Wenger looks for summer clear out

The key thing he will hope for though, is stability. In their seven year spell without a trophy, Arsenal have been up and down. Some years they are brilliant and look like they can win the league before falling away at the end. Others, like this, they are poor but then find their form as the season progresses.

That is largely down to injuries, which have taken their toll on their most important players in recent times, such as Robin van Persie, Cesc Fabregas and Thomas Vermaelen. But it also owes to the sale of key players, like Fabregas last summer, as well as Samir Nasri.

Arsenal now hope to change things and to do that they will need to keep their key men this year. There are signs that may be possible. Van Persie may be tempted to stay if Arsenal finish in the top three, as they look like doing, and Wenger splashes some cash this summer. And he seems set to do that already Lukazs Podolski is set to sign, a stark contrast to last year when Wenger dallied until the last day of the transfer window before swooping for his main targets.

Yann M’Vila is being lined up again, after Arsenal failed to sign him last year. The Rennes man may be allowed to leave this time though, with his potential demanding a move to a bigger club. Then Marvin Martin, with struggling Sochaux in Ligue 1, could be an alternative now Mario Gotze has extended his contract at Dortmund, and with Eden Hazard set for a move to Spain, probably to Real Madrid.

But Jack Wilshere will return next season, whilst Thomas Vermaelen has signed a long term deal and Wojciech Szczesny, finally a decent goalkeeper for the club, is a supporter of Arsenal and unlikely to leave. Keeping the core of the club together, and injury free, is key for Wenger. That is what brings consistency – something the Frenchman craves but has rarely had in recent times.

Signs in recent weeks are that they may have finally found it. After a shambolic defeat in Milan, Arsenal have been stunned into a remarkable run of form. Many things have helped. Theo Walcott and Tomas Rosicky have awoken from their slumbers; Walcott now showing the form he has not given consistently over recent years, whilst the Czech has done a passing impression of Cesc Fabregas, orchestrating the midfield.

Behind them, Alex Song, or Songaldinho as the Arsenal fans call him, has been combative defensively but also useful going forward. And then there is the unheralded Mikel Arteta, whose passing and efficiency keeps the team moving and in possession, but who also has the intelligence to track back and to fill in when others go forward. That gives Arsenal a balance they have missed in recent years when their attack minded defenders go missing.

For Wenger, it is balance they need, and that is what they finally appear to be finding. Since the end of September, Arsenal have been just five points worse than the Manchester clubs leading the way. And they only lost three matches mid season because they had no full backs. The temperamental, unpredictable Arsenal are now threatening to disappear for good, and Wenger will hope so too. It has been a difficult time for him, and the club. But out of it, perhaps a ray of sunshine is appearing….