It feels weird to write a blog post without needing an excuse as to why it has been so long since I last posted. Putting that thought aside, welcome to the first installment of my new 20 (yes 20) part series in which I will preview the transfers this summer for each Premier League team. The format is pretty simple: I’ll go alphabetically, and for each team I will look at their needs for forwards, midfielders, defenders, and goalkeepers, while also noting any potential managerial changes. At the end of each article will be a list of potential transfers in and potential transfers out. We begin with Arsenal.
Last Season: Arsenal worked hard last year to try to overcome the loss of another key player (in this case, Robin van Persie), but nevertheless watched their trophy drought grow longer. A 4th place finish means another year of Champion’s League football for the Gunners, but fans want to see a title, and American owner Stan Kroenke may be willing to spend to make it happen.
Forwards: Arsenal has amassed a number of good but not great forwards.Winger Theo Walcott was the only Arsenal forward who truly excelled last season. Youngster Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is another pacey winger who looks set to finally break into the starting lineup this year, and striker Olivier Giroud had a solid debut season. But beyond that, Arsenal is thin. Lucas Podolski was supposed to be great, but after a disappointing season he may be on his way back to Germany. The Ivorian winger Gervinho has also been a disappointment, failing to make much of an impact since his arrival. Park Chu-Young, Marouane Chamakh, and Nicklas Bendtner all return from loans, but only Bendtner has a future with the team. Arsenal will definitely look to improve their strike-force, with Aston Villa striker Christian Benteke at the top of their list.
Midfielders: Arsenal has great strength in the center midfield. Attacking Midfielder Santi Carzola was a revelation last year after transferring from Malaga, and Jack Wilshire finally overcame injuries to get back on the pitch. Mikel Arteta had a solid year, and there is still hope for the Welsh youngster Aaron Ramsey, who is coming off yet another disappointing season. Tomas Rosicky is on the decline,and Abou Diaby has flashed talent but no health. Arsenal have been linked with a number of CDMs, notably Celtic’s Kenyan international Victor Wanyama, Toulouse’s Etienne Capoue, and Lyon’s Clement Grenier.
Defenders: Arsenal suffered from their fare share of defensive lapses last season. Centerback Thomas Vermaelen, nasty in FIFA but not in real life, struggled. Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscienly underwhelmed as well. Arsenal is looking at Marseille’s Nicolas N’Koulou and Valencia’s Adil Rami to try and shore up the back. Arsenal lacks depth here, as well as on the outside. Keiran Gibbs, Nacho Monreal, and Bacaray Sagna just won’t cut it. Leftback Andre Santos is set to return to his native Brazil after a horrid stint with the team.
Goalkeeper: A question mark. Wojciech Szczesny is solid, as it Lukasz Fabianski, and Vito Mannone is a good thrid string keeper. But if Arsenal wants to go to the next level, the Gunners must find a world-class keeper. Victor Valdes is a long shot, but Liverpool’s Pepe Reina could make a switch.
Manager: Arsene Wegner would be fired if he manager most other teams. But Arsenal recognizes that he is a world-class manager, despite his recent failings. Still, if Arsenal doesn’t take home a trophy this year, the man who presided over the only undefeated team in Premier League history will likely be shown the door.
Potentially In: Odhil Amadov, Stephan El Shaaraway, Adil Rami, Nicolas Gaitan, David Villa, Gonzalo Higuain, Victor Valdes, Victor Wanyama, Pepe Reina, Steven Jovetic, Etienne Capoue, Nicolas N’Koulou, Sebastien Rode.
Potentially Out: Andre Santos, Lucas Podolski, Gervinho.
Already In: None
Already Out: Andrei Arshavin, Denilson, Sebastien Squillaci