- Arsenal at risk of seeing eight key first-team players leave next summer
- Wenger must decide on whether or not to cash in during January window
- If not, Arsenal boss and board have work cut out to agree renewals and to steady ship
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Arsenal could have a major problem on their hands next summer, with a whole host of key players linked with an exit to leave them desperately short.
The Gunners have seen various individuals enter the final year of their respective contracts, with Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil being the most high-profile.
Speculation has been rife since the summer over their futures, while Jack Wilshere and Per Mertesacker will also see their deals expire at the end of the season.
For Mertesacker, it will be the end of his playing career as he looks forward to a role with the academy as confirmed by the club earlier this year, but Wilshere certainly falls into the same category as Sanchez and Ozil in terms of being a pivotal figure in Arsenal’s future and so any exit would be a major blow.
Meanwhile, The Mirror adds that Olivier Giroud, Danny Welbeck, Theo Walcott and Aaron Ramsey are also all at risk of moving on, and so there is a possibility that Arsenal could see their squad in tatters next summer.
The first big decision that Arsene Wenger and the hierarchy have to make is whether or not it makes sense to cash in on any players in the January transfer window rather than lose them for nothing six months later.
Arsenal will need funds to sign replacements if the likes of Sanchez and Ozil opt not to sign a new contract, and so the strategy of selling would seemingly make sense rather than securing short-term gains by keeping them but seeing them leave on free transfers instead.
The same can be applied to Wilshere, although the likes of Giroud, Welbeck, Walcott and Ramsey are a different situation as they have deals that run through to 2019, and so it’s more a case of being able to give them the playing time that they desire.
Perhaps the exits of Ozil and Sanchez would open the door for these big names to play more often, but as noted by the Mirror, this has the makings of a huge squad reshuffle, and so Wenger will have a busy few months ahead off the pitch to get things in order to ensure Arsenal are in a position to compete next season and beyond.