MIKEL ARTETA knows he has tough choices to make at the end of the season as he plots a squad overhaul in what is expected to be a busy transfer window at the Emirates.
Following consecutive defeats against Manchester City and Brighton, Arsenal are in danger of missing out on European football next campaign as they languish in tenth spot.
Gunners boss Arteta was scathing in the aftermath of the loss against Brighton, as he stated it was “unacceptable” in how his side allowed Graham Potter’s men to come from behind.
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A major squad shake-up is needed if the North London club harbour any dreams of challenging for the top four next term, but they will have to sell key players in order to raise funds.
Here SunSport looks at who Arsenal should offload and keep in the upcoming window.
Bernd Leno – GK – KEEP
The German shot-stopper has been Arsenal’s best player this season, and has saved the Gunners on multiple occasions with his antics between the stops.
But he could be out for up to a year if it is confirmed that he has suffered a cruciate knee ligament injury.
Leno left the pitch at the Amex Stadium on a stretcher after he landed awkwardly following an aerial challenge from Neal Maupay during the clash against the Seagulls.
Emiliano Martinez – GK – KEEP
Should Leno face a lengthy time on the sidelines, Arsenal will have no option but to keep their second-choice goalkeeper.
The Argentinian has featured 12 times this season, his highest tally in a single campaign for the Gunners since making his debut for the club in 2012.
Matt Macey – GK – SELL
Now 25, it is highly unlikely that Macey will be regarded as anything but a third-choice goalkeeper at Arsenal, despite him now being bumped up to back-up due to Leno’s injury.
He still has one year left on is deal at the Emirates, but the Gunners should cash in while they can.
David Luiz – CB – OFFLOAD
The Brazilian is set to become a free agent, with the player holding out for a two-year deal, though Arsenal are only prepared to offer him a contract until 2021.
But after his horror show against City where he gave away two goals and was sent off, Arsenal should allow the veteran centre-back to leave as they simply cannot trust him.
Though he has impressed in a number of games, there is always the fear of him making a mistake, and should he continue to be a first team regular, the club will never get back to where they crave.
Shkodran Mustafi – CB – SELL
Like Luiz, Arsenal fans hold their breath when Mustafi is playing as they know there is a chance he could cost their side.
Though he has vastly improved under Arteta and is arguably the club’s best centre-back at the moment, that just speaks volume at how much the Gunners need to improve their defence.
The World Cup winner recently hinted he would be open to a move to Germany as he admitted playing in the Bundesliga is an interesting option.
Rob Holding – CB – KEEP
The English centre-half has been plagued by injuries since joining from Bolton in 2016.
But fans know that Holding is a player they can rely on when he’s selected to start, and should he get a lengthy run in the side, he could blossom in becoming a top player.
Sokratis Papastathopoulos- CB – SELL
The 32-year-old hasn’t replicated his brilliant form at Borussia Dortmund at Arsenal, and after two seasons in England, Arteta should move the Greek international on.
Sokratis found his chances under the Spaniard hard to come by prior to the coronavirus crisis, with the player deemed as surplus to requirements.
Simply not good enough at this level anymore.
Calum Chambers – CB – KEEP
Just like Holding, whenever Chambers finds good form, he is hit down by injury that ultimately cuts short his campaign.
He required surgery on his knee after he went off during the defeat to Chelsea in December, with the club stating he faces nine months on the sidelines.
Capable of playing as a right-back, Chambers is a player Arsenal should not be parting ways with.
Hector Bellerin – RB – KEEP
Despite being linked with moves to Inter Milan and Juventus, the Spanish full-back is another player that Arsenal cannot afford to leave.
Even though he appears to have lost some of his trademark pace after his comeback from a knee injury, he is still a player to be relied upon in defence as well as attack.
An Arsenal man, he knows what it means to represent the club, and supporters will always be on his side.
Kieran Tierney – LB – KEEP
Yet another player to be hampered by injuries this season, Tierney should be kept at all costs – despite Leicester boss Brendan Rodgers reportedly keen to reunite with the ex-Celtic ace.
The Scottish international should be the club’s first choice left-back for years to come, and even though he has played just 13 times this term, he appears to be worth every penny of his £25million transfer fee.
Sead Kolasinac – LB – SELL
Due to Tierney’s arrival, the Bosnian ace is a player that should be sold in order to raise funds.
A firm fan favourite at the Emirates, the ex-Schalke man is often suspect defensively, and his slow tracking back often allows the opposition to exploit the empty space.
Granit Xhaka – CM – KEEP
The majority of Arsenal supporters would love nothing more than to see Xhaka leave the club, but the former Gunners captain is without question the best midfielder they have at the moment.
His absence against Brighton due to the injury he picked up against City was hugely noticeable as he often dictates the play in the middle of the pitch, and is a constant outlet for his team-mates.
A player who will always divide opinions, the Swiss maestro simply has to be in Arteta’s starting XI next season.
Lucas Torreira – CM – KEEP
Torreira endeared himself to the Arsenal faithful when he swept home against Tottenham last campaign in the epic 4-2 home win.
His tenacity and energy in midfield cannot be replicated, and he has been a huge miss in the games against Brighton and City after sustaining an ankle injury against Everton in February.
Ainsley Maitland-Niles – CM/RB – SELL
If Maitland-Niles wants to have a career as a central midfielder, then the Gunners should sell him as he simply isn’t better than the options they have at their disposal.
However if he wishes to play as Bellerin’s cover at right-back, then he could still have a future after he featured regularly in that position under Unai Emery.
SunSport have already exclusively revealed how Arsenal have put him up for sale, where they are seeking £20million.
Matteo Guendouzi – CM – KEEP
A player that is hated by rival fans, Guendouzi, 21, is player that shows no fear on the pitch and is willing to take the risks other team-mates will not.
His temper – which may see him banned for three games after footage showed him grabbing Maupay by the throat – is praised by supporters as they believe it shows he fights for the badge at all costs.
However he must start to control his behaviour if he wants to prove to Arteta that he can rely on him.
Joe Willock – CM – LOAN OUT
The English midfielder undoubtedly has talent, but as shown by his outing against the Citizens, he isn’t ready yet to warrant a regular place in the Arsenal line-up.
A loan move to a fellow Premier League side could prove to be the most beneficial for his development.
Mesut Ozil – AM – SELL
Restricted to being a peripheral figure this season under both Emery and Arteta for “tactical reasons”, the German’s best days at the Emirates appear to be over.
Still the club’s most creative player, the former Real Madrid playmaker can’t get a look in at the moment – much to the dismay of fans.
With Arsenal desperate to raise the cash, and with Ozil now a bit-part player, the Gunners should get him off their wage bill and invest in a new No10.
Nicolas Pepe – RW – KEEP
His excellent goal against Brighton highlighted just how dangerous the Ivorian winger can be if given a sight on goal.
The club-record £72m signing has frustrated supporters with inconsistent performances, but it is clear to see the supreme talent he possesses.
Still getting to grips with the physicality of English football, Pepe could establish himself as one of the league’s most feared wingers once he gets comfortable.
Reiss Nelson – RW/LW – LOAN OUT
A successful loan spell at Bundesliga side Hoffenheim last season left fans feeling excited by what Nelson could bring to the table this term.
But he has failed to cement himself as a key player, and another loan spell seems to be the best option as he longs for regular game time.
Bukayo Saka – LW/LB – KEEP
With his contract to expire in 2021, Arsenal simply have to do all they can to get the teenager to commit his long-term future to the club.
The 18-year-old – who has been linked with a move to Liverpool – has took to Premier League football with ease, and is now regarded as one of England’s brightest prospects.
With three goals and ten assists to his name this term, Saka has been one of the only bright sparks in an otherwise disastrous season.
Gabriel Martinelli – LW/ST – KEEP
Simply the future of Arsenal.
The 19-year-old has fired in ten goals in 26 games this season, and his hunger, work rate, desire and passion has left fans mesmerised.
Arteta’s main failure in the club’s recent defeats is leaving Martinelli on the bench in both games.
Forget the club’s main stars, if Arsenal want to have any chance of winning games again this season, the Brazilian HAS to be involved.
Eddie Nketiah – ST – LOAN OUT
Arteta has given Nketiah plenty of chances since he succeeded Emery, and although the ex-Leeds loanee has scored three goals, question marks still remain whether he is capable of leading the line.
Recalled from the Whites after he failed to start ahead of Patrick Bamford, another loan spell is needed for Nketiah.
Alexandre Lacazette – ST – SELL
Since joining from Lyon in 2017, the French striker is yet to score more than 19 goals in a single season.
Another fan favourite, the 29-year-old hasn’t looked the same since he suffered an injury against Tottenham in the 2-2 draw in September.
Should they fail to sell Lacazette, a swap deal for Atletico Madrid’s Thomas Partey could be an option.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang – ST/LW – SELL
There is no indication that the ex-BVB marksman will pen a new deal with his contract to expire next year.
Even though he is Arsenal’s best player and biggest goal threat, it could be best for all parties if Aubameyang was to be sold.
The Gabon international was an invisible man in Arsenal’s recent two matches, and if Arteta would rather Aubameyang be shifted out wide to accommodate Nketiah up top, then there is no point in keeping him.
Loans – (IN)
Dani Ceballos – CM – OFFLOAD
The Spanish midfielder has already insisted he wants to have a career at Real Madrid when his loan expires.
Despite impressing during his time at the club, he is still waiting for his first Premier League goal, and he’s a player that can easily be replaced.
Pablo Mari – CB – SIGN
Arsenal have already reportedly exercised the option to turn his switch permanent in a £14million deal.
It remains to be seen whether he will play again this season after injuring himself against City, but in the games he has played, he has brought a sense of calm to the usual disorganised defence.
Cedric Soares – RB – OFFLOAD
Still yet to feature for the club despite joining from Southampton in January, Arsenal simply have too many injury-prone players to be worrying about another one.
Loans – (OUT)
William Saliba – CB – KEEP
Tipped to become of the best centre-backs in Europe, big things are expected of the French teenager due to his displays at Saint-Etienne.
Saliba should be regular starter in the first team next season.
Henrikh Mkhitaryan – AM – SELL
Things just haven’t worked out for the Armenian ace in England – first at Manchester United and now at Arsenal.
Roma are keen to turn his loan spell into a permanent move, and the Arsenal board will jump at the chance to flog him.
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Konstantinos Mavropanos – CB – KEEP
The Greek defender is currently at German second-division side Nurnberg as he longs for game time as he looks to get back to full fitness.
Another player who has seen his chances at Arsenal limited due to injuries, a loan move next season should give a better idea on whether he is good enough to succeed in North London.
Mohamed Elneny – CM – SELL
Arsenal failed to permanently sell him last summer, and they will surely try once again in the coming months after an uninspiring season at Turkish side Besiktas.
Emile Smith Rowe – AM – KEEP
Currently on loan at Huddersfield, Smith Rowe impressed last season under Emery, but with the club boasting a number of midfielders, his game time will once again be limited next term.
A loan spell to a Premier League club should be considered.