By Steve Clare,
Arsenal’s resounding 4-0 victory against Aston Villa in the FA Cup Final ensured they ended their 2014/2015 campaign with silverware, but despite their triumph at Wembley, it could still be considered a season of disappointment at the Emirates. Arsene Wenger’s side never really mounted a serious challenge for the Premier League title, while the manner in which they exited the Champions League at the hands of Monaco further added weight to the argument that Arsenal are lacking quality in the right areas.
They ultimately fell well short in competitions that the club and its fans have high aspirations of challenging for, if not winning, and while it appears that Wenger will remain in charge next season, the Frenchman has a lot of work to do in the transfer market. The rumour mill has already produced a vast number of high-profile names to be linked with a summer move to Arsenal, with bookies.com keeping tabs on the latest odds from bookmakers who expect Wenger to flash the cash. Fans know that their manager will not buy players for the sake of it, and although this has frustrated a large section who feels Arsenal have been left behind by the likes of Chelsea and Manchester City who have flexed their financial muscle on a regular basis, there are three areas which must be addressed if they are to challenge next season.
Top teams always need a top quality goalkeeper to step up to the plate when need to preserve a lead and make the saves that matter, particularly in the big games. Arsenal have had a problem in this area for a number of seasons, and while both David Ospina and Wojciech Szczesny have performed well during their battle for the number one jersey, neither are at the level expected of a side that want to compete for the Premier League title. The Gunners are rumoured to be interested in Petr Cech and Iker Casillas – two keepers who have plenty of quality and would represent superb additions to Arsenal’s squad.
Wenger believes that Francis Coquelin, who seemingly emerged from nowhere to become a key player for Arsenal this season as a midfield enforcer, may have saved him £40 million in the summer transfer market, but there is still a pressing need for a high calibre defensive midfielder to be signed during the summer. Mikel Arteta has lost none of his quality as a player, but he is not getting any younger and his injury problems may come back to haunt him again in 2015/2016; the same could be said of Abou Diaby who has played just 821 Premier League minutes in the last four seasons, and looks unlikely to stay at the club. Arsenal’s original target, Sami Khedira, appears to be edging closer to a move to Serie A champions and Champions League finalists Juventus, so they should turn their attention to William Carvalho or Geoffrey Kondogbia who have plenty of quality and years on their side to become mainstays in Arsenal’s midfield area.
Proven goal-scoring striker
Olivier Giroud may have won many admirers at Arsenal for his model-like looks, but he has yet to convince fans that he is the top quality striker that is capable of scoring the number of goals required to fire the team towards the title. More importantly, it is an area where Arsenal are arguably short on quantity and quality; although the Frenchman has reached double figures for three consecutive seasons since joining from Montpellier in 2012, fellow striker Danny Welbeck failed to make any sort of impact and managed just four goals, while Theo Walcott has spent most of the season on the treatment table. Alexis Sanchez was unquestionably head and shoulders above the rest during a fantastic debut season in Arsenal colours, but the Chilean cannot be expected to produce the goods in every game. It is therefore imperative that Wenger searches the transfer market and finds a top quality striker who is capable of scoring at least twenty goals if they are to have any chance of challenging for the 2015/2016 Premier League title.