Arsenal and Mikel Arteta have a lot of work to do to solve the team this summer. Here is my 10-step plan to fix the team and reclaim a top-four finish.
How do you solve a team like Arsenal? One that slumped to the bottom half of the Premier League, is already out of the Europa League, and looks set to miss out on both trophies and Champions League for yet another season. It is not an easy task, and to get the club back to a competitive level will take years. For now, I will focus on how Mikel Arteta and co. can get the team back into the top four.
Here are is a ten-step summer plan — or whenever the transfer window will be — to solve Arsenal (yes, this is entirely ambitious and you will disagree with almost all of it).
Offload the deadwood
Obviously, Arsenal need to recruit new talent to improve the team. That much is a given. But before they do, they must offload some of the less-utilised members of the squad in an attempt to both raise funds to reinvest in the transfer window and loosen the extremely tight wage bill. And there are four prime examples who can be dumped for cheap to aid the club’s recruitment.
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Shkodran Mustafi and Sokratis play in a position in which Arsenal will have eight players when all are fit and back from respective loans. Neither are young, both have been inconsistent at best, and, per Spotrac, their wages combine for £182,000 per week. While Mustafi has looked improved under Arteta, both have a year remaining on their contracts and should be offloaded. Arsenal might raise £15 -20 million between the pair.
Then there is the loan pair, Mohamed Elneny and Henrikh Mkhitaryan. Both Besiktas and Roma are reportedly keen to bring the duo back on a permanent deal. They combine for £230,000 per week in wages and Arsenal are holding out for £20 million for Mkhitaryan. More realistically, they might raise £20 million for both, which could still see the club shave £400,000 per week off the wage bill and raise the best part of £40 million in transfer fees.
If the club can somehow offload Mesut Ozil and his £350,000-per-week wages, that would also go along way, though do not expect the German to command much of a transfer fee.