It’s fairly clear right now that Arsenal’s squad is far from perfect, but which positions in particular do the club need to look at in the summer?
Arsenal have some pretty glaring deficiencies in the squad at the moment. You could probably make an argument that most positions need a bit of improvement, but here are the four we think are most important to focus on this summer:
This is probably the key position to look at in the summer.
I find it extremely unlikely David Ospina and Petr Čech will both remain at the club, since their contracts expire in 2019. Ospina has already admitted he wants a new challenge and Čech will be 37 when his current deal ends.
As a result, Arsenal either need to sign a new first-choice keeper, a new back-up, or both.
We had a look at who they could sign earlier this week in more detail if you want to check that out.
The only alternative to buying is to promote some of the younger goalkeepers, and honestly that’s not out of the question.
Arsenal have a number of options, including:
- Emi Martinez, who is currently on loan with Getafe.
- Matt Macey, who made his first team debut this season.
- Deyan Iliev, the u23s current starting goalkeeper.
- Hugo Keto, the back-up u23 keeper.
- Joao Virginia, the keeper for the u18s, on a very promising Youth Cup run.
Even so, the team need a top goalkeeper to come into the team now, not someone who could be good if they got a run of games.
For that they’re going to have to look into the market, because no one at the club is making a good case for it to be them.
Arsenal have a number of centre-back options at the moment, but none that are really making a good case to be a starting pairing.
Laurent Koscielny has been well below his best in recent months, and Shkodran Mustafi has generally performed even worse. Calum Chambers has also looked a bit shaky when given opportunities, Milan aside.
Per Mertesacker is retiring at the end of the season, and he isn’t playing much right now anyway. Nacho Monreal seems to have reversed his position change from full-back to centre-back, and is now back out on the left.
That leaves Rob Holding and Konstantinos Mavropanos, who are both more players for the future at this stage.
What Arsenal are really lacking is an experienced defender who could form a consistent partnership with one of the current options for the foreseeable future.
For some bizarre reason, Arsenal persisted for multiple windows with just one fit senior right-back, Hector Bellerin.
Eventually, as every fan of the club predicted, they ran him into the ground with injury. Fortunately, that injury doesn’t seem to be a long-term problem.
Mathieu Debuchy made a few appearances here and there before his departure, but it was obvious for two windows that he would leave.
18-year-old forward Reiss Nelson played at right wing-back in the Europa League group stages, which just emphasised the hole in the squad.
Now Debuchy is gone and Bellerin is out, Arsenal are using a back-four again and centre-back Calum Chambers is picking up the slack at full-back.
There’s no reason that should still be the case after the summer.
Arsenal don’t need to sign a starting right-back, they just need someone good enough to deputise when necessary.
There are plenty of players out there who could play that role.
This is another area of the pitch where Arsenal were already fairly short even before selling a player in January when Francis Coquelin left for Valencia in the winter window.
If Santi Cazorla doesn’t come back from injury, which looks more and more likely, the squad is down to four central midfielders.
If Jack Wilshere doesn’t extend his contract, and Aaron Ramsey also rejects an extension and moves on, only Granit Xhaka and Mohamed Elneny remain.
Even if they all stay/get fit for next season, Arsenal still need a more defensive midfielder. None of the current options are disciplined enough to do the job, especially in system they’re playing in.
It’s not necessarily going to be easy to find someone who can defend well but who is also more competent than Coquelin on the ball, but that’s the task facing Arsenal management this summer.