Arsenal duo Mikel Arteta and Tomas Rosicky are reportedly eyeing up the prospect of retirement at the end of this season after each being hit by recurring injury woes.
According to Wayne Veysey of Football Insider, Arteta is "ready to hang up his boots," and while Rosicky was expected to keep fighting for his career, he's now alleged to have told friends he's considering an exit.
The Czech midfielder made his return from an eight-month injury lay-off as a late substitute in a recent FA Cup fourth-round win over Burnley, after which it emerged he had suffered a new thigh injury.
This latest setback has ruled Rosicky out for up to three months and possibly the rest of the season, and broadcaster Nik Postinger has insisted the club need to move on and get his considerable salary off the bill:
Nik Postinger @nikpostinger
Why do Arsenal still have Rosicky (£85,000 per week) on the wage bill? Been injury-jinxed for an eternity. Club needs to sell and move on.2016-2-7 08:30:48
Both Rosicky, 35, and Arteta, 34 in March, will see their contracts expire at the end of the season, and it appears unlikely the Gunners will hand either of their playmakers a renewal.
Arsenal chief Arsene Wenger has hinted in the past that Arteta could be given a role within the club's coaching staff and suggested he's got the credentials to do well from the touchline, per the Daily Mail's Sami Mokbel:
He has to go through the youth system first, but I don’t rule that out (that he could be on the coaching staff). At the moment I don’t have a real need. Our average age is quite high on my staff. They are all good. I am happy with all my staff at the moment. But I think he can be a coach in the future yes and certainly here.
The Spaniard has already begun training for his coaching badges, suggesting he will indeed look to advance his football from the sidelines after this season, likely to be his last playing at the Emirates Stadium.
Arteta has been involved in this campaign, but he has managed just two starts in his 13 appearances across all competitions, playing a total of 368 minutes, according to Transfermarkt.
Having now signed Mohamed Elneny from Basel in January and with Francis Coquelin emerging as one of the team's stars, Arsenal are in a position where they can afford to let both players leave this summer.
The England international has been crocked for much of this season, and Reds manager Jurgen Klopp has leaned heavily on Roberto Firmino, summer signing Christian Benteke and Divock Origi to lead his attack.
The Sunday People's Neil Moxley reported on Saturday that Sturridge was hoping to move to a London club if he does exit Anfield, with Gunners front man Olivier Giroud potentially his biggest competition at the Emirates.