Three star players Arsenal could lose after Champions League failure
In pictures: Newcastle v Arsenal
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Arsenal’s expected failure to qualify for the Champions League could have repercussions in terms of some of their best players leaving the club. Bukayo Saka, Gabriel Magalhaes and Gabriel Martinelli could all be making big moves in the near future.
The Gunners’ 2-0 loss at Newcastle has left their hopes of finishing in the Premier League top four hanging by a thread. Arsenal need to beat Everton on Sunday and hope already-relegated Norwich beat Tottenham at Carrow Road.
The chances of that are slim and Europa League most likely awaits for Mikel Arteta’s side. Arteta claimed earlier this month that he wants to keep his best players but admitted it was “inevitable” that some may end up leaving.
The Spaniard said: “Sometimes it is inevitable because you cannot offer the same competition level as they’ve been offered or because you think it is the right moment to make a move. But in principle we want to maintain our best players and keep them and get better.”
Saka would be the player Arsenal fans are most concerned about losing. His contract has just two years to run and there is no immediate sign he will put pen to paper on an extension.
Failing to qualify for the Champions League this season doesn’t mean it cannot happen in 12 months’ time. However, the addition of Europa League football every couple of weeks or so would make it considerably harder for Arteta’s thin squad.
Saka has been played into the ground this term and has again been the standout player for the Gunners. He has not missed a Premier League match, starting 35 of his 37 appearances.
But his representatives will be keeping an eye on interest from elsewhere, which will certainly come if his contract situation does not get resolved. Meanwhile, centre-back Gabriel is already attracting interest from the likes of Barcelona and Juventus.
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The Brazilian does not have the ties to Arsenal that academy graduate Saka does. The lure of moving to one of Europe’s elite clubs could be too big to turn down.
Meanwhile, Martinelli has dropped off considerably in 2022 in terms of goals and assists. But he has put in the odd performance to catch the eye.
Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp has made clear his admiration for the 20-year-old on more than one occasion. If Mohamed Salah and/or Sadio Mane leave in the near future, Martinelli would surely be a player Klopp targets.
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