A fantastic end of season run of eight wins in ten games saw Arsenal claim a Champions League place, but what areas do they need to address before the start of next season?
Which of these five is the biggest priority?
A New Striker
Oliver Giroud, Lukas Podolski and Theo Walcott have all had a solid season at the Emirates, but it is still fair to say that Arsenal lack a little up front in terms of one outstanding striker that could replace Robin Van Persie. Stevan Jovetic has been strongly linked with a move to North London, whilst youngster Yaya Sanogo is apparently already on his way, suggesting that Wenger is keen to bolster his striking options as quickly as possible.
Although Arsenal’s summer should be free from the kind of big name departures that have rocked them in the last couple of years, Bacary Sagna is one senior player that could yet leave, with his contract set to expire in the summer of 2014. Arsenal need to resolve Sagna’s future quickly either by agreeing a new contract or selling him, especially if they plan to make a move for someone like Juventus’ Stephan Lichtsteiner as a replacement for the Frenchman.
Defensive Midfield and Abou Diaby
As brilliant as he can be on his day, Arsenal must consider giving up on Abou Diaby as his injury problems have left them short of options in the centre of their midfield on too many occasions. Aaron Ramsey has been impressive in that position in recent weeks, and Mikel Arteta has been excellent all season, but Arsenal could consider bringing a more traditional defensive midfielder to give their defence more protection next year.
Clear Out the Deadwood
Around this time every year, a legion of flops Arsenal have sent out on loan return to the club, with Nicklas Bendtner, Park Chu-Young and Johan Djourou among the returnees this year. Arsenal would be delighted to move these players of the wage bill to help free up money for new signings, and if they could sell some of their deadwood early it would be a boost to their summer.
The Belgian defender was made Arsenal captain last summer, but has had his worst year yet at the Emirates, and the fine form of Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny in the centre of defence has made Vermaelen’s position at the club unclear. If he is not going to be a first choice player next season, there might need to be some discussion this summer to establish his role at the club, and Arsenal could even choose to cash in on the 27 year old if a sizeable offer comes in.
image: © Ronnie Macdonald