Which positions do Arsenal need to strengthen this summer?

Which positions Arsenal must strengthen in the close season?

 

That’s a million-dollar question for the Red Half of London. Difficult decisions need to be made, and the same mistakes of the past should be circumvented. The first thing Arsenal fans will be barking out at Arsenal’s recruitment staff would be: Don’t sign old players from Chelsea! We are not a retirement home!

Obviously, your views and our views will be contrasting. Thus, we would like you tell us about “where do you think Arsenal should strengthen” in the comments section below.

Goalkeeper: Every goal Bernd Leno concedes is scrutinized by the Arsenal faithful almost religiously. The one question they come up is “would Emi Martinez have saved it?” Although, it’s pretty natural for Arsenal fans to bring up that talk, they should now just learn to move on. They had two fantastic goalkeepers for one position and sold the one for whom they received the offer for.

runarsson

Arsenal’s Icelandic goalkeeper Runar Alex Runarsson during the English League Cup quarter final football match between Arsenal and Manchester City at the Emirates Stadium, in London on December 22, 2020. (Photo by Adrian DENNIS / AFP)

As a response to the departure of the Argentine, Arsenal looked at the market for a young goalkeeper. Arsenal’s goalkeeping coach Inaki Cana gave a recommendation on French side Dijon’s Alex Runarsson. The rest, Arsenal fans would say, “was history.” Mikel Arteta eased the tension among Arsenal fans by assuring that Runarsson “knew his role” before signing for the Gunners, which was as a third-choice keeper. Even though Arsenal signed Maty Ryan, the recruitment staff is not a great fan of the Australian, as The Athletic reported, due to his poor underlying statistics. Arsenal should try to sign a homegrown keeper who is young and has the potential to replace Leno from the helm in a few years’ time.

Freddie Woodman and David Raya top our list.

 

Right-back: As we covered before, Arsenal need to make a bold decision regarding Hector Bellerin. Even though he has a chance of getting better after that horrific injury in 2019, the Gunners should not weigh their future success on “mere chance.” Tough decisions need to be made when they should.

The Arsenal board, for too long, have made the same mistake by keeping the players for too long and then seeing them leave for free. A player in the mould of Kieran Tierney, who can defend but also can charge up and down the field would be ideal.

Tariq Lamptey and Achraf Hakimi tops our list.

 

Right-sided CB:  Just six months ago, Arsenal could have featured in a six-a-side game by playing only their center-backs. Such was the condition at the Emirates that they started the current campaign with seven center-backs on their books. Contract termination of Sokratis and Mustafi have eased the weight in that position, but Arsenal have some crucial decisions to make come the summer of 2021. Whether to hand David Luiz a contract extension? Whether to keep hold of Calum Chambers?

Dinos Mavrapanos has been continually impressing the club with his performances in Germany, and reports emerged this week that he will be given a chance to prove his worth. But before all that, even the Arsenal fans who are not that ardent would hope that something works out between William Saliba and Arsenal.

Ibrahima Konate and William Saliba tops our list.

Second choice LB: Reports emerged last month that Arsenal were pushing hard to sign either one of Southampton’s Ryan Bertrand or Crystal Palace’s Patrick Van Aanholt. But The Athletic’s David Ornstein was quick to dismiss such speculation. He reported that Arsenal never considered either of them as “serious option” and believed they had the cover “for the meantime.”

It is widely believed that The Gunners will try to acquire a young left-back with vast potential, who will learn from Tierney by being an understudy and who might eventually take the reigns if the Scotsman departs.

Josh Doig and Tyrick Mitchell tops our list.

Center Forward:  Arsenal will be on the lookout for a center-forward even though they are currently well stocked in that department. The aim of the club would be to tie down the prodigal Folarin Balogun. But with the time ticking and both the parties failing to agree on something, it looks likely that the British-American will depart the Emirates this summer. Moving on, it is also discussed in various English newspapers that Arsenal would listen to offers for Eddie Nketiah and Alexander Lacazette come this summer. Whatever happens, it will be intriguing to look out for.

Patson Daka and Folarin Balogun tops our list.

Is that a fair assessment, Gooners?

Yash Bisht @Arsenal09

Tags Balogun Bellerin Ryan

29 Comments

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  1. S.J says:

    Goal Keeper – We need a second goal keeper to compete with Leno.

    Left Back – We need another left back to compete with Tierney.

    Central midfielder – Xhaka has been good these past games, but we need a midfielder that can impact in big games more.

    Attacking midfielder – It is risky to rely on Smith-Rowe as our only attacking midfielder.

    Left winger – The only good option we have on the left wing is Martinelli, so we need to add another talented left winger. Willian’s age will disturb his performance on the left wing.

    This 5 positions are were we have pressing needs.
    Aubameyang, Lacazette and Balogun are good strikers. Nketiah can be sold.

    Bellerin and Cedric are both capable of doing a good job at Right back.

  2. PJ-SA says:

    Either for MA to learn how to break down teams that park the bus …..or…..a new manager that can break down a team that parks the bus.

    We beat Leeds because they don’t sit deep and attacked us. I have yet to see a tactic in place that we use against teams that sit.

  3. gotanidea says:

    The priorities would be better arranged like this:

    1) LB: Tierney has no competitor, he’s prone to injuries and our left wing attack is dull if he’s absent. I bet Arsenal would get a cheap LB due to the bad economic situation, so Josh Doig and Tyrick Mitchell or loaning Junior Firpo are viable options

    2) CF: Lacazette is getting older/ slower and Aubameyang can’t always play well in the CF position, so we’d likely get a cheap CF if we manage to sell Lacazette. Patson Daka would be pricey and Balogun is unproven in EPL, but Odsonne Edouard would be available at a bargain price due to his contract expiration date

    3) GK: Matt Ryan would also not be expensive due to his contract length with Brighton and we’d likely make him permanent if he plays well. Dejan Iliev will return from loan and Arthur Okonkwo could be Leno’s understudy, so we’re pretty safe in this department

    4) Left-footed DM: If Xhaka would like to leave, we’d have to find his replacement. Someone here recommended Teun Koopmeiners, which is a good find and would likely be cheaper than the likes of Eduardo Camavinga/ Marc Roca/ Mikel Merino

    1. Devon Addison says:

      I agree. Still think we need another versatile attacking minded mf/ winger. Saka and smith rowe are doing great but the rest of the options are below par

      1. gotanidea says:

        We’ve got Nelson, Cottrell or Patino to compete with Smith-Rowe. Whereas Pepe could still force Saka to put in extra effort, if Pepe isn’t transfer-listed

    2. Kev82 says:

      Camavinga will probably end up at Madrid mate and don’t think Xhaka will leave this summer anyway

      1. gotanidea says:

        I’d be happy if Xhaka stays, otherwise Koopmeiners looks decent enough to be his replacement

  4. Wyoming says:

    Arsenal are stuck with players on vast salaries which no club will buy.
    Auba Laca Torreira Cedic Bellerin Niles Willock Xhaka Pepe Willian. All these players can do an Ozil and run down their contracts leave on a free and collect a fat retirement salary at their last club. With Partey Martinelli and Tierney injury prone 25m Saliba not wanted Guendouzi in a huff there is only a limied transfer kitty available. Next season will be another transition season easing more mplayers out. 2022-2023 will see the new Arsenal emerge. EL is now our best chance for CL.

    1. PJ-SA says:

      Been in transition since the last 5 years of Wenger’s reign allegedly…..at what stage does this transition actually materialise?

  5. AUBA_14 says:

    Sell: Lacazette, Bellerin, Torreira, Nketiah, Willock
    Keep: Bollagun, AMN
    Buy: LB, CF, DM and AM

  6. Grandad says:

    In an ideal World we should look for two good quality players to cover each position.However in the harsh reality of a Covid pandameic, and subsequent economic crisis, in the case of our Club, we will have to sell before we can buy.In terms of sellable assets ,Laca, Guendousi and Torreria might attract interest but I doubt if we would get more than 50m for the three.In terms of additions, I assume Ceballos will return to RM In which case we need at least one midfielder, particularly if Odegaard departs.Ryan to me is a very decent back up for Leno and his team mate at Brighton , Eves Bissouma would be the first name on my shopping list.There is no point in speculating further as, it’s a question of needs must rather than retail therapy.

    1. ozziegunner says:

      👍

  7. Samuel Akinsola Adebosin says:

    I am honestly of the believe that Arsenal have not yet switch ON to next summer players transfer window MODE.

    For, they are currently in the MODE of improving their standing in the Premier League table to get a top-four place finish this season that will guaranteed them a participation place in next season’s Uefa Champions League competition.

    But I believe Arsenal will switch ON to next summer players transfer window to offload some for selling and to sign some new players after this season’s campaign has come to an end.

    So therefore, I think it’s a bit early on our part as Gooners to start agitating for next summer players offloading and new recruitment by Arsenal.

    But nevertheless, I am suspecting Arsenal might sign Davis Luiz to another one year contract extension if he continues to play very well for Arsenal as he’s currently playing for them and improved on his defensive quality performance in games for the club in their remaining games in the PL and ELC this season.

    Luiz is one old Chelsea player who Arsenal have signed last 2 summers and he is giving Arsenal value for their money. But as for Willian who is another old Chelsea player that Arsenal have signed last summer. He’s yet to start giving Arsenal value for their money in his performances for the club in the PL this season. Save, the singular good performance that he had for the club in the opening day season PL match away to Fulham.

    Nonetheless, I believe Willian will not be happy in the current lackluster performance position that he has found himself at Arsenal. And I think he’ll do all he could to see that he is best at performing credibly well in games for Arsenal before this season runs out.

  8. OnceGreat says:

    Very fair assessment. I’d go on and add another defensive midfielder in the mix because Ceballos will leave and Elneny should leave.

  9. jon fox says:

    A well thought out article with nothing I could take great exception too and many sound suggestions. HOWEVER, all these arguments for or against such and such coming or leaving depend ENTIRELY ON MONEY. And money is what we do not have, as do not almost all other clubs too.

    Our saleable assets, of those we WISH to leave, and for ANY real money(not total peanuts) are very limited therefore, as there need to be buyers with money for it to happen.

    Grandad, a wise voice on here, has it about right in his list of LACA, GUENDOUZI AND TORREIRA. I would add Bellerin, who though only worth peanuts, IMO, might fetch more.

    Personally, had we any money, I would be keen to lose XHAKA too but do not see it happening, sadly, this summer. All told, and across most Prem clubs, there will be very few big money buys at all, save City and possibly Chelsea and United.

    Our incomings are mostly going to be loans again and the trick is to get all those we don;t want and who are no use gone, hopefully for at least SOME peanuts, but if not, then gone anyway, however we can get rid of them.

    I much agree with the article on NO MORE old, past it, Chelsea rejects. Nor any ageing rejects from any other club!

    1. guy says:

      yes Jon, I think MA and the rest of the team learnt a lesson having been burnt with Willian. Luiz worked to an extent though – take out the points his errors have cost us(!) and he has been a great success at the club.
      Agree about Xhaka – for me he is right at the back of the outbound queue as he still serves a purpose, so he will be here for a while yet.

  10. guy says:

    Valid comments from Samuel. The only certainties are that nobody, including us, has any cash, and more and more players are habitually happy to run down their contracts on a high wage. So unless they are ambitious low wage earners here most clubs cant afford their salaries, let alone a fee. Be prepared for only minor movements, lots of loans, with free departures only at contract end.
    Willian was a good player as recently as lost season, and a model professional at Chelsea. I cant believe this 80% drop in form is either deliberate or permanent. His confidence is just shot, and having covid didnt help. He will improve, the unknown is by how much. On that basis and the fact we are stuck with him, MA is trying to play and coach him back to form, it is understable why he often comes on as sub. Whilst I hate it, I see why its happening. Its working, albeit slowly, with Pepe, so why not Willian?
    Balogun’s agent is a nightmare. He habitually gets the best deals for clients by running down contracts and spreading rumours about all the other clubs wanting him. At the 11th hour clubs get so desparate they offer big contracts. The guy is also Saka’s agent and look how worried we were. So dont be despondent – I think he will stay.

  11. guy says:

    Trying to be realistic I am working on the basis that we can ony afford a couple of quality players tops, and my priorities are
    1 central striker
    2 LB
    3 AM – ideally Odegaard
    Whilst we also need a GK, D/CM, RB, RCB I think any that come will be older players or loans
    Next season I expect to see GM Partey and Tierney regularly, along with more time for Balogun and Azeez, and (I hope) the reintegration of Saliba and Guendouzi. Put all of those into your teamsheet excluding any new signings and we are a very young, very decent side. And its real, not a pipe dream

    1. jon fox says:

      Yes Guy, real hope for next seasin. Though personally, I hope and also expect it to EXCLUDE Guendouzi. I do not see MA welcoming back what he and I consider a trouble maker.
      Any succesful and harmonised club needs ALL players singing from the same “one for all and all for one” hymnsheet. I do not see Guendouzi as willing or humble enough to do so, frankly. I am very sure MA does not either.

      I also think , now that Ozil Kolas and Mustafi have all left, there is a noticeable better team spirit in the club. I cannot imagine MA being so out of touch with the need for harmony as to allow a maverick back on board.

  12. FFO says:

    Any departure should include AMN. And i think left winger should also be bought.

  13. Martin says:

    Firstly, let look at the front line. I totally agree we need to cell Lacazette and Nketiah and agree a deal with Bolagun. It’s all about got the balance right up front and has enough players in every position. The strikers can be Auba, Martinelli and Bolagun, we don’t need another high profile striker and then we don’t know how to give everyone game time. The wingers can be Saka, Pepe, also Martinelli and Nelson. We can also get rid of Willian. That leaves Smith-Rowe as our only playmaker, and that we need to address. I suggest we go from a 10 that can also play wing, because Martinelli will also be a backup 9 and maybe Nelson move on or we move him on as well. And this so be our main target and we so being doing everything in our power to make it happen, JACK GRENLISH. Even if this is the only signing we make.
    Secondly, in the midfield we need to cell Xhaka, Torreira, Willock, MNN and let Elneny go. That will leave us with Partey and Matteo. We need 2 more, maybe buy one and promote one for the academy.
    Thirdly, defense, we can’t buy player like Saliba, Gabriel, Mari and just keep them at the back, we must let then glow. CB’s can be Holding, Gabriel, Chambers, Saliba and Mari, we can let Luiz leave. RB’s can be Bellerin and Cedric. LB is Tierney, so we need a back for him, buy or promote from the academy.
    Fourthly, we need to buy a good back-up goalie
    Lastly, I think we need to replace our one eye coach, this guy is not doing a good job, and it is just one apprenticeship stuff one week after another. His team selections, subs, managing players on and off the pitch, just look how players are speaking out as soon as they are out on loan. Look at our last game, first sub Willian that was poor stuff, even game time for Chambers would be acceptable. He just had to show us again that he is an apprentice. Next season we need to take this club forward, I am not sure if so full errors guy is the right person to make all these imperative calls. We need to bring youngsters forward next season and I am not sure if this guy is capable of doing that.

  14. Shine says:

    I agree mostly.
    1. Defender who can play both left and right side.
    2. Martin Ode if can sign permanently in future. But I guess he’s for sale at least for 30m region.
    3. Striker. Who can play as winger too. If possible.
    4. Sell Willian and a few below avg players.
    5. Promote 1 talented youth player in each department. Playing Willian it’s not much of a difference so why not Get a youth player playing at least got the energy drive n experience to gain.

  15. Kobin says:

    Sorry to burst your bubble Martin, we have had our own Jack, his last name is Whilshere. No way the Aston Villa ace coming to us. 😁 Even in this cash strip world, there are the Cities and Utds and Reals who if they offer Grealish a contract would blow us out of the water.

    1. Martin says:

      Hi Hotshot Kobin

      You are not burst my bubble, I agree Jack will be a difficult target, but no deal in soccer is impossible, especially if you can get the player to buy into that idea. If this is you ambitious that you shouldn’t be near our recruitment team.
      If we cell Laca, Xhaka, Torreira and even some of the small boys like Joe, Eddie and MNN and also free up the wages of Luiz and Willian. We will be past half way there and plus a structurally deal, make is a big possibility.
      This one eye coach have real mess-up Arsenal, even some of our fan have now a mid-table mind-set
      And who the hell is Whilshere is our current squad, you are in the past my friend. I am not 100% sure but I think your Jack is currently playing in the Championship
      Please free us from the one eye and school of blindness

      1. Martin says:

        Hi Hotshot Kobin

        I am real sorry for the name Jack Whilshere, I was a great fan of him, but hell you must be the head boy of the school of blindness

  16. Kobin says:

    I will say we raid the Dutch league, plenty good prospects there last time I checked. Perhaps we can buy our own Grealish!

  17. David says:

    It’s probably not a popular opinion but I really think if Arsenal makes the loans permanent and integrates most of the talented players they loaned out this season there will be a great sqaud that can grow to the next level together. Even at left back, just use the academy.

  18. Paul says:

    I see some people saying we sell lacazette. Who does that🤦? Sometimes one may wonder do we really watch the same games?
    Onto the discussion I think our midfield area has been the department performing below standards as compared to the other areas this season. We just can’t break teams setting low defensive blocks. i think we should concentrate on reinforcing the team with good quality players in CDM, and attacking midfield area (no 10) plus a good backup LB.

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