Premier League • England

Nine players that could leave Arsenal on a permanent deal in the summer: Tierney, Balogun, Nelson…

Arsenal's Reiss Nelson, Kieran Tierney and Nicolas Pepe. TEAMtalk montage.

Since replacing Unai Emery as Arsenal manager in 2019, Mikel Arteta hasn’t been afraid of making tough decisions. 

Arteta has let the likes of Mesut Ozil and Pierre Emerick-Aubameyang leave the club on free transfers and could show his ruthless streak once again in the summer.

We’ve taken a look at nine players that look set to leave Arsenal on a permanent basis at the end of the season.

Note: we’ve not included any young players that look set to leave on loan in search of regular first-team football.

Kieran Tierney

Tierney joined Arsenal from Celtic in a £25m deal in the summer of 2019 and when fit, has been a superb performer at left-back.

But he often struggles with injury problems and has fallen out of favour this season following the summer signing of Oleksandr Zinchenko, who has been a revelation at the Emirates.

The Scotland international has started just four Premier League games in 2022/23 and has mainly been restricted to cameo appearances from the bench.

Speaking exclusively to TEAMtalk, reporter Ben Jacobs revealed that Tierney is assessing his options but Arteta is yet to make a firm decision on whether to cash in on the player.

Jacobs also confirmed that Aston Villa and Newcastle United are considering moves for the left-back while Ligue 1 side Monaco have also expressed an interest.

If they do decide to sell Tierney, the Gunners will expect to receive transfer offers in excess of £30m from any potential suitors.

Cedric Soares

Cedric found himself on the fringes of the Arsenal first team this season with Ben White and Takehiro Tomiyasu above him in the pecking order.

The right-back made just two Premier League appearances for the Gunners in the current campaign before joining Fulham on loan in January.

While Marco Silva’s side don’t have an option or obligation to buy the 31-year-old in the summer, he doesn’t appear to feature in Arteta’s plans.

Arsenal are reportedly looking to sign Real Valladolid right-back Ivan Fresneda and Cedric’s departure would help fund that move.

Pablo Mari

After spending the second half of last season on loan at Udinese, Mari returned to Italy and joined Monza on a season-long loan deal last summer.

Despite being stabbed during a horrific attack in an Italian supermarket in October, the centre-back has recovered well to become one of the first names on the teamsheet for Raffaele Palladino’s side.

According to reports, his loan deal contains a clause that obligates Monza to sign him on a permanent deal if they avoid relegation.

Arsenal look set to receive a £6.2m payment for Mari as Monza are currently 13th in Serie A after 29 games and are 13 points clear of the relegation zone.

Nuno Tavares

Tavares endured a mixed debut season at Arsenal in 2021/22 and joined Marseille on loan following Zinchenko’s arrival last summer.

The 23-year-old has been operating in a more advanced left wing-back role and has scored six times this term, helping Marseille sit in third place in the French top flight.

But he’s come under fire for his performances in recent months and reports in France claim that Tavares’ attitude has annoyed the leaders at Marseille and they now have no intention of keeping hold of him beyond the end of this season.

Arteta, who is famed for being a disciplinarian, won’t be impressed by these reports and looks set to sell the Portugal Under-21 international in the summer.

“With Tavares I think it’s very unlikely that he’ll play for Arsenal again,” Ben Jacobs told TEAMtalk. “That’s just a positional kind of thing. Zinchenko, Tierney, at the moment, is still there, Tomiyasu there, as well.

“And the thing with Tavares is that Arsenal can probably, if not definitely get a profit off him because he’s only 23 years of age and the fee that Arsenal paid in 2021 for Tavares was only £8m.

“That means that if they do choose to sell him, they’ll be able to cash in and make a tidy profit, which will reflect well on their books, on Financial Fair Play and provide an opportunity to clear some squad space in order to no doubt bolster in other positions.”

Kristijan Jakic of Eintracht Frankfurt and Nuno Tavares of Marseille during the UEFA Champions League group D match between Olympique de Marseille (OM) and Eintracht Frankfurt at Orange Velodrome Stadium

Ainsley Maitland-Niles

Maitland-Niles joined Southampton on a season-long loan deal last summer and has made 21 appearances in all competitions at the time of writing.

The Saints, who are currently at the bottom of the Premier League, reportedly have an option to make the move permanent in the summer and the 25-year-old has not ruled out the possibility of extending his time on the south coast.

“Yeah, if the opportunity presents itself, of course,” he said. “But at the same time I’m not really focused on that at the moment, it’s about the games at hand.”

While Maitland-Niles is renowned for his versatility, Arsenal have plenty of cover at right-back and in midfield and are reportedly looking at new signings in both positions so they will probably look to sell him before his contract expires in 2024.

Mohamed Elneny

Despite signing a one-year contract extension in February, Elneny still faces an uncertain future at Arsenal.

The midfielder, who is currently sidelined with a knee injury, has made just eight appearances in all competitions in 2022/23 as Granit Xhaka and Thomas Partey are two of the first names on Arteta’s teamsheet.

Arsenal also bought Jorginho in January and are now looking to sign West Ham United’s Declan Rice, which would push Elneny further down the pecking order.

The Egypt international has recently been linked with a move to Aston Villa and may seek an exit in order to play more regularly.

Reiss Nelson

After spending the 2021/22 season on loan at Eredivisie side Feyenoord, Nelson returned to the Emirates for the current campaign.

But the winger has struggled with injury problems and currently finds himself behind Bukayo Saka, Gabriel Martinelli and Leandro Trossard in the pecking order.

He has subsequently found first-team opportunities hard to come by in 2022/23 but has still managed to remind Arsenal of his abilities.

The 23-year-old has three goals and two assists in four Premier League appearances this season – including one crucial last-gasp winner against Bournemouth, which could prove to be huge in the title race.

Despite those heroics, his future at Arsenal remains up in the air as his current contract looks set to expire at the end of the season.

Speaking exclusively to TEAMtalk, reporter Graeme Bailey revealed that Arteta wants the winger to extend his stay at the Emirates.

But Nelson needs guarantees over playing time and will not commit to the new deal Arsenal are offering him until he gets more minutes.

According to the Daily Mail, Brighton are looking to sign Nelson on a free transfer in the summer and a move to the Amex Stadium appeals to the winger.

Folarin Balogun

Balogun joined Reims on a season-long loan deal last summer and has been enjoying a hugely-productive spell with the French outfit.

The 21-year-old has registered 18 goals in 29 league appearances and only trails Paris Saint-Germain’s Kylian Mbappe and Lille’s Jonathan David in the Ligue 1 scoring charts.

However, the England Under-21 international remains down the pecking order at Arsenal with both Gabriel Jesus and Eddie Nketiah ahead of him and The Atheltic revealed that he wants to continue operating as a first-choice striker next term.

“There’s discussions that need to take place and it’s not a decision that will only with me,” he said recently. “The club will let me know their point of view and I’m sure we’ll come to an agreement.”

While Balogun is highly-rated at the Emirates, he will have two years left on his contract this summer and it could be the perfect time to cash in on him before reinvesting that money in other areas.

According to reports, the likes of AC Milan, Inter Milan, Bayern Munich, RB Leipzig, Monaco and Marseille are all keen to take him off Arsenal’s hands.

Nicolas Pepe

Arsenal’s record signing, Pepe joined the Gunners from Lille in a £72m deal in 2019 but failed to live up to expectations.

After being usurped by Bukayo Saka, the right-winger returned to France and joined Nice on a season-long loan deal last summer.

He’s registered eight goals and one assist in 27 appearances in all competitions this season and L’Equipe claims that Pepe is open to the idea of remaining at the Ligue 1 side.

“I am very happy at Nice,” he said recently. “There are two important months to come for this club. I want to concentrate on that and I’m not sure after that. There will be discussions.”

The Ivory Coast international still has another year remaining on his £140,000 per week deal at the Emirates and this summer represents Arsenal’s best chance to recoup some of that £72m.

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