Connect in the back of the net

Barcelona and Manchester City are no longer linked with Arsenal’s Vitality Player of the Month award winners – something their fans can identify as a sign of progress.

In addition, they are not calling out for the head of first-team players barring the potential retirees – again a sign of progress as their roster crammed with the likes of Nicklas Bendtner, Marouane Chamakh and Park Chu-Young not so long ago.

Despite the Arsenal faithful lamenting Arsene Wenger’s lack of transfer activity last summer, he has almost always boasted a wealth of options to choose from this season. However, he may not enjoy a similar sophistication next campaign – here is why.


Retirement and departure of deadwood

Mathieu Flamini, Tomas Rosicky and Mikel Arteta will all ostensibly be shown the door in the summer, opening up three holes in the 25-man Premier League squad.

Arsenal will then offload 70 years of professional football along with the veterans, so their French gaffer shall scout proven central midfielders, given the fact that Jack Wilshere is made of glass, and Santi Cazorla stands on the wrong side of thirty.


Return of loanees

Arsenal have shipped eleven players out on loan, most of whom proving to be unready to don the red and white strip next season. Chuba Akpom, who has notched a meagre 3 goals in 23 league appearances, and Isaac Hayden could spend another season on loan after failing to announce themselves to the world at Hull City this season.

Gedion Zelalem, Jon Toral and Ainsley Maitland-Niles have impressed this season, with the American being a mainstay in the Rangers’ midfield and the latter two taking Championship by the storm. Notwithstanding the competitiveness of the leagues they play in, at least, one could land first-team inclusion next season.

In addition, Carl Jenkinson, who is nursing his ligament injury, will return in time for the 2016/17 campaign, filling the Mathieu Debuchy-shaped hole.

Wojciech Szczesny will not play under Luciano Spalletti next season, and his Arsenal future largely relies on David Ospina’s willingness to understudy Petr Cech for another season (as discussed in this O-Posts article).

Emiliano Martinez has won over fans with five clean sheets in 15 league outings for Wolverhampton Wanderers, thus ruling out the need for heading into the transfer market for goalkeepers.


Effect of the January arrival

Mohamed Elneny’s contribution has been and will be limited this season as he is yet to adapt to the demands of the English game.

However, with a host of central midfielders set to call time on their careers at the end of the current campaign, he will enjoy considerable game minutes next season.

His arrival, however, will likely have little effect on Arsenal’s transfer activity as he is miles away from being a first-team regular.


Potential summer arrivals

With Tottenham Hotspur and Leicester set to maintain their rhythm for at least one more season, English top-flight will witness six teams tussle for the title, thereby adding to the competitiveness of the league.

Thanks to the demise of Chelsea, Liverpool and the Manchester clubs this season, Arsenal still are in the mix for the title despite their inconsistency but will likely be one of the busiest English teams next summer.

In addition, with television money set to equip teams such as Everton and Liverpool or even West Ham United and Stoke City, world-class acquisitions have become mandatory.

The Football Association Cup holders could not wholly rely on their roster to compete for the title next season as the so-called British core has spent more time on the treatment table than on the Emirates Stadium turf.

With Per Mertesacker showing signs of slowing down (!) due to senescence and Laurent Koscielny committing more gaffes than fans would expect him to, Arsenal should bring in defensive reinforcements alongside a few midfield additions.

Arsenal passed up the prospect of signing a forward last summer, and a striker will be the last on their shopping list as they have more serious issues to address.

Should Danny Welbeck score 5-6 goals, Gooners may need to get accustomed to the thought of Olivier Giroud being the unopposed first-choice striker for one more season.


Written by Praveen Paramasivam

Follow Praveen on Twitter @49Praveen

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