Arsenal’s summer shopping list – Who should Arteta be looking to bring in?
With a big overhaul of Arsenal's squad expected this summer, which players should Mikel Arteta be targeting during the transfer window?
It is fair to say Arsenal’s recruitment over the past decade has left a lot to be desired and there have been more misses that hits for the three-time Premier League champions, who are miles away from the ‘Invincibles’ squad that won the title in the 2003/04 season.
Andre Santos, Marouane Chamakh, Sebastien Squillaci, Gabriel Paulista, Mohamed Elneny, Lucas Perez and Joel Campbell – they are just some of several signings that have failed to make the grade at the Emirates.
However, it is not all bad for the Gunners and they have had success in the market, notably the additions of Alexis Sanchez, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Laurent Koscielny and Mesut Ozil (although he has been getting a hard time of things over the past couple of seasons).
The current Arsenal squad is nowhere near good enough to challenge for the Premier League, let alone get back into the Champions League, and it is very apparent that Arteta knows this as he revealed summer transfer plans are already being discussed.
“Absolutely. I have to tell the club where I think we can improve and aim,” the Spaniard said at his press conference on Friday. “If we all work together to make a plan and execute it and make that process as quick and short as possible.”
So with plans already in motion, which players should the Gunners be looking to sign?
One thing Arsenal have been missing for well over a decade now is quality centre-halves. You look at some of the previous players they have had. Tony Adams, Sol Campbell, Martin Keown. They all scream leadership and a no-nonsense style of play, giving everything for the shirt.
The Gunners need to bring this type of individual to the club and they wouldn’t be going far wrong if they made a move for Napoli star Kalidou Koulibaly, who has a glowing reputation in world football.
A huge transfer battle is expected for the Senegal international as several clubs circle but, if Arsenal want to get back to competing at the very top, they need to go all out to land the defender.
Interestingly, ex-Arsenal midfielder Santi Cazorla says his old club have been in contact to gauge his opinion on transfer targets Samuel Chukwueze and Pau Torres, who is a centre-back.
At 23 years of age, there is certainly a lot of potential in this signing, but a more experienced head must arrive at the Emirates in the summer.
Adding some steel to the centre of midfield is another must for the Gunners, who have never really found a replacement for Patrick Vieira. Leicester City’s Wilfred Ndidi would be a perfect addition to the squad as he continues to thrive at the King Power Stadium.
The Nigeria international has been integral for the Foxes this season, helping them climb to third in the table, and there is expected to be plenty of interest in his services in the next transfer window.
It will be hard to tempt the midfielder away from Leicester, who are on course to return to the Champions League, but the opportunity to play for a club like Arsenal doesn’t come around every day.
With doubts over the future of both Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette, Arsenal could do with bringing in some reinforcements and, as stated earlier in the story, they are looking at Villarreal’s Chukwueze.
However, Celtic’s Odsonne Edouard, who continues to rip it up in Scotland, would be a fantastic signing and he would be a perfect replacement for Lacazette if he were to leave in the summer.
The 22-year-old has scored 20 goals from 23 Scottish Premiership appearances this season and he looks ready to make the switch to the Premier League for the first time in his career.
James Mason grew up in Northumberland so is entrenched in both the football and golf scenes. A low handicap golfer, he also follows Newcastle United and predicts big things under Rafa Benitez.