The Gunners’ boss has been busy during this summer’s transfer window racking up a higher bill than any other Premier League club as Arsenal look to bolster all areas of their squad
But Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta is approaching the 2021/22 season bristling with intent having racked up a bill of nearly £140m during this summer’s transfer window as he looks to paper over the cracks in the squad that failed to make the Europa league this season.
After finishing eighth in last year’s Premier League campaign just one point shy of arch-rivals Tottenham, the Gunners are looking to address their goal-scoring record with the future of Alexandre Lacazette’s residency at the Emirates uncertain.
But Arteta has convinced a number of high-profile players of all disciplines to put pen to paper and commit their talents to the club on both long and short-term deals.
With this in mind, here’s a look at Arsenal’s XI last season before the transfer window and where this summer’s new signings could play a part in the squad…
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Before transfers (4-2-3-1): Bernd Leno; Kieran Tierney, Gabriel, Rob Holding Callum Chambers; Thomas Partey, Granit Xhaka; Emile Smith Rowe, Martin Odegaard, Bukayo Saka; Aubameyang
Between the posts, Arsenal’s first-choice goalkeeper Bernd Leno has a respectable record at the club with a total of 34 clean sheets since his transfer from Bayer Leverkusen in 2018.
When fighting fit, the German is adept at stopping crosses and has made some spectacular saves, but mistakes have stained his game of late such as his passing out from the back which has been dubious at times.
That said, there have been some noticeable problems with Arsenal’s defence in recent seasons – one of the key areas Arteta is looking to bolster ahead of this year’s Premier League campaign.
There was some uncertainty over Granit Xhaka’s future at the Emirates with rumours circulating over a potential move to Roma, but Arsenal have convinced the Swiss midfielder to remain at the club for another year.
The 28-year-old has been a regular feature in the Gunners squad since joining in 2016 for £40.5m from Borussia Monchengladbach, having played 162 games for the club – scoring nine goals.
Arsenal will be looking to hold on to England wonderkid Bukayo Saka for as long as they can as it won’t be long before enticing bids are made for the 19-year-old prodigy by clubs desperate to apprehend his talent.
Saka, who was one of the key players in England’s Euro squad which reached the finals of a major tournament for the first time in 55 years, scored five goals in 32 Premier League appearances last season.
There have also been rumours that club captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is in search of greener pastures with links to Barcelona, who would leap at the opportunity to sign the star striker after the departure of Lionel Messi from the Nou Camp.
But Aubameyang has committed his future to the Emirates and has reported no interest in leaving the club in the future, with Arteta showing faith in the striker after a spell of bad form.
After transfers (4-2-3-1): Aaron Ramsdale, Tavares, Gabriel, Ben White, Callum Chambers; Thomas Partey, Granit Xhaka; Emile Smith Rowe, Martin Odegaard, Bukayo Saka; Aubameyang – Forward
Arteta’s additions to the Gunners squad this summer have been some of the most drastic for the club in recent years and will breathe some life back into the Arsenal side following the dejection of failing to make the Europa League this season.
The North London club have already convinced Norway captain and attacking midfielder Martin Odegaard to commit his future to the club after a year on loan at the Emirates from Real Madrid.
The 22-year-old scored two goals in 20 appearances for Arsenal last season, but while these statistics may not set the world alight there is plenty of discernible potential about the Norwegian and his experience playing under Zinedine Zidane will prove invaluable.
Arsenal are now well stocked in their midfield with the further addition of 21-year-old Albert Sambi Lokonga from Belgian side Anderlecht, but Arteta has been most busy strengthening the defence by adding English centre-half Ben White and Portuguese left-back Nuno Tavares to the ranks.
A centre-back partnership of Gabriel and White is likely to be Arteta’s first-choice for the squad and with both possessing strong ball-playing ability and a perfect blend of athleticism and stamina, the prospects of the pairing will be exciting for any Arsenal fan.
Calum Chambers has big boots to fill after Hector Bellerin’s departure from the Emirates, but with a full back partner like Tavares – a player with strength and stamina in spades, the back line-up looks strong enough to take some pressure off the rest of the team.
The additions at the back have addressed key areas where Arsenal have been weak and with more potential signings in the works namely Arteta’s vehement interest in the likes of Kieran Trippier, there are plenty of prospects that will greatly impact the Gunners ability to bounce back this season.
Arsenal face Chelsea on Sunday at the Emirates at 4.30pm, where Arteta will be looking to bounce back from his side’s defeat against Brentford last week.