The 2014-15 season could be considered business as usual for Arsenal; A top four finish is to be expected while back to back FA Cup wins have suddenly silenced those who were quick to point to a trophy drought.
However, ahead of the new season, the Gunners will trail behind Chelsea, Manchester City and possibly even a rejuvenated Manchester United in the title markets so what can the club do to compete?
The capture of Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez proved that the side can attract big name players and compete when it comes to the big transfer fees but where are the missing pieces? What can we hope for in the 2015-16 season?
Resolving the goalkeeper issue
An on-going battle between Wojciech Szczesny and David Ospina for the number one jersey saw the Colombian take over between the posts but neither man looks a confirmed first choice for the new season. The possible arrival of Petr Cech could therefore be Arsenal’s most important piece of summer business.
The Czech international has played in England since 2004 and as such, he won’t need that ‘bedding in’ period that so many overseas stoppers require. He’s 33, so still in his prime, and could have at least four good years at the top. The only issue concerns reports that Mourinho wants a ‘home grown’ player – possibly Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain in return.
Set Theo free…
But not in a selling sense. Walcott has reportedly been pleading for a chance to play on his own up front and his performance at Wembley against an admittedly poor Aston Villa suggests he deserves that chance.
The main question concerns his fitness after a lengthy spell on the sidelines but with Sanchez and Welbeck supporting and Giroud on the bench it’s worth a go. A young English striker scoring 30 goals in a season? Dare we remind readers that it happened only last year, just a few miles down the Seven Sisters road?
Clear the dead wood
It was sad to see Abou Diaby go but it was clearly the right decision for the club – if only to keep down the medical bills. But the clearout shouldn’t end there and fellow benchwarmers and treatment room hoggers also need to go.
There’s Yaya Sanogo and Serge Gnabry to consider and if Arsene really doesn’t fancy Joel Campbell then surely it’s time to cut the ties.
Stay injury free
This is where luck plays a huge part in anyone’s campaign and Arsenal haven’t had much of it in recent seasons. Walcott, Aaron Ramsey and others have all spent extended periods on the treatment table in the last two campaigns and who knows what would have happened if they had stayed fit and firing?
Hopefully, in 2015-16, the Gunners will have better luck in this department.
Naturally, we can’t expect Arsene to be quiet this summer and recent windows suggest there may be at least one big signing to join up at the Emirates. The question is, if the manager adopts all the strategies suggested in this article, who should he be looking to bring in?