Connect in the back of the net

Arsenal have already made three acquisitions this summer ahead of the 2016/17 campaign.

They are expected to make at least two more additions as injuries to key players have made squad depth an issue to be addressed.

Despite Arsene Wenger and Ivan Gazidis (HT Robby Lyle of ArsenalFanTV) making it clear that the club are scouring the transfer market for a centre-back and a striker, Gooners are not upbeat about the next campaign.

Here are five things Gooners should look forward to.


Make or break season for deadwood

The Gunners released Tomas Rosicky, Mikel Arteta, and Mathieu Flamini only recently, but many high-profile players could be on their ways out next season.

Carl Jenkinson, Mathieu Debuchy, Joel Campbell, Kieran Gibbs, and the likes, provided they stay, will only be deployed as squad players, but highly paid under-achieving players such as Theo Walcott and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain will need to up their game as they will otherwise find themselves transfer-listed next summer.


Likely identity crisis

Arsenal’s fellow title contenders have received fresh injections of top quality players in the form of Michy Batshuayi, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Ilkay Gundogan and the likes.

Besides, they will also be managed by managerial masterminds, including Premier League newbies in Pep Guardiola and Antonio Conte and familiar faces such as Jose Mourinho and Jurgen Klopp.

Failing to accomplish their target – a top four finish – will ensue in an identity crisis. Having never lifted the English top-flight title in over a decade now, the consequences of not securing Champions League football for the 2017/18 campaign will be huge.


Future of world-class players

As evidenced by Juventus’ purchase of Gonzalo Higuain, English club’s spending capacity is indirectly making other leagues richer.

By the looks of things, Europe’s elites, never mind clubs like Borussia Dortmund, may line up for Mesut Ozil, Alexis Sanchez, Hector Bellerin, and Aaron Ramsey in the coming years.

If Arsenal fail to win trophies or launch a serious attack at the Champions League title, they may find themselves helpless to see their world-class talents depart Ashburton Grove. Being more successful than most other English clubs will play a decisive role in the club’s future.


Potential rise of youngsters

Last season saw the unforeseen rise of youngsters like teenager Alex Iwobi. The coming season may as well see a few more youngsters rise to prominence.

Rob Holding has already made a very strong first impression, producing solid performances in the pre-season friendlies.

Chuba Akpom has bagged two goals in three friendlies so far. In addition, Jeff Reine-Adelaide, Gedion Zelalem, Krystian Bielik, and the likes may fancy their chances of making their first-team breakthroughs.


Wenger’s last season as Arsenal’s manager

Wenger’s current contract runs only until summer of 2017. Rumours about a potential contract extension surfaced in June, but the Frenchman promptly rubbished those.

Whether he will extend his stay at the N5 club beyond next summer is known, but how his Arsenal side fares next season will decide how people, especially Gooners, remember him.

Even his most ardent detractors will want him to end his managerial run like how Alex Ferguson did – with a Premier League title.


Written by Praveen Paramasivam

Follow Praveen on Twitter @49Praveen

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