Mikel Arteta ‘may have to consider SELLING Bukayo Saka to fund Arsenal overhaul this summer… with club eyeing permanent deal for Real Madrid loanee Martin Odegaard and up to SEVENTEEN other first-team stars sweating over their futures’
- Failure to reach the Champions League for the fifth straight year would hit hard
- The worst scenario would involve the sale of Bukayo Saka among others
- Emile Smith Rowe and Kieran Tierney are other big-name stars at risk of leaving
- Seventeen names are more likely to depart – among them centre back David Luiz
- Five of the club’s current loanees are destined to shipped out during the summer
- Hector Bellerin, Granit Xhaka and Alexandre Lacazette all face uncertain futures
Mikel Arteta will reportedly have to consider selling Bukayo Saka in order to raise funds for Arsenal to spend in the summer, with a permanent deal for Martin Odegaard a top priority.
The 19-year-old has been one of the Gunners’ star players since the Spaniard took over at the Emirates in December 2019, performing consistently at both left back and left wing.
Odegaard, who is thought to be valued at £35million by Real Madrid, has been another of the team’s shining lights this season during a campaign which has seen the north Londoners become mired in mid-table after an eight-placed finish last season and fail to defend the FA Cup after crashing out to Southampton in the fourth round.
Mikel Arteta may need to sell Bukayo Saka to purchase Real Madrid loanee Martin Odegaard
Saka has been one of Arsenal’s best players under Arteta despite being the youngest regular
Odegaard’s arrival will need big departures if Arsenal don’t qualify for the Champions League
The Gunners are six points off seventh-placed Tottenham and nine points off Chelsea in fourth
However, with Covid causing financial problems throughout world football and Arsenal’s chances of qualifying for next season’s Champions League looking shaky at best, Arteta may need to let his prize asset go to strengthen the squad ahead of next season, according to The Times.
Despite the performances of Saka, Odegaard and left back Kieran Tierney, Arsenal are looking at the very real prospect of not being able to qualify for Europe next season for the first time since 1995-96 as they sit six points off seventh-placed Tottenham having played a game more than their bitter rivals – and nine points adrift of Chelsea in fourth.
Champions League qualification is possible by winning this season’s Europa League and would give Arteta the option of adding to his squad without losing key players, but that will still be a tough task despite an eminently winnable quarter-final tie against Slavia Prague.
If they don’t qualify for Europe’s top-tier competition – something they haven’t managed in the last four seasons – Saka may be one of the players up for sale as the club expect to make a loss of around £150m this season due to the pandemic, although it must be stressed that Arteta is keen to keep the teenager, along with Emile Smith Rowe, Gabriel, Thomas Partey, Gabriel Martinelli and Tierney.
However, up to 17 other players are more likely to head for the exit, most notably current loanees Matteo Guendouzi, Sead Kolasinac, Lucas Torreira, Ainsley Maitland-Niles and Konstantinos Mavropanos, with the Greek centre back on loan at Bundesliga side Stuttgart having played just eight times for Arsenal since arriving in January 2018.
Hector Bellerin has been consistently linked with Paris Saint-Germain and has previously expressed a desire for a new challenge, while at least one of Calum Chambers or Rob Holding could depart, despite the latter’s contract keeping him at the club until 2024.
Owner Stan Kreonke must balance the club’s budget after the dramatic impact of Covid-19
Lucas Torreira, Matteo Guendouzi and Ainsley Maitland-Niles are all likely to leave the club
Hector Bellerin has been linked with Paris Saint-Germain and has previously wanted to leave
At least one of Calum Chambers and Rob Holding is likely to leave – with both potentially going
David Luiz’s £120,000-a-week wages would be tough to afford without European football, while Granit Xhaka and Mohamed Elneny are at a crossroads in their careers.
It is also likely that Arsenal will want to jettison Willian and Nicolas Pepe as their purchases have proved a disaster, while Dani Ceballos is set to return to Real Madrid this summer after two season-long loans away from the Bernabeu.
In attack, Alexandre Lacazette and Eddie Nketiah are both out of contract in the summer of 2022, with the Englishman failing to push on this season, as his goal tally of just five across all competitions this season shows.
David Luiz’s wages are very high and Nicolas Pepe and Willian have been terrible since joining
Mohamed Elneny and Granit Xhaka have one and two years left at the club respectively
Alexandre Lacazette hasn’t scored enough this season and sees his current deal end in 2022
The north Londoners face a pivotal April, with winnable Premier League games against Sheffield United, Fulham and Everton in addition to their two-legged Europa League tie.
May also looks kind in the league, with Chelsea their only opponents in the top half.
Arsenal never make things simple though.
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