It was expected to be a very active summer for Arsenal and Arsene Wenger. But not this active. Already a handful of players are heading towards the exit for various reasons.
Nicklas Bendtner and Denilson want out because of lack of playing time.
Cesc Fabregas has quietly been pulling the strings behind the scenes to force a move to his boyhood club Barcelona.
Samir Nasri and Gael Clichy seem to be indicating, by stalling contract negotiations, that even they want out (but for monetary reasons).
The attention of course is on Nasri, due to his remarks about keeping his options open and being unsure of signing a new contract.
At the moment, it doesn't look promising. Nasri is demanding a wage on par with Fabregas. While that's a bit ambitious, doesn't he deserve it?
It's easy to label a player disloyal and greedy just for demanding a salary he thinks he deserves.
When you look around and see players like Carlos Tevez earning more than £1 million every month, doesn't Nasri at least deserve half of that a month? Wouldn't he get that sort of sum elsewhere, if Arsenal can't afford it?
The shelf life of a footballer is not very long. Loyalty does matter but so does money. But what if a player sells his loyalty for money?
For example, Wenger signed Emmanuel Adebayor from nowhere and made him a star overnight. Immediately, Adebayor felt he had outgrown the club and demanded a wage in the bracket of Thierry Henry, who earned his lucrative contract through sheer hard work, loyalty, consistency and dedication.
But when a player does well for one season and proclaims he's as good as Henry and is bigger than the club, how does that sound? Arrogant? Stupid?
That said, I am not saying Nasri belongs in the Adebayor category. Nasri signed a four-year contract when he joined from Marseille and now has just one year left on it.
He has had a good season.
Now he's easily one of the best attacking midfielders in the Premier League. He is also entering his prime years. So doesn't he deserve a long-term contract that does justice to his abilities?
Because if he signs an unjust one, he can't negotiate for the next three or four years. So it has to be done carefully. Nasri is now a very marketable name and he knows it. Even Arsenal knows it.
In comparison, Steven Gerrard earns £140,000 a week, Frank Lampard earns £150,000 a week and even Gareth Barry earns £120,000 a week.
So, where does Nasri stand? Is he only worth the £90,000 a week that Arsenal have offered? Doesn't he at least deserve £110,000 a week, which he thinks he deserves?
If he decides to quit and goes elsewhere, Nasri will get close to what Lampard gets. It's not as if Arsenal can't afford to pay what Nasri is demanding.
After all, Arsenal's wage bill is on the higher side with close to £111 million annual payroll.
Considering Arsenal's top earners fall in the region of £80,000-£100,000, that wage bill is huge.
Where does this money go?
Arsenal have far too many fringe players, some of whom are never going to make it at Arsenal. Yet they are on hefty salaries, which they wouldn't get elsewhere.
Players like Carlos Vela and Tomas Rosicky do virtually nothing and as a "reward" sign improved contracts. Why can't Arsenal make sure the better players are paid reasonably well, or at least, justify the tag that Arsenal is still a "big club"?
It was for a similar reason that Arsenal lost Ashely Cole, who was offered a derisory contract back then. And now he's one of the most hated figures amongst Arsenal fans. Why? Because he's greedy? Because he wasn't satisfied with what the club had offered him?
I am not saying he was a saint or a purist, but he was a victim of Arsenal's sustainable model. The model, in itself, is hypocritical, given the way Arsenal divides money amongst a worthless flock of fringe players and mediocre academy players. Especially because these players seem to be here for a long, long time but never make it to the top.
Why can't the team just release some of the ordinary youth players and tie down the future of the key players on a wage that keeps everyone happy and content?
Even the fiery Alex Ferguson recently caved in to the rapacious demands of Wayne Rooney and doubled Rooney's wage. A couple of years ago, that was unthinkable.
There's enough evidence to know why, as Ferguson never tolerates anyone who defies him, no matter how good the player is. Japp Stam, Ruud van Nistelrooy, David Beckham and Roy Keane were all shipped out for raising a finger against the one-man institution that is Ferguson.
However, the same man conceded defeat to Rooney? Yes, he did.
That sums up modern football. Players know the club earns a hefty chunk each year through sponsorships, TV rights and prize money. And they also know that if one club doesn't offer them what they want, there's always another club.
So the best talents will always demand the highest wage. That's normal. There's a benchmark set by the Real Madrids, Barcelonas, Manchester Citys, Chelseas etc.
Now £100,000 a week is a paltry sum for the top clubs, but Arsenal still seems to be in the old school.
Imagine if Nasri were to leave this summer. How much would a replacement of his stature demand? A Wesley Sneijder would demand double of what Arsenal might hope to provide. So isn't Nasri's £100,000 or £110,000 a week the best option available for Arsenal, considering his age, experience and reputation?
No player is bigger than the club. A cliche of sorts. However, how would the club fare if Arsenal were to lose both Fabregas and Nasri in the same transfer window?
At the moment, these two players make Arsenal a solid and creative team, without whom Arsenal might very well struggle.
So it's imperative that Arsenal keep hold of at least one of them. Fabregas is as good as gone, with the number of rumours surfacing everyday in Italy and Spain. Hence, the realistic option is to give Nasri what he wants and secure his long-term future for the good of the club.
Because elsewhere he can easily get at least £40,000 a week more than he's been demanding at Arsenal, so it must be said that he is actually not that greedy.
That doesn't mean I am justifying what Nasri has been doing. If the report about his Manchester United comments are true, it's disgraceful to the club, manager and the fans.
He must either give the club an ultimatum or the club must give him an ultimatum. Either the club should ask him to sign their paltry offer of £90,000 or give him what he wants.
If nothing is possible, Arsenal should transfer list the French midfielder instead of drawing the negotiations any further.
The club would then receive a cut-price of £10 million-£15 million from the sale of Nasri and could use it to fund a mediocre signing or hidden talent from an inferior league.
And all this just because a club of the stature and turnover of Arsenal couldn't afford £110,000 a week for a player who could get into any Premiership club and was also featured in the PFA team of the year?
Greedy player or parsimonious club?