If you believe the Daily Mail, Arsenal are set to sell seven players who just haven’t made the grade this season. The reports suggest that Wenger has simply lost patience with a number of his players and believes the time is right to cash in.
That these reports come after the Gunners have battled back from their abysmal start to this Premier League season is rather surprising. Had I read this story a month or two ago, I would have given it more credence. As it is, however, it seems ridiculous.
So who are the players in question?
First up is Russian international Andrei Arshavin, who has struggled to break back into the first team as of late. During his first season at the club Arshavin impressed both fans and pundits alike (four goals against Liverpool being a particular highlight) but in recent times he has looked a little lacklustre.
Of course, he’s still capable of moments of magic (see his second half performance against Bolton in the Carling Cup) but these moments are now too few and far-between. In this case Wenger may well consider selling if the price is right.
Then there’s Marouane Chamakh, Arsenal’s goal-shy striker. The usual guff regarding the Moroccan is that he started well and has only gotten worse. The truth is that he hasn’t got his fair shot in recent times. With Robin Van Persie the only real option upfront Wenger would be foolish to get rid of somebody who could come in and do a job were the Dutchman to pick up an injury.
Next up: Sebastien Squillaci. The French centre-back simply hasn’t shown enough during his stay in North London. If he were to go, I’m sure no tears would be shed.
Then there’s Manuel Almunia who spent some time on loan at West Ham earlier this season. Whilst not exactly a fan-favourite, I can see Almunia hanging around, at least until the summer thanks to the poor performances of both Lukasz Fabianski and Vito Mannone against Olympiacos. If Mannone moves on this January, so be it. At the moment I trust Almunia more.
The Mail also claim that Tomas Rosicky is on his way. However, I can’t see it. He’s a capable squad player who has still got a couple of years of good football in him.
Finally it’s suggested that Francis Coquelin may be off this January in search of regular first-team football. I doubt, however, that Wenger will let him go. Selling a player with as much ability and potential as Coquelin would be a big mistake.
All in all, there’s basically no chance that Arsenal will get rid of seven players this January. It’s just not the Wenger way. I hope there will be both comings and goings during the next transfer window, but Arsenal fans should have the expectations fixed at a reasonable level.
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