By Graham McNorthbank
There's been a lot of talk recently about the need to clear out some of the dead wood at Arsenal with names such as Denilson, Diaby, Almunia, Nicklas Bendtner, Sebastien Squillaci and even Gael Clichy being named as players that many Gooners think are surplus to requirements.
Now I could take issue with one or two or those suggestions, but I definitely do take issue with a wholesale personnel spring clean, because in my experience of Arsene Wenger, such a move would definitely weaken the squad.
If this season has taught us anything it is that Arsenal does not have enough quality in the first team squad to step up to the plate when injuries hit our key players.
Let's not forget that there is a real possibility that Cesc Fabregas could be off this summer. Personally I think we'll get at least one more season of Cesc's services, but I don't have any insider information, so I could be completely wrong with that assumption. So the prospect of losing our skipper is very real and couple that with certain people's desire to add the aforementioned players to the departures and we would definitely struggle to strengthen the squad.
The point I'm taking a very long winded way of making is that Wenger just won't buy in a whole load of players - I'd venture three maximum will be what he buys. So to suggest we should ship out four, five or six first teamers is foolish in the extreme.
Lest we forget, last season we allowed the following players to leave - Philippe Senderos, William Gallas, Mikael Silvestre, Sol Campbell, Fran Merida and Eduardo. Did we replace them with six new players? No.
New arrivals were limited to Laurent Koscielny, Sebastien Squillaci and Marouane Chamakh.
It seems to me that Le Gaffer's main problem is that he can't sign too many players because of the wage bill concerns, so my suggestion would be to get rid of some of the younger players who aren't likely to make the Arsenal first team and maybe a couple of the first teamers mentioned above.
If I were to take my choice of who should leave, I'd opt for Almunia and Denilson.
Our reserve team squad is pretty large and could probably do with some trimming, although I admit it's a long time since I've been to a reserve game so I'm not going to start suggesting who should be released out of the youngsters.
But we have 17, that's SEVENTEEN, players out on loan. That is plainly rediculous for a team that is struggling to find 18 fit players for our first team games, so perhaps some of those individuals could be allowed to pursue their careers elsewhere. Or maybe the loan policy should be reviewed so that we can more easily recall players when needed. It's great that Arsenal have the gentlemen's agreement when it comes to loanees, but if it's detrimental to our club, it's a bloody stupid policy.
The bottom line for me would be that I'd love to see Le Boss bring in four new players in the summer - a goalkeeper, a proven centre back, a battling defensive midfielder and a recognised speedy striker, as pace among our forward line isn't exactly blistering.
As for those who should become former Gunners, the debate can rage on, but I'm sticking with my assertion that getting rid of many to make room for a few will not help our cause in any way whatsoever and if Arsenal did sell six first team players - as many Gooners are calling for - there's not a chance in the world that we'd see six new faces arriving at the club.