Arsenal Transfer Rumors: The 4 Biggest Questions Arsene Wenger Must Address
Any Internet-browsing Arsenal fan will be bombarded with transfer rumors during every online sojourn this summer. Most will be false, and many of those will neglect the team's actual needs.
So where do the Gunners actually have to improve this summer?
While Arsenal are not quite as bad as some of the more pessimistic pundits would have you believe, their fourth-place finish—and struggle to get there—indicates that there is ample room for additions to the squad.
Let's look at four of the biggest areas that Arsene Wenger needs to look at.
The vast potential that Wojciech Szczesny has shown means that Arsenal will not be on the lookout for a new first-choice goalkeeper.
However, there is a void behind the Pole, and healthy competition must be maintained.
When Lukasz Fabianski was at his best toward the end of last season, Arsene Wenger was presented with the sort of constructive problem that made his team better.
Unless Fabianski is content with competing for a place with the more favored Szczesny, then Arsenal will surely welcome him back. But with understandable rumors linking him with moves elsewhere, such as this one from the Daily Mail, Wenger needs to see if there is an affordable, experienced backup goalkeeper on the market.
There is already a bit of tension around the Emirates because the club captain is being frozen out of a starting spot. Surely, then, there is no need to acquire more central defenders?
Not if Arsenal continue to get lucky.
Forget form; injuries and suspensions can wreak havoc on a defensive line in any season. The Gunners were decimated during the winter of the 2011-12 season, and Manchester United only managed to weather a similar period at the beginning of the last campaign due to their tremendous squad depth.
Arsenal only have three senior center-backs, and that will simply not be sufficient to last an entire season. Johan Djourou was played so sparingly that he was shipped out on loan during January.
Unless Arsene Wenger wants to leave Ignasi Miquel on the bench as an insurance option and stunt his growth, he will need to enter the market and acquire a serviceable backup.
While Arsenal do not need a hard-bodied defensive midfielder because Mikel Arteta has been successful as a pivote, a lack of physicality in the center of the pitch hurt the Gunners at times last season.
Usually, hard workers and excellent organization compensated for this undersized midfield corps. However, there are players out there that can marry force with technical ability.
Victor Wanyama is an example, albeit a raw one. When needed, he can make a strong tackle or muscle someone off the ball, while retaining that eye for a pass and the physical ability to play it.
Arsenal have many midfielders, but most are of the attacking variety. A bit of grit at the back would be a big boon, as long as Arsene Wenger could find a player who adequately fits into his tactical system.
Many, many times last season, Arsenal's lack of any striking reinforcements was a massive Achilles heel that undoubtedly cost the team invaluable points.
It is simply inexcusable for a club of Arsenal's stature and supposed ambitions to have but one true central striker. Lukas Podolski proved himself unable to be as physically robust as Olivier Giroud when played as a lone striker. And let's not even start on Theo Walcott.
Undoubtedly, a new striker is Arsenal's most critically important need this summer. Not a small, second striker type, either; a powerful man with a deft finishing touch who is capable of leading the line by himself.
Either way, though, the Gunners will remain a one-dimensional attacking side with little tactical flexibility if this gaping hole is not plugged between now and September.