6 players who could leave Arsenal this summer as Mikel Arteta wields the axe

The Spanish manager will use this summer to get rid of some deadwood at the club as well as bring in new signings.

Eighth place in the Premier League is way below Arsenal’s expectations, but the club does appear to making strides in the right direction under Mikel Arteta.

The former club captain has restored some optimism among the fan base after a promising first few months as head coach.

And his position has been strengthened after he lead the Gunners to FA Cup glory by beating Chelsea at Wembley.

As well as bringing a trophy to the Emirates, victory has also qualified the club for next season’s Europa League.

And that, in turn, will aid Arteta’s attempts to strengthen his squad by recourse to the transfer market this summer.

There will be outgoings as well as incomings, though, particularly given the need for Arsenal to balance the books.

And with that in mind, here are six players who could be on their way through the exit door…

Matteo Guendouzi

Guendouzi has been ostracised ever since his show of ill-discipline in Arsenal’s defeat by Brighton and Hove Albion last month.

Arteta has demonstrated his authority at the club by refusing to select the Frenchman in any of the team’s subsequent matches.

And Guendouzi now appears to be on his way out, with AS reporting that Arsenal offered him as a makeweight in their latest bid for Thomas Partey.

A departure this summer would mark a rapid fall from grace for the 21-year-old, who was widely seen as one of Arsenal’s brightest prospects earlier this season.

Barcelona have also been linked with the Frenchman, whose Arsenal career could be entering its final few weeks.

Mesut Ozil

Ozil has been seen even less frequently than Guendouzi in recent weeks. His last appearance for Arsenal came on March 7.

Like Unai Emery before him, Arteta seems to have lost faith in the former Germany international.
Arsenal would probably welcome any bids for his services this summer, although shifting him could prove difficult.

Ozil has one more year to run on a contract worth £350,000 per week. It’s hard to see any club in world football matching those wages.

The playmaker has continually reiterated his desire to see out that deal at the Emirates, but the Arsenal board will privately hope he reconsiders.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang

Unlike Guendouzi and Ozil, Aubameyang is a player Arsenal will be desperate to keep hold of.

But it is the player rather than the club who holds all the cards here, with the Gabon international now into the final 12 months of his contract.

Aubameyang has been linked with a move away in recent months, and if he refuses to sign an extension Arsenal may be forced to cash in this summer.

That would be a major blow to Arteta, who would struggle to find a replacement of the same quality in today’s market.

Even his two goals against Chelsea at Wembley may not be enough to convince him to stay.

Sokratis Papastathopoulos

Sokratis’ agent has dismissed rumours his client is on his way out of the Emirates, but there’s no smoke without fire.

The Greece international has barely featured since Arteta took charge in December, making only one Premier League appearance in that time.

A regular under Emery, Sokratis doesn’t seem to be in the current manager’s plans.

So despite his agent’s insistence that the centre-back will stay put, the ex-Borussia Dortmund stopper may well be on the move before 2020/21 gets under way.

Henrikh Mkhitaryan

That’s right, Mkhitaryan is still an Arsenal player, at least for now.

The Armenia international spent the 2019/20 season on loan at Roma, for whom he scored nine goals and provided five assists in Serie A.

The Italian side are said to be interested in signing him permanently, which the Gunners hope to use to their advantage in their pursuit of Roma forward Justin Kluivert.

According to media reports, the two clubs have held discussions over a potential swap deal, although Arsenal would also have to pay a fee.

Gunners fans would not be sad to see the back of Mkhitaryan, who failed to shine for the majority of his time in north London.

The ex-Borussia Dortmund man joined the club in a swap deal that sent Alexis Sanchez to Manchester United – so, despite everything, Arsenal still didn’t get the worst of the deal.

Ainsley Maitland-Niles

A talented academy product, Maitland-Niles’ versatility has seen him deployed in many positions since he became a first-teamer at Arsenal.

A central midfielder by trade, the 22-year-old has predominantly been used as a right-back or right wing-back this term.

He was a surprise selection at left wing-back in the FA Cup semi-final defeat of Manchester City, demonstrating his utility as a squad option.

However, there have been whispers that Maitland-Niles is considering his future, with Brighton keeping tabs on the situation.

With his 23rd birthday approaching next month, the youngster is keen for more first-team football – and that could lead to his exit this summer.

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