Which areas do Arsenal still need to strengthen this summer?

Where Should Arsenal Strengthen? by Will M

 

Victory in the Community Shield has provided the best possible curtain raiser for the upcoming Premier League season, and following on from the FA Cup success earlier in the month, it has given Arsenal fans, players and manager a boost in confidence for the challenges to come.

 

But Mikel Arteta will be under no illusions about the size of those challenges. An eighth-placed finish is simply unacceptable for a club of Arsenal’s stature, and while bookmakers are assuming they will improve on that finish in 2020-21, anyone placing a bet on the Gunners’ season at top betting sites will notice that they are still a long way short of the Premier League front runners.

 

If Pierre Emerick Aubameyang stays, one of Arteta’s biggest potential headaches will be eased, and the arrival of experienced forward Willian will further strengthen what is already one of the top front lines in the country, if not in Europe, even without the out-of-favour Mesut Ozil. The fact that Ashley Maitland-Niles has expressed his desire to stay at the club is also a big boost given his recent upsurge in form.

 

That will still leave a fair amount of rebuilding to be done, and it isn’t clear how much firepower Arteta will have at his disposal in the transfer market. Last summer, Stan Kroenke bankrolled the club’s net £118 million spend and he may not be willing to go to the same lengths this time round. The fact that the club laid off some of their scouting staff during the lockdown, apparently to save on wages, will also have worried many Arsenal fans.

 

At the same time, Arteta will be entitled to ask for the same level of support given to his predecessor, and the fact that he has already contributed two pieces of silverware to the Gunners trophy cabinet will be a strong argument in favour of his way of doing things. So what areas should Arsenal aim to strengthen as they try to return to the top four?

 

 

Defensive Midfield

 

Some of the biggest performances so far under Arteta have come through playing a defensively-resilient, counter-attacking style. That was the gameplan that delivered a famous FA Cup Semi-Final victory over Manchester City and the win in the Final against Chelsea.

 

But Arteta is likely to want a more progressive style of football in the upcoming season, which will put more pressure on the defensive midfield areas of the team, and the failure of Matteo Guendouzi to establish himself, together with uncertainty over the Arsenal futures of Lucas Torreira and Granit Xhaka, means Arteta could be looking to add players in this area. Amadou Diawara could be an ideal signing but Lille’s Boubakary Soumare is another interesting possibility.

 

Playmaker

 

The eclipse of Ozil has left Arsenal short of playmaking options in the centre of the pitch, and while Willian will add some creativity to the front line, it is likely that Arteta will be looking for midfielders and attacking midfielders who can run the game in the way that De Bruyne does for Manchester City.

 

Suggestions earlier in the summer that the Gunners could be looking at Thiago Alcantara or Philippe Coutinho came to nothing, and we have to assume that speculation about Lionel Messi arriving in north London is wishful thinking.

 

But while Arteta may not be able to get a Messi or a De Bruyne, there are some potential options for him to consider. Thomas Partey would be just the dominant presence that the Arsenal midfield has lacked since the days of Patrick Vieira, but his release clause must be triggered if he is to join the team and the Gunners may be reluctant to do that so another option could be the talented and versatile attacking midfielder Houssem Aouar, currently of Lyon, who could slot into a variety of positions.

 

Back-Up Goalkeeper

 

On paper, Arsenal would appear to have the goalkeeping position locked down, but back-up keeper Emiliano Martinez’s impressive performances have drawn the attention of a number of clubs, and Martinez may not be prepared to drop back down to the bench when Bernd Leno returns.

 

The extent of Leno’s lay-off is not yet known, so the Argentine is likely to start the season between the sticks, but the prospect that Martinez might leave gives Arteta another issue to resolve, although the club will be determined to get every penny of the £20 million they believe Martinez is worth. David Raya of Brentford has been suggested as a possible solution to this problem.

 

There is no underestimating the size of the challenge facing Arteta, but he has already given Arsenal fans plenty to cheer about, and if the club can make the right moves in the transfer market, 2021 could be the year when the Gunners return to the top four where they belong…

Will

19 Comments

  1. Mbizo says:

    Loan out-Holding(get loan fee +wage cover)
    Sell-Sokratis,Chambers,Kolasinac-Cash +wage cleared equal to Gabriel signing
    Sell Bellerin(30m+Torreira,25m)then get Partey since AMN and Soares can play there without any Problems
    Mikhtaryan saved wage-pay Willian

    On this calculations Arsenal net spending will be very low and if cards are well played,little fund can be generated to accommodate signing of either Benrahma or H.Aouar

  2. Adajim says:

    I do think we will get at least 1 of Aourora or Partey, with Cebalos, we should be vying for top 4, we can promote within for the GK position and Xhaka do stay out of trouble /injuries,
    We should be able to cope in the middle.
    The tactics we play doesn’t build attack on a particular player, having good midfielder will create chances

  3. gunnerforlife says:

    Sell Guendouzi, Socrates, Torreira and Kola. Use the funds to buy Partey. If Aouar comes along all the better.

  4. ozziegunner says:

    Will, yes the previous manager did get transfer funds, but had virtually no say in how it was spent. It appears that this has been rectified with respect to Arteta.
    Unai Emery wanted Thomas Partey, so does Mikel Arteta, for good reason, as he is the physical commanding box to box midfielder Arsenal has been missing since Viera left. Arsenal has not had a decent DM since Gilberto Silva left, thus someone like Diawara or Soumare, funded from the sale of Lucas Torreira would be a great addition. A midfield of Partey, Diawara/Soumare and Aouar, with Ceballos, AMN, ESR, Willock would be a strong midfield for Arsenal now and into the future.
    Given the quality, age and potential for improvement of the goal keepers, CB’s, full/wing backs and forwards Arsenal has, combined with the Academy players coming through, a balanced squad going forward.
    The future would look bright.

    1. Dan kit says:

      Emery didnt have a say because he wasn’t trusted ,he wanted Sok and now look how that has turned out ,giving him away for nothing .

      1. Kstix says:

        That’s a lie Dan. He didn’t want sokratis. Sven mislintant brought sokratis from dortmund, come to think of it, not a single player emery wanted was brought to Arsenal, from Partey, to Nzonzi to Zaha. Not one. Not excusing his inadequacies in the second season though (which was primarily due to he losing the dressing room and the language barrier), but let’s not lie to ourselves, he was a fine coach(especially tactically). He may or may not have done better if he got his own players. Now we’ll never know, that choice was taken from him and I’m glad they’re not making the same mistakes with Arteta.

        1. Dan kit says:

          He wanted sok
          It’s widely known so maybe look it up .
          Sven wanted the lad that went to Leicester but they went for him instead .

          1. Kstix says:

            https://talksport.com/football/479389/arsenal-signings-under-sven-mislintat-kia-joorabchian/

            https://www.planetfootball.com/quick-reads/every-arsenal-signing-under-mislintat-how-theyve-impacted-the-first-team/

            “Mislintat returned to his former club once again to sign Sokratis, who Arsenal fans hoped would be the brute of a bastard to sort their defence out.
            That hasn’t exactly transpired, although the Greece international has not been helped by a number of injuries to afflict the Gunners’ backline.”

            -Excerpts from the second link.

            https://www.skysports.com/football/news/11670/11630919/why-is-sven-mislintat-leaving-arsenal-and-what-next-for-the-gunners

            Now read those and tell me again how emery was responsible for any Arsenal signing.
            For one who tells people to look things up, I don’t think you take your own advice. Mislintat was even among the people that suggested bringing emery to replace wenger. The only transfer he was against was bringing Dennis suarez from Barcelona on loan, he also had a problem with the board because they depended on a network of scouts and super agents rather than use video surveillance techniques to spot potential players.

          2. Kstix says:

            Can’t find my earlier reply to Dan. Admin what happened?

  5. Sean Williams says:

    Firstly…..why the **** are we selling Guendouzi. Are we doing another Gnabry. He’s a hotheaded boy. Raheem Sterling has grabbed everybodies throats. Louis Suarez lunches on EARS. Guendouzi has great potential.

    For me a schemer who works hard, Houssem Aouar. Class. Also the new Mahrez, Saïd Benrahma.
    Forward line speaks for itself.

    Sell Bellerin and Torreira, if we can Mustafi, for funds and maybe even Lacazette. Keep Chambers in case of multiple injuries. to CBs, FBs and DMs.

    1. Dan kit says:

      We are selling Matteo mate because he’s sh1t

    2. jon fox says:

      Sean From many comments on here, it is clear that YOU are among a small minority of (almost all) younger fans who wish to keep Guendouzi – who seem to think that Leopards can and will change their spots – whereas the large majority of older, wiser and also many younger folk know leopards do NOT change their spots, nor arrogant players their nature.

      Trouble makers are poison at any club and in any team sport. Wiser fans know this . Some do not ! Fortunately, the one whose views matter, Arteta, does know!

      1. Sean Williams says:

        That can be true Jon. But also the opposite can be true. Raheem Sterling was ultra hotheaded. It depends if Arteta wants to give him a chance. In first instances my wisdom tells me it’s good to forgive. We’re not like the States three strikes and you are out. Life imprisonment for a row. If we get Houssem Aouar or a really quality midfielder, then yes, sell him. At the moment our midfield is as dire as it has been. We have a snory, zzzz, below par midfield.

        1. Goonster says:

          Rooney, Tevez, Delli Ally etc were all hotheads.
          Even our own Wilshere was a hothead.

          1. Sean Williams says:

            Goonster

            You are right

            There was the famous incident when Wilshire spat in a cab drivers face.

          2. Khadii says:

            Yes, i totally understand.. And its necessary some times to be hotheaded especially against your opponents.. Eg Vieira, Ibrahimovic, Rooney, Roy Keane etc..
            But on Guendouzi’s case, I don’t thinks its the scuff with the Brighton players as much as his unwillingness to apologize to his teammates and coaching staff when asked to do so.. Thereby undermining their authority and totally disrespecting them..
            He had the same issue with Arteta during the warm weather training camp in Dubai.
            He seemed to not have learnt from his mistakes unlike Maitland Nile who Arteta affirmed has totally changed his attitude.

        2. RSH says:

          when was sterling a hot-head? That was all part of a racist media crusade against him. Are we really gunna dig that up?

      2. Sean Williams says:

        Jon you are making me smile. I am quite older than you. My spirit is young but my body is old. Be well and may all around you be well.

  6. JW says:

    “What Do We Need To Do To Strengthen” is the crux of this article.
    I would strongly suggest that first we “stop” trying to weaken the team.

    1) I recently bought a mirror so I can look at myself to see if I look MAD. I must be mad, because I appear to be the only person who thinks our Number One Keeper is Martinez, NOT Leno!!
    Why are we not looking to sell Leno instead of Martinez?

    2) We have beaten the three top teams in the League with Holding, AMN, Bellerin and Martinez in the defense. You might think this is a good group, But no, it appears that at least three of these players are on the block (and without the England call up for AMN it might have been all four).

    3) We need a big strong imposing defensive midfielder!!!

    4) We need a number 9 who can score (I think Southampton have one!!)

    5) We need another “Top Class” midfielder (NOT ANDERSON from West Ham)

    Of Course the chances of any of the above happening are slim (maybe we can at least do number three)

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