Arsenal has enjoyed an excellent 2021-22 campaign to this point, but there is still so much more left to play for. Mikel Arteta’s side is firmly in the race to finish in a Champions League place this season, which would have seemed remarkably improbable at the start of the campaign.
Many of the leading free betting picks are expecting the Gunners to end their long wait to return to the top table of European soccer this term, which could lead to a massive summer for the club.
Being able to offer Champions League football to new potential signings could signal Arsenal’s best chance for decades of building a side that could challenge for the league title. But, what are the significant questions that must be answered by the Gunners if they are to get back to where fans think they belong?
Which Striker Will Fill The Void?
If there is an area of the pitch where the Gunners look a little light, then it is in the forward line. The departure of Pierre Emerick Aubameyang in January means that just Alexandre Lacazette and Eddie Nketiah remain among the striking options available. Arsenal tried, and failed to sign Dusan Vlahovic in the January transfer window, which means it is apparent that it’s an area that the Gunners are looking to strengthen.
The striker that the club brings in over the summer must hit the ground running at the start of the 2022-23 season, and already a number of options have been muted. Alexander Isak looks like the most realistic target. The 22-year-old is currently playing in La Liga for Real Sociedad, where he has scored four goals in 20 league fixtures this season. Atletico Madrid’s Joao Felix is another striker that has been linked with the move, but it remains unclear whether the Spanish giants would be willing to listen to offers for their record signing.
Which Players Will Be Moved On?
Throughout his Arsenal tenure, Arteta has done an excellent job of moving on players that he doesn’t believe have a part to play for the club. The departure of club captain Aubameyang to Barcelona on a free transfer in January was another example of that. The club will be assessing a number of first-team players before the end of the season, and judging whether new deals will be awarded.
Nketiah and Lacazette are two players whose contracts are running down this summer, and both could be allowed to leave. Meanwhile, it’s likely that Mohamed Elmeny will be allowed to leave at the conclusion of his contract. Arsenal could also be willing to listen to offers for Bernd Leno, Granit Xhaka, and Ainsley Maitland-Niles.
Which Positions Need Strengthening?
The current squad is paper-thin, which has been ideal for the current season given that the club hasn’t been playing in a European competition. Qualification to at least the Europa League means that the club will need to buy new players and cover positions for the extra games throughout the 2022-23 season. However, buying the right players for the team is the most important factor that all teams need to take into consideration.
Arteta has brought very well during his short stay at the Emirates, with the arrivals of Ben White, Takehiro Tomiyasu, and Aaron Ramsdale undoubtedly improving the side. Building on the blocks already in place at the club over the summer is the next logical step. Buying young stars has proven to be a strong strategy to this point, but more experience may need to be added if the Gunners are to mount a serious challenge for the league title.
That would especially be the case should Lacazette, Xhaka, and Leno be able to leave the club, as the average age of the squad would drop drastically. Buying a mix of both youth and experience could be the way forward for the Gunners in what is expected to be one of the club’s most important summer windows for many years.