Arsenal spent more money in the last summer transfer window than any other Premier League club last year and it already looks like they’ll be close to repeating that feat this time around as Mikel Arteta hopes to bolster his squad ahead of the new season.
The Spanish coach built a small squad for the 2021/22 campaign as the Gunners had no European football to distract their domestic schedule, though that hampered them in the final weeks of the season as they chased Champions League qualification.
Injuries to Takehiro Tomiyasu, Thomas Partey and Kieran Tierney weakened their chances of finishing in the top four, with bitter rivals Spurs pipping them to Champions League football at the end of the campaign. The Gunners will now play in the UEFA Europa League next season and will need a bigger squad to deal with the rigours of playing twice a week if they want to progress in as many competitions as possible.
The state of play at the start of the transfer window meant that Arteta and sporting director Edu had several key positions that needed strengthening, not least the forward line following the departures of both Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang in January and Alexandre Lacazette upon the expiry of his contract.
To that end, Eddie Nketiah was signed to a new five-year deal while the club are expected to sign Manchester City striker Gabriel Jesus for £45million, with the Premier League champions happy to sanction his transfer after securing the services of Norwegian powerhouse Erling Haaland from Borussia Dortmund.
Arsenal have already brought in 19-year-old winger Marquinhos from Sao Paulo and central midfielder Fabio Vieira from Porto, with the latter arriving at a cost of around £34million. New England Revolution goalkeeper Matt Turner is expected to be the next name announced through the door at the Emirates, but who will be of priority once those deals have been signed, sealed and delivered?
Cover at the back is important, with talk of Arsenal bringing in Ajax’s versatile defender Lisandro Martinez growing by the day. The 24-year-old Argentina international made 36 appearances for the Eredivisie champions last season where he naturally plays as a left-sided centre-back.
He also filled in at defensive midfield and left-back, though would be very much seen as an option in central defence where he to head to north London. An experienced player having already wracked up 120 appearances in the Netherlands, Martinez could provide solid competition with Ben White and Gabriel Magalhaes.
However, a move for Leeds United winger Raphinha should be where attentions are turned to next for Arsenal, with the Brazilian attracting plenty of interest this summer as he seeks a move away from Elland Road. Barcelona seem to be his preferred destination right now, with personal terms between the club and player said to have already taken place, though the Catalans are unsure if they’ll be able to stump up the cash to meet Leeds’ reported £65million asking price.
Arsenal could use that to their advantage and try to get a deal completed soon, with the Gunners said to be ready to make a second offer for the winger after an opening offer – believed to be around £30million plus £10million in add-ons – was politely rejected by Leeds. Raphinha would fit into the Arsenal team well and provide excellent competition for places among the forward line while his arrival could also bring an end to Nicolas Pepe’s difficult three-year stay in north London.