The Gunners will be looking to free up funds for transfers this summer, and one of the names on the chopping block is likely to be Calum Chambers.
Despite making regular appearances in Arsene Wenger’s final campaign in charge, he was sent out on loan to Fulham by Unai Emery without much hesitation at the beginning of last season.
During his spell with the Cottagers, Chambers was essentially converted into a holding midfielder by manager Claudio Ranieri. Even after the Italian’s departure, he continued playing in the role with a modicum of success.
At the end of the season, the 24-year-old was overwhelmingly voted the club’s player of the season. Although there were certainly very few candidates for the accolade due to Fulham’s relegation, it is still a notable achievement.
With that being said then, is there a way back for Chambers at Arsenal? It’s difficult to see how, to be honest with you. Emery has his fair share of holding midfielders in Lucas Torreira, Granit Xhaka, Matteo Guendouzi and Mohamed Elneny.
The club would need to sell at least two of those players for him to get any game time in the position next season, and that’s probably unlikely. So, how about his more natural position at centre-back?
Rob Holding’s knee injury could mean he misses the start of next season, but even then, Emery has four centre-backs (five, including Nacho Monreal) already at the club, and reports suggest a new centre-half will arrive before the transfer window closes.
With those two roles looking out of reach, would a switch to right-back be a possibility? Chambers did start his career there at Southampton, and with Hector Bellerin’s long-term injury, it could be an option.
However, even there, I can’t see how he would edge out Ainsley Maitland-Niles. The 21-year-old may still be learning his trade as a fullback, but his pace and attacking threat make him a more attractive proposition than Chambers.
Considering the club’s limited transfer budget, then, you have to think that the most likely scenario is the player being sold this summer. Lazio have been tipped to make a €14m (£12.5m) offer and if the Italian club do make such a bid, the Gunners will likely be very tempted to accept it.