From the moment the final whistle of the final game of the season is blown, we Arsenal fans are immediately assaulted by imperatives. It can get quite annoying. So-and-so must do this. Wenger has to sign such and such a player. Failure to do so will be catastrophic.
I don’t like words like “must” being used in the titles of articles that speculate on transfers because it implies that the writer understands the needs of the club better than the manager does. We—that is, the writers—don’t. We can’t. It’s not our job to run a football club. It’s the manager’s.
What we can do—and what we are obliged to do as analysts—is look at the available data and form opinions based on that data.
So, let’s jump into the deep end.
At the moment, we know that Robin Van Persie will probably be sold by Arsenal before the team leaves for their tour of Asia. At this point in his transfer saga, Van Persie would presumably fetch a price of around £20-25 million.
We know that Arsenal is in a comfortable financial position, and therefore that the money from any such sale would in all likelihood be made available to Arsene Wenger to strengthen what is already a relatively deep team.
Despite this depth, we also know that there are areas of Arsenal’s squad that need strengthening in order for them to compete with teams like City and Chelsea. In my own humble opinion (which I will back up, for those quick-witted enough to raise the cry of “hypocrite!”), these areas, in no particular order of urgency, are as follows:
- Cover for right-back, in case the unlucky Sagna carks it midseason.
- A quick and creative central attacking midfielder/deep lying striker with vision, passing and dribbling skills and the ability to chip in with goals. A Bergkamp, if you will.
- A central defender, to cover for the almost-guaranteed injury that will befall one of Koscielny, Vermaelen, or Mertesacker.
- A striker in the mould of our departing Dutchman, whose strengths lie in touch, passing, creativity, shooting prowess from any area of the field and intelligence.
In saying this, we also know that Arsene Wenger has his own way of doing things, and he will never depart from that method. We won’t see Messi or Hulk or Neymar on their way to Arsenal in the near future. Not unless Wenger takes off his Arsene Wenger mask to reveal that he is, in fact, the wretched lovechild of Jose Mourinho and Roman Abramovich.
If Van Persie is indeed sold before the closing of the summer transfer window, here are five players which I feel will best fulfill the needs of the team, while remaining as realistic as possible in terms of who Arsene would actually consider buying with that money.
Hence, the players are a combination of young, technically sound, versatile, cheap, and—naturally French.
I did not put anyone on here that Arsenal haven’t already been linked to. “Could” is a very broad term, and so I had to narrow it down somehow.
I won’t say Arsenal must sign these players. But it would definitely make sense if they did.