Making some sense of Arsenal’s transfer window

The summer transfer gossip always gets way out of hand, especially for glistening Arsenal eyes. Media put their flashiest bait on the hook and don’t have to wait long before we eagerly bite. Ousmane Dembélé is available for sale? Of course he’ll join us, even though we don’t have Champions League football or the money, and the fact that a number of bigger clubs would be drooling at the opportunity.

It makes dreamers out of all of us. Even the most cynical bastards, like me. But let’s be realistic for a moment.

Arsenal’s task this summer should be to improve the squad through quantity, not one or two superstars like Dembélé, because there are too many weak points in the team – evident in numerous poor individual performances last season.

Mustafi and Cech should be replaced. Bellerin needs competition and someone to relieve him of his exhaustive workload. Chambers, Holding and Mavropanos are decent players, but not ready to be relied upon through an entire season. Mertesacker retired and Koscielny is injured until late Novemberish. And that’s just the defence.

If Wilshere leaves as well, Arsenal are left with only three traditional central midfielders: Ramsey, Xhaka and Elneny. Sure Maitland-Niles and Iwobi can do a job centrally, but is that ideal in the Gunners’ climb to regain Champions League football?

The result of this analysis is that Arsenal need to add several players to their roster. Paying any amount over, say, £60m is unlikely, as the money for transfers have to be delegated for the appropriate amount of signings.

So do yourself a favour and squash your dreams of signing Dembélé, our any other superstar attacking player this summer.

Priority number one should be finding a new experienced centre-back. Then a central midfielder. Then a goalkeeper. And finally, a right-back.

Even though I said Mustafi should be replaced, I doubt he will be. That would mean Arsenal will have to buy two relatively expensive centre-backs this summer, or put a lot of trust in one of Chambers, Holding or Mavropanos.

Cech is sub-par, but replacing Ospina with a new number one and keeping the experience and dressing room impact that Cech possess instead would be ideal. However, considering Cech has one year left on his contract, replacing him or Ospina might have to wait until next year.

Signing Lichtsteiner on a free transfer would be brilliant business as it’s not at the top of the priority list but it’s economically smart, would add great experience behind Bellerin and the team, and it’s a short-term solution to a short-term problem.

Re-signing Wilshere is important if the club isn’t planning on buying an expensive midfielder this summer. The Englishman will have to be replaced if he leaves, and even then the midfield would look thin. Wilshere has omitted Arsenal from his Twitter, Instagram and Facebook so his departure looks imminent, meaning a new midfielder at Arsenal is likely.

In fact, depending on potential U21 additions to the first team next season, there aren’t any superfluous senior players – that’s how thin the squad is at the moment. And considering how Arsenal are in need of several new signings this summer, selling anyone can’t be done without further action.

If Arsenal buy a centre-back, right-back and a central midfielder, loaning out one of Chambers, Holding or Mavropanos is the only logical departure right now.

Arsenal have added Aubameyang, Mkhitaryan and Lacazette to the squad in the last year, and Lucas Perez could be part of the team again under the new manager. The attack is strong, but the midfield is shaky and the defence is crumbling. This has to be the summer of defensive signings.


Twitter: AFCandersen

Also read my interview and profile on James “Gunnerblog” McNicholas: The football writing/acting chameleon, and the back side of sports journalism

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