Arsenal set for end of Wenger era with five remaining players he signed at risk of summer transfer exits
ARSENAL’S Arsene Wenger era could come to a definitive end this summer with the remaining players left over from his squad linked with an exit.
Despite it being five years since Wenger left, a number of players from his final season remain at the club.
PA:Empics SportWenger salutes the crowd after his final game as Arsenal manager.[/caption]
The mix of veterans and youngsters from the Wenger era are all linked with moves away from Arsenal.
Here are the players who could leave the Gunners this summer.
GettyXhaka in action against Newcastle United earlier this season.[/caption]
It’s been a Hollywood comeback story for Xhaka, 30, who often came under criticism during Wenger’s reign.
The Swiss midfielder was made captain by Wenger’s successor, Unai Emery, but was stripped of his role in spectacular fashion back in 2019.
The midfielder mouthed at fans to “f*** off” when he was subbed off to a chorus of boos in Arsenal’s 2-2 draw with Crystal Palace.
Despite losing the captaincy, he has been a stalwart of Mikel Arteta’s side since the Spaniard took over in December that year.
He has been in fine form this season, playing every league game and scoring five times for the Gunners as they sat at the top of the table for the majority of the campaign.
But it looks as though Xhaka may be keen to leave the Emirates on a high, with talks taking place over a £15m move to Bayer Leverkusen.
BETTING SPECIAL – BEST NO DEPOSIT CASINO OFFERS
Ahead of Arsenal’s final game of the season at home to Wolves, Xhaka was asked whether this would be his last game in an Arsenal shirt by The Evening Standard.
He said: “You will know the latest next week, for sure.
“I think they (the fans) deserve that and I do myself as well. We have one more week of this Premier League season, the first thing is I want to enjoy [it] and, for sure, you guys will know next week what happens with my future.”
PAElneny playing for Arsenal this season prior to his knee injury.[/caption]
Elneny was signed by Wenger from Basel in 2016 in a cut-price £7million deal.
The midfielder has endured a mix of fortunes at The Emirates, often playing a back-up role and at one point finding himself out on loan to Besiktas.
But the midfielder proved his worth to Arteta last season when he came in to deputise well for the injured Thomas Partey during the latter part of the campaign.
He was rewarded for his efforts with a one-year contract extension in May 2022 and signed a further extension this February.
But it’s been an injury-hit campaign for the Egyptian international and he has not featured for the Gunners since undergoing knee surgery in January.
The midfielder has fallen down the pecking order since Arsenal signed Jorginho in January and may fall further if rumours are to be believed of Arsenal’s interest in Moises Caicedo and Declan Rice.
GettyHolding during April’s defeat to Manchester City.[/caption]
Holding joined the Gunners as a promising youngster from Bolton all the way back in 2016.
He made a decent start to life at Arsenal and was a reliable part of the Wenger team that won the 2017 FA Cup, playing the full 90 minutes in Arsenal’s 2-1 cup final victory over Chelsea.
But since suffering an ACL injury in December 2018, Holding has largely played a back-up role.
The defender came in to deputise for Ben White towards the end of last season and it was his costly red card against Spurs in a 3-0 defeat that ultimately cost Arsenal Champions League football.
He has also been tasked with covering William Saliba since March after the Frenchman got injured in Arsenal’s Europa League defeat to Sporting CP.
His time in the side coincided with Arsenal losing form in the title race and the club are reportedly willing to listen to offers in order to upgrade on their back-up centre half.
GettyNelson hypes up the crowd during Arsenal’s defeat to Brighton[/caption]
Still aged just 23, Nelson did not have a great deal of first-team exposure under Wenger.
He did feature heavily in the Europa League, however, making eight appearances as Wenger opted to rotate heavily in Europe.
He also made three Premier League appearances in Wenger’s final season.
As per Fabrizio Romano, Arsenal have offered Nelson a new four-year deal until June 2027, with an option to extend by a further year.
But he also reports that Nelson has interest from clubs in England, France and Italy.
Nelson has made 17 appearances for the Gunners this season, and may be tempted by the lure of guaranteed first-team minutes.
ReutersNketiah during last week’s clash with Brighton[/caption]
Nketiah was another youngster that Wenger gave limited minutes to in his final season.
He made five appearances in the Europa League and appeared as a substitute three times in the Premier League.
The Arsenal forward signed a bumper new £100k a week contract last summer after impressing during the tail end of the campaign.
He was also given the coveted number 14 shirt, once worn by Thierry Henry as a show of faith in the 23-year-old.
But he has found himself playing second fiddle this season to Gabriel Jesus, despite assurances of first-team minutes.
The forward may look to move this summer in order to establish himself as a first choice No9.