Given the nature of Arsene Wenger’s latest deal, it was expected that the French manager would overhaul the squad – to an extent – to have one final push for the Premier League title before this two-year managerial contract expires. However, Arsenal have only moved two players – Wojciech Szczesny and Yaya Sanogo – and have only acquired two players – Alexandre Lacazette and Sead Kolasinac.
Claiming Kolasinac on a free will prove to be a very strong move as the Bosnia-Herzegovina international is a solid left-back and only 24-years-old. The record fee that brought French striker Lacazette to the Emirates was a step in the right direction, and the Gunners should continue to make big and necessary signings to ensure a competitive campaign in 2017/18, but they also need to consider bringing in some money from their expiring players before it’s too late.
As it stands, Alexis Sanchez, Mesut Ozil, and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain are all set to leave Arsenal for free at the end of the season. Sanchez and Ozil are arguably the club’s two biggest-name players, with the Chilean currently being courted by many clubs around Europe.
Oxlade-Chamberlain hasn’t been as integral to the team’s successes, with injuries hampering his ability to cement a first-team place, so should the club sell him now and make some money? As the club is competing in the Europa League and should aim to go down that route to qualify for the Champions League next season, Arsenal will need as much quality depth as possible to challenge in Europe and put in a good showing domestically.
Will Oxlade-Chamberlain stay?
At the beginning of July, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain rejected a contract renewal from Arsenal, setting him up to be a free agent next summer. Whether this is down to the money offered or his desire to be a first-team player could determine the outcome of his situation.
Coming into next season, Arsenal are the favourites to win the Europa League at 15/2 – keeping in mind that the knocked out Champions League teams are, of course, yet to join the competition – and also sixth favourites to finish in the top four of the Premier League at 10/11. So, to get into the Champions League, it looks like their best bet is via the Europa League – for which Arsenal will need a lot of quality depth.
Arsene Wenger will be wanting to keep Oxlade-Chamberlain because, when he’s fit, he can be an incredible threat going forward on the wing or even perform admirably in central midfield. With this in mind, his 8/15 odds to stay at Arsenal would make for good use of the 2017 Free Bets offers, such as a £20 risk-free bet, as Arsenal simply can’t afford to lose him in this crucial season.
This fact increases when considering the magnitude of this season for the manager as well as the potential, and increasingly likely, according to the bookies, sale of Alexis Sanchez – a void which the English winger may be able to fill before the club find a more apt replacement.
Arsenal have already swatted away the likes of Chelsea and Liverpool, who were looking to capitalise on Oxlade-Chamberlain’s contract situation, but Stoke have now joined the race. A sale to a non-rival team would be more tempting for the Gunners, but keeping the crafty winger should be the aim as the season ahead looks to be a long and awkward one for Arsenal.