By Arsenal correspondent Tony Hughes
Arsene Wenger has named Alex Iwobi, Mohamed Elneny and Francis Coquelin as three increasingly important Arsenal players.
The Gunners manager claims the trio will be “stronger next year” as he gave an assessment of the Gunners’ squad and possible transfer market business in the summer.
As revealed by Football Insider, up to 10 senior Arsenal players could leave in the forthcoming transfer window in a major shake-up of the playing staff.
The north Londoners are third in the Premier League going into the weekend, six points adrift of second-placed Tottenham and a huge 13 behind leaders Leicester.
Wenger has hinted that incoming transfer business could be limited in the summer as he explained the difficulty of sourcing top-quality players even for one of Europe’s most cash-rich clubs.
“If you look at the top three teams, you will see they have not changed their team a lot,” said Wenger, as quoted in the Guardian on Saturday. “We have to strengthen our squad but it’s not obvious to find the players despite the money the English clubs will have. We are already working but we have to find the players and that is not easy.
“You cannot dismiss that the players are young: Alex Iwobi is 19, Mohamed Elneny is 23, Francis Coquelin 24, and they will be stronger next year but you need to keep a core of players and strengthen where we can. The team is going the right way.”
Iwobi has broken into the first team over the last month and has been so impressive in a wide attacking role that Theo Walcott, Olivier Giroud and Joel Campbell have all been forced out of the team.
Coquelin has continued to establish himself as the midfield anchorman despite missing nearly three months with knee ligament damage, while Elneny has settled in smoothly alongside the Frenchman in a central position since signing in a £5million deal from Basle in January.
Arsenal could be 16 points behind Leicester City when they kick off against Crystal Palace on Sunday although they have the chance to close the gap on Spurs over the weekend.
The last time Tottenham, who play at Stoke on Monday, finished above their north London rivals was in 1995, when the teams finished seventh and 12th respectively.
In other Arsenal news, a key player could return to the team for the Palace clash.