Arsenal FC

Arsenal transfers summer 2021: The players to keep, sell and release

By Harry Symeou
Apr 10, 2021, 4:00 PM GMT+1
Alexandre Lacazette's Arsenal future remains unclear
Alexandre Lacazette's Arsenal future remains unclear | Catherine Ivill/Getty Images
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Domestically, it's been a season to forget for Arsenal and whether they go on to achieve European glory or not, it's clear Mikel Arteta has work to do shaping his squad.

The Gunners may not be able to spend as big as they'd like in the 2021 summer window but with plenty of exits expected, there could be quite the turnover of personnel in north London.

Europa League glory, and subsequent Champions League qualification, won't detract from the work that needs to be done, but it may help Arsenal to recognise what needs to change in order to permanently return to the top table of domestic and continental football.

Goalkeepers

Mathew Ryan
Ryan is currently on loan from Brighton | Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

Bernd Leno (KEEP) - The club's number one goalkeeper and by quite some distance. There have been question marks about certain aspects of his game, mostly fuelled by those who wished the club kept hold of Emiliano Martinez but he's definitely worth holding onto.

Maty Ryan (KEEP) - Currently on loan from Brighton, the Australian is a capable number two. His contract on the south-coast expires at the end of the season and given he'll be available on a free transfer it would make sense to sign him.

Runar Alex Runarsson (SELL) - From the day he arrived in north London, he has looked out of his depth. An academy graduate could do just as good a job and wouldn't be such a drain on club resources.

Centre-backs

David Luiz
David Luiz's contract is due to expire this summer | Chloe Knott - Danehouse/Getty Images

David Luiz (KEEP) - He has his critics, but David Luiz is Arsenal's best central defender. At the age of 33, the Brazilian doesn't represent the club's long-term future - but it's worth handing him a new contract for his leadership skills alone.

Rob Holding (SELL) - Came close to leaving the club last summer and when everybody is fit, Holding is clearly not first-choice. Is a sellable asset and given the number of centre-backs at the club, that's what should happen.

William Saliba (KEEP) - Surprising disregarded by Arteta, the young Frenchman is currently on loan at OGC Nice. Arsenal did make a huge investment in the 20-year-old though, so it's only right that Saliba comes back to show what he can do.

Gabriel (KEEP) - Hasn't looked as formidable as he did in the earlier part of the season but Gabriel has all the attributes to go on and become a very good centre-half.

Pablo Mari (KEEP) - Has been limited to just seven Premier League appearances this season, but looks assured in the heart of the defence. Perhaps not a starter but a very competent squad player.

Calum Chambers (KEEP) - The former Southampton man's ability to fill in at full back or in defensive midfield makes him a useful player to keep around.

Dinos Mavropanos (SELL) - Currently on loan in Germany, this is Mavropanos' second season away from the club. With so many ahead of him in the central defenders pecking order, Arsenal would be wise to cash in.

Full-backs

Hector Bellerin
Bellerin has been linked with a move away from Arsenal | Sebastian Frej/MB Media/Getty Images

Kieran Tierney (KEEP) - A standout player in this current group and one of Arteta's on-field generals. Tierney's fitness record is of concern and a capable deputy is required for when he is unavailable.

Hector Bellerin (SELL) - If reports are to be believed, Bellerin has his heart set on a move away from the Emirates Stadium. There was interest in the Spaniard last season from PSG, and if that's still the case, it's time to part ways.

Cedric Soares (KEEP) - Always does a good job when played in his preferred right-back position. Has surprised many with his consistency and deserves to stay.

Sead Kolasinac (RELEASE) - The writing was on the wall for Kolasinac the momennt Arsenal shipped him out on loan. Has a year remaining on his contract but an early termination agreement seems likely.

Ainsley Maitland-Niles (SELL) - Clearly sees his future in the centre of midfield rather than at full-back. Unfortunately, he's never shown himself good enough in that position. A valuable asset to cash-in on.

Central midfielders

Granit Xhaka
Xhaka's Arsenal career has turned around | Chloe Knott - Danehouse/Getty Images

Granit Xhaka (KEEP) - Often harshly treated by the club's supporters, Xhaka is usually made scapegoat when things have gone wrong. The reality is that he's vitally important to Arsenal and they can't entertain the prospect of selling.

Thomas Partey (KEEP) - We haven't seen the best of the Ghanaian yet, largely due to injuries, but having spent £45m on Partey last summer, it's pretty obvious that he's staying.

Mohamed Elneny (SELL) - The Egyptian simply isn't good enough and is somebody Arsenal should be looking to upgrade on. An honest, hard-working individual but lacks the talent to nail down a regular place in midfield.

Dani Ceballos (RELEASE) - He's blown hot and cold from the day he arrived in north London. Given the club's financial situation and his inconsistency, Arsenal should not be pursue a permanent deal after his Real Madrid loan ends.

Attacking midfielders

Martin Odegaard
Arsenal are likely to launch a bid to permanently sign Odegaard | Julian Finney/Getty Images

Martin Odegaard (KEEP) - There is no doubt the Norwegian has added a creative spark to the Gunners midfield since his arrival. Signing him on a permanent deal should be a priority, but persuading Real Madrid to do business could prove difficult.

Emile Smith Rowe (KEEP) - A bright young talent who has made a significant impact in the second half of the season. The arrival of Odegaard has taken some of the pressure off of the 20-year-old, and he continues to impress.

Joe Willock (SELL) - Isn't at the level required to take Arsenal to where they want to go, and a permanent sale would be best for both parties.

Forwards

Alexandre Lacazette
Lacazette will shortly enter the final year of his Arsenal contract | Visionhaus/Getty Images

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (KEEP) - Has had some difficult patches this season but it would cost a fortune (that Arsenal don't have) to upgrade on him. Having said that, given his age and decline in form, selling him could be an option - for the right price.

Alexandre Lacazette (SELL) - Soon to enter into the final year of his contract, Arsenal would be wrong to offer the Frenchman an extension. Lacazette's goal return since arriving from Lyon has been okay, but it's time to look towards the long-term.

Nicolas Pepe (KEEP) - There is a quality player in there somewhere, though perhaps not worth the £72m that Arsenal paid for Pepe. The Ivorian needs more regular minutes to show what he can fully do.

Bukayo Saka (KEEP) - Arguably Arsenal's most consistent performer this season, the 19-year-old has been a revelation.

Willian (SELL) - The signing of the former Chelsea star hasn't worked out as Edu or Arteta would have hoped. He's yet to net a goal for the club and should be moved on, if anyone will take him.

Gabriel Martinelli (KEEP) - A fan favourite and an exciting young talent, Martinelli has struggled for game time since returning from injury but it's clear he has a big future.

Reiss Nelson (SELL) - Clearly not part of Arteta's plans, Nelson needs to fly the nest and get a regular gig elsewhere. It's in the interest of all parties if the 21-year-old is sold this summer.

Eddie Nketiah (SELL) - Started this season full of Arteta confidence, but has fallen out of favour in recent months. Should be sold after the news that...

Folarin Balogun (KEEP) - ...Arsenal may finally have tied Balogun down to a new deal. A real sharpshooting young talent, he looks to be the one - alongside Martinelli - capable of stepping up to the required level. Now he just needs games under his belt.

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