Pedro Neto

Pedro Neto (canno73 | Bigstockphoto)

The 2023/24 season is drawing to a close and it could yet be a glorious one for the Gunners. At the time of writing, with two games left to play, they have a lead of one point at the top of the Premier League table. Sadly, the big problem for Mikel Arteta’s men is that Manchester City have not two, but three games left to play.

Clearly, if the defending champions, looking to land a fourth consecutive league title, win all their remaining games, they will once again lift the Premier League trophy. However, with the Gunners boasting a goal difference that is superior by six, if City draw just one of their final fixtures, there could yet be celebrations in north London.

There is much still to play for, then, but whatever happens in the closing weeks of the season, Arsenal will be looking to strengthen their squad in the summer. With Champions League football again assured, they will want a deeper squad. They will also feel that a little bit of extra class here and there could give them what it takes to either – hopefully – defend their Premier League title; or more realistically, push City even closer in 2024/25.

But what do the Gunners need and where will Arteta be focussing his efforts in the summer transfer window? Different fans and pundits will have different ideas about where the squad most needs improving, and of course nobody knows what the manager himself, or the club’s hierarchy, have in mind. The Gunners have some excellent young players coming through, but only the team’s coaches will know quite how ready any of them are to make the big step up into the first team.

Nonetheless, for what it is worth, this is what we think the club needs to do over the summer to increase their chances of success in 2024/25 and the seasons ahead.

Striker Likely to Be Focus

Ivan Toney
Ivan Toney (Mattythewhite | Wikipedia)

At the time of writing, Arsenal boast the best goal difference in the top flight, having scored the most goals. As such, it may seem strange to suggest they need to sign a striker but we feel if they are to get better, a world-class forward is a must. Of course, Arteta is a disciple of Pep Guardiola, who has often played with a false nine, rather than a true out-and-out striker.

But then Pep has also managed hugely successful sides featuring a principal forward, with Robert Lewandowski at Bayern, and Sergio Aguero at Man City the obvious examples. Oh, and a certain Erling Haaland you may have heard of too. Arsenal have really shared the goals around in 2023/24, with 10 players having managed four or more in the league.

Bukayo Saka is the club’s leading goalscorer in the Premier League, with 16, whilst Kai Havertz has proved an excellent buy, warming up after a slow start to register 12. But the two players who are closest to true number nines, Gabriel Jesus and Eddie Nketiah, have scored just four and five goals respectively. Arteta’s men can certainly function without a principal striker but having a top-notch forward would certainly give them more scope.

Ivan Toney is a player who has been linked with the club before and bringing the Brentford man in would make a lot of sense financially. He would be in the last year of his contract, so a deal could be done and his physicality would certainly offer something very different and potentially useful against opponents opting to sit back. His fierce will to win would please Arteta but there are question marks about his personality.

Ollie Watkins and Alexander Isak would both be very useful additions too, with the style of the latter possibly more suited to the Gunners. However, we suspect both would be difficult to prise away from their current clubs, although Profit & Sustainability regulations could mean the Magpies have to sell. Former Coventry man, now with Sporting Lisbon, Viktor Gyokeres and Napoli hitman Victor Osimhen are also options, with our personal preference for the latter.

Left-Back High Priority

Alphonso Davies
Alphonso Davies (Steffen Prößdorf | Wikipedia)

Perhaps the area Arsenal most urgently need an injection of class is at left-back. Takehiro Tomiyasu, Jakub Kiwior and of course Oleksandr Zinchenko are all very decent footballers. They bring a degree of flexibility too, whilst the latter’s leadership is much-prized by Arteta and Edu. But are they players who can be first choice in a side that wins the league and goes far in Europe?

It seems not to most experts, and so the Gunner have been considering a number of options in the summer. Bayern’s Alphonso Davies would be the dream signing for many fans, with his pace and attacking threat sure to get them excited. He seems set to leave Bayern, despite his stunning goal in the Champions League semi final defeat to Real Madrid, and this is a deal which could get done, although Madrid and other huge clubs are also interested.

Jorrel Hato from Ajax is another possible left-back but he is just 18 and we feel Arteta would prefer someone to go straight into the team. Hato is hugely promising but with the club already boasting strong squad players in that position, including Kieran Tierney as things stand, we feel the timing is not right for the Ajax man. Bayer Leverkusen’s Alejandro Grimaldo, Girona’s Miguel Gutierrez and Rayan Ait-Nouri (Wolves) are also of interest but we really feel Edu and co should go all out for Davies.

Yet More Attacking Options

Nico Williams
Nico Williams (Maider Goikoetxea Hidalgo | Flickr)

With the likes of Saka, Havertz, Leandro Trossard, Martin Odegaard and Gabriel Martinelli, plus Emile Smith Rowe, one might assume that Arteta would be happy with his attacking midfield options. However, it seems likely that summer will see strengthening in this area, with Pedro Neto from Wolves, Bilbao’s Nico Williams and Michael Olise from Palace (possibly with Nketiah moving the other way) having been scouted.

The Gunners may also want to add a central midfielder, with the likes of Martin Zubimendi from Real Sociedad, the perennially linked Douglas Luiz from Villa, Real Madrid’s Aurelien Tchouameni and Quinten Timber from Feyenoord all being considered. Tchouameni would be the hardest to get, with a deal for Timber obviously so much easier given his twin brother Jurrien is already at Arsenal.

Arsenal will certainly back Arteta this summer, with the club’s financial position much more stable than that of many in the Premier League. Funds could be raised through the sale of players such as Jesus, Nketiah, Thomas Partey and Aaron Ramsdale. Arteta does not need to sell to buy and there are other players deemed to be disposable too, so it certainly could be an exciting summer for Arsenal fans!