Arsenal: Arteta happy to keep going in European fight
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Arsenal are hoping to sign at least five players in the summer transfer window, according to reports. Manager Mikel Arteta and technical director Edu are planning to overhaul the Gunners squad in the off-season and have already identified five positions which need strengthening.
The Gunners have endured a disappointing season under Arteta which reached its lowest point recently in defeat by Villarreal in the semi-finals of the Europa League.
While Arsenal have won their last three Premier League matches, there remains a feeling that major changes are needed to improve next season.
That process will inevitably mean some big decisions in north London, with outgoings needed to fund and make space for incomings.
Arsenal are ninth in the Premier League with two games remaining and are facing the prospect of a first season for 25 years without any form of European football in 2021/22.
Arteta has admitted the club must be “ruthless” if they are to move forward and football.london reports that means five new signings this summer.
The first position on the agenda is goalkeeper, where the Gunners have no trusted back-up to Bernd Leno.
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Brighton loanee Mat Ryan has impressed Arteta in training and could have his move made permanent, while contract talks are underway with academy keeper Arthur Okonkwo.
Leno has two more years on his contract, but with his future uncertain, Arsenal could return to previous transfer target, Brentford’s David Raya.
The Gunners also want a new left-back to provide competition for Kieran Tierney, who has endured injury problems this season.
Arsenal will try to sell Sead Kolasinac after his loan with Schalke finishes and while Bukayo Saka, Cedric Soares and Granit Xhaka have played in the position recently, they want another specialist to fill the position.
Ryan Bertrand, who is out of contract with Southampton next month, and Hibernian’s Josh Doig are both on the radar.
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They also want a right-back, with Hector Bellerin’s future uncertain amid Barcelona links.
Achraf Hakimi has been linked, but the lack of European football could prove problematic, while injury to Brighton’s Tariq Lamptey has cooled that interest, meaning Norwich’s Max Aarons is seen as a more achievable target.
Central attacking midfield is another area of interest, but a deal for Real Madrid loanee Martin Odegaard might prove difficult due to the money involved and his parent club’s reluctance to sell.
Despite having Xhaka, Joe Willock, Ainsley Maitland-Niles, Matteo Guendouzi, Lucas Torreira, Mohamed Elneny and Real loanee Dani Ceballos currently on the books, Arsenal could look to sign another central midfielder.
The report states Brighton’s Yves Bissouma and Sheffield United’s Sander Berge are keen on the idea of a move to the Emirates, but the club’s restricted budget complicates the picture.
David Luiz is likely to leave when his contract expires, but Arsenal are reportedly happy with their options, with William Saliba set to return from his loan spell at Nice.
If Saliba is not considered ready by Arteta then a move for Lyon’s Joachim Andersen, who has been on loan with Fulham this season, is an option.
Finally, the futures of Eddie Nketiah and Alexandre Lacazette are uncertain, with both about to enter the final 12 months of their contracts.
Having played a bit-part recently, Nketiah looks set to leave, but Arsenal will offer Lacazette a one-year extension. However, interest from Roma, Atletico Madrid and Monaco could prompt them to cash in to fund moves for Lyon’s Moussa Dembele or Celtic’s Odsonne Edouard.
Although with Folarin Balogun signed up to a long-term deal and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Gabriel Martinelli on the books, Arsenal are understood to be less concerned about their forwards.
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