As it stands, the Gunners have already secured the services of William Saliba from Saint Etienne, Dani Ceballos on loan from Real Madrid and Gabrielle Martinelli from Brazilian side Ituano. Furthermore, various reports claim the Londoners are close to agreeing a deal for Celtic left-back Kieran Tierney. But what rocked the entirety of the footballing world were reports from multiple reliable journalists that as of yesterday Unai Emery‘s side are close to signing Lille superstar Nicolas Pepe for a club record fee of £72 million, beating the likes of Napoli and European champions Liverpool in the process.
The last thing anyone would’ve expected to happen this summer would be Arsenal having a dream transfer window. It has been quite a turnaround from the early rumours of a £45 million transfer budget and links to Ever Banega and Thomas Meunier.
Arsenal increasingly confident deal with Celtic for Kieran Tierney is edging closer. Still no official third bid but talks suggest all parties will be satisfied when it’s submitted
— Kaveh Solhekol (@SkyKaveh) July 27, 2019
Arsenal have reached an agreement with Lille to sign Ivory Coast winger Nicolas Pepe for ~€80m, paid by instalments to fit #AFC budget. 5yr deal, agent agreement still needed but set to be closed in next 24/48hrs. Napoli also have agreement with #LOSC but agent rejected proposal
— David Ornstein (@bbcsport_david) July 27, 2019
If one were to have predicted this just a month ago, they’d have been very likely labelled as a madman. But no, this isn’t just any casual rumour, all of this is happening.
Nevertheless, as how it’s always been with Arsenal, it’s too early to get too excited. Tierney deal could still fall through and so could the deal for Pepe, though the latter is very unlikely. Still, how would Emery’s men look with these signings secured and with the rest of the squad fully fit? That’s what we are here to see.
Goalkeeper: Bernd Leno
Picking the starting goalkeeper for this side would be fairly easy for anyone as Bernd Leno has impressed ever since the day he debuted for the North Londoners. The German had the third highest save percentage in the Premier League last season, just behind David De Gea. His shotstopping ability is considerably better than the likes of Kepa Arrizabalaga who was signed for more than 3 times the sum Arsenal paid for Leno.
With a better defensive line in front of him, the former Bayer Leverkusen man is sure to have a better season than the previous one and will surely receive the credit he deserves.
Right-back: Hector Bellerin
Just like the keeper choice, the choice for the starting right-back is not a big dilemma either. Hector Bellerin is easy and by a big margin the best fullback at the club and deservedly would and should start ahead of Carl Jenkinson and Ainsley Maitland-Nile, who, to be fair, is a midfielder playing as a backup right-back.
The Spaniard beats the likes of Aaron Wan-Bissaka in terms of attacking qualities and Trent Alexander-Arnold when it comes to defensive ability. It’s quite intriguing how Bellerin is not considered a world-class fullback for someone who registered 5 assists in just 19 Premier League appearances last season.
Centrebacks: Rob Holding and Sokratis Papastathopoulos
Rob Holding was easily the best defender at the Emirates last season and it was quite a sad scene to witness him suffering such a horrific injury. With him beside, Sokratis, the London outfit were quite stable defensively despite the occasional hiccup. After Holding’s injury, the Greek international not only had to defend for himself, but also try and cover up Shkodran Mustafi’s tardiness. Despite that, the former Dortmund man was quite the vocal defender the club needed though his performances went unnoticed.
However, should Arsenal sign another centreback before the transfer window concludes, they should definitely be paired up with the Englishman.
Left-back: Kieran Tierney
Sead Kolasinac, as good as he is, is very one dimensional and predictable. Emery relied on the Bosnian’s cutbacks too often last season which ultimately spelt disaster by the end of it. Kolasinac is also very average in terms of defensive capabilities.
Kieran Tierney however, brings the same balance Bellerin brings to the fullback position with a great defensive workrate as well as good eye going forward. No doubt that the most expensive left-back in Arsenal history – if reports were to be believed – would start over the rest.
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Midfielders: Dani Ceballos, Lucas Torreira and Granit Xhaka
Granit Xhaka and Lucas Torreira had a partnership so good that it managed to overwhelm Liverpool, Tottenham Hotspur, Manchester United and Chelsea last season. However, after Torreira suffered a burn-out due to the lack of rest Emery had burdened him with, the midfield pivot slowly deteriorated.
However, next season, with the added squad depth from Joe Willock and Matteo Guendouzi that is unlikely to happen. Adding to that the dynamism of Dani Ceballos, the Gunners could have an all-rounding centre of the park. Especially with the Spaniard’s world-class press-resistance, something which has been missing since Santi Cazorla last played.
Forwards: Nicolas Pepe, Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang
Arsenal would likely have an attacking line better than Chelsea, Manchester United and maybe Spurs if the transfer of Pepe materialises. With an actual winger to supply the strikers, the game of Lacazette and Aubameyang is very likely. And with the transfer of the Ivorian being just ‘one-step’ away, it could actually be reality in a few days.
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