William Saliba's Arsenal journey
Several Arsenal stars are fighting for their futures as Mikel Arteta and Edu continue to mould the Gunners into a squad that can compete with Manchester City for Premier League and Champions League glory. Squad lists for the current season have been submitted, all-but confirming that there are unlikely to be any further departures despite transfer windows still open in some countries, but some fringe players may start to worry about their future with the January market just over three months away. Here, Express Sport looks at four players who could need to have a strong start to the campaign in order to remain at the Emirates.
Cedric Soares is perhaps a surprise inclusion to Arsenal’s 25-man squad for the league, having continuously been linked away from north London this summer – especially to his homeland, with several Portuguese teams said to be interested in his services.
The 32-year-old is yet to play a single minute for Arsenal this season, however, and appears to be towards the bottom of the pecking order in defence. He does seem to be prepared to fight for his place, though, in the hope that he can win Arteta over in the next few months
“Everyone wants to play and I also always really want to play, that’s what makes me competitive in football,” Cedric told DAZN Portugal. “It’s what gets me to training every day with that determination, but also to realise that we have to contribute, even if we’re not in the squad sometimes.”
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Emile Smith Rowe
Emile Smith Rowe was linked with a late summer transfer to Chelsea, but stayed put despite not featuring in any of the Gunners’ four Premier League matches so far this season. He played over half an hour in the Community Shield, but has not stepped on the pitch since.
With a glut of options in forward areas keeping him out of the team, coupled with Kai Havertz’s big-money signing to replace Granit Xhaka and Fabio Vieira stepping up with some improved performances, Smith Rowe may have to shine in very limited minutes in order to win a spot in the Arsenal team and avoid having to look for another club in January.
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Arsenal now have several players able to play the holding midfield position, which could mean that Mohamed Elneny rarely features when he returns from injury. The 31-year-old injured his knee in January, but has returned to training after nine months ahead of a potential return.
He could face Brentford in the third round of the Carabao Cup later this month, but may need to impress in order to oust the current members of midfield should he want to be an influential player on the pitch.
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In a slightly similar situation to Elneny, Jorginho has featured off the bench this season when more defensive players have been required. However, with Declan Rice impressing as the deepest midfielder against Manchester United and Thomas Partey remaining at the club to compete for that position, Jorginho has been left on the fringes of the team.
With Oleksandr Zinchenko returning to the team and inverting from the left, as opposed to Partey inverting from right-back, the Ghanaian is another midfielder that Jorginho has to compete with for playing time.
And with as many as four holding midfielders at the club, Arteta may decide to let either Jorginho or Elneny leave in January.
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