Arsenal missed out on finishing in the top four by a whisker last season. A top-four finish would have confirmed their return to Champions League football after a period of five years and would have certainly put the entire fanbase behind Mikel Arteta. Nevertheless, Arteta seems to have a fair bit of backing from the fanbase anyway. The critics, of course, would point to the poor January transfer window that potentially cost Arsenal a spot in the top four. However, Arsenal were also hit with injuries to key players in Thomas Partey, Keiren Tierney and Takahiro Tomiyasu.
Although injuries are no excuse for the inactivity on the club’s part to move in for a striker in January, it is a factor that must be considered while assessing the season as a whole. Moreover, it must also be noted that Arsenal did indeed make attempts at signing a striker during the window, but for one reason or another, they couldn’t get it done. They have some work to do before the 2022/23 season-opener to become a real top-four threat in the Premier League again.
In this article, I list three players that I believe Arsenal should sign in this summer’s transfer window.
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One of the more obvious areas that require strengthening at Arsenal is the striker department. Alexandre Lacazette has bid farewell to the club, adding to the departure of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang in January earlier this year. Arsenal were left without abundant options in the area during the final stretch of the season and heavily relied on Eddie Nketiah to lead the line. Although Nketiah fared decently, he is far from the quality upfront that Arsenal need.
One of the most popular names linked with Arsenal in terms of strikers is Gabriel Jesus of Manchester City. For the Cityzens, Jesus has been used both in centrally as well as out wide. Arteta’s time at Man City could help sway the decision of the Brazilian to join Arsenal. Moreover, the Spaniard knows the striker well enough to get the best out of him. Arsenal could end up paying about £50 million for Jesus with a reported £190,000-per-week salary. In terms of ability, Jesus is quick and is accustomed to playing fast-paced football. He also has a good shot on him, and one can expect him to be more potent than Arsenal’s strike force from the 2021/22 season.
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Arsenal definitely missed Partey’s dominant presence in midfield during the back end of last season. The Ghanian not only performs his role but also gets the best out of Granit Xhaka, who plays a slightly more progressive role.
A player who could complement Partey in midfield as well as take over his role in case of an injury to the Ghanian is Yves Bissouma. The Brighton & Hove Albion man is likely to move this summer given he has just one year left on his contract. Arsenal have previously been linked with him but haven’t managed to close a deal thus far.
Bissouma, of course, occupies the area right in front of the defence, breaks up play, and carries the ball effectively. If Arsenal were to sign him, he could even take up Partey’s role and allow him to play a more box-to-box role slightly higher up the pitch. He could play in defensive midfield alongside Xhaka in Partey’s absence as well.
It must also be noted that Albert Sambi Lokonga’s first season at Arsenal did not go as planned. He also looks like it would suit him if he played the number eight role rather than the six. For these reasons, Arsenal signing Bissouma would be ideal.
Currently playing for Bologna in Italy, Aaron Hickey is a Scottish left-back who is just nineteen years old. He has made an impressive impact during his time in Italy and is rumoured to be linked with a move to Arsenal, who are desperately in need of a backup left-back to Kieren Tierney, whose injury woes have been a cause of concern for the last few seasons.
Arsenal desperately missed Tierney towards the back end of last season, having struggled to replace the often-injured Scotsman. Nuno Tavares was brought in from Benfica to fill this particular void, but he has not lived up to the expectations so far. Arteta even took him off in the 33rd minute of Arsenal’s FA Cup tie against Nottingham Forest. It was only downhill from there on for Tavares, as Granit Xhaka would later be employed at left-back for Arsenal despite Tavares’ availability and Tomiyasu would be preferred at left-back over the Portuguese in the latter parts of the season.
Therefore, Arsenal’s left-back issue is very evident. With rumours flying around concerning a loan move for Tavares, Hickey’s move to Arsenal would be welcomed. He is only nineteen, which would fit right in line with the kind of players Arteta is looking to sign. However, Arsenal could face competition for Hickey’s signature from rivals Tottenham Hotspur, who are rumoured to be chasing the young Scot as well.