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Three Players for Whom the Cup Games Can be a Lifeline

By Mac Johnson

Arsenal have a pretty long list of deadwood players, who the club are effectively refusing to play because they don’t fit with the team, and are on the proverbial “transfer list.” While that approach makes sense on the surface, I would argue that giving them some time to shine in the sun could be the perfect outlet for actually selling them. 

It’s really difficult to sell a player who has been sitting on the bench for a year, or who has played a bit-part role, in the most desperate circumstances. Actually giving them game time is a prime opportunity to allow other clubs to see their abilities, and see what they could bring to the table. 

And the cup competitions are the perfect place to do that. It’s not too big of a leap to say that Arsenal’s focus this year is tied up in league placement and success in the Europa League, as those are our two routes back into the Champion’s League. The FA Cup is a nice bonus, but the Carabao Cup? Kinda doesn’t matter. 

Here are three players who should be allowed to feel like professional footballers again, even if it’s just to raise their asking price. 

Matteo Guendouzi

This is one of the obvious examples, but that doesn’t make it less true. We’ve offered swap deals for pretty much every player we want, and most often it’s been Guendouzi going the opposite way. He’s a whole bundle of potential talent, wrapped in a packet of s****y attitude. 

But he’s also worth a whole lot of money, reported anywhere from £30 million to £50 million. Now because this is a buyers market, he could go for as low as £25 million. But it can’t hurt for other clubs to have a reminder of what the Frenchman brings to the table. 

And hey, if he has an absolute flyer against Leicester, all the better for the team. He’s been training with the first team in recent weeks, which might signal his return to the team in a limited capacity. 

Mesut Ozil

Here’s the other name that was likely on people’s lips. Our very own Harry Houdini. Well despite practicing his disappearing act on and off the field last season, he still created the second-most chances in the team. Frankly, that’s more of an indictment of Arsenal’s creative capabilities than it is a support of Ozil. But it sounds good, doesn’t it?

Ozil’s main issue is that he just doesn’t have the legs he did five years ago. He’s still a very talented player, with the ability to create a goal out of absolute nothing, but he struggles to run the hard yards in the world’s most physical league. No shockers there. 

Offloading Ozil would seriously free up our wage budget, and add a nice little dollop of cash onto our transfer kitty. It’s something Arsenal fans have dreamed about since he signed his new deal—how much does that suck to say aloud—and this summer is the last time we can get any sort of money back for him. 

Despite his insistence that he doesn’t want to leave North London at any price, we need the money we’re giving him in order to actually mount a proper transfer charge. If we get the right offer (any transfer fee, but they cover his wages completely), I say we take it. And playing him might just give other clubs an incentive to step in. Because he’s still got it, he just doesn’t have the on-field time to prove it. 

Lucas Torreira

This might be an odd one for some of you, because Torreira hasn’t been excluded from the squad. But this is purely in the interest of raising funds, because Torreira’s sale might land us some serious capital. 

Our Uruguayan bulldog has been linked with three major deals recently—£25 million bids to join Fiorentina or Milan, and a swap-plus-cash deal with Atletico Madrid, with Thomas Partey coming the other way. Los Rojiblancos reportedly just want Torreira on loan, and while that’s not the end of the world, it would be better as a permanent deal, so that we could either recoup his value or lessen the fee necessary to acquire Partey. 

Playing him is a bona-fide solution for him to get noticed. After all, “Lucas Torreira bosses Leicester midfield” is a much better headline than “Arsenal reject Torreira linked with a cut-price deal to Fiorentina.” It will get his name circulating again, and just make him happier. He’s a footballer, and he wants to play football. 

But between now and October 5th, we have a maximum of two games—depending on whether or not we beat Leicester—to play any of these geezers before they’re stuck in the reserves for another half-season. Arsenal need to make the most of the opportunity we have to sell. 

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