Arsenal have been public in their ambitions of getting back into the Premier League title race this season, with Arsene Wenger having money to spend to bolster his squad this summer.
However, to date, young French forward Yaya Sanogo is the only acquisition that the north London club have made. The Emirates Stadium faithful are desperate for their financially cautious manager to go against his instincts and splurge on a host of new players this summer, but whether this happens remains to be seen.
Arsenal are eager to sign Luis Suarez from Liverpool, however the move has hit a stumbling block with the Merseysiders unwilling to sell the Uruguayan star. Whether the Gunners get Suarez or not could well be the difference between a title challenge or having to make do with a third or fourth place finish again.
The north London side have been linked with a move for a new goalkeeper this summer too, but chances are that Wojciech Szczesny will start as the club’s first-choice stopper.
The centre-backs of Laurent Koscielny, Thomas Vermaelen and Per Mertesacker will alternate, with the France international the standout of the three. Koscielny has grown in stature over the last 12 months in north London, and has the potential to be one of the best in his position in the division. Mertesacker’s form has been up and down, but on form will more often than not get the nod alongside Koscielny.
In midfield a lot of the club’s title hopes rest on the shoulders of Jack Wilshere. Having the England international back fit after a long layoff is a real boost for Arsenal, and the youngster will look to have a positive campaign with the World Cup on the horizon. Alongside Mikel Arteta, Arsenal have two excellent midfield players, without a real enforcer in there.
Santi Cazorla impressed in his first campaign in England last term, and the Spaniard will again look to give his side the creative edge to win close matches. Wenger will hope that Lucas Podolski can have more of an impact next term, while Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is set to continue his development with more first-team opportunities.
In attack Suarez would make a big difference. Without him it is difficult to see Theo Walcott and Olivier Giroud getting the same amount of goals that Manchester United or City’s equivalents will net.
Arsenal will go into this season having not sold their best player in the summer for the first time in a couple of campaigns. They are certainly good enough to compete for the title, but whether they can actually stay in the running until May will most likely depend on who they bring into the club in the last three weeks of the transfer window.
image: © Matt and Kim Rudge