Mikel Arteta retains the support of many players at Arsenal but could see up to seven leave this summer.
The upcoming transfer window is of the utmost importance to Arsenal, who will likely be without European football next season for the first time since 1995.
Arteta recently told Sky Sports that “the squad needs changing” and “the owners are going to back it up”.
One claim is that Arsenal could raise around £120m by selling at least nine players, while Rio Ferdinand has named four that the club should build its future around.
There is speculation over Arteta’s position after a poor season but The Athletic suggest that the Spaniard ‘still retains support from the majority of the squad’.
Some ‘have even sought assurances’ about his future before starting talks over a new deal, it is added.
But the ‘”cult-like” devotion’ Arteta engenders ‘from certain sections of the squad’ is slightly undermined by a ‘more complex, more delicate’ relationship with senior players.
Among those is Arsenal captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, whose decision to sign a three-year contract last September was thought to have been heavily influenced by Arteta.
“Mikel Arteta was absolutely crucial to getting this process done,” journalist David Ornstein said at the time. “His intervention really escalated the process, his relationship with Aubameyang and his father, who is absolutely fundamental to his career, was pivotal to getting this over the line.
“Aubameyang and Arteta are extremely close and, if Arteta was not the Arsenal head coach, I’m not sure that Aubameyang would have signed this new contract.”
Their connection has been ‘tested to a far greater extent’ during a difficult campaign, however, while staff believe that five particular players ‘want to leave the club’.
David Luiz, Willian, Bernd Leno, Granit Xhaka and Hector Bellerin are all named, with Luiz, Xhaka and Bellerin in particular thought to be dressing-room leaders.
Reiss Nelson also ‘seems primed for a departure’ and Eddie Nketiah ‘may be sold’ if contract negotiations continue to stall.
Previous reports have cited four other players as being transfer listed ahead of what is certain to be a tumultuous few months in north London.