I cannot pick up a newspaper without seeing an article about Arsenal being linked to some new summer signing.
But before we get into who Arsenal are signing, lets look first at their needs.
This was the one area that Arsenal fans were screaming for Arsene Wenger to fix via the transfer market 18 months ago. But Szczesny seems set to be the Arsenal number one for years to come. Behind him, Almunia and Fabianski are expected to move on this summer, creating the need for an experienced back-up goalkeeper.
Need: Back-up Goalkeeper
Arsenal signed three defenders last summer, and I can see them adding another one or two this year. The fullbacks seem al set. Sagna and Jenkinson on the right and Gibbs and Santos on the left. Wenger invested in those positions last summer and I cannot see him doing that again.
That leaves central defenders. Currently Arsenal have Mertesacker, Vermaelen, Koscielny, Squillaci and Djourou for central defenders. Squillaci and Djourou are poor and need to be replaced with better players. Arsenal have been strongly linked with Ajax’s Jan Vertonghen and he would be a huge improvement over Squillaci. The other question is whether any of the Arsenal kids are ready to step up and become that 6th central defender?
Needs: Two Central Defenders
This is an area that Arsenal seem to have the biggest need. One thing to keep in mind is that Arsenal played the whole season without Jack Wilshere, who was one of the Gunners best players last season. Getting him back, will be like signing a new player.
Currently Arsenal’s midfield consists of Diaby, Rosicky, Arteta, Ramsey, Song, Wilshere, Frimpong, Benayoun and Coquelin. Benayoun goes back to Chelsea at the end of the season and I am 50-50 on whether Arsenal should buy him. Let’s assume that they don’t.
That leaves Arsenal with three holding type midfield players (Diaby, Song and Frimpong). Defensively Song played really well this season, but you have to wonder whether Frimpong can recover from his serious knee injury while Diaby is always injured. This is an area that Arsenal must strengthen this summer with a top quality player.
I their squad Arsenal have five creative players (Rosicky, Ramsey, Wilshere, Arteta, Coquelin). That is not a list that will frighten the big names in the Premier League and Champions League. Rosicky adn Arteta are nice players, but they are a cut or two below world class. Wilshere, if he is healthy, can be world-class, but this is an area where Arsenal need to invest money to bring in a top quality player who can open up the best defences in Europe.
Needs: Defensive holding payer and creative maestro.
This is the area that gets the most attention, but if RVP and Walcott sign new deals I don’t think Arsenal will add much here.
Arsenal currently have six strikers on their squad: Park, Van Persie, Walcott, AOC, Gervinho and Chamakh.
Assuming that Wenger goes with one six strikers next season, and knowing that Podolski has been signed to replace Chamakh, that leaves only one potential spot to fill.
That will be a battle between Park, Ryo Miyaichi, who has impressed at Bolton this summer, and Joel Campbell, who Arsenal signed from Deportivo Saprissa last season and I expect Campbell to win that battle.
Needs: Filled by Podolski and Campbell
I expect Arsenal to permanently rid themselves of the wages of Arshavin, Vela, Bendtner and Denilson.
So in summer, I believe Arsenal need to sign this summer:
- Back-up Goalkeeper
- Two Center Backs
- Holding Midfield Player
- Creative Midfield Player
- Striker (already signed)
Do you agree or disagree with what I see Arsenal’s needs to be?