It’s the hope that kills for Arsenal fans. Surely they won’t win the title, but a good run of form and a series of end of season dominant performances will only frustrate their supporters no end.
The Gunners have been close to the summit all season, though as ever, struggle to truly mount a water tight challenge.
However, after so many years of the same thing, the tide does indeed appear to be turning in North London. Perhaps not so much as to force manager Arsene Wenger out of the club just yet, though turning nonetheless.
Such is the air of frustration surrounding the Emirates, that even Mesut Ozil conceded the club must improve their transfer dealings if they truly harbour ambitions of a marked improvement.
Following the end of this campaign, Wenger will have just a year left on his deal. Though there has been talk of an extension, a feeling that this could be his last summer in charge presides.
In more ways than one, this could prove to be an absolutely monumental summer in deciding how the latter part of life under the iconic French boss is looked back upon.
Surely, he must go all out this time?
Considering all of this, here are FIVE big names that could find themselves at Arsenal this summer.
On the face of it, the Gunners’ engine room looks to be one the departments they are actually pretty strong. A plethora of talented, varied stars can be called upon, while both defence and attack initially appear a lot worse off.
However, upon closer inspection, Wenger really could do with bringing fresh faces in to liven up proceedings. Mathieu Flamini, Mikel Arteta and Tomas Rosicky are all set to depart this summer, while Jack Wilshere’s injury issues are well documented.
Santi Cazorla is clearly a top talent, though the Spaniard could use a hand in the deep-lying playmaker role when paired with either Francis Coquelin or Mohamed Elneny.
A big money move for Borussia Mönchengladbach ace Granit Xhaka is reportedly being weighed up, in what would be a good move for the North London giants.
The Swiss dynamo is a wonderfully gifted technician, able to pull the strings from deep positions, though is not adverse to a challenge.
Despite his wand like left foot, the 23-year old is tenaciously robust, happy to win the ball back before hitting a Hollywood pass.
Mesut Ozil’s exceptional form this term has been a bright spot, with the German playmaker finally proving he hasn’t been a royally expensive flop.
However, recent reports suggest Wenger is keen on Borussia Dortmund star Henrikh Mkhitaryan this summer. The talented 26-year old is reportedly house hunting in London, adding fuel to the fire.
Pairing the two behind the likes of Alexis Sanchez and Danny Welbeck, who would naturally stretch defences and create space, is a mouth watering thought for fans and neutrals alike, giving Wenger probably the most varied attacking department in the league.
With tenacity lacking so much in the current side, a move for the Armenian ace would certainly bringing grit and graft, as well as guile.
His exceptional work rate is perhaps surprising for such a creative individual but it is undoubtedly one of his best attributes.
Karim Benzema was heavily linked with a move to Arsenal during the last summer transfer window, a theme that is likely to continue going forward into this one.
What is different now, however, is that Real Madrid are said to have grown open to the idea of selling the French hitman this time around.
With Los Blancos likely to undergo wholesale changes after another season trailing arch rivals Barcelona, the former Lyon ace could be one of the biggest names to fall victim to a Spanish capital cull.
Benzema is without doubt THE perfect striker for the Gunners. He’s demonstrated an exceptional ability to intricately link pay with talented playmakers and powerful midfielder runners in equal measure.
While countryman Olivier Giroud is often celebrated for doing just that, the master Madrid marksman simply does is better. A simple statement perhaps, but one that surely rings true.
A clinical finisher, he would be a huge upgrade on his compatriot and arguably make Arsenal title favourites.
The fact Per Mertesacker remains a mainstay in the Arsenal backline is wholly indicative of their malaise. Clearly, his lack of pace is an area that can so often be exposed, while it’s not as if the World Cup winner is even excelling with other attributes.
What the rearguard is crying out for is a mobile, robust central defender to pair with Laurent Koscienly. A move for Aymeric Laporte appears to have been scuppered as Manchester City reportedly circle, while the future of John Stones is unclear.
Lyon defender Samuel Umtiti, who has excelled over the past year or so, has been touted as a potential candidate.
The 22-year old is a powerful young ball winner, gifted with a left foot that allows him to operate as a left-back, or a ball playing defensive midfielder.
He excels in central defence however and would be a dynamic replacement for Mertesacker, finally bringing a sense of dominance and urgency to the defensive ranks.
Any move for the ever impressive N’Golo Kante of table topping Leicester City is likely to be ambitious one, though Foxes chief Claudio Ranieri recently conceded the French international could still leave at the end of the season.
Previously, he has been linked with a move to North London, and it’s easy to see why. The 24-year old has been one of the stories of the season, emerging as one of the best box-to-box midfielders on the continent at the King Power Stadium.
His arrival would address a long running problem for Wenger, finally adding a tireless defensive work rate into the midfield department.
Deploying him in a holding role would give the Gunners a genuine defensive shield for the first time in years, allowing the more skilful forward thinking players to do what they do best.