Over the years, Arsenal have always been ridiculed for lack of squad depth but in reality, they actually need new squad reinforcements. If Arsenal are to end their league title drought, they need to offload players whose careers seem to have hit a roadblock. Here are five of them.
1) Kieran Gibbs
It’s easy to forget that Kieran Gibbs is still an Arsenal player. The left-back was one of the first names on teamsheet a few years ago but things have changed now. Nacho Monreal took the opportunity when Gibbs was injured and not only became a surefire starter, but also one of Arsenal’s most indispensable players, resulting in Gibbs now finding life on the bench.
Gibbs is not as good as his Spanish competitor (at least anymore) while he is still prone to injuries, albeit not as much in the past. However, Gibbs is still a decent full-back and could be a starter for many Premier League sides like Swansea or Crystal Palace.
The equalizer in North London Derby is probably Gibbs’ only significant contribution this season which is a clear indication of Gibbs’ stagnated Arsenal career. A move in the summer and maybe Gibbs might find himself back in the fold for international football.
2) Joel Campbell
Unlike Kieran Gibbs, Joel Campbell has contributed much more to Arsenal’s season – notably, his performance in a must-win Champions League away tie against Olympiakos. However, Arsene Wenger doesn’t seem to rate Campbell the same as his other offensive players such as Theo Walcott, Aaron Ramsey or Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.
Campbell is arguably one of the positives for Arsenal this season but the Costa Rican still hasn’t convinced the manager to give him more playing time. Campbell starts on the right with a tendency to cut inside due to his strong left foot and offers much more than Oxlade-Chamberlain or Walcott, especially when it comes to tracking back and defending. And unlike them, Campbell influences the match more, tidy on the ball and doesn’t lose possession in dangerous areas.
It’s still unknown as to why Wenger doesn’t trust him enough to give the Costa Rican the full 90 minutes and with the emergence of Alex Iwobi, he has been pushed down further in the pecking order. Perhaps a move to West Ham or Southampton, or even a move back to La Liga could be ideal for the 23-year-old.
3) Carl Jenkinson
Carl Jenkinson is admired by most Arsenal fans for his love and passion for the club but not much for his abilities as a right-back. Jenkinson has good work-rate and puts his heart on his sleeves but in the modern era of offensive full-backs, he is some way off Hector Bellerin, and that’s being generous.
Unlike Bellerin, Jenkinson has never been a threat going forward and is not good on the ball either. With Bellerin improving as each game goes by, Jenkinson could find himself in a similar situation to Gibbs, if he does return to the team next season.
Jenkinson has had a productive two year loan spell at West Ham but perhaps, a move to another English side away from Arsenal, where his versatility could come in handy, might be the best choice for all parties.
4) Wojciech Szczesny
Wojciech Szczesny had a great 2014 when he was joint holder of the Golden Glove, won his first trophy in the FA Cup, started in Arsenal’s Community Shield 3-0 victory over Manchester City while getting compared to the likes of David De Gea and Hugo Lloris in the process.
However, since then, Szczesny has regressed instead of improving further.
Arsene Wenger is unlikely to choose Szczesny over David Ospina as the backup goalkeeper to Petr Cech and so, a permanent move to AS Roma would be ideal for the Polish international as it gives him an opportunity to reach his full potential. However, with recent reports that Szczesny is willing to stay another year on loan in Rome, the 26-year-old may be opting for patience.
5) Theo Walcott
Theo Walcott is one of the highest earners at Arsenal along with Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez but the English forward hasn’t justified his wages with his performances this season whatsoever. After a bright start to the season, Walcott is back to his inefficient self as he suffered a new career low after recently getting benched by 19-year-old Iwobi. Now appearing as a substitute in 12 of Arsenal’s last 15 games, it’s a testament to how disappointing Walcott’s season has been (as well as the fact that Iwobi is taking his opportunities as he gets them).
At 27, Theo Walcott is in his peak years. Taking a paycut and moving to a side such as the new Champions League entrants in Leicester or his boyhood club Liverpool, where he could have a fresh start and a crucial role in the side, could be the right decision for the former Southampton man.
Do you agree with the choices? Let us know in the comments!