For 22 years, Arsenal showed the football world what was possible under great leadership with Arsène Wenger.
Not only did the team manage to take the record for the most FA Cups ever won (with seven occurring under Wenger’s rule), but they went on to win the Premier League without a single losing match in the 2003-04 season, earning the title The Invincibles.
Wenger utilised discipline in every facet of his managerial career, from finance to dietary prudence. He overhauled the team, using an offensive style of play that attracted critical attention.
But gone are the days of Wenger, who departed the club on 20 April 2018. Then came Basque-Spaniard Unai Emery, whose first season saw FC Arsenal ending fifth in the Premier League and a runner-up in the Europa League. However, after an unfavourable seven-game losing streak the following year, Emery was released, and assistant first-team coach Freddie Ljungberg was appointed as head coach for the interim.
On 20 December 2019, former player and club captain Mikel Arteta, also Spanish, signed a three-and-a-half-year contract with the club as head coach. While it may be too soon to speculate about Arteta’s ability as head coach, many are taking a microscope to the club’s spring 2020 performance to predict Arteta’s worthiness, as well as his long-term plans.
With the club in ninth place and hanging eight points behind Chelsea in the Premier League, it’s the perfect time for speculation—though Arsenal’s three-game winning streak has helped raise Arteta’s worth for the moment.
With the transfer window coming up, the Premier League only appears to be dormant. Despite the fact that odds at Unibet and other sites focus on the Belarusian Premier League, the top tier of English football is embroiled in speculation and pre-transfer frenzy. While Arsenal paid a cool 35 million pounds for defender Shkodran Mustafi in 2016, Arteta appears to be scrambling to hook defender Axel Disasi from Ligue 1.
In 2021, star players Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Mesut Ozil, Sokratis, David Luiz, and the aforementioned Shkodran Mustafi are all set to end their contracts with Arsenal, leaving many to speculate wildly about whose contracts will be renewed and who will be moving to another team.
Many Arsenal fans can’t fathom letting go of a technical and creative player like Mesut Ozil, who has been with the team for years. Similarly, if the team loses Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, they’ll not only be losing their top goalscorer, but another dynamic player like Ozil. Unfortunately for the Gunners, it seems Manchester United has their eye on Aubameyang… for around £100m.
However, it’s Arsenal’s defence that has come under attack recently, both on and off the field. Despite the high fee paid for Mustafi to join the team, many fans and pundits have been less than impressed with his performances. Similarly, Sokratis has received mixed reviews as a defender. With both Mustafi and Sokratis’ contracts set to end, many would love to see Arteta build a solid defence—especially considering David Luiz has his contract ending in 2021 as well.
Since the start of the season, Arsenal has been observing the play of defensive player Axel Disasi. As a defender for Reims, he’s helped the club keep their best defensive record in Ligue 1, and also propelled the unimpressive club into fifth place in the French league. However, Arsenal isn’t the only club interested, with multiple Bundesliga and Ligue 1 teams keeping Disasi as a potential recruit.
Considered by some to be a defensive prodigy, the 22-year-old has made 32 appearances this season with Reims. However, Arsenal is also set to bring back defender William Saliba, which would only complicate Arteta’s plans if one of the three defenders mentioned above were to return to the team. However, at £18m and with a truly promising career ahead of him, the Disasi decision should hopefully be an easy one for the Gunners.