It's 2021 and the brand of football that Arsenal took pride in is gradually losing its essence. At the helm reigns the Kroenke family, the owners of Kroenke Sports and Entertainment. Arsenal's fan base stands largely discontented with the club's owners in terms of their investment, both financially and sentimentally.
This has made life difficult for manager Mikel Arteta, who accepts that the squad needs to go through a rebuild. But the support from the hierarchy, or the lack thereof, is not the only reason Arteta finds himself under the firing line.
Arsenal continue to stick with unnecessary baggage of players
Arteta has shifted from a 3-4-3 system that he first employed on his arrival, to a rather popular 4-3-3. He has often been left disappointed as Arsenal continue to get outplayed. Many football pundits were of the opinion that there aren’t enough quality players at the club to allow the Spaniard to establish this system.
Now, in the fourth transfer window under Arteta’s management, the club spent a total of £156.8M on six arrivals and sold or loaned a total of 10 players.
Surely the manager by now should have parted ways with those that he deems unfit to continue at Arsenal. Well, the arrivals of Ben White, Sambi Lokonga and Takehiro Tomiyasu in particular indicate that Arteta is not a man without a plan.
However, there are still names at this club that the Arsenal faithful would have loved if they had eased off the wage bill. On that note, let’s take a look at five players who should never play for Arsenal again:
#5 Runar Alex Runarsson
No, this is not a list of the most unmindful signings Arsenal have ever made, but if we made one, Runar Runarsson would make that list too. If one was to speak with an empathetic heart, you wouldn’t blame Runarsson for being asked to don the Arsenal jersey.
He was the average bloke guarding the goal in Ligue 1 and suddenly one day the opportunity to play for Arsenal Football Club was at his doorstep. There was no way he’d look away.
Additionally, the circumstances surrounding the exit of a resurgent Emiliano Martinez added to the ridicule of Runarson’s signing. Martinez was tall, strong and confident on the ball, with an impressive distribution from the box. His replacement, rather meek in build, lacks strength and confidence with his gloves and is very hesitant to play from the back.
Surely, this was a waste of £1.5m. His stats at Ligue 1 club Dijon, where he conceded 60 goals in 36 league games, were a premonition of the horror show Arsenal potentially bought seats for.
He started above Bernd Leno in a Carabao Cup game against Manchester City in 2020 and had a nightmare of a game. The game potentially ended Runarsson’s Arsenal career which was already in its infancy. The keeper was on loan this summer in the transfer window to Belgian side OH Leuven. Arsenal had signed the Icelandic keeper from Dijon on a four-year contract. They hope the loan move will help the club get rid of him.
#4 Sead Kolasinac
Sead Kolasinac put in a transfer request at Arsenal last winter to allow him to be loaned to his boyhood club Schalke in the German Bundesliga. Schalke were hopeless and heading towards relegation, while Arsenal defenders Shkodran Mustafi and Kolasinac went out to help their boyhood club. It was quite evident that the Arsenal faithful were done with the two, especially Mustafi.
Schalke went beyond saving and the German club were relegated for the first time in three long decades. The romance between Schalke and Kolasinac wasn’t strong enough for the Arsenal defender to follow his club into Bundesliga 2. So, he returned to Arsenal.
Throughout the summer transfer window there were rumors that Arsenal would either terminate the contract for the out-of-favour left-back or sell him. But rumors were all that there was.
In a shock move, Mikel Arteta started Kolasinac in Arsenal’s third Premier League game against the mighty Manchester City in a back five. This despite having Pablo Mari and Nuno Tavares on the bench. It is quite clear that Kolasinac hasn’t been able to keep up the pace with the Premier League. Understandably, he struggled in the 5-0 thumping by the Premier League champions.
As far as the left-back position is concerned, Tavares is a bright spark and has a breath of fresh air about him. It only makes sense to get rid of Kolasinac in favor of the young Portuguese.