Arsenal are keen on trimming their squad in the coming days, with manager Mikel Arteta’s latest move pointing the trio of Bernd Leno, Pablo Mari and Hector Bellerin towards the exit.
According to the Daily Mirror, the trio were excluded from the Gunners’ behind-closed-doors friendly against Brentford at London Colney on Wednesday (27 July).
Arteta’s men suffered a 2-1 loss at the hands of the Bees – their first defeat in pre-season – with the Spanish boss handing chances to fringe players who still have a lot to prove going forward.
Nevertheless, Arsenal named most of their key players in the matchday squad, with only the aforementioned trio missing out.
The North Londoners impressed during their pre-season tour of America, securing easy wins over Nurnberg, Everton, Orlando City and Chelsea, but midweek’s defeat shows that quality squad depth could be an issue in 2022-23.
Arteta has added five players to his ranks so far this summer, with Brazilian forward Gabriel Jesus and Ukrainian utility player Oleksandr Zinchenko both joining from reigning Premier League champions Manchester City.
Portuguese attacking midfielder Fabio Vieira joined from Porto, Brazilian winger Marquinhos was signed from Sao Paulo, and American goalkeeper
Matt Turner arrived from New England Revolution.
With the likes of Omari Hutchinson, Alexandre Lacazette, Konstantinos Mavropanos and Matteo Guendouzi already out, it appears Leno, Mari and Bellerin could all be sealing moves away from the Emirates Stadium before the transfer window shuts on September 1.
The German goalie lost the No.1 jersey to Aaron Ramsdale last term following some unimpressive performances, and with Turner available to play as cover, it is only normal for Arsenal to look to cash in on Leno.
The 30-year-old has been linked with newly-promoted Fulham all summer, but Leicester City have been recently linked with a move after reports claiming Kasper Schmeichel has agreed to join OGC Nice emerged.
Arsenal are said to be holding out for around £8million for Leno, and such cash could come in handy in their bid to boost the club’s coffers.
While Mari was involved in some action during the side’s pre-season tour, his future at the club has always been in doubt after he spent the second half of last season on loan at Udinese.
The 28-year-old Spanish has been linked with Turkish giants Fenerbahce, and given how far he has fallen down in the pecking order, an exit will do his future a lot of good.
He clearly does not have what it takes to help the Arsenal backline mount a strong top-four challenge, and the team will not miss him if he leaves in the coming days.
Bellerin wants to return to Spain after spending last season on loan with Real Betis, but a deal is proving difficult due to his personal demands.
The 27-year-old full-back is keen to secure a permanent move to the La Liga outfit, but they cannot afford his wages and will need to make major sales to have a realistic chance of bringing Bellerin back.
Arsenal are set to loan out Portuguese left-back Nuno Tavares to Marseille for the season, but he will not be the only one leaving North London temporarily or permanently from the look of things, and it will be interesting to see what happens with Leno, Mari and Bellerin.