Arsenal Keep or Dump: Tough decisions around key players


Arsenal look like on a transparent upward trajectory, their factors complete and league end enhancing in every of Mikel Arteta’s first three full seasons. In that point, they’ve executed a powerful job of creating the squad youthful and shifting out some older players who have been underperforming. They managed to do that whereas remaining aggressive on the pitch and with out the good thing about Champions League income (they have not been within the competitors for the reason that 2016-17 season.)

The problem now could be going to the subsequent stage. They have one of many youngest prime sides in Europe so, to some extent, you anticipate enchancment to be natural as players achieve expertise. There are areas the place they will strengthen additional, most evidently when it comes to including depth in midfield and a few extra firepower up entrance. And there shall be some players they are going to wish to transfer on.

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The precedence at this stage may also be signing a few of the gifted youthful players to long-term contracts. This issues as a result of it can possible imply the wage invoice rises considerably and it could affect what they will spend on new arrivals this summer time. And, in reality, they might must sacrifice somebody like left-back Kieran Tierney to lift funds with a view to bolster the aspect elsewhere.

We agree they might use one other defender; we disagree whether or not it is within the center or at right-back. It could come all the way down to who is on the market. In midfield, Albert Sambi Lokonga’s return from mortgage can add depth, however clearly Thomas Partey, Granit Xhaka and Jorginho (Mohamed Elneny too) are older and the membership must suppose when it comes to succession as effectively, so we might anticipate one other vital younger signing there. Up entrance, what to do with United States striker Folarin Balogun, who impressed on mortgage at Reims, is a giant query they should reply as effectively.

Editor’s notice: This is the second of a sequence of tales over the approaching weeks making use of the identical “who to keep, who to extend and who to move on” strategy to all the highest golf equipment within the Premier League and Europe. The first within the sequence, Manchester City, will be discovered right here.



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Aaron Ramsdale (24 years previous, contract expires in 2025)

MARCOTTI: He’s been excellent, he is a pure chief and he is younger: he is clearly a man you wish to prolong now. Sources have instructed ESPN that they are shut.

Verdict: Keep and prolong

Matt Turner (28, 2025)

MARCOTTI: I’d assume he’d wish to go elsewhere to get taking part in time, with a view in the direction of the U.S. nationwide group and beginning on the 2026 World Cup. He’s not going to beat out Ramsdale for the beginning job at Arsenal, and I’m unsure it displays nice on him to just accept a No. 2 function at this stage of his profession.

OGDEN: He’s a good back-up. You can hold him for an additional season after which determine.

Verdict: Keep if he is completely satisfied, if not, look to mortgage or transfer out

Runar Runarsson (28, 2024)

MARCOTTI: He’s been a starter in his final two loans, at Leuven in Belgium and at Antalyaspor in Turkey. If Turner goes, he will be your back-up, although you’d most likely need him to provide him an extension.

OGDEN: You must work on Runarsson and Turner collectively. Keep one or the opposite.

Verdict: Keep him or Turner, not each

Karl Hein (21, 2025)

MARCOTTI: He simply turned 21, however he already has 20 caps for Estonia. I do not suppose being a reserve goes to assist him develop and he is by no means had a season as a starter. Loan him out someplace the place he can play usually and prolong his deal in January if he is doing effectively.

OGDEN: There’s a parallel right here between him and Caoimhin Kelleher at Liverpool and the way he unseated the skilled back-up to be No. 2. If Arteta is satisfied, hold him and have him problem both Turner or Runarsson for the back-up function.

Verdict: Keep and mortgage


William Saliba (22 years previous, contract expires in 2024)

OGDEN: It’s a no brainer, they’re engaged on his contract. He was a key participant till his harm.

Verdict: Keep and prolong his contract

Gabriel Magalhaes (25, 2027)

Verdict: Keep

Jakub Kiwior (23, 2028)

Verdict: Keep

Rob Holding (27, 2024)

OGDEN: I’ve seen him be terrible and I’ve seen him additionally mark Erling Haaland out of a recreation, like he did within the FA Cup … however I’d look to get a commanding centre-back who can associate Saliba. To me, Gabriel and Kiwior are squad players.

MARCOTTI: I agree that at this stage I’d be seeking to transfer him on, I’m unsure it’s worthwhile to get one other centre-back. I believe Arteta likes Gabriel lots and it is nonetheless early to guage Kiwior. Maybe you spend that cash on a pure right-back who can compete for the job there, realizing you have got Takehiro Tomiyasu and Ben White who can be an choice in central defence.

Verdict: Move him to a brand new membership

Oleksandr Zinchenko (26, 2026)

Verdict: Keep

Kieran Tierney (25, 2026)

OGDEN: I actually like Tierney. I believe he needs to be the first-choice left-back and I believe he shall be as soon as he will get over his accidents. And you may transfer Zinchenko in midfield to accommodate him.

MARCOTTI: Good participant, however I do not suppose he is the kind of full-back Arteta desires, which is why he solely began a handful of video games this yr and why the choice, Zinchenko, has a wholly completely different skillset. I believe in case you tried to maneuver him on now, you’d nonetheless get a comparatively huge payment that you can then reinvest. He’s too good to be a backup and you’ve got a ready-made various in Nuno Tavares as soon as he returns from mortgage.

Verdict: Split (hold or look to maneuver out)

Ben White (25, 2026)

OGDEN: I believe he is been overhyped this season and also you want somebody who is healthier than regular, which is what White is. If you signal a brand new right-back, he will be within the combine at centre-back.

Verdict: Keep

Takehiro Tomiyasu (24, 2025)

OGDEN: I believe he is higher than White at right-back. And he can play centre-back too. He’s been injured, however I’d give him a brief extension now.

Verdict: Keep, and add one yr extension

Nuno Tavares (23, 2025)

MARCOTTI: He’s been an everyday at Marseille this season and, whereas he was inconsistent at Arsenal earlier than, I believe he is usually a first rate again as much as Zinchenko at left-back.

Verdict: Keep

Auston Trusty (24, 2025)

MARCOTTI: He began virtually each recreation for Birmingham City within the Championship, so there is a participant in there, however I’m unsure there’s any room for him at Arsenal proper now. If Holding goes and you do not herald one other defender, perhaps the U.S. worldwide is usually a squad participant, in any other case I’d look to shift him out on mortgage or on a everlasting transfer.

Verdict: Loan or transfer out

Pablo Mari (29, 2024)

MARCOTTI: He’s had an excellent yr on mortgage at Monza, regardless of an terrible incident the place he was stabbed by a deranged particular person in a grocery store close to Milan. Monza could be completely satisfied to maintain him and he’s reportedly set to hitch completely for around €7m after they averted relegation.

Verdict: Move out

Cedric Soares (31, 2024)

OGDEN: He hardly performed this season, not for Arsenal and never for Fulham on mortgage within the second half of the season. He’s 31 in August, so they should discover a residence for him.

Verdict: Loan or transfer out


Thomas Partey (29 years previous, contract expires in 2025)

OGDEN: He’s executed effectively on the pitch, however he is 30 in June and has two years left on his contract. There’s no purpose to increase him now.

Verdict: Keep, however don’t prolong his contract

Jorginho (31, 2024)

OGDEN: At that age you do not prolong him and it’ll swimsuit him simply advantageous going into the January switch window with six months left on his contract.

MARCOTTI: He’s not an everyday starter however he has contributed in sure conditions. I believe you may wait and see what function he is taking part in subsequent yr and determine in December. If he is completely satisfied and needs to remain one other yr after that, nice. If not, he’ll be a 32-year-old free agent on the finish of subsequent season and might get one other deal elsewhere.

Verdict: Keep, however don’t prolong his contract

Mohamed Elneny (30, 2024)

MARCOTTI: He’s been injured lots, but when match he is usually a strong squad participant and, moreover, he is been out since January so I’m unsure there’s a lot of a marketplace for him. Keep him around however, at this stage, wait on extending him.

Verdict: Keep, however don’t prolong

Granit Xhaka (30, 2024)

OGDEN: Sources have instructed ESPN he is in talks with Bayer Leverkusen over a €15m transfer. But he is had an excellent season and is necessary to this group, so I really feel you must take up the choice to increase him by a yr if he stays, given he is 31 in September.

Verdict: Keep and prolong his contract

Martin Odegaard (24, 2025)

MARCOTTI: His extension needs to be an absolute precedence, like Saka and Saliba. There’s an enormous marketplace for him on the market.

OGDEN: They must be very cautious with this one, as a result of he could have many suitors and he would earn large cash elsewhere.

Verdict: Keep and prolong his contract

Emile Smith Rowe (22, 2026)

Verdict: Keep

Fabio Vieira (22, 2027)

MARCOTTI: I do not suppose he has proven too many indicators of improvement this yr, primarily as a result of he is had only a few begins. Arsenal paid €40m to signal him and he is locked right into a long-term deal. Unless Arteta thinks he can provide him considerably extra minutes subsequent yr, perhaps it is best to mortgage him out.

OGDEN: I believe it might look dangerous to let him go on mortgage after a yr while you paid a lot to signal him. Give him one other season to see what he can do after which assess the scenario. It additionally depends upon who they convey in.

Verdict: Keep or mortgage out

Albert Sambi Lokonga (23, 2026)

MARCOTTI: He hardly performed within the first half of the season earlier than occurring mortgage to Crystal Palace, however I believe he confirmed he can contribute. He affords contemporary legs and depth to a midfield that’s going to be wanted subsequent yr.

Verdict: Keep

Ainsley Maitland-Niles (25, 2023)

Verdict: Release on the finish of his contract

Marquinhos (20, 2027)

OGDEN: They’re not brief on attacking players, you may let him go on mortgage and see if he develops. He performed a good quantity for Norwich on mortgage within the second half of this yr.

Verdict: Look to mortgage out


Gabriel Martinelli (21 years previous, contract expires in 2027)

Verdict: Keep

Leandro Trossard (28, 2026)

Verdict: Keep

Bukayo Saka (21, 2024)

OGDEN: They’ve been engaged on his extension all yr and ESPN has been instructed it’s extremely shut however till they introduced that he has signed, you have to be nervous. I do not see Saka wanting out, however he may get a £500,000-a-week contract from somebody like Manchester City. Arsenal must be prepared to interrupt their wage construction to maintain him, as a result of City have a historical past of raiding the membership for players.

MARCOTTI: With a yr left on his deal, he holds all of the playing cards in negotiations. He’s a nine-figure participant, or near it, if he is locked up in a long-term deal so extending him is apparent. The query is: what’s it going to take? But he is a neighborhood man and has proven no indicators of wanting a transfer.

Verdict: Keep and prolong his contract

Reiss Nelson (23, 2023)

OGDEN: I’d prolong him. He’s not going to play each week, however he does a job, he is an additional physique they usually’re within the Champions League subsequent season. He will be Arsenal’s model of Divock Origi at Liverpool.

MARCOTTI: Unless it is a very membership pleasant deal, I believe you must let him go. I do know he loves the membership and he scored that huge aim in opposition to Bournemouth, however he hasn’t began a league recreation since 2020, he is 23 and I doubt he’ll get higher. If you are going to have squad players, get guys with an upside.

Verdict: Split (Release or prolong his contract)

Gabriel Jesus (26, 2027)

Verdict: Keep

Eddie Nketiah (23, 2027)

Verdict: Keep

Folarin Balogun (21, 2025)

MARCOTTI: He scored 18 objectives on mortgage in Ligue 1, I believe you retain him and prolong his deal, if solely to protect his switch worth. He additionally provides you flexibility, within the sense that if Martinelli or Saka are out, you may go together with Trossard or play him by the center and shift Gabriel Jesus vast if you wish to. Plus, he supplies competitors for Nketiah. I believe you want three choices at centre-forward in your squad.

OGDEN: Bring him again and see what he can contribute, however I’d wait till January.

Verdict: Split (Keep and prolong his contract/hold and don’t prolong his contract)

Nicolas Pepe (27, 2024)

MARCOTTI: He’s had accidents however he is been OK at Nice this season. He’s clearly not a part of the plan at Arsenal, however he is on Premier League wages, not Ligue 1 wages, so I’m unsure they will discover a membership who would pay a payment to signal him. They could must launch him from his contract.

OGDEN: Agreed. They did it earlier than with the likes of Mesut Ozil and Pierre-Emerick Aubemeyang they usually could must do it once more.

Verdict: Look for a brand new membership for him in case you can. Release if not


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