Inside Arsenal’s summer transfer plans with up to NINE first-team stars facing axe and Tammy Abraham wanted up front
ARSENAL are looking to scrape together £60million from an Emirates yard sale of players who no longer figure in their plans.
The club are ready to spend as much as £150million this summer to upgrade Mikel Arteta’s squad for a return to European football.
But they want to offset some of that outlay by selling seven surplus players at knockdown prices.
Matteo Guendouzi and Konstantinos Mavropanos have already generated £12.5million after being offloaded to Marseille and Stuttgart respectively.
Now Arsenal are trying to negotiate further cut-price deals for Hector Bellerin, Lucas Torreira, Bernd Leno, Ainsley Maitland-Niles and Pablo Mari.
Arteta has told technical director Edu that he needs 22 outfield players to cope with the extra demands of Europa League football next season.
With Alex Lacazette and Eddie Nketiah both set to leave as free agents and Mohamed Elneny just signing a new one-year contract with the option of a further 12 months, Arsenal currently have just 16 senior outfield players on their books.
That figure could be boosted by the return of William Saliba and possibly Reiss Nelson from their current loan deals.
And Arteta is ready to allow promising youngsters such as Charlie Patino, Miguel Azeez and Omari Hutchinson the chance to cut their teeth in the Europa League group games.
But he still wants to make four top quality signings this summer as he looks for two strikers, a central midfielder and possibly another full-back.
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Manchester City’s Gabriel Jesus and Roma’s Tammy Abraham are his main targets up front while Leicester’s Youri Tielemans and Wolves playmaker Ruben Neves head the list of potential midfield recruits.
Arteta said: “When you look at what we have on the pitch now and what we had ten or 20 years ago, you can see where this club has to go.
“We have squeezed the lemon to the very last drop to reach this point and we know what we need to do to take the club to the next level.
“The Europa League requires a much larger squad because the amount of games is much bigger.”
Meeting all of those requirements is not going to be easy for Arsenal, who were last summer’s biggest spenders when they splashed out more than £150million to buy Ben White, Aaron Ramsdale, Martin Odegaard, Takehiro Tomiyasu, Nuno Tavares and Albert Sambi Lokonga.
But owner Stan Kroenke has accepted Arteta’s argument that if they get their spending right this summer the squad will be in great shape for the next five or six years.
The problem now is finding potential buyers for the players who are currently surplus to requirements.
Fiorentina say they cannot afford the £12.5million asking price for Torreira and Benfica are quibbling over the £8.5million valuation for Leno.
Real Betis have spoken about crowdfunding a deal to keep Bellerin, but the full-back’s £100,000-a-week wages are a major stumbling block.
The versatile Maitland-Niles is expected to move to another Premier League club for around £8million while Pablo Mari has impressed on loan at Udinese but the Italian club might not have the funds to make the deal permanent.
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