Come the end of the season, the players and the management team breath a sigh of relief at Arsenal and drift away to warmer climes on deserved breaks.
For some, the return to work in July will mean contract talks, for others a continuation of where they left off, but for a few it will be a nagging doubt over their future at the home of one of the country’s top teams, as new faces come in.
This summer also includes the question over the manager and his long association with the club, now the longest in Europe.
There are a number of players that will be looking over their shoulders, but each one will attract another opportunity and probably at another top level club – likely with a big fee attached, too.
With Theo Walcott, the summer will mark 12 months since he signed his latest long-term deal. However, on the evidence of this season, he may not be around to see that contract to its completion. 36 appearances across all competitions have yielded just eight goals, and his form has tailed off dramatically. Walcott now finds himself behind Joel Campbell and Alex Iwobi for the wide positions, while Danny Welbeck’s return has limited Walcott’s opportunities as a centre-forward. If he leaves, he will still command a decent fee though..
Bordeaux’s on-loan right-back Mathieu Debuchy will surely leave Arsenal and will probably sign full-time with the French outfit. He made his displeasure at losing his first-team place to Hector Bellerin clear, but there is little to suggest the Spaniard’s development is slowing sufficiently for Debuchy to get back in.
Mathieu Flamini was signed on a free transfer as emergency midfield cover. Arsenal’s complete lack of options at the moment meant that, despite Flamini not being first choice, he has played regularly, but his contract is up this summer and Arsenal can move him along.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is one of those players that you couldn’t see leaving for many years, but that just isn’t the case now. The England international has struggled for form and fitness this season, and, like Walcott, is now further down the pecking order. Time for a move and to resurrect his career, one feels, as he needs first team football and he won’t get it at Arsenal.
Calum Chambers – Just not good enough. Time to leave.
Mikel Arteta may be club captain, but he surely knows the end is near. Calf problems have been an issue for quite a while now and you can’t see him being offered a new contract. Arteta is taking his coaching badges, so it may be time to return to Spain and put them to good use.
Tomas Rosicky is out of contract this summer. The Czech Republic international was set to leave the Gunners last year, but Arsenal invoked a clause in his previous contract to keep him at the Emirates for a further 12 months. By leaving Arsenal, Rosicky will be able to finish his career with his first club, Sparta Prague.
Per Mertesacker always seems lost in the heart of defence and maybe the Premier League is too much for the Germany international. However, Wenger appears to value him and that could mean that Arsenal fans are struck with him for at least another season.
There could always be others that will move on, or maybe some of those mentioned will stay another year, but either way, Arsenal’s faltering seasons can’t continue year in, year out. There is money in the bank, but a perceived lack of quality on the pitch.
There will be a rebuild at the Emirates, and there will be casualties.