This summer, Arsenal have entered into completely new territory. Not only following the departure of Arsène Wenger, but the new Premier League season is still weeks away and the club’s transfer business appears all-but complete.
Arsenal were crying out for a new goalkeeper at the end of last season; enter Bernd Leno. Still unsure on the club’s centre backs? Welcome, Sokratis Papasta… Papastath…yeah him.
How about a new defensive midfielder who is actually a defensive midfielder in the form of Lucas Torreira? And to top it all off Arsenal have signed one for the future, Mattéo Guendouzi. Oh, and let’s not forget Stephan Lichtsteiner.
Although Arsenal haven’t made what many would consider a marquee signing this summer – like Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang were last year – it appears that the club are actually building a team under new manager Unai Emery, as opposed to a squad of individuals.
Here are just a few reasons to be excited about Arsenal over the next few years.
5. Arsenal’s Biggest Weakness is Weakness
How many times have you heard Arsenal fans moan about never replacing Patrick Vieira?
In some ways that complaint about the club’s recruitment is still true, but their signings this summer show promise that there will be some much needed steel throughout their spine next season.
In Borussia Dortmund’s Sokratis Papastathopoulos, Arsenal have a tough tackling defender who is an imposing figure added to the backline which, when partnered with Sead Kolašinac, will give even Romelu Lukaku a run for his money.
Further up the pitch and Uruguay international Lucas Torreira is a player who will quickly become a fan favourite. Although the 22-year-old may lack the same physical presence of some of his new teammates, the former Sampdoria star is one of the feistiest players in Europe.
The club may still be lacking that one physical presence in the centre of the pitch, but their improvements throughout the squad will dispel any ‘Arsenal are soft’ claims throughout next season.
4. One for the Future
Let’s start with a question: When was the last time Arsenal bought a teenager during the transfer market?
The north London side have a long and proud tradition for giving youth a chance, but in recent years Arsenal have somewhat been riding on their past success as they hope as academy player will break through.
And nothing has really stamped home Arsenal’s failure to plan for the future like Jack Wilshere’s departure at the start of July.
But the club have forked out over £8m to sign Mattéo Guendouzi from Ligue 2 side FC Lorient. The 19-year-old midfielder appears to have been signed with one eye on where Arsenal will need reinforcements in the next few years.
Aaron Ramsey’s contract still expires in one year, while fellow playmakers Mesut Özil and Henrikh Mkhitaryan will turn 30 next season, something which could see Guendouzi offered a regular place in their squad as early as 2019.
Oh, and the answer to the question? Calum Chambers in 2014.
3. One for the Now
Supporters might be on the fence about the signing of Sokratis, Borussia Dortmund fans weren’t all that upset to see the back of him after all, but the Greece international is exactly what Arsenal need in their immediate future.
It wouldn’t be surprising to see the 30-year-old fit straight into their first team, not to mention the fact that Sokratis will keep the likes of Laurent Koscielny and Shkodran Mustafi on their toes next year.
But perhaps most importantly Sokratis is a different type of centre back for the Gunners, whose involvement with helping to develop his compatriot Konstantinos Mavropanos should be made a priority.
2. A New Fan Favourite
Arsenal fans have been treated to some of the best football in the Premier League over the last 20 years, but still there are few moments that excite Gooners more than a crunching tackle that reminds them of their days at Highbury.
Although new midfielder Lucas Torreira might not have the posture of footballing hardman, as well as the fact he still wears braces, the 22-year-old Uruguayan is one of the toughest upcoming midfielders in Europe.
1. A New Star Could Be Born
The chances of any Arsenal fans having Granit Xhaka as a candidate for Player of the Season next year are slim at best, but the Switzerland international could be set for biggest campaign of his career.
The 25-year-old arrived with high hopes following his performances with Borussia Mönchengladbach, but supporters were quickly turned off the idea of Xhaka in midfield largely due to his limited mobility.
However, a partnership with the tireless Lucas Torreira will give the Swiss star the extra cover he needs to do what he does best – dictating the tempo of a game whilst sitting deeper in midfield, similar to former Liverpool favourite Xabi Alonso.
Couple that with the knowledge that manager Unai Emery is a big fan of Xhaka, as well as the regista – a deep lying playmaker – as a whole, and the £40m midfielder could be set for the a landmark season with Arsenal.