Five Arsenal players that need to be upgraded this summer

For Arsenal, this season has been another golden opportunity to become English champions for the first time since 2004 – but that chance has again been wasted due to inconsistency.

The Gunners have qualified for the Champions League, as per usual, but the Emirates Stadium faithful will feel that their side really should have made the most of other big-name clubs under-performing in 2015/16.

With that in mind, one eye is already on the summer transfer market and the scope for Arsenal to strengthen their squad.

Arsene Wenger has been cautious in the club’s recruitment drive in recent years but there are a host of players in the current set-up that look like they need to be upgraded this summer if the North London side are to fight for silverware in 2016/17 – here are FIVE players that this applies to.

Olivier Giroud

Olivier Giroud centre

Arsenal fans have long called for a world-class striker, but Wenger has maintained faith with the maligned figure that is Olivier Giroud.

With the Frenchman hitting just 12 Premier League goals this season, half of his equivalents at the other three top-four clubs, the lack of a clinical finisher has clearly cost the Gunners in 2015/16.

It is time for Wenger to concede that the former Montpellier man is not up to providing 20+ goals a season and splash the cash on someone else who is.

Per Mertesacker

MertesackerFPL3

Arsenal have been accused of a soft core and the giant German’s presence in the side does a lot to add to this.

At 31, Mertesacker offers a wealth of experience and a physical presence, but his lack of pace has seen the Gunners look vulnerable in recent times.

Wenger may opt to keep the World Cup winner at the Emirates Stadium, but signing a centre-half at the peak of his powers to be first choice in the starting XI seems necessary.

Mikel Arteta

Arteta

The club captain and another veteran of the side, Arteta is out of contract in the summer and is seemingly set to leave north London.

The Spaniard has not started a Premier League game this season, with eight short cameos from the bench the sum of his action in 2015/16.

As such, a new more youthful option to challenge the squad’s existing central midfielders is needed upon Arteta’s exit.

Mathieu Debuchy

Debuchy 2

Hector Bellerin has firmly tied down the right-back role as his own and is one of the best in the Premier League in the position – but Arsenal’s back-up options are lacking.

Debuchy may well be an international and, on form, a capable operator, but any chance he has had to play this season has weakened the Gunners.

With the former Newcastle man looking destined for a transfer, a new right-back to provide fitting competition to Bellerin would be a smart buy.

Mathieu Flamini

Flamini

Another of the ageing contingent, bringing Flamini back to the Emirates Stadium on a free transfer initially looked like a shrewd move by Wenger.

However, with Francis Coquelin and Mohamed Elneny the preferred shields in front of the team’s defence, the former AC Milan man looks surplus to requirements.

At 32, Flamini is coming to the end of his career, and having someone more dynamic and comfortable on the ball as an alternative to Coquelin or Elneny would boost Arsenal’s strength in depth.