After a disappointing 2015-16 campaign that fell well short of the team’s goals in the Premier League, domestic cups and Champions League, Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger is beginning his roster purge and has already dropped the axe on a trio of team veterans, including their captain Mikel Arteta.
In an interview ahead of their season finale against Aston Villa [per NBC Sports], Wenger announced that Arteta, winger Tomas Rosicky and midfielder Mathieu Flamini will not be offered new deals and have been advised to continue their football careers elsewhere.
“I believe that Mikel Arteta is the captain of the club and has been a great leader,” Wenger said.
“All of these players will have to decide if they go on in their careers as a football player or a coach. Tomas Rosicky has been with us for 10 years and I think everybody loves him as well.
“Mathieu Flamini has been an extremely stronger leader on the pitch and off the pitch. We lose three big personalities.”
Arteta has served as Arsenal captain since 2014 and is a five-year veteran with the team.
Rosicky has played at Arsenal since 2006 but made just one brief appearance for Arsenal in an FA Cup match this year – his fewest since he missed the 2008-09 season.
The 32-year-old Flamini is in his second stint with Arsenal, having played from 2004 to 2008 before a five-year move to AC Milan. He rejoined Arsenal in 2013.
The combined ages of the three players is 101 years old. They have played a combined total of 22 seasons and 639 games in all competitions for Arsenal.
It looks like it’s “out with the old…” at Emirates Stadium – but whether it will be “…in with the new” remains to be seen.
Mathieu Flamini set to join Pep Guardiola at Man City
Opinion: Time for Arsenal to swoop for ambitious Premier League boss
Arsene Wenger learning lessons as Arsenal boss prepares for transfer window