This year’s summer transfer window has seemed pretty familiar, hasn’t it? Being linked with big money moves for a few of Europe’s most well-known strikers, trying to keep our best players from joining rivals and somebody coming in on a free transfer.
Looking forward, like most Arsenal fans I’m hopeful that one of the two apparent deals for Mbappe or Lacazette happens but for this piece I’m going to try and focus on all areas I think that Arsenal can improve for next season, trying to cover both incoming and outgoing possibilities.
Starting with the goalkeepers, I think all three of our current options should be kept at the club even though that’s not looking very likely at the moment. After being out on loan at Roma for the past couple of years Szczesny has been linked with moves to Napoli and Juventus recently, which should show Wenger that he can still do a job at Arsenal. He had the highest clean sheet total in the Serie A last season as well as Playing every game, he’s definitely learned while in Italy which I think puts him in the discussion for the #1 spot.
David Ospina will most probably be the third choice if he decides not to move to Fenerbache for a rumoured £3m, which is way too low for a keeper of his standards in my opinion, but you couldn’t blame him if he does choose to move on for the better of his career. If that was the case then I’d hope the rumours surrounding us and Jordan Pickford are true. If this was to happen I’d see him as our #2, learning from the more experienced Petr Cech and Wojciech Szczesny before becoming our #1 before too long or if his performances merit a number 1 spot.
Moving onto the defence, I’d like to see us use three at the back more often next year with Rob Holding in the side. With more centre backs now being used, I’d like to see Calum Chambers moved more central as a backup to fill in when possible. Or we could possibly bring in a talent from Europe to strengthen the starting XI, players like Rugani or Manolas springs to mind. I don’t think we need major changes down the left full/wing back as the problems look to have been resolved with the signing of Sead Kolasinac. With Kolasinac in the squad though it looks even tougher for Kieran Gibbs to become the first choice there which would tempt me to let him go to Newcastle for that rumoured £15m. But we could do with a better backup for Bellerin down the right, however, that spot could be a toss-up between him and Oxlade-Chamberlain, which I only see the Ox coming out on top. That could be a very entertaining battle between the two as they hopefully look to push each other to perform even better next year.
Now we come to central midfield, a place that for me is just too crowded and has been for too long. Even though I like all our options I think it may be better to move a few on to make space for talented youngsters to find an easier path into the side. Players that come to mind when I say this are Mohamed Elneny and as much as it pains me to admit it, maybe Jack Wilshere. Despite liking both very much, moving them on could be the best thing for Arsenal going forward in my opinion. This could help a player like Ainsley Maitland-Niles get more chances in the first team and replicate the achievements of fellow Arsenal youngster Alex Iwobi, which will no doubt be welcomed by the fans.
With Granit Xhaka and Aaron Ramsey forming a good partnership towards the end of the season the regular starting spots don’t look like they’ll change anytime soon, but if I could bring in one player to improve the midfield that isn’t N’Golo Kante, its Idrissa Gueye. Playing 33 games for Everton in the Premier League last year, he made 103 tackles, 75 interceptions, and 24 key passes, with most people still wanting more steel in the Arsenal midfield Gueye could be the answer. Playing in a similar role to Kante, mopping up in front of the defence as well as being able to get the team up the pitch as he had a pass completion rate of 86% percent. But hey, that’s just a thought.
Sticking to the 3-4-3/3-4-2-1 system we used later on last season it’s time to move onto the two playing behind the striker, Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez. I guess there’s not much else to say than it’s a MUST to keep both if we want to push forward next season. With Alexis picking up 30 goals and 13 assists last season and Ozil scoring 12 and assisting 12, both can be the makers of our season next year and will definitely need to be kept if we want to challenge for a title or even for a place in the top 4. Give them new contracts!!!
Now for that position that’s talking about every summer, who should be lining up for us at striker next season? According to all the rumours, it’s between one of two French Strikers: Kylian Mbappe or Alexandre Lacazette, I think any Arsenal fan would happily take both but of course, that’s quite unlikely. The more sensible option would be Lacazette, who bagged 37 goals in all competitions last year and at the age of 26 should be reaching his peak years. A player who has pace and is clinical in front of goal, why wouldn’t we take him. But on the other hand, if all the rumours are true, this could be the only chance we have to sign someone who looks on his way to becoming a world-class striker in Mbappe. Scoring 26 goals at just 18-years-old, his future definitely looks encouraging and signing a striker who is very pacey, good at linking play as well as being clinical in and around the box could show the ambition that many people in the football world think that Arsenal lack. Personally, I think either one would be great additions to the squad and could go a long way to helping us reach at least the fans’ ambitions. Let’s just hope this doesn’t turn out like past summers.
One final suggestion I’d make for next season is to blood in a few younger players into the squad. Players like Ainsley Maitland-Niles, Gedion Zelalem, and Krystian Bielik along with others are all at the age where they can try and step into the first team and now that we’re in the Europa League which I doubt we’d take too seriously, this could be their chance to get some minutes for the first team and make an impression. Looking at players like Hector Bellerin and Alex Iwobi it gives me hope that at least one player will get their chance and hopefully this upcoming season could see some replicate them.
We’ve still got 2 months to see how the summer unfolds so hopefully we bring in some worthwhile additions as well as trim off the ‘extra fat’ of the squad but we’ll have to see how everything goes. Until then stay tuned on Arsenal Insider for some great Arsenal content.