Arsenal still have a lot to do this season, but already there are plans in place for the summer, and what we need to do in the transfer market.
There is one very obvious position that needs to be filled, the striker situation is one that exercises many fans and online debates, but Mikel Arteta is keen to ensure that the progress made so far is maintained and built upon.
The manager spoke to Sky Sports, ahead of Sunday’s trip to Watford, and was asked if this summer would be as important as the last one when we brought in six players – Aaron Ramsdale, Takehiro Tomiyasu, Nuno Tavares, Ben White, Albert Sambi Lokonga and Martin Odegaard.
“More important,” said Arteta. “I think now is the moment we have to go to a different level.
“We have been able to get the squad balance in a much better shape. Financially, we are in a much more stable position with the money we have spent on certain players touching the pitch for a certain amount of minutes.
“That balance is much better spread out across the squad, and now is the moment to raise the quality.”
The main focus this summer will be on a centre-forward, after the departure of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, and with the contractual situations of Alexandre Lacazette and Eddie Nketiah still up in the air.
It’s an interesting thing to consider that in the five transfer windows since his arrival in 2019, Arteta has never signed an out and out forward, so this will be a big decision and likely an expensive one. The qualities that he’s looking for?
“He puts the ball in the net, that’s priority number one,” he said. “Goal threat. Any successful team needs enough goal threat in the squad. Without it, you have nothing. You can play good football but you need enough goal threat in the team.
“The other thing is that he has to complement the other people we have, personally and on the pitch, and for that, we need the right profile.
“We need a profile where you can exploit his qualities at the same time as the qualities we already have, so we don’t have to transform our way of playing again to adapt to that specific player.
“He has to have a certain age, a certain level of experience, and he has to be able to come here and play under the pressure of being at Arsenal.”
Obviously this is something we have time to think about, but what happens between now and May will play a big part. It would be easier to attract the best players if we had Champions League football, so let’s hope the good results and performances continue until then.