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Arsenal should let fringe players leave for free

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Arsenal need the salary space, squad space, and have no need for players they should allow to leave for free.

Arsenal v Sunderland - Premier League Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images

Arsenal have effectively placed a For Sale, Everything Must Go sign around Carl Jenkinson, Mathieu Debuchy, Kieran Gibbs and Lucas Perez, while also allegedly making Calum Chambers, Jack Wilshere and Mohamed Elneny available. These players, especially the first four, have been available all summer. Yet there has been no movement, with Arsenal reportedly rejecting offers from clubs for some of the players because the offers on hand are lower than the fees Arsenal would like.

The reason Arsenal are letting this group—and by this group I mean The Everything Must Go Group, who have no value to the club, unlike Chambers, Wilshere and Elneny—go is because they aren’t needed. Carl Jenkinson played a few times last season, was nearly let go to Crystal Palace in January, and hasn’t played for the club since November, with Gabriel preferred at right back and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain at wing back. Mathieu Debuchy played 15 minutes. Kieran Gibbs played a lot, but is surplus with Arsenal having signed Sead Kolasinac. You can quibble about how much playing time Lucas Perez got, but with Alex Lacazette now at the club, he’s your third choice striker and wide player if you dislike Theo Walcott and Danny Welbeck, and Arsene Wenger likes those guys.

Gibbs, Jenkinson and Debuchy are all out of contract in a year. They will leave for nothing if Arsenal fail to sell them, but Arsenal will have spent £8.5m on their wages, money which could go elsewhere. The money they’d get in transfer fees would be, at most, £15m. Furthermore, the squad spaces could be freed up—crucial if Arsenal don’t sell the likes of David Ospina, Theo Walcott and hang on to Alexis, and want to make needed additions in midfield. And if you free the squad spaces up by leaving these guys out, you’re spending £8.5m on nothing.

Lucas Perez will also cost £3.5m this season in wages; yet his contract has 3 years to run. A nominal fee, with Arsenal getting salary relief, should be enough to get him moved. Hell, even if Arsenal agree to pay down some of the salary, which happens, will still give them more money. And as we’ve outlined, there’s only a certain amount you can add season to season without freeing wages or getting new commercial deals.