Arsenal transfer chief Edu backed to seek two January exits as player sales the ‘priority’

Arsenal: Arteta discusses January transfer plans

Arsenal technical director Edu will once again look to secure permanent exits for Mesut Ozil and Sokratis Papastathopoulos in the January transfer window, it has been claimed. The Gunners will look to utilise the winter market to reshape their squad.

Arsenal’s Premier League form, having suffered their worst start to a season since 1974-75, has proven there is still a whole host of work to be done at the Emirates.

Mikel Arteta has been tipped to pursue a creative midfielder in order to inject fresh quality into Arsenal’s attacking play, with only nine goals scored in their last 13 league games this term since an opening weekend win at Fulham.

But in addition to incomings, David Ornstein insists Arsenal’s priority will actually be to try and trim their bloated squad.

Both Ozil and Sokratis were left out of the north Londoners’ 25-man Premier League squad with the German playmaker having not made an appearance for the club since March.

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Greek centre-back Sokratis has not made a single first-team appearance this year with his only outings for Arsenal coming for the under-23s.

And Ornstein insists Edu will try again to find new clubs for the duo in January, having failed to do so last summer, with Ozil making it clear he wants to stay until 2021 when his Arsenal contract expires.

“The bigger immediate priority for Arsenal than bringing players in is probably getting players out, make another attempt to get Mesut Ozil out,” Ornstein told The Athletic’s Ornstein and Chapman podcast.

“Will they succeed? I think probably not, he’s been very clear he wants to stay to end of his contract in the summer.

“Trying to get again Sokratis out, we don’t know if he’ll agree to that.”

Ornstein also insists there could be a number of temporary departures with William Saliba one of them.

The teenage defender has not played for Arsenal’s senior side despite arriving with a reputation as one of France’s best young talents.

Saliba signed for Arsenal under Unai Emery in the summer of 2019 for around £27million but spent last season back on loan at Saint-Etienne and has yet to feature under Arteta.

Ornstein added: “Getting Saliba out on loan, getting others – potentially the likes of Reiss Nelson, Emile Smith Rowe, young players who need game time, get them out on loan as well.

“Possibly some sales but I don’t know, it’s going to be a very difficult market to sell. That’s the immediate action they need around the squad.”

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Speaking about 19-year-old Saliba in November, Arteta explained: “I’m fed up with the situation because, as you could see, we tried to find a way in the last few days to give him some football.

“I explained that he needed that transition year when we decided to buy him and send him on loan to Saint-Etienne.

“For many reasons, that didn’t happen – he didn’t have that transition year and he needs to go through that.

“At the moment, with the amount of central defenders we have in the team, we had to leave him out of the squad, which is painful.

“Now we have some injuries and we could have used him but this is part of the profession. We certainly tried in the last few days of the transfer window to find the right club [for him to go out on loan] but we could not.

“We will review the situation in the next few weeks and sit down with him and see what is the best thing to do. But it will depend on him and other players’ situations as well.”

Saliba recently joked that he is ‘locked up’ at Arsenal with it highly likely the France youth international will spend the rest of the season elsewhere.

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