Mikel Arteta starts Arsenal clearout to slash wage bill

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta is close to shipping three players off the club's wage bill, and has another couple waiting in the wings to leave on loan.

Pablo Mari is expected to complete a loan move to Monza after landing in Italy on Wednesday, Hector Bellerin is likely to join Real Betis and goalkeeper Alex Runarsson could be on his way to Turkey.

Arsenal are also reported to be willing to listen to loan offers for both Ainsley Maitland-Niles and Reiss Nelson.

The 28-year-old Mari is surplus to requirements at the Emirates Stadium this season, having spent the second half of last year on loan at Udinese.

Now Mari is set to return to Serie A with newly-promoted Monza, with only the finer details of the loan to be agreed between the clubs.

The only stumbling block to the Mari deal is the inclusion of an option in the deal for Monza to make the switch permanent, potentially because relegation back to Serie B would mean the club would not have the finances to complete the transfer.

Meanwhile, Arsenal are not too keen on terminating the contract of Bellerin so he can join Real Betis, where he spent last season on loan. But they do not want to stand in his way of securing a move.

Another player closing in on a move away from north London is goalkeeper Alex Runarsson.

It is understood two Turkish clubs are interested in a permanent deal for the Iceland international, who has made just six first-team appearances since joining the Gunners in 2020.

Having already signed Fabio Vieira, Marquinhos, Matt Turner, Gabriel Jesus and Oleksandr Zinchenko this summer, any other additions are likely to rely on Arsenal clearing more money off the wage bill.

Arsenal opened their Premier League account with a 2-0 win at Crystal Palace on Friday night, face Leicester City on Saturday afternoon.

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