The announcement that Arsene Wenger has opted to stay on as Arsenal manager met with a mixed response by fans. Those supporters who waved their banners in anger during last season, were extremely vocal in their opposition.
There is still much support for the Frenchman. However, there is also a sense that he must deliver; failure will mean the next two seasons will be long and painful for all.
Without the lure of Champions League football, the 67-year-old may have to take a punt on a few lesser-known players as the real stars look elsewhere.
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One name mentioned in connection with the north Londoners is CSKA Moscow midfielder Aleksandr Golovin who has been attracting much attention with his displays for both club and country.
Still only 21, the talented schemer has already won 12 caps for Russia and scored a couple of goals after making his debut two years ago. Mixed messages came out of the club regarding Golovin previously but that doesn’t mean a deal is dead. Wenger has a habit of buying for the future.
A few reports claim they are on the verge of signing him while it has also been suggested by scout Pavel Kucherov that not a summer target.
The player’s agent, Oleg Artemov, has refused to rule out a move to Arsenal but Kucherov feels the former FC Novokuznetsk youth star “is not talented enough for European level”.
Didn’t I Blow Your Mind This Time
Former Russia international Andrei Kanchelskis disagrees with his compatriot. He feels the youngster would thrive at the club. The 48-year-old also believes Wenger’s liking for younger players could mean he would see plenty of game time.
There have been a few question marks over his temperament, however, and, with so much at stake for the club over the next couple of years, it is open to debate whether it would be a risk worth taking.
Another option is to purchase the £10m-rated player and loan him out. Reports in Russia claim he might be sent to Hull City to link up with former CSKA boss Leonid Slutsky.
That makes sense as it would give him a good grounding in English football. It’s a no-nonsense league where he would need to adapt to his new surroundings as quickly as possible.
Golovin extended his contract with the Muscovites until the end of the 2020/21. Wenger has the finances available to match any fee quoted.
The boss needs to silence the dissenting voices with a few big-name signing. Wenger has shown over the years that he is his own man and will not recruit players just for the sake of it.
Doubts remain over the future of both Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil with no immediate sense of resolution. Wenger is not the type of manager to have a summer clear-out. However, after their worst season for more than 20 years, there will have to be a re-think. Golovin might be a player to excite the fans.