Arsenal set to announce exit which impacts on Emi Buendia and Julian Brandt transfer plan

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Arsenal’s hopes of landing a couple of major signings this month will depend on their ability to free up space in their Premier League squad. The Gunners are set to do just that with goalkeeper Matt Macey set to depart this week but unfortunately, it will do little to help in their bids to make space for exciting attacking duo Emiliano Buendia and Julian Brandt.

Macey has been at Emirates Stadium for seven years following his arrival from Bristol Rovers for a reported £100,000.

The 26-year-old has only managed two appearances in senior first team competitions for the Gunners – both coming in the 2017/18 campaign – and is set to join Hibernian in the coming days.

There have been mixed reports as to whether it is a permanent switch or an initial loan move before he joins on a free when his contract expires in the summer.

Earlier this season, Arsenal were only able to register 22 players in their Premier League squad because they could only include five ‘homegrown’ players – when someone has been registered with an FA club for a continuous period of three seasons before the end of the campaign when they turn 21.

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Premier League rules state clubs must have eight ‘homegrown’ players otherwise you lose the remaining slots, which meant the Gunners could only register 22 in October and Mesut Ozil and Sokratis Papastathopoulos were forced to miss out.

Sead Kolasinac rejoining Schalke has freed up one space in their squad but the possible departures of Ozil, Sokratis and that of 19-year-old William Saliba – who has already joined Nice on loan – has not made any additional space.

Macey’s arrival at Hibs would free up a senior spot in the squad but with him being one of the clubs ‘homegrown’ players and both Buendia and Brandt not qualifying, it means there is currently only space for one of the attackers at present.

The 6ft 7 stopper had been the Gunners’ third-choice goalkeeper this season, after Emiliano Martinez’s £20 million transfer to Aston Villa in the summer.

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Arsenal have high hopes for youngsters Karl Hein (18) and Arthur Okonkwo (19), while 25-year-old Deyan Illiev is expected to return from his short-term loan with Shrewsbury this month.

Macey, who has had loan spells at Accrington Stanley, Luton Town and Plymouth Argyle during his time at Arsenal, reportedly had a medical at Hibs on Wednesday ahead of the move and has been tipped to make an instant impact at the club if called upon to face Celtic on Monday.

Jamie Ness, who played alongside Macey at Plymouth during the 2018-19 season, told the Daily Record: “Matt won’t be fazed by the prospect of making his debut at Parkhead. He’d take it in his stride.

“It’s a big game to go into and if he does go in and play I’m sure he’ll be fine. His height is his biggest attribute, he’s a commanding figure. He fills the goal but he’s a very good shot-stopper.

“When keepers are as big as he is you sometimes worry if they’re agile enough to get down low to make saves but he’s very flexible. He’ll be a really good signing for Hibs.

“You don’t spend as long at a club like Arsenal as Matt has if you don’t have good qualities but he’s been second and third choice so this is a good opportunity for him to get some games.

“He’s switched on, intelligent and he reads the game well. We had a difficult time at Plymouth but it wasn’t down to him – there were other factors in the way we were playing.

“Matt looked after his own performance first and foremost. He knew what he needed to do and was very focused.

“I enjoyed training and playing with him and he was a good lad to have about the place. I’ll give him a message to wish him well.”

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