Mikel Arteta and Arsenal missed out on the top four and a place in next season’s Champions League and will now have to build again as they look to return to Europe’s top table.
A capitulation in the final weeks of the season allowed their north London rivals Tottenham to steal a march and pip them by two points. The Gunners did exceed expectations following a summer of recruitment that copped plenty of criticism.
Arsenal’s hierarchy and their coach made the decision to try and lower the average age of the squad, bringing in the likes of Ben White, Aaron Ramsdale and Martin Odegaard. The trio have all performed impressively but there is a lack of depth at the Emirates that does need to be addressed.
The Gunners are also facing the prospect of a striker shortage as a host of players consider their futures. Eddie Nketiah and Alexandre Lacazette will see their contract expire in a matter of weeks. Hector Bellerin, Ainsley Maitland-Niles, Lucas Torreira, Bernd Leno and Pablo Mari are all set for permanent exits, according to the Sun.
Matteo Guendouzi and Dinos Mavropanos have agreed on moves away from the Emirates, which will take place this summer. It leaves Arteta needing to fill several holes in his squad as he seeks to keep pace in the Premier League’s elite. Mirror Football takes a look at what their squad make look like come the opening day of the 2022/23 season.
Aaron Ramsdale, Matt Turner, Arthur Okonkwo
Ramsdale established himself as the club’s No 1 following his move from Sheffield United in the summer. So much so that Leno is likely to leave as he seeks more regular minutes. Arteta has made moves to add a understudy for Ramsdale, signing Turner back in February from MLS side New England Revolution. Arthur Okonkwo has been third-choice goalkeeper this term, a role the academy graduate is likely to keep entering the new campaign.
Ben White, Gabriel, Rob Holding, Kieran Tierney, Cedric Soares, Aaron Hickey, William Saliba, Auston Trusty, Mathias Olivera, Takehiro Tomiyasu
White and Gabriel have been Arsenal’s preferred centre-half partnership this term but Holding has been able to fill in when injuries have hit. Saliba is yet to play in the Premier League for the Gunners but, after another impressive loan spell, may finally get an opportunity. Nuno Tavares, a summer signing, has been hit and miss in north London and could yet be moved on. Hickey, currently playing in Serie A, has been touted as a replacement whilst Olivera at Getafe is now also on the club’s radar.
Thomas Partey, Mohamed Elneny, Granit Xhaka, Albert Sambi Lokonga, Emile Smith Rowe, Martin Odegaard, Youri Tielemans
Arteta has opted to play with two at the base of midfield and a playmaker ahead of them. Partey and Xhaka had been the regular duo but with the latter injured Elneny has filled in. That run of games could also see the Egyptian pen a new deal, with images circulating that suggest he has signed a contract extension.
Smith Rowe has only started just over half of Arsenal’s league games – 21 – but has signed a contract that keeps him at the club until 2026. He has developed at a huge rate in recent seasons and remains a key cog in Arteta’s machine.
Odegaard has proved to be a big hit since joining permanently from Real Madrid. Tielemans is due to leave Leicester City with his contract winding down and the Foxes could accept a bid of around £25m. The Belgian will consider a switch to the Emirates despite having no Champions League football on offer. Other rival clubs look to have targeted other players which could bolster Arsenal’s chances.
Gabriel Martinelli, Nicolas Pepe, Reiss Nelson, Eddie Nketiah, Gabriel Jesus, Bukayo Saka
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang was allowed to quit the club in January and Arteta is facing a nervous wait on the futures of his current forwards. Nketiah has spoken of his desire to remain at the Emirates and could pen an extension, although it looks as if Alexandre Lacazette will seek pastures new.
Gabriel Martinelli continues to grow in stature and can play out wide but also as a natural No 9. Jesus, who is poised to leave Manchester City with Erling Haaland arriving, is reportedly Arsenal’s top target and has previously worked with Gunners boss Arteta.
Nelson has enjoyed a loan spell away and continues to have untapped potential in north London whilst fellow academy star Saka has become one of the team’s most important players.