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7 Arsenal fringe players who will struggle to feature under Unai Emery

New Arsenal Head Coach Unai Emery will need to figure out how his side should shape up
New Arsenal head coach Unai Emery will need to figure out how his side should shape up
Krishnan Durairajan

Arsenal have confirmed that Unai Emery will succeed Arsene Wenger at the helm of the North London club after Wenger's 22 year reign at Arsenal came to an end last season.

The Spaniard has been called a proven winner by Arsenal's majority owner Stan Kroenke. Emery has had competitive success across Europe. He has won the Europa League three consecutive times with Sevilla and clinched six trophies during his two seasons managing Paris Saint-Germain.

The former PSG manager will inherit an Arsenal squad which has lots of amazing, albeit inconsistent quality. But as Wenger reflected last season, the squad is surely bloated and there will be some players who will be finding it difficult to break into the starting 11 under the new management.

Let's take a took at 7 such fringe players who would be best served by a temporary or permanent move to another club.


#1 Chuba Akpom

Arsenal v CD Guadalajara
Akpom will find it difficult to start ahead of Laca and Auba

Chuba Akpom has been at Arsenal since he was six and is a product of the esteemed youth setup at Arsenal. Akpom spent the second half of last season on loan at Sint-Truidense in the Belgian top flight.

In 13 appearances for the Belgian side, Akpom found the back of the net five times. Not too bad for the 22-year old Nigerian.

Akpom will find it difficult to push for a starting spot at Arsenal, especially ahead of clinical Lacazette and the in-form Aubameyang.

Given that Arsenal youth players like Nketiah and Mavididi are waiting on the wings to be called up to the senior squad as back ups, Akpom will have to possibly leave Arsenal, on what would be his seventh loan spell to get some game time under his belt.

Sint-Truidense have mentioned that they would be interested to make his loan move permanent. We will have to wait and see if Arsenal and Akpom take them up on their offer.

All stats via transfermarkt

#2 Emiliano Martinez

Arsenal v Olympique Lyonnais - Emirates Cup
Emiliano has to compete with Cech and Ospina for the number one spot

Emiliano Martinez was sent out on a loan to Getafe last summer. Despite moving on loan to get some game time, he unfortunately managed to make only 6 appearances for the Spanish Club through the entire season.

Deputising for Vicente Guaita who was the number one for Getafe. The Argentine has been at Arsenal for the past six years and has gone on five loan spells.

Martinez, now 26 has to make a call on his future. He will find it very difficult to break the duopoly of Čech and Ospina. And if the transfer rumors are to be believed, Arsenal might be on the lookout for a new keeper as well.

Over the past six years Martinez has done very little to prove that he is of the necessary quality to represent Arsenal, and he might be served well by leaving Arsenal permanently and finding his footing elsewhere.

#3 Krystian Bielik

Sydney FC v Arsenal: Pre-Season Friendly
Bielik feels that he has hit a glass ceiling at Arsenal

Krystian Bielik was wanted by Arsenal, and they proved their interest by coughing up £2.5 million to sign him from Legia Warsaw in 2015.

Bielik showed signs of promise on his senior debut against Sheffield Wednesday but unfortunately failed to cement his place in the senior squad. He was then sent out on loan to Birmingham in 2017 where he had a promising spell under Zola.

Bielik was sent out on loan to Walsall last season but never managed to make an appearance for them due a shoulder injury that needed surgery.

Now recuperating from the surgery, Bielik has spoken out and said that he seems to have hit a wall at Arsenal and would love to move to Birmingham on loan again to continue his progress.

Given that Arsenal seem to be interested in players like Sokratis and Çağlar Söyüncü and that they already have Chambers and Holding as reliable back ups, Bielik would be better off making either a temporary or permanent switch to another side to gain consistency and experience. Given that the Polish defender is only 20 years old, his best is yet to come.

#4 Carl Jenkinson

Arsenal v Southampton: Premier League 2
Jenko found it difficult to make the grade at his childhood club

Carl Jenkinson went out on loan to Birmingham last summer along with fellow Arsenal player Cohen Bramall.

It is safe to say that the loan move did not go according to plan. Thirty two minutes into his debut, Jenkinson dislocated his shoulder and did not return until January this year. He did get a continued run in the squad, but he never won a single game with the blues.

Jenkinson joined Arsenal 7 years ago and is a lifelong Arsenal fan. But he was right when he stated last year that he needs to start regularly to find consistency and that it might be difficult at Arsenal.

Arsenal already have a young and exciting right back in Bellerin. If reports are to be believed, they are close to signing Stephan Lichtsteiner to provide some cover and competition to the Spaniard. Jenko might have to leave the club of his life and ply his trade elsewhere.

#5 Takuma Asano

Takuma Asano Press Conference
Asano is yet to represent Arsenal officially having spent the last two seasons at Stuttgart

Takuma Asano was signed from Sanfrecce Hiroshima in the summer of 2016. However, the Japanese striker was unable to obtain a work permit to play in England and was sent out on loan to Stuttgart.

He had a rather promising first season in the German Second division and was promoted with Stuttgart. He stayed in Stuttgart for a second loan spell which started promisingly but as the season progressed, Asano fell down the pecking order and was out of the first team.

Although Asano is a promising talent and is definitely one for the future like Wenger said, he will definitely find it difficult to start at Arsenal, especially ahead of Lacazette and Aubameyang.

He is a unique entry on this list, as he is the only player with his future already sorted out. Asano has been loaned out to Hannover 96 and has vowed to repay their faith in full.

Asano has not been included in Japan's provisional squad for the upcoming World Cup despite having participated in six qualifiers. He might have to play his socks off next season to prove their decision wrong.

#6 Joel Campbell

Arsenal v West Bromwich Albion - Premier League
Campbell has iterated that he wants to stay at Betis and not return to Arsenal

Joel Campbell joined Arsenal in 2011 and has since gone out on six loan spells to five different clubs.

Campbell spent last season on loan at Real Betis for the second time in his career. Initially his time at Betis was unfortunately disrupted by a knee injury, but he returned to the squad in emphatic fashion by scoring and assisting on his first game back. He was then out with a sprained ankle and managed to return for the final few matches of the season.

Campbell will need to stay fit and perform well in Russia. Hopefully, if he does put in good performances for Costa Rica, he stands a chance of making a permanent switch away from Arsenal to either Real Betis or another club.

He is not as bad as his track record so far makes him out to be, and if he manages to stay injury free, he might still stand a chance of establishing himself as a regular and a consistent winger given that he is still only 25.

#7 Lucas Perez

Arsenal Unveil New Signing Lucas Perez
Lucas Perez was a much needed striking option for Arsenal in 2016

Lucas Perez was signed in the final days of the summer transfer season of 2016. Arsenal seemed to have signed their second choice striker, having chased Jamie Vardy the entire window.

But Perez joined Arsenal at a time when Giroud was the only bona fide striker at Arsenal, and Sanchez was being used as a false nine by Wenger. Safe to say that a lot was expected from the dimunitive and fast Spaniard. But Wenger struggled to deploy Perez, often choosing Welbeck ahead of the Spaniard.

Perez due to his lack of playing time, moved back to Deportivo on loan last season. His dream return to his hometown club did not go according to plan.

He had an 18 game dry spell which led to his own fans turning on him. Deportivo ended up being relegated and Perez is now back at Arsenal. Some reports suggest that Perez might have some part to play in Emery's plans at Arsenal whilst some others suggest that Perez is looking to move.

His agent has come forward and name-dropped Lazio as a possible destination. Although most Arsenal fans have expressed that they'd rather see Perez play on the wing than Welbeck, a move away from Arsenal and the spotlight of English Football will do Perez a world of good.

Edited by Anthony Akatugba Jr.

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