15,000+ Arsenal fans were given control of the club: Keep or sell?


15,000+ Arsenal fans were given control of the club: This is who they would keep and sell. (Part 1)

If you had control?

Arsenal have endured a very difficult season which is unlikely to see them qualify for Europe this season. An overhaul is what is needed and many Arsenal many enter prolonged debates about who should stay and who should go.

Therefore, as an interesting experiment, using a series of polls on individual players in the squad with the help of over 320,000 individual votes averaging more than 15,000 votes per player, the perfect sample size was collected.

In this 3-part series, the results of the experiment are discussed and explained. Reasoning why the vote swung one way over another and what must then change in the summer. Arsenal fans were asked a very simple question: ‘Keep or Sell?’

The rules led to only the first team squad being used and none of the loanees (Mat Ryan, Dani Ceballos or Martin Odegaard) or those whose contracts expire this summer (David Luiz) would be included. No youth players either (e.g Folarin Balogun, Miguel Azeez etc.).

Starting with the goalkeepers and defenders, this is what the Arsenal fans want.

Goalkeepers

Bernd Leno – Sell

The Arsenal number 1 keeper has had an indifferent season. From saving Arsenal in a penalty shootout against Liverpool in the League Cup at the start if the season, to seeing a ball trickle off his gloves from a Richarlison cross to condemn Arsenal to a likely Europeless next campaign.

15,000+ Arsenal fans were given control of the club: This is who they would keep and sell. (Part 1)

LONDON, ENGLAND – DECEMBER 29: Bernd Leno of Arsenal reacts after Chelsea score their first goal during the Premier League match between Arsenal FC and Chelsea FC at Emirates Stadium on December 29, 2019 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)

It is unsurprising then that a slender majority have voted in favour of seeing the German international leave. But with 42.5% still backing the man, they have not been deterred by his recent comments of being open to a ‘new adventure.’

Goalkeeper will be on the summer agenda with Mat Ryan’s loan ending, whether the club’s signing will replace or cover Leno remains to be seen.

Alex Runarsson – Sell

The Icelandic keeper has been noting short of a disaster since his arrival and recommendation from goalkeeping coach Inaki Cana.

His performances have looked nervy and amateur. A ball slipping through his fingers against Manchester City is one thing but looking awkward against Dundalk in the Europa League earned no plaudits or time.

15,000+ Arsenal fans were given control of the club: This is who they would keep and sell. (Part 1)

ST ALBANS, ENGLAND – SEPTEMBER 21: Alex Runarsson of Arsenal during a training session at London Colney on September 21, 2020 in St Albans, England. (Photo by Stuart MacFarlane/Arsenal FC via Getty Images)

The signing of Mat Ryan on loan provided all fans needed to know about how the club viewed the player and unsurprisingly 88.6% of voters said they too would move him on.

Defenders

Hector Bellerin – Sell

Hector Bellerin is one of the few ‘old guard’ of the Arsene Wenger days still at the club who came through the academy. Now 26, his minutes under Arteta have gradually diminished. His serious knee injury has seen a shadow of his former self return to the field and has been a key reason behind fan opinion turning on the former favourite.

15,000+ Arsenal fans were given control of the club: This is who they would keep and sell. (Part 1)

LEICESTER, ENGLAND – NOVEMBER 09: Hector Bellerin of Arsenal during the Premier League match between Leicester City and Arsenal FC at The King Power Stadium on November 09, 2019 in Leicester, United Kingdom. (Photo by Stuart MacFarlane/Arsenal FC via Getty Images)

There have even been reports circulating that a secret agreement between him and Arteta will see him leave the club in the summer.

The return of Calum Chambers was the biggest signal of the Spaniard’s departure as the former Southampton man took his place on many occasions in a role he has barely played during his time at the club.

The fans have reacted as such and a staggering 91.1% have voted to see the player leave.

Cedric Soares – Keep 

The first ‘Keep’ of the list so far. The Portuguese player was playing considerably higher than many expected from the man who arrived on a free from Southampton during the period with Kieran Tierney out in an unorthodox role at left-back. His performances earned a call-up to the Portuguese national team for the first time in a number of years.

He is seen as a clear cover player for the right-back role, an area that Arsenal will likely invest in this summer, and he seems content with that as things stand. As do the fan base who 66.1% have opted in keeping the player.

Calum Chambers – Keep

Certainly one on the list of who had the poll been run a few months ago the result could have been very different. Recovering from a long-term knee injury, Chambers made the right-back spot his own and put in some solid displays, most notably in the 3-3 draw with West Ham.

Still, 75.3% saying keep is a surprise. Chambers has just one year left on his deal at the club and, by the percentages, it appears a new deal would not be complained about.

Arsenal’s injury record and Chambers’ own versatility may provide further reasoning behind a desire to see him stay.

Rob Holding – Keep

One of the closer run races of the polls. Holding only just survived the cut earning 53.1% of the vote and to the vocal dismay of some online who replied and quoted the tweet with dismay at which way the poll had fallen.

LONDON, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 16: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang of Arsenal celebrates with teammate Rob Holding after scoring their team's first goal during the Premier League match between Arsenal and Southampton at Emirates Stadium on December 16, 2020 in London, England. The match will be played without fans, behind closed doors as a Covid-19 precaution. (Photo by Peter Cziborra - Pool/Getty Images)

LONDON, ENGLAND – DECEMBER 16: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang of Arsenal celebrates with teammate Rob Holding after scoring their team’s first goal during the Premier League match between Arsenal and Southampton at Emirates Stadium on December 16, 2020 in London, England. The match will be played without fans, behind closed doors as a Covid-19 precaution. (Photo by Peter Cziborra – Pool/Getty Images)

Holding is a player who, for the long-term, is likely not of the required level to be the Gunners’ starting right sided centre half.

However, he has shown to be competent player and recently signed a new contract with the club. This is important due to the fact with the player who follows Holding on the list returning from an impressive loan, the Englishman can provide ample cover and rotation which would cost a sizeable fee to find on the market.

His filling of one of the necessary homegrown slots is also a plus in the defender’s favour.

William Saliba – Keep

Arguably the most enigmatic figure in the whole of the Arsenal squad. Signed in 2019 but still without any idea how he will fare as an Arsenal player, yet, as shown in the poll’s results is still exceptionally highly regarded by the Arsenal fan base is William Saliba.

The Frenchman’s first 6 months at his new club, after returning from a loan with his old side Saint-Etienne, were ones to forget. Sent to the under-23 squad he got barely a look in to the first team squad, getting a spot on the bench just twice and never in the league.

He joined Nice on loan and has shown Arsenal exactly what they have been missing. Granted, not the finished article and some immature mistakes pepper his game, but he has shown leadership and quality during his time and made Nice better for it.

15,000+ Arsenal fans were given control of the club: This is who they would keep and sell. (Part 1)

Nice’s French defender William Saliba (L) is challenged by Metz’s French forward Thierry Ambrose during the French L1 football match between Football Club de Metz and OGC Nice at the Saint-Symphorien Stadium in Longeville-Les-Metz, eastern France on January 9, 2021. (Photo by JEAN-CHRISTOPHE VERHAEGEN / AFP) (Photo by JEAN-CHRISTOPHE VERHAEGEN/AFP via Getty Images)

Next season, many questions will come but hopefully, for Arsenal’s sake, he can show why they paid so much for him.

Konstantinos Mavropanos – Sell

The Greek defender has been excellent in his spell with Stuttgart on loan, so good that the club are desperate to keep him. Not as desperate seemingly as the Arsenal fan base though who have opted to allow the 23-year-old to leave.

There are a number of factors for why this might be. Firstly is the presence of Saliba, Holding and Chambers and the prospect of maybe even a signing in that area this summer. You can only have so many centre halves and Mavropanos clearly doesn’t make the cut.

Furthermore is the opportunity to sell the player for a tidy sum and make significant profit on the small fee paid to secure him some years ago.

Gabriel Magalhaes – Keep

Unsurprising to see a huge vote in favour of the Brazilian’s continuation at the club having only joined last summer. He was a player who Arsenal desperately needed and he showed that during arguably Arsenal’s worst period in the first half of the season.

There is certainly more to come from Gabriel and his age is an indicator that is indeed the case. A partner who he can form a consistent partnership with will be where the focus will be this summer, could it be in the form of a young Frenchman?

Pablo Mari – Keep

Arsenal have seemingly got the left-sided centre-back role covered with Pablo Mari providing consistent cover for Gabriel. He has even started plenty of games alongside Rob Holding in seemingly one of the better partnerships whilst Gabriel is preferred, when fit, alongside David Luiz.

Mari’s age of 27 will see him become the most experienced centre-half in the Arsenal side when David Luiz moves on, he does have the feeling that he can fulfil that role. A good communicator and calm presence in the side.

No surprise then the large majority of fans would like to see him stay.

Kieran Tierney – Keep

Not much to discuss with Tierney. By far the most loved player in the squad by the fan base for his tenacity, grit and attacking play. Injuries have hampered his time at the club but when fit he is by far up there with the league’s best at left-back.

15,000+ Arsenal fans were given control of the club: This is who they would keep and sell. (Part 1)

WEST BROMWICH, ENGLAND – JANUARY 02: Kieran Tierney of Arsenal celebrates with teammates Rob Holding, Dani Ceballos and Pablo Mari after scoring their team’s first goal during the Premier League match between West Bromwich Albion and Arsenal at The Hawthorns on January 02, 2021 in West Bromwich, England. The match will be played without fans, behind closed doors as a Covid-19 precaution. (Photo by Rui Vieira – Pool/Getty Images)

The biggest issue has been when he is not there. Something the Gunners will need to address in the summer.

Sead Kolasinac – Sell

One man who was let go on loan in January and arguably shouldn’t have been, not because of his quality, but because the club failed to bring in a replacement.

Kolasinac left for Schalke where some reports credit him with part of the reason behind the manager’s sacking.

He and his big wages will be one the club, and clearly the fans, will want to see leave permanently.

Make sure you stay tuned for part 2 coming soon.

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Premier League table

# Team MP D P
1 Manchester City FC 35 46 80
2 Manchester United FC 35 30 70
3 Leicester City FC 36 21 66
4 Chelsea FC 35 23 64
5 West Ham United FC 35 10 58
6 Liverpool FC 34 18 57
7 Tottenham Hotspur FC 35 20 56
8 Everton FC 34 4 55
9 Arsenal FC 35 11 52
10 Leeds United 35 0 50
11 Aston Villa FC 34 8 48
12 Wolverhampton Wanderers FC 35 -12 45
13 Crystal Palace FC 35 -22 41
14 Southampton FC 35 -18 40
15 Burnley FC 35 -14 39
16 Newcastle United FC 35 -18 39
17 Brighton & Hove Albion FC 35 -5 37
18 Fulham FC 35 -22 27
19 West Bromwich Albion 35 -36 26
20 Sheffield United FC 35 -44 17
Player Team Goals
Kane, Harry Tottenham Hotspur FC 21
Salah, Mohamed Liverpool FC 20
Fernandes, Bruno Manchester United FC 17
Son, Heung Min Tottenham Hotspur FC 17
Calvert-Lewin, Dominic Everton FC 16
Bamford, Patrick Leeds United 15
Vardy, Jamie Leicester City FC 13
Watkins, Ollie Aston Villa FC 13
Lacazette, Alexandre Arsenal FC 13
Wilson, Callum Newcastle United FC 12
Ings, Danny Southampton FC 12
Wood, Chris Burnley FC 12
Gundogan, Ilkay Manchester City FC 12
Iheanacho, Kelechi Leicester City FC 11
Rashford, Marcus Manchester United FC 10
Sterling, Raheem Manchester City FC 10
Pereira, Matheus West Bromwich Albion 10
Aubameyang, Pierre-Emerick Arsenal FC 10
Zaha, Wilfried Crystal Palace FC 10
Mane, Sadio Liverpool FC 9





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