Arsenal hanging on to spare parts as bargaining power wanes

Despite what many people think, the transfer market is a complicated thing. On the face of it, it looks pretty simple: Buy the players you need to improve your squad and sell the players you no longer require.

Arsenal fans probably don't need any reminder of what a minefield it can be, and the club itself are currently dealing with the fact that when it comes to outgoings in particular, their position is not particularly strong.

The Gunners have a clutch of players who are, essentially, surplus to requirements but who remain on the books. In some cases they haven't necessarily helped themselves. It was reported last week that they turned down a £10 million offer for Kieran Gibbs, a player who has been backup to Nacho Monreal for almost two years and has fallen further down the pecking order with the arrival of Bosnian defender Sead Kolasinac.

Perhaps they viewed the offer as insubstantial in a market that sees Kyle Walker fetch £50m, but ultimately Gibbs is a fringe player with less than a year left on his current deal, and that's the kind of offer they should be accepting for a player they clearly don't want.

Another factor is that most of the players they're prepared to let go will have to take something of a step down in terms of the stature of the club they're joining. As such, they may well be asked to take a reduction in wages.

So, while for us the idea of playing football for a living is basically a dream, for footballers it's a job. And a transfer to a team lower down the table where they'll play more regularly is basically asking them to work more and get paid less. Admittedly that's a very cynical outlook, but not without some precedent.

The wage issue in particular is one that has long plagued Arsenal when it comes to moving players on. Nicklas Bendtner was sent out on loan several times as he wasn't prepared to move to a club where his generous salary was drastically reduced.

Of the current crop, Mathieu Debuchy is certainly someone who could have moved to play more regular football, having fallen out of favour almost two years ago. Former French international Sebastien Squillaci, who played just seven times in his final two seasons at the club, was surplus to requirements but basically impossible to shift.

Then there's the market itself. Clubs know that Arsenal want to get rid of these players, and they also know that the longer they leave it, the better their chances of getting a good deal. By its very nature, the transfer market gets busier the closer we get to the deadline. It's a tactic that Arsene Wenger has often used himself, picking up players in the final days or hours before it closes.

If, come the end of August, they're still stuck with the likes of Gibbs, Debuchy and Carl Jenkinson -- and others such as Calum Chambers and Jack Wilshere, whom they may also be inclined to sell -- they'll find their bargaining power even more restricted than it is now.

Unfortunately there's no simple, easy solution. In many ways they're slaves to the market itself and the fact that they have let so many players run into the final 12 months of their contracts. That always has a negative effect on a player's value -- even a player as highly sought after as Alexis Sanchez has not been the subject of bids that are in line with his talent because of that.

Ultimately though, we are talking about tens of millions of pounds worth of talent -- even if it's not wanted -- and players whose wages collectively cost the club hundreds of thousands of pounds a week. At some point, Arsenal have to manage these situations as positively as they can for the long-term benefit, and if that means accepting less than they think these players are worth, then so be it.