Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta will head into the summer knowing that he faces a massive rebuilding project at the Emirates Stadium.
While the 2019/20 campaign could still end up being relatively successful, the Gunners remain a long way short of the quality needed to challenge for the Premier League title.
Winning the FA Cup and qualifying for Europe would be a satisfactory return from the current season, although it is unlikely that both will come to fruition.
Regardless of the outcome Arsenal fans will be eager to see signs of progression this summer, after what has undoubtedly been a disappointing period for the club.
Players must play their part
The likes of Liverpool and Manchester City have raised the bar in the Premier League, meaning it is imperative that Arsenal hit the ground running next term.
In order to achieve that, Arteta must lay down the law to his players to ensure that they keep themselves in shape this summer.
As highlighted by many players in the past, footballers are often held to higher standards and restrictions, and nowhere is that highlighted more than by the constant monitoring of their conduct off the pitch.
One area where they are rightfully restricted, however, is betting on football – not just on their own team of course but also on any other team or fixture – footballers aren’t allowed to place a bet, period.
This can lead to players using creative methods to get around gambling restrictions by being ‘sponsored’ by bookmakers (as ex-Arsenal player Niklas Bendtner did) or the more surreptitious method of using friends to place their bets for them.
Off-season, with no football, winning money off betting won’t be on the players minds, and they can put their fitness first and make sure they are make at the start of the next season ready to give 100% from day one.
Fitness levels must be addressed
Arteta has been eager to implement a more intense and aggressive style at Arsenal, but many players have struggled to adapt.
The Spaniard has raised the amount of distance his players collectively cover during a game and this has left some of them looking fatigued.
A proper pre-season under Arteta should make a difference to this issue and ensure that the team can successfully implement the manager’s strategy.
Bringing in players who buy into his philosophy should also make a difference as this will help to raise fitness levels across the squad.
Getting the transfer window right
The Arsenal boss already has some key pieces in place that he can build around for the 2020/21 campaign.
However, there is also plenty of deadwood in the squad and it is vital that he ships the majority of those players out this summer.
That would free up valuable funds which will allow Arteta to make significant progress with the rebuilding job he faces.
Every area of Arsenal’s team requires attention and making the right moves this summer will provide a platform to improve over the coming years.
Squad rebuild is not a short-term fix
Any fans under the misapprehension that Arsenal’s issues can be fixed quickly are likely to be in for a rude awakening.
A perfect example of this is Liverpool, with Jurgen Klopp’s rebuild taking quite a few transfer windows to successfully complete.
Some of his buys weren’t instant successes, but his and the club’s patience has been rewarded in scintillating style.
Arteta clearly has a vision of what he wants to achieve at Arsenal and it is crucial that the fans allow him the time to fully implement his plan.