It remains to be seen whether Unai Emery will opt for evolution or revolution as he attempts to fill the enormous void Arsene Wenger has left behind at Arsenal, but the Spaniard has nonetheless been handed the chance to bring a new era to the north London club in a bid to restore it to its former glories.
And perhaps the biggest question amid that process, regardless of whether the changes are sudden or gradual, is who to build Arsenal’s newlook team around, especially considering there’s so much creative talent already at the club – even if it hasn’t always shown the true extremities of its abilities over the last few seasons.
With that in mind, Football FanCast outline four suggested solutions for who should be at the heart of Emery’s Arsenal side…
The Armenian international spent the second half of last season bedding into the team, not quite producing his best form but impressing in doses nonetheless with two goals and four assists in eleven Premier League outings.
Mkhitaryan’s prolific form during his final campaign at Dortmund too, with 23 goals and 32 assists across all competitions, showed he has the potential to be the creative driving force behind a team of Arsenal’s calibre, even if he’s yet to prove it to the same degree in the Premier League following an incredibly underwhelming stint with Manchester United.
If there’s one concern though, it’s that Mkhitaryan seems to have a similar profile to Ozil – excellent against lesser teams, but rarely the talisman who delivers on the big occasion.
The Gunners always seem that bit more dangerous and fluid when the Welshman’s in the side and the stats back that up, twelve goals and nine assists from his Premier League and Europa League outings last term representing a fantastic return for a midfielder.
At times Ramsey’s relentless forward runs seem to disrupt the balance of the team, leaving the engine room with too much space to cover defensively, but removing Ozil from the equation would remedy that somewhat, and potentially even see Ramsey score more because the team is better-geared towards that part of his game.
There’s an obvious counter-argument though, in the form of the 27-year-old’s fitness; he suffered three different injuries last term alone, resulting in eleven games on the sidelines. The other concern is whether Ramsey will sign a new contract at the club. With his current deal due to expire in 2019, now is the time to clash in on the goalscoring midfielder, who Transfermarkt value at £40.5million.
The German World Cup winner will always split opinion, and one of the lines of division revolves around how much blame should be attributed to him for Arsenal’s recent struggles.
There’s no doubt Ozil has a knack of going missing for the Gunners during the big moments, but how much of that is really his fault and how much of that is due to tactics, team selection and the quality of player surrounding him?
What do you think of the World Cup so far? Let us know and win any World Cup shirt of your choice.
Perhaps in a different setup and under the guidance of a more meticulous manager, the 29-year-old will arrest the inconsistency that has plagued much of his Arsenal career. At the same time though, if Germany’s World Cup campaign has proved anything it’s that Ozil isn’t at the same level he was five years ago when he first moved to north London.
Considering the impact of a new signing is inevitable while the transfer window is still open, and with Ramsey, Ozil and Mkhitaryan all aged 27 or older, perhaps the time is right to bring a younger, fresher, more innovative talent into the team who can really shake things up at the Emirates Stadium.
The obvious problem though comes down to cost. Emery’s summer budget isn’t the largest and most of his attention thus far has been devoted to addressing the deficiencies in defensive areas – particularly the backline with Stephan Lichtsteiner and goalkeeper Bernd Leno arriving already.
Selling Ozil this summer should free up some more funds, but are Arsenal actually in a position financially to bring in another creative talent that exceeds what the Germany playmaker currently gives to the team?
So, Arsenal fans, which solution do you think Emery should adopt? Let us know by voting below…