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Arsene Wenger is close to forming a championship winning side again at Arsenal

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Arsenal are close to forging a team capable of launching a genuine title challenge, but are currently lacking in certain positions in need of reinforcement.

Since their last Premier League win in 2004, the Gunners have always managed to field promising teams, but have fallen short of any serious title bids.

Having finished in the top two for the first time in 11 seasons, the side from north London could finally be moving in the right direction in terms of personnel.

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Manager Arsene Wenger still has a few things to iron out in terms of tactics and style of play, but the former Premier League winner is not far away from putting together a truly formidable side.

Existing quality players

Over the last four years, Arsenal have been in the process of steadily building a championship-winning side.

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In Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez, the Gunners have two world-class players in their ranks. The German playmaker is arguably the best midfielder in Europe at the moment and a key member of the German national side.

Ever since Sanchez's move to the Emirates, the former Barcelona man has been outstanding for the north Londoners and is also part of the golden generation of current players in Chile. Having won the Copa America 12 months ago, the South American country are set to meet Argentina in the final of this year's Centenario edition.

However, one signing in particular who proved a key factor in Arsenal's relatively stronger showing last season is Petr Cech.

A.F.C. Bournemouth v Arsenal - Premier League

The Czech Republic goalkeeper was dropped to the bench at former club Chelsea, after the instalment of Thibaut Courtois as the first choice keeper at Stamford Bridge.

Considering the fact the 34-year-old is still one of the best keepers in Europe, Wenger was shrewd in luring the legendary keeper to the Emirates and guaranteeing him regular first team action.

Cech's presence has not only provided a pair of safe hands in goal but has added great leadership and invaluable experience on and off the pitch.

Sanchez and Ozil have both won La Liga titles with Barcelona and Real Madrid respectively so also know what it takes to win a league title. Not since 2006, have Arsenal had players of such quality as well as experience, which should provide the Emirates faithful with plenty of optimism.

The presence of these players in the side will prove to be absolutely crucial in Arsenal's bid to dethrone Leicester City as champions next season.

Arsenal v West Bromwich Albion - Premier League

Positions that need reinforcing

Despite the existing pool of talent in the squad, the Gunners need to shake the team up a little in order to apply the finishing touches in creating a championship winning side.

The position most in need of reinforcements is central defence. The ageing Per Mertesacker is a shadow of his former imposing self. The 31-year-old veteran has lost a significant amount of his pace and was outrun by opposition attackers on a regular basis during the previous campaign.

Brazilian defender Gabriel Paulista has not been able to stake a permanent spot in Wenger's first team and does not seem to be a long-term answer to the side's concerns at the back.

In order to form a reliable back four, Wenger needs to bring at least one recognised centre-back to the Emirates. Once known for their defensive strength, the Gunners have lost that invincibility in recent years, which has often given the opposition hope of scoring against them, regardless of the situation.

Manchester United v Arsenal - Premier League

Kieran Gibbs does not provide enough reliability and quality at left-back - a position that also needs strengthening. The English player has been largely inconsistent since breaking through in 2007 and lost his place in the first team to Nacho Monreal last season.

However, at the age of 30, the Spanish left-back is not an ideal long-term candidate for Wenger's side either - underlining the need to bring in a quality player on the left side of the defence.

The final position that needs to be addressed is at centre forward. Arsenal's best options in attack at the moment are experienced French forward Olivier Giroud and Englishman Danny Welbeck.

Giroud is far from a terrible option up front but lacks a bit of sharpness, agility and speed, that could provide the edge in attack. Welbeck has shown great promise but a lack of consistency in addition to spells on the sidelines due to injury has derailed his progress at the Emirates. Walcott was often used as a third option at the head of the attack, but the pacy England international is more comfortable playing out wide.

Sunderland v Arsenal - Premier League

Since the departure of the brilliant Robin van Persie, no one has been able to have the same impact up front. Finding someone of similar, or higher, calibre to the Dutchman can provide the team with the final piece of the puzzle required to truly contest for the league title next season.

Wenger has already delved into the transfer market this summer, bringing in holding midfielder Granit Xhaka, an instrumental figure in guiding Switzerland to the knockout phase of the Euros.

It will, however, be interesting to see whether the French tactician decides to reach into the coffers further to fund reinforcements for the aforementioned positions.

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Topics:
Alexis Sanchez
Football
Petr Cech
Premier League
Arsenal
Arsene Wenger

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