Unai Emery’s promising start to his Arsenal tenure got even better as the Gunners’ pre-season kicked off on Saturday.
The Spaniard guided his men to a resounding 8-0 win over National League side Boreham Wood, with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang largely stealing the show at Meadow Park.
The Gabon international netted a ten-minute hat-trick in the first half before Reiss Nelson, Alexandre Lacazette, Eddie Nketiah, Jeff Reine-Adelaide and finally Henrikh Mkhitaryan tipped the scoreboard well into their favour.
It couldn’t have been a more comfortable start for Emery, which is exactly what he needed to ease some of the pressure on his shoulders ahead of the 2018-19 campaign.
Although proving he’s the right man to replace the long-serving Arsene Wenger isn’t a straightforward task, the £70 million Arsenal have already invested in new signings should make a difference.
Lucas Torreira, Bernd Leno, Sokratis Papastathopoulos, Matteo Guendouzi and Stephan Lichsteiner will call the Emirates home this season, suggesting Emery has an eye for a bargain similar to that of his predecessor.
The fact Torreira – a 22-year-old Uruguayan midfielder snapped up from Sampdoria – is the former Paris Saint-Germain boss’ most expensive purchase to date speaks volumes.
But no matter how shrewd the welcome arrival of five new faces may be, it was always going to require others to move in the opposite direction.
SIX PLAYERS ON THE CHOPPING BLOCK
According to the Telegraph, Emery has given the green light to sell two more players, who would join Per Mertesacker, Santi Cazorla and Jack Wilshere on the departures list.
Those three left the Arsenal for nothing, though, and the 46-year-old is now prepared to cash in on Danny Welbeck and David Ospina following their return from the World Cup.
That takes the total number of expected departures to six, with Lucas Perez, Carl Jenkinson, Chuba Akpom and Joel Campbell all set to be shown the door before the end of the transfer window.
It’s no great surprise Emery doesn’t see Welbeck and Ospina in his future plans.
The former is in the final year of his contract after scoring just 27 goals across four seasons, while the Colombian goalkeeper will struggle for minutes with Leno and Petr Cech for competition.
The sale of the pair isn’t likely to fund another signing alone, however, it should help recoup some of the Gunners’ ambitious outlay this summer.
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