Mikel Arteta wants to overhaul Arsenal’s midfield this summer and is even considering selling Thomas Partey, according to reports.
The Gunners have enjoyed an excellent campaign but a stuttering end to the season – in which they picked up just nine points from a possible 24 – has seen them fall just short of champions Manchester City.
Arteta is already itching to go again next season but feels his side are in need of significant reinforcements, particularly in midfield.
West Ham skipper Declan Rice is his number one target, while the north Londoners have also been linked with moves for Brighton’s Moises Caicedo and potential free agent Ilkay Gundogan – who is out of contract in the summer.
Arsenal are set to conduct something of a fire-sale in order to raise funds for new additions, with Granit Xhaka expected to make a £15million move to Bayer Leverkusen.
But he may not be the only key man departing the Emirates this summer, with The Mirror reporting that Partey is also on the chopping block.
The Ghana international turns 30 next month and his form dropped off massively during the run-in, reinforcing Arteta’s view that his midfield needs some tweaks in the summer.
Partey was benched for three games in a row against Chelsea, Newcastle and Brighton and when he returned to the starting XI against Nottingham Forest he was fielded at right-back with little success.
Arteta is known to want versatility and flexibility from his players, and Caicedo may be an ideal upgrade given he has been dominating matches while filling in at right wing-back for Brighton recently.
Two Serie A clubs are keeping tabs on Partey’s situation and Arsenal are thought to be open to selling the midfielder just three years after activating his £45m release clause.
It would be a surprise if Arsenal received anything close to that fee for a player with only two years left on his contract, but the club are desperate to make money any way they can.
A host of players are expected to be offloaded, with Kieran Tierney wanted by Newcastle, Rob Holding on the radar of a number of Premier League clubs and Emile Smith Rowe even up for sale if the price is right.
Players who have spent the season on loan, such as Nuno Tavares, Folarin Balogun, Nicolas Pepe and Albert Sambi Lokonga, are also expected to leave the club permanently.
Arsenal will need to assemble a massive warchest to give Arteta the backing he desires, with West Ham wanting a British record fee in excess of £100m for Rice while Brighton rejected bids of £70m for Caicedo in the January window.