defence

Arsenal Who Stays and Who Goes - Keepers and Defense

Welcome to another post as we are edging closer and closer to the reopening of the transfer window. In part 1 of this 2-part series, we are going to be going through the Arsenal first team to see who would need to stay and who would go.

Goalkeepers

Bernd Leno – Keep – Since joining Arsenal in June 2018, Bernd Leno has gone on to make  66 appearances to date. Bernd has kept 17 clean sheets in 66 and conceding 83 goals in all competitions. Leno has become a vital component of the Arsenal team and has been going from strength to strength.  I fully expect Leno to get even better under Mikel Arteta’s goalkeeping coaches.

Emilio Martinez – Sell - Current understudy to Bernd Leno, the argentine came back to Arsenal from an impressive Loan from Reading. Whilst on loan Emi made 18 Appearances conceding 23 goals and keeping 5 clean sheets. It’s a tough call on whether to sell Emi or not as a number two the Argentine is a solid back up keeper but Emi’s aspirations are to be number 1, is he good enough to be number 1 at Arsenal? On the current evidence I would have to say no primarily used as Arsenals Cup keeper this season. So if Emi is happy enough to be the number 2 keeper then I would keep him, by Emi own admissions he wants to be number 1 but if not out the door you go sir.

Emilio Martinez of Arsenal during the match between Borehamwood ...

Matt Macey – Keep - Matt Macey is Arsenal’s third-choice goalkeeper. At 25 years of age would sell even for a nominal fee but on the other hand, if Dejan Iliev and Emi Martinez were to depart that would leave the Arsenal Goalkeeping department a bit light. Having Matt as a backup goalkeeper would be beneficial in terms of the squad registration as he would be classified as a homegrown player. As a backup relatively inexperienced but solid, when called upon I, would keep Matt around until some of our goalkeeping youth products such as Arthur Okonkwo who’s just been offered a 3-year deal. can mature either on loan or via the under 23’s team.

Dejan Iliev - Sell – Currently on loan Jagiellonia Bialystock making 4 appearances out of 10 available keeping 2 clean sheets. Conceding 7 goals in 4 games. Dejan being 25 years old would have to take a player registration slot if he was to play second fiddle to Bernd Leno.

Dejan Iliev of Arsenal during the match between Arsenal U23 and ...

Defenders

Hector Bellerin – Keep -  Our first choice right back. Bellerin divides fans due to his fashion choices and lifestyle choices, one thing I want to address on the lifestyle choices is that the club has nutritionists, sports scientists and the whole physio department would advise Hector against his lifestyle choices if it is dangerous for him.  Hector has recovered well from injury and you can expect him to be extremely prominent in Arteta’s plans.

Sokratis – Sell – Approaching the final year of his contract I feel the calibre of Centre back. Sokratis has made 44 appearances for arsenal in two years, Which in my opinion he’s been good but with age not on his side and an incoming Saliba in the summer it’s the perfect time to cash in on the Greek international.

Sokratis - Player profile 19/20 | Transfermarkt

Rob Holding – Loan – I feel Rob having come back from a lengthy injury in August 2019 it appears that rob has struggled to find any rhythm at CB, it would appear it is taking him longer to recover from the Cruciate Ligament rupture where he missed 248 days and 37 games. I feel a loan to a potential promoted club where they use a ball playing center back would benefit Arsenal in the long term. With a potential overhaul at Centre back it would be beneficial for Rob to get game time under his belt. If the club wants to sell Rob I would say we could potentially get around the 40-50million mark if the club were to be created with performance-related bonuses.

Shkodran Mustafi – Sell -  Shkodran Mustafi is another that has a year left on his contract and whist last season Mustafi was statically Arsenal’s best defender coming up with better numbers across the board than any other CB, unfortunately, his season was littered with individual mistakes and errors that cost the team dearly and ultimately cost Arsenal a Champions League place.

Shkodran Mustafi sparks Arsenal exit rumours - EssentiallySports

Sead Kolasinac – Keep – Although Sead’s defensive qualities can sometimes be desired under Unai Emery (shudders) Sead was very consistent and often Arsenal’s main attacking outlet combining down the left-hand side with Aubameyang with Auba cutting inside Sead had a lot of space to use in the left-wing position. I feel with Bukayo Saka moving back to his natural position as a left-winger we would need a backup left-back and with potentially 50 plus games to play next season so there will be plenty of game time.

Calum ChambersLoan – Calum is currently rehabilitating from a Cruciate Ligament rupture, Calum has currently missed 245 days of football and training missing 24 games. I feel just like Rob holding once Calum has finished his rehabilitation I feel a loan would be the most beneficial move for Calum and Arsenal as he would be getting regular game time to test out his recovery and if mistakes were made it wouldn’t be at Arsenals expense.

David Luiz – Bosman – After last night's disaster class from David against Man City this is the bad side of David Luiz's game.  David Luiz at 33 years old its time to move on, Arsenal cannot keep relying on a 33-year-old liability who you never know when the next mistake is going to come from. Also, I don’t believe David Luiz is completely committed to Arsenal by going on his quotes after Manchester City game, “ I should have taken a different decision in the last two months but I didn’t. All about my contract, if I stay here or not, I have 14 days to be here and that’s it. I should have tried to decide my future as early as possible but I didn’t. I don’t want to use that as an alibi or excuse, it's my own fault – that’s it. I love to be here, that’s why I continue to train hard.” I am of the belief David Luiz refused to extend when we had the option too during COVID and approached Benfica who informed David they were unable to match his demands and subsequently David if begging the club to keep him on. I don’t believe keeping an aging Centre back would be in the clubs best interest.

Kieran Tierney  - Keep -  Kieran has had a mixed bag at Arsenal signing when he was injured and the injury lasting for longer than what was expected.  Making 12 appearances for his new club Kieran has established himself as the number 1 left back when not injured. The Covid break has given Kieran an extended recovery time from his dislocated shoulder and allowed himself to bulk up and looking at the man city game I feel the Kieran has a very good game given the circumstances.

Tolaji Bola – Loan –  Currently within the first team registrationBola currently plays in the Arsenal under 23 team primarily at left back but is able to play as a CB also.  I feel I true loan to a championship team or a team that’s in the lower end of the Premier league would be beneficial to see where in his progress he is.

Zech Medley  - Loan –  Similarly to Bola Medley is a CB but trader who is able to play as a right back,  I feel a loan is needed as Medley is still extremely raw and like bola would be needed to see where in his progress he is.

Pablo Mari – Keep –  Mari being a new signing albeit on loan with an option to buy he has performed very well in the 3 appearances. The Spaniard is out only left footed centre back option who has picked up an injury during the Manchester City game and with his loan currently expiring at the end of June, Arsenal are currently discussing the extension with Flamengo or may take up their option to purchase but would still need to facilitate a loan to continue at Arsenal.

Cedric Soares – Bosman – A player who is out of contact in the summer currently on loan at arsenal brought in to be back up to Hector Bellerin, unfortunately, his time at Arsenal has been marred with injury, it seems the club are not looking at extending his contract to finish the remaining games at this point in time.  This may change but I don’t believe he is the answer moving forward.

William Saliba  - On loan at St Etienne – Keep – William Saliba has been on loan at St Etienne this season to gain game time but unfortunately this hasn’t really gone to plan as he has had 2 injuries that have kept him out of a total of 15 games this season, he has appeared in 12 games. William is extremely highly rated and Arsenal fans and myself included believe he can really kick on at Arsenal and be a mainstay for the next decade

Konstantinos Mavropanos – On Loan at FC Nuremberg – Keep – I said to keep Mavropanos as he’s a player I really like he’s got all the raw ingredients to make it at Arsenal and I don’t think he was given a fair shot at CB. Mavropanos has been out on loan from January this season making 11 appearances and only missing 3 games due to injury. Mavropanos has been performing exceptionally well which has put him in the shop window as up to 6 Bundesliga teams are actively looking t KM to make the move in the summer. For me, I think it would be a mistake and he could be a very good understudy to a potential big-name CB coming in the summer window.

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