This summer’s transfer window is set to be one of the most important ever in the history of Arsenal football club. Still trying to recover from the Arsène Wenger era, the feeling around the club is that they finally have the right manager in charge. Only Liverpool, Manchester City & Manchester United have picked up more points in the league since January 1st than Arsenal, that’s a credit to the new boss.
Mikel Arteta is slowly but surely moulding this squad to suit his philosophy. However, regardless of how much he improves these players, some of them will never be good enough. If Arsenal is to compete for the title or challenge for top 4, they must make several signings in the summer.
Here are three areas Arsenal must strengthen in the summer.
It’s strange to think that the Gunners have seven first-team centre-backs and none of them are considered top quality. For years, Arsenal has been criticised for their poor recruitment of defenders. Many argue that the club hasn’t signed a decent centre-back since the days of Sol Campbell and Tony Adams.
The acquisition of William Saliba has the potential to buck that trend, but it would be unfair to heap that much expectation on the shoulders of an 18-year-old. Instead, Raul & co. must sign a first-team CB that will significantly improve the backline.
This summer, there are rumours that the likes of Calum Chambers and Sokratis could be sold, while Konstantinos Mavropanos will be sent out on loan again. That leaves Arteta with Shkodran Mustafi, David Luiz, William Saliba & Pablo Mari to work with. These are all good decent backup options, but to go to the next level a name like Dayot Upamecano is needed.
Much in line with the need of a centre-back, Arsenal must be in the position to provide this new signing with cover from the midfield. The reason Arsenal are currently playing in a 3-4-3 system is that it allows the team to have more men behind the ball when a turnover occurs. Eventually, Arteta will go back to a 4-3-3 and he will need a no-nonsense defensive midfielder to shield the back four and block passing lanes.
Alongside him, he’ll need a deep-lying playmaker and a more creative advanced midfielder. Both Lucas Torreira and Granit Xhaka have been deployed in the DM position, but their traits are better suited elsewhere. The former is best used as a tenacious box-to-box midfielder while Xhaka is at his best when he can focus on building play from deep. The rumoured arrival of Thomas Partey would certainly revolutionise Arsenal’s midfield.
It’s become clear that Mesut Ozil’s Arsenal career is over. The manager doesn’t believe in him and many of the club’s higher-ups would love to sell him this summer. However, the German has made it clear that he will see out the rest of his contract. And why wouldn’t he? He’s on £350,000-a-week.
Regardless, Arsenal needs to fill the void of creativity in his absence. Dani Ceballos has in recent weeks shown he’s capable of creating chances in the final third, that’s why the club is now fighting hard to sign him permanently. Another name that would replace Ozil is Houssem Aouar, with the club now exploring a possible swap deal involving Matteo Guendouzi to get him.