Arsenal enjoyed a fairly good January transfer window. Though the club may not have made any money from transfer fees, they managed to shift a lot of proverbial dead wood from the squad and managed to take a huge chunk out of their wage budget at the same time, not least thanks to the sale of Mesut Özil, which cleared a cool £350,000-a-week from the bill and managed to find a temporary solution to their back-up goalkeeper woes with Maty Ryan and solve their creativity issues with the loan of Martin Ødegaard.
But with the summer window approaching, it’s fair to say that there is still plenty of work to be done. Though the most pressing cases such as Özil, Shkodran Mustafi and Sokratis have been dealt with, there is still a bit more fat to be trimmed.
Some players are out on loan, others out in the cold and others with a seemingly impossible route back into the side.
Name: Calum Chambers
Potential fee: £15m
Calum Chambers seems to have lived something of a charmed life since joining the club. Signed for £16m from Southampton in 2014, Chambers has played in a variety of positions, namely right-back and central defence, though a promising show at Fulham suggested the possibility of a move to central midfield as well.
Though Chambers has been unlucky with a long-term knee injury, it seems unlikely that the defender will be able to find an easy route back into the team.
Arsenal desperately need some form of cover or competition for Héctor Bellerín, however Chambers has never really suited the position all that well and his path towards starting regularly at centre back is blocked by others as well.
David Luiz and Rob Holding seem to be the preferred candidates on the right side of defence and once William Saliba returns from his loan at Nice, it seems likely that there will be yet another obstacle in Chambers’ way; meanwhile, the left-hand side of defence is usually occupied by summer signing Gabriel Magalhães or by Pablo Marí and Mikel Arteta seems unwilling to play a right-footed player in the position.
Chambers was subject to a £28m bid from Leicester a few seasons ago, but Arsenal resisted the impulse to sell the defender, they may now look to cash in however, unless Chambers is happy to have a back-up role in the squad.
Name: Reiss Nelson
Potential fee: £16m
The fall of Reiss Nelson in recent months has been a somewhat pitying sight to behold. Once thought to be Arsenal’s homegrown answer to Riyad Mahrez, Nelson’s stock has fallen rather considerably in recent months.
A torrid time under Unai Emery was not aided by the appearance of Nicolas Pépé, who joined in a club-record £72m fee and the emergence of Bukayo Saka, who’s tactical and positional versatility seems to be more in the style of what Arsenal needs right now.
In recent months, Nelson has struggled with several injuries and has also been a victim of a very stacked pecking order. While Pépé’s form has greatly improved, the added complication Emile Smith Rowe being able to play out wide as well have further complicated matters for Nelson.
Though a brilliant and tricky player on his day, his yo-yoing form makes him a likely candidate for a trim in the upcoming summer cuts.
Name: Eddie Nketiah
Potential fee: £20m
The astonishing thing about Eddie Nketiah, is that he could very easily do a job for a lot of teams in the Premier League, just not for Arsenal.
Nketiah’s main strengths are usually best seen in his ability to press high up the field and for his dogged attitude to chase loose passes, close players down and to scramble for every ball no matter how dead or lost it may look. In fact, this remarkably hardworking attitude has earned him a spot in Mikel Arteta’s good graces and it’s a surprise that he was not considered to be a more valuable asset to Marcelo Bielsa at Leeds when he was on loan there.
Nketiah’s poacher reputation is another key asset for the youngster, but for a team like Arsenal, that already has a potent poacher and goal-threat in Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, the idea of another is unfeasible.
Indeed, Nketiah’s rather small build and lack of overall body strength makes him an easy target for the burlier Premier League defenders and Nketiah is often buffeted from side-to-side by defenders that are quick to notice his strengths and weaknesses.
Many teams, like Sheffield United or Everton or Championship side Brentford, would do well to sign Nketiah up and Arsenal could likely command a higher fee than normal as he is both homegrown and an academy graduate.
Name: Lucas Torreira
Potential fee: £27m
The prince that was promised when he made the switch from Sampdoria to North London nearly three years ago. Signed by former Head of Recruitment Sven Mislintat in a £26m deal, Lucas Torreira has endured a bit of a hit and miss time with the club.
Though Torreira is strong in the tackle, eager to do the dirty work and has a bit of a meaner shot on him than one might have thought, he has been undone on a number of occasions by mismanagement under Unai Emery, injuries and a passing ability that doesn’t quite inspire the confidence that fans might have had when watching a prime Santi Cazorla strut his stuff.
Torreira has spent this season on loan at Atlético Madrid, who would have preferred to have partnered him with Thomas Partey, however, the latter’s departure in the summer seemingly halted plans. Since then, Torreira has been on the fringes of the side and seems unlikely to displace any of the current midfield.
Rumours swirled in January of offers from Monaco and the summer saw a vested interest in him from Italian side Torino, which would have seen him reunited with former Sampdoria manager Marco Giampaolo, however, since Giampaolo’s sacking, a move there seems unlikely.
Torreira and his agent have been quoted in the press speaking about homesickness and a dislike of the English weather, something that has proved an obstacle for a while now and it would not be surprising if the player were to look to move away in the summer.
Though the idea of him lining up alongside Partey seems like a mouth-watering concept in terms of defensive rigidity, it seems unlikely that Arsenal would opt for such a plan, especially given the current form of Granit Xhaka.
Torreria does not seem to be in Arteta’s plans for the time being and it seems as though Arsenal would rather cut their losses and look elsewhere.
Name: Alexandre Lacazette
Potential fee: £10m
It has long been known that Alexandre Lacazette was at the top of the Arsenal scouting list for nearly ten years before his purchase in 2017 for £46.5m (then a club record), however, Lacazette has never fully delivered the kind of stats he was averaging at his previous club, Lyon.
Though Lacazette has clearly been a victim of a rather underperforming Arsenal side that is totally shot of confidence, he has also been guilty of a fair amount of poor performances himself.
With Folarian Balogun’s contract the talk of the proverbial town at London Colney, it seems as though Arsenal would prefer to see the youngster remain at the club, but with Lacazette in his way, it may be that Balogun looks elsewhere, which would complicate things for Arsenal.
Though Arteta has spoken often about his willingness to keep Lacazette for a while longer, little to no movement from either side with regards to striking up a conversation about it.
Arsenal’s reported interest in strikers like Odsonne Edouard at Celtic would further complicate matters for Lacazette, who unless he is willing to stay at the club as a back-up striker, will find it tough to remain for much longer.
In a normal market, Arsenal would likely be able to command around £30m for Lacazette, however, in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic and the fact that Lacazette is entering the final year or so of his contract, Arsenal may struggle to get more than £10m.
Name: Mattéo Guendouzi
Potential fee: £25m
Another of Sven Mislintat’s Scoutpanel gems saw Arsenal fans draw a wry smile as it looked a match made in heaven. Mislintat’s penchant for discovering young and unearthed gems, coupled with Arsenal’s enviable history of turning youngsters into superstars, it seemed as though the sky was the limit for Mattéo Guendouzi.
However, it now looks as though Guendouzi’s time at the club is pretty much over. Though the Frenchman displays a remarkable talent, his attitude and behavioural issues both on and off the field have so far proved to be impossible to look past for Mikel Arteta.
Under Unai Emery, Guendouzi was given a huge amount of responsibility and seemed to thrive off the Spaniard’s trust, often partnering Granit Xhaka or Lucas Torreira in midfield. However, a litany of on-field incidents and a number of off-field excursions has seen Guendouzi become a figure many cannot wait to see the back of.
Mikel Arteta’s zero-tolerance policy has seen Guendouzi utterly frozen out and given Arteta’s stance of cutting his nose to spite his face, it came as no surprise to see that Guendouzi was hastily loaned out to Hertha Berlin.
The signs of Guendouzi on loan have been mixed, much like his time at Arsenal and though Mikel Arteta has spoken openly of wanting to welcome Guendouzi back into the fold, it would not be a surprise to see the French midfielder leave in the summer.
Name: Joe Willock
Potential fee: £18m
If you had suggested six months or so ago, the idea of Joe Willock departing the club, most would have called you mad, and indeed, who can argue with his output? In Arsenal’s Europa League campaign, Willock was on fire with three goals and three assists in the competition.
However, the youngster has failed to make much of an impact in the league. With Mohamed Elneny & Dani Ceballos’ yo-yoing form, Thomas Partey’s injury woes and Granit Xhaka’s disappointing earlier campaign form, it seemed as though it would only be a matter of time before Willock was given his chance to impress.
However, Willock has not since delivered in the league, where the competition is notably higher than in the Europa League. Willock has largely been reduced to substitute appearances and though it’s always special to see an academy graduate represent the club at senior level, there is something of a glum resignation that very little will happen when Willock is introduced, a feeling replicated with teammate Willian as well.
Willock is currently on loan at Newcastle United, where he had an instant impact, scoring on his debut, however, it looks unlikely that Willock will make the mark at Arsenal. Talented though he clearly is, it is clear that he, like Nketiah, lacks the physicality required to make it at a top Premier League club and with Arsenal keen to strengthen their creative outlets in the summer, Willock could be a casuality.
Name: Rúnar Alex Rúnarsson
Potential fee: Loan or £5m
It is unlikely that Arsenal are prepared to cut their losses entirely on Rúnar Alex Rúnarsson, who joined the club from Dijon in the summer.
Rúnarsson was always seen as a third-choice goalkeeper as the club chased Brentford’s David Raya, however, after their pursuit of Raya failed, Rúnarsson was the only keeper brought in in the wake of Emiliano Martínez’s departure to Aston Villa.
Some rather forgettable performances have been enough to outshine the one or two promising games he has had along the way and it is clear that Rúnarsson needs more game time if he is to improve.
It is more likely that Arsenal would look to secure a loan deal for Rúnarsson in the summer rather than to outright sell him, however, if an offer of around £5m were to come in, Arsenal could be sorely tempted, especially if their pursuit of David Raya comes off in the summer.
Name: Konstantinos Mavropanos
Potential fee: £6m
Konstantinos Mavropanos was the first signing the club made with Sven Mislintat at the helm. Signed from Greek side PAS PAS Giannina, Mavropanos managed to break into Arsène Wenger’s first-team plans fairly quickly, however, since then, it seems as though Mavropanos has been reduced to an afterthought by the club.
With William Saliba returning from loan at Nice in the summer and the standout performances of Rob Holding, it’s difficult to see where, if at all, Mavropanos would fit in.
Arsenal are keen to add another central defender to their ranks in the summer, which would further complicate matters for Mavropanos, who has not set the world on fire on his disrupted loans in Germany.
Mikel Arteta has had very little to say about Mavropanos in his time at Arsenal, it seems as though Arsenal may be tempted to cut their losses and bring a more experienced central defender in instead.
There will likely be other players that will be in the club’s thoughts when the summer window rolls around, but these seem to be the most likely candidates to leave should the opportunity arise in the summer.
With the merciless ways that Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Mesut Özil, Shkodran Mustafi and Sokratis Papastathopoulos have all left the club, it would be a foolish person who would think that trimming the fat at a potential loss is above Arsenal, especially with Technical Director Edu, under increasing pressure to deliver quality reinforcements for Mikel Arteta for next season.