After the 3-1 victory at Hull City Arsenal find themselves joint second on points with Manchester City and in the driving seat for a top two finish, this would be something that shows progression from the squad and something that was seriously doubtful earlier in the season.
It is important that Arsene Wenger’s side keep good momentum going into next season but it is also important that they do not become complacent in the Summer and bolster their squad, in the past Wenger has settled for what he has while rivals take advantage of their short sightedness and lack of activity in the transfer market.
After last season when Chelsea finished third they reacted quickly by signing Thibaut Courtois, Cesc Fabregas, Diego Costa and Loic Remy. Arsenal need to react in a similar way if they are to be considered serious contenders next season. It is not necessarily a case of spending big but more a need to invest wisely.
Arsene Wenger has been quoted as saying he will only buy “if the right players are available” for me that makes sense, there is no point in buying solely for the sake of it. There is also a need to trim the fat as it were. Mikel Arteta and Tomas Rosicky’s contracts are up with neither yet to officially sign an extension, Abou Diaby may remain if he can prove his fitness which is very unlikely and also the ongoing Theo Walcott contract negotiations could see him leave in the Summer.
There are areas where the squad needs improving.
There have been links with Petr Cech and Iker Casillas which would suggest that Wojciech Szczesny’s Arsenal future is coming to an end, after a season of turmoil for the Polish “shot stopper” it is no surprise that Wenger could cut his losses. The improvement that Arsenal have made with David Ospina between the posts is no coincidence. Ospina is very good but is he good enough to help Arsenal win the title? I haven’t seen anything to suggest the contrary but as a club we need to have competition for places so it is imperative that a new keeper is brought in.
Per Mertesacker who is now 30 has been under-performing for a while now and has been identified by many opponents as a weak link within the Arsenal back four, new signing Gabriel has impressed early into his Arsenal career and should be giving an opportunity alongside Laurent Koscielny but there is still a need for another Central defender even if it is as cover. There has been interest in Monaco’s Aymen Abdennour who showed his qualities earlier in the season when he helped his side end Arsenal’s champions league campaign for another season however he is contracted to Monaco until 2019 so their valuation could be a huge stumbling block.
The emergence of Francis Coquelin this season ending any real possibility of Wenger dipping in the transfer market for a holding midfield player and he has more than earned his place in the squad, the Frenchman has proved many doubters wrong and added much needed steel in front of the back four. That being said there is still a worry that he has no competition for his place. Arteta and Flamini are not good enough in the big games and have a limited level of effect in most league games. Links to the Southampton pair Morgan Schneiderlin and Victor Wanyama are encouraging but Ronald Koeman will certainly fight tooth and nail to keep them at St Mary’s. Marco Verrati would be my choice but trying to persuade him to leave PSG would take a lot of resources, resources which Wenger maybe apprehensive about using on a holding midfield player.
Wenger is still yet to really give any real competition to Olivier Giroud, Danny Welbeck has worked hard but when called upon to lead the line he has been inconsistent at best. Giroud on the other hand has netted 14 goals this season in 23 games due to a lengthy time out injured. It has been reported that Arsenal are interested in Nabil Fekir from Lyon, the 21 year old is more of a no.10 than a striker and that is the one type of player Arsenal have in abundance. Fekir’s team mate Alexandre Lacazette however would definitely fit the bill, he is the type of striker Arsenal should be looking to acquire and he would give them substantial firepower going into next season. The 27 year old forward has scored 27 goals in 31 appearances in Ligue 1 and will be one of the hottest properties this Summer.
There is definitely a necessity for Arsenal to think big in the transfer market this Summer, after signing Mesut Ozil and then Alexis Sanchez in the last two seasons the resources are there and it is time for the club to show some real ambition.
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