating from his Euros Under-21 sojourns, and Partey rumored to be heading to the exit door with Saudi Arabia calling, but both players jetted to the States to join their mates, and featured in the win over Barcelona.
The ones that were left behind were Nicolas Pepe, Cedric Soares, Nuno Taveres and Albert Sambi Lokonga.
Lokonga is way down the pecking order in midfield, and the addition of a superstar like Rice doesn’t help his cause. He has been linked with a move to Burnley to join his former boss, Vincent Kompany, but nothing concrete has come into fruition. He is currently nursing a muscular injury and will want to get to full fitness before pondering about his future. Pepe has been an underwhelming signing since he arrived with his club-record fee in 2019, and he has a year left on his contract. The latest rumor mill is that his agent offered him up to Fenerbahce, as it was well publicized that the Turkish giants needed a winger. Arsenal will want to get his huge wages out of the way and will certainly entertain what Fenerbahce has to offer.
As for the Portuguese duo of Taveres and Cedric, there is nothing concrete regarding their departure, even though there were whispers of West Ham and Galatasaray having some interest in the young gung-ho fullback. Cedric is one that will probably have his contract rescinded if the club cannot find some plausible for him regarding his departure.
There are some players that traveled with the squad for the US Tour that are also earmarked for potential exits out of the club. I expect youngsters like Auston Trusty and Marquinhos to go out on loan again, while the exit rumors for Kieran Tierney has certainly cooled off. Arsenal had no choice but to hold onto Rob when Besiktas offered that pittance of an amount for his services, and Flo Balogun has garnered huge interest from Inter Milan, following their failed pursuit of Romelu Lukaku.
The potential departures of Pepe, Soares, Taveres, Lokonga, Marquinhos, Trusty and Balogun would trim the squad to the level Arteta and Edu Gaspar would deem ‘sustainable’, and all focus will be moved to starting strong with a good showing at the Community Shield against Manchester City and the opening fixture at home to Nottingham Forest.
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Posted on July 29, 2023, in Arsenal, Football, Premier League, Transfer Gossip and tagged Arsenal, Edu Gaspar, Football, Mikel Arteta, Premier League, Transfer Gossip. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.