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Luiz out, Lacazette stays: Keown calls for five changes 'minimum' at Arsenal in summer window

11:09 BST 17/05/2021
Nicolas Pepe Thomas Partey Alexandre Lacazette Arsenal 2020-21
The former Gunners defender believes fresh faces could be drafted into Emirates Stadium from back to front in the next transfer market

Arsenal need to be making "a minimum of five changes" to their strongest starting XI this summer, says Martin Keown, with the former Gunners defender suggesting that Bernd Leno, Hector Bellerin and David Luiz could be among those moved on.

Mikel Arteta is in the process of piecing together plans for the next transfer window, with the merits of possible incomings and departures being weighed up.

The Gunners do have a promising core of young talent to work with, which is offering cause for optimism, but decisions need to be made on more senior stars that are either approaching the end of their contracts or offering little to the collective cause.

What has been said?

On the approach that he would take if filling Arteta's shoes at Emirates Stadium, Keown told talkSPORT: "Well, it's a time for change in terms of the players, personnel.

"One to 11, if you go right through the team, Leno's not signing a new deal by all accounts, Bellerin at right-back is not holding that position down, the two central defenders, you'd say there is uncertainty over who is going to play there.

"[Kieran] Tierney the left-back is probably the only one who is a shoo-in as a defender."

The ex-Arsenal centre-half added: "You run right through the team and it's the young kids really that are the backbone of the team. [Bukayo] Saka, [Emile] Smith Rowe have been outstanding this season.

"I think a minimum of maybe five changes. I think the front players are still good - I'd keep [Alexandre] Lacazette, I like him actually in the club. 

"[Pierre-Emerick] Aubameyang's had his problems this season, [Gabriel] Martinelli needs to be used more, maybe on the wing perhaps. Then you've got Saka to play, Smith Rowe, make sure they build those careers.

"But they need a base in midfield, [Thomas] Partey needs a partner alongside him, they need to spend there.

"Gabriel has been disappointing as a central defender, David Luiz is about to leave. So there is huge surgery to be made by the manager."

The bigger picture

The 2020-21 campaign, which started with Community Shield glory, has been another inconsistent one for Arsenal.

They are looking to finish with a flourish, having collected three successive Premier League wins, but European football may not be on the agenda next season and that will make it tougher to get fresh faces on board.

Change is on the cards, though, in north London and the squad overseen by Arteta in 2021-22 could look markedly different to the one that closes out the current campaign with clashes against Crystal Palace and Brighton.

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