Arsenal director Edu could be forced into cashing in on Bukayo Saka this summer in order to fund approaches for the likes of Martin Odegaard, according to reports. Mikel Arteta is keen on conducting a large-scale overhaul of his playing squad ahead of next season, with the Gunners struggling in the Premier League and unlikely to secure Europa League qualification by sneaking into the division’s qualifying slots.
Saka has been one of the few shining lights since gaining a regular first-team spot at the beginning of the campaign.
The versatile 19-year-old has chipped in with five goals and three assists, establishing himself as one of the Premier League’s most exciting young players in the process.
However, with Arsenal needing financial reinforcement in order to meet Arteta’s transfer aims, there is a chance that he could be moved on during the summer months.
If the Gunners fail to achieve Champions League qualification, a prospect that appears to be highly likely with just nine games until the end of the season, they would come under pressure to sell their high-value stars, according to The Times.
Saka unequivocally falls into this category, with the report suggesting that as many as twelve players could be on their way out of the Emirates Stadium in the near future.
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Arteta is said to be keen on keeping hold of the England youth international, as well as Emile Smith Rowe, Kieran Tierney, Gabriel Martinelli, Gabriel Magalhaes and Thomas Partey.
Meanwhile, the club’s future plans for a number of other players appear to be more clearly defined, with Matteo Guendouzi, Lucas Torreira and Ainsley Maitland-Niles among those expected to depart at the end of the campaign.
It remains to be seen if Saka will be forced out despite Arteta’s wishes, with Arsenal’s precarious financial situation threatening to pour cold water on any hopes of a summer influx of top talent.
It is claimed that a permanent move for Odegaard would cost around £35million, with owner Stan Kroenke reluctant to provide significant investment without the promise of improved on-pitch fortunes.
The club have already announced a loss of £47.8million for the financial year, a figure that could be closer to the £150m mark by the end of the season.
A combined fee of £68m was spent on the signings of Partey and Gabriel, while lucrative contracts handed out to the likes of Willian and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang have put a huge dent in the club’s wallet.
Arteta admitted last month that changes are desperately needed for the Gunners to improve on this season’s efforts, suggesting that a huge amount of business could be completed in the coming months.
“We will see, we are planning what’s going to happen in the summer,” Arteta told reporters when quizzed on his transfer strategy.
“It will depend on where we finish, how we finish. I think what we have to do in the summer is unprecedented for a club of this stature.
“To do the amount of transactions that we have to make it tells you as well where we are.
“I think it was very much needed and you want to improve, you want to do that. It’s where you have things in the house and you believe that you can improve on it.
“Externally acquiring players to go to the next level. Everything is planned and let’s see what the market can bring and what the last few months can bring to the club.”