Having failed to reach the top four in the past three seasons, Arsenal are a club rebuilding. The loss of veteran Arsene Wenger was always going to take some time to get over – though Unai Emery didn’t exactly do the best job in kickstarting the revival. Now though, under new boss Mikel Arteta, optimism is high.
A run of 13 games unbeaten improved Arsenal’s chances of reaching the top four following a poor start to the season before the current pandemic struck. But, odds of 83/5 to reach the Champions League places, suggests that the eight-point gap between themselves and fourth-placed Chelsea may well just be out of reach. Those football fans also currently missing their weekly accumulator, can take advantage of the resumption of the German Bundesliga and of offers from sites such as Ruby Bet as slowly but surely football returns, albeit behind closed doors.
For the Premier League, the return date has not yet been outlined, though teams have been given the nod to start non-contact training in the near future. For Arsenal, the lockdown couldn’t have come at a worse time with their form the most impressive in the top flight. With all eyes now likely fixed for next season, just what does boss Arteta need to crack that top four in 2021?
Sign a centre-back
Arsenal have five centre-backs on their books – Sokratis, Shkodran Mustafi, David Luiz, Rob Holding and Pablo Mari. But, if the Gunners are going to trouble for a Champions League spot, improvement is definitely needed.
Youth has often been the target for Arsenal coaches in the past and Arteta appears to be no different. 18-year-old William Saliba is expected to be promoted from within the set-up after spending this season on-loan at Ligue 1 side St Etienne.
Much is expected of French sensation Saliba, but he will need more experienced players around him as well as someone to rotate with like Brazilian Gabriel Magalhaes. Arteta is rumoured to be a big fan of the 22-year-old, despite the Lille defender being linked with Everton and Chelsea also.
The time is also ripe for the Gunners to go big. And, no one fills that description any better than long-term target Dayot Upamecano. The RB Leipzig starlet is still only 21 years of age, but is more than capable of making the step up to the Premier League. A fee of around £60 million is the price bandied about, but it would certainly be a terrific long-term investment.
Two midfielders on the wishlist
The Gunners have Uruguayan international Lucas Torreira making waves alongside Matteo Guendouzi, but Arteta is in need of a box-to-box midfielder that can take his side to the next level. Amongst those mentioned has been Frenchman Christopher Nkunku. A 22-year-old RB Leipzig player also, Nkunku would be another long-term investment, though significantly less pricier than teammate Upamecano.
With Mesut Ozil now also 31 and reaching the later part of his career, Arsenal must be on the lookout for a creative midfielder. 19-year-old wonderkid Orkun Kokcu is already on Arteta’s wishlist for the summer and the Turk is likely to swap Feyenoord for Arsenal if possible.