Arsene Wenger prepared to wield the axe on up to nine Arsenal players this summer
Arsene Wenger is preparing to let up to nine Arsenal players leave the club this summer, Squawka understands.
The Gunners are planning an overhaul of their squad as Wenger looks to respond to their disappointing season.
Arsenal are currently third in the Premier League table, 13 points behind leaders Leicester City, and all but mathematically out of the title race in a campaign that once looked like it might end with their first title triumph since 2004.
Wenger will have up to £80 million to spend in the summer transfer window to improve his squad and hopes to make Borussia Monchengladbach midfielder Granit Xhaka, 23, his first signing.
The Frenchman also wants to sign a top-quality striker and central defender – and he intends to be ruthless as he looks to free up squad places and wages.
As Squawka reported this week, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain’s future in North London is in doubt, with the 22-year-old in a contract stand-off with the club and attracting interest from Chelsea, Manchester City, West Ham and Southampton.
The winger, who currently earns £55,000 a week, has been frustrated by his lack of progression this season and the emergence of Alex Iwobi means the Gunners are willing to cash in.
Arsenal will also listen to offers for Theo Walcott, who has scored just five Premier League goals this season.
Walcott only signed a four-year contract last summer worth £140,000 a week and his salary demands would present a major stumbling block in any transfer.
Kieran Gibbs is another English player who could leave the Emirates in the summer. The left-back is behind Nacho Monreal in the pecking order having started just 13 games in all competitions this season, while the Gunners hope to sign left-back Ben Chilwell from Leicester as cover.
Per Mertesacker could also be a shock departure with suggestions from Arsenal sources that Wenger will look to replace the German by signing a new first-choice partner for Laurent Koscielny in central defence.
Meanwhile, Mathieu Flamini, Tomas Rosicky and club captain Mikel Arteta are all out of contract at the end of the season and will not have their deals renewed.
Right-back Mathieu Debuchy, who moved to Bordeaux on loan in January, is expected to leave permanently while Wenger is also preparing to let one of his back-up goalkeepers leave.
Both David Ospina and Wojciech Szczesny have told Wenger that they do not want to be second choice behind Petr Cech next season.
Ospina has made only four league appearances this season – all due to injury to Cech – while Arsenal believe Szczesny still has a future at the club despite spending this season on loan at Roma.