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Transfer truth Arsenal must face even if Mikel Arteta lands Europa League glory

The Europa League trophy might as well be cast from iron pyrite if Arsenal do go on to lift it this season because, for the Gunners, it will be nothing more than fool’s gold anyway.

It would serve only to paper over the huge cracks that have appeared at the Emirates in recent years and delay the massive overhaul that is so clearly needed.

Hector Bellerin, Alex Lacazette, Willian, Granit Xhaka and Mohamed Elneny all need moving on for starters.

And maybe Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, too.

Willian and Aubameyang aside, that’s based on longevity rather than form, with Arsenal’s recent problems ingrained so deeply in all of them that it’s inevitable their heads drop and there’s a feeling ‘here we go again’ amongst them every time an issue arises.

Willian has struggled to make an impact at Arsenal and needs selling

Mikel Arteta cannot allow that mentality to be allowed to permeate the exciting new crop of youngsters he has got coming through and must protect them, at all costs, from that happening.

As Thursday night’s display against Slavia Prague reminded us again, Arsenal have some brilliant young players.

And in Emile Smith Rowe, Bukayo Saka, Gabriel Martinelli, Thomas Partey and the injured Kieran Tierney, he has a quintet he could build some team around.

With the right additions in the next two to three years, performances like that one could be the norm from Arsenal at home and abroad rather than something which happens once every few weeks and leaves fans wondering, ‘Why not more often?’

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta with Bukayo Saka
Arteta must build around the likes of young star Saka

If Arteta can get Arsenal to that stage then they will be challenging for the trophies and league places their supporters feel they should be challenging for instead of enduring rollercoaster campaigns like this one.

To get there, though, a good clear out is needed.

When Gareth Southgate took over with England, he and The FA made some big decisions with players who had been part of the teams that had failed moved on.

Southgate realised the whole set-up needed a reset if the Three Lions were to become properly competitive again and Arsenal are at the same crossroads.

The big question fans must ask themselves is whether or not they think their club can win the Premier League or Champions League in the next three years with, by and large, this group.

Arsenal defender David Luiz
David Luiz will hold contract talks in the summer but he is someone who could be kept on

Because, if not, then why not start next season with Bernd Leno, Calum Chambers, Rob Holding, Pablo Mari, Tierney, Partey, Saka, Smith Rowe and Martinelli, with a couple of other additions, and give them the time to grow.

Let them get experience under their belts so they can start competing for the really big trophies they crave in three years’ time themselves.

David Luiz is the one senior name who should be kept on for his experience of winning those big trophies and maybe one of Aubameyang and Lacazette for another season.

But otherwise get rid of anyone with excess baggage of their time at the club.

It would take patience and understanding from the Emirates faithful, of course, but if they see a young, vibrant, hungry side who are moving in the right direction, then most of them will buy into it.

As The Stone Roses once sang, ‘Gold road’s sure a long road’.

And the sooner Arsenal realise that, the better.

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