By Joe Prince-Wright,
A handful of Arsenal’s star players are agitating for moves away, if Unai Emery remains as Gunners boss.
Reports from multiple outlets, including the Daily Mail, claim that Arsenal’s directors are concerned that a number of their best players will stall on signing new deals as they wait for Emery to leave.
Per the report, Head of Football Raul Sanllehi and Sporting Director Edu held ‘crisis talks’ after their recent disappointing results, with Sanllehi reportedly visiting the dressing room to talk to Emery after their draw with Southampton on Saturday.
Emery has a break in his contract at the end of the 2019-20 season where Arsenal could fire him for nothing, but if they get rid of him before that he’d be due a payment of close to $5.5 million.
Both Alexander Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang are mentioned as players stalling on signing new contracts, as Arsenal’s star strikers are keeping them in games right now.
Lacazette scored twice in the 2-2 draw against Southampton on Saturday as Arsenal snatched an undeserved point in the 96th minute after their defensive had given up 21 attempts at goal.
The Gunners haven’t won any of their last five Premier League games and sit in eighth place, eight points off the top four, as Emery’s leadership has been criticized heavily in recent weeks.
From his handling of the captaincy, then ostracizing Granit Xhaka after his outburst, to his constant rotation of players and formations, Arsenal have no clear playing identity and style. Emery has been in charge for the last 18 months and Arsenal are worse off than when things tailed off in the final seasons under Arsene Wenger.
Have Arsenal hit rock bottom under Emery? It seems like the board may have to act between now and January to stop the fine attacking players they have planning to jump ship.
Will Arsenal keep Emery in charge for the rest of this season because they don’t want to pay him off? Or do they cut the cord now and hope his replacement can lead them top a first top four finish in four seasons which would improve their financial strength?
first published by NBC Sports