Arsenal might have to get ruthless during the summer transfer window.
There’s a new contract regime at the Emirates Stadium, put in place by managing director Vinai Venkatesham and Head of Football Raul Sanllehi in a bid to ensure the club avoid previous mistakes in the transfer market.
The days of losing Aaron Ramsey for free, or getting below value for the likes of Serge Gnabry, Wojciech Szczesny and Lucas Perez are hopefully long gone.
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Speaking at a fans’ forum last March, Sanllehi told supporters that any player who does not renew their contract before they reach the final two years of their deal will be sold.
The only time that new stance wouldn’t be applicable would be if the player is at the end of his career and doesn’t have any real sell-on value.
Sanllehi was joined at the event, which was hosted by communications director Mark Gonnella, by Josh Kroenke – the son of Arsenal owner Stan Kroenke – and managing director Vinai Venkatesham.
They all spoke about the need for Arsenal to be efficient, with Sanllehi saying they will not be afraid to make tough decisions to ensure Arsenal are successful – with many in the room believing that to be a reference to Ramsey’s contract.
This has since been backed up by Venkatesham.
“We need to make sure we are really disciplined,” he told the club’s official website. “A good example of that is senior players that aren’t towards the end of their careers, we need to make sure that those players, when they’ve got two years left on their contract, we’re making the difficult decisions.
“We’re either renewing those players’ contracts, or we’re selling those players.
“So we’re going to have to be brave with those decisions along the way, because we can’t be in a situation where we are allowing players to walk out the door for free unless they are coming towards the end of their career.”
If Arsenal are to adhere to that new transfer and contract policy, it means they are facing up to some big decisions involving a number of players in 2020.
David Luiz, Mesut Ozil, Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Shkodran Mustafi, Sokratis and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang are all out of contract at the end of next season, thus putting them all at risk of being sold either in the summer.
Sanllehi’s and Venkatesham’s comments about players without any real sell-on value being exempt from this new policy, could possibly come into play with all bar Mustafi will be in their 30’s at the end of their contracts.
Furthermore, Emiliano Martinez, Mohamed Elneny, Calum Chambers, Sead Kolasinac, Matteo Guendouzi, Alexandre Lacazette and Eddie Nketiah will be in the final two years of their contracts at the end of the current season.
That’s 13 first-team players at risk of being sold in the summer based on the…