It has become customary at this time of year to suggest players that Arsenal should buy in the summer to boost their chances of glory in the season ahead. But this year the options may well be more limited due to a lack of Champions League action to entice potential purchases.
The uncertainty surrounding the future of Arsene Wenger at the club seems to have died down for now so maybe he will be able to concentrate on bringing in some much needed new faces to give his team more of a chance of claiming a top four spot next season.
Petr Čech performed solidly enough last season but with David Ospina wanting more game time elsewhere there will definitely be the need for another keeper at the club. AC Milan’s 18-year-old wonder kid Gianluigi Donnarumma is refusing to sign a new contract but Real Madrid seem intent on him so who else could interest Wenger?
Wojciech Szczęsny’s loan spell at Roma is up but it is unlikely that a return to the Emirates is on the cards. Wenger could go for the Premier League experience of Joe Hart but will know that a new keeper is a high close season priority.
If – as expected – Barcelona do take Héctor Bellerín, Wenger will want to replace the right back as soon as possible. After a little tinkering, the defence was fairly strong last season so there would not be too much work to do otherwise and, if Arsene can get this right, the Gunners will be a strong option for the title.
Dani Alves has apparently agreed a contract in principle with Manchester City, teaming him up with Pep Guardiola once again. But Monaco’s Djibril Sidibé would be an excellent replacement for Bellerín and probably only one of a number of departures from the Ligue 1 side this summer.
Mesut Özil has had his detractors but is a great talent and one that Wenger should do anything to persuade to stay. But that doesn’t mean that the midfield couldn’t do with some new blood. Leicester City’s Riyad Mahrez has been linked with the club and although his form last season didn’t quite hit the heights of his title-winning year, the Algerian international is a formidable talent.
All the top clubs in Europe want Kylian Mbappé but without the lure of Champions League football next season, it is unlikely that he will swap Monaco for North London. But an out and out striker who would be perfect for Arsenal – and has been heavily linked with the club in the past – is Lyon’s Alexandre Lacazette. If he does end up at Arsenal his goals could make him one of the signings of the summer.
Another forward in Wenger’s sights is Juan Cuadrado at Juventus. The club have already had a bid of over £17m turned down and although he never really got the chance to impress while on loan at Chelsea, the Colombia international could really work as part of Wenger’s squad.
Arsenal will undoubtedly make at least two or three signings this summer to get back in contention for those all-important Champions League spots.
But without having that level of European football as an attraction Wenger will find it more difficult to get his top targets to sign. Hopefully for Arsenal the money and prestige of the Premier League will be enough to entice some of these players to the Emirates so Wenger can be confident going into the new campaign.