Arsenal are set for a huge clear out, as up to 10 players will be moved on to reduce their huge wage bill.
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Mikel Arteta has already moved on plenty of big name players over the last few transfer windows but a report says that many more will follow as they continue to miss out on UEFA Champions League cash.
According to Mark Irwin from The Sun, the highest-profile casualties would be Alexandre Lacazette and David Luiz as Arsenal try to reduce their weekly wage bill by at least $1 million.
The former has just over a year left on his current Arsenal contract, while the latter is a free agent this summer but it was previously believed that the Gunners would offer Luiz a new contract.
Lacazette has found a starting spot hard to nail down since Arteta took charge, while Luiz, 33, divides opinion and has had some truly great games (the FA Cup run last year) mixed in with some shockers for Arsenal.
Some of the other Arsenal players to be sold this summer could be: Joe Willock, Matteo Guendouzi, Ainsley Maitland-Niles, Sead Kolasinac and Lucas Torreira, who are all out on loan until the end of the season, plus Reiss Nelson and Eddie Nketiah could also be sold.
Arsenal want to make their loan moves for Mat Ryan, Dani Ceballos and Martin Odegaard permanent but they may also move on due to financial restrictions.
Why are Arsenal cutting their squad size?
Two reasons: 1) they needed to and 2) finances.
Arsenal have been hit harder than most Premier League clubs by the coronavirus pandemic as they made huge sums from matchday revenue, but don’t right now.
The Gunners have already moved on Mesut Ozil, Shkodran Mustafi Sokratis and Sead Kolasinac in January to cut their huge wage bill, and they have taken out a $166 million loan with the Bank of England to help get them through the current restrictions which bans fans from being in stadiums.
Simply put, Arsenal’s squad needed to be trimmed anyway as players were left over from the Arsene Wenger era and then lots of the players currently out on loan were those favored by Unai Emery but not by new boss Mikel Arteta.
That happens at most clubs and we saw the same at Manchester United after Sir Alex Ferguson left, then David Moyes, Louis van Gaal and Jose Mourinho all arrived and departed and brought in a host of their own players. Years later, United are still working to balance their squad.
Arteta will benefit from making his squad smaller, and younger, and there is a clear plan to promote youth with Bukayo Saka, Emile Smith Rowe and Gabriel Martinelli stars of the future and sporting director Edu working closely with Arteta to only recruit players which fit his philosophy. Arsenal and Arteta have a clear plan and playing style and it will take a little time, but it is working.
Here’s a look at how Arsenal’s starting lineup could look next season:
—– Leno —–
— Bellerin — Holding — Gabriel — Tierney —
—- Xhaka —- Partey —-
—- Martinelli —- Smith Rowe —- Saka —-
—– Aubameyang —–
First things first: the squad needs to be trimmed and this is another big step towards that.