The World Cup may be preoccupying hearts and minds for much of the summer. But the domestic transfer window’s well underway as well with clubs looking to get moves done early!
The promoted clubs have been making moves already but if we look a little further up the table, it’s Arsenal that could be doing the most business.
New manager Unai Emery is charged with getting the club back into the top four. The Spaniard’s already lined up veteran Stephan Lichsteiner to come in after the World Cup.
However, it’s down the spine of the team that many believe needs the most attention.
Petr Cech and David Ospina seem to be on the way out and a goalkeeper is very much at the top of Emery’s shopping list.
The name that keeps recurring though is Bayer Leverkusen’s Bernd Leno.
He may have just missed out on Germany’s World Cup squad but he’s been a consistent performer in Germany for many years.
At only 26-years-old he’s at an age where he can only improve and would give Arsenal some much needed stability in goal.
Laurent Koscielny’s long-term injury coupled with Per Mertesacker’s retirement means there’s a distinct lack of experience in the defensive ranks.
A seasoned stopper at the back is definitely needed. There have been wide-scale reports that Emery’s man will be Borussia Dortmund’s Sokratis.
He knows what it takes to win, helping his side lift two German Super Cup’s and one DFB-Pokal.
Arsenal currently have under-23 players Rob Holding, Calum Chambers and Kostas Mavropanos as centre-back options as well as the 26-year-old Shkodran Mustafi as their most experienced defender.
Sokratis’ current contract runs down next summer and it looks like Arsenal have persuaded him to move to North London.
There might also be room for another young central defender in their ranks.
The most fervent rumours suggest a deal for Freiburg’s Caglar Soyuncu is in place.
The 22-year-old played 26 times for the Bundesliga side last campaign and has really come of age.
It would be a signing that could spell the end of Chambers’ Arsenal career with Fulham among clubs looking at the England international.
Looking at the midfield conundrum. Granit Xhaka is beginning to grow into the Gunners shirt and will almost certainly play a big role under Emery next season.
Aaron Ramsey could sign a new deal and become central to this new-look Arsenal line-up.
However, it’s a man to anchor the Arsenal midfield that’s the most pressing.
The most likely arrivals will be one of Steven N’Zonzi or Lucas Torreira.
N’Zonzi moved to Sevilla in 2015 and significantly improved his all round game under Emery.
Playing in the Premier League first at Blackburn Rovers and latterly Stoke City he was schooled by some of English football’s most hardened managers such as Sam Allardyce, Tony Pulis and Mark Hughes.
He’s now 29-years-old and at the peak of his powers. The new Arsenal head coach will know his qualities and how to get the best out of him.
However, the search hasn’t stopped there. Sampdoria’s Torreira is thought to be in talks with the Gunners.
The 22-year-old stepped up his game when the responsibility of being one the clubs key men was thrust upon him.
He would bring some extra bite to the midfielder – but doesn’t get sent off as much as Xhaka – and excellent distribution that fits into the Arsenal playing style.
Plan B in attack
Arsenal’s strike-force is their best asset and one of the most productive in the Premier League.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Alexander Lacazette are a deadly duo but it’s on the flanks where they could try to strengthen.
Selling both Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Theo Walcott has meant Arsenal lack an out and out winger.
Former boss Arsene Wenger deployed a 3-5-2 formation putting the emphasis on the wing-backs.
But signing an attacking wide-player could see a return to 4-3-3.
Alexsandr Golovin, Gelson Martins and Cristian Pavon are all starring at the World Cup this summer and have been on Arsenal’s radar for a while now.
A wide-man may depend on player sales but it looks like it will be a busy summer at the Emirates Stadium.
All Odds and Markets correct as of date of publication