Arsenal finished third in the Premier League last season. The Gunners recovered from a terrible start to the season to claim a Champions League spot.
There has already been much speculation as to which players will be playing at Emirates next season.
The biggest speculation this summer so far has been regarding the future of star striker and captain Robin Van Persie.
The Dutch international has just over a year left on his contract and he has yet to commit his future to the Gunners.
It seems the 28 year-old’s future won’t be settled until after he returns from international duty with Holland at Euro 2012. Van Persie’s future very much affects what happens in the transfer market this summer.
If recent media reports are to be believed Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger does have money to spend this summer but if the Gunners do sell Van Persie they are likely to have a far heftier transfer kitty.
Arsenal chairman Peter Hill-Wood claims that if Van Persie wants big money then he will have to move elsewhere. However, the Gunners won’t want to lose their star striker this summer. In fact they can’t afford to lose Van Persie.
It seems that Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger has already identified summer transfer targets. One of the those believed to be on the Frenchman’s wish list is compatriot Olivier Giroud. The 25 year-old helped Montpellier to the Ligue One title last season, scoring 21 league goals on the way to the French crown.
He is currently at the European Championships but according to the Daily Mirror has a release clause of £12.8million in his contract. If Giroud signed for the Gunners he would be seen as a replacement for Robin Van Persie.
One of Wengers priorities is a new defensive midfielder. The Gunners have been heavily linked with two targets in particular Anderlecht’s Lucas Biglia and Rennes Yann M’Vila. Argentinian international Biglia has been linked with a £8million move to North London.
The 26 year-old is highly-rated and claims that both Arsenal and Real Madrid have shown an interest in acquiring his services. Biglia could prove the answer to Wenger’s defensive midfield problems.
Meanwhile M’Vila is one of the hottest young players in Europe. The 21 year-old midfielder is not only being linked with a move to Arsenal but also to Spanish giants Barcelona. M’Vila would be the more expensive option, with the midfielder rated in the £20million bracket.
M’Vila has been compared to former-Arsenal hero Patrick Vieira in his style of play and he seems to be the preferred choice of Arsenal fans to fill the defensive midfield role. Whether Arsenal will shell out the fee demanded by his club remains to be seen.
The other area of the team that needs reinforcing is the defence. The Gunners backline conceded an incredible 49 goals in the top flight last season. The Gunners had the worst defensive record out of the top eight teams in the Premier League last season.
One man linked with a move to the Gunners is Ajax’s Jan Vertonghen. The Belgian centre-back looks set to seal a move to the Gunners rivals Tottenham but has admitted that he would consider a move to the Emirates Stadium.
If Tottenham can’t agree a deal with the highly-rated centre-back then Arsenal could snap him up. Vertonghen would definitely be a good signing for Arsene Wenger’s men. He already knows Gunners defender Thomas Vermaelen from both Ajax and his national side and I’m sure he would slip seamlessly into the Arsenal defence.
Arsenal definitely need a mini clearout this summer, as some of the current squad players proved last season that they were simply not good enough. Wenger will have to identify the players that need to leave and strengthen accordingly.
Arsenal will need to strengthen very heavily this summer if they are to even finish in the Champions League spots again next season. Manchester City and Manchester United are well ahead of the Gunners in terms of quality and resources.
The likes of Tottenham, Newcastle and Chelsea will also be contenders for the Champions League spot next season. It’s imperative that Arsene Wenger brings in quality this summer.
Arsenal have made a good start to strengthening their squad by signing German international Lukas Podolski. The former-Cologne star has to be the first of many signings this summer if Arsenal are really going to be a force again next season.
Can Arsenal challenge for the Premier League title next season?