Arsenal have had a very strong start to the summer transfer window.
The left side of the defence was sorted early and for free with the signing of Sead Kolašinac, who was named in the Bundesliga Team of the Season for 2016–17. This was followed up with the record signing of Alexandre Lacazette from Lyon.
What Arsenal now need to ensure that they don’t is sit back and think so far so good, job done and take the foot off the pedal.
Last summer we secured Granit Xhaka nice and early – a deal was completed on 21 May 2016 – but it would not be until 30 August 2016 that we made another senior signing in the shape of the double swoop of Lucas Perez and Shkodran Mustafi.
2015/16 was similar. Petr Cech joined on 29 June 2015, and that concluded our transfer business for that year.
History continually repeats itself at Arsenal. In 2012 Arsenal had signed Olivier Giroud and Lukas Podolski Before the end of July. They then secured Santi Cazorla. But the good work was undone when Robin van Persie and Alex Song left the club within 3 days of each other, towards the end of August.
Transfer windows are not just about who comes in, but about who go’s out. Good early signings are soon forgotten about if the club ends up losing players late in the transfer window.
So what do Arsenal need to do over the next few weeks?
The future of unsettled players
Arsenal need to get the future of the unsettled players sorted, and quickly.
Back in 2012, we let the future of Robin van Persie and Alex Song drag on too long. We need to ensure we do not do the same with the likes of Alexis Sanchez, Mesut Ozil, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Hector Bellerin.
With regards to the first 3, they are in a similar position as Rob van Persie. A contract coming to an end in 12 months, Arsenal potentially happy to sell abroad, but no foreign clubs interested. Arsenal need to put a contract in front of all 3 and tell them they have a week to sign it. If they do not, they will be sold and Arsenal will need to urgently work on a replacement.
Hector Bellerin is in the same position as Alex Song. Barcelona has come hunting and he is tempted. With a recently signed 6 year contract, and very top full backs currently few and fair between in Europe, Arsenal need to try and play hard ball. And if that fails, bleed Barcelona for every penny we can and give ourselves 6 weeks to source a replacement.
Sort out the goal keeping situation
I am concerned about the goal keeping situation at Arsenal.
We have Petr Cech, a former world class keeper, his talents are clearly on the wain. Then we have Wojciech Szczęsny. Set on loan to Italy for 2 years where he has grown up. Juventus are chasing him and his contract expires in 12 months.
David Ospina is a brilliant shop stopper, but does not have the physic for the Premier League. It is clear he is not a long term replacement for Petr Cech, so will likely move on this summer.
We then have Emiliano Martinez. I would be very concerned if he is Arsenal number 2 next season.
Arsenal need to make a decision, mainly on Wojciech Szczesny. Do we offer him a lifeline? Encourage him to sign a new deal on the basis he will compete with Cech over the next 12 months before being number 1 in 2018? Or do we cut the losses on him, get rid of Ospina, and get someone in to compete with Cech?
Don’t stop, signing
Previous years when we have started off the window strongly, we have then taken the foot off the gas and ended up scrapping around on deadline day for whoever is left. Arsenal need to ensure we complete our business decisively.
We are clearly in the market for another attacking midfielder. Both Thomas Lemar and Riyad Mahrez have been heavily linked. It seems we are interested in signing one of these, even if Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil stays. Let’s pay what’s needed and get someone in by the end of the month.
Do that and, replacing any outgoing players aside, Arsenal just need to strengthen the middle of the park.
Aaron Ramsey, Granit Xhaka, Mohamed Elneny, Francis Coquelin and Jack Wilshere as midfield options simply lacks quality and fitness. We need to get in an extra body as we can not rely on Wilshere to remain fit, or Santi Cazorla to get fit.
Keep what we have, and get in the 2 midfielders we need, and we have a title winning side for next year.
We just need to keep the momentum.