Arsenal Transfer News: Players Arsene Wenger Can Afford to Offload

Christopher AtkinsContributor IDecember 26, 2013

ST ALBANS, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 10:  Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger during an Arsenal training session ahead of their UEFA Champions League group F match against Napoli at London Colney on December 10, 2013 in St Albans, England.  (Photo by Scott Heavey/Getty Images)
Scott Heavey/Getty Images

The January transfer window flies open next week ahead of what could be a crucial month of spending in determining the outcome of many of Europe's biggest prizes.

However, it is also a month of opportunity in terms of sales, with many sides on the lookout for potential recruits and bigger clubs often looking to trim their bloated squads.

This year will be no different.

Among those looking to offload players will be Arsenal, who began the process of removing deadwood in the summer with the sales of Gervinho, Sebastien Squillaci, Marouane Chamakh and Andre Santos, among others.

However, despite the Gunners' impressive opening to the current campaign, there are still several players on their books unworthy of the position and the wage they are receiving. To continue the club's progress, they must ensure that the streamlining process does not end yet.

Removing those who are not contributing has undoubtedly played a role in Arsenal's better form this campaign. The concept of earning a squad place on merit is reinforced, the atmosphere around the side improves and the perception of the side as a whole improves. The Gunners, though, are still bloated.

Leading the path to the exit door should be Korean Park Chu-Young, whose 2011 move to Arsenal has been an unmitigated disaster.

LONDON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 25:  Park Chu-Young of Arsenal is congratulated by team mates after scoring his teams second goal of the game during the Carling Cup Fourth Round match between Arsenal and Bolton Wanderers at Emirates Stadium on October 25, 2011
Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images

After just one solitary League Cup appearance this season, his presence at the World Cup next summer would appear to be in the balance. Park has been outside of manager Hong Myung-Bo's thinking thus far and will not change that status while not earning a regular starting berth.

His supporters would argue that it has been a lack of opportunity that has seen Park fail at Arsenal. However, with 18 months remaining on his contract, per Transfermarkt, it is time for both player and club to show ambition and amicably separate.

If a first-team striker can be signed, Park should be joined in heading for the exit by Danish forward Nicklas Bendtner. The 25-year-old recently scored his first goal for the club in 30 months, per BBC Sport.

LONDON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 19:  Nicklas Bendtner of Arsenal reacts during the Barclays Premier League match between Arsenal and Norwich City at Emirates Stadium on October 19, 2013 in London, England.  (Photo by Paul Gilham/Getty Images)
Paul Gilham/Getty Images

Now entering the final six months of his contract, the Dane should be given the chance to earn regular playing time elsewhere rather than drag on his nightmare any longer.

Of the other players out of contract in the summer, per Transfermarkt, Emmanuel Frimpong is another who should be moved on and allowed to continue his career at a level more suited to his talent. Japanese 21-year-old Ryo Miyaichi is another who will have to leave soon to come close to fulfilling his talent.

Now the club's third-choice goalkeeper, Lukasz Fabianski's once promising career looks to have already reached a standstill, while Abou Diaby's time at Arsenal must surely be coming to an end.

Diaby, now 27, is tied to the club for another 18 months. However, he has made just 15 Premier League appearances in two-and-a-half seasons.

A fine player on his day, Arsenal simply cannot afford to stick with a player whose injury record is so unbelievably bad. His current absence due to knee ligament damage will prohibit a January move, but next summer should bring an end to his time at the Emirates.

Arsenal are enjoying life at the moment, but must continue to take strides in the right direction as a club. To do so, they must show a ruthless streak with those who underperform and end what has occasionally become a culture of mediocrity at the club.