LONDON: Arsenal are ready to cull their fringe players as Arsene
Wenger prepares to rebuild his side to ensure that the club can compete
among the best in Europe.
The move is two-fold: The money
saved from the clear-out will allow the Frenchman to award captain Robin
Van Persie an improved contract, and it can provide him with the
resources to buy at least two big-name players.
According to the Daily Mail, Arsenal want to
offload Andrey Arshavin, Marouane Chamakh, Sebastien Squillaci, Nicklas
Bendtner, Denilson, Carlos Vela and Park Chu Young. Goalkeeper Manuel
Almunia, who is on £60,000 (S$120,000) per week, is certain to
go in the summer when his current deal expires.
Combined, these eight players cost Arsenal £23 million in wages a year.
Recent club accounts have shown the wage bill
has increased by £20 million, despite losing the services of
big earners Cesc Fabregas, Samir Nasri and Gael Clichy.
And, while Arsenal currently have a wage
ceiling of about £100,000 a week, their hierarchy is looking to
break that in order to offer their top stars competitive salaries.
They are keen to offer £80,000-a-week van Persie a new long-term deal worth £120,000 a week.
The striker, who has already scored 26 goals
in the Premier League this season, has intimated that all talks about
his future are on hold until the summer, when he will enter the final 12
months of his existing deal.
And retaining one of Europe's most lethal
marksmen is a priority for Arsenal as his decision to stay could help
attract other stars to the London club, who are on a seven-year title
Their last Premier League title came in 2004 and an FA Cup win in 2005.
Lille's £35 million-rated forward
Eden Hazard, 21, has been linked with a move to the Emirates, while it
is believed that Wenger is ready to fork out £17 million for
Rennes midfielder Yann M'Vila, 21.
The manager also has plans to tie Alex
Oxlade-Chamberlain down to Arsenal by offering the 18-year-old an
improved contract following an impressive debut season.
The winger reportedly earns about £20,000 a week and that should increase following a pay rise.
Another player set to be rewarded is Alex Song.
The Cameroon international's existing deal is
worth around £55,000 a week and expires in the summer of 2014.
But Wenger is keen to hand his influential midfielder a five-year deal
which would take his earnings to around £75,000 a week,
reported the Daily Mail.