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Liverpool Pies

Will want-away Arsenal stars treat final games as a shop window?

With only four games left to play this season, Arsene Wenger might understandably take the opportunity to have a look at some of his younger fringe players to see how they cope with a place in his first team squads.

But the Frenchman is aware that there are a host of his players who are eying moves away from Emirates Stadium and if such transfers come to pass, then Wenger will want to make sure he gets top dollar for the players he has helped to develop.

We all know that Mathieu Flamini's agent is still trying to hammer out a deal with the club to secure his future with Arsenal, but Le Gaffer was hoping to wrap up that contract last month and the longer the negotiations drag on, the more I fear we might have seen the last of the Flamster. I hope not, but the pessimist in me tells me all is not well.

Flamini is injured and will miss the next couple of games. But he's had such a fantastic season that he doesn't really need to prove himself in the handful of matches that remain.

But some of his colleagues might be wanting to use the time they have left this season to put themselves in the shop window for potential new employees...

Among the names that are being touted around as summer departures from Arsenal are Jens Lehmann, Gilberto, Alex Hleb, Emmanuel Eboue, Justin Hoyte and Philippe Senderos.

Of that list, Lehmann and Gilberto are no shock, but I wouldn't be too surprised if one of them stayed at the club.

Alexander Hleb would be the biggest loss, so I'm hoping all the posturing from his agent is just a tactic to win his client a contract extension. The 26-year-old's deal with Arsenal expires at the end of next season, which means he'd be free to talk to other clubs next January. So I'd expect Wenger to open contract talks with the Belarus captain soon, even if it's just to increase his market value when it comes to selling Hleb in a year or two.

There have been a lot of calls for Le Boss to drop Emmanuel Eboue this season, but I fully understand why the Ivory Coast international has been such a fixture in the team. I'm not a fan of his antics at all, but this is his first season playing in a more advanced right midfield role, so I cut Eboue a bit of slack here. Also, the understanding he has developed with Bacary Sagna is fantastic: any time Sagna ventures forward, Eboue slots in to cover the right back role and that's not something that Theo Walcott has been doing. Eboue's versatility to cover in defence makes him an important player for the Gunners and I don't think the 24-year-old will be going anywhere this summer.

Justin Hoyte is a Gunner through and through and seems determined to stick it out and play for his place. His position has been somewhat undermined in recent weeks with Kolo Toure covering the right back position in Sagna's absence and I would understand if frustration tempted Hoyte to look elsewhere. But he signed a long term deal with Arsenal last summer and is still only 23, so I reckon he'll give it one more season before making a decision about where his long term future should be.

And lastly there is Philippe Senderos. He has to be one of the most erratic players to pull on an Arsenal top in years. When he is on form and can keep his concentration, Senderos can be immense. At 6 feet 3 inches, he's out tallest defender and he can be commanding in the air. Against AC Milan in Italy he was fantastic in helping to keep Kaka, Filippo Inzaghi and Alexandre Pato quiet. But big Phil is prone to making mistakes and the 23-year-old is reportedly depressed after a couple of errors led to Liverpool's first goals in the decisive Champions League tie earlier this month. And the lad must have nightmares about his nemesis Didier Drogba. But I reckon Arsene will try to hang on to Senderos, as he can only improve with experience.

What do you lot reckon? Should Wenger have a clean sweep and create room for some new faces? Or is there someone else you think should be shown the exit signs at Emirates? Share your thoughts here.

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Posted by Gordon Masson on April 18, 2008 11:02 AM in Debate of the Day| Players| Transfers
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Totally agree with your analysis of the players and their worths to the team, particularly eboue.

Posted by: Peter | April 18, 2008 12:19 PM

i cant see the flamster going

on the basis that he has worked his arse off for arsenal and always been second choice, and finally its all paid off for him, would he want to throw all that work to get first team football away when there is no garentee that he will be in the first team at another high profile club?

as for eboue, i agree about cutting him some slack, he was so solid for us as a right back. but as an advanced player he is dodgy, especially in shooting roles haha

looking back on the season, it is obviously a disapointment, but the team had the ability to be 5 points on top of the league (disregarding the fact that we threw it away) its still a great effort considering the pre season expectations from many others.

Posted by: Baz | April 18, 2008 12:55 PM

Wenger needs to take a serious look at our youth players and determine which ones could make it in the senior squad. In recent years, we've had Bendtner, Lupoli, Larsson, Muamba, Song, and Aliadiere, all fail to fulfill their potential. This year, with Barazite, Nordveit, Merida, and Vela, possibly coming into the squad we can't afford to fail. The clear-out needs to extend to the youth players as well.

Posted by: Ryan | April 18, 2008 3:34 PM

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