After Arsene Wenger spent over £100m on signings in the last two transfer windows, successor Unai Emery has been forced to take a thriftier approach this summer.
The new head coach reportedly has just £50m to spend and a lot of positions to strengthen, which may be why the Gunners are being linked with some cheap targets, as the money needs to stretch quite far – goalkeeper, right-back, centre-back, central midfield.
Arsenal are being linked with Juventus defender Stephan Lichtsteiner this summer, with the Swiss international out of contract in the coming weeks. He’s made 259 appearances in all competitions since his 2011-move from Lazio, winning seven Serie A titles and four Coppa Italias, and would be a smart acquisition.
The 34-year-old will provide much-needed back-up to Hector Bellerin who barely missed a game last season as a result of a lack of depth, so signing such an experienced winning player for free is a good move. Lichtsteiner won’t be able to get up and down the right wing like he used to, but he’ll be an experienced head who should ably deputise when called upon.
So, Lichtsteiner could solve Arsenal’s lack of depth at right-back and Jonny Evans could be the solution to their centre-back woes. The West Bromwich Albion defender is available for just £3m this summer and has been linked with the Gunners all season.
With Per Mertesacker retiring, Laurent Koscielny suffering from a chronic achilles injury, while Rob Holding and Calum Chambers aren’t trusted to be first-choice centre-backs next season, Evans could solve their problems.
The 30-year-old may have struggled at Albion last season, but it’s easy to forget he made 198 appearances for Manchester United between 2008-2015, winning three Premier League titles, two League Cups and one Champions League trophy. Arsenal could do worse for £3m.
Goalkeeper was a position Arsenal needed to strengthen this summer as Petr Cech has been inconsistent ever since he left Chelsea for the Gunners in 2015, but it doesn’t appear he will be leaving.
The 36-year-old has made a number of mistakes leading to goals and had just 12 months left on his contract. But with Arsenal recently changing his squad number to No.1, it’s clear they have no desire to let him go until his deal expires.
An overall lack of funds might be why, as it appears they were keen on Bernd Leno for a long time.
A central midfielder was also on the agenda this summer, which was likely why Arsenal were all to happy to tie down Mohamed Elneny to a long-term deal. The 25-year-old was improved in recent months and has been given the No.4 shirt as recognition for his efforts, meaning he isn’t going anywhere this summer.
For Jack Wilshere and Aaron Ramsey, however, it’s a different story. The British duo could be on their way out as they’ve failed to agree to contract extensions, meaning Arsenal would have two midfield voids to fill without enough money to sign a quality replacement.
If the Londoners tie the pair down to new deals this summer, Emery might have to spent the majority of his meagre budget on new faces for the engine room. Arsenal might agree to a lucrative contract extension for Wilshere and Ramsey as it will save them more money in the long-term.