Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Who could be on their way out of Arsenal this summer?

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Bouncing back from their North London derby defeat in empathic fashion on Wednesday night, Mikel Arteta has rightfully received a string of plaudits for his immediate impact at Arsenal.

Capitalizing on Liverpool’s costly errors at the Emirates in midweek and landing a morale-boosting 2-1 victory, Pep Guardiola’s former right-hand man has made it clear that he has quite the rebuilding job on his hands.

With it looking likely that the FA Cup is now their most realistic route of securing a European return this season, there is no doubt that people behind the scenes will already be mapping out their transfer targets for the coming months.

While the Gunners might have shocked many with the announcement that David Luiz has extended his stay past this summer, it appears that a string of Arsenal’s biggest stars could be heading for the exit come the end of the campaign.

Mesut Ozil

With Arteta making it clear after Wednesday’s victory against Liverpool that he is concerned that he will not have the finances to strengthen his side in the summer, many around the Emirates will know that allot of Arsenal’s activity in the market will hinge on the future of Mesut Ozil.

Still sitting on a contract that is rumored to be in the region of £350,000-per-week, the 31-year-old is yet to play a single minute for the Gunners since the Premier League restarted with the club saying he has been absent with a back injury.

Coming under increasing scrutiny from many around the Emirates, Ozil has only been seen as an unused substitute for two of their top-flight appearances since returning last month.

While the World Cup-winner might have taken to social media to announce he was “ready” to return before their midweek victory against Liverpool, he was not included in Arteta’s matchday squad and it is hard to see where he fits into the Spainards vision for the future.

With Real Madrid putting a £23million price tag on Dani Ceballos if the Gunners want to make his move a permanent one, there is no doubt that Ozil will play a critical part in Arsenal’s activity this summer.

Mattéo Guendouzi

Involved in an on-field altercation with Brighton striker Neal Maupay at the end of Arsenal’s stunning 2-1 defeat at the Amex last month, Mattéo Guendouzi is one Arsenal midfielder who looks almost certain to be leaving North London this summer.

Now in the midst of what is an ever-growing battle with Arteta and not making a single appearance since his antics on the South Coast, he has been put into exile by the former Arsenal skipper.

Failing to “knuckle down” under Arteta, Guendouzi has been training by himself during his period of exile and there appears to be no signs of his issue being resolved.

Sadly for the French starlet, this was not the first time that he has come under scathing criticism from his new boss.

Guendouzi saw himself dropped from Arsenal’s squad to face off against Newcastle back in February after a heated row with Arteta and members of his coaching staff during the club’s winter training camp in Dubai.

Despite paying Ligue 2 outfit Lorient £8million back in 2018, it appears that Arsenal are desperate to wash their hands of the controversial 21-year-old who is attracting interest from the likes of Atletico Madrid and Barcelona.

Ainsley Maitland-Niles

Making just a 14-minute camo showing in Arsenal’s 2-1 victory against Liverpool in midweek, Ainsley Maitland-Niles appears to have accepted that his future is likely to be away from the Emirates.

Really struggling to make anything other than the odd appearance since Arteta took charge, the Gunners academy product has drastically failed to make a statement since breaking in under former boss Arsene Wenger.

Although it was suggested that the Gunners were keen to tie him down to a new extended contract in the capital, Maitland-Niles has not started a Premier League contest since January and finds himself almost stuck in limbo.

Unsurprisingly left frustrated with a lack of first-team minutes, the arrival of Cédric Soares from Southampton back in January has seen the 22-year-old fall further down the pecking order.

While he might still have three years remaining on his deal in North London, it has been widely reported that both Maitland-Niles and Arteta have accepted that a change of scenery is best for him this summer.

Although Arsenal might have stuck an eyebrow-raising £20million price tag on him, clubs from both England and Germany are rumored to be monitoring the situation.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang

With Aaron Ramsey’s free transfer to Juventus still firmly in the minds of many around North London, Arsenal are absolutely desperate to avoid a similar outcome with another one of their biggest stars.

Although Arteta’s side might be enduring their worst Premier League campaign in over three decades, they have had one leading marksman enjoy another standout campaign at the Emirates.

Still in the race for the Golden Boot and now in possession of the captain’s armband, there still remains a worrying amount of confusion over Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s future at the club.

Soon to be entering his final year at the Emirates and still no sign of a new deal being struck anytime soon, the Gabon international has reportedly demanded a new three-year deal worth £250,000-a-week, something that many believe Arsenal are unable to offer.

With the Gunners now needing a minor miracle if they’re to secure any form of European football for next season, Aubameyang isn’t short of admirers that can certainly offer him that this summer.

Heavily linked with the likes of Barcelona and Inter Milan, there is no doubt that Arsenal fans will be left heartbroken to see their MVP head for the exit over the coming months.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Tom Dunstan


Formerly of The Independent, Tom is a freelance football and boxing journalist from Essex, England. Currently working for three online publications, Tom is a graduate of the University of Falmouth and has spent the last two years writing across Australia, New Zealand and Asia. He can be followed at @IamTomDunstan

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