The five Arsenal players whose futures remain in doubt

Sagna

Bacary Sagna appears certain to leave the club this summer after rejecting a new deal but question marks also hang over other members of the first team.

While fans begin to discuss what signings they would make this summer when the transfer window's doors swing open once more, there are also players heading for the exit.

In Arsenal's case, one of those seems certain to Bacary Sagna, with the Frenchman reportedly at loggerheads with the club over a new deal. Sagna is keen on a new three-year-deal, according to media reports and wants upwards of £100,000 a week to see him come in line with the rest of the club's top earners.

Sagna's departure appears a sadly inevitable one for Arsene Wenger, whose own future has not been officially ratified yet, and Arsenal, with the club already in the process of identifying right-backs.

A bona fide world class hitman is also required for Arsenal to reach the next level having seen Olivier Giroud delight and frustrate in equal measure, but Wenger will be slightly concerned about those players currently in his ranks whose futures remain far from secure.

1) Lukas Podolski

The German has earned himself cult hero status at the club thanks to his social media interaction with fans and an endearing demeanour which have both served to mask his inconsistencies on the field.

Shoe-horned into a left-wing position, the former Cologne and Bayern Munich attacker has often looked at odds with the style of football Wenger demands from his players and has struggled to replicate the level of performance at international level that led to the club paying some £10m for his services.

His sale would not be a popular one amongst the fanbase given his standing but could generate some much-needed funds for a full-blooded assault on the transfer market in the close season.

2) Thomas Vermaelen

Wenger faces one of his biggest dilemmas during his 18 years at Arsenal this summer when it comes to addressing the future of the club captain.

Vermaelen's erratic defensive displays last term led to the Frenchman fielding a central defensive axis of Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny for the daunting trip to Bayern Munich in the Champions League, having already lost the first leg 3-1.

An improved defensive display was the catalyst to a fine end to the season for the Gunners and so Vermaelen's place became at risk. He has never truly won it back and despite retaining club captaincy duties, he is now at a crossroads in his career.

His World Cup spot is under threat after a lack of first-team football but his exit would deprive Wenger of two centre-halves, with Sagna considered the auxiliary fourth choice. It could result in a mass overhaul of the defence.

3) Lukasz Fabianski

The Pole recently confessed this summer will be his chance to move onto pastures new and you can hardly blame him, after having to play second fiddle for the last two seasons under Wojciech Szczesny.

Szczesny's first-team spot is not under threat given his consistent form in goal this season but Fabianski is worthy of much more than merely settling for a place on the bench and, with Schalke sniffing around, he has a chance to finally realise his aspirations as a No.1.

Fabianski excelled in the FA Cup win against Liverpool last month and his loss represents its own problems for Wenger, with third-choice Emiliano Viviano only on loan and also set to depart and tangible doubts about the first-team suitability of Damian Martinez.

4) Mikel Arteta

Rumours are suggesting Wenger's key priority, aside from a right-back and a striker, this summer is a defensive midfielder. Given the plethora of midfield options currently available to him, it seems fanciful to think he would add even more without a sale to offset the deal and midfield numbers.

Given Arteta's leadership skills, not to mention his composure from the penalty spot, it is not out of the question that he could stay and a heir apparent to the Spaniard arrives, but with his contract up next summer, there remains a chance he could move back to his native homeland.

He is certainly far down the list in terms of likely departures, but with Tomas Rosicky, Santi Cazorla and Per Mertesacker all made a fuss of in tying the trio down to new deals, Arteta's name was conspicuous by its absence in that list.

5) Abou Diaby

When do the club reach the point when they acknowledge that the injury-stricken midfielder's career, at least at Arsenal, must come to an end as they cut their losses?

Diaby is keen to make an appearance before the end of the season but the reality is he will play a peripheral role in an Arsenal side bulging with midfield numbers and unable to carry along a passenger, in terms of his injury-prone nature, along if they are to go on and challenge for major honours in the game.

The Frenchman is one of the most talented midfielders of this generation but ultimately, the sickening tackle from Sunderland nobody Dan Smith has ruined what could have been a perfectly successful career. He will be remembered for his injuries rather than his masterful strides through midfield, regrettably, but it is time to put an end to a personal and collective nightmare for everyone involved.

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