Ex-Arsenal striker and current pundit Charlie Nicholas has urged the Gunners to take drastic action in order to convince star striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to extend his stay in North London.
The Gabon international has been a shining light in an otherwise underwhelming past few seasons at the Emirates.
Boasting a goal scoring record of almost two goals every three games since his 2018 January arrival, Aubameyang has often been the sole factor preventing Arsenal from sliding down into mid-table mediocrity.
With just one year remaining on his current deal and seemingly no fresh plans to extend his stay, speculation has mounted that Aubameyang could depart, with a Robin van Persie-esque switch to Man Utd touted.
His exit would undoubtedly be a hammer blow to Mikel Arteta’s side, and former Gunner Charlie Nicholas believes an out of favour duo should be axed in order to raise the funds to offer Aubemayang whatever he wants to sign on the dotted line.
“If nothing more is in the pot, sell to rebuild. If you are doing that as a financial package, you are not buying to replace Aubameyang.
“You can get rid of Shkodran Mustafi and Henrikh Mkhitaryan, who has been out on loan. This will all help to filter through, so there are easy things to do.
“My preference would be to offer Aubameyang what he wants. Everyone will flag up his wages.
“Give him what he wants, get rid of dead wood, you have the kids, and it would not cost £200m to challenge for the top four once more.
Centre-back Mustafi has made just eight league appearances this season, and with summer signing William Saliba tipped to have a big future at the Emirates, Mustafi could be seen as an obvious exit.
Mkhitaryan, meanwhile, is currently on loan at Serie A side Roma where he has notched six times in 13 league appearances.
The duo’s departures would go some way to freeing up the funds necessary to facilitate a mega money extension offered to Aubameyang.
However, Nicholas has taken it a step further, wishing to see the back of the club’s highest earner Mesut Ozil. Though with a wage packet reported to be £350,000 per week, offloading the German superstar is easier said than done.
“I have been told differing scenarios, especially with Mesut Ozil. Is it possible Ozil could move on? Could this then help fund wages for Aubameyang and others? If they get him off the wage bill without getting anything for him, it will not be too bad.
“There are differing ways of doing this, but more than anything, I would want Arsenal to renew Aubameyang’s contract for three or four years.
“Even if Arsenal are average as of next year, they cannot decline much more, it has reached its bottom.”