Emma Mitchell confirms on BBC Alba that she will leave Arsenal this summer. She spent the second half of last season on loan at Tottenham. https://t.co/d2N7i7iUuV
— Tim Stillman (@Stillberto) June 13, 2020
There is likely to be another departure announcement or two in the coming days and weeks too. The first thing to say is that there is nothing untoward going on. The departures aren’t linked to the financial situation created by COVID according to my understanding. It’s largely a case of some squad players turning over in search of more regular first team football [though there are nuances in some individual cases, of course].
The second thing to say is that there will be replacements with several signings expected this summer. COVID has created a situation where it is difficult to announce incomings at the moment. There is still not total clarity on whether or when some leagues will finish- the Frauen Bundesliga, for instance, has restarted and any signings from German clubs are therefore delayed until later in the summer. Of the departees, only Katrine Veje has been able to announce her new club so far.
This is the picture across the WSL where very few signings have been announced. For Arsenal, it is still not confirmed that 2019-20 is over until there is a decision on what happens with the remainder of the Champions League season. The Gunners are in the quarter-final stage with a tie against PSG to play.
It is likely that the Champions League will be concluded in one week at the end of August with one legged quarter-final and semi-final ties at neutral venues. A slew of departures is being announced across the league because most contracts expire on June 30th. In July and August, we will see departure announcements replaced by signing announcements.
My understanding is that the size of the Arsenal squad will stay roughly the same [I spoke to Joe Montemurro about his preference for smaller squads full of versatile players in November]. However, while the raw number of players might not change, the squad will, hopefully, still expand in a sense.
I don’t think Arsenal’s squad is as small as people think. The issue has been players who, through no fault of their own, haven’t been available for extended periods of time. Tabea Kemme left earlier this year having made a single substitute appearance in two years at the club, Danielle Carter has been injured for two seasons, Emma Mitchell and Katrine Veje have been unavailable for extended periods too.
That has stretched the squad [again, through no fault of the aforementioned players]. Ultimately, most of the players leaving are doing so because they cannot break into the team and, being quality players, they want to go somewhere where they can get more minutes. The likes of Louise Quinn and Emma Mitchell will have their choice of clubs, I’m sure.
Bringing players into the squad who aren’t injured in the long-term [yet!] multiplies the number of options available to the coach, even if it doesn’t multiply the number of bodies per se. Obviously nobody can forecast with total confidence how signings will work out and it remains to be seen how the incoming players will fare, but there is nothing particularly worrying happening here, it’s just routine squad churn that every squad experiences every couple of summers.