Arsenal fans will be hopeful of a successful summer transfer window after narrowly missing out on Champions League qualification last season.
Following back-to-back eighth-placed finishes for the Gunners under Mikel Arteta, it was a much more respectable fifth-place finish in the 2021/22 campaign. Although having been in control of the top-four race heading into the final three games, not sealing a return to Europe’s elite club competition will have been a bitter pill to swallow.
Having gone so close only to fall at the final hurdle with injuries and a loss of form to key players at a crucial stage of the season proving to be Arsenal’s undoing when things were all said and done, it simply highlights the task facing Arteta and technical director Edu this summer.
The key to avoiding a repeat of last season’s mini-collapse and reclaiming a place in the top-four after seven years will be to freshen up the squad in terms of new signings as well as making big decisions on a few long-serving players as well as those coming back from loan spells.
Signing a total of six players last summer with Benjamin White the most expensive addition, all the talk over the next few months is going to be about if the Gunners exceed the spend of £140m as bolstering several areas in the squad is on the agenda at the Emirates Stadium.
As the rest of the top-six will look to splash the cash to strengthen, Arteta and Edu are going to have to work their magic or Arsenal run the risk of falling capitalise on the progress made last season. So where do the Gunners need to strengthen and what would their ideal squad look like come August? football.london takes a look.
This area is somewhat straightforward, although a decision must be taken as to who will act as the third-choice goalkeeper next season. There’s a strong argument that Arthur Okonkwo needs a loan spell after spending most of last season either on the bench or in the stands, whilst Karl Hein’s development would be aided by another temporary move away.
In any case, neither would need to be named in the 25-man Premier League squad for next season as they can be registered in the Under-21 players’ list who are eligible throughout a season
As for the two main roles, Aaron Ramsdale is expected to be the first-choice goalkeeper but his competition will change with Matt Turner joining from New England Revolution to take over from Bernd Leno who is attracting interest from newly-promoted Fulham which offers him a chance to stay in London.
Despite playing relatively regularly for OH Leuven last season, football.london understands the Belgian side are reluctant to pay the amount required to trigger their option to buy in his loan deal. The Icelandic keeper is not part of Arteta’s plans and will be allowed to leave this summer should the right offer come in.
It could be a case of two in and one out for Arsenal this summer. William Saliba is returning after a successful loan spell at Marseille, although just like Okonkwo and Hein, the Frenchman doesn’t have to be named in the Premier League squad either as he can be registered as a U21 player because he was born on or after 1 January 2001.
Meanwhile, The Athletic claim the Gunners want to bolster their defensive options even further by targeting Ajax’s Lisandro Martinez. The 24-year-old is seen as a top priority due to his ability to play at centre-back and at left back, and his arrival could lead to the exit of Nuno Tavares who has been linked with a loan move to Atalanta in recent days.
Other than that, Arsenal’s defensive options are likely to be as they were after the January transfer window closed with Tomiyasu, Cedric Soares, White, Gabriel Magalhaes and Kieran Tierney completing the set as Hector Bellerin and Pablo Mari expected to depart once again.