Revised at 2.50pm
Tony Attwood has now been taken to lie down in a darkened room, and the revisions are produced by Dr Billy “the Dog” McGraw
Squad details for the friendlies before the season begins won’t tell us everything that is going on in the manager’s mind, but they give us a few clues which can be unravelled. And these are interesting because they are the first indications of what we will see in the remaining 40 days before the transfer window makes the sound of tinkling glass and Sky Sports try to fill up eight hours with mindless pap.
Some of the factors revealed are fairly obvious:
Olivier Giroud is in the squad, so there is no immediate transfer to Everton, Marseilles or come to that West Ham or any other location that has been invented for him in recent weekis.
Mesut Ozil is also on the plane. The new men Kolasinac and Lacazette are also going.
And the Ox is going.
Thus we can conclude (up to a point of course) that Mr Wenger is being true to his word in not wanting the Ox to leave, and feeling that there is a most regular place for him in the team.
So from this we start to get our first list of players who are going to be leaving Arsenal, or are going out on loan. These seem to be…
- Kieran Gibbs who has been tipped to be leaving all through the summer
- Carl Jenkinson who failed to regain his place after the injury gained while playing for West Ham
- Mathieu Debuchy who likewise had terrible luck from injury and never recovered to regain his place
- Wojciech Szczesny who has been negotiating in Italy to stay on in that country if not with that team, after a superb season. That also confirms that the three top keepers of last season will continue in those positions – which seems to put some doubt into the issue of Ospina leaving. I thought that if he did, Szczesny would come back – but it seems not.
- Lucas Perez is also staying behind as negotiations continue with Deportivo La Coruna which has been widely tipped by everyone and his brother in law.
- Chuba Akpom returned to full training by February after a long term back injury, and then went to Brighton on loan where he was injured again and struggled to make any impression. I suspect he will be lining up a season long loan to try and get the form back that we saw last summer.
Then we have the players who have got good excuses for not being there
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- Mustafi is in the same situation as Sanchez
- Joel Campbell is taking part in the Gold Cup tournament with his country.
- Santi Cazorla. There have been numerous quotes saying that Santi is never coming back because of his injury, but then Santi published pics of himself working hard in the gym. It seems that the story about it being all over for him was made up! Have you ever heard of such a thing?
- Jeff Reine-Adelaide – still recovering from his injury.
Here’s the full list…
There are 25 all told and * indicates an under 21 player
Petr Cech (GK)
Emi Martinez (GK)
David Ospina (GK)
Krystian Bielik *
Cohen Bramall *
Alex Iwobi *
Ainsley Maitland-Niles *
Donyell Malen *
Reiss Nelson *
Eddie Nketiah *
Joe Willock *
Thinking further of those not going, apart from Akpom we can also see that not on the plane are
- Matt Macey- the fourth choice keeper
- Gedion Zelalem – who was injured in the under 20 world cup.
I mention Macey because it is conventional for the club to have three goal keepers who have a chance of first team games – the fourth keeper normally being an under 21 player. Macey held that position last season but is now too old to qualify for under 21 status and we have no shortage of players coming up to replace him. So I guess he won’t get a place in the “25” and thus will be leaving the club. Although, of course we only need three keepers on the tour to Australia and China, so there’s no absolute indicator as to what will happen vis a vis keeper number four.
The stand out young man for me from the youngsters list on the tour is Cohen Bramall who we signed from Hednesford Town in the Northern League Premier Division. Bramall was recommended to Arsenal by Brian McDermott, and claimed that he had his sights set on breaking into the first team squad when he was plucked from obscurity and put straight into training with the big boys.
So the rest of the young hopefuls list is made up of
- Ainsley Maitland-Niles
- Alex Iwobi
- Joe Willock
- Donyell Malen
- Edward Nketiah
- Krystian Bielik
- Reiss Nelson
Now we can also see the squad shaping up. 17 over age players on the flight plus
- Joel Campbell
- Shkodran Mustafi
- Santi Cazorla.
That makes 23. Now we add in the three who played in the internationals this summer but are all now over age, (I believe) and so have to be counted in the 25…
And that makes 26. Still too many. Damn.
Any more mistakes?
- Did last season’s protests really force the club’s hand, or did they completely fail in their objective?
- Who is going to win the PL this year: what history and statistics tell us
- Which PL clubs were most affected by injuries last season: you might be surprised.