The transfer window seems to be hitting Arsenal hard this time around with a bunch of their top players rumored to possibly be leaving the Gunners for greener pastures.
Manager Arsene Wenger will need to figure out a way to keep his top players if he wants his team to repeat the successful season they had during 2011-12, where they finished in third place in the Barclays Premier League with a record of 21-7-10.
Last season, Arsenal owned the leading goal scorer in the entire league and had two players who finished in the top eight in assists. Both players may be on their way out though, which would significantly affect Arsenal’s chances of winning the Premier League in 2012-13 as well as the 2012-13 UEFA Champion’s League.
Here are four impact players who may be leaving the Gunners in the near future.
Thomas Vermaelen has been one of the better defenders Arsenal has had since joining the squad in 2009.
According to The Daily Mail, now the 26-year-old appears to be the top target of Spanish powerhouse Barcelona, who just last season stole another top player from the Gunners, Cesc Fabregas.
Arsenal will definitely be reluctant to lose their stopper—who has 13 goals over the past two seasons—but may not have a choice if they aren’t willing to shell out the cash that Barcelona is going to.
It is being reported that Barcelona will offer £20 million for Vermaelen, so Wenger and Arsenal have a serious decision to make about whether or not they want to give up that kind of cash for their premiere defender.
Twenty-three-year-old Carlos Vela has proven he has talent, but he doesn’t really have a place to fit in with the Gunners.
Over the past five seasons, Arsenal has loaned Vela out four times, most recently to Real Sociedad of La Liga.
Real Sociedad liked what they got out of Vela though, who led the team last season with 12 goals.
Arsenal is willing to let Vela leave permanently after he only started in 19 games over seven seasons with the team, but the two sides are far apart on a deal since Arsenal wants £6 million for his services, according to The Daily Mirror (h/t Daily Mail).
This deal should go down eventually, but it will be interesting to see which side flinches first and changes their asking price.
Just like the current trend going on in the NBA with players entering the final year of their contract, Arsenal has a huge decision to make about Theo Walcott.
Do they sell the 23-year-old winger now while his value is high, or let him play out the final season of his deal and risk losing him for nothing?
If this is in fact the offered price, Wenger may seriously consider losing the star who finished fourth in the Premier League last season with 11 assists.
The worst nightmare for any Arsenal fan would be team captain and Premier League leading scorer Robin Van Persie packing his bags and leaving the Gunners.
This nightmare has apparently become reality though when he reported this on his official website:
''I've thought long and hard about it, but I have decided not to extend my contract.''
After speaking with manager Arsene Wenger, Van Persie also stated,
"Out of my huge respect for Mr Wenger, the players and the fans I don't want to go into any details, but unfortunately in this meeting it has again become clear to me that we in many aspects disagree on the way Arsenal should move forward.''