Whether Arsene Wenger is in charge of Arsenal in the summer or a new man comes into the club, there is going to be a major rebuilding process taking place when the 2016/17 campaign comes to an end. The Gunners have simply not been up to the task this season, which could see them finish outside the top four in the Premier League standings for the first time since 1996.
Missing out on Champions League football could hamper Arsenal’s chances of signing some big name stars to the club, while at the same time, they have to convince the likes of Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil to remain in north London. Both players have yet to commit their future by signing new contracts, although there have been rumours that Sanchez has been offered a new deal. Their decisions are likely to made at the end of this disappointing season.
In the 2016/17 campaign, Arsenal have struggled to put together impressive performances against those ranked above them in the Premier League ladder. Indeed, as a study by online sports bookmaker Betway Insider into the over and underachievers of the season demonstrates, Arsenal have only won once at bigger odds than 8/11. That victory came against Chelsea all the way back in September, in what was arguably their finest performance of the season. They ran out 3-0 winners at the Emirates Stadium, with goals coming from Sanchez, Ozil and Theo Walcott.
Here are three players that could help Arsenal to recover next season, and put them back in contention for qualification into the Champions League and possibly the title hunt.
Joe Hart (Manchester City)
After 31 games this season, Arsenal have conceded 40 goals, which is more than any of the top seven clubs in the Premier League table. When you look at the top two sides who are still in the title hunt, Spurs have only let in 22 goals, while Chelsea have conceded 27. That is no coincidence, as Hugo Lloris and Thibaut Courtois are two of the best ‘keepers in England.
Since moving from Chelsea in the summer of 2015, Petr Cech has done an excellent job. The 35-year-old has not has the best campaign of his career this season, though. His age just might be starting to catch up with him. Another goalkeeper will also be needed if David Ospina leaves this summer, Fenerbahce are thought to be keen on securing his services.
Arsenal should go out of their way to sign Joe Hart this summer. The England number one is set to become available on the transfer market, where they may face competition from Torino, where he is currently at on loan. It is not often a world class shot-stopper is looking for a move so this is the perfect opportunity for the Gunners to adopt a ‘keeper who can be between their sticks for a number of years. He knows the Premier League well and would probably be available for £20 million, a cheap price to play for a world class player in today’s market.
Michael Keane (Burnley)
Burnley defender Michael Keane has announced he is leaving Turfmoor at the end of the season, which has no doubt alerted the attention of a number of big clubs in the Premier League. The 24-year-old has been excellent for the Lancashire club and that earned him his debut for England earlier in the season, where he started against Germany in a friendly.
Arsenal have been linked with Virgil Van Dijk this summer, but they do have a record of signing young English defenders. In 2014, they bought Callum Chambers from Southampton, while last summer they acquired Rob Holden from Bolton. Keane would be an excellent choice and would probably walk straight into the team. He knows the Premier League well and appears to be improving with every start.
Karim Benzema (Real Madrid)
Frenchman Karim Benzema has been one of the leading strikers in Europe for a number of years now. As outlined on football statistics site WhoScored, he Real Madrid forward has scored at least 20 goals in each of the last six seasons. Although it feels like he has been around at the top level for a long time, he is only 29-years-old; therefore, he still has a lot of football left in his career.
Arsenal have been lacking a number nine for a long time; that is one of the reasons why they have been linked with Arda Turin. Benzema would be the perfect fit into their team, though. If they could persuade the Real Madrid man to join, it could help keep Sanchez and Ozil at the club and also help attract other big name stars.
Before any transfers are made this summer, though, the board have to decide who will be leading the club next summer. Arsene Wenger’s contract is up at the end of the campaign and no decision has yet been made about his future at the club.
Which three players do you think would improve the team?