Soccer

An Arsenal reload will take longer than expected

Arsenal is currently on the verge of a major rebuild, and it won't happen overnight.

Arsenal’s handling of Alexis Sanchez could prove to be the tipping point of what could become quite a long rebuild in North London.

The swap deal sending Sanchez over to Manchester United and Henrikh Mkhitaryan other way could prove good business for both parties. However, the status of these two clubs after this deal are headed in total opposite directions.

Manchester United have shown a willingness to spend whatever amounts necessary to compete with England’s elite, but Arsene Wenger is slower to sign off on those expensive deals. United again proved to be the aggressor to hijack Manchester City in the race for Alexis, while Arsenal scrambled to get something out of the deal for Sanchez’s expiring contract.

Perhaps Arsenal should take a look across the pond to learn how this rebuilding process is done.

Could Stan Kroenke “TTP” overseas?

While there are no direct comparisons between the process in which Premier League and NBA teams rebuild, there are some striking similarities between Arsenal’s oncoming rebuild and the Philadelphia 76ers’ infamous “process”.

It’s impossible for soccer clubs to undergo such a drastic rebuilding process like the 76ers as they are not guaranteed a top prospect for the next season. Yet, the reason why Arsenal has let some of its top players leave resembles a certain mastermind by the name of Sam Hinkie.

Arsenal Exodus

The pre-process Sixers were an average team stuck in a purgatory of being the eighth seed with nobody that has the capability to propel them to become anything more than that. Arsenal in recent seasons has similarly been stuck in the top-five of the Premier League with an inability to seriously contend for the title.

To get out of these dreadful purgatories, an overhaul rebuild is necessary.

The Doug Collins’ 76ers developed some top talents to become an average basketball team that could not reach the second round of the playoffs. Think Evan Turner, Spencer Hawes, Andre Iguodala, and Jrue Holiday.

The trade that sent Holiday to New Orleans and saw Nerlens Noel come to Philadelphia started the rebuild. Could this Sanchez swap deal bring in a similar process for Arsenal?

The recent exodus that forced Arsenal to sell the likes of Kieran Gibbs, Theo Walcott, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and potentially getting nothing for Mesut Ozil is worrisome. It either shows complete incompetence of the highest degree from the club’s executives, or (much more optimistically) shows the new direction to invest into the youth system instead.

Selling Walcott for a respectable 20 million euros to Everton gave way for 18-year-old Reiss Nelson to make his debut in the blowout win against Crystal Palace. Offloading Gibbs to West Brom has allowed 20-year-old youngster Ainsley Maitland-Niles to exceed expectations at left back. Oxlade-Chamberlain’s departure to Liverpool permits Wenger to keep playing Alex Iwobi during rough patches of form, helping him to grow as a young player.

Danny Welbeck’s ineffectiveness on the pitch could give another youngster the chance for a run in the first team, 18-year-old striker Edward Nketiah.

The acquisition of Mkhitaryan means there’s less pressure to resign Ozil this coming summer, as Mkhitaryan’s preferred position is where Ozil plays. However, with two big stars leaving the club, an emphasis must be put on the youth academy for Arsenal.

Doug Collins wasn’t the right coach to guide the 76ers through the grueling “process” full of losing and development, nor did he want to. Whether “Wenger Out” protest signs are found inside the Emirates, in Zimbabwe or at American protests, it’s clear that global fans agree a new manager may be needed to lead the club in this new direction.

However, since there is no guarantee Arsenal gets a top prospect for the future like the Sixers do with the NBA draft lottery, more investments in the transfer market must be made. If the Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang rumours are true, he could be an upgrade over Alexandre Lacazette who has struggled recently. Smart purchases, unlike the club-record deal for Granit Xhaka, will be of the utmost importance during this rebuild.

Just to recap, Arsenal needs more of an emphasis on the youth academy, a new manager, as well as more marquee purchases. Let us know which of those you think is the most important to get the Gunners back on track!

 

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