Where do Arsenal need to invest in the summer?

As the 2018/19 season comes to a close, all footballing eyes focus on the summer transfer window with numerous rumours already brewing. No fans will be more interested in the movements at their club than followers of Arsenal. Another frustrating season peppered with inconsistency and poor away form spells the need for more change for the misfiring Gunners.

Not only this, but the departure of three experienced players from The Emirates leaves questions surrounding the state of the squad.

While the loss of these players will reportedly save the Arsenal wage bill about £325,000 per week, it highlights deeper issues. Petr Cech is retiring after a 15-year Premier League career, but Aaron Ramsey and Danny Welbeck have been released for free. Allowing two talented players under the age of 30 leave with no money coming in represents the desperation to chip away at the £220m-plus per year wage bill.

What these departures also create is the glaring need for reinforcements in the squad. Without qualification to the Champions League, Arsenal have about £40 million to play with in the transfer window, leaving Unai Emery a difficult task at hand.

As it currently stands, William Hill has Arsenal at 25/1 to win the league in the 2019/20 season, with five teams attracting better odds than them. This represents the squad situation as it stands, with the odds stacked against Emery’s side to finish in the top four.

So which areas need attention?

Opening at midnight on 16 May and closing on 8 August at 5pm, Arsenal have just under three months to make some important adjustments in the summer transfer window. But what are the most pressing issues that need addressing?

With just one clean sheet away from home all season – against 10-man Watford – the defence is just one area the Gunners need to focus on. Out of action since sustaining his knee injury against Chelsea in mid-January, Hector Bellerin has been missed and will be an asset on his return.

However, Shkodran Mustafi, Carl Jenkinson, Stephan Lichtsteiner and possibly Nacho Monreal are all defenders that Arsenal should be considering to sell and replace.

Mustafi has proven himself to be error-prone and, while full of heart and effort, Jenkinson isn’t quite at the required standard for a club aiming for a top four position. Unfortunately, 35-year-old Lichtsteiner hit on the Premier League at the wrong time in his career and is off the pace, while Monreal is also starting to suffer with the speed of the top flight.

Moving attention to the midfield, the Gunners clearly need a suitable replacement for the versatile Aaron Ramsey. A difficult task to replace a box-to-box midfielder with a prolific scoring and assist record who can also play on either wing. This situation will be a real headache for the Spanish head coach to manage.

If wages are such a concern for the Arsenal purse strings then Ozil will certainly be on the list of players to look at. His suspected £350,000 per week salary also doesn’t seem fitting with his up and down season. He’s struggled to impress Emery and, while there’s no doubting his class, the inconsistency in Ozil’s performances will give the manager something to think about. The question is, can his wages be put to better use to strengthen the squad as a whole?

One huge positive for the Gunners to focus on is the blossoming young talent coming through the ranks. Future prospects Emile Smith Rowe and Reiss Nelson are plying their trade on loan in the Bundesliga and showing incredible promise. Back home, Arsenal’s under-23s are also benefiting from midfielder Joe Willock’s goal-scoring prowess. With time and investment in these dynamic youngsters, the future could certainly be bright.

Arsenal need to consider wide options and have done since Welbeck’s injury. Releasing an international forward who can play on the wing and also centrally means Emery could actually find it a struggle to replace Welbeck. Especially as the player in question will be coming in as a third choice striker behind Pierre Emerick-Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette.

The Aubameyang/Lacazette combination is starting to flourish, with the pair developing a fantastic understanding, so Emery will be wanting to keep hold of both of those strikers. They will need support, though. All it takes is an injury or a suspension and it leaves Arsenal completely exposed.

Where do you think the squad needs strength the most? Whatever your opinion, the three months of May through to August will certainly pique the interest of Premier League fans all over the world.


  1. ForeverGooner says:

    Everywhere except strikers and defensive midfielders (I’m happy with Aubameyang, Lacazette, Torreira, Guendouzi)

    I know that’s not possible or realistic
    It will take 2-3 summers to get everyone we need

    We need:
    A top quality CB (at least 1)
    RB (Bellerin isn’t great at defending- he’s more of a winger type)
    Central midfielder (like Cazorla/Viera/Rosicky)
    Attacking central midfielder (replace Ozil/Mkhitaryan)

    1. gotanidea says:

      We need to use 4-3-3, which requires two goalscoring wingers and two mezzalas

      No place for a no 10 in 4-3-3 that Barcelona, Man City and Liverpool use

    2. Bur says:

      Guendouzi is good if you to play backward and across the pitch. He lacks pace and tackling ability.

    3. funkyrith says:

      With our budget, I really think we will sell some starters, at least one, to make room for new players. Mustafi/Elneny/Özil or Mkhitaryan should go, and we need to fill some voids with youngsters from youth ranks. Buying a CB and a winger is a must, rest depends on our budget

    4. Malcolm Townsend says:

      Can anybody tell me where this £45 million transfer budget comes from that’s a paper talk or What the board has not said anything so let us wait and see

  2. Bubbleboy4 says:

    Where to start, bring Martinez and Macey back as 2nd and 3rd choice keepers and that’s goalkeeper sorted, we need a backup fullback on both sides although signing someone like sidibe from Monaco who can play both would help with that, although I would like Grimaldo or Alex telles for lb and sidibe for rb, and 1 cb who I hope is macguire from Leicester.
    Then we need a tall powerful cm and a ball playing one, 2 choices would be doucoure and either rabiot or Andre Gomes.
    Then 1 or 2 winger, between Neres, ziyech, zaha and Pepe
    Then I personally think we need a plan b striker, a giroud type. Look what Llorente did for spurs vs Ajax, Lucas got all the plaudits for scoring all the goals but it was Llorente coming on which made the difference, maybe someone like mitrovic, or the other option is Wesley who we’ve been linked with but haven’t really seen much of him to judge but he has decent stats ?
    And then bring through some youth players in to the first team as well. I would also consider keeping chambers, versatile player who can cover 3 positions which would also mean we wouldn’t need a rb and possibly only 1 midfielder depending who else goes

    I know this is unrealistic the amount of signings but that is what I think we need, I know we may get 3 or 4 players in, but we need a lot this summer,

    1. gotanidea says:

      Rabiot and Andre Gomes are too slow in flowing the ball, like Xhaka/ Guendouzi

      Actually Xhaka is very fast when sprinting, like Sami Khedira. But I prefer a deep-lying playmaker that can make fast decisions and can see a gap in opposition’s defense quickly, like Pirlo in his peak

      I agree about the towering striker though, because Giroud was very effective as a super sub or plan B. Pepe is supposed to be the main target, because Lacazette and Aubameyang need better internal competition next season

      1. RSH says:

        Agree. Emery needs to get a midfielder that will allow us to ditch the CAM role since we have none that are reliable and get the best our of our strikers. Arsenal should really consider Van De Beek who can play an advance role and a bit deeper as well, but this would require UCL football and a lot of money.

  3. Trudeau says:

    Realistically I can only see us improving two positions via this transfer window.

    Any other improvement will have to come from promoting youngsters (like Willock, ESR, Nelson) and hoping at least one takes the chance; natural improvement in established younger players (like Leno, Holding, Bellerin, Torreira, AMN and Iwobi) and a wiser and more experienced Emery.

    My two transfer priorities would be a CB and a LB and I’d be happy to see 90% of the kitty spent in those two areas if it got us two surefire starters that improve the starting eleven.

  4. Grandad says:

    Like Trudeau I would focus on acquiring a young top quality centre back and left back.Konate of Leipzig, Firpo of Real Betis or Tierney of Celtic would be excellent buys and would represent real upgrades in these positions.Ideally our next priority should be a naturally left footed left winger but much will depend whether or not we can unload the likes of Mustafi, Kolasinac, Mik, Ozil etc.If I were in charge I would also try to sell Xhaka and replace him with Tielemans or N’diti as we have a number of promising midfielders such as Willock, AMN,ESR who are capable of making a real impression in midfield.We can but dream for a brighter future but then we wake up and remember our Club is owned by someone who does not share our ideals .

    1. Petit says:

      I like Firpo. His form had dipped, so there wouldn’t be many suitors coming for him. This means we stand a big chance getting him.

  5. jon fox says:

    “Where do we need to invest? ” EVERY position save striker and keeper. We need a good second choice keeper even so. Not Ospina nor Martinez! Most urgently an ENTIRE outfield defence and two creative hard working midfielders, PLUS a speedy and scoring winger

  6. ramterta says:

    number10/winger- I know we are probably not going to get both but we need an attacking midfielder with the feet, finesse the energy and an orchestra for our attacks. a player in the mould of Sanchez/cazorla /isco

    central midfielder- obviously we need a Ramsey replacement. maybe the reason Ramsey was let go was because there was need for a different player on his position.a disciplined midfielder capable of performing both his attack and defensive duties.

    centrebacks- I don’t expect us to sign two centrebacks but one determined ball playing centreback is required to keep out most of the attacks.

    right back-these could possibly the most crucial position to be strengthened in the summer.bellerin is out injured for a lengthy spell.its not Maitland Niles position and lichtsteimer and Jenkinson are not good enough.

  7. Akan says:

    Xhaka Mustafi and Lichsteiner cost us 14 points between them getting rid of those 3 will make a huge improvement.
    The manager must stop playing backwards football where the goalkeeper gets more passes from his own players than the forwards do,,,, That will make a lot of difference when we are pressed away from home.

    1. ken1945 says:

      Akan, how many points dropped do you equate with the team and tactics employed by UE against teams we should have beaten with ease?
      I make it at least eighteen, including our disastrous run in against the likes of Brighton, Palace, Everton.

      Nothing to do with the players when he selected the team set up against these clubs AND just two points would have seen us in the CL again.

      Here we go again, knocking the players that have seen us qualify for a european cup final and just missed out on a top four spot.
      “Get rid of the lot of them – except three players” is the cry, without any thought as to what the players and the manager ACTUALLY achieved.

      Three long term injuries, plus Kos recovering from a career threatening injury at the start of the season and yet the slaggingoff continues at a pace equal to the nonsence about Ozil’s salary.

      Of course we need new world class signings, but the likes of of those complaining about Ozil’s wage, think UE can do it without paying the going rate…both in transfer fees and players salaries.

      When will realism set in with these fans?
      One minute they want to sell Ozil because he is draining the clubs resources, then panic because Barca and Real, it is rumoured, want lacs and aba.

      If these two guys want £300,000 a week, they will get it from either of these clubs ( or chelsea, psg, manure etc etc) because their owners invest in the club…so what do The Arsenal do?
      Sell them or pay the going rate? The latter is what the club did with Ozil and both parties have been pilloried ever since.

      The most ridiculous thing of all is that not one single person has a clue what is in Ozil’s contract, the clause etc…but make these profound and utterly ridiculous pronouncements regarding his worth.

      IF the rumours are true about UE’s budget, expect more of the middle of the road journeymen players and stop bl88dy moaning!!

      1. GunnerJack says:

        Well said Ken.

        1. ozziegunner says:

          Yes Ken, just sack Emery. It’s a lot easier than upgrading the mentality and physicality of the players. Let Arsenal join the churning of coaches and managers. Who would want to come to the Emirates given these players have let down two top class managers in Wenger and Emery in successive years?.

      2. Skills1000 says:

        I agree with you 100 percent. We should stop complaining about Ozil earning 350K per week. I think we should go for De ligt from Ajax. Defense sorted out. Recall Ospina and Chambers,..get a coach to teach Iwobi how to take shots like a Man. I wonder what Steve Bould does. Does he teach the team how to defend? Our defense needs a lot of work. Alexis Sanchez has lost his way at Manchester. Out Welbeck, Ramsey, Cech, Elneny, Mustafi. In: De ligt, Doucoure. We need engine in that midfield. Stamina. That is what Liverpool has in midfield..

    2. Bur says:

      Agree whole heartedly.

  8. RSH says:

    Every position besides for Striker and GK needs investment. But since we have to be realistic, I would like us to focus on a Ramsey replacement, get a CB, Winger, LB. And these all have to be quality signings. No bargain bin buys or we are just adding to our deadwood problem. And as others suggested, just promote a GK as our 2nd choice. Martinez apparently is ready to move on and doesn’t want to be backup anymore so good luck to him if he departs as well.

  9. Lightening strikes the top of the church steeple when I'm writing says:

    We can’t obviously replace every wack player we have. Looking at limited resources – I think wingers and central midfield are most important as that would help with Emery playing his system. At the moment he needs wingers but is left with wide players that are more central players due to Wengers obsession.

    IMO we would get more point by adding wingers and midfielders rather than defenders

  10. Cliff says:

    1.Maguire/Dunk or Boly for Mustafi
    2.Alaba at left back
    3.Doucoure for Xhaka
    4.F.Anderson for Ramsey
    5.Ayozi Perez for Ozil
    6.Pepe for Welbeck.
    Then recal ESR &RN

  11. AidanGooner says:

    If it were up to me, we’d be completely ruthless and have a mass cull- buy mostly proven Prem players/battlers.

    Defence- get rid of Mustafi, Chambers, Jenkinson, Lichsteiner &…. (no hard feelings)Monreal
    Go after the top young full backs in the Prem- Chilwell & Wan-Bissaka
    Two beastly CBs, some options- Godin(available on a free- been a warrior for years), Manolas (reported £30M release clause- knows how to play with Sokaritis- although Sokaritis would mostly be benched in this scenario), Maguire- probably buyable from Leicester & a tough guy, Schar- pretty cheap option perhaps- looked solid for Newcastle

    Midfield/Wing- get rid of Iwobi, Elneny, Xhaka, Mkhytarian, Ozil
    Get either Gueye or N’didi to add physical presence, work hard and put challenges in.
    Get Doucoure as a physical presence & box-to-box to replace Ramsey & do a Vieira for us.
    Get Fraser & Zaha- used to the Prem so short settling time- proven quality on the wings to relace Mykhy, Danny & Iwobi

    SORTED 🙂

  12. mayert says:

    Actually we don’t need many players as many pundits and fans think. I would suggest 3 players:
    1. Maguire / Bailey – that’s defence sorted
    2. Kovacic – that’s midfield sorted
    3. Corman (Bayern) – that’s winger sorted

    The most important thing is choosing the right players that’s why I have lost trust in this manager. With those players the best choice would be:
    Leno, Koscielny/Sokratis, Mavropanos, Maguire, Kolasinac, Torreira, Kovacic, Coeman, Iwobi /Mkitaryan, Lacazette, Aubameyang.

    With such a lineup coupled with a new coach then the worst position would be 2nd.

  13. Mig says:

    Why has nobody mentioned the fact we will get Holding back. He’s a good young talent team
    Him up with Maguire and Sokratis and Koscienly to rotate will do fine. I can even see them becoming an England partnership. Holding was coming on really well before his injury and we should give Jordi Osei-Tutu a run he benched a lot for Wenger. We have to replace Ramsey with another dynamic provider and goal scorer playing with Xhaka and Toreira and Guendouzi plus throw in some youngster ESR, Maiteland-Nile’s and sRiess-Nelson. Then we need some youngsters for up front Willcock and that other youngster Eddie Nketiah was class when he came on against Leicester at home. Bring in the youngsters get a top class Maguire type CH and a class Midfield playmaker. Give them a shot why bother having a youth system if you don’t use it. We’ve got an exception crop of talent coming through now.

    1. Sean Williams says:

      Definitely Maguire. James Maddison too is a great player. Nathan Redmond or Wilf Zaha as winger. For me Maguire, Maddison and Zaha.

  14. S says:

    Realistically, no one is joining us. We can’t afford the transfer fees involved. As soon as we’re interested in a player, the seller jacks the price up because of the league we play in.
    Unai better be giving our youth a chance. Keeping them grounded and making sure they stick to the game plan week in week out. A new contract too early gives them an excuse to stop performing, makes them duds that we struggle to shift out of the club.

  15. Dan83 says:

    The main priority this window, and it seems it is happening/going to happen, is to strip the club of fringe / not good enough players. Cech, lich, jenko, monreal, mustafi, elneny,..
    The core is not as bad as made out. If you look at how spurs and Chelsea squads are lauded and yet finish just 1 and 2 points ahead of us speaks volumes on how negative the so called pundits are towards us. In truth we all look shite when compared to city and Liverpool because, and it hurts to admit it, they are Way ahead of all of us.. The players listed above are good players but will never be players to get you to the elite level of City and Liverpool. The club couldn’t /didn’t want to compete at that level and the squads we’ve had showed it. The question is do the board want to compete or are they happy in the 3rd to 6th safe zone.. I’m hoping by showing they’ll take the hit by letting guys go for free just to free up slots means they will seriously focus on quality rather than qty going forward..
    For what it’s worth I’d say:
    GK Leno and Martinez with youth as 3rd choice..
    RB Bellerin and promote osei-tutu as understudy
    Lb Tierney from celtic with kolosinac as squad cover
    Cb sokratis holding Chambers – I’d let Mavropanos on loan even for only 6months just to get games and if needs must I’d get Bailly in for 30m. Bielik looks promising but needs another season on loan with games as a Cb and not cm.
    Cm Love him or hate him xaxha does a job.. I’d remortgage my house to bet he won’t be sold even though I’d sell him if it meant getting in ndidí from Leicester.. With torriera, guendouzi and ndidí the middle would be sorted for years. AMN showed enough against manu last year when playing at cm for me to think he can do a job there too.
    I’d sell ozil. No agenda, obviously world class but not going to improve as a player or become Mr consistent and the constant negative stories are never good for moral fans and players alike so cash in..
    Attackers. I’m an iwobi fan, he’s potential is immense, he’s one of our own so I truly don’t get the negativity… He can be frustrating but so can auba when he misses 6yarders..He’s a stayer for me. Nelson deserves a shot and I’d rather let him develop than keep mkhy. ESR needs a full season on loan. Willock should be 1st team squad. Saka as promising youth given Cup runs.
    Strikers auba and Láca secure the top spots.. Nketiah able deputy with more game time next year. I’d have Zaha in a heart beat…

    Summary – (1)clear the decks (2)Lb Tierney (3)cb Bailey (4)Cdm Ndidí (5)att Zaha
    All not impossible buys, all bar TIERNEY are Premier ready and proven.. Here’s hoping and apologies for the long speal….

    1. RSH says:

      curious why you rate Bailey? I hear people naming him and I don’t really understand. He’s constantly injured as well.

      1. Ackshay says:

        Winger solution already in Pl. Diogo jota or Fraser for starter and Iwobi Nelson saka back up.

        1. RSH says:

          He was talking about United’s Eric Bailey, not the winger.

    2. Skills1000 says:

      You are a fan of Iwobi. A guy that takes shots like a girl. Sterling, Sane, Mane, Mahrez get a lot of goals. They are more composed and give defenders headache. Until Iwobi starts taking shots like a Man and scoring goals, then he should not be first choice next season. We need a front 3 that can get goals. so we don’t become too dependent on Lacazette and Aubameyang for goals. We should rather add to the quality we have. 433 formation if we can get a top quality winger.
      or a 4312 formation if we don’t get a winger. Can we test the waters by bidding for Martial? 55m pound bid. Doucoure, De ligt and Martial. Getting those 3 would be a statement of intent. If you want to win the league, you have to spend. It is not rocket science.

  16. Ackshay says:

    1st priority a top CB don’t care if he’s free or cost 100m. Quality better than price tag. With new cb, sokratis, holding and koscielny we are good.

    2nd priority a top winger cause we have none due to previous manager obsession with attacking midfielder.

    Rb/Lb good and not a priority with limited funds.

    Need a good cm to replace Ramsey and if possible an upgrade on xhaka who is on the bench

    A good attacking mid to replace one of ozil/mkhitaryan or both.

    Backup Striker buy youth or promote youth due to budget restraint.

  17. Sean Williams says:

    The only replacement for Ramsey is James Maddison of Leicester City. Big money centre back is Harry Maguire. When we sold the Ox and Walcott and lost Sanchez we became wingerless. Wilf Zaha is the finest winger other than Salah. They could easily give is 5 years each. Those 3 could cost us over £100 million but we could get £30 -40 million for sales of Mustafi, Elneny, Mkhitaryan, and possibly Ozil. We will be winding up contracts of the players we sell plus Welbeck and Ramsey so it could be financially possible. Are we a big club or not? I hope so.

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