Of course, we say that almost every summer – only for Arsene Wenger to buy one first-team player and a bunch of teenagers nobody’s ever heard of.
But the coming offseason should be a little different. Entering the final twelve months of his contract, the Frenchman will almost certainly step down if Arsenal don’t come close to claiming the crown next term, so he has to improve the squad over the summer.
Likewise, the Bosman departures of Tomas Rosicky, Mikel Arteta and Mathieu Flamini should oblige Le Professeur to make additions to the Gunners’ engine room whether he likes it or not.
With that in mind and the summer transfer window just around the corner, Football FanCast have combined the club’s top stars and their biggest transfer targets to create Arsenal’s dream midfield for next season.
Are these five guys an improvement on the Gunners’ current midfield options? Let us know by commenting below!
Arsenal’s engine room is crying out for a midfielder like Granit Xhaka – the tough-tackling Borussia Monchengladbach skipper who picked up three red cards in 28 Bundesliga appearances this season. Former manager Ottmar Hitzfeld once dubbed the Switzerland international ‘young Schweinsteiger’ and he’s a similar kind of player, using quality on the ball, strength and tenacity to assert his authority over the middle of the park. Countless sources have tipped the 23-year-old for an Emirates transfer this summer – including The Telegraph, who speculate a £30million deal – and Xhaka has insisted his future will be decided before the Euros.
A somewhat more progressive central midfield option for Arsenal comes in the form of Marcelo Brozovic, who has been linked with the Gunners during the last two transfer windows and again ahead of the summer. The 23-year-old has just come to the end of an impressive season with Inter Milan, bagging four goals and five assists in 25 Serie A starts whilst being jostled around a number of midfield roles. Financial issues at the San Siro could see the Croatian international leave for around £16million – but there are certainly higher-profile midfield targets on the Gunners’ transfer radar.
Any doubts over Mesut Ozil failing to justify his £42.2million transfer fee have been completely extinguished this season. The German international picked up six goals and 19 assists in 35 Premier League appearances, alongside a further two strikes in the Champions League. His attacking partnership with Alexis Sanchez is seemingly improving by the game and Arsenal’s starting Xi is being moulded around the world-class playmaker more and more. The right signings this summer could bring even more out of the 27-year-old, which brings us onto…
Having fired Leicester City to the Premier League title and himself to the PFA Player of the Year award, finishing the campaign with 17 goals and eleven assists in 37 league outings, Riyad Mahrez will inevitably be in hot demand this summer. But of all the clubs linked with the Algerian winger, Arsenal seem like the cosiest fit; he’s blessed with that fluid moment and technical trickery that has defined the Gunners’ attacking efforts throughout Arsene Wenger’s tenure. But the tabloids have valued the 25-year-old at around £40million and that figure is certainly in the right ballpark.
Alongside Mesut Ozil, Alexis Sanchez is unquestionably the most important element of Arsenal’s starting Xi. Combining tiki-taka pedigree with the physical fundamentals of the Premier League, the Chile international has been a real force since signing for the Gunners in summer 2014, going on to amass 42 goals in 90 outings across all competitions. However, the north London outfit do face a bit of a fight to keep hold of the potent winger-forward this summer, amid persistent reports of Bayern Munich targeting the 27-year-old.