By Tony Attwood
According to Football London, that laugh a minute, 45 articles a day drainpipe (sorry outlet) owned by the Daily Mirror, the four players most likely to depart in the remaining days of the transfer window are Shkodran Mustafi, Mohamed Elneny, Emile Smith Rowe and Nacho Monreal.
It is of course possible that Arsenal could sell any of these players AND then buy in a replacement player who is out of contract and who matches the nationality criteria – but that seems quite a stretch. The nationality criteria is the key thing since our list of players who are going to be registered for the “25” is important since we already have the maximum number of non-England/Wales players permitted.
So yes, if we sold Mustafi we could bring in another non-home-grown player, if such a player were out of contract, and if we could do it by the end of the month. It is possible but everything would have to be in place – there would be no room for delay, unless we really didn’t need the player we are selling, even as a back up.
To try and clarify this in my own mind, even if in no one else’s, I thought I would try the analysis this way: by looking primarily at who is left if we get rid of any of the players the media like to think are surplus…
Centre backs if we sell Mustafi: Holding, Chambers, Mavropanos, Monreal, Luiz, Maitland-Niles
That centre back list looks quite good providing Holding does return to full fitness (he has so far played one hour in an under 23 game), Chambers is getting back towards the promise he was showing when we first bought him, Mavropanos can get over his very long injury problems, and returns without having lost his talent. And if we don’t sell Monreal (see below).
Defensive Midfield if we sell Elneny: Ceballos, Torreira, Guendouzi, Xhaka, Maitland-Niles.
That list does make it look as if Elneny might now be surplus to requirements in the manager’s eyes although I have always been impressed with him. But that of course counts for nothing.
Attacking Midfield if we sell Ozil or loan Smith Rowe: Mkhitaryan, Willock, Martinelli, Kolasinac
Smith Rowe played for the under 23s this week, and Mkhitaryan is certainly not a favourite among the AAA at the moment.
Left backs if we sell Monreal: Kolasinac, Tireney
Monreal is 33, and of course will lose his place when Tiereney enters the side, which makes his departure look more possible. But only if we are selling to bring in a new player. Monreal has the additional benefit of being able to play centre back, and at the moment Tiereney is going to be out for another month, which would leave us with Kolasinac, or Maitland-Niles playing left back even though he is right footed, if Monreal left.
My guess is nothing will happen, but my guesses are notoriously inaccurate.
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