Unai Emery’s work in the market so far at Arsenal ahead of the 2018-19 season has impressed but there is still significant room for concern.
The Gunners added Lucas Torreira and Matteo Guendouzi to their squad following the losses of Santi Cazorla and Jack Wilshere but are at severe risk of experiencing a huge blow, as Aaron Ramsey’s future remains shrouded in speculation.
Wales international Ramsey, a figure many fans believe would be the ideal captain at the Emirates Stadium, has less than 12 months remaining on his contract and the Gunners may be forced into a sale as they look to avoid losing the 27-year-old on a free transfer next year.
While Emery himself has stated that Ramsey is a crucial part of his plans for next year, his own admission that he does not know whether the former Cardiff City man will renew should send alarm bells ringing in north London.
“This is one question for the player, the club, but my opinion – I said to them – I think he is one important player for me. I’m very happy with him. Every day every training session he is with the ambition I want. He is working with quality. I want to work with him.”
Arsenal are confident of securing a deal with Ramsey, according to Football.London, but plans need to be made for the worse case scenario – and the Gunners could find their own bargain in the market in the form of Max Meyer.
Available on a free transfer after leaving Schalke, the 22-year-old Germany international is a target for Arsenal, alongside Liverpool, and Emery’s side are ready to do a deal as long as he lowers his staggering wage demands, according to TransferMarketWeb.
Capped four times by Germany, and a member of his nation’s squad at the 2016 Olympics, Meyer is widely regarded to be one of the best midfield prospects within European football and his versatility means he could easily fill the void left by a potential departure of Ramsey.
Additionally, his preferred position as an attacking midfielder could see Meyer stand as the best long-term replacement for compatriot Mesut Ozil at the Emirates Stadium, which would then allow Switzerland international Granit Xhaka to partner new signing Lucas Torreira in a deeper midfield role.
While speculation suggests that any more for Meyer does not necessarily hinge on Ramsey’s future, signing the Germany ace with the squad in it’s current shape would leave huge questions marks over who will play for Unai Emery.
Significant depth is required for the gruelling campaigns in both the Premier League and Europa League but a player like Meyer will demand first-team assurances, which he is unlikely to get if Ramsey renews his deal.
Arsenal fans want Emery to sell Granit Xhaka after Man City loss
Fans are demanding Arsenal sell Xhaka in the next two weeks.
Arsenal fans have made it clear throughout the history of the internet they need someone to be angry at and Granit Xhaka has inherited the crown.
With Arsene Wenger finally out, the Switzerland international has followed the likes of Francis Coquelin and Theo Walcott as Arsenal’s weekly scapegoat, a title that is tough to shake, and his performance against Manchester City did not help matters.
Poor on the ball and struggling to cope with the Citizens’ quota of stars, fans on social media quickly flocked to criticism the midfielder and demand that Unai Emery sells the former Borussia Monchengladbach man ASAP.
With Matteo Guendouzi and Lucas Torreira amongst Emery’s summer acquisitions, Xhaka has plenty of competition for his role in midfield and many fans have made it clear they don’t want to see Xhaka wear the Arsenal shirt once again.
Unfortunately, that is unlikely to happen and, a few months down the line, another scapegoat may have been identified. For now, it’s best Xhaka avoids logging onto Twitter…
Xhaka never has been and never will be good enough for Arsenal FC.
— Amy AFC (@newmanqueen1) August 12, 2018
Can we sell Xhaka? @arsenal
— napolean dynamite (@BennySumerY) August 12, 2018
Xhaka looks like the inexperienced youngster and Guendouzi is carrying his dumbass through this game.
— WH (@Wilshoholic) August 12, 2018
— Charles Wilman (@Khaosan05) August 12, 2018
He’s absolute bang average!! Not worthy of the @Arsenal shirt!
— ArsenalTheSinkingShip (@Shell_DonG) August 12, 2018
Hopefully the last time we see Xhaka play for the club.
— MW (@mediocentroEN) August 12, 2018
Yes, Guendouzi has made mistakes but he is meant to be playing with experienced pro's such as Cech, Mustafi and Xhaka yet he seems to be the leader out of them all. Embarrassing.
— Mitch (@MHaywxrd) August 12, 2018
Xhaka is genuinely the worst midfielder I've seen in 25 years at Arsenal. Slow, indecisive, positionally abject, constantly invites pressure on to the team and excels at literally nothing
— Exiled Expat (@ComradeNuts) August 12, 2018
2 weeks to get rid of Xhaka, come on Arsenal unload him please!
— Gooner Rumour (@GoonerRumour) August 13, 2018
Emery’s Arsenal conference: Left-back options, Ramsey & further exits
A new era under Emery dawns for Arsenal.
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.”
One winner and loser from Arsenal’s pre-season campaign
Major changes took place in north London this summer
A new era has dawned for Arsenal, we will enter the Premier League season with a new manager for the first time in over two decades.
Unai Emery has taken charge of the Emirates Stadium and swiftly rejuvenated the squad with five new signings, while also waving goodbye to established players like Jack Wilshere and Santi Cazorla, both of whom left on free transfers.
Overall, Arsenal’s pre-season campaign was a positive one as the Gunners thrashed Paris Saint-Germain, edged Lazio in Sweden, beat Chelsea on penalties and held Atletico Madrid to a draw before losing on a shootout.
From those results we have identified one winner and one loser.
Winner: Emile Smith Rowe
Every pre-season there seems to be a young starlet who announces himself to Arsenal fans, catching the eye and providing a platform to build upon in the forthcoming campaign with the aim of fighting into the first-team squad.
This year it was the turn of Emile Smith Rowe, who made headlines with a stunning goal against Atletico Madrid in Singapore and impressed in the other games where he featured, potentially opening the path for regular football under Unai Emery.
Still just 18, the starlet has now outlined his plans for the forthcoming season as he seeks to earn opportunities in cup competitions.
“My long-term goal is to get in the first team permanently. But this season it’s to try to get as many minutes as I can in the Europa League and cups, and hopefully make my Premier League debut.”
Loser: Danny Welbeck
It has been a very strange summer for Danny Welbeck. Only returning to training this week following an extended break after the World Cup, Welbeck featured for just 11 minutes of football for England in Russia and may wonder if his career would have been better off staying at home.
In his absence, Welbeck has seen Alex Iwobi and Reiss Nelson awarded new contracts as well as witnessing Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette craft an exciting partnership in attack – which left the former Manchester United man on the fringes.
After failing to earn a permanent exit, Football.London states he will remain in the squad fighting for a place but it is clear the 27-year-old is now a spare part in north London.
Exclusive: George Williams on his Fulham spell, Euro 2016 and two year ambition
We caught up with the former MK Dons and Fulham prospect, now plying his trade for Forest Green.
Exclusive: Christian Doidge discusses new season, career highlights and transfer speculation
The Forest Green Rovers striker spoke to The Boot Room ahead of the 2018/19 campaign.
Exclusive: Cardiff City’s Joe Bennett discusses his new contract; promotion and new signings
The full-back spoke exclusively to The Boot Room as he looks ahead to the Bluebird's top flight return.
Everton23 hours ago
Everton round-up: No Jagielka appeal, new duo train and Usmanov investment
Tottenham Hotspur22 hours ago
Tottenham Hotspur round-up: Janssen number stripped, Rose can go and Eriksen interest
Tottenham Hotspur21 hours ago
Tottenham Hotspur should have swooped for Luciano Vietto this summer
Rangers21 hours ago
Rangers fans will be pleased Dynamo Kiev deal collapsed for Borna Barisic last summer
Leeds United18 hours ago
Some Leeds United fans are raving over Samuel Saiz’s League Cup display
Everton8 hours ago
Phil Jagielka turns 36 this week and his Everton career should be winding down
Aston Villa8 hours ago
Aston Villa’s hopes of getting Isaac Success now look doomed
Tottenham Hotspur9 hours ago
Younes Kaboul critical of Mauricio Pochettino, would some Tottenham players agree?