I found this in my drafts. I wrote it before the FA Cup Final. I have no idea why I did not publish it earlier, but here it is.
Every year I write a wish list. A prediction. I play football manager with myself. Attempt to build the Arsenal squad. Who I want to see come in, who I think will leave, what I think the squad will look like next year.
Here are my thoughts on the 2017/18 season…
In goal, Wojciech Szczesny and David Ospina will leave the club. We will raise £20-30m be selling them both. In their place, we should go for Sunderland’s Jordan Pickford.
Valued at £30m, we could pretty much get him for free if we get a decent value for the other two keepers. At worst we would be looking at a £10m outlay. Personally, I do not think Pickford is ready to play for a team like Arsenal.
It is easy at Sunderland. Saving 20 shots a game, not getting criticised if you concede 6, as you have said another 14. At Arsenal – and other top clubs – you come under higher scrutiny. By getting in Pickford now, we could easily play him in the cups whilst an understudy to Petr Cech. He will learn form the goal keeping legend, and this time next year, will take over as number one.
A deal for Sead Kolasinac looks done. A free transfer. Ignore the price tag. He is the best left back in the Bundesliga.
With his height and physicality, he could drop inside and become the left side of a 3 at the back. With Nacho Monreal also offering similar attributes, it could be a case of flipping a coin to decide who players where. Kieran Gibbs will make way.
In the middle of the park, I have been a long term fan of Renato Sanches.
He went for big money to Bayern Munich last year, but has struggled to nail down a spot. Munich could well look cash in before what they owe on him increases again.
Sanches has the physicality in the middle of the park that we have missed. An all round central midfielder, he can defend and attack, pass and tackle. He covers the ground and could become an absolute beast in the middle of the park alongside Granit Xhaka.
Moving forward, after their poor season last year, Riyad Mahrez might come available.
At the right price, he could provide competition for Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil. If we get him in early, it would also take the pressure off if we lose either player as we would already have a replacement.
Mahrez would also do a job on the wing, if we decide to move Sanchez up top (or behind Sanchez alongside Ozil).
Having a choice between Ozil, Sanchez and Mahrez is something we could certainly accommodate.
Finally we have Kylian Mbappe. The young striker is going to be very expensive. I am not 100% sure on him. He has the talent. But his price tag does not quite justify what he has done so far. He would be a luxury signing if signing him does not mean we have to give up on other targets. I would not sacrifice (for example) signing Sanches and Mahrez to bring in Mbappe, but once sales come in, we could free up enough money to sign the wonderkid.
It will be interesting to see how many we sign.
Note: This was originally written before we won the FA Cup Final