Arsenals preseason - Alexandre Lacazette

What We Observed from Arsenal’s Preseason Squad

Arsenal’s preseason tour squad contained few surprises as Arsene Wenger begins preparations for the new season.The Frenchman gave a big hint of things to come with some notable omissions as well as inclusion ahead of the trips to Australia and China.

A 25-man contingent boarded the Emirates plane to the southern hemisphere. Expectedly, new boys Alexandre Lacazette and Sead Kolasinac were among the first on the flight. Whilst Jack Wilshere and Santi Cazorla missed out through injury, the likes of Alexis Sanchez, Hector Bellerin, Calum Chambers, Shkodran Mustafi and Rob Holding also didn’t make the party, having been given additional time off due to international commitments.

But surprisingly, five senior players weren’t even considered for the trip. They include Lucas Perez, Kieran Gibbs, Mathieu Debuchy, Wojciech Szczesny and Carl Jenkinson, raising real question marks over their respective futures. That said, here’s what we learned from the Gunners’ squad.

1 – Wenger give up on Debuchy and Jenkinson

If there were two players almost certain to leave the Emirates even before Sunday’s announcements, then it is right-backs, Mathieu Debuchy and Carl Jenkinson. Both have had titanic task proving themselves to everyone at the club. In addition, the superb form of Bellerin hasn’t done their cases any good, garnering a meagre 28 league appearances between them in three years. Now it appears Wenger has had enough and is looking for any means whatsoever to get rid of them. Even in Bellerin’s absence, the Gunners boss still preferred to travel without any recognised right-sided defender, all but confirming they’re no longer part of his plans.

2 – Lacazette arrival knocks Perez to the woods

Immediately Arsenal completed the club-record signing of Lacazette from Lyon, imminent trouble loomed for the other strikers in the team, especially Olivier Giroud. It was even speculated that the arrival of his countryman could as well spell the end to his time in North London. But no, the 30-year-old isn’t going anywhere, at least until a fortnight time. Rather it is Perez, who only joined Arsenal last season, that was sacrificed. Prior to Lacazette’s arrival, Perez was the Gunners’ fourth choice striker, behind Sanchez, Danny Welbeck, and Giroud, amassing a dreadful 11 league games. And things could get even worst for the nomadic Spaniard should he decide to remain at the club next season.

3 – Szczesny’s Juventus move closer than ever

Just when Arsenal fans thought they’d see Petr Cech and Wojciech Szczesny go toe-to-toe over who becomes the club’s undisputed first choice, the man Wenger had other plans. Szczesny managed to reinvent his career in Italy after being forced out on loan following Cech’s arrival in 2015. His stock has since risen; so high that almost all Serie A sides want him. Yet, the 27-year-old opted to return to the Emirates with the hope of competing with the man responsible for his ouster two years ago. But that won’t be possible. Szczesny’s snub by Wenger is an indication that the Polish international is surplus to requirement, hence should look elsewhere. Juventus are favourites to land the player who they see as the long-term replacement for Gianluigi Buffon.

4 – Youngsters still in Wenger’s plans

Times are changing at Arsenal with the club investing more on established stars rather than grooming and nurturing promising talents. As a result, some walked away; most notably, Kaylen Hinds and Chris Bullock to Wolfsburg and Benfica respectively. Well, the situation may not be as bad as envisaged considering Wenger offered six young lads slots on the flight to Sydney. Cohen Bramall – signed from non-league Hednesford Town in January, Donyell Malen, Joe Willock, Eddie Nketiah and Reiss Nelson are included as is Ainsley Maitland-Niles who seems the most likely to follow in the footsteps of Alex Iwobi.

About the Author Toby

An unrepentant soccer freak other freaks call geek.

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