The £40m transfer mistake Edu cannot afford to make as Mikel Arteta has bigger Arsenal problems

Looking at the Arsenal squad there are several positions they clearly need to strengthen in.

In terms of sheer numbers a goalkeeper to provide competition for Bernd Leno is needed, while cover for Kieran Tierney is a necessity and a new central midfielder will be required when Granit Xhaka leaves to join Roma which understands is set to happen relatively soon.

Beyond that it’s absolutely vital that they sign a creative midfielder this summer if they are to avoid becoming wholly dependent on Emile Smith Rowe for the entirety of next season.

Central defence however is not an area the Gunners are exactly light in.

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While Sokratis, Shkodran Mustafi and David Luiz have all left the club in recent months Arsenal are still relatively well stocked at centre back.

Gabriel and Pablo Mari are two very good options on the left hand side, while Rob Holding and William Saliba are options on the right.

That is before you even get on to loanees such as Dinos Mavropanos and Daniel Ballard who have impressed during temporary spells away from North London this season.

When you consider the fact that the Gunners will be competing in just three competitions next campaign after failing to qualify for European competition for the first time in 25 years, on paper at least, centre back becomes even less of a priority.

However, the club have reportedly submitted a bid believed to be in the region of £40m for Brighton defender Ben White.

While the England international’s versatility – he has played defensive midfield, right back and right wing back for Graham Potter’s side this season – is part of what makes him so appealing it would seem that Arsenal are primarily signing him to play as a centre back.

White is by no means a bad player. His ability to carry the ball forward via dribbling and progressive passes would certainly offer an option that could be well used by Mikel Arteta.

But when you consider the lack of funds the Gunners have available in the transfer market this summer it seems a slightly strange move.

The ongoing impacts of COVID-19 and lack of fans at the Emirates this season, combined with the lack of continental football means that Arteta and Edu may well have to prioritise which areas of the squad they can strengthen in. With that in mind it seems a slightly perverse choice to opt for such an expensive acquisition in the one area of the pitch where Arsenal probably least urgently need recruitment.

Last season it was not their defence that cost them a place in the Champions League places, but rather a lack of creativity prior to Emile Smith Rowe and Martin Odegaard‘s introduction to the side that saw them go on a near two month winless streak in November and December.

Arteta himself has admitted this.

“That run in November was crucial and determined – even with how consistent we’ve been after Christmas – that it would not be enough to reach the objectives that we wanted,” he told members of the press in May.

The summer window is officially open, and it’s going to be tough to keep up with the comings and goings in and out of the Emirates.

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Of course it is probably too early to launch any sweeping judgements on how the Gunners are conducting themselves in the transfer market this summer. The window is after all only just over a week old. understands that the club still intends to strengthen at central midfield, number ten, goalkeeper and both full back positions, and without knowing the club’s finances in detail it’s impossible to say what they are capable of this summer.

But with £40m plus of the budget going on White it would seem that their ability to acquire players in areas where they need recruitments could be unnecessarily compromised.

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