Mikel Arteta has already hinted that this summer will be busy for Arsenal. The Gunners finished fifth in the Premier League this season, just two points behind the Champions League places. When asked what the club plans to do to fill that gap, Arteta was clear.
“We want to take the club to the next level,” said the Spaniard in his press conference before the last game of the season against Everton. “That’s the ambition. To achieve that, again we have a very clear plan on how we want to do it and execute it and there are no secrets. We need resources and we need to increase the quality and depth of the squad.” .”
Arsenal are targeting a striker, with Manchester City’s Gabriel Jesus believed to be the main target, while central midfielder Youri Tielemans and full-back Aaron Hickey have both been linked. But as important as it will be to get the right players on the team this summer, it will also be crucial to use the right players.
CONTINUE READING:Arsenal have announced a date for the completion of Gabriel Jesus’ transfer as the deal with Aaron Hickey has been put on hold
Selling well in the past hasn’t been Arsenal’s forte. Despite the fact that 10 players left the Emirates last summer, the only significant fee Edu was able to collect was the £25m Newcastle spent on Joe Willock. The Gunners want to change that this summer.
Bernd Leno seems to be able to give them the opportunity to do so. Despite dismissing reports he has said goodbye to his London teammates at Colney, the German will almost certainly leave this summer as New England Revolution’s Matt Turner is on his way to take over as Aaron Ramsdale’s replacement. Benfica have been linked but they are reportedly unwilling to meet the £8.5million asking price the Gunners have asked for Leno.
Another goalkeeper on the way out is Runar Alex Runarsson. The Iceland international is still an Arsenal player and although he’s played fairly regularly for OH Leuven this season, football.london understands that the Belgian side is reluctant to pay the amount required to trigger their call option on its loan deal. Runarsson is not part of Arteta’s plans and will be free to leave this summer should the right offer arrive.
He is one of several members of Arsenal’s loan army who could leave this summer. Another is Hector Bellerin who has enjoyed a positive loan spell at Real Betis this season where he helped his youth club win the Copa del Rey. With just one year left on his contract and Takehiro Tomiyasu, Cedric Soares and impressive youngster Brooke Norton-Cuffy all among the options at right-back, the Spaniard appears to be on the way out.
Arteta has stated that he plans the 27-year-old’s return but from his side, Bellerin has already expressed a desire to return to Betis. “Right now I have to go back (to Arsenal),” he said in a statement. “I have already spoken to both clubs and made my position clear. Now we have a few months in which to hope the best comes out for the three parties. I’ve made an effort to come (to Betis) and I’m willing to make another effort to stay because I’m happy.”
Pablo Mari is another who had a successful loan spell. The Spain centre-back impressed at Udinese, who have expressed a desire to keep him. However, football.london understands that the Italian side are waiting until their new manager is appointed to decide whether to move forward with a move. Moreover, Udinese are unlikely to be able to afford the reported £14million Arsenal are looking to recoup for the former Flamengo man, meaning the move is far from complete.
Mari’s future could very well be linked to William Saliba’s future. football.london reckons the Frenchman will hold talks over his future at Arsenal this summer. He was named Ligue 1 Young Player of the Year after an impressive spell at Marseille, but with Gabriel and Ben White having developed an impressive partnership at the Emirates, it’s not clear if he would get regular playing time if he returned to North would London as things stand.
Another centre-back who could leave is Daniel Ballard. football.london believes the Northern Ireland international is available for a permanent transfer this summer, with Millwall among clubs interested in signing him.
His colleague Hale Ender Ainsley Maitland-Niles could also leave this summer. The England international’s loan deal to Roma is not going to be permanent despite his Europa Conference League success. He has just one year left on his contract which means this will likely be Arsenal’s chance to secure any kind of fee for him.
The same goes for Lucas Torreira. It was thought the Uruguayan would join Fiorentina on loan this summer after an impressive season, but the Italian side are now reportedly reluctant to make a transfer. He’s another who isn’t part of Arteta’s plans and with midfield recruits to come it’s hard to imagine him staying.
A somewhat shocking finish, however, would be Granit Xhaka. football.londonunderstands that Roma are still interested in the Swiss international. It was believed that the reason Arsenal renewed his contract last summer was to protect his value and with strong interest from Jose Mourinho’s side, Arteta showed he would be ready to let Xhaka go.
There was no indication the 28-year-old would leave his side and after convincing Arsenal fans after being named Player of the Month in April and receiving a standing ovation in the final game of the season against Everton, this may seem like an odd timing. But with Tielemans constantly linked and Arteta now married to the 4-3-3 setup, it could be one to keep an eye on.
One player whose future is far more secure is Alexandre Lacazette. football.london understands the Frenchman will not renew his contract in north London this summer. Mohamed Elneny has signed a deal while Eddie Nketiah is believed to be closer but Lacazette seems unlikely to follow suit.
Nicolas Pepe was able to follow him through the exit door. football.london believes the Ivorian changed his agent this summer in view of a move from Arsenal. The Gunners’ record signing have yet to start a game of any kind at club level in 2022 and are keen to get more playing time next season. Bukayo Saka, Gabriel Martinelli and Emile Smith Rowe are ahead of him in the pecking order and it seems likely he will be allowed to leave.