Arsenal: Five players the Gunners need to get rid off after Europa League defeat to Villarreal

Mikel Arteta has a big summer ahead of him and will need to be ruthless to some of his players

Arsenal faltered to a 2-1 aggregate defeat to former manager Unai Emery as his Villarreal side knocked the Gunners out of the Europa League. Despite a semi-final loss in Europe, Mikel Arteta’s first full season went horribly wrong way before that.

Failure to win the tournament means that European football next season is hugely unlikely and Arteta’s will inevitably come under fire for that, however the players should take a large portion of the blame for some dismal displays this season.

Here are five players that need to be axed during the summer transfer window.


The Brazilian was signed on a free transfer upon the expiry of his contract at London rivals Chelsea. The deal initially seemed a strange one as he appeared to be at the latter stages of his career at 32 years old. 

After wowing Arsenal supporters on his Premier League debut for the club with a hat-trick of assists against Fulham, his performances have left much to be desired ever since. He has been the 16th best performer at the club according to WhoScored, receiving a rating of 6.59 for his league performances this season.

Remarkably, Willian is the third highest earner at the club sitting on £192,308 per week and is yet to score a goal for the Gunners.

You can almost hear a collective groan from Arsenal fans at home in front of the TV when Arteta calls him off the bench. 

Granit Xhaka

Although he was injured in the warm-up and didn’t in the Villarreal defeat, Granit Xhaka should have left the club two years ago.

The day that Xhaka threw a tantrum and goaded Arsenal fans as he was substituted to a chorus of boos in 2019 was the moment that seemed to signal his time was up. The Swiss international chucked the Arsenal jersey to the ground and stormed down the tunnel, yet he is still here.

The 28-year-old has a knack of conceding fouls having received seven yellow cards in the league, according to WhoScored. Whoever the Arsenal manager is next season should replace him with a more composed figure.

Hector Bellerin

The Spaniard has been a mainstay in the Arsenal side when he’s been fit. His performance against Villarreal was difficult to watch as he gave the ball away too cheaply and his end product in the final third was questionable at best.

He had two blocked shots and one key pass in a game that saw him have plenty of the ball in attacking areas. On the night he was the second worst performer of the starters with a 6.4 WhoScored rating and he also failed to produce a single tackle. 

Arsenal simply need better.

Eddie Nketiah

Eddie Nketiah has potential to be Premier League quality one day, however it feels he isn’t quite ready to be at the level Arsenal desperately need right now.

The forward has scored just two league goals for the Gunners and a transfer to a newly promoted team could be a good step for his career, as he seems out of his depth at the Emirates.

The 21-year-old has two big weaknesses according to WhoScored including both his finishing and holding onto the ball, which are both important characteristics for a central striker.

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Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang

Despite being anonymous and isolated for most of the tie, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang nearly became the hero the Gunners were crying out for as his header rebounded off the post.

In seasons gone by he has carried this Arsenal team with a golden boot to his name and an FA Cup triumph.

However, since renewing his contract with the Gunners he has struggled for league goals this season in comparison to previous years managing just 10 so far.

The Gabon international is 31 years old and after signing a three-year deal in 2020 this could be the perfect summer to cash in on his value and revamp the squad.

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