Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta is plotting a huge clear-out at the Emirates as he looks to restructure his first-team squad.
Mikel Arteta is preparing to clear the decks in a bid to balance Arsenal’s books and give himself some more room to move in the transfer market. Arteta could make up to 15 players available to leave the Emirates Stadium before the transfer window slams shut in October.
The Gunners are hoping to land Brazilian defender Gabriel from French outfit Lille this week and will then start clearing out their squad.
If a deal can be concluded for the Manchester United and Napoli-linked Brazilian, the centre-half will be Arsenal’s fourth summer signing after Pablo Mari, Cedric Soares and Willian.
The north London club have spent just £14million so far and a deal for 22-year-old Gabriel would take their outlay to just shy of £40m.
If Gabriel is signed, Arteta will begin the overhaul of his squad at the back, where he will have a raft of options with William Saliba having returned from a season on loan at Saint-Etienne and David Luiz having signed a one-year contract extension.
Napoli will move for the Gunners’ Greek international Sokratis Papastathopoulos if, as expected, they miss out on signing Gabriel.
Rob Holding and Calum Chambers, who has been linked with a move to Fulham, have also been told that they are surplus to requirements.
Wolves and arch-rivals Tottenham Hotspur are also both keen on the £20million-rated Ainsley Maitland-Niles, who has also got Newcastle United watching developments.
Both Lazio and Roma want Uruguayan international Lucas Torreira, who has slipped down Arteta’s pecking order, while Torino and Fiorentina are watching on.
French midfielder Matteo Guendouzi is also set to leave while Alexandre Lacazette could also go after struggling since Arteta took over the Arsenal hot-seat.
Arsenal technical director Edu made it clear after the arrival of 32-year-old winger Willian on a free from Chelsea earlier this month that the club are looking to rebalance their squad.
“We tried to create a better balance in the squad but we know that takes time to balance the squad the way me and Mikel [Arteta] want to,” he said.
“To balance properly, we need to sell players, to buy players and that takes time, not just day and night.
“It will take time but with Willian, we’ve started a big process. We’ve identified the needs in the squad and he’s the one to start to rebalance the squad as we want to.
“I am really excited and really happy to have a player like Willian because I’m convinced he’ll be the one to impact the team straight away.
“That, for me, is the most important one because I think the squad needed a player like Willian to help them, to be with the guys, helping in all senses. That’s why I’m so excited.”
While Arsenal boss Arteta said after the win over Chelsea in the FA Cup final at the start of August: “I have presented my vision and my plans and all together we will try our best to get the club in the best possible position.
“I know how important it was [to win the FA Cup] as we needed to be in Europe.
“It is a must for our club and financially because it is a bigger step forward in order to allow us to do more things in the future and have a better structure financially.
“I am very pleased for both things – winning the trophy and having the option to play in Europe.”