Selling players has been relatively easy for Mikel Arteta, until now.
The Arsenal manager’s squad turnover since his 2019 appointment has been rather straightforward, dispatching of underperforming high-earners and replacing them with exactly the opposite.
Negotiating departures has been easy for Arteta, who had no issue letting Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang goAFP
Emile Smith Rowe has been linked with Chelsea, but it may come back to bite himGetty
Mesut Ozil, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Matteo Guendouzi have all been turfed out of the Emirates under Arteta’s stewardship, and there won’t be any regret in the manager’s office.
Simultaneously, top young talent has been retained, with Bukayo Saka and William Saliba among the names to commit their futures to the club amid interest from the world’s best sides.
There is one caveat, though, and that appears to be Emile Smith Rowe, who has reportedly been offered to other Premier League clubs, with Chelsea interested.
An academy graduate who looked set for as bright a future as Saka, the 23-year-old’s minutes have dwindled in recent seasons.
Despite impressing at the summer U21 Euros for England, Smith Rowe has played just three minutes for Arsenal this season.
His path into the first team was already a tricky one with Gabriel Martinelli in the way, but further roadblocks in the shape of Kai Havertz and Leandro Trossard mean that a sale now may make plenty of sense for Arsenal.
Injuries haven’t helped. However, as history shows, selling Hale End graduates hasn’t always worked out for the Gunners.
It seems unfathomable that Cole didn’t show enough at Arsenal to at least hint at his future as an unstoppable goalscorer, but a club record £500,000 offer from Bristol City in 1992 proved too much to turn down.
That ended Cole’s stint as an Arsenal youth team player, having signed as a professional in 1989. He made two appearances for the first team and eventually joined Newcastle in 1993 and Manchester United in 1995.
A total of five league titles were picked up at Old Trafford and he scored 187 Premier League goals to become known as ‘Cole the Goal’. Arsenal fans were left dreaming of a parallel universe where Cole partnered Thierry Henry for one of football’s greatest-ever front lines.
Cole is one of the Premier League’s finest-ever strikers with 187 goalsGetty Images
Any talk of Gnabry’s time in England instantly brings up jokes at Tony Pulis’ expense for apparently not rating him at West Brom, but Arsenal are just as guilty.
Picking the winger up from Stuttgart’s incredibly productive academy, Gnabry looked set to be a hit after his 2011 arrival, but it never quite worked out.
With 18 senior appearances to his name the rapid forward was eventually sold to Werder Bremen, and then Bayern Munich, where he has become one of the most feared widemen in world football.
Since leaving Arsenal, Bayern and Germany star Gnabry is one of the best in his positionGetty Images – Getty
Known globally as Mr. Tottenham until his departure to Bayern Munich, things could have been very different indeed for Harry Kane.
Photos of the youngster in an Arsenal shirt are often used to poke fun at Spurs fans, but he even wore one on a semi-professional basis as a child.
The England captain was released by Arsenal after just one year at the age of eight, with former academy manager Roy Massey telling talkSPORT it didn’t appear like he would make the grade and had to make a decision.
Kane didn’t hit the ground running at Spurs either with numerous loans, but he would go on to become the club’s all-time record scorer, and one of England’s finest ever strikers.
Kane became a player Arsenal fans loved to hate thanks to his fondness for scoring in north London derbiesGetty
Much like with Gnabry, Arsenal did very well to land Malen, whom they signed from Ajax in 2015, but he never got the chance to prove himself.
Never making a senior appearance for the Gunners, Malen left for PSV two years later, and became enough of a hit to star for the Netherlands and now Borussia Dortmund.
Scoring plenty of vital goals in a Bundesliga challenge last season, Malen has picked up where he left off this season, and would surely be an asset to Arteta’s current squad.
Malen never made a first-team appearance for Arsenal and is now he’s one of Dortmund’s dangermenGetty
Arsenal are far from the only club wishing they’d been able to hold onto Anelka for longer, who burst onto the scene at 17.
His three year stint ended with a £22m transfer to Real Madrid, leaving fans wondering what might have been.
Brought in from Paris Saint-Germain for £500k, Anelka could have been the future for Arsenal after firing them to a League and Cup double in 1997, but had a nomadic career for many of Europe’s biggest sides.
Anelka could have had it all at ArsenalGetty