Lucas Perez, David Ospina lead list of players likely heading for Arsenal exits
Arsene Wenger has admitted that Arsenal have "a heavy squad" at the moment, and a bit of a clear-out is expected ahead of a season with no Champions League football. That said, Wenger keeps insisting that neither Mesut Ozil nor Alexis Sanchez will be allowed to leave, and that he wants to keep the core of his side intact. That would likely include Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Aaron Ramsey, who also need new contracts this summer. So who will actually be sold then? Mostly fringe players, it would seem. Here's a look at the five most likely Arsenal players to depart from the Emirates:
The Spanish striker has told Arsenal he wants to leave after just one season in which he failed to establish himself in Wenger's team, and the Gunners are unlikely to stand in his way. Perez showed plenty of promise whenever he had a chance to play, but ill-timed injuries contributed to his limited opportunities and he found himself surplus to requirements once Danny Welbeck returned late in the season. Perez felt a bit like a panic buy late in the transfer window after Arsenal missed out on their main targets, and Wenger's treatment of him since hasn't done much to alter that perception. Still, he chipped in with seven goals and five assists so if Arsenal can recoup most of the £17.5 million they paid Deportivo La Coruna for him, then it wasn't a bad investment.
If Wenger manages to hold on to his most prized assets, Gibbs could well be the only "regular" to leave the club this summer. If eight league starts (and 18 starts overall) make you a regular that is. Gibbs hasn't managed to unseat Nacho Monreal as the starting left-back, but benefited from Wenger's formation switch late in the season -- although only when Monreal was forced to play in the back three rather than at wing-back. The imminent arrival of Schalke left-back Sead Kolasinac should make Gibbs even more keen to take on a new challenge, and Arsenal will sell at the right price.
Ospina stayed with the Gunners last summer because of the promise of being Wenger's Champions League goalkeeper. Now that lure doesn't exist after Arsenal failed to secure a top-four spot, and the Europa League is unlikely to convince the Colombian to spend another summer as Petr Cech's backup. He has long been linked with Fenerbahce, and a move to Turkey could well happen if the two sides can agree on a transfer fee. Arsenal have the option of bringing back Wojciech Szczesny after his impressive season on loan at Roma, so Ospina wouldn't leave much of a void.
Campbell hasn't exactly set the world alight during his year-long loan spell at Sporting Lisbon, where he found himself in a similar situation to the one he was in at Arsenal: used mainly as a substitute. The Costa Rican managed three goals in 18 league appearances (only seven starts) and is expected to be offloaded in the squad-trimming process. Arsenal have plenty of attacking options, and Campbell would struggle just to make to bench if he returned to London.
This is the third straight transfer window that Debuchy has been put up in the shop window, with injuries preventing a sale in the previous two. But the French right-back remains unwanted by Wenger and could be allowed to go on the cheap, ending a frustrating couple of years for Debuchy since he lost his starting spot to Hector Bellerin following a shoulder injury. Fellow right-back Carl Jenkinson is set to go as well after a deal with Crystal Palace fell through in January.
Mattias is ESPN FC's Arsenal correspondent. Follow him on Twitter: @MattiasKaren.