Football Features

Three ways Arsenal could line up after the transfer window

By James Amey

Published: 19:26, 5 June 2024

After two second-place finishes, Mikel Arteta will be dreaming of finally lifting the title in 2024/25.

But to do that, the Spaniard will need to make some crucial changes to his side as the Gunners look to go up another level once again.

With the possible departures of Thomas Partey, Albert Sambi Lokonga, Nuno Tavares, Kieran Tierney, Eddie Nketiah and even Fabio Vieira or Emile Smith Rowe, and the Gunners fighting on multiple fronts, he will need some reinforcements for not only his squad but to improve the starting XI.

The Gunners will be looking to improve in these three key areas:

They also may target a starting left-winger who can also play as a striker or on the right wing in Saka’s absence, so we will look at possible signings in this area as well.

Here are dream, realistic and wildcard options for how Arteta could line up his Arsenal side for 2024/25.


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Dream

This XI could be the one that stops Manchester City from winning a fifth consecutive Premier League title.

As already mentioned, the Gunners will be targeting a new number nine, a Thomas Partey replacement, a Bukayo Saka understudy or a possible LW/ST/RW hybrid.

Viktor Gyökeres would be our dream signing to lead the Arsenal line next season after his standout first season for Sporting CP. The Sweden international finished the campaign with the most touches in the opposition box (308), the most shots on target (58), the most goal involvements (39) and the most goals (29) in the Primeira Liga after his move from Championship side Coventry City and is the complete forward.

With a €100m release clause, a lot of sides will be looking at a possible move for the 25-year-old, but as the perfect fit in Arteta’s system, he should be their number one target.

Bruno Guimarães would be the dream fit alongside Declan Rice and Martin Ødegaard in midfield. The Newcastle man won possession more times (236) than any other Premier League player in 2023/24, as well as winning the most duels (285), the most fouls (108) and making the most high turnovers (40) in the competition. That, coupled with his eight goals and seven assists, make him the perfect choice.

We haven’t chosen a dream Saka understudy as such, but with Rafael Leão’s ability to play both on the left-hand side as well as up top, he would be the perfect player to play a number of roles in this Arsenal side.

Realistic

“The reality is we don’t have a striker who is going to score 35, 40 goals – and we have to live with that.” were Mikel Arteta’s words after their Champions League defeat to Bayern Munich, but that could change for next season.

20-year-old Benjamin Šeško had a fine season for RB Leipzig in 2023/24 after his move from Salzburg, scoring 14 league goals in 1,532 minutes of action while also becoming the youngest-ever player to score in seven consecutive Bundesliga games after already holding the record as the youngest player and youngest scorer in Slovenia’s history. His profile fits perfectly and would provide the ideal alternative for the Gunners with Kai Havertz showing he can also do well in the number nine role.

Pedro Neto’s ability to play all across the front three, coupled with his electric pace and creative abilities, make him another fantastic fit for Arsenal. The Portuguese forward set a new personal best for assists in a top-flight league season (9) in 2023/24, as well as becoming the player with the most assists for Wolves in Premier League history, despite missing a large chunk of the campaign with a hamstring problem. That injury would be a concern, however.

Our final addition to elevate Arsenal to the next level and complete their midfield would be Real Sociedad star Martín Zubimendi. The 25-year-old is a much more realistic option than Bruno Guimarães due to price, but not quality. Having had a taste of Champions League football, he may be keen for more and with Sociedad finishing sixth, the Gunners may be able to tempt him away.


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Wildcard

We have chosen this as our wildcard XI as all players would join from fellow Premier League sides.

Amadou Onana had the highest duel success rate of any midfielder to win 20+ duels in the Premier League in 2023/24 (65.93%) and his attributes would be perfect in allowing not only Martin Ødegaard, but also Declan Rice more freedom in the middle of the park, much like the role Partey played towards the end of the season. 

Marcus Rashford would bring experience and flexibility in terms of being able to play wide or up front and like, Leandro Trossard, has the knack of popping up with a goal in big games having scored 31 Premier League goals against ‘Big Six’ opposition. Despite a poor 2023/24 campaign that has seen him miss out on Euro 2024, the England forward could rediscover his form at the Emirates in the exact same fashion that Havertz has.

Finally, the last and most important acquisition for Arsenal next season could be the signing of Alexander Isak, although this would be a tough deal to pull off with Newcastle unlikely to want to let him leave St. James’ Park. The Swede finished third in the race for the Premier League Golden Boot in 2023/24, scoring 21 times in 30 appearances. He became just the third player after Alan Shearer and Andy Cole to score in seven consecutive Premier League home games for Newcastle and averaged 0.83 goals per 90 minutes across the campaign, only bettered by the cyborg Erling Haaland.

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