Arsene Wenger has said he is convinced that the core of his current Arsenal squad can achieve great things next season, though also revealed the club need one or two ‘top quality’ signings.
Arsenal finished in fifth place, becoming the first team to ever finish outside the top-four with 75 points as results elsewhere ensured they’ll be competing in the UEFA Europa League next season.
Wenger is still yet to confirm whether he’ll be at the helm once more next season but is adamant that with the right acquisitions, the current squad can achieve great things in future.
He said, “This group of players is good enough to come back.
“They’ve learned a lot. They’ve gone through difficult periods this season and bounced back in a very strong way. That will help them absolutely next season.
“You have to keep 90 per cent of these players together and find one or two more to strengthen the group. You don’t need a lot. You need maybe top quality.”
The fact that Wenger has said the word ‘maybe’ just highlights a hesitancy to admit that the majority of his transfer business in recent seasons has been underwhelming for a club of Arsenal’s alleged ambitions.
They are expected to formally announce the signing of Schalke fullback Sead Kolasinac at some stage, who will join on a free transfer in July, whilst they’re looking to strengthen elsewhere too.
Whether or not Alexis signs a contract extension, they are believed to be looking for a new centre-forward – hence Alvaro Morata and Carlos Bacca, just to name two, have been heavily linked in recent months.
This would help significantly lessen the goal-scoring load on Alexis, who can concentrate more on creating chances and continuing to improve his game as opposed to trying too much on his own and feeling isolated at times.
If they can buy a few world-class players this summer, even without the lure of Champions League football, it could persuade Alexis and Özil to sign long-term extensions.
Questions also still to be answered: do the club offer Jack Wilshere, Kieran Gibbs, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Wojciech Szczesny new contract extensions?
They’ve all got 12 months left on their existing deals and this is the perfect opportunity for other clubs to come sniffing for cut-price fees.
With that in mind, the latter two seem more likely to stay in the long-term at present.