Five big Arsenal names who could leave in the summer…

Much of the talk surrounding Arsenal’s transfer activity centres around on who they should be bringing into the club.

While that’s a natural tendency due to some of the obvious deficiencies within their ranks, perhaps the problems are currently who they have on the books, rather than who they don’t.

Fans, neutral and pundits alike can bemoan the fact that manager Arsene Wenger has failed to splash out on top quality in defence, holding midfield and attack, though there are options in those particular berths.

It’s just who the options are. Clearly, that’s an issue that ultimately lies with Wenger. However, as yet another title challenge appears to be crumbling completely, fingers must be pointed to some of the underperforming players.

Too often have these big names faded under the pressure of playing for a club with the sort of aspirations the Gunners harbour. Too often, they simply aren’t good enough.

With that in mind, here are FIVE big names that could leave Arsenal this summer…

ALEX OXLADE-CHAMBERLAIN

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (centre)

Theo Walcott has lasted over a decade at Arsenal while being one of the most frustrating players in the league. While that’s a testament to his endurance, or uncanny ability to flatter to deceive, it doesn’t look as if Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain will be able to follow suit.

The 22-year old is a fine talent, a much better technical prospect than the aforementioned speedster. Still, he looks almost incapable of breaking through to the next level while on the books in North London.

After his nightmare performance against Barcelona, reports started to emerge that he could be sold this summer.

He just simply hasn’t progressed in the manner in which may expected to him, barring some exceptional glimpses of his vast amounts of talent.

With the Gunners needing top quality now more than ever, they simply can’t afford to keep relying upon a player marred by such inconsistency.

Perhaps for the England international too, a move away could do him some good. Clearly a huge talent, a new lease of life elsewhere could work wonders.

PER MERTESACKER

Mertesacker

It speaks volumes about Arsenal Football Club in their current state than there has been no improvement on Per Mertesacker drafted in yet.

Yes, he’s a World Cup winning centre-half, though very little he has done on a regular basis would instantly identify him as such.

Too often, the towering German is lumbering and lacklustre in equal measure. While it’s unfair to blame him for a lack of natural pace, it is clearly an issue and all too often exploited.

It would take a multitude of Herculean efforts from Laurent Koscielny to truly make up for his partner’s inefficiencies.

The 30-year old is a liability when dealing with pace and barely dominant in the air, considering his height. Not a natural leader, it’s baffling as to why he is still pretty much an automatic starter at the Emirates.

MIKEL ARTETA

Arteta

Mikel Arteta is a wonderful passer, but that’s about it these days. The Spanish midfielder is yet another symbol of the dreadful panic buying of 2011, along with the German mentioned previously.

It is harsh to lay in to such a classy operator, but even in his pomp, he was never really the standard of anchor man, nor deep-lying playmaker, required to knit the side together.

No doubt a respected professional, but his continued presence within this Gunners squad is restricted to the dressing room, at best.

Out of contract in the summer, there are gathering reports the club captain to seal a shock switch to Manchester City to play a coaching role in the Pep Guardiola’s revolution.

A dignified exit for a dignified player, but his presence won’t be sorely missed.

JOEL CAMPBELL

Arsenal v SL Benfica - Emirates Cup - Pre Season Friendly Tournament

It’s a sign of the times really that the decision to bring Joel Campbell off in the loss against Swansea was met with dismay.

The Costa Rican winger has proved himself to be a good player, stepping in amid the injury crisis that has dogged the Gunners this season.

Still, considering the club’s penchant for splashing big on illustrious attacking names, it is hard to imagine the 23-year old establishing himself any more than he already has.

He should be rewarded for his sterling efforts this season, when many wrote him off. However, perhaps that reward is best served in the shape of a move to another club, where he is more likely to become a crucial part.

Even a loan move, once the squad can be rounded out in the summer, could prove beneficial to all parties.

OLIVIER GIROUD

Olivier Giroud centre

Olivier Giroud will always divide opinion it seems. His ability to bring others into play is without question and to his credit, has provided the Gunners with a more direct outlet than they have had for years.

It seems as if he’s only ever a couple of goals away from being lauded, or even fewer misses away from being lambasted. The Frenchman simply struggles to universally convince.

With Karim Benzema’s future at Real Madrid reportedly uncertain, perhaps this summer could spell an end to his countryman’s North London limbo.

In the wake of such a disappointing title capitulation, major surgery will no doubt be called for. Perhaps Giroud could be the biggest name to fall victim to any cull.

After all, he’s undoubtedly the most dispensable of Wenger’s forward options.