Where do Arsenal need to strengthen for 2018/19?

The majority of people who read my blogs are glass half empty types. Always wanting more. To be better, never settling.

Upon the window slamming shut, rather than be happy about the signing of Pierre-Emerick Aubemeyang and Henrik Mkhitaryan, minds immediately went to other positions where we failed to strengthen.

So looking forward to the summer, bar changing the manager (big rumours floating around about Joachim Lowe at the minute), what do Arsenal need to do?

Squad Goals

It must always be remembered that in the Premier League, you have to name a 25 man squad, of which just 17 can be non home grown. For the 2018/19 players born on or after 1 January 1997 do also not required to be registered.

So when building the squad, it must be remembered that the likes of Danny Welbeck is home grown – probably why we kept him over Olivier Giroud. Ainsley Maitland-Niles need not be registered due to his age, and Alex Iwobi will now take up a squad place – he was classed as an under 21 player for the current season.

Players Out

Over the last two windows, Arsenal have done a good job letting go players who were never really top, top draw. The likes of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Theo Walcott, Francis Coquelin, Olivier Giroud, Mathieu Debuchy, Gabriel and Kieran Gibbs have been moved on.

I fully expect the cull to continue.

Per Mertesacker is retiring, and Santi Cazorla will surely not get a new contract – and if he does, he will probably not be included in the Premier League squad due to his long term injury.

The likes of Lucas Perez, Carl Jenkinson, Emiliano Martinez, Joel Campbell, Takuma Asano and Chuba Akpom will also leave the club one way or another. Ideally a transfer, but potentially loan deals once more.

This summer will surely be the transfer window the David Ospina leaves the club – especially as a new first choice goal keeper is a must (more on this later).

2018/19 Provisional Squad

If all those mentioned leave, Arsenal have just 19 senior players, topped up with youngsters who do not require to be registered:

Players In

So Arsenal’s squad will be massively under resourced, 6 players short of the maximum 25 man squad. This will give the club plenty of wiggle room to sign new players.

It will also contain just 11 non-homegrown players, meaning that we could, for all intents and purposes, sign 6 foreign players without breaking Premier League squad rules.

So what do Arsenal actually need?

First on the list is a new first choice goal keeper. Petr Cech is going down hill fast and needs to be replaced.

He will be 36 come the new season, and whilst he will still be a useful number 2, with his experience and influence a benefit on the training pitch, we need to go out and sign the next man who will be in goal for the next 10 years.

We also need a centre back.

Laurent Koscielny, like Petr Cech, has his best days behind him. I am still confident that Shkdoran Mustafi is a decent centre back. He is still just 25. What he needs is a steady partner and Arsenal to play a steady system. Continuity is the key.

Like a centre back has been on the top of every Arsenal fans wish list for about a decade, a defensive midfielder is also key. We can spend £1b on a new centre back, but if they do not get protection from the midfield, it is pointless.

Granit Xhaka has not solved the problem. A new defensive midfielder is a must.

Finally, Arsenal need a winger.

With Theo Walcott and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain gone, Arsenal do not have a natural wideman. Even if we play with Mkhitaryan and Ozil as narrow number 10s, we still need to invest in a winger to allow us to mix it up if needed.

He will not be first choice, as it is unlikely we will play the system for him to play week in week out, but a new winger needs to be on the shopping list.

Is that it?

Just 4 signings. A GK, CB, DM and winger. It might not seem like much, but if we get the quality in, and alongside the two superstar signings in January, it would give us a squad of depth and quality enabling us to compete once more.

It will give us 23 senior players, still two players short of the maximum 25, but then you always want to be a player short then have one two many – enabling a January reinforcement.

It also does not take into account that the likes of Maitland-Niles and Mavroponas will be key squad players next year, even if they do not need to be registered.

So how do I hope the squad will look going into the new season?


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