Most Arsenal fans would agree their squad is somewhat bloated by players considered to be 'deadwood'. So there was positive news this weekend with various reports emerging of differing departures.
So who could be off? Let's run through the various reports.
1) Andrei Arshavin: The Russian is wanted by Fulham, and could sign a pre-contract agreement in January ahead of his deal expiring next summer. He is reported to be happy living in London and the deal would suit him. It would be a big £14 million loss for Arsenal to take on the players, but very few can see a place for Arshavin in the club's former plans. The Gunners may try to persuade Fulham to take him early for a nominal fee.
2) Johan Djourou: The centre-back has not started a game for Arsenal since April, and its hard to see when his next appearance might be. He is a defender who still has international ambitions, and at 25 really needs to move on. He is wanted in Italy by Roma, and despite signing a new contract in March, a move looks likely.
3) Nicklas Bendtner: The Dane may be on loan, but he remains officially an Arsenal player. He spoke yesterday of his desire to win a permanent deal at Juventus, although perhaps most would say he is being optimistic.
4) Marouane Chamakh: The Moroccan may not have many fans at Arsenal, but he does have a rather important one in Bordeaux. The club president has said he is welcome 'anytime' back at the French club, but said the player bizarrely is happy in London despite his lack of playing time.
5) Andre Santos: The Brazilian left-back has failed to win a first team spot since arriving at Arsenal a year ago, with Kieran Gibbs' excellent form keeping him on the bench. Yesterday he said he would consider a move back to Fenerbahce, paving the way for a potential January exit.
So what does it all mean?
Well nobody would be surprised to see the trio of Arshavin, Chamakh and Bendtner finally depart, and when Squillaci's contract winds down at the end of the season he will be off too. Santos leaving would be disappointing because he does have talent, but injury curtailed his run at the first team last season. Djourou's exit also appears inevitable, and it would be good for his career to leave.
If Santos did go, Arsenal would have to sign another left-back, given Gibbs' injury history. Overall for Arsenal to get rid of some of these players would be good for the club, as it would trim their wage bill, and free up cash to spend on new signings.
image: © Ronnie Macdonald