Charlie Nicholas believes Arsenal should sell Shkodran Mustafi and Henrikh Mkhitaryan this summer to raise funds to offer a new contract to Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
The 30-year-old’s current deal at the Emirates expires next summer and with no new deal in sight, the Gunners may decide to cash in when the transfer window opens in a couple of months’ time or risk losing him for nothing at the end of next season.
Aubameyang has netted 61 goals in 97 games for the Gunners and Mikel Arteta, along with the Emirates faithful, will be desperate to keep hold of his captain.
Former Gunner Nicholas is also keen to see Aubameyang extend his stay at the Emirates and believes selling the likes of Mustafi and Mkhitaryan could raise the funds needed to offer the striker a new deal:
‘Mikel Arteta wants five or six out and he wants that money to rebuild. If nothing more is in the pot, sell to rebuild.
‘If you are doing that as a financial package, you are not buying to replace Aubameyang. ‘You can get rid of Shkodran Mustafi and Henrikh Mkhitaryan, who has been out on loan. This will all help to filter through, so there are easy things to do.
‘Give him what he wants, get rid of dead wood, you have the kids, and it would not cost £200m to challenge for the top four once more.’
‘My preference would be to offer Aubameyang what he wants. ‘Everyone will flag up his wages. I have been told differing scenarios, especially with Mesut Ozil.
‘Is it possible Ozil could move on? Could this then help fund wages for Aubameyang and others? If they get him off the wage bill without getting anything for him, it will not be too bad.’
Nicholas finished off by saying:
‘There are differing ways of doing this, but more than anything, I would want Arsenal to renew Aubameyang’s contract for three or four years.
‘Even if Arsenal are average as of next year, they cannot decline much more, it has reached its bottom.’
So, is Nicholas right? Should Arsenal look to sell Mustafi and Mkhitaryan to fund a new deal for Aubameyang?
Mustafi has struggled to win over the Arsenal faithful since arriving from Valencia in 2016 and has been inconsistent in his performances, while Mkhitaryan has fallen out-of-favour since joining from Manchester United in January 2018 and was sent out on a season-long loan to Roma.
Both players’ futures are under threat, with Mustafi reportedly set for the Emirates exit doors this summer, while Mkhitaryan is keen to remain at Roma rather than return to Arsenal.
Arteta is eager to bolster his squad this summer and the Spaniard is supposedly set to offload five members of his team when the transfer window opens and Mustafi and Mkhitaryan were both on the list.
Both players time at Arsenal look to be up and I believe Nicholas is right. If the Gunners want to keep hold of Aubameyang, then sacrifices will need to be made in order to do this. Mustafi and Mkhitaryan have unfortunately become surplus to requirements as they are overlooked by several other members of the squad. Getting them both off the wage bill will allow Arsenal to offer what Aubameyang wants to stay beyond next summer.