Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta is facing significant hurdles in offloading three peripheral stars that could be crucial to raising transfer funds this summer. Lucas Torreira, Bernd Leno and Hector Bellerin are all potential cash-in opportunities for the Gunners, but compromises may have to be made if they are to press on and rejuvenate the squad.
Arteta and Arsenal were denied a fairytale end to the season as they missed out on fourth spot to bitter rivals Tottenham. Spurs needed just a point against relegated Norwich City on the final day, and they sealed Champions League qualification in style with a 5-0 victory.
The Gunners pulled off an emphatic 5-1 win of their own against Everton, but it still marks the end of an era at the Emirates with a significant overhaul expected this summer. Arrivals are inevitable, but plenty will have to head the other way to make room on the wage bill and in the squad.
Matteo Guendouzi and Konstantinos Mavropanos have already done so, while Bellerin, Leno and Torreira are expected to follow. However, Sun Sport claim that hurdles are emerging with the sales of all three.
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A supposed £12.5million asking price is too much for Fiorentina, where Uruguayan midfielder Torreira has impressed this season. The 26-year-old has been on Arsenal’s books for the past four seasons, but spent the last two out on loan.
Having joined the Gunners as a fresh-faced teenager, Bellerin is believed to be keen on a permanent new challenge and has seemingly found a new lease of life at boyhood club Real Betis. As with Torreira, however, stumbling blocks could stop the deal in its tracks as the Spanish side are reportedly hesitant over the right-back’s £100,000-a-week wages.
Finally there is Bernd Leno, the back-up goalkeeper who did not last long as number one after Aaron Ramsdale’s arrival and is seemingly not content to wait in the wings. Benfica could be the German’s most likely destination, but more complications could be in the pipeline as the Portuguese side are supposedly dissastisfied with his £8.5m price-tag.
Offloading those three stars could give Arteta enough cash and squad space to pull off the signings he wants this summer, which will be particularly difficult with no Champions League football to offer. Most pressing of all for the north London side is to sign at least one striker as, with Alexandre Lacazette’s imminent exit and the possibility for Eddie Nketiah to follow suit, they could be left with no recognised frontmen whatsoever.
And the top-class variety don’t come cheap, as they found out in January during their ill-fated pursuit of Dusan Vlahovic. With big names like Victor Osimhen and Darwin Nunez in the mix, Arteta and transfer chief Edu may have to slap serious money on the table if they are to fend off rival interest.
Also believed to be on the Gunners’ hit list are a central midfielder, a winger, a full-back and another attacker. Manchester City’s Gabriel Jesus has been strongly linked, and refused to rule out a move after the Sky Blues’ recent Premier League title triumph.