The season still has up to three games left in it but rumours and scuttlebutt are already flying that Arsenal are headed towards a busy summer. The club has confirmed that Petr Cech, Danny Welbeck, Dennis Suarez and Aaron Ra... sorry, I need a moment. (Scream of rage)
... and Aaron Ramsey are leaving. Adding to that, Arsenal have indicated that they will not activate Stephan Lichtsteiner’s extension clause, letting the fullback walk off into the sunset to the land of players who just really aren’t very good anymore. Also known as West Ham.
Already an big list, rumours have it that Arsenal are also looking to sell a rash of players, too, including Carl Jenkinson, Mohammed Elneny, Shkodran Mustafi, Henrikh Mkhitarayn and Mesut Ozil. Current loans Calum Chambers and Emilano Martinez are also having their futures consider.
Wait. Let me read that again. Really? **SELL** Mustafi? Is that even possible?
The obvious standouts on that list are Ozil and Mkhitaryan, both of whom are paid very well for their services and one of whom likely deserves it. Which brings us to the main reason for this clear out: money.
Arsenal are a club that swims on its means and for many years, that largely relied on the cash inflow that was the Champions League. Now, having squandered multiple chances to actually finish in the Top Four during a down year for many teams, Arsenal are facing the harder path of winning the Europa League to qualify. Without that money, club finances will take another hit as it will a third season out of the big league. With Emery and Co. looking to add up to five new players, the sales make sense.
But outside of Ozil, it’s hard to see how much the rest of the names will garner. Arsenal turned a tidy sum last winter with the sales of Olivier Giroud, Theo Walcott and Alex “40 Million Pounds” Oxlade Chamberlain. But this group doesn’t contain the same money appeal, that is to say, scoring goals. Ozil is also quite happy in London, thank you, so why he would accept a deal to move out is beyond me. They’ll just have to wait until he’s sick of them, at this rate.
All in all, it points to a very active summer with signs to either big changes or big disappointment. If management is successful and ruthless enough to pull off even half of these deals, the Arsenal of the Wenger Years will be fully dismantled. They better go out and win that Europa Cup just to ensure they can remake a version worthy to Arsenal’s legacy.