After another unsuccessful season that ended with a Europa League final humbling at the hands of Premier League rivals Chelsea, Arsenal go into the transfer window needing to strengthen in a number of key positions.
Finishing outside the top four and missing out on Champions League football for a third successive season was catastrophic for Arsenal, leaving them with a measly £45m to spend on new players.
With a limited transfer budget, here’s a look at what positions Arsenal need to strengthen this summer.
A Centre-Back Partner for Sokratis
It’s fair to say that defence is by far the weakest aspect of the Arsenal team. After conceding a whopping 51 goals last season, Arsenal broke an unwanted 35 year record of conceding over 50 goals for back-to-back campaigns for the first time since 1984.
With Laurent Koscielny being well past it, Mustafi being an error-prone horror show at the back, and the impressive Rob Holding suffering a long term injury, the Gunners are in desperate need of a partner to play alongside Sokratis.
Both Full Back Positions
As well as at centre-back, the Gunners are also crying out for a new pair of full-backs. With Bellerin still out injured and Lichtsteiner leaving, Arsenal need a right-back to fill in for now, and then offer competition for when the Spaniard returns.
Thomas Meunier is a possibility, with the PSG right-back being subject of interest from Arsenal and Manchester United – before they agreed a deal for Aaron Wan-Bissaka. The Belgian would be an ideal candidate, as he is a player who would likely be content with being Bellerin’s back-up once the Spain international returns from injury.
At left-back, the ever reliable Nacho Monreal began showing signs of frailty last season, while Sead Kolasinac just doesn’t have a defensive bone in his body.
It is a well known fact that the Gunners have made multiple bits for Celtic left-back Kieran Tierney, with Neil Lennon confirming this. The Scot would be the perfect fit for Arsenal.
An Aaron Ramsey Replacement
Despite a move to Juventus being pretty certain for most of the season, Aaron Ramsey performed admirably and was one of Arsenal’s best players during the 2018/19 campaign.
After suffering an injury towards the end of the season, Arsenal fans were given a glimpse into the future, as their form fell off a cliff in his absence. Losing ‘Rambo’ is a massive blow for the Gunners, and they need to find an adequate replacement for him as soon as possible.
Manager Unai Emery has spoken of replacing the Welshman internally. This could mean a promotion into the squad on a regular basis for youngster Joe Willock. Ainsley Maitland-Niles could also be pushed back into his natural position in the centre of midfield, instead of being wasted in the right-back position..
However, Arsenal should be looking at a player of slightly higher calibre. They have been linked with Real Madrid midfielder Dani Ceballos. The talented 22-year-old has struggled to find much game time at Los Blancos, and Real are keen on loaning him out. The midfielder would be a good signing for Arsenal, and would be desperate to prove himself as a top player.
A Number Ten (Who Doesn’t Consistently Go Missing)
It’s time for Arsenal to ditch Mesut Ozil. He has quite frankly been a failure at Arsenal and is seemingly regressing every season. Unai Emery is keen to get rid of the inconsistent German but is struggling to find suitors for the playmaker – who is on £350,000 a week.
Regardless of if the Gunners can shift Ozil, they need to find a number 10 to take his place.
James Maddison is a fantastic young player with bags of potential who would be a superb acquisition for Arsenal. However, the potential fee would probably make this difficult, so Emery will have to plead with the board to splash out.
A Pacy, Direct Winger
Although the defence should be the priority for Arsenal, they are also desperately in need of a direct winger to take on opposition full backs.
Arsenal generally either play a three at the back with five across midfield, or a narrow diamond formation last season. This was purely because they lack any quality wingers. Alex Iwobi is the only natural winger in the first team, which is honestly staggering to think.
Reiss Nelson will return from his loan move to add some much needed width, but the Gunners still need to make sure they add another quality winger to their set up. They have been desperately trying to sign either Bournemouth’s Ryan Fraser or Belgian Yannick-Carrasco, but have had no luck so far.
Crystal Palace talisman Wilfried Zaha has also pleaded with Palace to let him join Arsenal, with the North London club set to make a bid. Zaha would be the perfect man to sort this problem position out, however, with Palace being stubborn and asking for a mammoth fee of £80m, a deal is looking less likely than one for Fraser or Carrasco.
Source : 90min