Opinion: Nine Arsenal first-team players expected to depart this summer

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It’s fair to say that Arsenal are doing everything they can to work their way back into the Champions League as they look to end five years without top European football.

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But whilst all the attention and praise will be heaped on the Gunners for who they bring in this summer, it’s just as big of a challenge to clear unwanted names out.

Arsenal’s technical director, Edu, summed it up perfectly during an interview earlier this week where he explained just how difficult it is to hold on to players who were not performing and had reached a certain age.

The calculation of a big weekly salary mixed with an ageing player who is more than happy to continue living in London can often lead to a squad filled with differing attitudes.

Mikel Arteta and Edu will always have a huge task on their hands to find a squad in which every player is content, but getting as close to that as possible is the desire.

Arsenal have already spent big in the window having withdrawn £115m from the bank to bring in the likes of Gabriel Jesus and Oleksandr Zinchenko, two of their five new signings.

But with less than a week to go until the season kicks off against Crystal Palace, attention is now turning to who isn’t going to make the cut following a gruelling pre-season.

Arteta’s had five pre-season games to judge his squad and with just one friendly left to go against Sevilla in this weekend’s Emirates Cup, it won’t be long until we see bags being packed and goodbye cards being signed for many at London Colney.

In order of most likely to happen, I’ve listed the nine players I expect to leave between now and when the transfer window slams shut on August 31st.

1 – Bernd Leno

Undeniably the most likely departure to take place this summer, with it being more of a question of when and not if for the 30-year-old goalkeeper.

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Having racked up 101 appearances in the Premier League for the Gunners, it appears Leno will have a chance to continue his form in England with a couple of potential suitors lined up.

Latest reports suggest that Arsenal now have an agreement in principle with Fulham for an £8m transfer, with Leno having already agreed personal terms back in early June.

The Premier League new boys have negotiated hard for the German, refusing to meet Arsenal’s valuation of £11m as they prepared to walk away from the deal just days ago.

It’s expected that late rumoured interest from Leicester City won’t cause any disruption, after they were shocked to learn that Kasper Schmeichel was pushing for a move to Ligue 1 side, Nice.

Arsenal currently have four recognised first-team goalkeepers following the recent arrival of Matt Turner from US side, New England Revolution.

With Aaron Ramsdale and Arthur Okwonko on the books as well, Arsenal will need to get Leno’s £100k per week off the wage bill and fast.

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