Arsenal are going to have to get smart this summer as they attempt to restructure their squad ahead of Mikel Arteta's first full season in charge.
The Premier League summer transfer window is set to open on 27 July and close during the new season on 5 October. It gives clubs a chance to recover from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on their business plans and allows for fresh planning and negotiations.
For a club like Arsenal, it offers extra time to figure out which players from this season will still form crucial roles in the side next term and what is needed to get them competing among the top four again.
Sources are indicating to Bleacher Report that Arsenal will have little cash to spend and are going to have to sell players, as well as consider swap deals, loans and free transfers in order to overhaul their squad.
B/R understands that Alexandre Lacazette, Matteo Guendouzi, Shkodran Mustafi, Mesut Ozil and Ainsley Maitland-Niles will all become available for transfer in the coming weeks as Arsenal look to rebuild.
They are trying to convince Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to stay but will also cash in on him if there is no breakthrough in talks.
Bernd Leno will remain the No. 1 for next season, but the club had been considering a new back-up before Emiliano Martinez's recent run in the team.
He has stepped in for Leno, who has a knee injury, and has been good enough to convince staff that he may be worth sticking with for next season.
Before the recent run of games, Martinez had begun to consider his future, but Arsenal are willing to offer him an improved deal as an incentive to stay.
A dream scenario would see Arsenal land a top-level, young centre-back to bring quality and long-term stability to the back line. And Dayot Upamecano is the man at the top of their list.
He is going to prove difficult to sign because the RB Leipzig defender has a €60 million release clause, which the Gunners will struggle to meet unless the German outfit become open to the idea of a player-plus-cash deal.
An additional problem is that AC Milan are beginning to look at Upamecano as a potential signing, and they will have money to spend in the transfer window.
The Gunners are going to have to be open-minded about fallback options, and free agents such as Thiago Silva of PSG will be considered.
They already know William Saliba will become part of the team next season after signing from Saint-Etienne in a £27 million deal last summer before rejoining the French club on loan.
Maitland-Niles looks likely to leave, and Mustafi might be made available, while there are still some concerns about whether Kieran Tierney is enjoying life in the capital. At least two top-flight clubs are monitoring him in case he agitates for a move.
Thomas Partey is the most high-profile target at this stage and is a player the club were hoping to be able to afford.
The Ghanaian has a €50 million release clause in his Atletico Madrid contract, but that would need to be paid with a vast amount up front. Arsenal have instead been looking at potentially spreading the cost over the duration of his contract, just as they did with Nicolas Pepe's signing last summer.
If that were to be proposed, though, Atleti would want even more cash. Arsenal have been prioritising a new midfielder but face a real challenge to get a deal over the line, and B/R understands that while they are still looking at Partey, they are also beginning to look at other options.
This comes as they wait on Ozil to accept a move to open up their wage bill. The Gunners outcast earns £350,000 a week and is obstructing other players from coming in. The player has an offer to play in MLS but wants to see out his contract before making the move to North America.
Guendouzi can find a new club, as Arteta has not been wholly satisfied with his attitude and character in the time he has been in charge.
The loan deal for Real Madrid's Dani Ceballos has already been extended for this season, and the club is waiting to discover whether it becomes possible to keep him.
Aubameyang wants to become recognised as the club's most valuable player if he is to remain at Arsenal, but club officials do not want to put him on the same money as Ozil since they are looking to rework the whole wage structure in light of the COVID-19 pandemic's impact.
The Arsenal captain picks up £200,000 a week, but as he heads into the final year of his contract, the Gunners accept that they may have to cash in.
It is possible Lacazette seeks a new challenge too, and Arsenal are exploring potential avenues in case they have to find a new striker.
Celtic front man Odsonne Edouard, 22, is a player they are very keen on, while Lyon's Moussa Dembele and Real Madrid's Luka Jovic may yet emerge as forwards they will pursue.
In terms of free agents, Arsenal have made contact with Bournemouth's Ryan Fraser and Chelsea's Willian to get an idea of the contracts they would be looking for.
As the 2019/20 season draws to a close, boss Arteta, technical director Edu and head of football Raul Sanllehi can begin to focus on their work to shape this Arsenal squad for next season.