5 Arsenal players heading for permanent exits as Mikel Arteta makes room for transfers

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Mikel Arteta is expected to splash the cash this summer to prepare Arsenal for the Champions League next season, but a few players could also leave the Emirates

Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta is preparing to permanently part company with as many as five players this summer as he clears his decks for new recruits ahead of the 2023/24 campaign.

Arteta has shown he’s a shrewd operator in the transfer window since taking the reins from Unai Emery and hasn’t been afraid to part company with players he felt weren’t pulling their weight.

Mesut Ozil, Matteo Guendouzi and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang were all high-profile exits at the Emirates as Arteta replaced them with individuals he felt better suited to the way in which he wants his Gunners side to play.

And Arteta has shown he was definitely on to something by turning his Gunners into genuine title contenders this campaign.

Arteta is expected to splash the cash this summer ahead of Arsenal’s long-awaited return to the Champions League, but this will mean parting company with some individuals to free up cash.

One player likely to leave this summer is Folarin Balogun. The Arsenal academy graduate is currently on loan at Ligue 1 club Reims, where he has scored 19 goals in all competitions.

The 21-year-old is desperate for first-team football and he’s unlikely to get it regularly at Arsenal next season when he returns in the summer what with Gabriel Jesus and Eddie Nketiah ahead of him.

Ideally, Arsenal would like to keep hold of the forward but understand he may be anxious to leave for the sake of his career and have slapped a £26million price tag on his head as a result. AC Milan and Marseille have both registered an interest in Balogun.

“Contractually I have to go back [to Arsenal],” Balogun said in March, hinting at a Gunners exit. “Because the loan was only for one year so that was always the agreement. But I wouldn’t, um, I’m not sure what is going to happen in the future.

“A lot could happen in football, a lot could change, and it just depends on the conversations we have between me and the club in the summer, and we’ll see what happens.”

Another player who could leave Arsenal in the summer is Reiss Nelson, as he is the only individual out of contract in 2023.

The 23-year-old Gunners graduate has made only 16 appearances in all competitions this campaign and is not a part of Arteta’s regular rotation in north London.

He is currently in talks with Arsenal over a contract extension but is yet to put pen to paper, with some reports suggesting he has rejected the Gunners’ first offer of a new deal, leaving him free to walk in June.

A third player set to leave Arsenal in the summer is £72m signing Nicolas Pepe. The 27-year-old is currently on loan at Nice, who have no option to buy the forward, but that doesn’t mean to say he’s returning to Arteta’s first team.

Pepe was signed by Emery back in 2019 but failed to live up to his billing and despite numerous opportunities was eventually sent on loan as Arteta built an impressive team without him.

The Ivorian has flattered to deceive in France with only eight goals in 27 appearances and Arteta will no doubt be looking to get him off his wage bill in a few months’ time.

Cedric Soares is another player who looks set to leave Arsenal this summer after falling out of favour in north London. The right-back is 31 now and can’t compete with Ben White or Takehiro Tomiyasu for a place in the Gunners’ squad.

Currently on loan at Fulham, Cedric has made only eight appearances for the Whites and was merely signed as back-up for Kenny Tete after Kevin Mbabu’s loan spell was terminated.

And finally, defender Pablo Mari has already agreed to join Monza in a permanent move from Arsenal at the end of the season after a successful loan spell with the Italian club.

The Gunners will make £4.4m from the transfer, which Arteta will likely be able to use in the market.

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