Mikel Arteta’s summer rebuild at Arsenal could trigger end of Arsene Wenger era as five players linked with departures
The Arsene Wenger era could soon be well and truly over if Mikel Arteta completes his reshuffle of the Arsenal squad this summer.
The Spaniard is already planning next season’s assault on the title as he plots to dethrone Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City.
And that could see the last men standing in Wenger’s tenure could all move on this summer as Arteta goes on the offensive.
The first to come out appears to be Granit Xhaka, who Wenger signed in 2016. The Switzerland international has promised an announcement on his future this week amid links with a move to Bayer Leverkusen.
“You’ll know next week, that’s for sure. Before the Wolves game,” Xhaka said after Saturday’s defeat at Nottingham Forest.
“I think the fans deserve this. So do I. We have one more week of the Premier League season left and I want to enjoy it and I want you too.”
Xhaka spoke candidly about creating something special this season, hinting at a possible release.
“Where I was three years ago and where I am today, I think I grew as a person and got my respect back,” he said. “In the dressing room everything was still fine but I took it from the fans.
“When I said special…I mean, how can I say it? Where I’ve been and how I’ve come back and my turnaround, it’s maybe the first time in the history of the Premier League what happens?
“It made me happy. It makes me proud. But it’s my story, my path. How the fans treated me, I didn’t expect – but I’m grateful to them. I want to give them something back for, maybe, my last game on Sunday.
“I wanted to do something special this season, maybe with a title, but now is not the time. Let’s see what the future holds for us.
According to the Daily Mirror, other Wenger-era stars at risk of being shipped off are Rob Holding – signed from Bolton in 2016, while Reiss Nelson will become a free agent next month unless an agreement on an extension can be reached. be concluded.
That would leave Mohamed Elneny and Eddie Nketiah as the other two, with the two players’ futures at Emirates Stadium unclear.
Arteta’s priorities lie in a midfield rebuild with Thomas Partey’s dip in form in the title race potentially leading to an exit.
The Mirror claims Partey could move to Serie A with two Italian sides interested in the 30-year-old.
Any funds recovered for the Ghanaian could fund a move for No.1 target Declan Rice. West Ham have made it clear they will not sell their captain for less than £100million.
Other options for the Gunners are Manchester City’s Ilkay Gundogan, who runs out of contract next month. Another possibility is that Arsenal rekindle their long-term interest in Brighton’s Moises Caicedo.
Arteta could launch an attack for Chelsea’s Mason Mount, but it will all depend on how new boss Mauricio Pochettino considers the England star among his expensively assembled squad.
Another top player linked with a departure is Leicester’s James Maddison. The 26-year-old is expected to leave the King Power Stadium this summer regardless of the Foxes’ Premier League status.
Arteta faces the biggest transfer window of his managerial career as Arsenal set the wheels in motion for another title push next season.
But the Gunners know getting their stuff off the pitch will be key to their chances, with a more intense battle for top honors expected next time around.