Arsenal flew out the traps in the transfer window this year, announcing the free transfer of the coveted Saed Kolašinac and the £46.5m signing of French hitman, Alexander Lacazette. This great start to the window had fans salivating. They thought the club had finally woken up, Gazidas’ ‘catalyst for change’ was coming into play and the club was going to add the required quality. But here we are in mid-August and Arsenal looks no closer to adding to those early additions.
What does Arsenal Football Club need to add in the final days of the summer transfer window if they want to be competitive this season?
Rumours have surfaced that big money signing Shkodran Mustafi may be unhappy at the club, with Inter Milan trying to lure him to Italy. Some reports even claim the deal is agreed between the Italian side and the German defender. Any move would involve a similar transfer fee to what Arsenal paid Valencia less than 12 months ago. But is this a good move for the club?
Arsenal are already short of quality numbers in central defence, which has led to links with Liverpool target Virgil van Dijk. The big Dutchman would fit seamlessly into the Arsenal backline, and his leadership and organisation would transform them overnight. This move is needed regardless of Mustafi’s future and, if the German does leave, Arsenal will need van Dijk and one more commanding defender.
Last season’s supposed saviour, Granit Xhaka, has yet to deliver for Arsenal. His performances picked up towards the end of the season, which coincided with the return of Aaron Ramsey but the Swiss enforcer lacks the mobility to play in front of a back three.
If Arsenal want to move forward this season, they need muscle in the middle. Thomas Lemar has been linked with the club all summer but he’s a winger – not a central midfielder. Even if he did make the conversion, he would operate in the way Santi Cazorla does, with attack being his main focus. Arsenal should be looking for a dominant, ball wining DM like Stevn Nzonzi or Fabinho – specialists in their position, not versatile options that Arsène Wenger can mould to suit his philosophy.
Even if Arsenal keep hold of Alexis Sánchez, they still need reinforcements in the wide areas. As mentioned, Thomas Lemar has been linked all summer, however Arsenal seem intent on killing any potential deal by drawing it out as long as possible.
With PSG signing Neymar and potentially landing Kylian Mbappé, Julian Draxler may become surplus to requirements and a move to Arsenal wouldn’t be out of the question. Wenger is an admirer of the German, and at this point in his career, regular game time is crucial.
Realistically, Draxler or Lemar look like the most likely signings before the window slams shut and it’s possible Arsenal will go for one, not both. If, as some expect, Arsenal do not sign anyone else, it could be a very long summer for the North London giants.