It's been a big summer of arrivals at the Emirates Stadium thus far, but the further we head into the transfer window, the more focus is being shifted to the stars who could be leaving the Arsenal cause.
The acquisitions of Alexis Sanchez, Mathieu Debuchy and Calum Chambers have given the club new prospects in preparation for the 2014-15 campaign, but Arsene Wenger may now be tempted into pointing some players toward the exit door.
Luckily for Gunners fans, speculation is currently aimed at the club's fringe players for the most part, but questions of how any departures may affect the club's depth can still be posed.
Atletico Madrid have effectively ruled themselves out of the running to sign Santi Cazorla this summer after club president Enrique Cerezo spoke to Radio Marca (h/t Simon Rice of The Independent) regarding recent speculation:
Many names have been mentioned, but none of those players, neither Cazorla, Callejon, Torres nor Chicharito (Hernandez) are on our agenda. If we sign another player, it won't be any of them.
Diego Simeone is hoping to build a squad capable of defending Los Rojiblancos' La Liga title and WhoScored.com indicates Cazorla may be a player worth chasing:
Santi Cazorla: Has played more accurate through-balls (40) than any other player in the PL since August 2012 #afc— WhoScored.com (@WhoScored) August 1, 2014
However, Arsenal can rest easy for now knowing one of the continent's in-form powers supposedly won't be looking to make a move for one of their brightest creative assets.
Spanish newspaper Mundo Deportivo (h/t Metro) reports that Nacho Monreal has emerged as a target for Athletic Bilbao this summer, with the Spaniards looking to give the left-back a return to his homeland.
Monreal only arrived from Malaga last year but has had to jostle alongside Kieran Gibbs for playing time. He has been played in an unfamiliar centre-back role at times during pre-season.
Murmurs of a potential departure were strengthened somewhat after Sanchez took the defender's shirt number upon his arrival at the Emirates Stadium per Metro:
Alexis Sanchez arrives at Arsenal, immediately pinches Nacho Monreal's shirt number http://t.co/a8ytYo5sly— Metro Sport (@Metro_Sport) July 10, 2014
The report mentions that Atletico may also be looking at the left-back, having recently lost Filipe Luis to Chelsea, but it's currently unknown as to whether the north Londoners are willing to listen to offers.
Seemingly, the most probable exit from the club this summer will be captain Thomas Vermaelen, who Wenger has admitted could leave Arsenal this month, per The Guardian:
At the moment Thomas Vermaelen is here. He is injured at the moment with a short-term injury. [A move] could happen, yes it’s a possibility that he goes. If he goes we have to replace him because he’s an important player in our squad.
I expect him to stay but he, of course, did not play enough games last year. For me he’s a very important player but I couldn’t guarantee him the games he wanted last year.
As the report mentions, any departure could see Vermaelen join Louis van Gaal at Manchester United, which David Lynch of the Manchester Evening News sees as being beneficial for the Red Devils:
Arsenal would undoubtedly prefer not to sell to a direct rival, but it's currently a question of whether the Gunners can see their valuation of the player met, along with the small matter of the defender's personal preference.