Arsenal Two or Three Players Away from Title
Arsenal is just two or three players short of challenging for the Premier League title next season.
That is probably a generous assessment of things at the Emirates right now, but after the Gunners’ display against Manchester City, it is at least inside the realms of possibility.
Mikel Arteta missed that game but must have been pleased with how his players performed despite going down 2-1, after making the biggest decision of his career so far by ostracising former captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
Arsenal technical director Edu oversaw the signing of six players for around £112million last summer and all the new faces have fared well.
Red and white fans can use new Australian betting sites to back the north London club to take the next step and finish in the top four this season at 5/2.
Right now Arsenal is fourth in the league, seven points behind third-place Liverpool, with Chelsea a point higher and leaders Manchester City flying 10 points clear.
But should Arteta lead his old side into the Champions League next season, landing three top-drawer players could leapfrog Arsenal into title contention?
Aaron Ramsdale has been perhaps the best signing of the six, dislodging Bernd Leno as the club’s No 1 and earning nine clean sheets already.
Takehiro Tomiyasu won over the fans instantly following his last-minute switch from Bologna, while Ben White is starting to impress regularly in central defense following his £50m moves from Brighton.
Martin Odegaard has got over his shaky start to life back in the capital to command the number 10 role behind the main striker, which is now Alexandre Lacazette after Aubameyang was cut.
Nuno Tavares and Albert Sambi Lokonga have impressed in more fleeting spells, but at 21 and 22 they have plenty of time to feature more prominently.
Lacazette is out of contract this coming summer but with Aubameyang out of the picture and Eddie Nketiah destined for the exit door, a center-forward is the priority.
Plenty of names has been linked already, with Fiorentina’s Dusan Vlahovic prominently discussed.
Arsenal has had to rely on wide men Emile Smith Rowe and Bukayo Saka for goals, with the youngsters hitting eight and six in the league respectively.
A proper 20-goal a-season striker like Thierry Henry could really help the Gunners challenge the likes of City on a regular basis.
But they also could use an upgrade on Granit Xhaka if they want to eradicate the silly mistakes from their game that continue to blight their chances of success.
With Thomas Partey finally starting to deliver on the hope and expectation following his £45m transfer in 2020, a ready-made partner for him might be just what Arsenal need to kick on in midfield.
Another defender would be very useful too, who could already be on the club’s books in the shape of William Saliba, currently on loan at Marseille.
In this January transfer window, it looks likely that Arsenal will be focused on outgoings, with Ainsley Maitland-Niles joining Roma and Nketiah heading to Brighton or Crystal Palace.
However, Telegraph journalist Luke Edwards insists getting £350,000-a-week striker Aubameyang off the books is the priority.
“I can’t imagine that there’s a more frosty relationship between player and manager than there currently is between Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Mikel Arteta,” he said on the BBC’s Transfer Gossip Daily.
“They will be desperate to get rid of him. You would have thought Arsenal would have learned their lesson. They gave Mesut Ozil a really long contract on huge money when he was getting on a bit and they have done exactly the same here. He’s 33 later this year and is coming to the end of his career.
“He’s still got the ability to score goals somewhere so there is a good deal to be done for somebody, but the problem is his wages. He’s on over £300,000 a week. He is on a long contract. There will be takers for him absolutely 100%.
“It’s further complicated by the fact he’s gone to the Africa Cup of Nations so he’s not going to be around for most of this month.
“I think he will go abroad. I think Arsenal would rather send him abroad. They don’t really want to see him again. It’s a bit like seeing your ex again, and you’re paying for your ex’s mortgage while he goes and plays for another football club and scores loads of goals.”