Who do Arsenal need to sign?

LONDON, ENGLAND – JANUARY 18, 2020: Gabriel Martinelli of Arsenal and Nicolas Pepe of Arsenal celebrate a goal scored during the 2019/20 Premier League game between Arsenal FC and Sheffield United FC at Emirates Stadium.

Arsenal have been massively underachieving this season and currently sit in 10th position in the English Premier League. They were also knocked out of the Europa League by Olympiacos. As a result, any hopes they have of playing in Europe next season are all but over. 

It’s no surprise that Arsenal have to improve in the defence this summer and I believe they need to sign Dayot Upamecano from RB Leipzig, the 20-year-old has shown promising signs at Leipzig starting 27 games and 1 substitute appearance. His passing ability would help Arsenal play out from the back with 91% of his passes reaching the intended receiver.

William Saliba is back after his loan at Saint Etienne where he was a regular starter.  Partnering these two at the back and creating a French connection would be one to keep your eyes on. 

Ever since Aaron Ramsey left on a free transfer to Juventus last summer Arsenal have really lacked creativity and they need to address this as a priority. One of the first targets could be the Atletico Madrid defensive midfielder Thomas Partey.

He would be the engine in the middle of the pitch and his persistence and work ethic would ensure Arsenal are not losing the midfield battle as often. Partey also has a lot of international experience scoring 9 goals in 26 appearances for the Senegal national team. 

Another option would be Phillipe Coutinho on a year-long loan. German champions Bayern Munich have told Barcelona they do not want to buy him on a permanent deal which could be an opening for Arsenal to secure the Brazilian. Despite being out of form, the South American playmaker on his day can be the best player on a pitch.

This transfer window is critical for Arsenal if they want to build a team that can make a push for Europe next season. A major challenge facing Arsenal is the heavy wage bill they currently have so they would have to shift some players on.

However, players like Mesut Ozil are reported to be on extortionate wages meaning it is unlikely any club will want to pay those for a player of his age. Teams like Turkish giant Fenerbahce may be a good fit for Ozil, but would almost certainly ask Arsenal to pay half of his wages. This leaves the question about whether Arsenal retains his services next season and run his contract down next summer.

Despite all the criticism, Arsenal have a lot of good young players coming through the ranks, players like Bukayo Saka, Joe Willock, Gabriel Martinelli and plenty more have featured this season and done well. 

This would point to Arsenal’s long term future looking pretty secure, however, they really must act quickly if they have any aspiration to qualify for Europe next season.

Cal Bain