After spending a record number of days atop the Premier League without winning the title, Arsenal are intent on usurping Manchester City in 2023/24.
The Gunners mean business this summer and they’re looking to wrap up multiple deals before they jet off to the United States for their pre-season tour.
While a squad overhaul isn’t expected, Arsenal’s starting XI is set to look a little different next season. Here’s how Mikel Arteta could line up his Gunners side.
GK: Aaron Ramsdale – It was a weird campaign for Ramsdale last time out as he came close to matching Petr Cech and Ederson’s record of 11 away clean sheets in a single Premier League season. He notched ten on the road but just four at home which meant David de Gea won the Golden Glove.
RB: Ben White – The club’s second bid for Ajax defender Jurrien Timber should be enough and the Dutchman is expected to be a Gooner soon after agreeing personal terms. Timber, however, will initially find it tough to break into Arteta’s defence, especially down the right-hand side after White’s excellent campaign in a new role.
CB: William Saliba – Much of the discourse surrounding Arsenal’s late-season collapse focused on the injury sustained by Saliba in March. The Gunners’ backline, which had shown signs of deterioration before the Frenchman’s absence, suffered greatly. However, Saliba is expected to be fit and firing for the start of pre-season after enjoying quite an incredible start to life in the Premier League.
CB: Gabriel – Saliba was the name on the tip of everybody’s tongue last season which meant Gabriel’s stellar work often went underrated. There were certainly times when the Brazilian outperformed his younger, cooler, and more hip partner, and the former Lille man stood strong when Saliba went down injured. They’ll be expected to forge their strong partnership at the start of 2023/24.
LB: Oleksandr Zinchenko – The arrival of Zinchenko proved crucial in the club’s evolution under Arteta. The Spaniard introduced the inverted full-back role to his framework which allowed Arsenal to control and dominate matches in a way they rarely did before the Ukrainian’s arrival. There are very few players who can perform Zinchenko’s role and his status as an undisputed starter cannot be questioned despite some defensive frailties.
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DM: Declan Rice – Manchester City’s reported interest has complicated matters, but Arsenal are still hopeful of landing their priority target with the West Ham skipper believed to be favouring a move to north London. Rice would be a major coup for the Gunners and he’d be able to play as both a holding and box-to-box midfielder in Arteta’s system. However, right now, he’s more likely to replace Thomas Partey at the base of midfield.
CM: Kai Havertz – This is certainly one of the most intriguing deals of the summer. Havertz struggled at Chelsea, but Arteta is seemingly convinced by the German and a move is close to completion. Many have speculated where Havertz could line up in north London, and while he’s capable of leading the line and operating as a false nine, Arteta is poised to utilise him as Granit Xhaka’s replacement which should get the very best out of him.
CM: Martin Odegaard – The skipper was the beating heart of the Gunners last season and he enjoyed a superb campaign. Odegaard scored 15 Premier League goals and notched seven assists. His role could subtly change next season given the reshuffling of midfield personnel, but he’ll once again be wreaking havoc from the right half-space, that’s for sure.
RW: Bukayo Saka – Arsenal desperately need superior depth behind Saka because the England international has racked up a surely unhealthy number of minutes in his young senior career. However, there’s a dearth of quality options on the market, and it looks like Reiss Nelson may end up as Saka’s deputy should the Gunners finalise his contract extension.
ST: Gabriel Jesus – Jesus’ debut campaign was disrupted by a knee injury, but his initial impact at the Emirates was transformative. The Brazilian isn’t the club’s endgame starting striker, but he’ll be Arteta’s guy for 2023/24.
LW: Gabriel Martinelli – The exuberant Brazilian winger came of age last season after switching to the number 11 shirt. While he endured a dip in form while Jesus was sidelined, Martinelli’s campaign was otherwise excellent. Leandro Trossard supplies stiff competition, but Martinelli will be Arteta’s first choice at the start of 2023/24.
On this edition of The Chronicles of a Gooner, part of the 90min podcast network, Harry Symeou discusses the latest reports concerning Arsenal’s pursuit of Jurrien Timber and round up the weekend’s reports. If you can’t see this embed, click here to listen to the podcast!