Martin Odegaard and Aaron Ramsdale are the fourth and fifth additions for Arsenal this summer. The Gunners are almost at the finishing line of their reported summer overhaul. Now, what is left is moving out some players, while adding a few if the first criteria is met.
The two positions Arsenal are still looking to strengthen are the right-back and the centre-forward role, but they are solely dependent on departures. If the Gunners can find suitors for Hector Bellerin, Cedric Soares, Alexander Lacazette, and Eddie Nketiah, the supporters would expect someone to come in to replace them.
Reports in Spain have continuously linked Bellerin with a move to several clubs in La Liga. Atletico Madrid, Real Betis, Villarreal, and even Barcelona are believed to hold an interest in the 26-year-old.
Arsenal are thinking of a swap deal involving Emerson or Trippier
🔴 Hector Bellerin wants Arsenal exit
🔴 Extremely frustrated with #AFC
🔴 26yo has told Arteta + Edu
🔴 Would take pay cut to leave
🔴 Things not working for him or club
🔴 Inter talks failed, Emerson & Trippier swap ideas but nothing close@TheAthleticUKhttps://t.co/4yELsTXI3t
— David Ornstein (@David_Ornstein) August 16, 2021
There is a big possibility of Arsenal trying to negotiate a swap deal for the Spanish right-back which would benefit all parties involved, given the financial difficulties many clubs are facing due to the pandemic. Emerson Royal and Kieran Trippier are both viable names that can be added to the books before the transfer window concludes on August 31.
Both Emerson and Trippier are at different stages in their career. While Trippier is an England international and has bags of experience, Emerson will be one for the future and will provide Arsenal with something unique. Meanwhile, clubs in Turkey have kept a close eye on Cedric, but it remains to be seen whether he is moved on just a year after he penned a four-year deal.
Whereas, Lacazette and Nketiah are other names that might not be at Arsenal next month. If the duo departs, Arsenal will only have one senior centre-forward in Pierre Emerick Aubemeyang. Considering the former Dortmund man’s form last season, and the inexperience of youngster Folarin Balogun which was on display during the 2-0 defeat against Brentford last Friday, it would be a rational decision to bring in a striker to spearhead the team.
Tammy Abraham was Arsenal’s number 1 choice
Arsenal would have liked to sign Tammy Abraham but it appears the inability to move on Alexandre Lacazette (or indeed Eddie Nketiah) has proved an insurmountable obstacle. https://t.co/TL3VZfkowa
— gunnerblog (@gunnerblog) August 14, 2021
Fiorentina’s Dušan Vlahović is a name that was thrown in the ring. However, the Serbian’s price tag of around €70 -80 million might become a sticking point for the Red and White. Arsenal were very interested in Chelsea’s Tammy Abraham. But their inability to move on Lacazette and Nketiah on time meant they lost the race to sign him.
Arguably, only Kieran Tierney, Ben White, Gabriel Magalhaes, Thomas Partey, Emile Smith Rowe, and Bukayo Saka have an immediate place in the starting 11 when fit. Others will have to fight to have a chance of getting minutes, which is only a good thing for Mikel Arteta as well as the club as a whole. So, moving onto the real question, how will Arsenal line up after the window shuts down?
Bernd Leno will be expected to remain between the posts. But, being as inconsistent as the previous campaign might mean that he might get ousted from the team, as Arsenal already have a player in Ramsdale, who will be looking forward to proving his naysayers wrong. The German will be on his toes all the time, which might bring his best self back.
Three positions in defence are somewhat already in place. Tierney, White, and Gabriel (when he returns from his injury) will be expected to start. The right full-back position is where the North London outfit would like to strengthen at.
Emerson might become an Arsenal player before the end of the shop window
Arsenal are keen to strengthen in Bellerín's position, one idea is a swap involving Barça's full-back Emerson Royal but nothing is advanced at this stage. [the athletic] pic.twitter.com/asWdFZn6vz
— barcacentre (@barcacentre) August 16, 2021
Given Barcelona’s wage bill struggles and their willingness to listen to offers for the majority of their players, swapping Bellerin and bringing in Emerson Royal looks like a genuine prospect.
While in the centre of midfield, Albert Sambi Lokonga has impressed since making a switch to North London from Anderlecht and it won’t be surprising if he replaces Granit Xhaka midway through the season. However, Arteta’s trust in Xhaka can only be defined in infinite terms at the current moment and it’s hard to imagine the Spaniard choosing a pair of Partey and Lokonga when the Ghanaian makes a recovery from the ankle injury.
On the other end, Arteta will be licking his lips at the number of options that he has on his table, the players that will operate behind the centre-forward.
Mikel Arteta and the club’s first priority this summer was to re-sign the Norwegian
Martin Odegaard 🤝 London Colney
Back home 🏡 pic.twitter.com/6GpX9hOSBo
— Arsenal (@Arsenal) August 20, 2021
With the arrival of Martin Odegaard, the former Man City assistant has a plethora of options to choose from. Nicolas Pepe, Gabriel Martinelli, Emile Smith Rowe, Martin Odegaard, and Bukayo Saka for filling three positions, will be a feast for any manager.
But, I believe Arteta will go with ESR on the left, Odegaard in the centre, and Saka on the right. All three provide something different to the team and can create havoc, something the team has lacked in the past few years.
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If Arsenal don’t bring or move out a centre-forward, the most natural player whom every Arsenal fan would want to start will be Lacazette. The Frenchman is a player that can hold the ball and link up the play. That helps the trio of Smith Rowe, Saka, and Odegaard to thrive.
Even though some people have doubts over the quality that has been brought in through the door. The supporters can also finally sigh in relief that the club is not switching to stop-gap solutions for their deep-rooted problems.
Defence: Emerson (RB), White (CB), Gabriel (CB), Tierney (LB)
Midfield: Partey (CDM), Xhaka (CDM)
Attack: Saka (RW), Odegaard (CAM), Smith Rowe (LW)