Arsene Wenger is supposedly eyeing a summer clear out, to get rid of the players who are affectionately described as “deadwood” by Arsenal fans.
Now maybe this is just my warped logic, but doesn’t it seem churlish to label part of our team as “deadwood”? I’m not saying that Bendtner, Denilson, Almunia, Squillaci and co. are stalwarts in this Arsenal side, but we have to be fair. They have all had some positive input in their time at Arsenal, however insignificant, and for that we shouldn’t simply pile the blame on them and call for their heads. (Then again, I’m inclined to agree with fans that we should get them off the wage bill. I just don’t think they should be described with the term “deadwood.” It’s a bit harsh.)
Furthermore, this isn’t the first time we have heard that Arsenal are set to clear out most of the squad. We seem to hear it every summer. In fact, arguably it’s the same thing every fan of every club is hoping for. Every supporter wants the manager to get rid of the players that have under-performed and bring in “a few big names” to boost the side.
Last summer saw Arsenal lose some key players, but we also got rid of some of that “deadwood” on loan – Vela, Bendtner and Denilson. I don’t know the exact details, but I believe that these loanees are no longer on our wage bill (at least we aren’t paying all their wages anymore).
Who do we want to get rid of this summer? I think there are quite a few names on the tips of Gooners’ tongues, but we have to bear in mind that we probably won’t be signing as many players as we did last summer. I suspect Wenger will be purchasing two or three players and promoting a couple from the reserves. If that’s the case, we can’t get rid of 8 or 9 players – the squad would lose a lot of depth.
Arshavin recently stated that he expects to return to Arsenal after his loan spell, although we don’t know whether Wenger will want him to return. Our wealth of talent on the wings may force Andrey to look elsewhere – we have Theo, Gervinho, the Ox, Ryo and Podolski (pending his 37th medical). In addition, Wenger has used Rosicky and Ramsey on the wings when needed.
Denilson is apparently eyeing another season on loan at Sao Paulo. I don’t know why he doesn’t just decide to make the move permanent, but I suspect it is a money issue. Sao Paulo’s vice president had this to say:
“Our conversation was that we have every interest in continuing as we are.
“We want to renew at the end of the contract and he has said he wants to too.
“He [Denilson] will speak with his representatives, who will contact the English club.
“There is no rush because he is here until the middle of the year.”
As for other players on their way out, I think Almunia and Chamakh are almost definitely going to leave. The former’s contract runs out this summer, and the latter has stated that he will head for the exit if his playing time doesn’t change. Well, I think Chamakh is unlikely to get many more matches at Arsenal this season, as we enter a critical stage in the race for 3rd/4th. I can’t help but feel sorry for him, because he hasn’t had the number of opportunities that he should’ve been given. Having said that, even when he has been picked, he hasn’t been particularly impressive.
Apart from the four I have mentioned, other potential transfer exits include Squillaci, Park, Vela, Bendtner and possibly Benayoun. Everyone wants Squillaci to leave, but Arsene needs to have at least five centre-backs he can rely on. Getting rid of Squillaci would require more faith in Miquel, and he is still young, although clearly pretty good. The Park situation is strange, but if he is here for some sort of commercial reason, then I expect him to stay. Vela may very well return, but Bendtner probably won’t, especially given his comments earlier in the season about how he will never come back to Arsenal. Benayoun has voiced his frustration at not getting matches, and he seems likely to go to a lower Premier League club after returning to Chelsea.
So I reckon that this will happen:
Leaving : Almunia, Chamakh, Bendtner, Benayoun
Out on loan: Squillaci, Denilson
Staying: Arshavin, Vela, Park
It may not be the ideal situation, but this seems more realistic that the media’s assertion that we will have a full clear-out this summer.
Tell us what you think in the comments section below!