Two Arsenal exits confirmed, with 12 more on Arteta hitlist in ruthless cull
As many as 14 first-team Arsenal players are on the chopping block this summer, and two stars have already seen their exits confirmed, per reports.
A big summer to double down on what has been a wholly encouraging campaign for Arsenal is hotly anticipated.
Declan Rice is the Gunners’ primary midfield target and is likely to cost a new club-record if signed. The current mark remains the £72m paid to sign Nicolas Pepe from Lille in 2019.
However, according to a report from Goal, who leaves the Emirates is set to be just as intriguing as who arrives.
Indeed, the outlet list 14 players who are facing uncertain futures to different degrees, and two stars have already seen their departures greenlit.
The pair in question are centre-back Pablo Mari and versatile midfielder, Ainsley Maitland-Niles.
Mari is on loan at Serie A side Monza and his deal contained an obligation to buy if they avoided relegation.
Monza have already beaten the drop with multiple games to spare and the Mirror reported a €7m (approx. £6.15m) deal will occur.
Maitland-Niles is also out on loan with EPL strugglers Southampton. The 25-year-old is out of contract at season’s end and recently told the Athletic he’ll not be returning to Arsenal.
Confirming his own exit, Maitland-Niles told the outlet: “It’s been a great journey but it has come to an end now (at Arsenal). It’s time for a fresh start and to find a new home.”
Tierney, Xhaka, Smith Rowe among 12 more at risk
Elsewhere, Goal list 12 further first-teamers who could leave the Emirates this summer.
The at-risk dozen are: Cedric Soares, Rob Holding, Auston Trusty, Kieran Tierney, Nuno Tavares, Albert Sambi Lokonga, Granit Xhaka, Charlie Patino, Emile Smith Rowe, Reiss Nelson, Nicolas Pepe and Folarin Balogun.
Holding will only make way if Arsenal sign a new right-footed centre-back. Crystal Palace’s Marc Guehi is in their sights.
Fellow centre-back Trusty was recently named Birmingham City fans’ player of the year after a superb season on loan. However, his limitations with the ball at feet make him a poor fit for Arteta and a move to Scottish giant Rangers has been touted.
Left-back Tierney has lost his place to Oleksandr Zinchenko and counts Aston Villa, Newcastle and Man City among his admirers.
Xhaka would be a surprise exit given he’s thrived in more of a box-to-box role this term. However, with a new signing the calibre of Declan Rice wanted, Xhaka may be relegated to a bench role next season.
A return to Germany with Xabi Alonso’s Bayer Leverkusen could occur. However, any bid is likely to be ‘less than £20m’, according to the Mirror.
The ultra-reliable David Ornstein recently confirmed Arsenal will allow youngster Patino to leave on a permanent basis this summer. Patino does not want to warm the bench or be loaned out once again after getting a taste of regular action while loaned to Blackpool this term.
Nelson is out of contract and negotiations over a new deal are yet to bear fruit. Balogun, meanwhile, has been ripping it up in Ligue 1 while on loan at Reims.
Balogun has bagged 18 league goals for the French outfit, though per reports, Arsenal are unlikely to benefit in the long run.
That’s because the Daily Mail recently claimed Balogun is dead set against a third loan spell away. He was previously on loan at Middlesbrough in the first half of 2022.
Adding further fuel to the exit fire is a report from the Athletic that stated Balogun won’t sign a new deal in north London. His current contract expires in 2025.
The Times subsequently reported that with Arsenal backed into a corner, they’ll reluctantly listen to offers at season’s end.
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