5 players Arsenal could sell to help fund Mikel Arteta’s rebuild

Arsenal on the up

Mikel Arteta has been in the Arsenal dugout for just over six months now.

The Spaniard inherited a side devoid of confidence, with no real game plan.

Arsenal’s squad also possessed a number of players either past their best, or simply not performing.

Six months ago, for example, every Gunners fan would no doubt have been extremely keen to see the back of players such as David Luiz, Shkodran Mustafi, and maybe even Granit Xhaka and Alexandre Lacazette.

The north Londoners have been on the decline for some time now, with their failure to properly replace Arsene Wenger having only increased that downward spiral.

Under Arteta, however, Arsenal have looked a completely different side.

The Spaniard has tightened up their previously awful defence, coaxing a number of superb displays out of the aforementioned Luiz and Mustafi.

Arsenal also finally appear to have a clear vision moving forward, with the club’s players actually keen to give their all for Arteta.

Yes, Arsenal did finish 8th in the Premier League, their lowest position since the 1994/95 campaign.

But it’s nevertheless pretty apparent that Arteta, who has already guided Arsenal to silverware, can help to transform this side into a top-four contender once again, if given the backing.

LONDON, ENGLAND – AUGUST 01: Mikel Arteta manager of Arsenal and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang of Arsenal pose with the trophy after the FA Cup Final match between Arsenal and Chelsea at Wembley Stadium on August 1, 2020 in London, England. Football Stadiums around Europe remain empty due to the Coronavirus Pandemic as Government social distancing laws prohibit fans inside venues resulting in all fixtures being played behind closed doors. (Photo by Marc Atkins/Getty Images)

Rebuild on the cards?

Whilst Luiz, Mustafi and more have clearly improved under Arteta’s tutelage, though, there is only so far top coaching can take a player.

So, if Arsenal do hope to stand any chance of challenging the likes of Manchester City and Liverpool in the near future, some form of rebuild at the Emirates will likely be needed.

The problem there, though, is that Arsenal, as a result of Covid-19, just don’t appear to have the funds available to make top-drawer signings in the near future.

The Gunners will receive some extra cash now that they have managed to clinch Europa League football for next season, but this pales in comparison to the kind of money they would have secured through qualification for the Champions League.

Therefore, if Arteta and co. hope to bring in a number of fresh faces this summer, one would assume that there will need to be a host of departures to raise funds.

With this in mind, here are five players whom Arsenal could look to sell in order to help rebuild their squad.

Mesut Ozil

Perhaps the most obvious player Arsenal should look to sell is Mesut Ozil.

Since penning fresh terms worth a staggering £350,000-a-week in 2018, the German’s form has fallen off a cliff.

And since the Premier League restarted in June, Ozil has not featured once for Arsenal.

So, with the former Real Madrid standout clearly not in Mikel Arteta’s plans moving forward, moving him on would certainly be in the Gunners’ best interest.

However, actually doing so is easier said than done. As mentioned above, the German is on a pretty substantial wage, which most sides would unlikely be willing to match.

Ozil also has just a year left on his contract, with the 31-year-old’s agent having recently stated that his client will remain at the Emirates until 2021.

So, whilst a transfer this summer looks unlikely, Arsenal should at least look to loan their struggling midfielder out for the season before he leaves on a free.

They are unlikely to find a club willing to pay Ozil’s full £350,000-a-week wages. But even if they manage to secure some form of loan fee, or find a side to pay half of his wages for a year, it would no doubt help out massively.

LONDON, ENGLAND – DECEMBER 15: Per Mertesacker and Fredrik Ljungberg of Arsenal look on as Mesut Ozil kicks his gloves in the air in frustration after he is subbed during the Premier League match between Arsenal FC and Manchester City at Emirates Stadium on December 15, 2019 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Robin Jones/Getty Images)

Matteo Guendouzi

The second player whom Arsenal should look to move on in the summer is Matteo Guendouzi.

Like Ozil, the Frenchman has been frozen out by Arteta of late, but unlike his fellow midfielder, Guendouzi appears to have quite a few potential suitors.

The youngster previously stood as a fairly regular contributor under Arteta, and started Arsenal’s first two league outings following the season’s restart in June.

However, after grabbing the throat of Brighton’s Neal Maupay during a 2-1 defeat, Guendouzi was subsequently accused of taunting the Seagulls’ stars over pay.

The midfielder has since failed to even make the bench in any of Arsenal’s ensuing outings, with reports in France having suggested that Guendouzi has informed Arteta that he wants to leave the Emirates.

As such, given the fact that he is only 21, and still has just under two years left on his contract, Arsenal should be able to secure a decent fee for Guendouzi.

Barcelona, Inter Milan, Manchester United and Juventus are amongst the clubs to have been touted as potential landing spots for the Frenchman.

Sokratis Papastathopoulos

Arsenal will be unlikely to bag a premium fee for Sokratis, on the other hand, but they should nevertheless look to move him on this summer.

The Greek has proven a decent centre-half for the Gunners over recent seasons.

But, like the players mentioned above, he just doesn’t seem to fit into Arteta’s plans moving forward.

Sokratis has managed a total of three minutes of football since the season’s restart, failing to make a single league appearance.

And with the Greek now 32, and having less than a year left on his current deal, it would be wise of the Gunners to try to recoup some sort of fee for him in the summer, rather than lose the stopper for nothing next year.

LONDON, ENGLAND – JANUARY 11: Sokratis Papastathopoulos of Arsenal FC during the Premier League match between Crystal Palace and Arsenal FC at Selhurst Park on January 11, 2020 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Sebastian Frej/MB Media/Getty Images)

Lucas Torreira

Arsenal secured Lucas Torreira’s services in the summer of 2018.

The energetic midfielder has since gone on to enjoy a decent spell in north London, though he doesn’t appear to have ever really been able to fully settle in.

Pablo Bentancur, Torreira’s agent, has previously suggested that his client was unhappy with a position change during Unai Emery’s stint in the Arsenal dugout.

Bentancur has also stated more recently that Torreira ‘would love to return to Italy’.

The 24-year-old has been linked with a number of Serie A sides since arriving in the English capital, with AC Milan and Napoli the outfits most persistently tipped to move for Torreira.

It’s also worth noting that Mikel Arteta doesn’t appear to view Torreira as a crucial cog in his midfield.

The Uruguayan has endured some fitness issues of late, but even when taking this into account, he has started in just one of Arsenal’s last 13 league outings, and didn’t make it off the bench in Saturday’s FA Cup final.

So, with Torreira still fairly young, tied down to a lengthy contract and seemingly interested in returning to Italy, perhaps it would be best if Arsenal shipped him out this summer to raise funds for someone like Thomas Partey, a player whom the Gunners have been linked with for some time now.

LONDON, ENGLAND – FEBRUARY 16: Lucas Torreira of Arsenal during the Premier League match between Arsenal FC and Newcastle United at Emirates Stadium on February 16, 2020 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Stuart MacFarlane/Arsenal FC via Getty Images)

Emiliano Martinez

The final player whom Arsenal should look to sell this summer is Emiliano Martinez.

This statement is likely to cause quite a divide amongst the Arsenal faithful, but it does make sense.

Since Bernd Leno picked up an injury vs Brighton in June, Martinez has stepped up in a fashion many probably assumed he wasn’t capable of.

The 27-year-old has pulled off some simply sensational saves over the last couple of months, and whilst the sample size isn’t exactly large, Martinez does appear to have proven that he is capable of acting as a Premier League No.1.

So, when next season rolls around, will Martinez be happy to once again play second fiddle to Bernd Leno?

And more importantly, can Arsenal really afford not to cash in on Martinez now that he has proven he is capable of cutting it in the English top-flight?

In an ideal world, Arteta would be able to pick and choose between Leno and Martinez, two top shot-stoppers.

But in a world in which Arsenal need to raise cash from player sales to fund transfers, selling Martinez, who is likely to command a decent fee on the back of his recent displays, does make sense – especially when the Gunners already possess a solid No.1 in the form of Leno.

See also: Brentford vs Fulham live streaming: Watch online, preview, prediction and odds

Arsenal interested in signing the Sevilla defender Diego Carlos – Telegraph


This article was edited by Conor Laird.

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