Mikel Arteta has admitted that 'very, very awkward' decisions have been made over the futures of three soon-to-be out of contract Arsenal players now the season is over.
Following a largely successful campaign the Gunners fell away at the death, slipping to costly defeats to Tottenham and Newcastle which opened the door for their north London rivals to pip them to a Champions League place.
There will also be a number of outgoings, with Eddie Nketiah, Alexandre Lacazette and Mohamed Elneny out of contract in the summer.
Addressing their respective futures after the final day victory over Everton, Arteta suggested some tough decisions have already been made.
"It’s been decided but it’s very difficult to communicate it," he said. "What they deserve is to have a bit of what they had today.
"To do it earlier, one way or the other, with three situations like that is very, very awkward and it could affect the team so as a club we have to do the right thing in the right moment and sometimes combining those two is not easy at all."
He continued: "From my side and as a club we will do what we have to do and do what we think is the best thing for the club to move forward - and do it with the integrity and honesty that we’ve always done it.
On this week's episode of The Chronicles of a Gooner, 90min's Arsenal podcast, Harry Symeou reacts to the Gunners' final game of the season at home to Everton.
"Those players know individually their situations, when it is going to be communicated, and that situation will happen face-to-face, the way they deserve."
Speaking about Nketiah's future specifically and whether his recent impressive performances meant he wanted to keep him, Arteta said: "When you see Eddie [Nketiah] training the way he trains, he doesn’t even need to play. You know you have a player there who is going to help you and he’s done that - look at his numbers with the amount of games he’s played. It’s terrific.
"I will speak to the three players now or tomorrow and after that we need to start to move but we have clear ideas of what we want to do."