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Enough is enough – Arsenal would commit a massive blunder by retaining this lacklustre £200,000-a-week attacker

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Arsenal Opinion: Gunners should offload Mkhitaryan to reduce wage bills

According to the Daily Mail, Arsenal are keen to offload Henrikh Mkhitaryan in the summer, with manager Unai Emery reportedly making an effort to reduce the squad’s wage bill.

The 30-year-old Armenian international earns close to £200,000-a-week, a figure similar to striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, while Mesut Ozil is on a staggering £350,000-a-week deal.

Those sky-high wages are apparently proving to be a big burden on the club’s finances. Emery was told by the hierarchy that Arsenal were solely in the market for loan signings in the January transfer window and the Daily Mail reports that the Spaniard will have a tight transfer budget of £45 million to work with in the summer.

Despite the club’s financial constraints, Emery is looking for a major squad overhaul in the summer and one way to raise funds would be to offload a few big names.

Having slipped down the pecking order since Emery’s arrival, Mesut Ozil is expected to head for the exit door at the end of the season, and now Mkhitaryan’s future is also up in the air.

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Unlike Ozil, Mkhitaryan, though, has featured regularly for Arsenal in the Premier League under Unai Emery.

The 30-year-old has accumulated 6 goals and 4 assists from 18 appearances in the Premier League this term. As evident from those figures, he has played a big role in the first-team and has had a pretty decent run in the ongoing campaign.

Mkhitaryan has proved to be a good signing for the Gunners since his switch from Man United last January. He hasn’t done anything extraordinary but few would argue that he has managed to light up the scene occasionally with his creativity.

With Aaron Ramsey and Danny Welbeck out of contract at the end of the season and Mesut Ozil likely to depart, Arsenal are expected to dip into the transfer window for potential replacements.

And the uncertainty over Mkhitaryan’s future is a clear indication of the fact that Emery is keen to complete a major squad overhaul.

Well, cashing in on Mkhitaryan won’t be the worst idea for Arsenal as the Gunners can make use of those funds elsewhere. They need to reshape their squad with the addition of two or three young players in attacking midfield, whilst the acquisition of a left-back and a central midfielder also remain a priority.

The decision to get Mkhitaryan off the books might have something to do with tactical reasons as well. The Armenian is an elegant playmaker who has the ability to change the game in a matter of minutes but he has, in fact, struggled to cope with Emery’s high-pressing style.

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The former Dortmund man has looked decent when Arsenal have dominated possession but has failed make an impact in games where his team have been starved of the ball.

He excels with his vision and eye for a killer pass but Emery needs a more tenacious and hardworking attacking midfielder to comply with his high-press. Moreover, Mkhitaryan doesn’t do a lot defensively, making him a misfit for Emery’s system that requires the wingers to track back and help out the full-backs.

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Having enjoyed a promising first season under Emery, Arsenal would be hoping to secure a Champions League spot with a strong end to their campaign. Returning to the Champions League would boost their funds significantly in the summer and make Emery’s job a lot easier.

Arsenal definitely need to freshen up their squad with some young talents to build a strong platform for the future and getting a big-earner like Mkhitaryan off the books should be the way forward for the Gunners.

Arsenal

Arsenal would flourish under Unai Emery if the Spaniard sticks to his own guns and adjusts his tactics – opinion

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Arsenal opinion: How Emery can make the Gunners better next season

When Arsene Wenger left Arsenal last summer after 22 years of committed work for the club where he won numerous trophies, the new era was always going to take some time to get used to.

The hiring of Unai Emery gave us a signal that the Gunners want to continue with their attacking brand of football. However, the board didn’t back that up with enough funds in the transfer window.

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As a result, they could only buy Lucas Torreira, Matteo Guendouzi and Stephen Lichtsteiner last summer.

Bearing that in mind and knowing that Arsenal didn’t have one of the best squads in the Premier League when Wenger left, judging Emery’s work after his first season in charge might be a difficult job but we can talk through perspectives and analyse it.

Unai Emery’s system and what needs to improve

Unai Emery likes to deploy a 4-3-3 or a 4-2-3-1 formation, with high press coming from his forward line. The full-backs are very high up the field when in possession while the midfield remains compact and dynamic on/off the ball.

However, due to the personnel available and their defensive mistakes, the former PSG boss had to go with a back-three system for the latter part of the season.

While that almost worked a treat and Arsenal progressed to the Europa League final, this is not Emery’s predominant system. If the Gunners are to improve next season and challenge for a top-four finish, enough signings need to be made to ensure the manager can play the formation that is best-known to him.

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Furthermore, just as we experienced when Jurgen Klopp first arrived at Liverpool, Emery’s high-pressing game led to a series of muscle injuries to Arsenal players in the middle part of last season.

To improve the fitness of the team and the longevity of their pressing in the game, the upcoming pre-season is very important. This is where all the hard work needs to be done and a base needs to be created upon which a successful season can be mustered.

If Arsenal are to copy the way how Liverpool made their progress under Jurgen Klopp, a steady transfer system needs to be in place. They must not get desperate about signing many players; rather the focus should be on getting the ones who match the profile of the system being deployed day in day out.

When that happens, Emery will have a massive job of sticking to his original system and ensuring that players buy into it, rather than changing his own mind on the basis of a string of bad performances. This is where the trust in his own ability and patience needs to come into fruition.

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In all fairness, Arsenal’s target next season should be to qualify for the Champions League. For that to happen, they have to either try and win the Europa League or get 75 points in the league.

While the former was almost achieved last season, they fell in the final hurdle. As a result, Emery should now focus on getting the magical 75 points next season.

He should rather neglect the Europa League for once and just work on winning at least 22 out of the 38 league games. It is achievable, especially looking at how good the Gunners have been at home in the past 12 months.

As mentioned several times, Champions League qualification through the league can only be accomplished through the manager’s trust in his original system, rather than a chopping-and-changing mentality.

Conclusion

All in all, it has to be said that the upcoming season is important in Arsenal’s transition phase and also in Emery’s managerial career.

For sure, the Spaniard will be tested to the core and he needs to be adamant about sticking to his own process to get this team to challenge for trophies.

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Win-win for all parties? West Brom’s fortunes would get better if they sign this £45,000-a-week Arsenal star looking for a fresh start

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West Brom Opinion: Carl Jenkinson could prove to be an ideal replacement for Mason Holgate at the Hawthorns

According to The Sun, West Brom are interested in signing right-back Carl Jenkinson from Arsenal in the summer transfer window, with reports claiming that the Gunners are keen to get the 27-year-old defender off their books.

The Sun understands that Jenkinson, who is out of contract at the Emirates at the end of the month, doesn’t feature in manager Unai Emery’s plans moving forward and the Gunners are prepared to move him on in order to make way for new arrivals.

West Brom, though, are not the only club to have been credited with an interest in the 27-year-old, with The Sun suggesting that Scottish Premiership champions Celtic are also interested in signing the right-back. The Hoops are currently in the market for a new right-sided defender, with the likes Cristian Gamboa, Mikael Lustig and Jeremy Toljan all looking set to depart Parkhead this summer.

Jenkinson made only 8 appearances for Arsenal in all competitions this past season, including three in the Premier League, and it is hardly a surprise to see the Gunners prepared to offload him and get him off their payroll. The 27-year-old, who currently earns £45,000-a-week at the Emirates is one of the fringe players in Emery’s squad and it looks like his dreadful spell at North London is finally going to come to an end.

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A youth product of Charlton, Jenkinson was snapped up as a promising youngster by the Gunners back in the summer of 2011. However, his career at the Emirates has failed to really take off and the right-back has found himself in and out of the first-team, spending time on loan at West Ham and Birmingham City.  

The one-cap England international has made only 70 appearances for Arsenal in all competitions over the course of 8 years and it doesn’t require a rocket scientist to figure out that he needs to complete a move elsewhere in order to play regularly and really make a name for himself.

To put things into perspective, a move to Championship promotion-hopefuls West Brom could do a world of good to Jenkinson’s faltering career which has come to an absolute standstill at Arsenal. The Baggies are seemingly in the market for a new right-back this summer, following the appointment of Slaven Bilic as the new permanent manager and Jenkinson certainly fits the bill.

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West Brom’s penalty shootout defeat at the hands of Aston Villa in the semi-finals of the playoffs ended their chances of making it back to the Premier League at the first time of asking but the Baggies will be expected to reignite their surge for promotion next term.

Bilic has plenty of problems to sort out in a relatively short span of time, and while bringing in reinforcements in the central midfield and striking department continue to be on the new manager’s wishlist, the Croatian also needs to prioritise the recruitment of a few defenders.

The departure of Mason Holgate and Tosin Adarabioyo to their parent clubs Everton and Manchester City has left a huge void at the back and it is easy to see that the arrival of Jenkinson would solve a lot of problems for the Baggies.

The 27-year-old might have struggled to make a big impression with Arsenal in the Premier League but a return to the Championship is likely to see him rediscover his form. He is no longer a promising youngster at the age of 27 and dropping down a division won’t necessarily be the worst thing for his career.

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Noted for his well-rounded crossing and passing abilities, Jenkinson is more than capable of playing right-back and wing-back roles and the Baggies should certainly benefit from his top-flight experience, as they look to challenge for promotion back to the Premier League next term.

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It won’t be much of a gamble for West Brom to bring him to the club this summer, and given that he is likely to be available for free, the acquisition of the 27-year-old could prove to be a massive coup for the Baggies.

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Arsenal plotting an audacious swoop to sign this 27-year-old Real Madrid dynamo would solve Emery’s wing woes

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Arsenal Opinion: Why the Gunners should make a move for Lucas Vazquez

According to a report from Spanish news outlet Mundo Deportivo, Arsenal are interested in signing Real Madrid winger Lucas Vazquez.

Zinedine Zidane is expected to swing the axe after a dismal 2018/19 campaign at the Santiago Bernabeu, with some players expected to be sold after a rare trophy-less campaign for the Spanish heavyweights. But Lucas Vazquez is one player Zidane will be desperate to keep hold of.

The report claim Arsenal aren’t the only club interested in the Spanish international. Liverpool are also in the running for the winger, who managed 47 appearances across all competitions last season, bagging five goals and four assists.

Arsenal were ever so close to returning to the Champions League but some really poor performances during the business end of the campaign coupled with the chastening defeat at the hands of Chelsea in the Europa League final in Baku ruined their chances of a return to Europe’s most elite competition. Unai Emery faces a big summer transfer window ahead of him and he’ll have to recruit smartly from the limited funds allocated to him.

The Gunners desperately need a couple of wide players, with Mesut Ozil and Henrikh Mkhitaryan being deployed there at times despite not being natural wingers. And as expected, they haven’t delivered the goods, while the team’s only natural wide-man in Alex Iwobi has blown hot and cold. Thus, Emery has to solve the issue ahead of the new campaign and a player like Lucas Vazquez would fit the bill perfectly at the Emirates.

A right-winger by trade, Vazquez also operates as a right-back and right wing-back at Madrid when required, which shows his versatility. The 27-year-old has pace and energy in abundance that allows him to beat his marker. He is also a decent dribbler and is an excellent outlet to have during counter-attacking threats.

The Spaniard may not be the most technically gifted player but his commitment, energy, desire and work ethic are second to none. Vazquez’s work-rate and versatility will definitely be pleasing to Unai Emery and his ability to have a real impact in the forward areas of the pitch will bolster the Gunners’ chances of challenging the likes of Manchester City and Liverpool for the Premier League title.

Not to forget, Vazquez has also won three Champions League titles with Madrid. So, his experience and winning attitude in the Arsenal dressing room would come handy.

Verdict

Vazquez would be an excellent addition to the Arsenal side that has been over-reliant on the services of their two centre-forwards.

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The Spanish international’s work-rate, experience, winning mentality and versatility would make him a real asset at the Emirates and hence, Arsenal must do everything possible to beat Liverpool to the 27-year-old’s signature.

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