The summer transfer season is approaching and the rumour mill is going into high gear. Who will be arriving, who will be going, and what sort of side will Arsenal be fielding come August? Following the squad’s ignominious 4-1 defeat by Chelsea in the Europa League final, it’s certain that Unai Emery will want to make some changes. He’ll be handicapped by a tight budget now the club have failed to qualify for the Champions League, with pundits suggesting that Emery probably only has around £40m to spend, compared to the hoped-for £100m.
With Aaron Ramsey gone and other major players being linked with other teams, new blood is desperately needed. First on Emery’s wish list appears to be Mario Gotze, just entering into his final year on contract with Borussia Dortmund. Apparently the midfielder has itchy feet and is stalling on negotiations while the Gunners make overtures.
Stay or go
It remains to be seen whether Arsenal will be able to hang on to Alexandre Lacazette. The 28-year-old forward has been linked to both Barcelona and Atletico Madrid, despite having another three years left on his Arsenal contract. He’s indicated that he’s willing to stay in theory, but there are obviously some delicate discussions to be had.
As previously reported, some say team captain Laurent Koscielny might be leaving as his new contract has yet to be settled. Samuel Umtiti, the Barcelona centre back, has been mooted as a possible replacement. Lacazette’s team mate Henrikh Mkhitaryan may also be up for sale.
Not to put too fine a point upon it, Arsenal’s Europa League defeat also gave their reputation a battering, which means they may have more of a struggle to attract the best players. Nevertheless, they’re still attracting good odds on sites like PA Sportsbooks and are currently around 30-1 to win the Premier League, plus 13-10 on a top four finish.
Arsenal are also said to be interested in Thomas Meunier at PSG, who has a year left on his contract. The Belgian fullback would certainly be a valuable addition to the squad, hypothetically taking over from Ainsley Maitland-Niles, who’s been deputising for the injured Hector Bellerin. PSG are said to be dissatisfied with Meunier, so Emery may get a bargain, although Manchester United, with more money to spend, are also said to be interested.
AC Milan goalie Gianluigi Donnarumma is also said to be up for grabs, despite the 20-year-old being rated as one of the best young keepers in Europe. Arsenal has shown an interest, but now they have less money to spend, they may decide that Bernd Leno is doing a fine job in goal, even accounting for Petr Cech’s retirement.
Arsenal have also been linked with Saint Etienne defender William Saliba, but at a reported £25m he may now be out of their price range, especially as the deal would include loaning him back to the French side. Emery still seems keen on the 18-year-old so, as with all of the other predictions floating around, we’ll just have to wait and see.