ARSENAL manager Unai Emery has been urged to buy four new defenders and release error-prone centre-back Shkodran Mustafi by ex-Gunner Charlie Nicholas.
Arsenal head into the summer transfer window on a reportedly tight budget despite not spending a penny in transfer fees in January.
Emery’s squad was embellished with the additions of Bernd Leno and Lucas Torreira in his first season in charge, while the arrivals of Matteo Guendouzi and Sokratis Papastathopoulos also showed promise.
The Spanish coach is still looking for an adaptable wide midfielder after Denis Suarez’s failed loan move from Barcelona, while reinforcements to the shaky defence are also thought to be desired.
Former striker Nicholas played for Arsenal from 1983 to 1988 and believes he knows what his former side needs, issuing a transfer plea to Emery and the board.
“We need a whole new backline,” the Scot boldly stated of the ninth best defence in the league on Sky Sports.
“I am disappointed that Petr Cech is retiring. I would have encouraged them to give him another year.
“Bernd Leno has got mistakes in him and would have benefited from Cech giving him a helping hand.
“We are looking for four defenders, so on top of the crazy situation of letting Aaron Ramsey go for nothing, it is not great. They need two centre-backs and two full-backs.”
Emery switched between a back-three and back-four this year with the latter eventually proving his preference despite tactical switches in big games.
He has struggled to juggle a litany of injuries this season, which have seen Hector Bellerin, Konstantinos Mavropanos and Rob Holding all out for long spells.
The unreliable Mustafi has played often in the heart of defence as a result, but Nicholas believes there is no berth left for the German, whose contract expires in June 2021, in north London.
“Hector Bellerin will come back and play right-back, as Ainsley Maitland-Niles could be pushed on potentially,” Nicholas added.
“Sokratis Papastathopoulos and Sead Kolasinac are good to have as squad players. Nacho Monreal and Laurent Koscielny are getting on a bit now.
“Shkodran Mustafi must be released in my opinion. Konstantinos Mavropanos and Rob Holding are still to come back when they are fit.”
With Aaron Ramsey leaving for Juventus, Mesut Ozil is the only creative spark left in the roster.
His reported £350,000-a-week wages were problematic in the failure to extend Ramsey’s contract, though, and the German has not dovetailed with Emery’s philosophy since the slick tactician arrived.
“It comes down to who we can get rid of. If Emery doesn’t want Mesut Ozil then get rid,” Nicholas asserted.
“But where will he move to? If he won’t play then Ozil won’t stay. He has got too big of a personality to stay and be on the bench. If Arsenal can get him out with a transfer fee then I would.
“I would give the youngsters a couple more games next year and bring Reiss Nelson back [from his loan to Hoffenheim], while looking at a big midfielder too.”