herald

Saturday 16 December 2017

Frustrated Gunners boss plots clear-out

ARSENE WENGER is ready to launch a major summer clear-out of his failing Arsenal squad after Wednesday night's 4-0 humiliation against AC Milan.

Wenger was genuinely shocked by Wednesday's match and, having publicly savaged the performance of his team, it is understood that there was also a 'clear the air' meeting at Arsenal's training ground yesterday.

According to one source, Wenger was furious and vented his anger directly at the players for a performance that he regards as the worst in Europe during his entire 15 years as Arsenal manager.

There was a general acceptance among the squad that Wenger's criticisms were justified.

Several prominent first-team members are now playing for their future, including Theo Walcott, Tomas Rosicky and Andrei Arshavin, whose contracts expire over the next 18 months, but have yet to secure new deals.

Arsenal will also consider offers for Marouane Chamakh and Sebastien Squillaci, who have barely featured this season, while other fringe players, such as Nicklas Bendtner, Carlos Vela, Denilson and Manuel Almunia are finally expected to be sold.

Profit

The club's half-yearly accounts will be published this month and, following the sales last summer of Cesc Fabregas, Samir Nasri and Gael Clichy, a likely profit of £55million is set to prompt disquiet among fans.

Wenger, though, was frustrated in January by the unavailability of his main targets and preferred to keep his budget intact. He is still tracking Cologne's Lukas Podolski, Borussia Dortmund's Mario Gotze and the Lille playmaker Eden Hazard, but knows that Arsenal would have little hope of competing for them if they fail to reach the Champions League.

Even if they do remain in the Premier League's top four, Arsenal also face the threat of being outbid by richer rivals.

Wednesday's defeat was hardly an enticing advert for potential signings and will also only reduce the chances of persuading Robin van Persie to extend his contract beyond 2013.

Van Persie, the Arsenal captain, was said to be forlorn in the dressing-room after the match.

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