Monday, November 28, 2022

As we wait for arrivals, the Arsenal departure lounge is beginning to fill up

While most of the transfer market focus this summer has been about who is coming in, there are inevitably going to be some departures. Yesterday was a day which seemed to revolve around some of the men who are likely to be playing their football elsewhere next season.

Let’s go through them, starting with:

Wojciech Szczesny

It seems almost 100% that he’ll be a Juventus player next season as an agreement appears to have been made to sell him for around £10m. Some will say that’s not a fee that properly reflects the current market, and I get that. However, the first thing to point out is that he is into the final 12 months of his career, and secondly it’s not an English club making the purchase.

While Premier League sides are spending vast amounts on any old Tom, Dick or Harry, clubs on the continent aren’t quite doing the same. I agree it’s still a bit low for Serie A’s most clean-sheety keeper last season, and I think it’s a shame he’s going.

His time at Roma has been a success, not quite a rehab but the Szczesny of 2017 is certainly very different from the one who left in 2015. He grew up at Arsenal, he’s a fan, he loves the club, and he’s a big character. However, Arsene Wenger obviously feels his bridges have been burned and is ready to let him go. I like him, I wish he’d been kept, but there you go.

I suppose the other thing this move tells us is that David Ospina is going nowhere. I can’t believe we’d let him and Szczesny go, leaving the inexperienced Emi Martinez as back-up, and thus the inevitable goalkeeping timeshare will continue next season. I don’t think that’s a really healthy thing to be honest, but I guess it’ll be easier to leave Petr Cech out of European games this time around as they lack the prestige of Champions League.

Calum Chambers

Reports linking him with £20m move to Crystal Palace emerged yesterday, and while they do have an interest in him he’s some way down their list and I don’t think they’ll pay that much for him.

Again, I think this is a bit of a shame. With three at the back we need plenty of depth at centre-half, and it’s also worth making some long-term plans. Per Mertesacker is into the final year of his career, while Laurent Koscielny has a long-standing Achilles problem which requires treatment every day. We then have Mustafi, Holding, and Gabriel, as well as Monreal and new boy Kolasinac who can play there.

However, I don’t think it’d be overkill to keep him and see if he can build on what was a good loan spell at Boro last season. If we are prepared to sell, I guess it shows that being sent out on loan by Arsenal is more or less a death knell for your career at the club.

What more can Chambers have done than play well for Boro? He also kept everybody’s favourite, Rob Holding, out of the England U21 side this summer, so there’s a player in there for sure. Just not one that convinces Arsene Wenger it seems.

Does it also signal some faith in a young player like Krystian Bielik to fill that gap when required? Time will tell.

Mathieu Debuchy

For a short period yesterday it looked as if his Arsenal nightmare was over as he was linked with a move back to France with Nice. He was all set for a medical, but within a couple of hours though, something had shifted and the Ligue 1 side opted to sign veteran Christophe Jallet instead.

In some ways it kind of sums up his time at the club. He’s been so unfortunate with injuries, problems which coincided with the emergence of Hector Bellerin, and while I think he could have shown a bit more fight you can understand why he wanted to go and play regular football ahead of Euro 2016.

His chances of appearing at the tournament were banjaxed because of injury, and his only appearance last season lasted just 15 minutes when his hamstring went. He looked like the ideal replacement for Bacary Sagna when he joined in 2014, but it has been pretty much a disaster for him and the club.

There must be somebody out there who will take him, but for now he remains one of us.

Kieran Gibbs

Another full-back whose departure now seems inevitable. He was left out of the pre-season tour, and with the arrival of Kolasinac as well as the form of the seemingly evergreen Nacho Monreal he’s further down the pecking order than he was last season.

He made a few appearances towards the end of the campaign, but for the most part just didn’t play. He’ll be 28 in September, and needs a move. He’s always been professional, he hasn’t complained, not kicked off in the press, but it’s time now.

There’s interest from West Brom, site of one of his best moments in an Arsenal shirt, and it seems like a reasonable destination for him.

So, those are the ones around whom things appear to be moving, but there are others who have question marks over them. Jack Wilshere remains the most obvious, although it may well be a case that his injury problems preclude a move before the end of this transfer window.

Carl Jenkinson, Lucas Perez, Olivier Giroud, and even Theo Walcott are players who may have to make decisions about where they’re going to play next season, and that’s without talking too much about Alexis, Ozil and Oxlade-Chamberlain whose contract situations mean their futures are still very much up in the air.

So, still plenty to do. For more discussion of some of those players, as well as pre-season waffle, transfers, dancing sheep and much more, check out yesterday’s Arsecast Extra. It’s good for your ears. Check it out below, more from me tomorrow.


This Arsecast Extra was recorded with ipDTL

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