It’s no secret that the next transfer window is going to be massive for Arsenal. Having strengthened considerably with the summer purchases of Aaron Ramsdale, Takehiro Tomiyasu, Ben White, Nuno Tavares, Albert Sambi Lokonga and Martin Odegaard at a total cost of £150million the Gunners are on course to qualify for the Champions League for the first time in half a decade. Regardless of whether they make top four or not though, there is still so much more left to do.
The first steps have already been made as goalkeeper Matt Turner is set to join from MLS side New England Revolution this summer in a deal that could be worth up to £7.5million football.london understands . The American international will be coming in to replace Bernd Leno who is expected to secure a move elsewhere as he seeks to secure a place in Hansi Flick’s World Cup squad for the winter. He will be providing back up to Ramsdale, but it’s unlikely that Edu ‘s work is going to stop there.
Defence has undoubtedly been a strength of Arsenal’s this season, but as things stand the backline is looking a little thread bare. Pablo Mari ‘s loan move to Udinese means there are currently only three orthodox centre backs on the books which has seen Zach Awe forced to step up to the subs bench in recent weeks.
Takehiro Tomiyasu is capable of playing centre back, and is a regular there for Japan, but he has found his best form in a Gunners shirt at right back. With this in mind it’s possible that William Saliba could finally enter into the Arsenal squad for next season. football.london understands the Frenchman is set to hold talks with Gunners officials this summer, but if they do qualify for the Champions League then it surely makes sense to keep him around.
The 21-year-old is also capable of playing right back which could be a boost given Tomiyasu’s recent poor injury record and that Hector Bellerin and Ainsley Maitland-Niles are expected to leave. The main obstacle would be Saliba’s own desires for regular game time having played more minutes than any other player at Marseille this season.
However, the young defender admitted that, while his preference is to be a regular in the team, he is willing to fight for a place at the Emirates next season. “I’m sure I can’t just be on the bench at Arsenal and be happy,” he told L’Equipe. “I want to play as a starter. Afterwards, if I come into the rotation as a substitute, it’s not like staying with the Under-23s and never being in the squad.”
Alongside Rob Holding he could provide considerable competition the established centre back pairing of Ben White and Gabriel. With Kieran Tierney established on the left hand side, it could add a real strength in depth to the Gunners back line that makes it look even more impressive than it does now.
Midfield is another area where change is expected come the summer. Thomas Partey is an essential starter in the number six role and is backed up by the prodigious talent of Albert Sambi Lokonga, while Martin Odegaard has really caught the eye on the right side of a midfield three since Arteta tweaked his tactics in early December.
On the left hand side though there is scope for some improvement. Granit Xhaka has performed manfully in a role that is “outside his comfort zone”, but in terms of mobility and incision in the final third he is somewhat lacking. football.london understands that Roma could reprise their interest in the Swiss international this summer, and if that turns out to be the case Arsenal will look to strengthen.
Names like Fabian Ruiz of Napoli and Wolves’ Ruben Neves have been linked heavily in recent months, but one that seems to be even more strongly rumoured is Youri Tielemans. The Belgian has just one year left on his contract this summer and reports have suggested that he could be available for as little as £25million. This would be an ideal and affordable addition to the centre of the park at the Emirates, although Arteta may still harbour some concerns about his defensive awareness.
Finally, and arguably most importantly the Gunners are looking to strengthen up front. The attack has improved considerably since Alexandre Lacazette replaced Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang at its head in early December, with the Frenchman proving essential to getting the best out of Gabriel Martinelli, Bukayo Saka and Emile Smith Rowe.
His assists tally of seven since essentially taking over the captaincy from Aubameyang in December is the highest in the Premier League, but it is the fact that he has failed to score from open play since that victory over Southampton that is a big concern for the Gunners. On top of that he is currently set to leave the Emirates when his contract expires along with Eddie Nketiah, although the future of both still remains somewhat up in the air.
Flo Balogun has impressed during his loan spell with Middlesbrough, but there is an exception that more will be needed up front next season. As a result Arsenal are on the lookout for a new number nine and have been linked to a whole host of names. Most recently Darwin Nunez of Benfica has attracted some intense speculation and reports have suggested the Portuguese side want £65million for him. Should the Uruguayan arrive his devastating finishing ability could help form the nucleus of a devastating front line capable of firing the Gunners even further up the league table.