Héctor Bellerín is among a group of senior Arsenal players who could leave during a summer that will bring swingeing changes to Mikel Arteta’s squad.
As many as five established names are in the frame to depart as Arsenal measure up the financial cost of missing out on Champions League or Europa League qualification, with some of the players in question reluctant to commit to a club currently rooted in mid-table.
Bellerín is under contract until 2023 but has communicated to his employers that he has no appetite to negotiate an extension. Bernd Leno, who is 29, will also be a free agent in two years’ time and has not indicated that he is of a mind to discuss fresh terms. Granit Xhaka, 28, is thought to be in a similar situation. Enhanced deals could, in any case, present difficulties for a club that needs to trim a still-hefty wage bill.
All three players could move on if offers come in that satisfy everyone involved. Arteta has been given the green light by his board to plan for the future and it is no coincidence that Bellerín, in particular, has often found himself out of the side in recent weeks. Calum Chambers has started seven of their past 11 games at right-back, although Bellerín was notably recalled for last week’s unsuccessful salvage operation against Villarreal.
Bellerín is understood to be open to a return to Spain, where visibility on the domestic scene could make it easier for the 26-year-old to add to his four caps and earn a place at the 2022 World Cup.
Alexandre Lacazette, whose deal expires next summer, is another experienced player whose future is uncertain. Arteta has been coy about the prospect of offering a new contract but is believed not to have ruled out attempting to keep him on. An improved set of performances over the second half of the season and a lack of affordable centre-forward alternatives around Europe mean Lacazette, 30 at the end of this month, may have the option to stay if he is happy to take at least a year off appearing in continental competitions. The quintet is completed by David Luiz, who looks likely to depart when his contract ends in June.
Although a number of players are open to finding pastures new, that does not apply to Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who signed a long-term deal last year and is understood to have no designs on pursuing a future elsewhere.
Arteta, who takes his side to Chelsea on Wednesday, has other options for making sales. Ainsley Maitland-Niles, Reiss Nelson, Joe Willock, Mattéo Guendouzi and Lucas Torreira are among those available. As well as using any income to recruit there is further existing talent to tie down: a new deal for the hugely impressive Emile Smith Rowe, who is contracted until 2023, is among the live issues.