Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Mesut Ozil out, striker ‘obsessed’ with scoring in

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Like a lot of us right now, Arsenal may find themselves watching their pennies in a post-coronavirus world.

The Gunners could miss out on Europe altogether this season, reducing their income, while several of their top stars continue to claim huge wages.

Arsenal face playing in an empty Emirates as the world attempts to get back to normal after the coronavirus pandemic

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Arsenal face playing in an empty Emirates as the world attempts to get back to normal after the coronavirus pandemic

Now, more than ever, the north London giants may have to make some big decisions to get their finances well and truly in order, even if it does mean losing a superstar or two.

No matchday revenue from the Emirates for the foreseeable future will limit playing budgets as well, but there is a way for manager Mikel Arteta to rebuild on the cheap if he so wishes.

A number of top players could be purchased on a free transfer in the next window, whenever that may be, while there are prospects across Europe who have talent to complement those staying in N7.

But who could leave and who could join if Arsenal really do have to balance their books? talkSPORT.com take a look.

David Luiz wants to stay at Arsenal, says his agent Kia Joorabchian

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Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang

In a perfect world, the Gabonese would be kept and be a mainstay in the Gunners starting XI for the next few years.

At 30 he’s showing no signs of slowing down and could yet win this season’s Golden Boot, presently sitting just two goals behind current leader Jamie Vardy (19) with 17 strikes to his name.

However, tough financial times could hit Arsenal so an exit for one of their best-paid players is a sensible decision, even if it will be detrimental to the team.

Aubameyang still has a decent market value, despite his age and having just one more year left on his contract, and would free up around £10.4million in wages.

It will hurt but it can help the club rebuild.

Aubameyang will probably have a big decision to make this summer

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Aubameyang will probably have a big decision to make this summer

Alexandre Lacazette

The French striker was the club’s Player of the Season in 2018/19 but he’s struggled this campaign and only has seven league goals in 15 starts and four substitute appearances, with two of those coming in the last two matches he played in.

He’s clearly not quite at the desired level, while Eddie Nketiah is a talented youngster already waiting in the wings to replace him.

Lacazette’s stock is still high enough that top clubs want him, with Inter appearing keen on signing him as they plan to replace Barcelona target Lautaro Martinez.

And, given he’s 29, it might be the right time to cash in and explore younger options in the transfer market.

Lacazette has been in the spotlight for his form this campaign

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Lacazette has been in the spotlight for his form this campaign

Mesut Ozil

If Arsenal really want to cut their wage bill, there is only one man they need to shift.

The German international formerly known as the ‘Assist King’ is barely even a prince these days having racked up just two all season in 18 starts.

His salary needs to be reduced and an exit could help the club claw back around £18m.

Like his teammates above, age isn’t on Ozil’s side either, but even a nominal fee should be accepted given how much he costs the north Londoners every year.

Ozil is the highest earner on Arsenal’s books, making a whopping £350,000-a-week

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Ozil is the highest earner on Arsenal’s books, making a whopping £350,000-a-week

David Luiz

Out of contract next summer, the Brazilian has actually done fairly well for the Gunners upon his arrival from Chelsea, all things considered.

Now is the time for a younger generation to come through for Arsenal and, with William Saliba joining up with his teammates from 2020/21 onwards, Luiz’s game time, in theory, will be limited, especially with another new defender likely to come in alongside the ex-Saint-Etienne ace.

But his agent, Kia Joorabchian, told talkSPORT there is no desire from the Brazilian to leave, despite an extension clause expiring.

He said: “We are all very aware of that situation and we are all trying, very slowly, to get back to this ‘new normal’.

“These contract situations, these renewals, if he stays or if he goes… will all sort themselves out when we get back to some kind of ‘new normal’.

“David will sit down with Arsenal before the season begins, have his conversations and they will both decide if he will stay or not. That will come before the season starts.

“The chances are very high [of Luiz being at Arsenal next season]. There is no desire to leave.”

Luiz’s future is up in the air at Arsenal

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Luiz’s future is up in the air at Arsenal

Sead Kolasinac

Now Scottish ace Kieran Tierney is coming back to fitness and Bukayo Saka is showing his ability at left-back too, Kolasinac’s time in north London may be coming to a close.

As the man with the joint-seventh highest salary in the squad, he’s a man who is now fairly surplus to requirements and could be easily replaced should manager Arteta feel is necessary.

He did a job after arriving on a free transfer but never hit the heights he occasionally promised with his barrelling forward runs into the opponents penalty area.

Kolasinac’s future may lie away from the Emirates

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Kolasinac’s future may lie away from the Emirates

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Odsonne Edouard

If both Aubameyang and Lacazette  leave and a player like Moussa Dembele or Victor Osimhen is too expensive for the Gunners, Edouard might represent real value for money.

Not only does the 22-year-old Frenchman have a fine league record of 22 goals in 27 league appearances, he also netted three in six in the Europa League.

It seems a bid of over £25million would be at least listened to by Celtic but manager Neil Lennon appears ready to put up a fight to hang on to him.

The boss said: “It is inevitable there will be speculation surrounding Odsonne because of the player and talent he is.

“He hasn’t said anything to me about wanting to go. Whether that changes over the next while, we don’t know. But we have him on a really good contract and we are in a strong position to rebuff any interest in him.”

Edouard has been doing the business north of the border for Celtic this season

getty

Edouard has been doing the business north of the border for Celtic this season

Any fears about a step up in level should be calmed by his former coach Jean-Claude Giuntini.

He said in an interview with the BBC: “At the beginning, Odsonne was a bit quiet then he became more and more open, with a jokey and mischievous side.

“He had the confidence and the obsession with scoring all great strikers need. He never doubts his qualities. But this behaviour can create panic – for the opposition defenders.

“He had an excellent sense of anticipation which gave him a remarkable ability to read play. And he had a considerable skill for shooting – his efforts were targeted, precise and powerful.”


Willian

It appears likely Chelsea will allow the Brazilian to leave on a free transfer at the end of the season.

If this happens a talented winger still able to perform at a high level will be on the lookout for a new deal.

An experienced player with a winning mentality, Arsenal could do a lot worse than pick up Willian, although it’s likely rivals Tottenham will also be keen given the player is well thought of by Jose Mourinho.

He will give added depth to Arteta’s squad and allow the like of Gabriel Martinelli, Joe Willock, Emile Smith Rowe and Reiss Nelson time to progress rather than relying on them immediately.

Willian could even play in an attacking midfield role instead of on the wing.

Willian looks set to leave Chelsea and Arsenal could benefit

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Willian looks set to leave Chelsea and Arsenal could benefit

William Saliba

Okay, he’s already an Arsenal player but he’ll be able to play for the club for the first time when the next campaign starts.

At 19 he’s earned rave reviews – even though he has spent some of the current season out injured – which bodes well for the precocious talent.

He could become a superstar with the right tutelage at the Emirates and he should immediately enter the first XI when he’s available.

Who will partner him right now is anyone’s guess, however.

Can Saliba solve Arsenal’s defensive woes next season?

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Can Saliba solve Arsenal’s defensive woes next season?

Gabriel

If Luiz does exit, along with any other centre-backs at the Emirates, a new signing is a must.

The Lille star has impressed many this campaign with Everton and Chelsea both interested in the player, according to reports.

In France, Le10Sport reckon a £27m bid could pave the way for a north London switch.

It could spark a decade-long partnership with Saliba should both players build on the hype currently surrounding them – now that would be exciting.

Gabriel has earned rave reviews for his performances for Lille

Getty Images – Getty

Gabriel has earned rave reviews for his performances for Lille

How Arsenal could look next season…

Could this team fire Arsenal into the top four?

Could this team fire Arsenal into the top four?





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