This summer could be the best summer Arsenal has had for a long time. The core of the team have been tied down to new contracts with the only big name player that could leave is Bacary Sagna, however his performances this season have been questionable and a new right-back could be just what is needed.
The club has struck incredible sponsorship deals with Fly Emirates and Puma to bulk up their finances and Arsene Wenger has been handed a superior funded war chest to heavily invest his squad this summer. The manager has never spent big with Russian flop Andrey Arshavin his record transfer at £15 million. However, the club fell well short of competing for the Premier League while lower league opposition Blackburn Rovers and Bradford City knocked them out of the domestic cups. Arsenal restored pride with a credible victory at the Allianz Arena to lose out on away goals in the Champions League against Bayern Munich, but were still outclassed. The manager will need to change his transfer policy to get Arsenal back to the top.
Fans are crying out for a defensive midfielder in the mould of Patrick Vieira, a player who left in the summer of their last trophy success. A player in that capacity is yet to be linked with the club but Martin Skrtel and Ashley Williams have been. Arsenal have been known for their poor defence in recent years but the performances of Laurent Koscielny and Per Mertesacker have tightened the defence and so a centre-back is not a priority.
Neither is a goalkeeper however the Gunners have been linked with nearly every ‘keeper in the game from Iker Casillas to Asmir Begovic. Simon Mignolet was apparently close to a move until yesterday when Julio Cesar was said to have signed with the Gunners, although no confirmation for Arsenal or QPR has been announced. Wojciech Szczesny had a difficult season but still performed strongly but with a few years of mentoring from a more experienced goalie could push up a level.
Sagna’s future is unclear and it seems Wenger is already considering life without the Frenchman with plenty of scouting missions to watch Lukasz Piszczek. The Borussia Dortmund full-back is considered one of the best a move to Arsenal may be too hard to turn down.
Of course with Arsenal, they focus on their attacking and have been looking at a lot of attacking talent. Stevan Jovetic has been strongly connected to the Gunners although Juventus are also interested in the Fiorentina man. His creativity is just what Arsenal are lacking and playing alongside the likes of Santi Cazorla, Jack Wilshere and Mikel Arteta, the Gunners will be extremely strong in that area, especially if the signings of David Villa comes to fruition. He may be getting older but he is still one of the best finishers in the game and will be guaranteed chances from a strong Arsenal midfield.
The one transfer that the majority of Gunners fans are praying will happen is the return of former captain Cesc Fabregas. Arsenal have first refusal to re-sign the player, something they will surely not turn down with the ability the player possess. He was a big hit in his first spell in North London and he has been sorely missed.
But what makes this summer so different to previous years?
This is the first summer that Arsenal can genuinely afford these players. Arsenal have first refusal on Fabregas so they don’t have to compete for his signature and the player will be happy to rejoin the club should Barcelona sell. Villa was close to a January move so that transfer has just been delayed until the summer while the chance of playing Champions League football will entice Jovetic and Williams. Cesar has insisted he wants to stay in London and Chelsea is not looking for a goalkeeper.
With deadwood players like Sebastian Squillaci, Andrey Arshavin and Marouane destined to leave the club, their huge wages will be gone and free up some more money to secure the services of more talented players to make a team who can compete.
Arsenal’s possible line-up:
Piszczek – Williams – Koscielny – Gibbs
Cazorla – Fabregas – Jovetic