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Key summer transfer business Arsenal need to further close the gap on Manchester City

Key summer transfer business Arsenal need to further close the gap on Manchester City

The 2023/24 campaign saw Arsenal continue their impressive upward trajectory under Mikel Arteta’s leadership.

The Gunners racked up their second-highest Premier League points tally in history (89 points) – a feat surpassed only by the legendary “Invincibles” of 2003/04.

While it still wasn’t enough to beat Manchester City to the Premier League title, their 2023/24 record is a testament to the relentless improvement with Arteta at the helm. 

Arsenal are tantalisingly close to ending their Premier League title drought, but the gap between them and Pep Guardiola’s troops still needs to be bridged.

The signings of Kai Havertz, David Raya, and Declan Rice last season brought significant improvement, but Arsenal still need a strategic summer splurge to finally dethrone the Cityzens next season.

This summer is crucial to Arsenal’s title hopes, although fans have already started planning to buy Arsenal tickets from seatsnet.com ahead of the 2024/25 season.

Reinforcements Arsenal need to close the gap on City

Defence

One of Arsenal’s top priorities this summer is to add a natural left-back to the squad. Oleksandr Zinchenko blew hot and cold last season, while Jakub Kiwior has been linked with an exit.

Fernerbache’s Ferdi Kadioglu is one of several names on Arsenal’s shortlist. The 24-year-old impressed last season, contributing three goals and five assists in 51 games.

He created ten big chances in the league – more than Zinchenko and Kiwior combined – but his brilliant defensive displays were also eye-catching.

The Turkish ace averaged 2.7 tackles and 5.7 ball recoveries per league outing. He also established himself as a force to be reckoned with in 1v1 battles, winning an impressive 67% of his ground duels.

Kadiogly could provide the right balance between attack and defence. The right-footed defender’s ability to invert and make line-breaking passes has drawn comparisons to Joao Cancelo.

Bologna defender Riccardo Calafiori has also been linked with a move to the Emirates Stadium.

The 22-year-old enjoyed a stellar Serie A campaign last term, playing a key role in helping his team qualify for the Champions League.

Calafiori is a natural centre-back, but he is versatile enough to cover at left-back when required.

The Italian is quick, strong, exceptional in the air, comfortable with the ball at his feet, and reads the game well.

He would be an upgrade on Kiwior, but Arsenal must prioritise a move for Kadioglu, who is a natural full-back.

The Turkish full-back excels on both sides of the backline, and his flair and attacking contributions from the left are precisely what Arsenal lacked last season.

Midfield

With Mohamed Elneny leaving the club and Thomas Partey poised to follow him through the exit, Arsenal will need to sign at least one new midfielder this summer.

Real Sociedad’s Martin Zubimendi is a long-term target for Arsenal, but the Spanish midfielder is reportedly keen to remain in La Liga.

His reluctance to seek a fresh challenge abroad has forced Arsenal to shift their focus elsewhere, with the Gunners now eyeing a move for Newcastle United’s Bruno Guimaraes.

Guimaraes has established himself as a lynchpin in the Newcastle team. His prowess on the ball is elite, with only eight players registering more progressive passes than him in Europe’s top five leagues last season.

He is also superb at connecting defence with attack and has developed into one of the best midfielders in the Premier League, averaging 2.4 tackles and 6.4 ball recoveries per league match last season.

Guimaraes notched seven goals and eight assists in the Premier League. In addition to his exceptional ball-winning ability, the Brazilian also created 12 big chances, averaging 1.7 key passes per 90 minutes.

Guimaraes would be an excellent partner for Rice at the base of the midfield.

Either of them would be a devastating prospect to unleash further up the pitch, so Guimaraes’ potential addition offers Arteta plenty of options in the middle of the park.

His injection of ball progression and his ability as a playmaker will also complement Arsenal’s chief creator, Martin Odegaard, and add more balance to the midfield.

Everton’s Amadou Onana is also a decent option for the Gunners. He has excelled with his defensive contributions, and at 22, he has plenty of time to develop into a well-rounded midfielder.

Attack

Arsenal scored 91 goals last season, a record only bettered by the champions, yet it is believed that signing a proven goalscorer will help close the gap on City.

The Gunners have been linked with several names to bolster their attacking ranks, although reports suggest they’re closing in on a deal to sign Sporting CP striker Viktor Gyokeres.

The Swede was in sensational form last term, spurring Sporting to the Primera Liga title with 29 goals and nine assists in 33 league appearances.

Arsenal could use a prolific marksman like Gyokeres. In addition to his goalscoring prowess, he works hard off the ball and can link up play from deeper attacking positions.

Kai Havertz fared well towards the end of last season, but Gyokeres could be the well-rounded striker Arteta need to close the gap on City.

However, with Sporting refusing to budge on their £86m demands, Arsenal could shift their focus elsewhere with Brentford’s Ivan Toney back on the Gunners’ radar.

Toney has repeatedly expressed his desire to join a top team this summer.

While he has plenty of Premier League experience, Arsenal are better off signing Gyokeres, who has already established himself as one of the most prolific strikers on the continent.

Arsenal are also looking to bolster their options on the flanks, reducing the workload of Bukayo Saka and Gabriel Martinelli. Eberechi Eze, Nico Williams and Johan Bakayoko are all linked to the Gunners.

Eze notched 11 goals and four assists in the Premier League last term. He’s a decent target for Arsenal as he can also slot into midfield when required, but the Gunners must prioritise a move for Williams.

The Spanish winger is highly rated after a phenomenal campaign with Athletic Bilbao, where he bagged eight goals and provided 19 assists in 37 games.

The 21-year-old has further strengthened his status as one of the most promising wingers in Europe with his performances for Spain at the Euros.

His £47m release clause is a bargain for a player with his immense talent, and Arsenal must pull out all the stops to sign him this summer.

Meanwhile, Bakayoko has been identified as the ideal candidate to cover for Saka in the long term.

The Belgian was in fine form for PSV Eindhoven last term, notching 12 goals and nine assists in 33 Eredivisie games as the club clinched the league title.

He would be an excellent addition to Arteta’s squad, with the Spanish manager keen to finally land the elusive Premier League title next term.

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