Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta is open to the sale of six first-team players – and is eager to sign fresh talent in central defence and also out wide. The Gunners boss is known to be keen to restructure his midfield with Atletico Madrid’s Thomas Partey his top target.
Reports have suggested that Arsenal have had two player-plus-cash bids rejected for the Ghanaian, who has a release clause in his contract that stands at around £45million.
Arsenal are currently unable to afford that fee, partly due to the fact they spent big last summer and also because of the impact of the coronavirus pandemic and a lack of Champions League football.
The north Londoners have already signed Pablo Mari and Cedric Soares on permanent deals having initially brought the pair in on loan in January.
And that further decreases the funds available to Arteta who will not be able to make concrete decisions over who he wants to sign until after Saturday’s FA Cup final showdown with Chelsea (5.30pm kick-off).
Arsenal take on their London rivals at Wembley knowing victory would put them in the Europa League next season and give them welcome extra finances to hand too Arteta.
Failing to win the competition and therefore miss out on qualifying for Europe would leave the Spanish coach severely limited in what he can do – at least before player sales.
But The Athletic’s David Ornstein, speaking on the Tifo Podcast’s ‘Ask Ornstein’ Q&A show, insists the Gunners boss has a list of players he’d be willing to offload.
Defensive trio Rob Holding, Sokratis Papastathopoulos and Shkodran Mustafi, midfielders Matteo Guendouzi and Lucas Torreira plus striker Alexandre Lacazette could all be moved on.
And he also noted that young winger Reiss Nelson could be sold were the right offer made, with the Arsenal head coach looking to sign another wide-man anyway.
That is with Arteta also hoping to sign a new central defender, despite the difficulties of finding teams to take players off their hands for the kind of fees Arsenal will want.
“Of course Arsenal’s finances are going to be heavily impacted by how their season finishes,” Ornstein said.
“We know they’re not going to be playing in next year’s Champions League but they still might qualify for the Europa League if they are to win the FA Cup.
“That would provide them with some more funds that would help them in the transfer market and there’s also a good chance that it would attract some players who want to be playing for a club competing in Europe.
“That said and Mikel Arteta has made this very clear, I think Arsenal are a very attractive proposition whether they’re in Europe or not.
“They certainly have the vision to get back there and that’s what lots of players will buy into.
“They pay good salaries
“We know that they’ll be looking to move on some centre-halves, we don’t know how successful they’ll be with that.
“But throughout these last few months, we’ve reported that they’ll be willing to listen to offers for the likes of Rob Holding, Sokratis, Shkodran Mustafi.
“They’ve bought in Pablo Mari on a permanent deal, they’ll be looking to sign another central defender.”
“Similar situations in midfield, they want to get rid of Matteo Guendouzi, it seems that he would like to leave as well.
“He has a value in the market and there are suggestions they would listen to offers for Lucas Torreira as well. There could be changes there too.”
Ornstein added: “Mikel Arteta is also looking for a wide player but I don’t see anyone leaving, maybe you could say if offers come in for someone like Reiss Nelson but we don’t know the sort of fee that would generate. as well, it’s an attractive club to come to in terms of its location, in London.
“Regardless of all of this, Arsenal were looking to sell players this summer to raise funds, to improve the squad, to fulfil Mikel Arteta’s vision for how he wants his team to look.
“The big question is in attack, will Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang sign a new contract? It’s looking positive from what Arteta’s been saying but we don’t know for sure.
“That’s certainly someone who could raise money if necessary but I don’t think that bridge is going to be crossed just yet.
“We know that Alexandre Lacazette is admired by clubs around Europe and I think that is one that Arsenal would consider if the right offer arrived.
“There’s loads to play out at Arsenal in the coming weeks and largely the funds that they raise will determine what they’re able to do in the market and there’s also the options of loans and swaps.
“We know that Dani Ceballos might stay on a permanent basis or on another loan with an option to buy. Let’s just be patient on that one and see how Arsenal deal with outgoings before we see what they do with incomings.”