Arsenal Must Move on From the Old Guard and Build Mikel Arteta's Team Around Young Guns

​It's fair to say that Arsenal have improved under Mikel Arteta.

He has stabilised the club after a period of really, really bad performances, even if results are yet to pick up.

Defensively, the Gunners are a lot better, and they are working as a unit. However, they now have a serious problem in the attacking areas.

Mikel Arteta

It's quite ironic, really. For the last few years of Arsene Wenger's reign, it was the exact opposite. Silky football was regularly played but a tragic defence meant they were unable to get their hands on a Premier League title.

This isn't a problem with the coaching, however. It's simply a personnel issue. ​Mesut Ozil is in steep decline, ​Alexandre Lacazette can't hit a barn door right now, and the predatory Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is being shifted out wide to accommodate the work ethic and supposed all round play of Lacazette.

According to ​reports in the last week, those three are among the players in danger of being moved on by Arteta, and, in all honesty, he would be doing the right thing.

Alexandre Lacazette,Mesut Ozil,Mesut Oezil,Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang

Ozil is 31, Aubameyang is 30 and Lacazette is 28. ​Arsenal absolutely have to shift the former and latter mentioned here, but Aubameyang is a slightly different case.

​Barcelona are ​clearly interested in him, if Eric Abidal's comments are anything to go by, and apparently the Gabon international is keen on leaving to win trophies. So really, at 30 years old, the Gunners should sell him.

Is is too risky to get rid of these three in one summer? No. They're hardly scoring bucketloads at the moment, so what difference would it make?

Of course reinforcements are still needed. They have to bring in more youthful footballers who can improve their side. But they can also focus on replacing that ageing trio with young players who are already at the club.

Bukayo Saka,Gabriel Martinelli

If Aubameyang leaves, then Gabriel Martinelli, Reiss Nelson and Bukayo Saka can all play on the left. Martinelli has been sensational since joining the club, and has to be a regular starter. Saka has also impressed, and his future may even be at left-back.

Nelson hasn't had the same impact, but Arteta is evidently a fan.

To replace Lacazette up front, Arsenal do have to sign someone. Eddie Nketiah is not yet ready, but he can be a good back-up option. Next season, they need a fresh set of legs up front.

Who can replace Mesut Ozil? Arsenal could go to the market to look for a number ten, but Arteta has also utilised Joe Willock in the playmaker role, a position he has looked a lot more comfortable in, while Emile Rowe Smith is another bright talent who has shown signs of quality on loan at Huddersfield.

Joseph Willock

Nicolas Pepe is also someone Arsenal fans will be expecting more of next season. He's hardly set the Premier League alight since joining for £75m from Lille, but looks to have a lot of quality, and Arteta will be hoping that the 24-year-old can find his feet soon.

We also mustn't forget that William Saliba will arrive at the Emirates next season. The 18-year-old centre back signed for the club last summer and was immediately loaned back to Saint-Etienne. 

He might go straight into the side upon his return and he could even replace the ageing and inconsistent summer signing David Luiz. Pablo Mari could even stay on if he convinces those in charge to make his loan deal a permanent one.


This should be the way forward for Arsenal. No more putting up with old, declining players like Ozil and Lacazette. Arteta has be ruthless, and he will be. He will undoubtedly show faith in the youngsters, and that is the way to go.

It's time for the club to move on from the old guard, and let the youth take over.

Source : 90min