With Arsene Wenger calling time on his stint as Arsenal manager it is the end of an era and a very long one at that. Owner Stan Kroenke will now have to prepare to install a new man at the club’s helm for the first time since 1996.
Whoever takes over the role of manager will have some incredibly big shoes to fill and it will be a very demanding job to take on. At the same time though there will be no shortage of candidates who will be interested in filling the vacancy.
The new Gunners manager will not only have the task of getting the North London outfit back in the top four, and with that a return to the Champions League, but he will also look to put his own stamp on the squad.
Fans will undoubtedly demand that the new boss brings with him a number of star players with which to kickstart this new era. At the same time though, fans must accept that there is a requirement for not just evolution but a degree of revolution over the next few months.
One criticism that Arsene Wenger often faced while in charge of Arsenal, certainly in his later years, was that he was too loyal to his players and failed to wield the axe when it mattered. Had he done so then it may have allowed the club to progress further up the Premier League table.
That loyalty will have disappeared by the time that Wenger walks out of the Emirates exit door for the final time and the most pertinent question that will be asked is just where Arsenal need strengthening before the 2018/19 campaign starts.
If you were hyper-critical after a season where the club has gone backwards once more, then you would have to say that all areas from top to bottom could do with something of an overhaul. After finishing in fifth twelve months before, they were only good for sixth this time around.
Should wholesale change not come about then the odds will likely not favour Arsenal winning their first Premier League title since 2004. Not only that, you would have to wonder if they will even make a return to Europe’s elite.
Arsenal’s Defence Line
In goal, the likes of both Petr Cech and David Ospina are not of the quality of that of their nearest rivals. For the quintet of clubs that have finished above them, the most common dominator is that there is an able body between the sticks.
There is no doubting that Cech has been a good servant to the club, but that comes after already having a lengthy stint at across town rivals Chelsea, and one must wonder just how many more performances the Czech goalkeeping legend can eke out during next season.
Not only that though, Arsenal’s defence has once again had fans tearing their hair out over the course of the season that has just passed. With Laurent Koscielny now out until December, after sustaining an injury in the Europa League Semi-final defeat to Atletico Madrid, the hope will be that a new centre-back is at the top of the shopping list.
In the case of Nacho Monreal, you wonder if father time has got the better of him and we have perhaps seen the best days of the Spaniard while wearing the club’s red and white colours.
Arsenal’s Attack Force
Another Spanish player on the books is one Santi Cazorla. The Spanish international has had a terrible time with injuries and is out of contract at the end of the campaign. After such a long absence the new manager will have to decide whether he will be given a new deal.
Sentiment would dictate that Cazorla is allowed one more deal at Arsenal after such a torrid run of bad luck; however, it is that sentiment that has arguably seen Arsenal slip behind their nearest title rivals and an element of ruthlessness might be needed if they are to make progress.
If the new manager brings in another forward in the close season, it could mean the end of Danny Welbeck’s time at the club. Although he has featured as of late while also scoring against A.C Milan, that is due more to the injuries of others, and with doubts over his long-term fitness, the former Manchester United player could well be viewed as expendable.
The list of outgoings could well depend on just how many players are brought in. You would have to imagine that a war chest will not only be promised by Stan Kroenke but will also be a pre-requisite for any prospective manager looking to take over from Arsene Wenger. There will certainly be in’s and out’s this summer, the interesting part will now be waiting to see who they will be.