Analysis of how many players Arsenal will need in this crucial summer window

We have a lot of work to do in the summer by Max Roe

With the termination of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s contract, and the pending expiration of Alexandre Lacazette and Eddie Nketiah’s contracts (with both not seeming likely to be extended) we are going to be left with no senior strikers – with Flo Balogun only just starting to play his first six months in competitive men’s football in the Championship – having yet to score a goal.

And Mika Biereth who only joined the club in the summer from Fulham, and despite being the top goalscorer in the Premier League Under 18s South, is only playing his first full season of under 23 football and has only made the first team bench a few times. So, it can safely be said a lot of work is needed to be done up front in the transfer market.

Yes, we are not losing much goals from the two of them, (with Lacazette only having 3 premier goals this season, and Eddie with the grand total of 0) but we are left with a gaping hole to fill.

As Aubameyang is back to form and having a great start to his new life in Barcelona under Xavi, after struggling for the past year and a half at the club. However, the pressing matter is that despite this apparent struggle, Aubameyang is still our joint third top goalscorer in the Prem – with 4 goals in the league, which for someone who played his last game for the club on the 6th of December against Everton – before being frozen out from this point until his move to Barca – is a worrying statistic.

This return to form for Auba, with him nearly matching his Premier League total already in La Liga, does beg to ask the question as to whether Mikel Arteta is the problem, and whether we have to be very specific on what strikers – and I emphasise the plural on that – we bring in over the summer, as his tactics, or persona and what he wants from his strikers has been shown to not work for all. But, currently at least, Auba is proving that when leaving to another good team, he can start scoring goals again. With four goals in four La Liga games, and another good finish in the Europa League against Napoli too.

Now, I understand you might argue that Aubameyang has actually only scored in two La Liga games, with his fortunate hat-trick and his goal last night, but in the game against Valencia, the first finish was certainly the sign of the old Auba, reminiscent of his combination with Laca in Europa League last time we played Valencia in the Mestalla. And if you’ve been watching him recently, he certainly looks like he has found some his pace again – and got his mojo back. But you have to bear in mind that this was Auba’s first start for Barca in the La Liga, so for him to core a hat-trick on his full debut is very impressive. As well as the fact that on his debut against Atletico Madrid, Auba was a 61st minute substitute, but after only being on the pitch for 8 minutes, Dani Alves got himself sent off so Barca was reduced to ten men – meaning Auba’s impact could not be felt on the game – as they sought to see out their lead.

Xhaka and Saka, as well as Nicolas Pepe and Cedric, all have 2 years on their contracts on the summer, so key discussions will need to be made, not just on incomings to bolster the pre-existing squad but also adding replacements with the potentiality that 3 of these 4 names (excluding Saka) could all leave. With Mourinho supposedly re-interested in Granit, and Pepe should just move on for the sake of his career and play for a team where he is wanted. And Cedric – despite coming into a purple patch of form recently – will be 31 at the end of August so should probably be moved on as well if we want to get a small fee for him before his price decreases to nothing.

So, if this is the case, we will need a new RW, as Omari Hutchinson – despite all the talent – can’t be expected to fill the gap of Pepe. A new back-up RB, potentially either Djed Spence or, hopefully the most likely choice, someone from the academy. As just like the England squad, we seem to be producing an abundance of RBs. E.g.: Brooke Norton-Cuffy, or a more experienced choice would be Zak Swanson, captain of the Under 23s. Who recently made the bench against Wolves? As well as the young Reull Walters who has just recently signed his first professional deal and been playing regularly for the Under 23s. And at least 3 probably 4 CMs, one to be a back CDM, for Partey – a replacement for Elneny when his contract expires and an upgrade on Xhaka. Which would then allow for rotation for Albert Sambi Lokonga and/or Charlie Patino and Mohamed Salah Eddine, unless they go out on loan.

It is obvious, a lot of work will need to be done in the summer – ignoring the fact that both William Saliba and Ainsley Maitland-Niles will have 1 year left on their contract (with Ainsley sure to leave) – and, ultimately, how much business can be done will depend on whether or not we receive the lavish financial boost in finishing 4th and qualifying for the Champions League.

With not only the attraction of players, as well as tying down players to new contracts for the long-term such as Saka, being greatly increased; by not only demonstrating potential and a ‘return’ to the elite – showing Arsenal can compete or get to compete (to be beaten) by the top clubs in Europe again. With the Champions League allowing for greater ammunition to go and buy the top players we are always without fail linked to (without any actual substance behind these rumours).

With the club last night announcing the loss of £107 million where we finish this season, will again, dictate massively for next year but also the future, as it seems this season is our last chance to finish in the top 4 before the Big 6 (plus more) allow Arsenal to fall further behind. As if we cannot make it this year, we won’t have the funds to make it anytime soon.

This summer is going to be an important one – hopefully for the right reasons!

Thanks for reading,

Max Roe.

Just Arsenal Show – Dan Smith discusses Arsenal’s chances of finishing in the Top Four

Tags Analysis transfer window


  1. OT Marsielle president has confirmed Guendouzi has hit the targets that trigger the obligation to buy clause. So that’s that’s then. Only getting £9m for him is terrible business and just highlights our poor negotiating. There should have been add ons take the eventual deal up at least £30m. Mavropanos is another example but we maybe get let off the hook with Stuttgart looking like possible relegation candidates which means his obligation clauses won’t automatically be activated meaning that he returns to the club and we either keep him or set a bigger asking price for him.

    1. As far as I understand these obligations, in case of Mavro, it’s:

      If Stuttgart is not relegated, they have obligation to buy

      If Stuttgart is relegated, then they have the OPTION to buy him

      Whichever the case, as I understand it, Arsenal does NOT have any say in the matter. Can anyone with better knowledge confirm if this is accurate? Its looking more and more likely that Stuttgart will be relegated.

        1. Just double checked obligation to buy if Stuttgart stay up, option to change the buy if relegated. Sue and DaJuhi you were both right. My bad 😅

  2. Midfielders and defenders are usually much cheaper than a CF, so we could have some trials and errors for those positions

    As for the CF position, a loan with an option to buy will be the safest method. None of our CFs possesses Lacazette’s playmaking and defending abilities, so it’s going to be very difficult to find his replacement

    1. I am sure if our scout can do a good job their are good CF that we can buy right away without loaning; Arsenal is not used to loaning a CF. Lacazette could accept a one year contract extension if his salary and bonuses is tempting. He seem to be giving his best for Arsenal. He knows age is not on his side not many top teams would buy him as their no1 CF but as a backup.
      I think we need a good DM and another skillful one to compete with M. Odegard.

      1. Who do you think we should sign as our new CF? My first choice is Havertz and the second one is Lukaku

        I agree about a specialist DM, maybe Kessie or Bissouma if he doesn’t have any legal issues. Because Partey could dribble and do other risky moves without having to worry too much about losing the ball, if he has a great DM behind him

        As for Odegaard’s competitor, we’ve got Hutchinson or Patino. If Pepe leaves, maybe we can loan Trincao to compete with Saka

        1. I used to be a big advocate for us signing Bissouma but am less convinced nowadays. He doesn’t always protect the Brighton back line as much as people automatically assume he does. Every time I watch Brighton games and focus specifically on him I see worrying traits I.e when Brighton are being counter attacked and he is caught upfield he doesn’t sprint back into position, he just jogs slowly and sometimes he can be passive in defensive phases, heck sometimes I see his attacking teammates and making more defensive contributions than him. I think it is more a mentality and concentration problem because there is no doubt he is a very good player he just needs to iron those things out of his game.

          1. Based on his highlights, he’s a box-to-box midfielder like Partey. I think Maitland-Niles deserves another chance in the deep midfield area

        2. Gai Lukaku because of his strength and pace. He will suit Arteta’s type of tactics. If Chelsea are willing to sell to a rival I won’t mind Lukakau. From what I have seen in Lili I think Jonathan David is good and his hold up okay very nice he his also pacey than Lacazette. But not much of a threat aerially.

  3. And regarding the case of having new players:

    We are extremely short. Not one of the loanees, apart from Saliba, do I expect to return (maybe Balogun).

    So assuming that, our confirmed incomings would be Saliba, Turner, Balogun.

    Expected players to leave, I would assume, are Leno, Xhaka, Elneny, Nketiah, Lacazette, possibly Cedric. Laca might be given an extension though.. gut feeling.

    If these would happen, our first team would be 17 man strong! And that would mean we would require at least 5 new players coming in, despite Laca staying or leaving.

    So we would need:

    ST, DM, CM, RB and another winger/striker I reckon.

    Looking at our youngsters, maybe Patino, Hutchinson, Ballard would be closest to being featured in the senior team. They would nicely fill up rest of the 25-man squad.

  4. This summer will be vitally important in our clubs history -heard that before! I think we all expect to be in a European competition next season whether that’s CL or EUL. Currently our squad is thin with the amount of players we offloaded in January and come the seasons end we will lose more players with contracts expiring, so we will need to buy a minimum of 5 players, 2 strikers and midfielders and a winger, possibly a back up right back if we sell Cedric and another CB depending on Saliba Situation. Trying to be realistic I would say Spence(RB) Ruiz(DLP) Phillips(DM) Doku?(LW) Broja/Nunez(ST) Origi(ST)
    If Saliba doesn’t sign a new contract then we should go for Tapsoba.
    GK: Ramsdale, Turner
    RB: Tomiyasu, Spence
    CB: Gabriel, White, Saliba/Tapsoba, Holding/Mari
    LB: Tierney, Nuno
    DM/DLP: Phillips, Ruiz
    CM: Partey, Lokonga
    AM: Odegaard, ESR
    RW: Pepe, Saka
    LW: Martinelli, Doku
    ST: Broja/Nunez, Origi

  5. Reserve RB, maybe promote from juniors

    DM/CM whatever position Partey(he can be B2B or DM) isn’t going to play we’ll need a new player

    A striker that will enjoy having useless inaccurate crosses hit his way and NEVER receive the ball through the middle of the park

    Those 3 should do it.

    1. Norton-Cuffy is doing quite well on his loan. Granted, its only at League One but stranger things have happened.

  6. 2 forwards
    2 midfielders
    Salina’s return

    Elneny, Laca and Nketiah to leave.

    This is my own personal window scenario

  7. It’s nice to speculate who Arsenal might go for in the summer but until we know where we finish in the league it’s a pretty pointless exercise.
    Finishing out of the top 4 would be disastrous for us regarding what top player would come here as we just do not have that pull like we once had .
    You also have to factor in the likes of Man Utd and the spuds who likely also be upgrading their playing squads so it’s imperative that we get that last CL spot if not we could end up fighting with the likes of wolves and West Ham for those second tier players .
    Also read a story this morning that ten Haag is Man Utd’s top target for their managerial position in the summer ,could be a big mistake and would be a crime not to have gone in for him especially if we do not get that CL spot .

  8. Out : Leno, Cedric, Xhaka, Elneny, Laca, Eddie, Nelson, Torrera, Guendozi, Marri, Mavro, Runar
    Return : Saliba
    In : Turner, CDM, RB, CF x 2 (one big signing the other option B)
    Another net spend of 150M and the tile could be coming home soon.
    If Saka fails to commit to us for long term contract, then sadly he too should be moved too. No “nice dad” anymore.

  9. Hopefully a Clinical starting striker, and a cheaper Plan B option for the crosses; a veteran striker would suit.

    2 midfielders for sure; a DM and B2B, or 2 CM’s if Partey is to be the DM next year.

    (I would like to see White as the DM, with Saliba taking his spot and then we could bring in a 3rd or 4th choice CB; a cheaper option than 2 CM’s.

    Backup RB can be filled from the academy, or even retain Cedric next year if the young academy players are not ready.

    Tavares can play on either side, so essentially Cedric would be 4th choice. No need to spend a rumored 25 million on a backup RB when we have more pressing needs for strikers and midfielders.

    Our defense should be set for the next several years, we need to address the midfield and striker positions in the Summer.

  10. Two marquee strikes
    Two Commanding Midfielders
    One Right back
    And welcome the return of Saliba
    And Turner

  11. Turner to come in with Leno probably going
    Saliba to join the squad as an active member to cover CD along with Holding
    AMN to return to the squad and cover RB and Midfield along with Cedric and Sambi respectively
    Patino to get some games in midfield as well
    Laca to go
    Eddie to stay
    Balogun maybe to come back in as 4th striker
    Buy two new strikers, I’d throw Bamford and Mitrovic as names into the conversation

    But let’s get this season finished on a high first, Come on you Gunners

  12. I don’t think there’s too much work to do this summer.

    The absolute musts are:

    1 – New Striker
    2 – Xhaka replacement
    3 – Sort out the Pepe situation. Either get him to sign an extension, or sell him. Cannot allow yet another high valued asset run their contract down.

    Optional extras:

    4 – Backup RB, but only if Cedric leaves. I am more than happy with him as a backup.
    5 – Another central midfielder, along with Xhaka replacement, if Elneny also leaves.

  13. The renewal of Saka’s contract is the most important bit of business to be done in the summer. Saka is indispensible to the Arsenal cause and first and foremost he must be bound to a long term contract, I am sure he will agree to it. Than we need a new CF, a new DM/CM and a new RB. I like the idea of our Academy players being offered the role of RB as back up to Tomi.

  14. Cf_broja and schick £80million Dm_tielemans and phillips £70million cb_saliba 0million pound Rb_brooke £0million lw_hutchinson £0million cam_patino£0million total_£150million

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