Arsenal’s first-team squad may look a little different after the January transfer window closes.
With the likes of Alexandre Lacazette, Eddie Nketiah and Sead Kolasinac all entering the final five months of their contracts at the Emirates Stadium, they are now able to speak with clubs outside of Europe.
The January transfer window provides one final chance for Arsenal to recoup a fee for any of the aforementioned trio. Otherwise, they’ll move on for free in the summer unless a contract extension is agreed.
In terms of deals already in place, Brettbarley.com understand the young star Harry Clarke will join Scottish side Hibernian on an initial loan deal after spending the first half of the season at Ross County.
The defender will now head to Hibernian after the two clubs reached an agreement over the weekend, with an option to purchase clause being included in the deal.
Meanwhile, there are several members of the 27-strong Arsenal first-team squad that are in need of regular football and may look to use the winter window as an opportunity to leave north London for pastures new.
Aaron Ramsdale : The £24million summer signing from Sheffield United has established himself as Arsenal’s No.1 in between the sticks after getting the nod for Premier League games after the September international break.
Ramsdale is quickly becoming a fan favourite with some impressive stops and his bubbly character. KEEP
Bernd Leno: The 29-year-old himself has said he would be open to leaving Arsenal if he wasn’t able win back his place from Ramsdale before the end of 2021.
“Only if nothing changes in my situation by winter would I have to think about things: what option do I have, how can I continue? But I’m concentrating on my work in training; I can’t commit to anything else at the moment,” he told SportBild, via Sport Witness.
Of course, the German hasn’t dislodged Ramsdale in between the sticks, but unless Arteta and Edu can bring in a suitable replacement this month, it would be a huge risk to let Leno leave in January. KEEP
Arthur Okonkwo : One of two inexperienced third-choice goalkeeping options alongside Karl Hein. His future may be dependant on what happens with Leno as Arsenal won’t want to be left short. KEEP or LOAN
Takehiro Tomiyasu: A deadline day signing from Bologna, the Japan international has adjusted to life in England pretty well, turning in consistent displays – aside from that rocky outing against Brighton and Hove Albion.
At just 23, Tomiyasu can be Arsenal’s first-choice right-back for many years to come. KEEP
Cedric Soares: After a disastrous outing against Manchester City at the end of August, the Portuguese full-back hasn’t started a Premier League game since and is firmly behind Tomiyasu in the pecking order.
Still, Cedric is a worthy substitute at right-back. KEEP
Benjamin White: Eyebrows were raised when Arteta and Edu decided to splash £50million on a central defender, especially when William Saliba had returned from a loan spell at Nice.
But it’s safe to say White is beginning to prove some of his doubters wrong as his partnership with Gabriel Magalhaes has been a catalyst to Arsenal’s improved defensive record and subsequent climb up the Premier League table. KEEP
Gabriel Magalhaes: Now into his second season at Arsenal, the Brazilian is making that left-sided centre-back spot his own. KEEP
Rob Holding : The casualty of White’s arrival in the summer as he’s slipped down the pecking order at centre-back. No European football this season has also been an issue as opportunities for game time have been reduced.
There is always talk about Holding’s future around transfer season and it wouldn’t be a surprise to see him linked with an exit before and during the January window.
But he’s one to keep for now, at least until Saliba returns at the end of the campaign. KEEP
Pablo Mari: The Spaniard had a tough start to the season. His struggles against Ivan Toney and Romelu Lukaku are well documented and it cost him his place in the Premier League starting XI.
Outside of the remaining Carabao Cup games and once the FA Cup gets underway, it’s hard to see Mari getting much game time with Gabriel in good form.
As a result, football.london understands the Spaniard considering his options and Arsenal may find it difficult to resist a decent offer if one should come in. SELL
Kieran Tierney : Arsenal’s undisputed option at left-back, signed a new contract in the summer and won’t be going anywhere in January, or for the next few years at least. KEEP
Nuno Tavares: Signed as back-up to Tierney in the last window, in time the Portugal Under-21 international has already shown the Arsenal No.3 that he has some serious competition for that left-back spot. KEEP
Sead Kolasinac: This is a difficult one. Out of contract in the summer, the Bosnian is unlikely to fetch a high price in the January transfer window and he could be of use if Tierney’s injury curse strikes.
However, as shown last January, Arteta and Edu aren’t afraid to agree to a contract termination to get a player’s wages off the books and that could be the case with Kolasinac. SELL
Calum Chambers: Fifth choice centre-back and third choice right-back. The writing is pretty much on the wall for the versatile defender who is also out of contract in the summer.
But unlike with Kolasinac, Arsenal have the option to activate a one-year extension in Chambers’ contract which would enable them to command a nice fee in January or in the summer. KEEP and sell in the summer
Thomas Partey: Considered Arsenal’s best central midfielder when fit, the problem is he has spent a lot of time in the treatment room at London Colney since his £45million move from Atletico Madrid last summer.
Hopefully, the injury setbacks are behind Partey as he’s expected to play a key role in the Gunners’ quest to seal a return to Europe for the 2022/23 season. KEEP
Granit Xhaka: It looked like the 29-year-old was all set to join AS Roma in the summer, only for a deal to fall through and Arsenal ended up triggering an extension in his contract.
His return from injury earlier than expected is certainly a boost for Arsenal especially with Partey and Elneny departing for Africa Cup of Nations duty. KEEP
Mohamed Elneny: As revealed by football.london, Arsenal opened contract talks with the Egyptian last spring only for them to go cold and discussions have not resumed since.
Elneny is also in the final five months of his deal and the Gunners have one last chance to get a fee for the midfielder who has played a bit-part role so far this season. SELL
Ainsley Maitland-Niles: Spent the second half of last season on loan at West Brom and came close to leaving Arsenal in the summer when Everton came calling.
However, their loan bid was rejected and Maitland-Niles has been integrated back into the Gunners’ first-team squad. But for how much longer?
A January exit had seemed unlikely as Arsenal would be short of options in central midfield due to the Africa Cup of Nations, but there’s talk of a move to AS Roma.
Unless the Gunners bolster their options in midfield, letting Maitland-Niles leave this month wouldn’t make much sense. KEEP (unless a replacement is signed).
Albert Sambi Lokonga: Benefited from Xhaka’s absence earlier in the season, a player with bags of potential and has already impressed following his £15m transfer from Anderlecht. KEEP
Martin Odegaard: Arteta got his wish in the summer transfer window; a permanent deal for the Norwegian playmaker who did enough during his loan spell in the second half of last season to impress the Arsenal manager.
One of the members of the Gunners’ leadership group, Odegaard just needs to find consistency to his game. KEEP
Emile Smith Rowe: You don’t tie one of your best young prospects to a long-term contract and give him the iconic No.10 shirt, only to sell him a few months later. KEEP
Bukayo Saka: The only question when it comes to the England international’s future is ‘what is his best position?’ He’s played left-back, left-wing back, right-wing and he could even operate in central midfield.
All signs are pointing towards Saka developing as a right-winger at Arsenal for the foreseeable future. KEEP
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang: The now-former Arsenal captain quietly started the season in fine form, as his seven goals in nine appearances across all competitions was a very good return.
However, he has since been stripped of the captaincy for disciplinary reasons and is someone who could leave this month, with Brettbarley.com understand he has attracted interest from clubs in Italy, France and Spain.
Furthermore, given the 32-year-old had been exiled from the first-team squad and made to train separately before being given special dispensation to leave London early to join up with Gabon ahead of the Africa Cup of Nations, it would appear an exit this month would be best for all parties.
Although, the Gunners would have to enter the market for a replacement. SELL
Alexandre Lacazette: Any slim chances Arsenal had of recouping any of the £46.5million transfer fee they paid for the Frenchman in 2017 has long gone.
Out of contract in the summer, brettbarley.com have previously revealed that Lacazette will depart at the end of the season despite talk of a one-year extension.
It’s likely that one or two strikers will depart the Emirates in January, but Lacazette probably won’t be one of them barring a major U-turn from player and club. KEEP and release in summer
Nicolas Pepe: Now here’s where things get very interesting. At 26, the club’s record signing is not even guaranteed a place in Arteta’s best Arsenal starting XI, which is a good reason to cut their losses in January.
At the same time, Pepe does provide a goal threat which is a decent counterargument for keeping him around at least until the end of the season.
Make no mistake about it, a decision has to be made regarding the winger at some point in 2022, but just not in January. KEEP
Eddie Nketiah: “I have full belief that he’s going to be a top, top player and hopefully at Arsenal,” Arteta said of the striker following the Carabao Cup fourth round win against Leeds United.
“I’m so happy to have him in the team. He’s our player and I consider him and regard him really highly. From my side I want him to stay.”
The Spaniard may want Nketiah to stay, but the 22-year-old is out of contract in the summer, has barely featured outside of the Carabao Cup so far this season, so a departure seems like the most logical solution. SELL