Arsenal already have a very impressive squad. They won their first trophy last season in an inspiring FA Cup run, beating Tottenham, Liverpool and Everton on their way to lifting the famous old cup.
However, despite promising signs, they came up short in the Premier League title race once again, proving firstly that they don’t have the depth required of a league-winning squad and secondly that they need a little more quality in certain positions.
Arsene Wenger could right those wrongs this summer, and these five players would be a magnificent start.
Last season Arsenal could’ve made good use of a few more squad players including a winger, another centre forward and perhaps a defensive-minded midfielder. Now that players such as Bacary Sagna, Lukas Fabianski and Nicklas Bendtner have made their exits, Arsene Wenger will have a rather busy summer reinforcing his squad.
To address the most important gap in the outfit first – the gaping hole that Sagna left on the right-side of defence. Sagna was an invaluable player in Wenger’s setup. Apart from his consistent performances both in attack and defence, he was a senior member of the team and brought leadership qualities to the table.
For young players such as Carl Jenkinson and Hector Bellerin to keep developing in the right-back role they’ll need a senior, seasoned professional to aid them in their maturing process. Debuchy could be just that player.
He is experienced at club and international level and is a superb defender. His hold-up play might not be first rate, but his ability to bring others into play with key passes as well as providing crosses into the middle is on par with Sagna, if not better.
He has ample pace in tracking back, is excellent in the air and very rarely commits defensive blunders. France coach Didier Dechamps rates the 28 year-old highly – even above Sagna as is evident in his selection of Debuchy over him for key matches in this World Cup campaign.
Newcastle, according to a few reports, could be willing to let the right-back leave for about £12 million. He could be exactly what Wenger needs right now if the long-term plan is for Bellerin or Jenkinson to take up the full-back mantle.
Fabianski is a fantastic 'keeper and his marked improvement at Arsenal, particularly in his last year, warranted a first-team place. Unfortunately, that first-team jersey isn’t up for grabs at Arsenal as his fellow countryman Wojciech Szczesny looks determined to hold on to it for the foreseeable future.
He has therefore opted to leave north London and no-one can hold that against the young Pole. However, Wenger will need someone to fill Fabianski’s rather large shoes as back-up 'keeper and Viviano could be just the man.
Having warmed the bench at Arsenal last season, Viviano knows the club, understands Wenger’s setup and is familiar with the players. Arsenal wouldn’t have brought him on board if they didn’t know his quality and potential.
He must be raring for a crack at first-team football at the Emirates and Wenger might just grant him the chance now Fabianski has left. Arsenal have the option to make a permanent purchase from Palermo with little negotiation needed and time could be invested in other, perhaps more important purchases.
Wenger currently has two players who can fill the defensive midfielder position, but, although it may sound harsh, neither is really suitable for a title-challenging team. Mikel Arteta was a great servant to Arsenal and could yet be a good-squad player, but at 32 he is slowing down and although he can still pick a pass, he is not the ‘hard man’ Arsenal need in the centre.
Mathieu Flamini is quite the opposite of Arteta but equally lacking. He brings brawn to the team with hard tackles and brute force, but he lacks the technical ability.
Arsenal need a big, screening midfielder who dominates the middle of the park and who can also make a telling pass or run. Schneiderlin has been doing exactly that for Southampton.
The Frenchman loves making tackles and he is always contesting aerial duels, but he is equally adept at making a key pass to those ahead of him. At 24 he has the stamina that both Arteta and Flamini sometimes lack and he could be an asset to the Emirates outfit for many years to come.
At £15 – £20 million he is excellent value for money and certainly more affordable than the likes of Sami Khedira or Lars Bender.
The Fiorentina winger could slot into the Gunners' line-up seamlessly. His style of play would fit that of Arsenal and he would thrive off through balls from the likes of Mesut Ozil, Santi Cazorla and Aaron Ramsey.
Currently valued at around £32 million, his impressive exploits with Colombia at the World Cup are likely to attract much attention which will almost certainly drive his price up. However, if Wenger could strike a deal with Fiorentina, he shouldn’t hesitate.
Cuadrado can play on the left or right wing, in the middle or even as full-back when required. His versatility, pace, exceptional dribbling and passing skills and ability to find the net will certainly stand Arsenal in good stead. He is only 26 and with Lukas Podolski and Santi Cazorla getting on in years, he could be a valuable player in the Gunners’ ranks for years to come.
The Barcelona forward certainly carved out his place in the sun during this year’s World Cup as part of an impressive Chile side that just came up short in a penalty shootout against hosts Brazil.
He is a fantastic player for club and country and it would be a serious signal of intent for next season if Wenger were to splurge out on this exciting young prospect.
But it will also be rather unlike Wenger to spend the reported £35 million to acquire his services, especially in light of all the other necessary purchases he has to make this summer.
However, Wenger loves a player project and if he could view Sanchez as a project – developing the 25 year-old into an out-and-out striker - he might just splash the cash.
Olivier Giroud is a good forward with admirable qualities, but if Arsenal are to become a title-chasing team, Giroud is more suitable as a rotating squad player rather than a lone centre-forward.
Sanchez plays on the right wing for the most part but he has also been deployed down the middle for the odd game.
Wenger is known for his ability to develop wingers and midfielders into star strikers and Sanchez could well be another player to add to his impressive list. The Chilean already has everything required – great vision for clever runs, excellent dribbling and passing, superb hold-up skills and bringing others into play, an eye for goal, and even a speciality as a free-kick taker.
Wenger might just be the one to add the finishing touches to create a truly world-class striker.
With a front line of Cuadrado, Sanchez/Giroud and Walcott, along with the already formidable talent in the attacking midfield, Arsenal could have one of the most feared attacking line-ups in Europe.
It is unlikely that Wenger will make all of these purchases, especially seeing as Thomas Vermaelen might yet leave and another centre-back will then also be required. But Gooners can only hope, for if it were to happen, the north London club will most certainly have the arsenal to challenge for the league and perhaps more.
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