The January transfer window is over now and it has ended up actually looking pretty good for Arsenal.
They started the window fearing the worst, potentially losing both Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil for nothing in the summer, with both their contracts set to expire.
They did lose Sanchez to Manchester United, but the Gunners got Henrikh Mkhitaryan in the deal. The north London side then ended the window with the signing of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang .
On the balance of it, it seems that Arsenal ended the window in a stronger position than they started with, especially considering that Ozil signed a new deal with the club. But many still feel that the Gunners should have strengthened other areas of the team while they had the chance, most notably in defence – including the club hierarchy, who failed in a late attempt to sign West Brom star Jonny Evans on deadline day.
Now with Arsenal’s attack being very much sorted for the next few years, it seems like their focus should be on defensive reinforcements in the coming summer.
Here are six defensive players Arsenal could sign this summer to strengthen their team.
6. Jonny Evans
Club captain Per Mertesacker is set to retire in the summer. Laurent Koscielny has been the heart of the Arsenal defence over the last few years, but he is now 32.
Konstantinos Mavropanos, Calum Chambers and Rob Holding are perhaps too inexperienced currently to start week in, week out to challenge for major trophies. This leaves Shkodran Mustafi as the only real reliable starter for the Gunners next season.
Bringing in Jonny Evans in the summer could be a smart piece of business for Arsenal given his experience, despite him being 30 – especially if you consider the fact that the Gunners could reportedly land him for just £3m if West Brom get relegated this season, because of a release clause.
5. Aleix Vidal
Although Arsenal have Hector Bellerin in that right-back/right wing-back role, the Gunners are short in players on that right side. Mathieu Debuchy left Arsenal in January and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, who occasionally played in the wing-back position, also departed last summer.
Ainsley Maitland-Niles is a player capable of covering the position, but Arsenal perhaps need to bring in another right-back. Maybe not as a replacement for Bellerin, but someone that can provide him competition and add to squad depth.
Aleix Vidal could be a good option, with his club Barcelona rumoured to be interested in selling the 28-year-old.
4. Daniele Rugani
Juventus’ Daniele Rugani is another central defender who has been linked with a move to Arsenal.
According to the player’s agent, Arsenal are apparently interested in signing him, but have yet to make any attempts to sign him.
Rugani has struggled for game time at Juventus this season, appearing just 15 times. So the 23-year-old may be interested in an exit in the summer from the Italian side, if that continues.
3. Jan Oblak
Petr Cech is one of the best goalkeepers in Premier League history. However, it is becoming increasingly apparent that he has not been playing at his best level recently, with mistakes from the 35-year-old starting to creep up that is costing Arsenal goals.
Arsenal perhaps need a new stopper that can help them compete for major honours. Atletico Madrid star Jan Oblak could be the goalkeeper Arsenal need.
He is a reported target for them this summer, with their new head of football relations, Raul Sanllehi, apparently keen to bring him to the club.
The 25-year-old could cost the Gunners a (very) hefty fee, but bringing a goalkeeper of Oblak’s quality would be a major boost to the club.
2. Kostas Manolas
Kostas Manolas is another potential central defender who could arrive to strengthen Arsenal’s back line this summer. The Gunners apparently were exploring the possibility of bringing the 26-year-old to the Emirates Stadium from Roma on deadline day in January, but couldn’t sign him.
The player is considered one of Serie A’s best defenders and, if Arsenal sign him, he could bring some steel to their back line, which has been leaking goals this season.
1. William Carvalho
Perhaps what some believe should be Arsenal’s number one priority – bringing in a top quality holding midfielder. Since the days of Patrick Vieira, the Gunners have lacked a consistent performer that gives them a physical presence in the centre of Midfield and also helps shield their defense.
William Carvalho is a player that has been linked with Arsenal for years. He could potentially give them that physicality they perhaps currently lack and help protect their defence. Now at the prime age of 25, maybe this could be the summer he finally arrives.