Arsenal have all but given up on signing Thomas Lemar from Monaco, accepting that the club are unlikely to sell him until next summer.
Monaco’s stance is irrespective of whether Kylian Mbappe, being chased by Paris Saint-Germain and Real Madrid, leaves this month.
And the reality of having to pass on Lemar for now means that Arsenal are unlikely to make any further signings this summer.
Instead, all energy will be focused on reducing the wage bill with a string of names available to leave.
Mathieu Debuchy, Kieran Gibbs, Carl Jenkinson, Lucas Perez and Joel Campbell all need to find new clubs but none is close to a move now.
Gibbs’ move to Watford has fallen through over wages and Newcastle cannot afford Perez’s fee nor his wages.
Arsene Wenger is struggling to trim down his wage bill as stars refuse to lower their wages
The position of Jack Wilshere is unclear. The club aren’t actively seeking a buyer but even when he gets fit he looks to be well behind in the midfield pecking order and with just one more year on his contract, the club will have to sell in the next three weeks or be likely to lose him on a free.
There is less concern now than previously about either Mesut Ozil or Alexis Sanchez leaving. Ozil is expected to sign a new £300,000-a-week deal and it seems Sanchez has accepted he won’t be sold this summer, but will leave on a free next summer, either to Paris Saint-Germain or Manchester City.
But there is increasing concern over Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain’s future. The winger is seen as integral to the future but with Chelsea keen to sign and with one year left on his contract, Arsenal have left themselves vulnerable to losing him.
Kieran Gibbs is included in a list of Arsenal first-team stars who are free to leave this summer
Jack Wilshere is one of a number of Arsenal players who can leave the club this summer
After Friday’s 4-3 win over Leicester on Friday, Wenger said: ‘I feel overall we have good ingredients in the squad and it is a good opportunity at Stoke to show it again away from home.
‘I played with a four at the end with Chamberlain on the right and Bellerin on the left and both of them did very well.’
Arsenal’s two summer signings both made an impact with Alex Lacazette scoring and Sead Kolasinac impressing again.
Wenger said: ‘Kolasinac’s performance speaks for him and the way the crowd responds to his game shows that he has been accepted straight away. You can still find good players on the market.’
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