Perry Groves exclusive Arsenal interview
Perry Groves Q&A: Arsenal legend Perry Groves gives his verdict on Arsenal’s domestic season, revealing who has been impressive and who hasn’t performed, and who should be the key transfer targets this summer.
Arsenal’s season summary
Who has been your Arsenal player of the season?
"I think Nacho Monreal has been Arsenal’s player of the season. I think he’s been the only defender who has improved and shown any consistency this year. He’s also chipped in with a few important goals which always helps."
Who has been your biggest disappointment this season?
"Kolasinac was playing so well when he first arrived he looked like he could be the missing piece of the jigsaw. I don’t know if there’s something going on behind the scenes, but he went off the boil and now can’t get back into the team."
"Mustafi is making too many individual mistakes. He looked decent when he first joined the club but he certainly hasn’t improved and I think that’s why he gets criticised from the fans."
On Lacazette’s form this season…
“I think Lacazette started off well for Arsenal and he has come back into it recently. He’s scored 13 Premier League goals in his debut year, despite a few niggles, so I think it has been a reasonable season. I think we’ll see a far better player next year because he’s physically strong enough to cope with the demands of the Premier League and his movement is excellent.”
"The disappointing aspect was that Wenger repeatedly benched him for the big games. He was the record signing at the time and yet he wasn’t selected for the big games you would have thought he was signed to make the difference in."
Can Lacazette and Aubameyang play together?
“I think the new manager will look to start Lacazette and Aubameyang together. They’re both world class strikers who have very different strengths. Lacazette gets involved in the build-up play and runs into the channels, while Aubameyang is more of a Thierry Henry who reserves his energy and comes alive in the final third. They clearly have a strong relationship from Aubameyang letting Lacazette have the penalty when he was on a hat-trick and that can only be a good thing. I think Aubameyang could win the golden boot next season.”
Would Arsenal have qualified for the Champions League if they signed Aubameyang in the summer?
“Arsenal would have had a better chance of qualifying for the Champions League if they had Aubameyang from the start of the season, but I still think they would have missed out. It’s their defensive frailties and away form that has cost them Champions League football, rather than a lack of goalscoring threat. Arsenal have a clear lack of mental strength when it comes to achieving results away from home and it’s a priority that needs to be addressed for the new manager.”
Arsenal’s summer transfer window
Who would be your dream signing for Arsenal this summer?
“Toby Alderweireld would be my dream signing for Arsenal this summer. I think he’s one of the best central defenders in the Premier League and I would love us to take advantage of his contract situation at Tottenham. It would be hilarious."
Who do you think should replace Petr Cech as goalkeeper?
"I want Jack Butland to replace Petr Cech as Arsenal’s goalkeeper and I would take him in a heartbeat. I think he’s one of the best young goalkeepers in the country and he has a huge physical presence. Any goalkeeper that’s playing for Stoke will look vulnerable, but he would only improve at Arsenal. We would be able to get him for a good price once Stoke are relegated too.”
On Jack Wilshere’s future this summer…
“I think Jack Wilshere will definitely stay at Arsenal this summer. The hierarchy is trying to cut his wages but they should put him on a pay-as-you-play deal now that he’s got over his injuries and he’s getting back to his best. There’s not many players who have the vision he has and everything he does is about moving forwards. Jack Wilshere would be a big miss because his soul is at the club and the fans love him."