It is expected to be a long summer for Premier League club Arsenal who have lined up a summer rebuild that will see them let go of a couple of players and have also planned to sign their replacements. However, they are in a very precarious situation at the moment and will find it very hard to attract their first-choice transfer targets this summer because they have missed the chance to participate in the UEFA Champions League next season.
The Champions League is always a competition that every footballer wants to play in and win, and if they are going to sign for a club, it is also a criterion that influences the club they eventually choose to sign for. It’s the current situation at the Emirates Stadium, with midfielder Granit Xhaka reportedly expressing his desire to leave the club in search of Champions League football.
Former Arsenal star Charlie Nicholas has said that the Gunners should sanction the sale of three first-team players in order to enhance the transfer kitty for the summer. The north London side failed to qualify for the Champions League for the third season running last term and this has meant that the board have restricted the pre-sales budget to just £45m for the summer.
Speaking on Sky Sports, Nicholas revealed that the manager has plenty of options at hand but much of the business may be reliant on player sales. He added that a new-look defence remains a necessity ahead of next season and the likes of Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Mesut Ozil, and Lucas Torreira should be sold to boost the transfer budget.
Arsenal winger Alex Iwobi has spoken about Mesut Ozil in the positive light by saying that the German footballer has always been producing chances on the playing field. The 30-year-old has earned his fair of criticism from the Gunners’ faithful over the past 18 months but Iwobi has stressed that the midfielder remains a vital figure in the club’s ranks.
In a report covered by The Mirror, Iwobi said that Ozil has always been a creative player in the Gunners attack, though the supporters have not entirely appreciated his showing, he said: “Fans sometimes don’t appreciate what he gives to the team. I don’t know the stats but with Mesut in the team you are always going to get at least three chances a game from him. He always provides an excellent pass or something, a good move or play that leads to a goal, or almost leads to a goal. Mesut is a great player and he also works hard off the ball.”
The international break for Arsenal comes at a crucial time with the team having to prepare for the Europa League and the Premier League with utmost sincerity. Even though in number of regular first-team players have been on international duty, manager Unai Emery has decided to use the break in order to schedule a warm weather training camp in the Middle East. Arsenal recently took 23 of the players for this trip to Dubai, where they have been able to schedule a friendly match against Al Nasr. This match will be on a Tuesday before Arsenal get back to England so that they can return to Premier League action.
Aside from this friendly match, Arsenal will be involved in a number of open training sessions in this trip. Manager Unai Emery says that he is very confident that it was a good decision to pick an abroad destination to boost the morale of the players. The final leg of the 2018-19 campaign promises to be quite interesting, as Arsenal have been able to close the gap on the top three places with great consistency in the last few months. The Gunners are now just one point behind Spurs coming into the international break. Since the pressure will be high in the next two months of action, this break serves as a great way to get some fitness and rejuvenation under the belt.