The January transfer window is upon us and with teams busy preparing their squads for a busy second half of the season, we take a look at who could leave Arsenal over the next month.
It’s never short of drama at the Emirates. A turbulent start to the season saw the Gunners lose a seven-goal thriller against Liverpool. There were concerns immediately with how the club could cope without a reliable Laurent Koscielny in the heart of defence after Rob Holding and Calum Chambers were thrown together in a futile attempt to prevent Liverpool’s dazzling array of attacking options.
Fortunately for Wenger, Koscielny declared himself fit to play in a drab draw against Leicester, which kickstarted a fourteen match unbeaten run in the Premier League until defeat at Manchester City inflicted serious damage on Arsenal’s title hopes.
Lucas Perez has not been utilised nearly as much as fans would have expected him to be, and it is obvious Wenger does not fully trust Swiss midfielder Granit Xhaka entirely, who has not enjoyed a consistent place in the Frenchman’s starting eleven.
However, fans are always yearning for new signings, and as such that could force a few faces already with the London outfit through the exit door.
Firstly, Kieran Gibbs can be expected to keep an eye on potential moves in January, with Crystal Palace heavily linked with a move for the left-back. This would pave open the way for Arsenal to add Wolfsburg’s Ricardo Rodriguez to their ranks.
Gibbs only has eighteen months left on his current deal at the Emirates, and the lure of first-team football at Palace or elsewhere could be tempting for the Englishman.
He has deputised well when Nacho Monreal has been unable to play this season, but he will never be a regular player under Wenger, and if he wishes to reignite his career the 27-year-old’s best option is probably to depart.
Elsewhere, we think Arsenal could send Rob Holding out on loan in order for the young centre-back to gain more experience.
Signed from Bolton in the summer, the 21-year-old has made three appearances in the English top flight including the loss to Liverpool, so further playing time will be integral to his development.
The Mirror claimed earlier this month that a number of Championship clubs are lining up to secure the youngster’s signature, and it would likely be a move that would suit all parties.
Leeds have been linked, and considering their promotion push, it could be a great location for Holding to blossom.
However, he should grab an opportunity to join a Premier League club such as Hull if the opportunity did arise – the experience would be priceless, despite the Tigers’ seemingly inevitable fate of relegation this season.
Third on our list of possible departures is Carl Jenkinson, which will come to little surprise to supporters. Ravaged by injuries in past seasons, Wenger’s reasons for excluding Jenkinson earlier this month were blunt and quite ominous for the player’s future.
“What he’s going through at the moment for me is a bit normal, but very difficult to live [through] for a player. Why? Because you think you are there. … And then you play, and you realise that you are not as good as you think you should be”.
“And you lose confidence. And he is going through that period at the moment, he has lost confidence. Because the Jenkinson you see at the moment is a Jenkinson who can play, but he is not completely Jenkinson because he has no confidence.”
Mike Phelan has confirmed that Hull are in talks to bring Jenkinson to the KC Stadium, and it is likely past the point where the right-back can revive his Arsenal career.
Our final two men to make the shortlist are both forwards. Considering Arsenal’s earlier crisis with regard to their front line, it may seem a strange move, but neither Chuba Akpom or Yaya Sanogo are near to being seriously considered as valuable first-teamers.
Akpom has been mentioned in circles with a temporary move to Championship outfit Ipswich Town but after spells with Brentford, Coventry, Nottingham Forest and Hull it could be his final opportunity to showcase to Wenger why he is part of Arsenal’s future.
Similarly, Sanogo has made minimal to no impact during his time with the club. Having not made an appearance for Arsenal since December 2014, the former Auxerre forward has struggled with inconsistency and injuries ever since arriving in the summer of 2013.
He is not likely to have many suitors, but with his contract running out at the end of June, a loan move until his deal expires looks like the best move, with Championship clubs likely to snap up the Frenchman.
Callum Connolly, Pundit Arena.