Arsenal will need to make a “minimum” of five signings this summer if they are to head in the right direction, according to one pundit.
The Gunners have fallen off the pace in their battle to return to the Champions League this season. They are currently in mid-table and winning the Europa League is probably their only hope of returning to the continent’s top competition. Even that will be a challenge, though.
The attention will soon turn to the summer transfer market as Arsenal look to rebuild. If they miss out on the Champions League, they may have a limited budget to work with.
Even so, one of their former players believes they need to make a statement of intent in the transfer window. Michael Thomas, who played for them between 1984 and 1991, has named four areas in which they need to strengthen – as well as some potential targets.
“I don’t think Arsenal need to be thinking about a new manager just yet,” Thomas told CaughtOffside. “A new manager will experience the same issues until they have their own team of players in place to produce what they want.
“I think [Mikel] Arteta needs to finish the season on a high with the Europa League and try and get more of his own players integrated into the team.
“If then he cannot get his group of players to perform then Arsenal as a club will have to decide where they go from there.
“I’d say a minimum of five signings are needed: a right-back (Achraf Hakimi), left-back (Ryan Bertrand), central midfield (Yves Bissouma and Martin Odegaard), and a left winger.”
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Right-back has been an area of focus for Arsenal recently, as there are doubts about Hector Bellerin’s future.
The Spaniard has been with the club for most of his senior career. However, he may be seeking a new challenge – as another ex-Gunner has advised him to.
Hakimi may be the ideal replacement, as he has cemented his reputation as one of the best in his position in recent years. His form has helped Inter Milan charge towards the Serie A title this season, but the Italian club have to sell players to raise funds. That could give Arsenal an opportunity to sign Hakimi.
The opposite flank of defence is also somewhere Arsenal need to reinforce. After allowing Sead Kolasinac to leave in January, there is little cover for first-choice Kieran Tierney.
Reports suggested Bertrand as a target in January, but no deal could be done in time. However, with his Southampton contract expiring in the summer, they could sign him for free.
As for midfield, the Gunners have been trying to find the right balance in recent windows. Lucas Torreira and Matteo Guendouzi were both thought to be solutions, but ended up leaving on loan in the summer. They are unlikely to return.
After the departure of Mesut Ozil in January, Martin Odegaard arrived on loan from Real Madrid. The Norwegian has done well, but Arsenal may have to stretch their budget to afford his permanent signature.
Bissouma would be another option to provide cover in a deeper area. He has impressed for Brighton in recent years and has been linked with a move to a bigger club.
Arsenal advised to get rid of trio
Meanwhile, another pundit has been speaking about the other business Arsenal must conduct. As well as signings, they must be thinking about selling some of their underperforming players.
This would be essential to make room for new signings. And there are plenty of players to choose from who could make way.
Former Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher has now named three players who should be shown the door. What’s more, he also raised concerns about captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and his future.