Arsenal need a comprehensive squad overhaul. It's imperative.
Seeing the likes of Sokratis Papastathopoulos, Mohamed Elneny, Lucas Torreira, Sead Kolasinac and Matteo Guendouzi all linked with moves away means that the club are, indeed, on the right track. Players need to be shifted in order to bring new ones in. Straight forward stuff, and everyone is accepting of the situation.
But when Hector Bellerin's name cropped up on the list of potential departees, suddenly the elation subsided and emotions ran high.Yes, players have to go to raise funds, but not those players. Not the man who is as much a part of Arsenal as anyone else at the club. Not the Spaniard who has been with the club for nine years. Just, well, not him.
Thing is, it is him...and it sort of has to be him, too.
Coming into a defining summer in the history of Arsenal football club, regaining a Champions League place is paramount. They absolutely, without doubt, need to be among Europe's elite.
With the players Mikel Arteta has at his disposal, they won't get it. Simple as. You can't be securing a top four place in the Premier League, or winning the Europa League with a midfield duo of Granit Xhaka and Elneny - regardless of how well they performed in the Community Shield. Those who think that's feasible are utterly deluded.
The engine room of the team is weak, the depth of the squad at paddling pool level. Investment is needed to acquire the targets who will improve the squad, therefore players need to go to fund them. At present, you're looking at Torreira, Alexandre Lacazette and Bellerin as the few who can actually accrue decent sums.
Arsenal's Uruguayan midfielder looks increasingly likely to depart, while interest exists in Lacazette, although nothing concrete has yet emerged. Now, with Bellerin, money is being discussed, the likes of which Arsenal can't turn their noses up at. Paris Saint-Germain have tested the waters with a bid hovering around the £25m mark. Arsenal can command more.
As per reports, the club aren't keen to lose Bellerin. That will boil down to him being the only recognised right-back at the club (who isn't Cedric Soares) and that he, above almost all other members of the squad, is entrenched in the club's code of conduct, values and history.
This is what supporters have been craving for years on end. An extensive clear out of underperforming deadwood in order to pave the way for club resurgence. A change. A big change.
Sentiment was always going to come into play when Bellerin's name emerged as being one of the pawns sacrificed to take a bishop. Yet now the time has come that disillusioned fans yearned for, they're suddenly disconcerted.
If Arsenal are to truly re-imagine the squad, alter the course of their trajectory and plan for the future, then sentiment can't be brought into the equation. If anything, it should be seen as a positive step that one of the long-serving players at the club is neither being sold for pittance or handed over to a direct rival.
He's not going to Manchester United and suddenly making them title winners. He's not going to Chelsea and cementing his place as the best in the world in his position. He's going to be sold for a healthy sum of money that will inherently improve the squad.
An emotional seesaw, but one that tips firmly to one side.
Source : 90min