Bellerin out, Lacazette in doubt: The Arsenal players who could leave this summer
Arsenal have struggled to match the pace set by others in the Premier League and cup competitions this season and as such Mikel Arteta is likely to make serious changes to his squad in the summer.
The London club may be one of the wealthiest in European football but the pandemic has severely limited any hopes of bringing in big stars ahead of next season.
As such, Arteta and his backroom staff will almost certainly need to sell players before they can rely on funds to add to a squad that is in desperate need of upgrades across the pitch.
While the goalkeeper position may have seemed like a convenient afterthought a few weeks ago, it now seems as though Arteta may be struggling to fix growing problems between the posts next season.
The Arsenal manager’s problems revolve around Bernd Leno seemingly looking for a quick exit from the floundering club this summer, which may leave Arteta’s squad a little light in genuine talent in the position.
However, in reserve the London club do have new signings Runar Alex Runarsson and Mathew Ryan, who will both undoubtedly cherish the opportunity to replace the German shot-stopper next season.
Further issues are likely to arise in defence, where Arteta faces an inconvenient combination of star players looking to leave and below average players staying put.
The most likely to depart the club in the summer is David Luiz who, despite playing a notable part in Arsenal’s season, is still no closer to signing an extension to his contract despite it nearing its expiry date.
Perhaps more importantly, reports of Barcelona’s interest in Hector Bellerin continue to gain momentum as the season draws to a close and could force the club to begin searching for a new right-back next season.
It will likely be in midfield where Arteta will look to cut the most fat from his squad, as a number of average players currently steal a wage despite doing very little at all for the club.
Alongside Dani Ceballos and Martin Odegaard leaving at the end of their loan deals, we can also expect to see Mohamed Elneny, Matteo Guendouzi, Ainsley Maitland-Niles and Lucas Torreira all move on if the right offers come in for their services.
In the forward positions Arteta will most likely have to be bold in his decision making as key players are either cut loose for big offers or tied down to long-term contracts.
This will undoubtedly be most evident in the decision surrounding Alexandre Lacazette’s future, with the French forward’s contract set to expire in the summer of 2022. The senior striker will either need to commit to the club or be sold in the coming months – no half measures will do.
Elsewhere, Arteta will likely look to move on largely ineffective forwards like Willian and Reiss Nelson, while the expensive and out of form signing Nicolas Pepe may also depart if Arsenal are offered the opportunity to recoup some money for the forward.