How Arsenal’s summer should go

Arsenal’s current squad looks like this:

Goalkeepers:

Petr Cech (retiring) – 7 league starts – 588 mins

Bernd Leno – 32 league starts + 1 sub – 2833 mins

David Ospina (returning from loan with Napoli) – 26 league starts + 1 sub – 1457 mins

Emiliano Martinez (returning from loan with Reading) – 18 league starts – 1620 mins

Defenders:

Hector Bellerin – 19 league starts + 1 sub – 1535 mins

Sokratis Papastathopoulos – 25 league starts – 2199 mins

Laurent Koscielny – 13 league starts + 4 subs – 1330 mins

Stephan Lichtsteiner – 10 league starts + 4 subs – 941 mins

Rob Holding – 9 league starts + 1 sub – 807 mins

Nacho Monreal – 21 league starts + 1 sub – 1861 mins

Shkodran Mustafi – 31 league starts – 2617

Carl Jenkinson – 2 league starts + 1 sub – 167 mins

Konstantinos Mavropanos – 3 league starts + 1 sub – 150 mins

Sead Kolasinac – 22 league starts + 2 subs – 1891 mins

Calum Chambers (returning from loan with Fulham) – 29 league starts + 2 subs – 2587 mins

Midfielders:

Mohamed Elneny – 5 league starts + 3 subs – 381 mins

Henrikh Mkhitaryan – 19 league starts + 6 subs – 1645 mins

Aaron Ramsey (leaving on a free transfer) – 14 league starts + 14 subs – 1331 mins

Mesut Ozil – 20 league starts + 4 subs – 1742 mins

Lucas Torreira – 24 league starts + 10 subs – 2381 mins

Ainsley Maitland-Niles – 11 league starts + 5 subs – 986 mins

Takuma Asano (returning from loan with Hannover 96) – 9 starts + 4 subs – 702 minutes

Matteo Guendouzi – 23 league starts + 10 subs – 2144 mins

Granit Xhaka – 29 league starts – 2502 mins

Forwards:

Alexandre Lacazette – 27 league starts + 8 subs – 2507 mins

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang – 30 league starts + 6 subs – 2733 mins

Alex Iwobi – 22 league starts + 13 subs – 1976 mins

Danny Welbeck (contract is expiring) – 1 start + 7 subs – 148 mins

Eddie Nketiah – 0 league starts + 5 subs – 63 mins

Reiss Nelson (returning from loan with Hoffenheim) – 5 starts + 18 subs – 630 minutes

Season recap:

After finishing 5th in the league with 70 points (won 21, drew 7, lost 10) and a +22 goal difference with 73 goals scored (3rd best, only bettered by free scoring Man City and Liverpool) and 51 conceded (9th best), it shows some progression under Unai Emery compared to Arsene Wenger’s last season in which they finished 6th with 63 points (won 19, drew 6, lost 13) and a +23 goal difference with 74 goals scored (equal third best) and 51 conceded (8th best and only 5 less than West Brom who finished last).

In the EFL Cup they got to the quarterfinals before knocked out by Tottenham 2-0 at the Emirates whilst in the FA Cup they got to the fourth round before falling short against then a resurgent Man United (Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s 8th game in charge) as they lost 3-1 at the Emirates. Whilst in the Europa League they lost 4-1 in the final to London rivals Chelsea despite impressive ties against Napoli and Valencia in which they won both games against both of them. With all this, Arsenal will play their third consecutive season in the Europa League after 19 successive seasons (between 1998-99 and 2016-17) in the Champions League, an English record and only topped by Real Madrid in Europe.

Transfers:

It has clear they need wide talent as well as defensive reinforcements but with a reported transfer budget of £40 million (which would’ve risen to £100 million had they qualified for the Champions League) according to the daily star, they will have to spend wisely.

With Cech retiring and Napoli trying to get Ospina on a permanent deal for around £4 million, Emiliano Martinez will surely be the back-up goalkeeper as their budget doesn’t allow many transfers.

Stephan Lichtsteiner’s contract expiring in the summer and Hector Bellerin being out with an ACL injury, Arsenal will need a new right back/right wing back despite Ainsley Maitland-Niles and Calum Chambers being able to play there, a new right back will be required. As well as a new centre back and the sale of Shkodran Mustafi after 3 seasons with the Gunners, the 27-year-old is valued at £27 millions by transfermarkt with AC Milan reportedly interested in the German international. And Nacho Monreal’s contract also expiring in the summer, cover for Sad Kolasinac will be required.

With Aaron Ramsey’s departure to Juventus, this will free up space on the wage bill. Mesut Ozil has come under criticism and often dropped this season, so the sale of him and the disappointing Henrikh Mkhitaryan (values at £31.5 million and £27 million respectively) will not only give more money to spend on transfers but also free up spaces in the squad and money for wages but reinforcements in the midfield will be required.

Danny Welbeck’s contract expiring and not many young forwards, Arsenal will need another striker and winger for their frontline.

With the sales of Mustafi, Ozil and Mkhitaryan for their values, that is another £85.5 million to spend, bringing their total transfer budget to £125.5 million.

Transfers in:

Right back: Enock Kwateng (22 years-old) has his contract with Nantes expiring this summer, he would be a smart acquisition on a free transfer. He has made 22 starts (and 8 substitute appearance) this season for Nantes in the league, racking up 2040 minutes. Enock makes 4.8 tackles and interceptions per 90 and is dribbled past 1.2 times per 90, compared to Hector Bellerin who makes 1.9 tackles and interceptions per 90 and is dribbled past 0.4 times per 90 so Enock Kwateng looks to be the better defensive player but on the offensive side, Kwateng has 0.2 shots per 90 with 0.6 key passes and 0.8 dribbles compared to Bellerin’s 0.9 shots per game, 0.4 key passes and 0.8 dribbles. Kwateng makes more defensive actions has he plays for a team who has less possession (49.8% compared to Arsenal’s 55.2%) but despite this, his offensive stats look similar to Bellerin’s. He will be a free transfer,at 22 and looking at his stats, it is very low risk and work getting done for Arsenal.

Centre back: Nathan Ake (24 years-old) is valued at £25.2 million by transfermakt but Bournemouth would probably sell for around £30 million, around what Mustafi would be leaving for but on lower wages. Ake has been deployed in a 5 at the back formation with the Cherries so would slot into Arsenal’s defence without a long transition period and having played for Chelsea he has experience at a top club despite not getting many appearances with the Blues. Ake has played 3412 minutes this season for the South coast side, in those minutes he averages 2.5 tackles and interceptions per 90 with 0.9 blocks and a 86% pass accuracy despite his 1.9 long balls per 90, compare this to Shkodran Mustafi’s numbers which read like this, 3.6 tackles and intercepions per 90 with 0.5 blocks and a 81.9% pass accuracy as well as 3.2 long passes. They profile somewhat differently which will be down to the difference in playstyle between Bournemouth and Arsenal but as Ake is 3 years Mustafi’s junior, he has time on his side and can adapt to Unai Emery’s system.

Left back: Sergio Reguilon, the Spanish international turns 23 in December so is a young option. The Los Blancos man is valued at £15m by transfermarkt and had impressive performances racking up a total of 1482 minutes across the league and Champions League but since Zinedine Zidane has returned to the helm of Real Madrid, Reguilon’s minutes have massively fallen and he is apparently allowed to leave for £10 million which will be one of the bargains of the summer if he can replicate his performances for Real Madrid in North London. Despite not being favoured at the start of the season or under Zidane, Reguilon has still played 33% of the available minutes, keeping Marcelo out of the starting line-up.

Central midfielder: Pablo Sarabia, the Spaniard has a release clause of just £18 million and has had another outstanding season with Sevilla. In 3173 minutes across all competitions, he has got 30 goal contributions (16 goals and 14 assists), a goal contribution every 106 minutes. In comparison, Alexandre Lacazette averages a goal contribution every 105 minutes (20 goals and 10 assists in 3158 minutes). The midfielder who takes 2.3 shots per 90 (0.8 from outside the box) and has 2.1 key passes per 90 in the league (compared to Messi’s 2.7 who topped the league assist chart) which are both healthy numbers for a midfielder although he does only has 1.4 tackles and interceptions per 90 which no doubt increase as Arsenal average less possession than Sevilla. The 27-year-old has won the Europa League with Unai Emery at Sevilla so would bring experience as well as a bond with Unai.

Attacking midfielder: James Rodriguez, with Real Madrid having a squad overhaul this summer and looking to get rid of numerous players, Rodriguez was never favoured under Zidane so would be allowed to leave for a reasonable fee without any competition as no other big cubs touted for him this could be the perfect time to get James Rodriguez. The Colombian turns 28 in July but this season has played in numerous positions for Bayern Munich which includes at attacking midfield, central midfield as well as on either wing which is incredibly useful for Unai Emery’s tactics. The former Porto player played limited minutes, 1143 minutes in the Bundesliga for the Bavarians in which he scored 7 goals and got 3 assists. He averaged 2.6 key passes, 1.8 shots and 0.8 dribbles per 90 whilst David Silva averaged 2.1 key passes, 1.4 shots and 0.8 dribbles so his stats are in good company. The CIES value Rodriguez at £18 – £27 million so is in Arsenal’s price range and would help them challenge to get back into the Champions League which is ultimately Arsenal’s aim.

Winger: Brias Mendez, another player from La Liga with a low release clause (£22 million). The winger (can play on the left or down the centre but has played most of his minutes on the right) has 6 goals and 7 assists in 2354 league minutes this season. The Spaniard takes 2.3 shots per 90 and having 1.5 key passes per 90 whilst only being 22 years old. Celta Vigo also fought off relegation finishing 17th and 4 points off the relegation zone but once again that was down to their poor defence having the fourth worst defence in the league (conceding 62 goals). Brias averages 2.8 tackles and interceptions per 90 showing he can do some much-needed defensive work for the Gunners. Mendez finished third in the Celta Vigo squad for goals scored and topped the list for the squad despite Iago Aspas’ incredible season as former Liverpool player scored 20 and got 6 assists defining age as he turns 32 at the start of August.

The signings total between £98 million and £107 million, just shy of the transfer budget of £125.5 million (after sales) whilst also making the squad younger and more competitive with some part acquisitions that can fit work under Unai Emery.

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