Mikel Arteta admits he has lots of decisions to make this summer as his Arsenal project takes in a third transfer window.
The Spaniard has already confirmed that David Luiz will be leaving the club after two years and there are certain to be several other high-profile departures as Arsenal attempt to balance the squad and books alongside signing new recruits.
When the season is over, Arteta is expected to sit down with every member of the first team, including those returning from loan, to decide their fate. For the moment, he’s keeping his cards close to his chest but he maintains the club has a clear plan.
Facing the media ahead of Wednesday’s trip to Crystal Palace, he was asked if he’s expecting a busy summer.
“Yes,” he said, “but if I have to answer every question about every possible transfer or what players might be leaving, we will be sitting here for hours.
“What I can say is that we know what we want to do and there is a clear plan to put that together.
“It’s true that there are a lot of decision to make, because as well we have a lot of players on loan, some of them have to come back and we will see step-by-step and focus on the priorities that we have. Let’s see how much we can do.”
In light of his poor first year at the Emirates and his big wages, it’s likely the club will explore the possibility of rehousing Willian. It has been suggested the midfielder, who is eager to regain his place in the Brazil squad, might not be against the idea.
Arteta says the player’s struggles this season are his fault: “First of all we signed a player with an incredible talent, a proven talent and performance level in this league, and this season has been difficult and I take full responsibility because I have to be the one getting the best out of him and we had moments but not to the level that he did before.
“This is an assessment that we will do individually with the players and with Edu, the board and the ownership to make the right decisions for the future.”
The boss then tried to palm off a direct question about whether the 32-year-old could depart. “Every player that is under contract is very likely to be here with us next season,” he said.
We can probably take that with a pinch of salt. Aside from David Luiz, the only players out of contract this summer are our trio of loanees; Martin Odegaard, Dani Ceballos and Mat Ryan.