Arsenal are interested in signing versatile ace Oleksandr Zinchenko from Manchester City this summer as Mikel Arteta looks to overhaul his side once again.
Over £140 million was spent on six recruits a year ago with the likes of Aaron Ramsdale, Martin Odegaard and Ben White all arriving in north London and making an instant impact. Arteta will be hoping for a similar run of deals this time around and a number of big names have been linked with a move to the Emirates.
With European football back on the cards next term, greater squad depth will be a priority. But another aspect that will be looked at is their mentality. The Gunners came in for plenty of criticism towards the end of last season for surrendering their Champions League spot in the final weeks with defeats to the likes of Crystal Palace and Brighton in particular costing them. Former Liverpool defender and pundit Mark Lawrenson recently reiterated that need to strengthen in the mind.
“It’s a bit harsh on Arteta. You can see what he’s trying to do,” he said in an interview with 888Sport. “He got rid of Aubameyang to Barca because he’s no good in the dressing room. He’s a good player but if you’re got all these talented kids you need a good dressing room. It could never happen of course but a Tony Adams at Arsenal now would be brilliant. In every single way.
“I only know about Liverpool’s dressing room but Milner, Van Dijk and Henderson run it. There is stuff in there that happens that never reaches the manager and that’s exactly what you want.
“With Arsenal, Arteta is changing things slowly but still, you look at them and they can win four or five on the spin but then they lose three. He needs to get at them in between their ears as much as anything because they’ve got massive ability.”
One way they can improve that squad mentality is by bringing in players who know how to handle such pressured situations. With Arsenal’s relatively young squad, it is perhaps not too big a surprise they struggled at points.
But City boss Pep Guardiola has already shown that Zinchenko could be the man to provide this missing link, praising the Ukranian for his reliability and ability to deal with high-pressure moments.
“He is a reliable player, honestly. Sometimes when he plays less or didn’t perform like normal, it’s because he’s a human being,” Guardiola told the club website back in April. “What happens in his country, we cannot forget it. I know Oleks – the way he played is not necessary for us to know who he is.
“He is focused, a guy who handles the pressure, otherwise he would not have played the Final of the Champions League. We rely on him a lot but there are periods when other players are better or more confident in this specific moment of the season, and that’s why he maybe plays less in this point in the season.”