It’s no secret that Arsenal are in need of an overhaul this summer. After all, the Gunners fell desperately short in their efforts to qualify for the Champions League after finishing the 2020/21 Premier League campaign in eighth place. While buying new players is certainly necessary, the amount of moves the club can make will ultimately come down to how many players in the current team can be sold.
Assuming no other senior Arsenal player is sold this summer for just a moment, the Gunners will undoubtedly have to bring in five new signings. David Luiz, Dani Ceballos, Martin Odegaard, and Maty Ryan have all departed north London after their contracts with the club expired this summer. All four of the quartet played important roles with Arsenal last season and will need to be replaced. Along with these four positions, Arsenal also need to sign a left back to help fill in for Kieran Tierney when needed.
Brighton and Hove’s Ben White has been linked with the Gunners for a few weeks now and is seen as a replacement for Luiz. Both center backs enjoy time on the ball and finding teammates with well-timed passes. Brighton is haggling with Arsenal over White’s transfer fee, however, with a move for the defender potentially costing the Gunners over £50 million.
Although not necessarily the same exact type of midfielder, it appears as if manager Mikel Arteta has found a player to take Ceballos’ roster spot. Albert Sambi Lokonga is seemingly set to join the Gunners fairly soon, with an agreement between the north London outfit and Anderlecht reportedly already taken care of. A fee of around £17 million should see Lokonga switch to the Premier League team.
It was previously thought that Odegaard could return to Arsenal following a fairly impressive few months on loan with Arsenal earlier in the year. However, the Norway international is now staying with Real Madrid following positive talks with newly appointed manager Carlo Ancelotti. James Maddison would possibly be the ideal replacement for Odegaard, but that deal is a bit unlikely, as Leicester City would only consider very high bids for their star playmaker. Arteta could ultimately decide to hand the reins over to Emile Smith Rowe for the number 10 role. The 20-year-old attacking midfielder has played well since his breakthrough with the senior team on Boxing Day last year.
The current goalkeeping situation is very interesting at Arsenal. The club definitely needs a backup keeper since the aforementioned Ryan departed after his loan ended. Alex Runarsson is Arsenal’s backup at the position, but it seems extremely unlikely that the Iceland international will remain with the Gunners. A need for a keeper could upgrade, however, if current number one Bernd Leno is sold this summer. Earlier reports suggested that the German previously wanted out of north London; however, these rumors have cooled off in the last few weeks. Regardless if it’s a number one or two, Arsenal need to bring in a new keeper soon.
It appears as if Benfica’s Nuno Tavares will soon be announced as an Arsenal player. The left back will be brought in as a backup to Tierney for a fee of around £7 million.
Outside of these five positions, Arsenal could be forced to do even more work in player transfers with the sale of three key players. Granit Xhaka, Hector Bellerin, and Alex Lacazette could all potentially leave north London in the coming weeks. Xhaka is desperately wanted by Roma and talks have been going on for about a month between the two clubs regarding the Swiss captain.
Hector Bellerin previously lost his starting spot on the right side of defense earlier in the 2020/21 season and is reportedly a target for Inter Milan. Arsenal appear ready to let Bellerin go (for the right price) and if they do, they would most likely need to buy a replacement. The Gunners could, however, save money and let Calum Chambers and Cedric Soares compete for the starting right back spot.
Finally, Lacazette could also be sold this summer. The striker’s current contract expires next year, so it appears as if he would only remain with the club past this summer if he agrees to a new contract extension. Whether the Gunners want this or not remains to be seen. Arteta could decide to cash in on Lacazette now, rather than potentially allowing the Frenchman to leave the club for free next summer. This, however, would obviously mean that an additional center forward would be needed by Arsenal.
While possibly eight incomings seems like a lot, Arsenal did bring in seven new players just last summer. It certainly can be done. Nevertheless, just how many new players the Gunners buy (or bring in on loan) will ultimately come down to outgoing players.
Author: Chris Moore