With the FA Cup now safely secured, Arsenal’s attention will switch this week to accelerating talks over Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s new contract.
The Gunners captain - who scored both goals in Saturday’s 2-1 win against Chelsea at Wembley - is into the final year of his current deal and Mikel Arteta is desperate to keep hold of his top scorer, who found the net 29 times in all competitions last season.
Discussions have been ongoing for weeks with the 31-year-old, but a firm contract offer has not yet been made. All parties wanted to focus on the club’s attempts to win a 14th FA Cup.
For Arsenal, victory at Wembley was vital to ensure they would be competing in the Europa League next season; participation in that competition could see their revenue boosted by up to £35 million ($45.8m).
With that now guaranteed, they will look to tie down Aubameyang for a further three years. An offer is expected to be submitted in the coming days which will mean a significant increase on the current £200,000 ($262,000) per week deal he signed in 2018.
Speaking after Saturday’s FA Cup win against Chelsea, Aubameyang gave little away about his future but Arteta was hopeful things could move forward.
“I hope so,” said Arsenal’s head coach. “Everything is based on my conversations with him, how he sees his future, what I expect from him, the team that I want to build around him and the conversations I have with the people who are very influential around him.
“The club, we all respect and admire him, the players are all behind him. We know the players that we have and we have to value him. I think if we reach all of those points, we'll make progress.”
Barcelona are interested in Aubameyang, after president Jose Maria Bartomeu admitted they will not be able to sign Inter striker Lautaro Martinez or PSG star Neymar. Barca view Aubameyang as a cheaper alternative who could come in to bolster their frontline next season.
Arsenal are hoping to see off that interest by acting quickly and tie Aubameyang deal to his new deal imminently. They also want a swift resolution to the talks as they know the striker’s future is key to what other business they do this summer and whether they need to sign a replacement.
Should he decide not to extend his stay in north London, the club will have to decide whether to cash in on the forward or keep him for next season before letting him leave on a free.
Despite securing Europa League football, money is still exceptionally tight at the Emirates. A large chunk of this summer’s transfer budget will have to come from moving players on to generate funds and free up space on the wage bill.
Arsenal are planning a significant overhaul of the squad and are looking to sell Matteo Guendouzi, who has not featured since his clash with Neal Maupay following Arsenal’s defeat at Brighton in June and his subsequent failure to apologise during disciplinary talks with Arteta and the club’s hierarchy.
Guendouzi has not even been training with the senior side and had been forced to do his work on his own during early morning sessions at London Colney before the first team even arrive.
The France midfielder has been offered to various clubs across Europe, with Arsenal open to a straight cash deal for the 21-year-old or the possibility of including him as part of a swap deal for some of their key targets, which include Atletico Madrid midfielder Thomas Partey.
Mesut Ozil is another player Arsenal are looking to offload. The Gunners would save around £18m ($24m) in wages should they manage to get the German off the books this summer, but Ozil and his agent remain insistent he will see out the final year of his £350,000 ($457,000) a week deal, despite not playing a single minute of football following the restart.
Arsenal are also open to offers for Sead Kolasinac, Mohamed Elneny, Lucas Torreira, Sokratis and Rob Holding. Henrikh Mkhitaryan meanwhile, who still has a year left on his deal, could be allowed to terminate his contract so he can complete a permanent move to Roma, an agreement that would save Arsenal just under £10m ($13m) in wages.
Discussions will also be had with Alexandre Lacazette, who is now into the final two years of his deal in north London. Arteta is an admirer of the forward, but a decision must now be made on whether to offer the 29-year-old a new contract or try to move him on to help fund a rebuild.
Arteta wants to add a box-to-box midfielder this summer with Partey the priority target, although Porto’s Danilo Pereira is on a list of possible alternatives to the Ghana international, who has a release clause of £45m ($58.8m).
Dani Ceballos is looking likely to return for another season-long loan spell from Real Madrid, while Willian could move to the Emirates on a free transfer from Chelsea, with Arsenal keen on luring the Brazil international across London.
Barcelona are hoping to strike a deal with the Gunners which would see Philippe Coutinho return to the Premier League, most likely on loan, while Arteta is hoping to add another centre-back to his ranks to join William Saliba, who has now joined on a permanent basis following the end of his loan spell with Saint-Etienne.
The Gunners are interested in Malang Sarr, who is now a free agent having left Nice, and Axel Disasi, who plays for Stade de Reims. They have also been linked with Diego Carlos from Sevilla.