Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta says players must leave the club in the January transfer window before new signings arrive.
Goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez and attacking midfielder Henrikh Mkhitaryan left Arsenal permanently in the summer of 2020, before Matteo Guendouzi and Lucas Torreira were sent out on loan.
Full-back Sead Kolasinac has recently agreed to join Bundesliga side Schalke on a temporary basis, but a number of players remain at the Emirates who do not appear to be part of Arteta’s plans – including Mesut Ozil and Shkodran Mustafi – and the Spaniard stressed the importance of moving on anyone who is surplus to requirements.
“We have a large squad and we knew that. A lot of things that should have happened in the summer, we could not accomplish for different reasons,” Arteta said ahead of his side’s trip to West Brom in the Premier League on Saturday.
“There are some players who will go on loan or leave and that is the priority at the moment.
“We cannot sustain the numbers that we have in certain positions and we are looking to do that, and then we will see if we have the right opportunity in the positions where we need some more help.”
Arteta: Courageous Saka a great example
Arteta has praised Bukayo Saka for the “commitment” and “courage” he has shown during a difficult period for Arsenal.
Saka produced his second man-of-the-match display in four days as Arsenal followed up their 3-1 victory over Chelsea on Boxing Day with a hard-fought win against Brighton on Tuesday.
The academy product, who scored Arsenal’s third goal against Chelsea to help end a run of seven Premier League games without a win, provided the assist for Alexandre Lacazette’s winner at the Amex Stadium and caused Brighton problems throughout, further underlining his status as one of the country’s best young players.
Since the start of last season, Saka has registered 15 assists in all competitions for Arsenal, more than any other player for the club, and Arteta has been impressed with the 19-year-old’s influence.
“For me, the biggest thing that he’s done in the past few months is the personality that he plays with and the responsibility he takes,” Arteta said.
“Also the decisions he’s willing to make when things are not going well and the impact he’s had on the team to get results. That’s in his nature and he wants to evolve that.
“You can see his team-mates trust him, they still want to give him that responsibility and that’s great. He’s a great example to any young player to play with that commitment, that passion but as well, with that courage you need when you play for a big team.”
Saka was substituted late on against Brighton after appearing to injure his ankle, but Arteta is confident he will be fit when his side travel to The Hawthorns.
“I hope he’s available. We will see with training today. He’s played a lot of minutes as well. I am confident that he will be OK for the game,” Arteta added.
‘Pressure has lifted a little’
Arsenal recorded back-to-back league wins for the first time since September by beating Brighton to lift the mood at the club heading into the new year.
Defeat at Everton on December 19 left the Gunners only four points above the relegation zone after 14 games – their worst start to the season since 1974/75, but fortunes changed with victory over Chelsea last weekend.
“We needed those results that’s for sure, but we need a much longer run than that,” Arteta said.
“There are things that we have done much better to get the results in the last two games, but there a lot of things we have to do better and improve.
“Confidence wise, obviously it’s a completely different scenario when you are winning football matches and everybody is playing with more freedom and more belief. The pressure gets released a little bit and that’s always a positive thing.”