The summer of 2021 promises to be a busy one for Arsenal and manager Mikel Arteta.
Following an underperforming Premier League campaign, which saw the club finish eighth in the table and miss out on a place in Europe for the first time in 25 years, big changes are needed if the Gunners are to stand any chance of getting anywhere close to competing for a top four finish again in the near future.
Arteta, along with technical director Edu, who is responsible for the comings and goings at the Emirates Stadium, will be looking to put his plan of action into practice, with new signings expected.
football.london understands that the Gunners have aspirations of bringing in at least five new first-team players this summer, bolstering areas such as in goal, at left-back and in attacking-midfield.
But that all rests on the funds that the Gunners can generate from player sales. As reported by football.london towards the end of last month, Lucas Torreira, Matteo Guendouzi, Ainsley Maitland-Niles and Eddie Nketiah are all likely to be allowed to leave on permanent deals, while Hector Bellerin will be allowed to depart if the right opportunity presents itself.
Should those five all leave, Arsenal and Arteta will have a bigger transfer budget to work with, meaning they will have a greater chance of landing the players they genuinely want to add to the squad, as opposed to being left to bring in those that were not necessarily their top or long-term targets.
Although the transfer window is not officially open for business just yet, speculation concerning the deals the Gunners will try and conclude is already rife, with no shortage of names being linked with moves to the Emirates Stadium.
Among those being linked with a switch to north London is Norwich City ace Emiliano Buendia. The Argentine has been outstanding for the Canaries this season, playing a formidable role in helping them secure an immediate return to the Premier League.
football.london understands that the Gunners have held a long-term interest in the former Getafe man, who scored 15 goals and registered 17 assists in the Championship this term. Reports in the past week have claimed that Arsenal have stepped up their interest in the attacking-midfielder, who could be let go by Norwich if they receive a fee of somewhere in the region of £40million.
“If anyone wants any of those guys they are going to have to break our club transfer record (£25million) to even get me to answer the phone, to be honest. All three are aware of that,” Canaries sporting director Stuart Webber recently said.
“One of them may go, maybe two or all three of them will go, who knows – but the facts are that this team isn’t about one or two players. For us to be successful in the Premier League it’s going to be how does the squad of 20 do, not if one player performs brilliantly.”
Another £40million-rated player who is attracting Arsenal’s attention is Brighton & Hove Albion midfielder Yves Bissouma. Just like Buendia, Bissouma is a player that the Gunners have been keeping a watchful eye on for several months, with his performances having continued to go from strength-to-strength for the Seagulls.
football.london understands that Bissouma would be open to joining Arsenal if the opportunity presented itself, meaning the club could find personal terms easy to thrash out if they agreed a deal with Brighton. If he were to be added to the squad this summer he would most certainly add steel to the midfield alongside Thomas Partey.
While Buendia and Bissouma are long-term targets, a new name has come to light in the last few days in the shape of Bayer Leverkusen centre-back Edmond Tapsoba.
The 22-year-old Burkina Faso defender has been in excellent form for the German club this season and is not short of admirers, with several reports claiming that the Gunners are in the running to try and secure his signature. However, he will not come cheap, with it claimed that he will cost £52million.
Tapsoba only joined Leverkusen last year, but his form has been that impressive he has already put several clubs on red alert.
Taking into account those three transfer stories, what would be Arsenal’s strongest starting line-up, not including any other arrivals that may come in, next season?
Presuming Arteta opts to go with a 4-2-3-1 formation, Bernd Leno would retain his place in goal.
Ahead of him would be a back-four, from right to left, of Calum Chambers, Tipsoba, Gabriel Magalhaes and Kieran Tierney. In front of the backline, Bissouma and Partey would slot in to provide no shortage of protection and ball-winning credentials.
In the attacking department, Nicolas Pepe, who ended this season in outstanding goalscoring form, will take up residency on the right-wing, with Bukayo Saka manning the left side. Buendia would play between the two of them as the free-roaming playmaker.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang would return to a more central role and lead the line.
Should that prove to be the case, although there are, of course, no guarantees, it would leave Areta with an array of options to make up his substitutes bench, including the likes of Cedric Soares, William Saliba, Granit Xhaka, Emile Smith Rowe and Alexandre Lacazette.
Dream Arsenal line-up following triple transfer swoop: Leno; Chambers, Tapsoba, Gabriel, Tierney; Bissouma, Partey; Pepe, Buendia, Saka; Aubameyang.
Source by Football London