What positions are Arsenal aiming for in the summer transfer window? What did Mikel Arteta say? And what do the statistics say?
What positions are Arsenal aiming for?
Sky Sports News reporter Dharmesh Sheth:
Arsenal are ready for another busy summer. Missing out on Champions League football can affect spending plans, but there are areas Edu and Mikel Arteta want to strengthen.
The departure of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang in the last transfer window means Arsenal are definitely on the hunt for a striker. Adding to the Gunners’ clout is Eddie Nketiah, who is close to signing a new contract this summer.
Alexandre Lacazette is out of contract in the summer and will not stay at the club as things stand. Expect a new player or two to arrive in this position. Folarin Balogun was on loan at Middlesbrough – expect him to return to fight for his place.
Central midfield and central defense are other positions Arsenal could consider. William Saliba had a hugely successful season on loan at Marseille and will return to Arsenal before next season
Arteta may also want to recruit a specialist left-back to provide some competition for Kieran Tierney. Injuries limited Tierney to 22 Premier League starts last season.
Arsenal are likely to try to get money for keeper Bernd Leno. His contract expires next summer and the club have signed US international Matt Turner.
Arsenal were the biggest donors in the Premier League last summer – and Arteta is backed again. Adding quality and depth is key as they will compete in four competitions next season.
What do the stats say about Arsenal?
The Gunners’ number one need for next season is offense. When your leading scorer has the same number of goals as bottom Norwich, you know there’s a problem.
The problem isn’t creating opportunities, it’s seizing them. Arsenal ranked fourth for shots on target, shots on goal and goals expected (xG) this season, but 11th for shot conversion.
This disparity puts Arteta’s side in 15th place for the xG differential, which measures the difference between goals and xG. A low xG differential suggests you’re missing out on quality chances – only Brighton, Leeds and the three relegated teams had lower xG differentials than Arsenal.
The main culprit in this regard is Alexandre Lacazette, who netted just two non-penalty goals from 46 shots and a 6.84 xG return. Only Bryan Mbuemo of Brentford has fallen behind his xG by a larger margin this season.
What manager Mikel Arteta said
Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta after his side’s 5-1 win against Everton last day:
“From my side I will do and the club will do what we have to do and what we think is best for the club to move forward and do it with the integrity and the honesty we have always done.
“I will speak to the three players [Alex Lacazette, Eddie Nketiah and Mohamed Elneny who are out of contract this summer] and after that we have to start moving on, but we have clear ideas about what we want to do.
“These players individually know their situation, when it’s communicated, and then that situation happens face-to-face the way they deserve.”
What should Arsenal do this summer?
Sky Sports football journalist Sam Blitz:
First and foremost, this Arsenal squad needs to be increased in numbers. Mikel Arteta organized a small squad last season as the Gunners lacked European football – and that hampered the team in the final weeks of the season.
Injuries to Kieran Tierney, Thomas Partey and Takehiro Tomiyasu ended their chances of a top four finish. As such, the challenges of football Thursday through Sunday require decent back-up options as Cedric Soares, Albert Sambi Lokonga and Nuno Tavares are either too fickle or inexperienced for a regular run in the team.
Then comes the striker’s dilemma. Alexandre Lacazette’s future is far from certain and with European football on the agenda, at least two new strikers need to come to the Emirates Stadium.
Manchester City’s Gabriel Jesus has close ties to the club and would be an excellent addition having previously worked with Mikel Arteta, while Dominic Calvert-Lewin, Victor Osimhen and Tammy Abraham have been touted as potential new targets.
William Saliba should provide better competition at the back but it could also take a central midfielder like Youri Tielemans or Ruben Neves to take the creative load off Martin Odegaard.
In terms of expenditure, there should not be such a major clearing out compared to previous years. Along with Lacaczette, Bernd Leno will certainly leave the club while Arteta could try to find an improvement over Tavares.
Arsenal fans’ patience with Nicolas Pepe is running out, so he may be moved on to fundraise. Don’t be surprised if Reiss Nelson, who has been in superb form on loan at Feyenoord for the past few weeks, comes back to replace him.
However, missing out on Champions League football means Arteta and Arsenal may need to look further down their transfer target pecking order, especially as neighbors can offer Tottenham better conditions for European football next season.