‘Players will want out of Arsenal in the summer’ – Arteta offered transfer warning by Merson

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang Alexandre Lacazette Arsenal 2019-20
Getty Images
The former Gunners star hopes the likes of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang can be retained, but expects a number of senior stars to push for the exits

Mikel Arteta has been warned that he could face a summer exodus at Arsenal, with Paul Merson expecting to see a number of players “wanting to leave at the end of the season”.

Commitment to the cause will likely depend on how the Gunners finish the 2019-20 campaign.

As things stand, the north London outfit are languishing in 10th spot in the Premier League table.

A top-four challenge could still be staged, though, while FA Cup and Europa League glory remains up for grabs.

Arteta has also admitted to piecing together recruitment plans for the next window, with it likely that he will have a few senior stars in mind that he wants to move on.

Merson feels there could be plenty of movement at Emirates Stadium, but believes progress is being made and hopes that will allow the likes of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to be retained.

The former Gunners man told the Daily Star: “Arsenal have improved under Mikel Arteta. The players are all working for him and it looks like there’s more harmony at the club.

“But I still think he’s going to have players wanting to leave at the end of the season, and I think Arsenal will want to get rid of a few.

“They need a clear-out, and he needs to build the spine of a team. All the top teams are strong down the middle. But Arsenal are not.

“The defence is going to take time. He’s brought two defenders in with Cedric and Pablo Mari, and he’s got William Saliba coming in from France in the summer.

“Part of me wonders whether he wanted Mari because Saliba isn’t his signing, and there could be some conflict there. But he’s made good signings.

“The forwards are going to want to know what’s happening next season. Will they play every week? Are they in Europe?

“Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alex Lacazette are both coming to the end of their contracts but I would take a hit and keep Aubameyang.

Article continues below

“Yes, he’s 30 now but if you get rid of him now for £30m he’s going to cost £80m to replace. So just keep him. He will get you 15 goals a season.”

Merson has stated on a regular basis that he feels Arsenal should allow Aubameyang to run down his contract if no fresh terms can be agreed.

There are, however, some big decisions fast approaching for the Gunners and Arteta knows he must get them right in order to get a fallen giant back on its feet.