Twelve squad players to be shown the door at Arsenal this summer.
As many as twelve players could be heading out of the Emirates Stadium exit door this summer, as Arsene Wenger is reportedly plotting a major clear-out of his squad.
Arsenal have finished another season without silverware, and there have previously been concerns brought up by fans that there are too many players on the payroll who are collecting high wages without contributing enough or even making many first team appearances at all.
With money tight at the club since they moved stadium from Highbury to the Emirates, it is seen as essential to get unneeded players out of the club to make way for new signings who can improve the team’s fortunes next season.
Some big names have been linked with the Gunners this summer, such as Stevan Jovetic of Fiorentina and Gonzalo Higuain of Real Madrid, but players such as these will be difficult to afford until there have been some sales first.
Sebastien Squillaci and Andrey Arshavin will surely depart as their contracts expire, and these are two particular culprits who have been among the most well-paid players at the club without actually playing, or even making the bench for most games. It is a particularly sad end to his time at Arsenal for Arshavin, who looked like a world class addition when he first joined in 2009. However, the Russian’s form faded after a year or so and he has not been a regular for almost two seasons now. There were even rumours earlier in the season that the 32-year-old could retire after losing his passion for the game, though he later refuted these claims.
Wenger is also said to be prepared to place Abou Diaby, Lukasz Fabianski, Marouane Chamakh, Nicklas Bendtner, Johan Djourou, Emmanuel Frimpong, Denilson, Vito Mannone, and Park Chu-Young on the transfer list, while Bacary Sagna could also be sold if a decent offer comes in, as the French right-back has failed to sign a new contract with the club, and is keen to leave for PSG.
Sagna’s departure would be a blow for Wenger, as he has continued to lose important and experienced members of his squad every summer for the last few years, but he does not want to lose the 30-year-old on a free transfer next year when his current deal expires. It is thought that the former Auxerre man could fetch around £12million for the club.
Wenger will also reluctantly give up on Diaby, a player of great potential who has suffered continued injury problems since 2006. The boss had hoped that the 27-year-old would finally fulfill his potential this season with the departure of Alex Song, but despite a good start to the season, he has picked up another major injury that will sideline him for around eight months. The midfielder’s career does not ever look like picking up, and it may be hard for Arsenal to find a buyer for someone who spends so much time on the treatment table.
Meanwhile, Fabianski may feel a bit hard done by to be on the list given some decent form from the backup this season, but Wenger is keen to make space for a new goalkeeper at the club to challenge Wojciech Szczesny’s number one spot. Fabianski came in and did well for five games this year, but has also had problems with injuries and will finally be moved on after failing to make an impact in his six seasons at the Emirates Stadium. Wenger’s desire to change his goalkeeping options will also likely see Italian shot stopper Vito Mannone leave the club, and the 25-year-old is reportedly a target for Serie A side Napoli.
Wenger will also call time on the Arsenal careers of Nicklas Bendtner and Marouane Chamakh, two strikers who have had failed loan spells this season in an attempt to attract potential buyers. Bendtner has been in Italy with Juventus, while Chamakh was loaned by West Ham, and neither have managed a single goal in their time with these clubs. The misfiring duo are certainly not good enough for Arsenal, but it is again hard to see who would make an offer for them given their form over the last couple of years. Park Chu-Young is another striker who will be shown the door, putting an end to a bizarre saga which has seen him join Arsenal and make only a handful of substitute appearances. Still, his time on loan at Celta Vigo suggests they are not missing much.
Long-serving pair Denilson and Johan Djourou will also be moved on after failing to live up to the potential they showed as youngsters. Both have been out on loan this season with Sao Paulo and Hannover, respectively, and have long been surplus to requirements at the Emirates Stadium.
It is also thought that youngster Emmanuel Frimpong will make a permanent move to Fulham, where he spent the second half of the season on loan. The 21-year-old was considered a hot prospect at the club, but has had numerous problems with discipline, as well as an unfortunate record with injuries. He is now unlikely to become a regular at Arsenal given that he has not been trusted to take the defensive midfield role left vacant by Alex Song, and will join the numerous other squad players out of the door when the club confirms this cull in the coming weeks.
The likes of Francis Coquelin, Ignasi Miquel and Ryo Miyaichi appear to have survived the chop for this season, but could all be set for loan moves next year as they remain backups at the club. There is also a need for Arsenal to cut down on the size of their squad due to incoming Financial Fair Play regulations.
The club could raise close to £30million from these sales, when taking into account the money freed off the wage bill, which will give them significantly more strength to pursue big targets in this crucial summer transfer window.