Smith Rowe, Ramsdale, Zinchenko all leave Arsenal as we decide who Arteta should keep and sell

Jason Soutar
Arsenal players Bukayo Saka, William Saliba, Emile Smith Rowe, Oleksandr Zinchenko and Fabio Vieira
Arsenal players Bukayo Saka, William Saliba, Emile Smith Rowe, Oleksandr Zinchenko and Fabio Vieira

Here we have the Arsenal first-team squad and who should be sold and kept by Mikel Arteta this summer. Three Hale End graduates will be waving goodbye if we get our way.

We previously did it with Manchester United so feel free to read that afterwards…


David Raya – Keep
Technically not signed on a permanent basis yet, David Raya will join from Brentford for £27million after a successful season-long loan. Rather than a ‘keep’, this is more of a ‘sign’.


Aaron Ramsdale – Sell
Poor Aaron Ramsdale lost his place in the Arsenal goal following the signing of Raya last summer. It was heavily debated for a while but the decision was justified in the end with the Spaniard’s Golden Glove victory.


Karl Hein – Keep
Arsenal need a second or third-choice goalkeeper and Estonian international Karl Hein could be the man for the job. Letting him leave feels pointless with Ramsdale up for sale and Arthur Okonkwo leaving when his contract expires at the end of June.


Benjamin White – Keep
Ben White was the best right-back in the Premier League last season and selling him would be ridiculously dumb from a club no longer participating in regular nonsense.


Takehiro Tomiyasu – Keep
Injury prone but brilliant whenever fit, Takehiro Tomiyasu is an excellent back-up option in defence, more than capable of playing in left or right-back due to his tactical nous and ability with both feet. The Japanese international only recently signed a new contract as well.


Jurrien Timber – Keep
Arsenal fans are very excited to see what Jurrien Timber has to offer in what should be considered his first season at the club after his ACL injury on matchday one in 2023/24.


William Saliba – Keep
This guy has the potential to become the best centre-back in the world. Arsenal have an absolute gem in William Saliba.


Gabriel Magalhaes – Keep
The Gunners also have a gem in Gabriel, who has formed an outstanding centre-back partnership with Saliba. Both players cost a combined £51m, by the way. Ridiculous.

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Jakub Kiwior – Keep
If Arsenal decided to sell Jakub Kiwior this summer, there would not be too many angry fans. But since joining from Spezia last January the Pole has probably played as much as everyone expected him to, which is not very much.

Kiwior filled in well in left-back last term, providing a nice balance and has a lot of potential. While a loan move would leave Arteta’s squad a little bit thin at the back, it certainly makes more sense than letting him leave permanently. There is interest from Italian clubs so this sale would not be too surprising.


Oleksandr Zinchenko – Sell
The first of three sells in a row, Oleksandr Zinchenko has proven himself to be more of a defensive liability than a strength at Arsenal. This was summarised in an April feature and reiterated again when recently ranking the Gunners’ summer priorities.

He is clearly an immensely talented footballer technically but Arteta should once again look to copy Pep Guardiola and move away from Zinchenko for a more natural defender like Kiwior, Timber, or even Kieran Tierney, or sign a new player.


Nuno Tavares – Sell
Sell. Sell. Sell. Nuno Tavares is not good enough for Arsenal and if they can make a profit on the £7m they paid for him, they will be chuffed.


Kieran Tierney – Sell
Arsenal fans really like Kieran Tierney but he doesn’t appear to be a fit in Arteta’s current system having been extremely influential in the Spaniard’s early – and miserable – days.

Tierney is an old-fashioned full-back, someone who loves to get chalk on their boots and maraud up and down the flank. That is not the way these days with all of this inverted nonsense. Someone on Twitter the other day suggested a player as ‘an inverted central midfielder’. This woke nonsense has to stop.

Arteta’s system is far from woke, in fairness, and one that Tony Pulis would be proud of having first introduced the Premier League to his back four consisting of four centre-backs over a decade ago. What was he cooking?

But, yeah, Tierney should be moved on as he isn’t the right fit anymore, is injury prone, and is too good to be sitting on the bench. A return to Celtic would be nice but the financial aspect of a potential transfer means it is unlikely.


Declan Rice – Keep
It is not worth our or yours going too deep to justify not selling Arsenal’s incredibly successful £100m signing after one year.

Thomas Partey – Sell
Unreliable and entering the final year of his contract; selling Thomas Partey is a no-brainer.


Jorginho – Keep
Arteta promised Arsenal fans that they would “fall in love” with Jorginho and he was not wrong. It was an underwhelming signing at the time after the Gunners had bids rejected for Moises Caicedo but the Italian has been a successful addition and very recently signed a new contract.


Sambi Lokonga – Sell
The signing of Sambi Lokonga was an exciting one when it was made three years ago but it has not happened for the Belgian whatsoever. He played a little over 1,100 minutes in the Premier League in his debut season at the Emirates and minutes vastly declined the following year, which led to an underwhelming six-month loan at Crystal Palace.

Lokonga’s stock is pretty high after a great year on loan at Luton Town and Arsenal should look to cash in and potentially recoup the £16m they paid Anderlecht for his services in July 2021.

Mohamed Elneny is leaving following the expiry of his contract so there is space for Lokonga to stay but at the age of 24, he is not going to accept the cheerleader role Elneny assumed.


Martin Odegaard – Keep
He is Arsenal captain and a world-class midfielder. Need we say any more?


Fabio Vieira – Sell if there is interest
We have not been overly impressed by Portuguese playmaker Fabio Vieira since Arsenal signed him from FC Porto out of the blue. You don’t need to hit the gym and become #hench but when you are built like Vieira, it is far from ideal in such a physical league.

Again, like Kiwior, there is a lot of potential there and Arsenal fans will probably not be too bothered if he is sold. He is yet to catch fire in an Arsenal shirt and if there is sufficient interest, Arteta’s side should cash in.


Emile Smith Rowe – Sell
This is heartbreaking to say, but it is time for Emile Smith Rowe and Arsenal to part ways.

He has started three Premier League matches in the last two seasons and has unfortunately been outgrown at the club he loves and grew up at. The Hale End graduate was so important for Arteta when brought in to the side in December 2020 and it would not be a stretch to say that he kept his manager in the job. That influence did not wane in 21/22 but it massively did the following year due to injuries and the emergence of other players.

It is a great shame but it is time for Arsenal to cash in on Smith Rowe. The fact ‘pure profit’ is such a big factor for clubs makes it even more of an obvious decision.


Kai Havertz – Keep
The signing of Kai Havertz was heavily criticised at the time – by myself and several others – and after a very slow start in the Arsenal midfield, Havertz started being played up front and my oh my did he come to life.

Confidence is a wonderful thing and it helped Havertz become one of the best strikers in the Premier League in the second half of last season.


Bukayo Saka – Keep
I would love to hear a case for selling Bukayo Saka. Not even Stewie Griffin can justify it. If you are not a Mailbox reader you will be so confused right now.


Reiss Nelson – Sell
Another Hale Ender that should be offloaded this summer, Reiss Nelson never reached the heights of Smith Rowe when his potential as a teenager was bigger. He would be a decent pick-up for a bottom-half Premier League team and if Arsenal can get £20m for him, they have done well.


Marquinhos – Sell
You forgot he existed, didn’t you? Yeah…this one hasn’t worked out but at least Marquinhos is relatively well known as a result of his transfer to Arsenal.


Leandro Trossard – Keep
Bloody brilliant this little Belgian. Keep. Keep. Keep.

📣 TO THE COMMENTS! What do you agree and disagree with? Should Arsenal keep Smith Rowe? Join the debate here.


Gabriel Martinelli – Keep
You know what, if someone wanted to come in with a £100m bid for Gabriel Martinelli, I would want Arsenal to accept it. The fans love him and rightly so, the Brazilian is brilliant, but will he ever be an elite forward that every top team needs? Probably not. Liverpool had Sadio Mane and Manchester City had Raheem Sterling and Martinelli is yet to reach that level. Saka has, mind, but he can’t do it all himself.

Saying that, Arsenal should not be actively looking to sell Martinelli. Not a chance.


Gabriel Jesus – Keep
Jesus is an interesting one. He joined Arsenal after Arteta promised he would be the main man up front but has only scored 19 goals in 69 matches for the north Londoners. That is not good enough but he has struggled with injuries and does contribute a lot off the ball and makes those around him better, just look at how Martinelli and Saka exploded in 22/23.

Arsenal went to another level following the signing of Jesus but as an out-and-out striker, he is not world class, and that is what the Gunners need up there.

Jesus should not be sold though. Arteta has been toying with the idea of signing a new right-winger for a while and with Nelson likely leaving, that desire could ramp up further, but Jesus is the perfect cover for Saka and can also play on the left wing, and of course through the middle, although signing a new No. 9 should be a priority for Arteta, over a right-winger.

That was basically a long-winded way of saying keep Jesus to provide cover for Saka, Havertz and Martinelli, and sign a striker, ideally someone like Bologna’s Joshua Zirkzee, if Manchester United don’t get there first.


Eddie Nketiah – Sell
The emotions Arsenal fans feel towards Smith Rowe are much stronger than with Eddie Nketiah and Nelson, so admitting that the latter two should be sold is a lot less painful.

Nketiah is not good enough for Arsenal and unfortunately that is the brutal truth. Again, as a pure profit sale, the Gunners should look to make this sale materialise in the 2024 summer transfer window.

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