Arsenal: Xhaka coy when quizzed on club future
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Arsenal’s pursuit of Brighton defender Ben White looks set to come to fruition soon and that eventuality is bound to get Gunners supporters excited for the rest of the summer transfer window. The club needs to invest and the early signs are that they are ready to do so.
Manager Mikel Arteta and technical director Edu are leading the overhaul of Arsenal’s squad this summer, with several outgoings expected to be replaced by new faces.
It has been widely reported that the Gunners are targeting at least five new signings, while as many, if not more, players could go in the other direction.
To make that happen, Stan Kroenke has pledged £250million according to 90min. Even if you have the funds, landing all the players you want is easier than done – especially when you have no European football to offer new arrivals.
But if Arsenal are successful in the transfer market, their starting line-up in 2021/22 could be very exciting. Express Sport lets Gunners fans dream as we look into a potential glimpse of the future.
JUST IN: Arsenal near £50m Ben White transfer as Mikel Arteta picks England ace
Goalkeeper: Andre Onana
According to Goal, Arsenal have been monitoring the Ajax keeper for some time – and, although they are yet to make a formal bid, Onana could provide a replacement for Bernd Leno.
There is plenty of uncertainty surrounding Leno’s position and the fact Onana’s ban for testing positive for Furosemide has been reduced by the Court of Arbitration for Sport makes his signature all the more appealing.
The 25-year-old is free to play again from November 3 and, with 12 months remaining on his Ajax contract, could be available for a reasonable fee.
Right-back: Max Aarons
Arsenal want a new right-back, with Hector Bellerin potentially moving back to Spain this summer.
Tariq Lamptey has previously been linked with a move, but his injury record and contract extension with Brighton in January has made that possibility more unlikely, with the Seagulls slapping a £50m price tag on his head.
Aarons is a different case. The 21-year-old is available for around £30m, according to Sky Sports, and is said to be attracting attention from Manchester United and Tottenham.
The England under-21 international already has Premier League experience and looks a brilliant prospect.
Centre-back: Ben White
The Athletic reports that Arsenal are close to signing White, having offered £45m plus £5m in add-ons to Brighton.
The 23-year-old England international is a versatile and classy player who should be a fixture in the Arsenal defence for some time.
The Brazilian signed for around £27m last September and enjoyed a decent first campaign for the club. With David Luiz now gone, he looks most likely to nail down a starting place, with Rob Holding and Pablo Mari as able back-ups.
Left-back: Kieran Tierney
Arsenal already have a brilliant left-back at the club, but do need to sign a back-up to Tierney. They can save some money in this department too, with Ryan Bertrand and Patrick van Aanholt available for free transfers after their contracts expired with Southampton and Crystal Palace respectively.
Centre-midfield: Thomas Partey
Partey arrived for £45m last year and after struggling for consistency, largely due to injury, he can get settled in the coming season.
He could be one of the last ones standing next season, with Granit Xhaka off to Roma, Dani Ceballos’ loan over, Matteo Guendouzi being chased by Marseille, Lucas Torreira up for sale and doubts over the likes of Joe Willock, Mohamed Elneny and Ainsley Maitland-Niles.
Centre-midfield: Albert Sambi Lokonga
Another deal close to completion is that of Lokonga from Anderlecht, with Arsenal ready to pay around £17m for the youngster’s signature.
While the 21-year-old is undoubtedly more one for the future, the Gunners clearly believe he has what it takes to make the step up from Belgium to the Premier League.
It may well be eased in, with Arteta rotating players in this position, but Lokonga appears an exciting addition.
Right wing: Bukayo Saka
Saka is the golden boy of Arsenal – and England – and his adaptability means he can pretty much play anywhere next season. As he showed at Wembley on Tuesday, a starting position on the right, where he would take Nicolas Pepe’s place, is a good option.
Attacking midfield: Houssem Aouar
Now there’s a familiar name for Arsenal fans. Could this summer finally be the time Aouar arrives in north London?
Lyon are reportedly willing to sell him for just £20m and at that price the 22-year-old would be a bargain. Aouar scored eight goals and registered three assists for Lyon last season and would represent a decent replacement for Martin Odegaard, who is reportedly staying put at Real Madrid.
Having Emile Smith Rowe as a viable option is a massive bonus for Arsenal.
Left wing: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang
He may not have performed to his abilities last season, but Aubameyang remains a huge player for Arsenal. If he can find his best form – alongside a higher calibre of players – then the Gunners could be in for a much better campaign.
Striker: Andre Silva
There remains some doubts about Alexandre Lacazette, who like Eddie Nketiah is out of contract next summer. Whether he leaves or not, Arsenal should be considering a new striker.
The names Odsonne Edouard and Moussa Dembele have cropped up in reports before, but there is another option on the table.
Silva scored 28 goals in 32 Bundesliga games for Eintracht Frankfurt last season. The German side want to keep hold of him, but a fee of £34m has been floated. That would be a wise choice for Arsenal.
Potential XI for Arsenal next season: Onana; Aarons, White, Gabriel, Tierney; Partey, Lokonga; Saka, Aouar, Aubameyang; Silva.
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