Date: 25th June 2021 at 7:43pm
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Last season was very much one to forget for Arsenal players and supporters alike, as well as manager Mikel Arteta. 

The Gunners finished 8th in the Premier League, failing to qualify for any European competition for the first time in 25 years.

Therefore, reports suggest the club will sanction a huge spending spree this summer in order to bring the squad up to the standards required to compete for Champions League qualification once again.

Technical Director Edu will work alongside Arteta to identify targets, with the club prioritising a goalkeeper, central defender, central midfielder and a striker.

It is believed that the club wish to build a squad around the likes of Kieran Tierney, Thomas Partey and Bukayo Saka, with older players such as Alexandere Lacazette and Granit Xhaka likely to be sold this summer.

With a number of players linked with the Gunners and the club keen on brining players in, we look at what Arsenal’s starting 11 could look like on the first day of next season.

Unai Simon

Athletic Bilbao ‘keeper Simon has been the club’s first choice since 2019, and is now Spain’s number one for Euro 2020, ahead of veteran David de Gea. Arsenal’s current first choice Bernd Leno has come under criticism for spells of poor form in recent seasons, and it is believed that the club are keen on signing another goalkeeper to provide competition for places in the position. The 24-year-old has kept two clean sheets in three games at the tournament so far, and is likely to attract interest from a host of club’s across Europe. If a high profile goalkeeper was signed, it is not known whether Leno would stay and fight for his place or opt to depart the club.

Max Aarons

The Norwich City right-back impressed during the Canaries’ last spell in the Premier League two years ago and, after continuing his fine form in the Championship last term, is likely to be snapped up before Norwich fans get to see him back in action. Hector Bellerin has been heavily linked with a move away from North London during each of the past three transfer windows, and it is believed that he will finally depart the club this summer with Paris Saint-Germain and Barcelona both linked with the Spaniard. Aarons, 21, would be seen as a long term option at right-back due to his young age and, versatile enough to also play at left-back, he may be preferred to other potential options.

Ben White

The Brighton and Hove Albion defender was included in Gareth Southgate’s England squad for Euro 2020 as a last minute replacement for the injured Trent Alexander-Arnold and, after impressing in a friendly against Romania, has since been linked heavily with the Gunners. Veteran defender David Luiz has departed the club following the expiry of his contract, and Calum Chambers could also be on his way out, potentially leaving Arteta with just three senior centre-backs. According to Sky Sports, Arsenal are in advanced talks with the Seagulls to sign the 23-year-old, in a deal that could rise as high as £50 million.

Gabriel 

Brazilian defender Gabriel impressed during his first season in English football, and is seen by Arteta as a long term solution to the centre-back conundrum that he faces. After signing a long term contract upon arrival in North London, it looks almost certain that Gabriel will remain with the club for the foreseeable future. Frenchman William Saliba, who spent last season on loan at Nice, could return to provide competition for places and to be used as back up to Gabriel, along with Pablo Mari.

Kieran Tierney

Scotland international Tierney received several plaudits for his performances during the first half of last season, before injuries coincided with a downturn in the full-back’s form. He is perceived by the club’s hierarchy, however, as being pivotal to the club’s future and he is one of the handful of players that Edu and Arteta intend to build the team around. Widely regarded by fans as a potential future captain, Tierney could be Arsenal’s left-back for a long time and will be crucial in the club’s rebuild.

Thomas Partey

Partey is another player who has impressed during his first season with the club, and is also viewed by those in charge as a long term fixture in the starting XI. With Granit Xhaka believed to be on his way out and both Martin Odegaard and Dani Ceballos heading back to parent club Real Madrid after the expiry of their loan spells, Partey will likely be Arsenal’s most important midfielder next season.

Eduardo Camavinga

Young French midfielder Camavinga is widely regarded as one of the most exciting prospects in Europe right now, and Arsenal are believed to be hot favourites to sign him. The Rennes midfielder is believed to be Arteta’s ‘top target’ and the French side could decide to cash in on the youngster, who has already played a staggering 82 times for the club despite being just 18 years-old. Arsenal are reportedly keen on selling both Mateo Guendouzi and Lucas Torreira, freeing up room in the squad for another central midfielder and Camavinga, who has been capped three times at senior level by France, is thought to be ahead of both Houssem Aouar and Brighton’s Yves Bissouma, both of whom had previously been linked with the club.

James Maddison

Arsenal are believed to have been long term admirers of Leicester City midfielder Maddison, who missed out on the England squad for Euro 2020 after enduring an injury-plagued second half of the season. Martin Odegaard, who was often utilised in the advanced midfield role last season, is expected to return to Madrid for good despite the prayers of Gunners fans, and Maddison could therefore be the perfect replacement for the Norwegian. It is now known whether Leicester would let Maddison go, however with a number of incomings already on the cards at the King Power Stadium, it could be that the Foxes are tempted to cash in on the Englishman if the right offer is tabled.

Bukayo Saka

Fresh from picking up the man of the match award on his competitive debut for England, Saka has already been tipped to start against Germany in the last 16 on Tuesday and will almost certainly play a huge role at the Emirates next season. While his versatility will allow Arteta to deploy him at left-back, wing-back or as part of a front three, he is likely to start on the left of the Gunners’ attack for the most part. Saka is another player who, due to his age and ability, is viewed as one of the players who the team will be built around.

Nicolas Pepe

When Pepe arrived from Lille in 2019 for a huge £72 million, expectations on the winger were sky high. After an inconsistent first 18 months in North London, however, the Ivory Coast international found top form towards the end of last season and now looks likely to start next season as first choice, ahead of the likes of Gabriel Martinelli and Willian.

Piere-Emerick Aubameyang

Gabon international Aubameyang may not have had his most fruitful season in front of goal last term, but the 32-year-old was still crucial to almost all of the Gunners’ scarce success. Having scored 85 goals in 148 games for the club, it is believed that Arteta and Edu still view Aubameyang as the club’s first choice centre forward, despite him being used out wide of late. Alexander Lacazette, sometimes used as his strike partner, is widely expected to depart the club this summer as Arsenal look to raise funds and free up space in the squad for next season.

Arsenal’s possible starting XI next season could give fans reason for optimism

With a number of potential targets on the club’s shopping list and a host of players in line for an exit from the Emirates, it will remain to be seen who stays and who goes to and from Arsenal this summer.

With the likes of Saka, Emile Smith-Rowe and Martinelli all featuring regularly in the first team, however, and an array of talent potentially arriving at the club, next season could be a much more successful one in North London.

 
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