Arsenal should conduct a mass overhaul of their squad during the summer transfer window and sell as many as 10 players, according to former striker Charlie Nicholas. The Gunners suffered the worst ever two-legged Champions League defeat by an English club as they crashed to a 10-2 aggregate loss to Bayern Munich in a humiliating night at the Emirates Stadium.
The second 5-1 reverse to Bayern in the space of three weeks was also their worst home loss in all competitions since 1998 and leaves Arsene Wenger's future at the club riddled by uncertainty. The club crashed out of the last 16 for a seventh campaign in a row and only victory in the FA Cup can prevent the north Londoners ending the campaign empty-handed for the 10th time in 12 seasons.
Though qualification for next term's Champions League is still within reach for Arsenal, attention has already turned to the summer when the club will have to make key decisions over the futures of Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil – both of whom are approaching the final 12 months of their contracts. Both players are demanding wages of £300,000-a-week, and Nicholas wants to see a selection of squad players offloaded in order to satisfy at least one of the duo.
"I'm looking at the squad, and out of the main 25 that are involved in the Premier League and Champions League, I've got 10 for sale," he said. "Mathieu Debuchy, Kieran Gibbs, Per Mertesacker, Gabriel, Laurent Koscielny – I don't think he's been top drawer, he's getting on.
"Olivier Giroud, David Ospina, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Francis Coquelin, Carl Jenkinson. I don't think they're of the level that Arsenal were at three years ago, I really don't. These guys should make way; give some of the money to Sanchez and get real, proper players."
But whether Wenger will be around to make these decisions regarding a large chunk of the Arsenal squad is unknown, with the Frenchman yet to commit to a new contract. The 67-year-old has in recent weeks refused to discuss whether he will remain at the club and denies his players are becoming distracted by the indecision.