The Gunners have fourth placed secured and with it a Champions League Play-Off at the start of the campaign. Surely Wenger’s had some time recently to look into potential transfer targets, and we’ve identified some key areas we feel need addressing this campaign.
Firstly let’s start between the sticks. Lukasz Fabianski looks destined to depart on a free transfer, and it’s understandable after being resided to the bench for majority of this season. Whether or not he starts for the FA Cup is an entirely different story, but one thing is for certain, we need a decent established backup goalkeeper and it’s high on the priority list. Someone like John Ruddy wouldn’t be a bad option, the Englishman is set to be relegated and has proven he’s a top keeper in the Premier League. Wouldn’t be a bad step up for him to be among the Arsenal squad even if he is the second choice shot stopper.
At the back, the futures of Thomas Vermaelen and Bacary Sagna are uncertain plus we have needed another defender numbers-wise regardless. This season we managed because the aforementioned duo are versatile and can fill in centrally and on either side (in Sagna’s case anyway). Should either or both leave this summer we will require a substantial, readymade replacement.
Someone to challenge the likes of Koscielny and Mertesacker, another who can slot right in ahead of Jenkinson or at least challenge him as he has proven his potential but is not quite the finished article just yet. Flamini can also provide cover at right back if necessary but not ideal, while left back appears to be reasonably sorted.
Seamus Coleman would be the ideal signing but he will be expensive, centre backs that been suggested are Winston Reid who can also play on the right while Cheikhou Kouyate is another.
In midfield there is only one position that needs strengthening – defensive midfield. Mikel Arteta and Mathieu Flamini are the current options, while Diaby cannot be counted on. This won’t be Wenger’s priority, especially as he rates Arteta immensely, but should be a consideration. Should the chance come to sign Javi Martinez or Lars Bender, we need to take the plunge and invest – we wouldn’t regret it.
Further up in midfield we are sorted, one potential signing that has been mooted is Cesc Fabregas. If he’s available we should re-sign him as we require depth if we want to fight for all trophies. Ozil cannot play every game and will suffer injuries, while Santi Cazorla is still not quite in the class of Fabregas and the current Arsenal No 10, consistency seems to be the worry with the Spaniard.
Out wide we have plenty of options at present should Podolski not depart. Players like Gnabry and The Ox will struggle to start when Walcott is back in the mix but they represent brilliant backup options. Should we sign Cesc then we should be fine as Cazorla can predominantly operate on the left.
Now before you jump down my throat, Cesc may never happen, if it doesn’t then another winger could be an option but someone in the form of Julian Draxler would be ideal as he has the potential to develop into a centre forward, which leads us into the priority outfield position – centre forward.
We simply cannot afford to go another season relying on Olivier Giroud. Yaya Sanogo isn’t the finished article while Theo Walcott and Lukas Podolski provide back-up options that aren’t favorable. At least one out and out striker is essential, someone who has pace, is a brilliant finisher and can create goals out of nothing.
Someone in the calibre of Diego Costa is ideal, but he appears Chelsea bound. Cavani could be persuaded away from PSG as he remains firmly behind Zlatan, but names such as these appear fairytale-esk…Then again Ozil became a reality so all we can do is hope. Benzema is another option but this relies on other factors such as Madrid buying Luis Suarez or someone of that ilk. Mandzukic is another top class name that has been suggested and he’s someone we could do with, similar to Giroud in stature and style but is a brilliant finisher.
Other striker options that could be interesting are Wilfred Bony of Swansea who has enjoyed a spectacular debut season in England, however he could turn out to be a one season wonder. Demba Ba of Chelsea may be on the lookout for a new club, while Romelu Lukaku would be an exciting prospect albeit it remains to be seen whether Mou will offload him this summer.
A versatile winger-come-striker as mentioned earlier would be high up the list too, Julian Draxler is ideal or else Real Sociedad’s Antoine Griezmann or Carlos Vela are other alternatives.
The priority list and potential candidates:
1. Striker – Benzema (or Mandzukic)
2. Goalkeeper – John Ruddy
3. Right back – Seamus Coleman
4. Centre back – Kouyate
5. Defensive midfielder – Lars Bender
7. Versatile, quick winger/striker – Julian Draxler
It’s highly unlikely many of these players would happen, then again there are also more dream signings such as a Marco Reus or Iker Casillas.
But a select few of these have to happen starting with a goalkeeper and striker, not to mention a defender or two. We should start with securing Vela as he’s available on the cheap and look for a big name forward. Will Wenger hear our calls?
What are your thoughts Gooners? What do you think are our priorities?