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Arsenal ‘will try to move on SEVEN first-team outcasts this summer’

Arsenal will look to move on at least seven players this summer, it has been reported.

Mikel Arteta has revolutionised the club since his arrival, shifting out what many supporters deemed to be ‘dead wood’ and developing a young team that has taken the club to the brink of an unlikely league crown with just 10 games remaining.

With the Spaniard seemingly settled on the players he trusts, reports suggest that thoughts at Arsenal are now turning to the summer – and which members of their first team squad will be allowed to depart.

According to The Sun, Nicolas Pepe, 27, leads the list of seven names that are likely to be shifted out this forthcoming window.

They are also reportedly willing to listen to offers for Ainsley Maitland-Niles, Albert Sambi Lokonga, Nuno Tavares, Pablo Mari, Cedric Soares and Alex Runarsson.

Nicolas Pepe reportedly leads the list of players Arsenal wish to dispense with this summer

The Ivory Coast international was courted by Arsenal in 2019 but has struggled to live up to his promise

The Ivory Coast international was courted by Arsenal in 2019 but has struggled to live up to his promise

Mikel Arteta has revolutionised the club's culture - turning them into legitimate title contenders

Mikel Arteta has revolutionised the club’s culture – turning them into legitimate title contenders

Pepe, who was loaned to Nice in Ligue 1 last season, was signed for what remains a club-record transfer of £72m.

The forward was chased by a number of clubs in the summer of 2019, but Arsenal beat them to his signature.

However, he failed to deliver consistently for the Gunners, putting in largely streaky performances that saw his place in the first team usurped by then-up and coming young stars Bukayo Saka and Gabriel Martinelli.

Returning to France last summer, the Ivory Coast international has struggled to set the world alight, only managing seven goals and one assist in his 17 Ligue 1 appearances so far this term.

The scored 27 goals in all competitions for Arsenal, including 16 across the 2020-21 campaign.

Having arrived to much fanfare in north London, Pepe, who is on a reported £140,000 per week with a year left on his current deal this summer, faces leaving the club under a shroud of questions mostly leading back to, ‘what if?’

Brief moments almost saw him ignite his Arsenal career, but a lack of potency and clinical edge has seemingly marked him surplus to requirements.

It has been suggested that amid his rather middling performances in France, Arsenal might have to pay Pepe to depart the club, with a lack of offers forthcoming for the forward.

Other players on the list of unwanted stars are similarly unlikely to command much of a fee this summer.

Maitland-Niles, currently on loan at the Premier League’s bottom club Southampton, has struggled in parts this season, is likely to leave this summer. He penned a new deal in 2024 so could command a small fee.

Lokonga was sent to Crystal Palace in January on loan and has done little to alleviate fears that they are sliding towards the drop. Persistent rumours of Arsenal’s desire to sign Declan Rice from West Ham will do little to boost his confidence that he is in Arteta’s plans. 

Albert Sambi Lokonga is another name that could be leaving Arsenal this summer

Albert Sambi Lokonga is another name that could be leaving Arsenal this summer

Ainsley Maitland-Niles is out of contract with the north London club this summer and looks destined to leave

Ainsley Maitland-Niles is out of contract with the north London club this summer and looks destined to leave

Cedric Soares departed Arsenal for Fulham on loan in January after falling out of Arteta's plans

Cedric Soares departed Arsenal for Fulham on loan in January after falling out of Arteta’s plans

Arteta is seeking to prepare his squad for the step up to the Champions League next season, with Arsenal all but qualified for Europe’s premier club competition.

It has led to speculation that the likes of Kieran Tierney, Rob Holding and Folarin Balogun could be used as makeweights to boost the club’s coffers.

All three have more market value than the other seven aforementioned players that it is claimed the north London club want to move on and could prove useful in their attempts to land other targets.

Tierney has been linked with Newcastle, while Balogun’s goalscoring exploits for Reims in Ligue 1 have seen him linked to a number of sides, both at home and abroad. 

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