Arsene Wenger vowed to implement changes into his youthful squad during the upcoming Summer after a dismal conclusion to 2010/11, in which Arsenal's campaign became obliterated and their trophy drought extended to a sixth successive season.
However, the Gunners' faithful did not picture quite what rumours have been suggesting.
The idea was for Wenger to purchase a commanding centre half to diminish the lingering defensive uncertainties before instilling a clinical, efficient striker up front and a fresh new midfielder. Unfortunately despite over a month of transfer speculation, little has materialized for the Gunners that suggest high calibre talent is arriving at the Emirates.
No, however there has been strong links with a number of internal players that paint a grave picture. Captain Cesc Fabregas is destined to finally depart to European kings Barcelona after years of speculation, whilst one of the best players during 2010/2011, Samir Nasri, is moving closer to a move to rivals Manchester United. Furthermore, veteran left back Gael Clichy has failed to agree to contract negotiations and could move to Liverpool for as little as £5 million.
This comes as a huge shock if the trio do depart the young Gunners squad, as all three are high octane performers who are valued highly by the Arsenal fans. Although Arsenal will acquire close to £60 million for the potential sales, can they still succeed with the departures?
The need for success has now immensely intensified due to a sixth year without a trophy. Arsene Wenger has done a superb job in creating a talented team that was acquired cheaply, nurtured and developed before gradually coming to fruition.
Cesc Fabregas is the leader and heart and soul of the Arsenal attack. Despite his departure to Barcelona being inevitable, the loss will enforce a huge bearing on the Arsenal squad.
The Spaniard is pivotal in the midfield and possesses one of the most creative and incisive passing ranges in world football. Although it was a predominantly disappointing season for a player of such high standard, there is no denying his presence and ability at the Emirates.
However, Wenger is able to command up to £40 million for the 24 year old, which enables the Frenchman to target the likes of Marek Hamsik, Yoann Gourcuff, Eden Hazard and Keisuke Honda as potential replacements. Granted all are superb prospects, but they're no Cesc Fabregas.
Samir Nasri is also a huge loss particularly coupled with Cesc Fabregas's potential departure. The Frenchman's ability and consistentcy combined to fruition during 2010/2011 as a superb campaign of 46 appearances and 15 goals, which resulted in a place in the PFA Team of the Year.A devastating play-maker blessed with speed, vision, balance and fierce shot, the 23 year old is on track to become Europe's best midfielder.
However, the former Olympique de Marseille play-maker is entering his final year of his contract at the Emirates, and Nasri is unhappy with the wages offered by Arsene Wenger, demanding more. It appears that Nasri's agent and Wenger are unable to reach an agreement, which could force the Arsenal manager to sell Nasri this summer or risk losing him for free next year.
It is rumoured that the France international has his destination of choice as Manchester United with Sir Alex Ferguson more than content on spending up to £20 million on the Arsenal dynamo. Nasri conveyed the ability to control and orchestrate the Arsenal attack, and if the Frenchman departs along with Fabregas, there is an almost calamitous hole to fill in the Arsenal midfield.
Whilst the likes of Stewart Downing, Eden Hazard, Mario Goetze and Karim Benzema could all be acquired with the funds that result from the duo departing, it is hard to picture Arsenal continuing their dominance of English football.
Finally, Gael Clichy's departure would leave a remarkable hole at left back. The longest serving Gunner in Wenger's squad, the 25 year old has over 260 appearances for the North London giants and is regarded as one of the best left backs in the English Premier League.
Although the Frenchman has endured a lapse in form over recent years, there is no denying the reliability and quality of Clichy, who is experienced and a leader in the young Arsenal squad. Many believe English international Kieran Gibbs possesses the ability to mitigate the departure, but the deputy left back endured a tough season, which has raised further question.
With more contract issues hurting the Arsenal team, Clichy could leave for as little as £5 million to another EPL outfit, which is a deafening blow for Wenger and the Arsenal faithful. The former Cannes full back is a notable contributor in attack, blessed with electric pace and a vicious cross.
Arsene Wenger could potentially be losing the basis of the squad he worked so hard to achieve. 2010/11 may have ended with disappointment, but the signs were there for the Gunners to succeed if minor changes were enforced.
Instead, there are major changes.