It’s going to be one of the biggest summer transfer windows in decades at Arsenal. Manager Arsene Wenger is staying but there are still question marks over the futures of a number of key players including Alexis Sanchez, Mesut Özil and Hector Bellerin. Aside from the outgoings, the Gunners need to strengthen too. An FA Cup win won’t appease a fan base which watched its side finish in fifth place meaning there will be no Champions League football at the Emirates next season. Arsenal finished 18 points behind leaders Chelsea last term and will need to improve immensely if they are to even get back in the top four, let alone challenge for the title.
There’s little doubt that Petr Cech has been one of the greatest goalkeepers in the Premier League era. The key part of that sentence for many Arsenal supporters is ‘has been,’ as there is a feeling that the Czech stopper is not the force he once was. Cech kept 12 clean sheets in the Premier League last season, his second-lowest tally since arriving in England.
David Ospina looks set to leave the club and there are serious question marks over where Wojciech Szczesny will be playing his football next season. Emiliano Martinez is a good young prospect but the Gunners could do with another backup keeper if Szczesny does in fact leave the Emirates.
Whether Arsenal need to strengthen defensively or not is largely down to which formation they’ll be playing next season. The Gunners have enough adequate cover for a 4-2-3-1 but that would change in a 3-4-2-1.
As impressive as the back three of Per Mertesacker, Rob Holding and Nacho Monreal was at Wembley, Arsene Wenger will not want to rely on this slapdash trio over a longer period of time. Shkodran Mustafi and Laurent Koscielny will be first choice and Rob Holding has developed so well that he must be considered third-choice. Gabriel Paulista’s performances have been a little inconsistent but his late season form will give Wenger some hope. Perhaps another young centre-back is required.
Out wide, the Gunners are spoilt for choice. There seems to be a neck-and-neck battle for the right wing-back slot with Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain looking to outshine Hector Bellerin. On the opposite flank, the Gunners have even more choice. New signing Sead Kolasinac will presumably be first choice with Nacho Monreal acting as cover both on the left and in the centre.
This is an important area for the Gunners. Santi Cazorla clearly cannot be relied upon as a starting midfielder and neither can Francis Coquelin, the former because of injury and the latter down to consistency. The Granit Xhaka and Aaron Ramsey partnership will give Wenger optimism but the Welshman is notoriously injury-prone. Another central midfielder would be required unless Wenger sees either Mohamed Elneny or the returning Jack Wilshere as good enough for the role.
Further forward and everything depends on what Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Özil do. Even if the pair does decide to stay then there will still be change in attacking midfield from next season. The likes of Joel Campbell, Lucas Perez and maybe even Theo Walcott will undoubtedly leave, making the Gunners a little light on creative force. Leicester’s Riyad Mahrez has been strongly linked but it’s difficult to see where the wide man could fit into this team. The same cannot be said of Monaco wide man Thomas Lemar who could certainly find a place in this side.
This is the big one for the Gunners. Olivier Giroud, while supplying a reliable stream of goals, does not fit into the 3-4-2-1 formation while Danny Welbeck does, but cannot be relied upon to regularly get on the scoresheet. The Gunners need the best of both worlds if they are to challenge for the title: a dynamic mobile forward with the ability to lead the line by himself and score a bucket of goals. No simple task for Arsene Wenger and his scouting department.
Kylian Mbappe has been strongly linked and he really would be the dream signing for Arsenal. The Monaco man is one of the best young players in the world today and someone who would suit this Gunners system tremendously well. It is still incredibly unlikely that we will see Mbappe in an Arsenal shirt next season so it’s time to look at different options.
Alexandre Lacazette’s name has been linked with a move once again. The Frenchman has had another excellent season in Ligue 1 but you get the feeling that Wenger would’ve already made a move for the Lyon man if he really wanted him. The likes of Alvaro Morata and Andrea Belotti have also been linked with the Gunners.
The Gunners need more goals in their team. They cannot rely on Alexis Sanchez to win them games alone, especially if he is heading for the exit door. There’s a feeling that this is something of a make or break summer for Arsenal Football Club. As of 8th June, they are evens to finish in the top four next season and huge 12/1 outsider odds to win the title with BetwaySports. The Gunners really have to go for it and that includes signing two or three key players in addition to keeping hold of their prized assets.