The 28-year-old has made three Premier League appearances this season and like Jack Wilshere, 25, is considered a key member of the ‘cup sides’ Arsene Wenger is fielding to rotate his preferred XI in the Premier League.
It’s a fall from grace which attracted the attention of Everton, West Ham United and Southampton. With the Hammers in desperate need of new blood to invigorate their season, the East London club are favourites to land the winger.
Southampton though is the club where he made his name as a teenager. Whisked to Arsenal in January 2005, he has gone on to make 391 appearances for the Gunners. During that time, he has enjoyed some mercurial moments, including breaking the deadlock in the 2015 FA Cup final against Aston Villa, as well as regularly breaking Tottenham Hotspur hearts.
Injuries blighted his career with a hereditary shoulder problem interrupting the first five seasons of his spell. Since then, a ruptured ACL against Tottenham in an FA Cup Third Round tie, saw him miss ten months and since then, he has found his place in the first team consistently reduced to that of substitute.
Arsenal, set for a huge summer in 2018, are reducing their wage bill and raising funds to replace the soon-to-depart Alexis Sanchez, 28, and Mesut Ozil, 29, as well as negotiate new deals with Aaron Ramsey and Jack Wilshere.