Arsenal enter a Premier League season with a new manager for the first time in over two decades, with Unai Emery now at the helm in north London.
The new boss starts life in English football with a baptism of fire as Arsenal host defending champions Manchester City on Sunday, where Emery has five new signings to potentially include in his starting line-up.
Ahead of his Premier League debut, Emery spoke to the press and we picked up three key takeaways from his comments.
Maitland-Niles in defence
Arsenal begin the season with a major issue in defence, as Sead Kolasinac will miss around ten weeks through injury and Nacho Monreal is not back to full fitness after returning from the World Cup with a knee problem.
That means that young Ainsley Maitland-Niles may be thrown into the deep end due to his versatility, featuring on the left-side of a defence against the Premier League champions. Fortunately, he has experience in this position and Emery is confident he can impress.
“We want to give him confidence and the possibility to play. I’m not sure because I am going to decide tomorrow or on Sunday on the first 11, but Ainsley is the player who started the last match against Lazio.”
Arsenal fans will have breathed a sigh of relief as soon as the transfer window closed yesterday, as it brought an end to speculation that Aaron Ramsey would be sold. However, it is far from the end of the saga concerning the Wales international.
With less than 12 months remaining on his contract, Arsenal are fearful that Ramsey could walk for nothing next summer and are working hard behind the scenes to secure the 27-year-old favourite to fresh terms. Unfortunately, Emery did not have a positive update to share.
“That’s not my work. For me it’s very important he stays with us. His experience here in Arsenal and the Premier League is very important and will give us all the information and performances in his quality. Then, the contract is for speaking with the club and the players.”
Three could still leave
The transfer window has come to a close in the Premier League but the European window remains open until the end of the month, while Football League sides also have until the end of August to negotiate loan deals.
Emery named three players that could leave by the end of the month in David Ospina, Carl Jenkinson and Joel Campbell – with goalkeeper Ospina currently the closest to an exit as Besiktas try to complete a deal for the stopper.
Interestingly, Danny Welbeck was omitted from the list despite speculation that a number of sides were keen on his services and that suggests he could still have a part to play this season.
“Today, we had a meeting with the players to close all the possibilities to leave or come with more players. We only have three players: Carl Jenkinson, David Ospina and Joel Campbell, with the possibility to leave.”