The FA Cup final win lifted a huge weight from Arsenal's collective shoulders. The Arsenal team, so often maligned for lacking mental strength and the capacity to rise to the challenge, finally broke their trophy drought in dramatic fashion.
The shining beacon for Arsenal and especially Arsene Wenger, whose unwavering faith has been emphatically rewarded this season, was Aaron Ramsey. The midfielder was combative, intelligent and summed up the mentality needed to win trophies. Santi Cazorla too was thoroughly excellent after enduring a rather mixed season.
To capitalise on the win Arsenal must strengthen in the summer, not with bargain basement signings but signings of the quality provided last summer in the form of Mesut Ozil. Here are the signings to take the Gunners to consistent honours challengers.
Mikel Arteta is not getting any younger. The big games are beginning to pass him by as he often looks lost in the flurry of activity around him. While Arteta is a good squad player and a consistent performer against the lesser teams, he is not combative enough nor defensively astute enough to hold the defensive midfield position any longer.
Mathieu Flamini has been a revelation on a free, after initial distaste directed towards the transfer initially. His combative style, commanding presence and willingness to dedicate his body to the cause sums up everything Arsenal have been lacking and everything they need more of. Still, Flamini is going on for 30 now and has a habit of racking up the cards and suspensions, so a more even tempered player would be ideal to complement him.
Javi Martinez would be Arsenal's ideal signing. Imagine rolling Arteta and Flamini into one; Martinez would be the outcome. Martinez has been stellar for Munich and while he has not enjoyed as glittering a season this year, that can be put down to the style of play Guardiola is imposing instead of a drop in form.
The Bayern Munich man has looked unhappy recently and while he reminded the world of his talents in the Cup victory over Dortmund, rumours have begun to develop about him being open to an exit. Arsenal have explicitly been linked with the player and he would make a fantastic signing.
However, Arsenal will be wary of a massive price tag being put on the player. Being a relatively young 25 year old who will surely only get better in the future will mean Bayern can and will want to make a profit on the original £35.2 million they spent on him. This will mean a price tag of around £45 million.
With the stadium debt gone and the new kit deal generating £150 million worth of income, the transfer seems feasable.
Lars Bender. Another name explicitly linked with Arsenal. However, the player has ruled himself out of the running for a transfer this year, so any chance of a move seems to have disappeared. Footballer's can be easily swayed though, see Remy to QPR for example, so Arsenal may pursue this one.
Oh how Arsenal need a world class striker. While Giroud's mentality and work-rate is commendable, his one-on-one finishing as well as his impact in big games is simply not enough.
I would put that down to a lack of alternative striker rather than ability, as Giroud's link up play has allowed the likes of Ramsey to surge forward and find that pocket of space. What Arsenal need is not a replacement but a complementing striker; someone who has the abilities Giroud does not have and can work with him to create that deadly partnership Bergkamp and Henry shared.
Loic Remy/Karim Benzema
Both French, both going to the World Cup, both will be playing with Giroud at some point during the tournament as well has previous friendlies.
This is really a no brainer. Remy is available for an absurd £7 million and is the exact complement to Giroud Arsenal need. Pacy, clinical in 1 on 1's and a proven top level goalscorer, Remy will almost certainly be looking to find a club to give him the European football he desires.
That, coupled with being at the Arsenal West Brom game, more than just a coincidence, point to at least a pursuit during the summer. Remy is odds on favourite to go to Arsenal and would be a wise choice for Wenger. Benzema is another world class proven goalscorer. While not as pacy, he has played top top level football consistently throughout his career and would be another morale boosting marquee signing.
He also played with Ozil during his tenure at Madrid, so the chemistry there already would mean less "adjustment" time.
Jackson Martinez. A name that has been heavily linked with Arsenal, he would command a touted £34 million price tag. An impressive World Cup may add to that price tag but at 27 years old and not playing at the level Benzema is at, it may be seen as a gamble.
On watching him though, the Columbian has all the physical attributes necessary to succeed and if Arsenal can get him for £30 million or less, which is unlikely, he would be a wonderful addition to the squad.
Theo Walcott. Sometimes, the solution is actually within the club. Theo Walcott scored 21 goals last season and was displaying the form of his life before his injury. Walcott impacts the big games, with a brace against City to prove it, and his raw pace causes problems for any defence.
The question mark surrounding him is his fitness through the season as injuries affect him aggressively, and we saw this season the collapse his and Ramsey's injuries bought to the Arsenal team. If Arsenal can keep him fit through the season, they have a 20 plus consistent goalscorer on the books.
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