Premier League • England

Arsenal transfers: Expert names next player on Arteta hit list with triple departure gaining momentum

Emile Smith Rowe and Nicolas Pepe of Arsenal

Emile Smith Rowe and Nicolas Pepe celebrate Arsenal goal

A respected journalist has revealed the next star Mikel Arteta may try to force out of Arsenal, with two of his team-mates also on the chopping block.

Arsenal have had a busy summer transfer window so far, signing German forward Kai Havertz from Chelsea in a £65million deal and allowing defender Pablo Mari to join Italian club Monza on a permanent basis. The Gunners have also been attempting to follow Havertz’s signing up with the capture of Declan Rice from West Ham.

On Wednesday, it emerged that Arsenal had reached a ‘full agreement’ with West Ham over Rice’s £105m switch. He is now free to undergo an Arsenal medical and sort out personal terms with his prospective new club.

Ajax centre-back Jurrien Timber could then follow Havertz and Rice to the Emirates. Arsenal have also reached an agreement with Ajax for his transfer, which is worth £38.6m.

But Arteta, along with sporting director Edu, must also work on getting some dead wood out of the squad.

Granit Xhaka looks set to be replaced by Rice, which means he is free to leave. He has already agreed to join German side Bayer Leverkusen once Rice arrives in north London.

READ MORE: Arsenal initiate talks to sign outstanding Bundesliga defensive star but facing fee in excess of €50m

The two teams were previously in talks over a £13m transfer, but Arsenal have now managed to agree an improved £21.5m sum with Leverkusen.

Xhaka’s midfield partner Thomas Partey may also find a new club this summer. Arsenal are trying to replace him with Romeo Lavia, and this has resulted in rumours of a transfer to Saudi Arabia for the Ghanaian.

Fabrizio Romano talks about next Arsenal exit

During an interview with CaughtOffside, transfer guru Fabrizio Romano revealed Nicolas Pepe is next on Arteta’s exit list.

“It’s here we go for both Declan Rice and Jurrien Timber to Arsenal, and I expect now will be the time for Arsenal to focus on selling players,” he said.

“They’ve done great work with Timber, Rice and Havertz, but now the focus will be on finding a solution for some players who are not crucial in the project, especially Nicolas Pepe. They also have to approve Granit Xhaka’s move to Bayer Leverkusen soon, with an agreement in place since May and just awaiting the green light.

“Let’s see also what happens with Thomas Partey; in case he leaves, another new midfielder could join.”

Arsenal broke their transfer record to sign Pepe in August 2019 by paying Lille a whopping £72m for him. However, he has not lived up to expectations in England and was therefore loaned to Nice for the 2022-23 campaign.

Pepe has now returned to Arsenal, but he is very unlikely to play under Arteta next term. The manager can rely on Bukayo Saka, Gabriel Martinelli, Leandro Trossard and Reiss Nelson out wide.

Arsenal will push hard to sell Pepe, although they will struggle to get back a majority of that original £72m fee.

Meanwhile, Arsenal have told West Ham exactly how much it will cost to sign one of their players this summer.