For Nacho Monreal or Sead Kolasinac, the potential arrival of Kieren Tierney almost certainly spells the end.
But who is most likely to head out of the exit door at the Emirates and who will stay to compete for a starting berth in Unai Emery’s second season at the helm?
There are compelling reasons to conclude it could be either one of those two but the smarter money would be on Nacho Monreal, who, at 33, is well into the winter of his career and may be open to a return to his native Spain.
While any fee for Monreal would be nominal at best, and possibly non-existent, his departure for Tierney, who is 22, would mean more energy and vitality on the left side of Arsenal’s defence.
That said, Kolasinac, 26, who arrived on a free transfer in 2017, would generate a great deal more cash for the Gunners’ meagre summer transfer fund, leaving Monreal to act as experienced support to the young Scot.
There is certainly a precedent for that sort of move in the shape of Stephan Lichsteiner, who, at 34, spent last season at the Emirates in a supporting and mentoring role to the likes of Hector Bellerin and Ainsley Maitland-Niles.
There is also the fact that Monreal is a much better defender in a back four than Kolasinac, with the latter preferring to fly forward and attack rather than face up to his responsibilities at the back.
If Emery is to revert to his favoured back four next season, it would favour Monreal over the Bosnian international.
However, I believe Emery will prefer to keep hold of Kolasinac, who, at times last season, showed himself to be an effective attacking outlet on Arsenal’s left, much more so than Maitland-Niles or Lichsteiner.
Granted, as the season progressed, teams became wise to his rather simplistic methods and his delivery worsened, but he still recorded seven assists across all competitions.
Presuming a deal for Tierney can be concluded, and Emery decides to back him with a starting slot, it would be much more progressive and dynamic, in my mind at least, to have Kolasinac as backup, a player much more attuned to Emery’s penchant of byline cutbacks than Monreal, who can no longer fly up the wings with the gusto he once had.
Money will have to be generated for the pot (rumoured to amount to just £45million), but I think it would be more sensibly cashed elsewhere, perhaps with a midfield clearout and the removal of some wages from the books to go along with the cash freed up by Danny Welbeck, Petr Cech, Aaron Ramsey, and others.
The only scenario I don’t see happening is Tierney coming in and both Kolasinac and Monreal remaining. Emery has obviously realised that things have to change at the back so keeping both of the aforementioned players, who still represent the Arsene Wenger era, would be strange to say the least, particularly given the real troubles the Gunners experienced in the last 10 games of the season.
If a new era really is to begin, Emery and Raul Sanllehi will need to get a deal for Tierney over the line and let the end of the old era, and the defensive fragility it represents, truly come to an end.