Rebuild just got bigger
The news broke on Sunday that Arsenal winger Willian is likely to leave the club during the summer window, with the North London side open to offers.
The former Chelsea man has struggled in his debut season with the Gunners, scoring just one goal in a recent 3-1 win over West Brom.
He has won few fans amongst Arsenal supporters, and delight can be seen in the replies to Fabrizio Romano’s tweet, revealing the news:
After David Luiz, also Willian is expected to leave Arsenal this summer. ⚪️🔴 #AFC
— Fabrizio Romano (@FabrizioRomano) May 16, 2021
This will leave Arsenal in a situation where they may be keen to strengthen in the wide areas.
Currently available to Mikel Arteta are all of Nicolas Pepe, Bukayo Saka, Reiss Nelson and Gabriel Martinelli. Emile Smith Rowe and Pierre Emerick-Aubameyang have also operated in wide positions this season.
Nelson has barely featured, and a departure could be on the cards in the summer. Pepe and Saka are expected to remain, as is Martinelli. However, the loss of an experienced player, who can play on either flank, could prompt Arsenal into a move in the upcoming transfer window.
Who could Arsenal sign?
Firstly, would signing a player be the best option? Considering the lack of minutes afforded to Martinelli of late, many would likely prefer to see the Brazilian given more opportunities.
Whilst he has been deployed more centrally, with Alexandre Lacazette to be offered a one-year extension, Aubameyang still present and Folarin Balogun committed to a new deal amid the expectation he will be integrated into the first-team, Martinelli’s immediate future likely lies in the wider areas. Maybe even for the long-term.
Should Arsenal fail to qualify for European competition for next season, a squad as deep as the club boasts now is unlikely to be required.
However, one thing which follows Arsenal wherever they go is injury problems. Notorious for losing key players at crucial times, including Lacazette, Kieran Tierney, Thomas Partey and even Aubameyang – who contracted malaria whilst on international duty – maybe bringing in a quality wide man would be smart on the part of the Gunners.
So far, no concrete links with any players have surfaced. Unsurprising considering that the club was not expected to pursue a player in this position.
Many Arsenal fans are big admirers of Jack Grealish, but any move for the England international would require a significant fee. With Pepe and Saka already at the club, would it be money well spent if other areas such as central midfield, attacking midfield and right-back are not addressed first?
Allan Saint-Maximin has been another name touted, but the Frenchman’s injury record is very worrying, and it is fair to say that Arsenal loanee Joe Willock has outshone the former Nice man since arriving on Tyneside.
Until links with possible replacements for Willian surface, this is a speculative period. However, Arsenal fans will be pleased to see a big wage earner who has offered very little move on this summer, should a transfer come to pass.
Gabriel Martinelli > Willian stat emerges during Arsenal vs Sheffield United, highlighting why youngster should play over ex-Chelsea man
This article was edited by Conor Laird.
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