Arsenal haven’t signed anyone yet but the growing feeling is that everyone’s phones will get a ping soon enough to confirm the beginning of what is hoped to be a fruitful summer transfer window.
Interest in trio Albert Sambi Lokonga, Nuno Tavares and Ben White has been protracted for nearly the entire summer. Numerous reports claim that the deal for Lokonga is nearly complete, with the two clubs only having to hash out the sell-on clause.
White’s deal is thought to be a bit farther away, given the defender’s participation with England at the ongoing Euros. In spite of this delay, hem the Belgian and Tavares, who is in London, could be wrapped up in the next couple of weeks.
Given the state of the squad, the Arsenal hierarchy has no time to rest. They must continue to plow forward and secure their targets.
Arsenal: 3 positions to target after Albert Sambi Lokonga, Nuno Tavares & Ben White transfers are completed in the summer window
Completing deals early and giving players time to acclimatize and get in a proper pre-season is crucial. Those not involved this summer are already back at London Colney preparing for the coming Premier League season.
Thomas Partey’s late transfer on deadline day and his subsequent poor season can be chalked up to there not being enough time for the Ghanaian to settle. Arsenal will be looking to avoid this moving forward.
That being said, here are three positions Arsenal should target after finishing the Lokonga and White transfer moves.
For a position that was touted as one of the most important in the rebuild just a couple of months ago, whispers of a right-back transfer have gone extremely quiet. Rumors have recently circulated about Hector Bellerin’s possible move away from the club; claims are that the club will sanction a loan move for the Spaniard should they not be able to sell him on, with Inter pushing for an undesirable loan with buy ‘option’.
While outgoings are certainly important for Mikel Arteta and Edu’s agendas, proper replacements must be brought in as well. Cedric Soares is not of the age or quality required and questions remain over Calum Chambers’ ability in the position as well.
The danger of playing someone out of position, as seen with the left-back debacle last season, was seen to the detriment of the club’s domestic and European success. Cedric, while not terrible, made a few errors in possession. Granit Xhaka was unable to provide the forward impetus and attacking threat the team had grown accustomed to with Kieran Tierney in the side.
Additionally, the need for a hungry right-back with the potential to grow and develop is even clearer to see when contrasted to the other side of the defense.
The aforementioned Scot has proven to be an exceptional signing with both his performances on the pitch as well as the attitude and commitment he provides off of it. Securing a top transfer with the technical ability to contribute defensively and offensively will be crucial in the rebuild. Takehiro Tomiyasu has been mentioned recently.
2. Attacking Midfield
Arsenal’s weakness last season was surprisingly the attack. No longer present was the free-flowing, quick pass-and-move sequences popularized by Arsene Wenger. Particularly in the first half of the season, the forward line looked devoid of ideas. Few chances were created. This absolutely cannot continue next season. Creativity is the key area to fix.
The introduction of Emile Smith Rowe and Bukayo Saka’s continued brilliance saved Arteta’s job and ensured the season did not end up more embarrassing than it already was. The pressure on these young shoulders, however, is too much. Smith Rowe and Saka should be allowed to develop without the demands of the entire attacking output resting on them.
Additionally, Smith Rowe’s past injury problems along with the threat of fatigue while the academy product adjusts to the rigors of an entire top-flight campaign should push Arteta and Edu to seek out another option. Emi Buendia would have been the perfect transfer to aid and complement Smith Rowe but the less said about that the better.
The executives need to find someone that can come in and provide another option whether that is through the starting lineup or off the bench as a rotational option.
Smith Rowe is a magnificent talent but he has to be nurtured accordingly. Arsenal have to trust their best assets, but also protect them.
1. Central Midfield
Granit Xhaka will be moved on this summer. It’s a matter of time. A fee with Roma has yet to be confirmed but the rumors have not shown any sign of the deal falling through and there is no chance of the Swiss midfielder’s future being anywhere near north London. That leaves a gaping hole in the center of the pitch.
Even when Xhaka was starting, the low bar of quality and lack of inspiring options was a source of concern. Other than Thomas Partey, Mohamed Elneny is now the only other experienced midfielder at the club. Dani Ceballos has left after his loan was concluded and the futures of Joe Willock and Ainsley Maitland-Niles lie in doubt.
Partey’s difficulties last season restricted the effectiveness of the squad. Yet with a full season and fewer games, there is hope that the Ghanaian will be back to his best next season. Finding the right partner for Partey will only increase the chances of the success of not just the midfield but the team as a whole.
An injection of energy and impetus is sorely needed.