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Mikel Arteta three steps away from dream Arsenal squad as Edu plots big summer transfer spend



In the space of just a few transfer windows, Arsenal have transformed from having a squad incapable of qualifying for European competition, to one that has secured a Champions League spot with games left to spare. The Gunners have no intentions of stopping there, though.

When describing his ideal squad Mikel Arteta has been very clear on what he wants. “If you can financially afford it and we don’t have to do the turnaround in the squad that we’ve had to do, if you ask me what I want it’s 22 outfield players and three goalkeepers,” the Spaniard said last year.

While he has that in terms of numbers right now, there are certainly areas where the depth could be improved. Here takes a look at where Arsenal might want to strengthen this summer.

Central defence


The goalkeeping position at Arsenal is relatively set with Matt Turner having done well enough in his debut season, and Aaron Ramsdale having established himself as one of the best in the Premier League. Central defence though still has a few question marks.

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Arteta has always been a manager who has wanted right-footed centre-backs on the right side of defence, and left-footed centre-backs on the left. While he has broken from this habit recently by partnering Jakub Kiwior with Gabriel, it’s likely that he’ll want to return to his preferred set up sooner rather than later.

That will mean a right-footed centre-back will have to come in to the squad. William Saliba is of course the preferred option, and Arsenal are confident of tying him down to a new deal, but beyond him Rob Holding struggled during a run in the side. Marc Guehi of Crystal Palace is a target, while the club have also looked at Bayer Leverkusen’s Edmond Tapsoba.

Alternatively the option is there to have Takehiro Tomiyasu or Ben White move central. If this were the case then Arsenal might look to sign a right-back to add more depth, with Real Valladolid’s Ivan Fresneda remaining a player of interest.


Central midfield

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Mohamed Elneny is not expected back from injury any time soon, while Albert Sambi Lokonga doesn’t seem to have the trust of Mikel Arteta. This means that another midfielder will need to come into the group.

Jorginho has impressed since arriving from Chelsea, while Thomas Partey is one of the best in the league in his position when on form. Granit Xhaka, meanwhile, has been reborn in a more advanced eight role. Arsenal are keen to bring in Declan Rice who can offer competition in both positions.

They do also still hold an interest in Moises Caicedo, however. Xhaka is attracting interest from Bayer Leverkusen so if he leaves, perhaps Rice could be the option in the more advanced role. Emile Smith Rowe has trained in that position this season too, while Fabio Vieira has featured there a few times. If all of those players end up staying though it would offer up some serious strength in depth for Arsenal in midfield.



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This on paper is an area where Arsenal are pretty stacked. If Mikel Arteta wants two players for every position though, there may well need to be some moving and shaking.

Reiss Nelson is currently due to see his contract expire at the end of this season. If he does not accept an offer before then, Arsenal will need to look to bring someone in to match Arteta’s dream.

Moussa Diaby of Bayer Leverkusen has been linked heavily over the past few weeks. Emile Smith Rowe is capable of playing there though, while Leandro Trossard can operate to a good standard anywhere across the front line.



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