Mikel Arteta has provided differing updates for Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Willian and Sead Kolasinac in relation to their Arsenal futures.
Arsenal got back on track with a 6-0 win over West Brom in the Carabao Cup on Wednesday, when Aubameyang scored a hat-trick. While not righting all their problems, it was at least a step in the right direction.
The result came in the middle of what will be a busy week for Arsenal, with a Premier League clash against Manchester City on the horizon and the transfer deadline approaching.
On the latter front, Arteta confirmed after the game that “some exits are planned” in the coming days. However, it is not exactly clear who they may be able to get rid of.
Hat-trick scorer Aubameyang has been linked with an exit just one year after signing a huge new contract, due to his disappointing return since. But he reminded what he is capable of on Wednesday, and in his pre-match press conference one day later ahead of the City game, Arteta reiterated: “Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is our player and he’ll remain here.”
One forward who looks more likely to leave, though, is Willian. The Brazilian did not feature in the EFL Cup game and failed to meet expectations last term. Over the past 24 hours, he has been linked with AC Milan, following recent rumours of a return to Corinthians.
Arteta provided an update on Thursday, revealing: “We are having some conversations with him and the agent. We’re evaluating the position we’re in.”
The manager then gave a vague response to a question about Sead Kolasinac, another player who could be at risk of a transfer away.
The left-back spent the second part of last season on loan with Schalke, his former club. But he is an Arsenal player again now and started the West Brom win.
Asked if that meant he was staying, though, Arteta said: “No it’s an indication of every player that is with us that is training and behaving the way Sead is we want to be fair and give opportunities to them.”
On their wider remaining transfer activity, Arteta concluded: “We don’t know. We have already done a lot of things. Ins and outs, it’s a lot.
“I think it’s 16, 17 deals in total, with some renewals, and there are still some things to do in the last few days because there are still some question marks and deals that can happen. We’ll see.”
Arteta press conference includes Man City preview
Despite the return to form at the Hawthorns, Arsenal face a tough task to build momentum. Champions Manchester City are next up in the Premier League.
Arteta will return to the club where he used to assist Pep Guardiola on Saturday, aiming for Arsenal’s first points – or at least goals – of the league campaign. City, on the other hand, have won one and lost one so far.
Always a tough opponent, the hosts will be the favourites for the match, especially with Arsenal still dealing with a number of absences.
Arteta confirmed: “Well from COVID we still have Ben [White] out, Alex Runarsson that has been out. The rest of the players out are injuries and long-term injuries that we don’t have them back yet.”
In addition, Bukayo Saka suffered a setback after the West Brom game, in which he scored one of the goals.
Arteta said: “He was limping after the match. We’ll see how that knee reacts but he had a knock yeah.”
Another player who has been on the sidelines is Gabriel Magalhaes. Arteta is yet to decide if he could return at the weekend.
“He’s getting closer; he’s had a couple of sessions with the team. We don’t know, let’s see how he is.”