There were not many positives to come out of Arsenal’s defeat to Nottingham Forest on Sunday evening.
For the second time in four years, the Gunners – record FA Cup winners – have seen their latest foray into the competition end at the first attempt against their Championship opponents.
The Gunners’ side taking to the pitch wasn’t exactly weak either – they were still able to boast former Real Madrid playmaker Martin Odegaard, academy star Bukayo Saka, as well as full internationals Ben White, Bernd Leno and Albert Sambi Lokonga.
One crumb of comfort that Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta will have been given following the match though, is that he will have now made his mind up on a few of the current fringe players at the Emirates Stadium – and the Gunners could be in line for a considerable cash boost should they elect to sell before the end of the January transfer window.
Firstly, Bernd Leno was all but given his final opportunity to stake a claim for the Arsenal number one shirt having fallen down the pecking order since Aaron Ramsdale’s arrival.
Whilst the German was by no means disastrous, it is clear that his future lies elsewhere amid summer links with Inter Milan and a return to the Bundesliga.
His contract expires in the summer of 2023 and he is currently valued at £14.4m by transfermarkt so could be a tidy earner for the Gunners.
Elsewhere, Cedric Soares also appears unlikely to have a future at the Emirates Stadium. Since arriving from Southampton, the 34-time Portuguese international has made just 37 appearances – only eight of those coming this season.
Atletico Madrid have been linked with a move for the 30-year-old as they attempt to compensate for the loss of Kieran Trippier and with Arsenal having enough in depth in the form of Takehiro Tomiyasu and Calum Chambers, Cedric could be moved on. A loan deal has been mooted but valued at just £4.5m, a permanent deal might not be the worst idea for all parties.
Another player to somewhat fluff their lines against Forest was Eddie Nketiah. Selected from the start, the striker was little threat, with the Gunners having not produced a single shot on target.
His performance comes amid talk over a move to both Crystal Palace and Brighton & Hove Albion.
The Hale End academy graduate is of course out of contract at the end of the season – and the Gunners would be in line for compensation should he join another English side.
Valued at £9m, Arsenal may prefer to sell before the end of the January window to potentially secure even more for his services.
Combine the fees that Mikel Arteta could receive for the three and the Gunners could potentially scoop as much as £28m – something that will certainly be more useful to the north Londoners after Sunday’s poor display.