Mikel Arteta may have to move out the likes of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Mesut Ozil and Granit Xhaka in order to free up the funds required to complete a rebuilding project at Arsenal, says Charlie Nicholas.
The Gunners are preparing to open a new era at Emirates Stadium after bringing in a permanent successor to Unai Emery.
Former club captain Arteta is stepping into the unknown as he fills a first managerial post, and is considered to be taking on a difficult job in north London.
Nicholas admits as much, with disgruntled players to offload and a frustrated fan base to appease.
Addressing those issues will not be easy, with some difficult decisions needing to be made – with some of those potentially coming in the transfer market.
“Defensively, in midfield, in attack – Aubameyang’s all over the place, [Alexandre] Lacazette doesn’t get a game and feels unloved – he might have to sell them to get some money in,” Nicholas told Sky Sports of the new Arsenal boss.
“The other issues, the big ones, are the leadership issues that he has to take on.
“Does Ozil fit? No, well he can go. Xhaka? There is interest from Hertha Berlin, you can go because what you did would not suit what I want. There are many big decisions to make.
“It’s easy to say get rid of six or seven players but they aren’t ready to replace them yet, so that’s the hard part.
“But the first thing he must do is walk in the dressing room and say ‘here’s my rules, here’s the way I’m doing things, I’m leading this football team now so get on board or move on’.
“It’s as basic as that for Arsenal to start the proceedings.
“It’s not easy, with the state Arsenal are in nothing is easy. Forget about style, because they don’t have a style, he needs to go in there and sort the issues.”
Arteta will be inheriting a side that has collected just one win from its last 13 games in all competitions, with Freddie Ljungberg’s spell as interim boss coming to a close with a dour 0-0 draw away at Everton .