Arsenal’s tour squad leaves Gibbs, Perez & Szczesny on the verge of exit

Josh Challies

The new Premier League season is now around a month away and clubs are jetting off around the world to commence their pre-season campaigns, with Arsenal heading to Sydney last night.

Arsene Wenger’s 25-man party for the tour came with a few surprises and selections that drop major hints towards upcoming transfer business for the Gunners, where they’re likely to focus on trimming their squad having spent the last month securing deals for Sead Kolasinac and Alexandre Lacazette.

With the signing of Lacazette crucially pushing Arsenal towards the Premier League’s 17-man threshold on foreign players, the Gunners need to approve exits in the coming weeks – with Lucas Perez and Mathieu Debuchy seeming the most likely candidates to be shifted.

Both players have struggled since joining Arsenal, with Debuchy suffering numerous injury problems since arriving from Newcastle United in 2014 and Perez failing to secure regular football following his capture from Deportivo last summer – despite impressing in the appearances he did make.

Wojciech Szczesny’s omission is a sign that the Gunners will continue to put faith in their three first-team goalkeepers from last season, leaving the door open for Szczesny to return to Italy on a permanent basis, but the absence of Kieran Gibbs is the biggest talking point.

Once considered to be the man capable of filling the void left by Ashley Cole, Arsenal’s academy graduate has fallen down the pecking order significantly- although Arsene Wenger hinted he has a part to play in the squad following the arrival of Kolasinac, indicating that Nacho Monreal could play centrally.

The French boss may now have reconsidered his choice though, with the Gunners having Shkodran Mustafi, Laurent Koscielny, Rob Holding and Gabriel Paulista amongst their central-defensive options, and Gibbs now needs a move to save a career that has seen him stagnate.

For Arsenal as a whole, it’s a further indication that Wenger has come a long way in recent years and is prepared to oust the deadwood from his squad- continuing with the progress he made 12 months ago when exits for Serge Gnabry, Tomas Rosicky and Wellington Silva took place.

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