Guest Post by Mark Weasley from Retro Football News
The atmosphere at Arsenal in recent days is one tinged with hope and a feeling of what could have been. The Gunners have lost their best player, Alexis Sanchez to Manchester United, but his exit from North London could be a blessing in disguise. The 29 year old has been the subject of discussion from an Arsenal standpoint throughout the last year as he failed to sign a new contract, but his exit could help the club forge ahead to a new era.
We have gotten Armenian international, Henrikh Mkhitaryan as part of the Sanchez deal, with the attacking midfielder looking to rebuild his reputation following a difficult period in Manchester. With Ozil looking to sign a new contact and the potential arrival of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang will catapult the Gunners into a truly attacking force that can hurt any team in world football. The creativity and doggedness of Sanchez will be replaced by the collectiveness of the group that could help the Gunners challenge for the major trophies.
Too many times last season, Sanchez almost single-handedly carried the team as his goals and assists were not matched by his teammates, which in turn saw the 13-time FA Cup champions fail to make the top 4 for the first time under manager, Arsene Wenger.
Aubameyang is expected to join Arsenal, though there are still question marks about the agreement between his club, Borussia Dortmund and Arsenal.
Both clubs are still apart in their valuation of the player though it is expected that the deal would go through as Dortmund want him to leave the club given some disciplinary worries. The player is one of the best strikers in world football, and would help offset the loss of Sanchez as he brings pace and finishing to the table. French striker, Alexandre Lacazette has not been consistent with his performances but the potential arrival of Aubameyang will whip the Frenchman into a new level of focus and performances.
A frontline of Aubameyang, Ozil, Mkhitaryan and Lacazette is truly a quartet of players brimming with quality on all fronts, though Wenger might have to change his formation to accommodate all four. A 4-4-2 will be brilliant as Ozil and Mkhitaryan can play on the flanks with the freedom to roam into the middle while Lacazette and Aubameyang threaten defences with their pace, movement, positioning and finishing. While the attack may be world class, a combative central midfielder in the mould of an N’Golo Kante will be needed to add steel to the middle of the park, giving the attacking players to do damage further up the pitch.
Arsenal are currently looking out of the race for the Champions League and already out of the FA Cup following a disastrous loss to Nottingham Forest, but they can take solace in the fact that they can still play the Europa League and potentially win it. On their day, Arsenal are poetry in motion that can stand toe-to-toe with any team, but we have suffered from not having the right blend of players.
This quartet could be the start of something special. Oh, how long we have waited to see this day.