Arsenal’s squad could go through more change if they shed some squad players and make one big change to the first team this January, so how could they be lining up at the end of the month?
January was supposed to be a quiet month for Arsenal, but it’s shaping up to be one the busiest Arsene Wenger has had.
Wenger is open about his dislike for the January window but will have to put it to good use this season to keep his squad competitive.
The future of Alexis Sanchez is the biggest issue he faces at the moment.
Should he leave for Manchester this month, it will leave a big hole in the first team that will need filling.
Bordeaux’s Brazilian winger Malcom could be one option. Apparently, he’s our first choice replacement now.
There’s also Boca Juniors winger Cristian Pavon. Reports from Argentina suggested Arsenal could activate his release clause.
It’s likely that Arsenal will only sign one of these players, given the expense involved.
Should the club not be able to sign either, they will look to keep Alexis until the end of the season.
Either one could be Arsenal’s only first team signing this month, as Wenger looks to trim his squad.
Our huge squad turned out to be a significant issue in the summer, as the club struggled to free up space for new players.
It appears they want to avoid that mistake this year.
Francis Coquelin has already departed, and could be replaced by Aisnley Maitland-Niles.
Theo Walcott could be the next to leave, as there are strong links with Everton.
Without those two, Arsenal would still have Mohamed Elneny, Aaron Ramsey, Jack Wilshere, Granit Xhaka, Danny Welbeck and Alex Iwobi as options.
I would expect Arsenal’s squad to remain unchanged otherwise.
There’s also no guarantee that Arsenal will be able to bring in one of their targets, given their struggles in the summer.
In which case, Alexis will be going nowhere. I would not be surprised to see him in the starting line-up come February.
If he stays, the starting eleven would be as we expect:
Cech – Koscielny, Mustafi, Monreal – Bellerin, Xhaka, Ramsey, Kolasinac – Ozil, Alexis – Lacazette
If he leaves and we sign someone, I would expect:
Cech – Koscielny, Mustafi, Monreal – Bellerin, Xhaka, Ramsey, Kolasinac – Ozil, Malcom – Lacazette
If Arsenal go crazy and sign Pavon as well, we could see:
Cech – Bellerin, Koscielny, Mustafi, Kolasinac – Xhaka, Ramsey – Malcom, Ozil, Pavon – Lacazette
And finally, if the worst comes to pass and we sell Alexis with no replacement:
Cech – Koscielny, Mustafi, Monreal – Bellerin, Xhaka, Ramsey, Kolasinac – Ozil, Wilshere – Lacazette