It seems like the dust has only just settled on the ‘will they, won’t they’ speculation regarding Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil leaving Arsenal in the summer. Yet, here were are less than two months before the January transfer window opens, and Arsenal fans are getting ready to jump back on the emotional rollercoaster ride.
Twenty-one years. Normally when you reach such a landmark there is nothing but celebration and enthusiasm for what the future may hold. It couldn’t be more different for Arsene Wenger, 21 years now at the helm of an Arsenal ship that is seemingly listing more as each season passes.
We are now a quarter of the way through the season and again the same patterns seem to be arising for the Frenchman. So how have the first two months of this campaign shaped up? What to make of the new signings at the club? Was he right to let Oxlade Chamberlain leave? And what of Sanchez and Ozil?
Even whilst Chelsea manager Antonio Conte tells press conferences that he remains confident with the situation at hand despite the season opener loss to Burnley in the Premier League, and the Italian says he is not worried about the lack of more signings this summer, Chelsea are doing everything in their power to land Arsenal starlet Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.
The defending champions have spent around £130 million to get four players so far this summer, but more players from the title-winning squad have left, and the 3-2 shock loss at Stamford Bridge increased the pressure for the manager to add players.
Despite Arsenal having some great success in the transfer window so far, it has lacked the impetus expected from Arsene Wenger in what could be his last couple of seasons at the Emirates. They signed Sead Kolasinac for free to shore-up the defence and left-back position and spent a club-record fee to bring in Alexandre Lacazette to finally give Arsenal a true striker.
Juventus can’t afford to lose Rugani
Daniele Rugani has been in the Juventus system since February 2015, and the club has been moulding him into their next centre-back star. Having been blooded into the first team over the last couple of seasons, the Italian champions have effectively put their trust in Rugani for the upcoming campaign.
This comes after the huge-spending AC Milan managed to claw top centre-back Leonardo Bonucci away from Juventus and the champions decided not to sign a replacement following the transfer. They did get Medhi Benatia from Bayern Munich during the Kingsley Coman negotiations, but since Bonucci left, Juve haven’t signed and kept another centre-back.
This puts the 6’3’’ 23-year-old in a prime position to get a lot more game time, and that appears to be the way in which Juventus are going with him. So, losing him this late in the transfer window could be catastrophic to the team. Due to a fantastic summer of signings, AC Milan have closed in to 13/2 in the Serie A betting. Juventus are still clear favourites, but given the immense talent fluxed into AC Milan, perhaps the odds should reflect a closer race as the challengers certainly have the tools to have a good run at the title.
It’s hard to ignore both Juventus’ six-season winning streak of Serie A and the immense team that AC Milan have built, so this could make for the most competitive campaign for years, which Juventus will not want to be pulled into. Keeping their future star Daniele Rugani is a must if they wish to remain dominant, so they’re very unlikely to let him go.
Arsenal heading in the right direction
Much of the other transfer talk surrounds attacking players such as Thomas Lemar, Lucas Moura, and Ousmane Dembele, most likely because of the Alexis Sanchez situation. But, if Arsene Wenger wants to continue down the three-at-the-back route, he will want to sign a central defender experienced with the tactical structure of the formation, instead of relying on full-backs to get the job done over the long season.
If the Gunners do end up getting Daniele Rugani, it would be a fantastic signing, but it looks rather unlikely at this point.
It looks like we’ll have a comletely transformed strike-force next season, with the press going wild with speculation and rumours!
Arsenal are reportedly close to completing the signature of Alexandre Lacazette from Olympique Lyon this summer. The 26-year old was a prime candidate to join Atletico Madrid but after the La Liga outfit lost their transfer ban appeal, things changed. Reports in England and France say the Gunners could complete the deal for Lacazette in the next 48 hours. Le Progress claims the French club president Jean-Michel Aulas has approved of the deal and it could be completed soon.
Another rumour of players joining the club (this time by Calciomercato) is that the Gunners are close to announcing the deal for Leicester City winger Riyad Mahrez. The 26-year old Algerian had an underwhelming season at the club last year and seems intent on exiting the Kings Power Stadium this summer. The Gunners wanted him last year but he opted to remain with the Foxes after their fairy tale season.
As we approach the official start of the summer transfer window, all the talk at Arsenal seems to be concerning players who may leave the club. Both Olivier Giroud and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain have been linked with the exit door in recent days and it’s certainly true that Arsene needs to trim some of the deadwood at the Emirates as the 2017/18 campaign starts to appear over the horizon.
More importantly, the squad needs some fresh faces and that was clearly evident throughout a disappointing league season so who is in the frame at this stage?
Like an old-school dad trying on his first pair of jeans, Arsene Wenger has relented for the first time since his spectacled, waist-height jacket days to implement a 3-4-3 system that is seemingly in vogue this season.
In a match where Tony Adams saw red after just 13 minutes, Dennis Bergkamp’s sublime chip remains the stand-out moment of a day where Arsenal secured a third-placed finish.
Arsenal’s battle to win the Premier League title has come slightly off the rails over the past month with back-to-back defeats to Everton and Manchester City. They were even forced to come from three goals down to salvage a point away to Bournemouth to keep themselves in the mix.
Gary Neville says that he is surprised at the drop in performance and physical status for Arsenal players in the recent 2-1 loss against Manchester City.
Arsenal player Aaron Ramsey is set to miss the World Cup qualifier for his national team side – Wales – as he is yet to fully recover from a hamstring injury. Wales manager Chris Coleman would likely use the same squad that prosecuted the Moldova game. Leicester City’s Andy King was Ramsey’s replacement in the 4-0 Moldova thrashing, and is likely to be the man again.
Wales would miss forward Simon Church, Jonny Williams, and goalkeeper Danny Ward due to injuries in the game against Austria where more than 4,000 Welsh fans are expected.