Arsenal are close to completing the first position in Mikel Arteta’s squad rebuild

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Arsenal will be looking to offload several of their squad players this summer in an attempt to slash the wage bill and free up funds for a couple of high-profile signings.

Like every Premier League club, they have been hit hard by football’s global suspension, with the financial impact set to severely limit spending power in the months ahead. Not only have player values plummeted, per CIES Football Observatory, but we may face an entire year of football behind closed doors, denying clubs match day revenue.

On top of that, TV companies are set to request a £300million rebate of money paid for coverage of matches this season that will no longer be fulfilled in normal circumstances, according to The Guardian.

One player the Gunners are likely to try cash in on is Sead Kolasinac. The Bosnian has never quite lived up to his early promise in an Arsenal shirt after he was signed to play left wing-back during Arsene Wenger’s brief experimentation with three at the back.

Once that ended, Kolasinac has been in and out of the side and his reported £100,000 per week wages are too high for a squad player. It would be no surprise if Mikel Arteta looked to move Kolasinac on, and what’s more, Arsenal won’t even need to find a replacement.

They are already perfectly sorted in the left-back department.

Kieran Tierney has been struggling with injuries throughout his first season at the club, starting just four league games for Arsenal so far. The fans might not have seen enough of the former Celtic man to form a judgement, but in time they will come to appreciate his talents.

Arteta is an admirer and sees Tierney as a big part of his future plans, something hinted at in the left-back’s recent comments about how well he was getting along with the new head coach.

“I’ve seen all his video meetings, I’ve been in the meetings together as a team,” Tierney said, as reported by the Mirror. “Before the games, after the games, and just his analysis is amazing.

“In Dubai for the winter break, I was doing some one-to-one work with him, and that’s when I realised ‘this is brilliant’.”

Arteta’s interest in Tierney was to be expected given how well he performed in Scottish football. The 22-year-old is an excellent all-rounder, adept at defensive duties but also possessing the pace needed to overlap on the attack.

In that respect, he is not unlike Hector Bellerin on the other side. Tierney, then, can be Arsenal’s first-choice player for games against top-ten clubs and when Arteta expects his side to defend as often as they attack.

But the Gunners also have Bukayo Saka in their ranks and although the 18-year-old would no doubt prefer to play on the wing, he has developed into a very effective left-back under the new manager.

In fact, Saka rarely actually finds himself in a traditional left-back position under Arteta, instead playing very high on the left wing to replace Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang as he makes diagonal runs to play alongside Alexandre Lacazette.

Bellerin tucks inside on the right to join the centre-backs, creating a defensive shield for Arsenal’s high line possession football that gives Saka license to stay high and swing brilliant deliveries into the box.

Consequently, Saka can continue to play in this manner when Arsenal face bottom-half clubs, meaning Arteta already has two left-backs on the books who perfectly complement each other.

It’s clear that Kolasinac has become surplus to requirements. One year ago he was arguably the club’s first-choice left-back, but now he ranks third in that list – and the two above him are excellent footballers capable of taking Arsenal towards the top of the game.

With the club needing to free up space ahead of a difficult summer, the Bosnian’s days are surely numbered.


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