The upstairs has been reshuffled with 'Silent Stan' now the man in charge, and with Alisher Usmanov not giving up his 27% stake the two major shareholders could be in for a collision course. There are also rumours about change in backroom staff being changed around before the start of the season, although longserving assistant Pat Rice looks set to stay in his role for at least another season.
Most prominently addressed though, is the transfer market activity that Wenger looks set to embark upon this summer, after another dismal ending to a season saw us finish yet again without a trophy. Today i'm going to look at the players who could leave Arsenal, and weighing up the pros and cons of each situation.
Vito Mannone - Vito had a decent start to his career at Arsenal, with an excellent performance at Fulham and is yet to be on the losing side in any of his 9 games for the club. The young keeper also had a very impressive, albeit quite injury prone, season whilst at Hull, although this has led to speculation of a bid - either loan or premanent - happening this summer form the Championship side. Also, the Italian under 21 international would like assurances over first team football, and competition with Szczesny, Fabianski, and possibly one of Lehmann and Almunia, Arsene would not be able to give him any guarantees.
Verdict: Loan out for another season to a Premiership team. See if other keepers are up to scratch.
Manuel Almunia - There is not a player at Arsenal that fans would not prefer to see leave this summer. The uncapped (suprise suprise) Spaniard has had another woeful season, bar 70 minutes in the Nou Camp, and frankly does not deserve his 50k/week or to have worn the shirt that greats such as Seaman, Lehmann and Wilson earnt the right to wear. However, a stumbling block to get rid of Manuel is his wages as not many clubs can afford to spend that money on a player of his quality. Wenger has also recently hinted that Almunia could stay till next year.
Verdict: Please kick him out Wenger
Jens Lehmann - Eveyone's favorite crazy German has stated that he would like to stay on next season, after coming out of retirement amid our mid-season goalkeeping fiasco. He said:
"From my performance I would be able to continue playing. My teammates are always asking me if I'll still be here next season.''However his contract will expire in the summer and with competition form our other goalkeeping options, I wouldn't bet on him increasing his 200 appreances.
Verdict: Out the door, surely?
Gael Clichy - The 25 year old is one of the long serving members of the club and has been the main left back at the club since 2006. He is a popular figure within the club and is just starting to gain a starting place in his national XI. However since showing great promise earlier in his career, he has not progressed into a world class player which we all thought he could be. His consistency has vanished and he has made key errors in important moments over the last few years. The Frenchmans' contract does expire next summer and Wenger wants to get his signature in the summer, instead of risking another Flamini situation. Coupled to this, there have also been many calls to sign Baines, Izaguirre and Enrique this summer, whilst Gibbs and possibly Traore and Botelho could make a claim to the position. Although the younger options do not seem ready in my eyes.
Verdict: Will sign a new contract.
Sebastian Squillaci - After an appalling start to his Arsenal career, Squillaci has not showed nearly any of his quality that helped him gain a place in the French world Cup team. If he carries on his form next year, he could rival Silvestre's claim for worst Wenger defensive signing. Although he is surely going to stay and try to prove himself.
Verdict: Will stay, but needs to improve. Drastically.
Bacary Sagna - As he is one of the best right backs in the world we will constantly face media speculation over his transfer to another one of Europe's giants. However, unless we receive absurd amounts of money, or a Messi in exchange, he isn't going anywhere.
Verdict: Certainly staying.
Emmanuel Eboue - Eboue is an amazing person to come back from the dead as he did after the Wigan match. Many a weaker man would have given up and left, so credit to his strength in that capacity. However, the talent is just not there. Consistent mistakes, at costly moments have not helped his first team push, but with a world class player in Bacary Sagna ahead of him he cannot expect anything. Interest from Italy could be reignited in the summer and we might consider a realistic bid.
Verdict: Will probably stay at least one more year.
Denilson - Another player who has failed to live up to the potential he showed, and Wilshere's rise this season shunned him to the sidelines. As fans we're sick of seeing him lazily not tracking back and he even insulted the captain in a interview in Brazil. After stating his desire to leave the club, with the ludicrous explanation that he is a 'winner,' Denilson will definitely leave this summer. Apparently Roma and some Spanish teams are in for him for around 5-8 million euros, which seems quite good for someone who would have been a 6th choice central midfielder.
Verdict: Jumped before he was pushed.
Rosicky - Used to be a key member of the first team. However almost three years out with petty injuries has ruined the little playmaker. He is another who was easily overtaken by Wilshere and Ramsey, and personally I think Lansbury and other youngsters could easily do his job in the first team. After signing a new contract in 2009 he probably has a few years left, but if we offered him to clubs we could receive the £8million that we paid for him.
Verdict: Will go, for right bid.
Cesc Fabregas - No sane Arsenal fan would like to see Fabregas leave Arsenal football club. Our captain has served us well, and is arguably one of the best attacking players in the Premier league. To lose one of our only world class players would be a tragedy, and his exit could see others such as Nasri leave too. However, although he does love Arsenal, Barcelona was his first love and if they pay us what he is worth, around £50-60million he will leave, no matter what Wenger is saying at the moment he knows this too.
Verdict: Hopefully he wont go, yet.
Andrey Arshavin - At times Andrey can look world class. But most of the time he lazily wonders about the pitch, and sometimes he can't control or pass the ball properly. This season a lot of people have grown to be frustrated with the little Russian and seem willing in trade him in for some Russian oil money. However Wenger has told Andrey of his desire to keep him for at least another year, and Arshavin seems happy to oblige. Hopefully we'll see more of this Arshavin next year.
Verdict: Staying, but has to improve.
Samir Nasri - The Samir Nasri situation is the most confusing at this moment, although it could easily be settled. His contract expires next year, and if he is reluctant to agree new terms he will have to go. The talks seem to be ongoing and Samir is probably just trying to squeeze a bit more cash on his weekly wage, though when you're earning that much does it even matter? Hopefully the situation will be settled soon and the Frenchman will stay as we cannot afford to lose one of our quality players, especially when we could easily lose Fabregas. One thing is certain though, he will not go to Manchester United.
Verdict: We have to make him sign, cannot afford to lose him.
Nicklas Bendtner - Bendtner will leave Arsenal this season. That what him and his dad have been saying recently. The tall, Danish international seems to split most of the fans like marmite and most of us hate him. He does have very good stats though - 58 goals in nearly 200 games as a 23 year old is not too bad at all - and if he were in another league I could easily imagine us going in for him. However, his lack of first team football this year due to Van Persie's amazing form, coupled with his dislike to playing on the wing has seen his relationship with Arsene and Arsenal deteriorate and he is almost certain to leave.
Verdict: Will leave for quite a lot of money. Mistake or not?
Marouane Chamakh - The lanky forward did make a good start to the season, but after November did anyone see anything from him? He did struggle for fitness, but as Wenger interest in forwards such as Rondon, Falcao and Benzema shows, he is not the player we thought we were getting last summer. I'm not the biggest fan and if we do get a bid around £10 million I would definitely accept it bid without thinking. Although after waiting a year to get Marouane, would Wenger?
Verdict: Will stay, unless surprising bid comes in.
Overall, I can't see too much change happening this summer as Wenger will prefer to keep the nucleus of our squad together. However the exit of a couple big name players, and no quality replacements being brought in could spark a domino affect. If you want information on our transfer budget to spend, give this a read. It's quite long, but excellent yet again from The Swiss Ramble.
Hope you enjoy.