Emery making Gunners squad his own


Roma have reached an agreement with Arsenal to take Henrikh Mkhitaryan on a season-long loan as Unai Emery continues to shape his squad.

Having finished fifth in his first season in charge of the Gunners last term, the Spanish tactician has made his intentions clear over the summer, with 15 players leaving permanently or on loan.

He has brought in six as he attempts to be successful in his task of getting back into the Champions League for the 2020-2021 campaign.

That will not be easy but it has been an encouraging start for the north Londoners, with seven points from four games played and a 2-2 draw with Tottenham on Sunday.

A 3-1 loss at Liverpool was maybe a reality check but many clubs will succumb to the Reds in the same way this term.

Emery has not been afraid to make tough choices, a fact borne out by the decision to sign David Luiz from Chelsea.

Always a player to polarise opinion, the Brazilian has already made few mistakes but his undoubted class will surely be of benefit in the long run to Arsenal’s top-four hopes.

Mkhitaryan seemed a big-name player when signing for Manchester United but he has never really cut it in English football and it was a slight surprise when Arsene Wenger opted to swap Alexis Sanchez for the Armenia international.

Just nine goals from 58 appearances in all competitions have followed and Emery has seen enough, with the 30-year-old set to ply his trade at the Stadio Olimpico until at least next May.

Nacho Monreal has also left to sign a two-year deal with La Liga side Real Sociedad while Mohamed Elneny has joined Besiktas on a season-long loan and Alex Iwobi, Aaron Ramsay and Laurent Koscielny have all departed over the summer too.

It appeared as though there was some staleness at the Emirates Stadium and the boss is doing his best to freshen things up.

It takes time for a new manager to stamp his own style on a club but when that club had someone of the stature and longevity of Wenger in charge for so long, Emery was always going to need at least 12 months to make the squad his own.

It remains to be seen if those he now has at his disposal can go on and deliver the goods but there can be no question who is in charge of team affairs, while strong leadership can only auger well for the future success of those in red and white.