After looking at the defence, our attention now turns to midfield as we continue to look in depth at the strengths and weaknesses of Arsenal’s squad.
We start off in central midfield which was problematic last season, largely due to injuries, although Arsene Wenger does have plenty of options to choose from.
What We’ve Got
Simply put there are plenty of options, but getting the blend right is the trickiest part. There’s also the question of Santi Cazorla, the little Spaniard was hugely missed last season, but his injury record is a real concern.
He’s now undergone eight operations on his ankle and may not return until October. That will be almost a year out of the game for the 32-year-old and, as sad as it is, it’s entirely possible he’s already played his last game for the Gunners.
Elsewhere there’s Granit Xhaka who will be looking to kick on in his second season in English football, Mohamed Elneny, Francis Coquelin, Aaron Ramsey, Jack Wilshere and even Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.
Towards the end of the season, Granit Xhaka and Aaron Ramsey struck up a promising partnership in central midfield, highlighted in the FA Cup final win over Chelsea where the duo excelled.
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Unless the club strengthen it looks likely that will be the first choice option next season, possibly with Elneny and Coquelin as back-up.
Oxlade-Chamberlain’s future looks increasingly like it might lie elsewhere, or even at wing-back, and it’s difficult to forecast where Wilshere will end up. The midfielder did not really do enough on loan at Bournemouth last season to impress and his current injury is yet another set-back.
Certainly if the squad is to be trimmed to reduce the wage bill, there are midfielders who could be deemed surplus to requirements.
What We Need
In an ideal world another top quality central midfielder would be brought in. Young Pablo Fornals has been mentioned, although it would be asking a lot of the 21-year-old to act as a replacement for Santi Cazorla. A move for Schalke’s Leon Goretzka has been hinted at, with rumours of a £21m deal.
However, perhaps more interestingly there’s also talk of a move for Juventus midfielder Mario Lemina who is believed to be keen on Arsenal. Nice’s Jean Seri would do nicely, but has been linked with a move to Roma of late, and there’s also talk of interest from Barcelona.
Will We Get It?
Possibly, although it seems unlikely particularly having spent big on Granit Xhaka last season. The priority is also clearly in attack and sorting out the futures of Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil.
If a central midfielder is to come in, then there may need to be departures first, with Oxlade-Chamberlain, who has been linked with a move to Liverpool and Wilshere, perhaps the most likely.