According to reports (BBC Sport via Metro) The Arsenal board have instructed Unai Emery to focus on players currently at the club, as they will not sanction recalls for Calum Chambers or Reiss Nelson, despite a growing injury list.
Transfer restrictions saw Emery and the board discuss potentially recalling the English duo, who both signed long-term contracts at the start of the season, but have since decided it would be best not to interrupt their progress.
So what could be the potential consequences of Arsenal refusing to recall Nelson or Chambers? Football FanCast look at three clear implications…
Arsenal may have set an impressive tally of 22 games unbeaten between defeats to Chelsea in August and Southampton in December, but the Gunners have been a far cry of that side since the St Mary’s humbling.
Brighton were able to eliminate the threat of creative genius Mesut Ozil and, in the most part, the Premier League’s top goalscorer Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. Three days later, Liverpool ripped through the flapping backline as once again defensive fragility was there for all to see.
If the reports are true that Emery will have limited options for transfer plans, the club will be risking Champions League qualification as the thin squad that remains, after suffering long-term injuries to Danny Welbeck, Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Rob Holding, will struggle to compete.
The Emirates outfit have certainly felt the loss of Hector Bellerin after his calf strain in the defeat to Ralph Hasenhuttl’s Saints, with summer signing Stephan Lichtsteiner cutting a problematic figure at right-back since.
Pl>ymaker FC believes Arsenal fans won’t have to wait long to see Unai Emery’s long-term ambitions for the club come to fruition. Watch the video below to find out why…
From the start of Emery’s reign in charge of Arsenal, the Spaniard has turned to youth players if required, starting with Emile Smith-Rowe in the pre-season International Champions Cup.
Young gun Bukayo Saka even set a new Premier League record on New Year’s Day, as the 17-year-old became the first player born in 2001 to feature in an English top-flight match.
Experienced Under 23 star Julio Pleguezuelo, meanwhile, will have been watching on as his younger colleagues were handed their chance, and could be turned to as cover for Laurent Koscielny, Shkodran Mustafi or Sokratis Papastathopoulos while the club awaits Konstantinos Mavropanos’ return.
The La Masia product moved to the Emirates from Barcelona in 2013, but has only featured in a single senior fixture in the five years since. His teammates’ injuries could prove to be 21-year-old’s final chance to show his worth, after being overlooked for Europa League squads in the past.
A lack of defensive options, beyond playing Granit Xhaka out of his influential midfield slot or Liechtensteiner as a sweeping right-back come centre-back, could see Emery return to his previously favoured 4-2-3-1.
Upon his arrival as Wenger’s successor, the former Paris Saint-Germain boss entrusted his new players with the five-man midfield formation and persisted with it on 12 occasions in the Premier League. If it were not for injuries, a switch to three-at-the-back variants may never have occurred, yet further blows should see the formation revert.
Taking one centre-back out of the line-up will ensure that Emery has a fresh pair of legs to rotate with, while lowering the potential for injuries that could strip the 47-year-old of all his options in front of Bernd Leno.