Saturday, April 15, 2023

Outgoing Arsenal record-breaker means Mikel Arteta must find Bukayo Saka competition

The summer transfer window is no longer a period that is part of rebuilding the group with that stage of the process well and truly complete, evidenced by the competitiveness of the squad this season and their aim of fighting for a title. The summer is instead about consolidating the group, reinforcing it with competition and replacing some of the outgoing gaps.

There’s significant focus on the central midfield and quite rightly. Thomas Partey and Granit Xhaka have fought hard to help the Gunners toward a Premier League title but the gap between the starting options and the second string still needs to be closed.

However, with such emphasis on the midfield, the club mustn’t forget the other areas including full-back and the forward line. It is the latter that perhaps will go under the radar.

Despite having a huge number of attacking options ranging from Gabriel Martinelli to Reiss Nelson, it might be a surprise that of the five natural options only Bukayo Saka is left-footed. Nicolas Pepe was another left-footed option but he left on loan in the summer to Nice.

There’s an expectation that Pepe will seek a permanent exit from the club in the summer. He has played a lot of football for the Ligue 1 side and Arsenal will be hoping it is enough for a side to invest in him in the coming months.

Having paid a record fee, the Gunners expected to make a significant loss on the £72million former Lille forward, but needs must. In his place, Arsenal might consider a forward with the same preferred foot.

When Saka was unavailable for the match against Leeds United from the start, Leandro Trossard fulfilled the role. Although he set up Gabriel Jesus for his second goal of the game, the Belgian didn’t look as comfortable on the right. It perhaps highlighted the reliance upon an inverted wide player on each flank for Mikel Arteta’s system to work best.

Moussa Diaby, the Bayer Leverkusen forward, has been linked with a potential move to Arsenal. The Frenchman is also left-footed and so fits the profile. However, the German club are expected to ask for a very big fee and with needs in midfield, it seems a deal for Diaby is unlikely at this stage unless the Gunners are willing to loosen the purse strings even more in the summer window.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Back To Top