By Ben Browning
Published: November 17, 2021 10:04 pm
Last Updated: November 17, 2021 10:04 pm
Arteta’s team takes shape
Mikel Arteta has set his stall out early in the season, having clear favourites while others struggle for gametime.
As such, unlike last season the lineups are pretty predictable, barring perhaps one or two changes for injury reasons.
With the first XI picking itself more often than not, some players are stuck on the outside looking in, perhaps grabbing five minutes off the bench here and there but for the most part making up matchday, or squad, numbers.
This could change come January. With no European football, Arteta can continue to operate with a streamlined squad for the remainder of the season, knowing that at most he will have to play across three competitions (and with the FA Cup co-ordinated to avoid the Premier League).
As such, there could be scope for players to depart in January. 101 looks at 5 players who may wish to take that option.
1. Mohamed Elneny
Down to the last six months of his contract, first up is Egyptian midfielder Mohamed Elneny. The 29 year old defensive midfielder has played just 48 minutes in the Premier League so far this season. This is despite an injury to Granit Xhaka that has kept him out of action since September.
Mikel Arteta has turned to new signing Sambi Lokonga, and versatile Ainsley Maitland-Niles, ahead of the Egyptian.
Arsenal’s midfield will be limited come January, due to the Africa Cup of Nations, but Elneny will be one of those jetting off to take part, meaning that he will be unable to help. As such, it seems as though his playtime will be very limited, and Arsenal could consider getting his wages off of the books before his contract is due to end in July.
Arsenal ‘ready to release Mohamed Elneny on free transfer’ in January with Galatasaray linked with midfielder https://t.co/LXFPOZvDsT
— The Sun MMA (@TheSunMMA) November 17, 2021
With clubs in Turkey rumoured to be interested, could he be set for an early exit?
2. Eddie Nketiah
Another man short of game time thus far this season is Eddie Nketiah, with his options limited to just Carabao Cup appearances, and no Premier League action.
It was thought that Nketiah was heading to Crystal Palace last transfer window, but a prospective move fell through, and he has struggled to make an impression at The Emirates Stadium.
Arsenal 2-0 Leeds United (Nketiah, 69′)
📺 Watch live on Sky Sports Football pic.twitter.com/18ILJ2CPWH
— Sky Sports Football (@SkyFootball) October 26, 2021
Also with just 6 months left on his deal, the Daily Mail revealed that he has no intention of signing a new one in north London, meaning that any offer that comes in in January could well be considered by the Gunners. With Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang leaving for AFCON for a month from Boxing Day, however, it could depend on another transfer.
3. Folarin Balogun (loan)
In this case, it feels as though it is either this or an Eddie Nketiah departure, not both.
Balogun has already spoken of his desire to have a new challenge in recent days, revealing:
“I do feel like I’m ready for a new challenge but I’m not sure what that might be, it might be a loan or if I’m needed at Arsenal then I’m here & the gaffer knows that.”
The youngster has clearly outgrown the U23s, as the video shows below, where he has registered 10 goals and providing 2 assists in 8 games.
— Arsenal Academy (@ArsenalAcademy) November 7, 2021
A loan move surely beckons, unless Nketiah departs, in which case he could stay to play second fiddle to Alexandre Lacazette come January.
4. Calum Chambers
Calum Chambers has not played in the Premier League since Arsenal’s 5-0 defeat to Manchester City, and has not even been in the matchday squad for the last 7 games, but has appeared twice in three Carabao Cup ties.
Now 26 years old, he is in the prime of his career and will surely be looking for regular minutes at his next club, should he decide to move on.
With six months left on his contract (as per Transfermarkt), and the club yet to take up the option of an additional year, January could well prove the optimal time for him to depart for all parties. Arsenal would receive a fee, Chambers would get regular game time, and Everton would get a competent Premier League right-back.
Everton are rumoured to be interested in the defender, and there would surely be other suitors should Arsenal make his availability public, while with both Cedric and Ainsley Maitland-Niles ahead of him in the pecking order to backup new signing Takehiro Tomiyasu, his future in north London looks bleak.
5. Nicolas Pepe
To be clear, there has been little credible speculation linking Nicolas Pepe with a move away from The Emirates stadium in January.
However, should there be, it would not be an awful time for Arsenal to cut their losses. The Ivorian has lost his place in the side, and seemingly Mikel Arteta’s faith.
Pepe has started just 5 times in the Premier League so far this season, and for Arsenal’s last three wins has only seen a combined 5 minutes on the pitch, being left as an unused substitute for two of the games.
Having failed to live up to the 72 million price tag that Arsenal paid Ligue 1 outfit Lille in 2019, and will have just two years left on his contract come the summer. Should Arsenal get a suitable offer for their winger, they just might consider it.
Honourable mention: Sead Kolasinac
Sead Kolasinac’s chances of a move away may lie in ruins after he suffered a serious-looking injury against Finland while representing Bosnia and Herzegovina in the most recent international break.
The left-back has been little used this year, and with Nuno Tavares now ahead of him as Kieran Tierney’s understudy, the potential of minutes at the club had he been fit seem scarce.
Now, however, he could find himself forced to remain at Arsenal until his contract expires next summer, with suitors likely to avoid him should he have picked up an injury as serious as feared.
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Premier League table
|3||West Ham United||11||10||23|
|7||Brighton & Hove Albion||11||0||17|
|Salah, Mohamed||Liverpool FC||10|
|Vardy, Jamie||Leicester City||7|
|Antonio, Michail||West Ham United||6|
|Mane, Sadio||Liverpool FC||6|
|Fernandes, Bruno||Manchester United||4|
|James, Reece||Chelsea FC||4|
|Smith-Rowe, Emile||Arsenal FC||4|
|Gallagher, Conor||Crystal Palace||4|
|Ronaldo, Cristiano||Manchester United||4|
|Aubameyang, Pierre-Emerick||Arsenal FC||4|
|Son, Heung Min||Tottenham Hotspur||4|
|Zaha, Wilfried||Crystal Palace||4|
|Firmino, Roberto||Liverpool FC||4|
|Jota, Diogo||Liverpool FC||4|
|Fornals, Pablo||West Ham United||4|
|Wilson, Callum||Newcastle United||4|
|Maupay, Neal||Brighton & Hove Albion||4|
|Cornet, Maxwel||Burnley FC||4|
|Hwang, Hee-chan||Wolverhampton Wanderers||4|
|Player||Team||Red Cards||Yellow Cards|
|Pogba, Paul||Manchester United||1||4|
|Dennis, Emmanuel||Watford FC||0||5|
|Skipp, Oliver||Tottenham Hotspur||0||5|
|McGinn, John||Aston Villa||0||4|
|Westwood, Ashley||Burnley FC||0||4|
|Moreno, Rodrigo||Leeds United||0||4|
|Ritchie, Matt||Newcastle United||0||4|
|Duffy, Shane||Brighton & Hove Albion||0||4|
|Tarkowski, James||Burnley FC||0||4|
|Laporte, Aymeric||Manchester City||1||3|
|Shaw, Luke||Manchester United||0||4|
|Veltman, Joel||Brighton & Hove Albion||0||4|
|Mings, Tyrone||Aston Villa||0||4|
|Lallana, Adam||Brighton & Hove Albion||0||4|
|Lascelles, Jamaal||Newcastle United||0||4|
|Brownhill, Josh||Burnley FC||0||4|
|Romero, Cristian||Tottenham Hotspur||0||4|
|Sambi Lokonga, Albert||Arsenal FC||0||4|
|Salah, Mohamed||Liverpool FC||7|
|Pogba, Paul||Manchester United||7|
|Jesus, Gabriel||Manchester City||5|
|Kovacic, Mateo||Chelsea FC||5|
|Doucoure, Abdoulaye||Everton FC||4|
|Bowen, Jarrod||West Ham United||4|
|Alexander-Arnold, Trent||Liverpool FC||4|
|Antonio, Michail||West Ham United||3|
|Fernandes, Bruno||Manchester United||3|
|James, Reece||Chelsea FC||3|
|Benrahma, Said||West Ham United||3|
|Dennis, Emmanuel||Watford FC||3|
|Saint-Maximin, Allan||Newcastle United||3|
|Lowton, Matthew||Burnley FC||3|
|Rice, Declan||West Ham United||3|
|Smith-Rowe, Emile||Arsenal FC||2|
|Gallagher, Conor||Crystal Palace||2|
|Townsend, Andros||Everton FC||2|
|King, Joshua||Watford FC||2|
|Ings, Danny||Aston Villa||2|
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