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The Telegraph

Mikel Arteta has decided who he trusts at Arsenal – so which players are in danger of being sold?

As the despair has set in at the Emirates Stadium in recent weeks, with Arsenal’s season falling apart along with their Europa League campaign, Mikel Arteta has made no attempt to conceal his belief that his squad needs changing. In order for new players to come in, some of the existing faces will have to go out. If Arteta and technical director Edu have their way this summer, there could be as many as a dozen players leaving the club in the coming weeks. The final few matches of the season, then, will provide us with an even clearer indication of who might stay and who might be shoved towards the exit door. It certainly felt instructive to look at Arteta’s team sheet for their hard-fought victory at Chelsea on Wednesday, as he essentially seemed to have chosen the players he wants to keep in the long-term. In short, this was a team that Arteta trusts, or at least one that he believes in. Of the players who started, only goalkeeper Bernd Leno is expected to leave this summer, although there are also doubts over the future of midfielder Mohamed Elneny. Martin Odegaard, on loan from Real Madrid, will be returning to Spain as it stands, but there is no doubt that Arteta would like to sign him on a permanent basis. While it remains to be seen whether that is possible, picking him for the final few matches would clearly help Arteta’s attempts to convince the Norwegian to stick around. And so this team was an Arteta team, or at least something close to what he might envisage to be his team next season. It was telling that he chose Bukayo Saka as the starting right wing-back, rather than actual right-backs Hector Bellerin, Cedric Soares and Calum Chambers. All three of them could depart this summer. In their performance, Arteta’s chosen few returned some of the faith that the Arsenal manager has shown in them. Having taken the lead through Emile Smith Rowe (another player who is a major part of the long-term plan) they defended resolutely for long spells at Stamford Bridge. On the ball, Arteta’s attacking play was far from being the ultra-progressive style that the Spaniard wants. Indeed for much of the evening it felt like a return to last summer, when Arsenal used a deep-lying defence to fight their way to the FA Cup trophy. Perhaps it was a reflection of the personnel, and an explanation for Arteta’s team selection, that Arsenal defended with such resilience when they had so little to play for, aside from pride and the tiniest hope of still qualifying for European football. Elneny scrapped in midfield, Rob Holding battled in defence, Kieran Tierney never stopped running on the left. Some of the more critical supporters have asked why Arteta is still in the job, and this showing went some way to answering those questions. A section of fans might have given up on Arteta, but the players have not. Many of them remain fiercely loyal to their manager and it would be no exaggeration to say that some of them would be devastated if he left. Again, the defensive nature of the performance was not a reflection of Arteta’s long-term vision. But the players on the pitch at Stamford Bridge will no doubt form the core part of a squad that could be dramatically reshaped in the weeks to come. Here, Telegraph Sport examines which players could leave, how likely they are to be sold and what sort of fee Arsenal might expect to receive for them. Bernd Leno Age: 29 Contract expires: 2023 The feeling among some within the club is that Leno’s time at Arsenal is coming to an end. The German said in April that he was open to a “new adventure” and he has never looked entirely comfortable with the ball at his feet, a key requirement of his manager. He has made a series of individual errors this season, which will not have helped his cause, but Arsenal would still expect to generate at least £15m for him. Football analytics website Transfermarkt, which specialises in transfers, values Leno at £22.5m. Hector Bellerin Age: 26 Contract expires: 2023 Bellerin was close to leaving last summer but eventually decided to stay after holding talks with Arteta. The Arsenal manager has said he understood why Bellerin had doubts over remaining at the club after so many years in north London (he joined 10 years ago). The key question is not whether Bellerin leaves, but where he might go. Paris Saint-Germain showed interest last summer but it remains to be seen whether they would pursue a move in the coming months. Bellerin’s form has been patchy this season and in recent weeks Arteta has often chosen Calum Chambers at right-back instead. Arsenal might hope for a fee of around £25m, but it would come as no surprise if they were to ultimately accept a lower offer. David Luiz Age: 34 Contract expires: 2021 Luiz is a key member of the side, on and off the pitch, and when fit is one of the first names on Arteta’s team sheet. At the age of 34, though, his fitness has become increasingly difficult to maintain. His contract expires this summer and it is unlikely that Arsenal would offer him another year on the same terms. Would he be interested in staying on a reduced salary, or accepting a role as a bit-part player? Luiz told Telegraph Sport last season that he wants to go into coaching when he is 40, and play until he is 38. Alexandre Lacazette Age: 29 Contract expires: 2022 With one year remaining on his deal, this will be Arsenal’s last chance to cash in on Lacazette. The Frenchman is Arsenal’s top scorer with 17 goals this season, and has been one of their best players since Christmas, but it still remains highly unlikely that the club would decide to offer another lucrative contract to an ageing forward player. Atletico Madrid have tried to sign Lacazette in the past and there will be suitors across Europe for a player of his calibre. Transfermarkt values Lacazette at around £31m but, at his age and with just one year remaining on his deal, it would be a surprise if Arsenal could generate such a significant fee for the Frenchman. Joe Willock Age: 21 Contract expires: 2023 One of the trickier situations for Arsenal to manage. Willock has enjoyed a successful loan spell at Newcastle United and will be worth around £20m this summer, if not more. Newcastle have made it clear they would like to sign him permanently. But, as it stands, Arsenal could be worryingly short of central midfield players. Willock has never seemed suited to Arteta’s style but he has shown in the past few months that he is capable of contributing at the Emirates. The considerable size of the likely fee means the expectation is that Willock will depart, but it might be worth waiting until later in the window for any deal to be sanctioned.

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