Arteta tipped to spring major Arsenal change that points towards stalwart’s exit

Date published: Sunday 5th September 2021 4:04 - Steve Pearson

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Mikel Arteta is expected to make a key change to his starting eleven after the international break that will push a veteran star closer to an exit, per a report.

The Gunners currently sit at the foot of the Premier League table after enduring a dismal start to the campaign. Without a point and yet to register their first league goal, Arteta is already under mounting pressure.

Indeed, a report recently revealed an ‘agreement in principle’ had been reached for the Spaniard’s potential successor.

Arteta is unlikely to be given the boot so early into the new season, however, especially after the club splashed out over £140m on six new faces.

One player on that list who arrived in a surprise to many was £24m goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale.

The 23-year-old suffered back-to-back relegations with Bournemouth and Sheffield Utd. Nevertheless, his performances impressed Gareth Southgate enough to earn a place in his Euro 2020 squad after Nick Pope and Dean Henderson withdrew.

Ramsdale is yet to feature in the Premier League, though has made his Gunners debut. He kept a clean sheet as Arsenal demolished West Brom 6-0 in an EFL Cup second round tie.

But according to the Sun, his league debut will be just around the corner. The newspaper claim Ramsdale has revealed to close friends his belief that Arteta will install him as the new No. 1 ahead of their next league clash with Norwich.

That would spark two consequences for the Gunners. Firstly, the Blades would reportedly be in line for a cash injection with some of Ramsdale’s add-ons appearance-based. Furthermore, it’s stated they will be triggered after just a ‘handful’ of appearances.

Secondly, Bernd Leno will be pushed on to the bench and it’s speculated a potential exit would ramp up.

The Sun (citing Football London) say the German, 29, is ‘unwilling’ to extend his Gunners contract beyond next summer. He was previously reported to be strong in his desire to play regular European football – something Arsenal currently cannot offer.

And being usurped by Ramsdale on the domestic front would do little to improve his mood.

Despite Leno speaking out against a possible exit, Inter Milan are believed to be eyeing a free agent capture in 2022.


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Familiar story leaves Arsenal facing double disaster

Meanwhile, Arsenal are set to lose two first-teamers for free next summer after a familiar reason was cited as to why deals failed to materialise.

French forward Alexandre Lacazette was one player Arsenal were open to offloading. Tentative interest from European pair Roma and Atletico Madrid surfaced. But his high salary and Arsenal’s desire to ensure his exit was permanent scuppered any realistic chances of a deal being struck.

Lacazette is in the final year of his contract and with no plans to pen fresh terms, is on course to walk away for free.

Now, the Sun report Eddie Nketiah – whose contract also expires in 2022 – is ‘stalling on a new contract’. The Sun state the main factor that blocked Nketiah’s exit were Arsenal’s lofty demands. They initially desired £20m, though dropped that figure to £12m when time began to tick away.

They also reportedly pushed for a ‘sell-on fee or buy-back clause’ to be inserted. Again, that demand helped to dissuade potential suitors. Nketiah therefore remained in North London, though this season will likely be his last.

He is stated to be seeking a ‘bumper payday’ and will be free to sign a pre-contract agreement with overseas clubs in January. The Sun conclude approaches from Germany are likely.

READ MORE: Edu honest on Arsenal struggles as he defends summer transfers

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