Players Arsenal should sign this summer
Updated: Jun 24
Ollie Jones - 17/6/23
Coming off the back of a phenomenal season, in which they battled Man City for the title, an incredible achievement considering the world-class quality within the Man City team, supported by the fact they have just completed the treble, only the second Premier League team to ever do so, Arsenal will be looking to further strengthen to go one step further this season and also to be competitive in the Champions League, which will be their first appearance in the competition since the 2016/17 season, 7 years ago! Here are some key signings they should make to help pick up silverware this season.
One recommendation that needs no introduction, and will come as no surprise is Declan Rice, who was heavily linked throughout all of last season, with David Ornstein now reporting that talks between Arsenal and West Ham have been opened. The fee demanded by West Ham is at least £100 million, however, Arsenal are expected to want to meet at £90 million, but add-ons could see the fee hit 9 figures. Ornstein has also reported however, that Manchester City are also keen, possibly leading to a bidding war that Man City could win by offering Kalvin Phillips the other way, as he only started 2 Premier League games last season and would save West Ham dipping into the market for a replacement. However, Rice reportedly favours a move to the Gunners. With Xhaxa set to leave and Partey having off-field problems, as he's currently on extended bail, Rice would be a key addition to the side and could comfortability slot into the '6' role fulfilled by Partey last season, as he achieved 1.73 interceptions per 90 and 1.59 clearances per 90, ranking in the top 95 and 83 percentile respectively for Europe's top 5 leagues and UEFA competitions. He also completed 2.17 tackles and 1.24 blocks per 90. However he looks even more complete in the box-to-box role, who would be a direct replacement for Xhaxa. This is due to his fantastic progressive stats, as he ranks in the top 80 percentile for progressive carries and as well as completing 6.6 progressive passes per 90 last season. He made bursting runs through the midfield consistently and chipped in with 5 goals across all competitions. Arsenal have also been linked with Caicedo, who would work be a great addition too, but due to the high price demanded for both, Rice should be a priority.
Arteta has previously been able to use his ties with Manchester City to scoop up some of their talent, in the form of Jesus and Zinchenko, which should be exploited once again to acquire João Cancelo, even if made harder by the possible reluctance of City to strengthen their title rivals even further. João Cancelo was regarded as one of the best full-backs in world football in the 2021/22, especially after moving into the left-back position where he'd often cut onto his stronger right foot before delivering a world-class cross, resulting in 13 goal involvements across all competitions last season. Therefore it was a huge surprise when he was consistently left out of the team, leading to a move to Bayern Munich in January. Cancelo revealed in an interview that he was knocked down the pecking order behind Ake and Rico Lewis, stating that "I thought I deserved to play, and he [Pep] didn't", with them agreeing it was best for him to leave to ensure game time. He didn't enjoy the best time at Bayern, only playing 15 times, but did score once and assisted 4 times. It's unknown whether Pep has included him in this season's plans, so if Arsenal can pull this off, it'd be quite a coup. With Tierney rumoured to be leaving, and White having to cover right-back for most of the season with the absence if Tomiyasu, it's clear reinforcements are needed in the full-back positions, and Cancelo would be a perfect fit for the style of play Arteta has imprinted on Arsenal.
One of the most highly regarded prodigies in world football right now is Real Valladolid's right-back, Iván Fresneda. A cheaper alternative to Cancelo that could reach and possibly exceed his ability. This season just gone was his breakout season, bettering his 2 appearances in 21/22 to an impressive 24 in 22/23. At such a young age, he's shown great defensive numbers in the competitive league that is La Liga, against some of the world's best like Real Madrid and Barcelona. He made 2.48 tackles per 90, winning 1.76, which ranked in the top 91 percentile in the top 5 leagues. He also ranked in the top 93 percentile for both blocks and clearances. He showed great ability in one on one situations, both defensively and offensively, winning 61.7% of his tackles when trying to be dribbled past, and then attempted 2.17 take-ons against defenders per 90. He showed glimpses of his offensive output that would be important in an Arteta side, as he achieved 2.48 progressive carries and delivered 3.05 crosses per 90. He did finish the season with 0 goal involvements, but did have an xA (expected assists) of 1.2, so could've achieved more if his teammates were more clinical. He has a market value of around £13 million, but a higher fee would probably be demanded, however, I believe Arsenal should test the water with this deal, as he would be a great asset that would only flourish under Arteta. He has a similar profile to that of Kyle Walker-Peters who I believe would be a great alternative.
Another heavily linked player to Arsenal is James Maddison, who will be available at a discounted price since Leicester's relegation from the Premier League. Across the 203 games he's played for the Foxes, he's scored 55 times and set his teammates up 40 times. Winning an FA Cup and getting 3 caps for England along the way. He has achieved double figures for goal involvements across all competitions in every season since his move from Norwich. Despite being in a relegation battle last season, he scored 10 and assisted 9, and was one of the few singing lights in the Leicester squad. He has been a great servant to the club but looks destined to depart, with Newcastle and Arsenal's North London rivals Tottenham linked. However, Arsenal should be able to lure him to the Emirates. Maddison would work well alongside other suggestion Rice, and Odegaard in midfield, which would arguably be one of the strongest in the Premier League. He's valued at roughly £50 million, however, the now Championship status of Leicester could force them to meet at a lower price closer to £40 million. Arsenal have also been linked with a move for Kai Havertz however Maddison could be a cheaper and arguably better value for money singing.
Some notable other suggestions and links include Kai Havertz, Timothy Castagne and Romeo Lavia. Leave your suggestions and thoughts in the comments below!
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All data was sourced from FBref and Transfermarkt.