It’s been another miserable campaign for everyone connected with Arsenal Football Club as the optimism that fueled pie-in-the-sky title dreams was doused down to its dying embers even earlier than expected this time around.
The Gunners are no longer certainties to finish in the top four and there are suggestions the club could undergo a massive overhaul during the summer, with all indications pointing towards the fact Arsene Wenger will stay on in charge at the Emirates.
As you can well imagine, the club are linked with a number of different players, with Ross Barkley and Alexandre Lacazette recently touted as potential targets, though the transfer market hasn’t been too kind to those at the Emirates of late. In fact, the players brought in during the summer of 2016 haven’t had the impact many expected them to, outside of Shkodran Mustafi perhaps.
Mustafi has effectively replaced countryman Per Mertesacker alongside Laurent Koscielny in central defence, though the likes of Granit Xhaka and Lucas Perez are yet to get into full flow. Rob Holding, to be fair, was clearly an addition for the future, though has racked up some minutes as a result of injuries.
We recently asked Arsenal fans online who – other than Mustafi – they thought was their best signing of the season and our poll threw up some interesting results.
Hailed as the man to bring some bite back to Arsenal’s midfield, Swiss international Granit Xhaka has struggled to wholly convince it seems. While the 24-year-old boasts obvious ball-playing quality, he’s often guilty of giving away reckless fouls and sometimes struggles to get around the pitch against more mobile attacks.
Having picked up two red cards already in his first season, Xhaka is channelling the aggression and grit so desperately required at Arsenal the wrong way and doesn’t appear to have a natural central midfield partner with which to flourish.
It says a lot about his perception amongst sections of support that he’s finished bottom.
Rather surprisingly indeed, Rob Holding has finished above Granit Xhaka in our poll. The former Bolton Wanderers defender is barely a first-choice under Arsene Wenger, though has looked promising when handed a chance.
Obviously, the Mustafi-Koscielny partnership will be hard to break right now, though Holding is clearly making a name for himself in north London.
Despite struggling to command much in the way of first-team minutes this season, those who voted appear to see Lucas Perez as the club’s best signing outside of Mustafi. The Spaniard has managed seven goals while operating behind the likes of Alexis Sanchez, Mesut Ozil, Theo Walcott and Olivier Giroud and can be deployed across the frontline.