As summer nears and Premier League games are set to return, teams are looking to both finish the current campaign on a strong note and add talent for next season. In Arsenal’s case, they will most likely be looking to sign senior players in just two or three positions. This could certainly change if the dynamic duo of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette are split up. Central defense, like nearly every year, could be a priority for the Gunners; however, strengthening the midfield should also be a top concern.
Although Atletico Madrid’s Thomas Partey has dominated the transfer gossip surrounding Arsenal’s midfield plans, the Gunners also need to address their lack of offensive output from the middle of the pitch. Arsenal currently have just two total goals from midfield during Premier League play this season. This is compared to the team receiving 16 total goals from central/attacking midfield just a year ago.
Along with the absence of goals, creativity from these positions has also been subpar this season. According to Whoscored, Dani Ceballos and Mesut Ozil are tied for the club’s Premier League lead in assists from central/attacking midfield with just two. Combine these two anemic statistics and there’s no wonder the Gunners have just the eighth-most goals in the Premier League at the moment.
The aforementioned Ozil has been an outstanding creator for Arsenal since his arrival to the club in 2013. Nevertheless, the former Germany World Cup winner is now 31 and is perhaps winding down his time in north London. The Arsenal brass should be looking to find the German’s heir this summer. Along with strengthening the attacking midfield position, the Gunners have yet to fully replace Aaron Ramsey since his departure to Juventus last summer.
The Welsh central midfielder, though in the midst of the underwhelming freshman campaign in Italy, was vital to Arsenal. Ramsey managed to rack up 10 combined goals and assists from midfield during his final Premier League season, despite playing just over 1,300 total minutes. Joe Willock has played fairly well in the ‘Ramsey role’ at times this season, however, the England youth international is just 20 and needs time to fully develop his offensive game.
Bayer Leverkusen’s Kai Havertz is undeniably Arsenal’s dream signing to help take care of these issues. Nevertheless, it does seem somewhat unlikely that the Gunners will heavily pursue the pricey German star this summer. Orkun Kokcu is perhaps a cheaper option to the highly-rated Havertz. Kokcu, a Feyenoord youngster, would most likely cost about half as much as the Leverkusen star, but the 19 year old also isn’t the same caliber of player as Havertz.
Whatever player Arsenal decide to choose, there’s no doubt that there is work to be done at this position. Developing young talent is certainly needed, but rounding out the roster of top players is also a priority of big clubs. The Gunners have made some bold, surprising signings over the last couple of years, so almost anything is possible.
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