Saturday, May 6, 2023

Rice starts, Ramos leads, Xhaka replacement: Arsenal's dream XI for 2023/24 with four transfers

Arsenal have become one of the most attractive clubs in Europe for players ahead of the summer transfer window. The Gunners have transitioned from top four failures to Premier League title challengers in the space of 12 months.

Head coach Mikel Arteta takes much of the plaudits for his excellent man management and tactical nous to guide the club to the top of English football. But the business done in the previous transfer windows have proved pivotal in the Gunners’ turnaround.

For now, the sole focus remains on their title race with Manchester City, but the recruitment team have been planning for the upcoming transfer window. With Champions League football returning to the Emirates Stadium next season, the quest to bolster Arteta’s squad will dominate the summer months.

If this campaign has been mentally challenging for supporters and everyone involved, next season will produce even more tests. Ensuring they are back among the names at the top in the Premier League will be the first goal alongside competing with Europe’s elite.

Arsenal’s squad is full of talent and there’s endless amounts of potential to grow. But the club are no longer outside the top six and with it comes more room for manoeuvre in the transfer market: They are now among the big players in the multi-million pound market.

Aaron Ramsdale

After such a terrific season, many positions are not in desperate need of improvement and that’s certainly the case with Aaron Ramsdale. The England international has kept the third-most clean sheets in the Premier League this season and has drastically improved his game since moving to the club.

Ramsdale, still only 24, is expected to fill the position for years to come for the Gunners. Should Everton be relegated, next year could be his year to become England’s number one depending on what happens with Jordan Pickford.

Ivan Fresneda

It would be unfair to suggest that Arsenal have suffered in the right-back position this season, with Ben White doing such a good job. But Takehiro Tomiyasu’s constant injury concerns mean it’s no surprise a new right-back will be considered.

football.london reported in January that the north Londoners were tracking Real Valladolid’s Ivan Fresneda after his breakthrough season in Spain. A move never materialised in the winter but his services are once again in high demand and would offer a different dimension on the right-hand-side of defence.

William Saliba

Saliba’s injury has played a big role in Arsenal’s demise in recent weeks. In his absence, the Gunners have failed to keep a clean sheet and have looked suspect in defence. The Frenchman has enjoyed a terrific first season in the Premier League and has proved his worth to Arteta.

Gabriel Magalhaes

A new centre-back is said to be on Arteta’s watchlist for the summer, despite Jakub Kiwior’s January arrival. It’s likely a new arrival would provide back-up to Gabriel and Saliba due to the duo’s superb partnership formed this year. The Brazilian has possibly been one of Arsenal’s most consistent performers throughout the season and has made up the £27m he cost in 2020.

Oleksandr Zinchenko

While his decision making in defending has come under scrutiny recently, Zinchenko has been a contender for signing of the season in the Premier League. He’s a mainstay in this side and his passion for Arsenal has made him a favourite around the Emirates Stadium.

Kieran Tierney’s likely exit could lead to another player coming in and with it intense competition, but the Ukrainian is expected to remain as Arteta’s first choice.

Declan Rice

Arsenal’s place in the Champions League makes them the favourite to land Rice. Interest from Chelsea may be nothing to worry about after their disastrous season meaning Arsenal have a clear pathway to sign one of the best midfielders in football.

Thomas Partey has his strengths in the anchor role but, like Zinchenko, has been lacking recently. World-class competition could be the perfect formula for Arteta to get the best out of his midfield.

Declan Rice and Mason Mount
Declan Rice and Mason Mount have been linked with a move to Arsenal

Mason Mount

A controversial one here, as Mount picking up the ‘Xhaka role’ ultimately would mean Granit Xhaka either becomes a squad player or is sold elsewhere. But Mount looks almost guaranteed to exit Chelsea at the end of the season and the red side of London could be the perfect fit.

With a variety of positions available to play in, the Englishman would be smart business and he would cost less compared to other targets because of his contract situation.

Martin Odegaard

Many will remember when Odegaard moved to Real Madrid at such a young age with the expectation of becoming a world-beater. This season, he has reached his potential and registered impressive numbers with 22 goal contributions. His importance to Arteta will once again come in handy next season when he comes up against the best teams in Europe.

Bukayo Saka

Arguably the most deserving name on this list, Saka’s upwards trajectory since breaking into the first team has been nothing short of spectacular and this season, the 21-year-old has been the best right winger in the league. As well as being one of England’s most dangerous players, Saka is undroppable, no matter what forward arrives in the summer.

Gabriel Martinelli

Arsenal’s deal to sign Martinelli for only £6 million in 2019 is a perfect example of how good the club’s business has been in recent years. The Brazilian has, like Saka, been a defender’s worst nightmare this season and has the capability of causing damage in the Champions League.

Goncalo Ramos

Okay, so this isn’t to say that Gabriel Jesus shouldn’t be starting for the Gunners next season. But the lack of a prolific goalscorer has been damaging and it’s thought a forward is on the agenda for the summer. Ramos is one of the most in demand strikers in European football after his displays for Benfica and Portugal, with his 25 goals making him an attractive investment.

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