Players within the current Arsenal setup will reach that point when the manager, Mikel Arteta, will make the decision on whether to renew their current deals, release them on a free transfer or sell them without batting an eyelid.
Arsenal, like every well run business oriented football club, handed contracts to certain individuals with the aim of enhancing their chances of winning trophies but as we all know, it does not work out every time for some of these lads. Gooner Daily takes a look at those players with deals expiring in 18 months’ time and provide some thoughts on whether the club’s stance should be to renew their contracts, release them or sell them to new employers.
Dani Ceballos: 17 apps, one goal (2020)
Losing a player like Aaron Ramsey was a bitter pill to swallow for every Arsenal fan, especially with the fact that he does not feature on a consistent basis for Juventus. Raul Sanllehi pushed some strings and Arsenal signed Dani Ceballos on loan from Real Madrid, which came with some good buzz and fanfare.
We witnessed him dazzle crowds for his nation, Spain, in the Under-21 European Championships, and he even took the number vacated by Ramsey, so we expected much from him. Bar the Burnley game early in the season where he shone like a bright star, Ceballos struggled for fitness making him a liability to the club, than an asset.
We still have five months left in the campaign and the fans expect him to contribute to the cause but he has been an underwhelming signing thus far.
Sokratis Papastathopoulos: 61 apps, five goals (2021)
At 31, Sokratis enjoyed a career where he featured in Greece (Apollon Petalidiou, GS Niki Volou and AEK Athens) before he moved to Italy to play for Genoa and AC Milan. The Italian adventure ended a decade ago, as he went to seek green pastures in SV Werder Bremen and Borussia Dortmund before Arsenal came calling last season.
Since his arrival at the club, he has had his good moments and loads of shaky ones as well, but Arsenal fans can not beat their chest in confidence to say that they have an awesome defender in him. With the exciting William Saliba returning to the club after his loan spell at St. Etienne expires this summer, folks know that Sokratis would live on borrowed time, till the inevitable happens at the end of the 2020/21 season.
Did I tell you that I loved his run out as a right back in the FA Cup clash against Leeds?
Henrikh Mkhitaryan: 59 apps, nine goals (2021)
Where to start? Oh yes! The worst swap deal in football history, to Arsenal and Manchester United fans at least. We believed that the talent and ability was there for all to see. This was the same lad that scored 41 goals and created 38 assists in three seasons at Borussia Dortmund.
What we got instead was an inconsistent and underwhelming player that sat on his fat pay check and did not contribute as expected. Heck, Arsenal even sold Alex Iwobi to Everton and preferred to give Reiss Nelson and Emile Smith-Rowe run outs in the team, while shipping Mkhitaryan off to AS Roma on transfer deadline day.
I have thrown more light on the Mkhitaryan issue in a an article I published at Gunners Town.
Verdict: Sell (but not for that paltry €10m Roma offered us)
Shkodran Mustafi: 125 apps, five goals (2021)
No need to waste any comments here!
Verdict: Sell with a thanks for buying hamper for good measure
David Luiz: 22 apps, one goal (2021)
Arsenal did not resume this season with any plans of buying a player from Chelsea, especially David Luiz, that had lost his starting berth in the team to the younger and more exuberant defenders like Antonio Rudiger, Kurt Zouma, Andreas Christensen and Fikayo Tomori. The club’s captain, Laurent Koscielny, for reasons best known to Lord Voldemort, Darth Vader and Chuck Norris, bailed out of the club he served for nine years, leaving us in the lurch.
With Rob Holding injured, we had just Calum Chambers,
Mustafi and Sokratis as the only available defenders for the campaign and those numbers were short by all standards. In what I, and many fans would regard as a surprise, Arsenal snapped up David Luiz from Chelsea.
We are already aware of his limitations as a player, and we commend him for the decent shift he has put this season but we are certain he would not be a Gunner beyond next season.
Mesut Ozil: 246 apps, 43 goals (2021)
Mesut Ozil continues to remain a divisive figure at the club but in recent times, his fortunes changed, especially with Mikel Arteta making him the hub of the team. I know that since he signed that whooping £350,000 per week deal in January 2018, the jury was out for him to perform wonders in the team but it ended in disappointment.
However, I see a different beast in Ozil and we are odds on to see him come back to his best under the tutelage of the new inspiring gaffer.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang: 90 apps, 56 goals (2021)
“I would also like to react to some of the rumors going around about me in the media.”
“People like making up stories and they should focus on what’s happening on the pitch. They talk too much and it does my head in!
“I am the Arsenal captain, I love this club, I am committed to it and desperate to bring it back to the top, where it belongs.”
Quotes from Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, the year of our Lord, 2020.
Follow Gooner Daily on Twitter @goonerdaily. I’ll follow back
Visit Gooner Daily’s Facebook page.
Click on the “Follow button” to join Gooner Daily’s Mailing List