Arsenal are clearly a club in desperate need of wholesale personnel changes but they won’t be implemented this summer.
The Daily Mirror claims that manager Unai Emery will have just £40m to spend in the off-season despite the glaring deficiencies in the Arsenal squad.
A lack of finances prevented the Gunners from signing any new players in January’s transfer window, with the arrival on loan of Barcelona winger Denis Suarez the only activity at the Emirates.
The Mirror says there’s an £18m option to make the Suarez deal permanent at the end of the season. If Emery goes ahead he will be left with just £22m for other signings.
As Arsenal’s abject display against Manchester City on Sunday demonstrated, it’s not wingers that Emery needs but reliable defenders.
The club shelled out £70m on back-four players last year but Sokratis Papastathopoulos and Stephan Lichtsteiner have proved inadequate.
The Sun reports that some Arsenal fans are even suggesting that the club’s mascot, Gunnersaurus, would be a better back-four bet than Lichtsteiner.
So far this season Arsenal have conceded 36 goals, more than any other club in the top nine of the Premier League.
Arsenal had to pay £17m to get rid of Arsene Wenger last May but according to the Mirror a big part of the problem is “falling into line with the Premier League’s strict spending rules on both transfers and wages”.
The club’s owner, Stan Kroenke, would risk breaking Financial Fair Play rules if he splashed out on new players in the summer.
One solution would be to get shot of Mesut Ozil, whose £350,000-a-week salary makes him the club’s top earner. Yet despite being reduced to a periphery player this season under Emery, the German seems happy to bank the money while warming the bench.
The Mirror says another option is to offload the “struggling” Shkodran Mustafi and use the money to bring in a more effective defender.
Former Arsenal midfielder Emmanuel Petit has expressed his sympathy for Emery’s predicament, blaming the board for poor management.
“The frustration level must be very high for Emery as in only his second transfer window as Arsenal manager he was told he cannot sign anybody,” the Frenchman told the Irish Independent.
“You look at the money Manchester United, Liverpool and Manchester City spend and unless you join them and put the cash on the table to compete for the best players, you are going nowhere.”