Arsenal are bracing themselves for a busy summer transfer window. The news about incoming players may be slow for now, but there’s plenty of talk about players leaving the Emirates Stadium in the coming weeks.
Mikel Arteta is planning a serious overhaul of the playing squad after a poor campaign. Arsenal finished eighth in the Premier League and are not playing in Europe for the first time in 25 years.
The manager has the backing of the owners and is now planning a major reshuffle. The Gunners are strapped for cash and are banking on departures to fund their incoming transfers.
Granit Xhaka and Hector Bellerin are said to be close to an exit with AS Roma and Atletico Madrid said to be their potential destinations respectively. The players are valued at around £20 million by the north London club with the latter said to have also attracted interest from Sevilla and Villarreal, according to the Daily Mail.
Meanwhile, According to Italian transfer expert Fabrizio Romano, Willian and out of favour midfielder Matteo Guendozi are also likely to join the duo in leaving Arsenal this summer. Another midfielder, Ainsley Maitland-Niles has also suggested that he could leave his boyhood club if he is not guaranteed regular game time.
“If I was to get a phone call from someone at Arsenal and they said they’d like a meeting tomorrow, then it would be easier that way,” Maitland-Niles told the Telegraph. “They can tell me whether they’ve got plans to play me in the future or if they want to sell me. I’ve heard they want to make some space [in the squad] and some money so I’m not sure.”
“I would like some kind of indication of what is happening. Where they [Arsenal] see me. If it works out it works out, if it doesn’t then kiss Arsenal goodbye. It’s been a long journey but a proud one at that.”
The departures of the aforementioned players will give Arteta the necessary funds to bring in the players he desires. The Spanish manager is keen to strengthen his midfield as a priority and has been linked with moves for Wolverhampton Wanderers midfielder Ruben Neves and former loanee Martin Odegaard from Real Madrid.
Amidst all the transfer speculation, there is good news for Arsenal supporters. Romano also reports that popular midfielder Emile-Smith Rowe is close to signing a new long-term contract. This news is likely to be celebrated as much as any new signing will be this summer.
The England youth international was a revelation last season. He played a major role in turning the club’s fortunes around after being given regular game time with the first-team during the Christmas period fixtures and beyond.
Arteta has been vocal about the need for change and departures of key first team players suggests a changing of the guard is in the offing in north London.