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Arsenal loan or sell: 9 outcasts Arteta must make transfer decision on

Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta is busy reshaping his squad this summer ahead of a crucial season for the Gunners.

Arteta must improve on consecutive eighth-placed finishes to show he can be the man to lead Arsenal back to the big time.

He has already signed Nuno Tavares as much-needed left-back cover for Kieran Tierney, while a £50m deal is believed to have been agreed for Brighton centre-half Ben White.

Anderlecht midfielder Albert Sambi Lokonga is set to follow, while the Gunners have been linked with a host of other players including Houssem Aouar, Manuel Locatelli, James Maddison, Tammy Abraham and last season’s loan signing Martin Odegaard.

However, Arteta will also have to trim his squad, and a host of players could go out on loan or leave permanently. Here, Mirror Sport looks at the most likely candidates.

1. Joe Willock

Newcastle boss Steve Bruce has vowed to “keep badgering” Arsenal over Joe Willock after the midfielder’s starring role for the Magpies last term.

Willock scored eight goals in 14 Premier League appearances for Toon – including seven in his last seven games as they climbed clear of the relegation zone.

The 21-year-old has joined up with the Gunners for pre-season training as Arteta takes a closer look at him ahead of the new season.

The manager has said Willock is part of his plans for the new campaign – but Newcastle will be willing to stump up a decent fee if Arteta decides he has enough other options.

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2. Hector Bellerin

Hector Bellerin has spent his entire senior career at Arsenal, but was used increasingly sparingly during the second half of last season.

The 26-year-old has been linked with Atletico Madrid and Inter Milan – whose CEO Guiseppe Marotta appears to have confirmed his club’s interest.

Asked about the prospect of signing Bellerin, Marotta told Sky Italia : ‘His is a name that is mentioned by you, there’s our interest, but I won’t go any further, because he’s not our player.”

Bellerin is one of the more saleable assets among those players whose Gunners future is uncertain, and he could be sold this summer.

3. Ainsley Maitland-Niles

Maitland-Niles got the chance to play in his preferred central midfield position after joining West Brom on loan in February – having been used mainly as a full-back by Arteta earlier in the campaign.

With the manager targeting further reinforcements in midfield, it looks as though Maitland-Niles will continue to face obstacles if he wants to play in Arsenal’s engine room.

His best chance to carve out a career with the Gunners might be as a right-back – although Arsenal are believed to be eyeing a move for Norwich right-back Max Aarons as a potential replacement if Hector Bellerin leaves.

With two years left on Maitland-Niles’ contract, the 23-year-old may have to weigh up whether he can impress on loan or whether he would be best served moving on.

4. Runar Alex Runarsson

After joining from Dijon in a £1.8m move last summer, Runarsson has done little to show he can have a future at Arsenal.

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The keeper was given a chance in Arsenal’s Europa League group games and did keep a couple of clean sheets, but didn’t feature again once the competition reached the knockout stages.

His only Premier League appearance was a 15-minute cameo in a 2-1 defeat to Wolves, while he also played in the 4-1 EFL Cup defeat to Manchester City.

The fact that Arteta turned to a loan deal for Mat Ryan in January suggested he didn’t have confidence in Runarsson, who could be on his way out after a year at the club.

5. Sead Kolasinac

Kolasinac does not appear to have a future at Arsenal after spending the second half of last season on loan at Schalke.

The 28-year-old was sent back to his former club in January despite the fact Arteta had no specialist cover for Kieran Tierney, who was later to miss several games through injury.

Last week’s signing of Nuno Tavares from Benfica has solved that particular problem, and with just a year left on Kolasinac’s contract, the Gunners may look to recoup a fee if they can this summer.

6. Reiss Nelson

Reiss Nelson found opportunities hard to come by last season, making just nine appearances in all competitions.

Arsenal are reported to have offered the 21-year-old a new contract with a view to loaning him out so he can continue his development.

However, with less than 12 months now remaining on his contract, the Gunners may have to cash in rather than risk losing him for free next summer – with Crystal Palace, Brighton and Brentford all said to be keen on the winger.

7. Lucas Torreira

Another player who has no future with the Gunners, Torreira spent last season on loan with Atletico Madrid but made just five starts in all competitions for Diego Simeone’s side.

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The midfielder has been linked with a return to Italy, where he previously played for Sampdoria, with Lazio reportedly interested.

Reports last month suggested Arsenal could try to use Torreira as a makeweight in a deal to land Lazio’s Joaquin Correa, while the Uruguay international has been linked with a move back to South America.

Either way, it looks like the Gunners could try to offload the 25-year-old for good this summer.

8. Mohamed Elneny

Not exactly an outcast, as Elneny somewhat resurrected his Arsenal career under Arteta last season.

After spending the previous campaign on loan at Beskitas, Elneny forged a role for himself last term, making 41 appearances in all competitions.

The expected signing of Albert Sambi Lokonga will increase the competition in Arsenal’s engine room, although that could be offset by the departure of Granit Xhaka if Roma land the Swiss international.

With Elneny having entered the final year of his contract at the Emirates, Arteta must decide whether to cash in on the 29-year-old or keep him as a squad option.

9. Eddie Nketiah

Eddie Nketiah has so far struggled to break into Arsenal’s attack on a regular basis after showing early promise.

Folarin Balogun, two years Nketiah’s junior, recently committed his future to the Gunners with a long-term deal.

And that could be bad news for Nketiah, who could be another player Arteta looks to cash in on this summer after entering the final year of his contract.

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