It’s going to be a busy summer at the Emirates.
After a disappointing season that saw Arsenal fail to qualify for European competition for the first time in 25 years after finishing eighth in the Premier League and being knocked out of the Europa League by Villarreal at the semi final stage Mikel Arteta has promised a “ruthless” overhaul of his squad.
football.london understands that he and Edu are on the lookout for players in at least five key positions next season, but that could rise as high as seven depending on how the the transfer window pans out.
While this is certainly excited and needed it does create some question marks over what the Gunners starting XI will look like going into the start of next campaign.
Bernd Leno had previously looked to be a nailed on starter in the goalkeeping position but with just two years left on his contract there is some uncertainty over where he will be next season particularly given the rumours linking Arsenal with Ajax’s Andre Onana.
There is very little security in the defence as well with David Luiz having departed and Hector Bellerin set to follow, while the likely departures of Granit Xhaka, Matteo Guendouzi and Lucas Torreira have created plenty of intrigue as to what Arteta’s midfield options will look like next season.
With this much still unknown over what Arsenal’s squad will look like next season it’s probably easier to ask which players will definitely be there next season for Arteta to build around.
Here football.london takes a look at the five names guaranteed to be in the Spaniard’s starting line up come the opening day of the Premier League season on August 14th.
The Scottish fullback was simply sensational last season for Arsenal, often taking on the creative burden of the side despite being a left back.
No player fashioned more chances from open play for his teammates than Tierney in 2020/21 and the fact that the Gunners failed to win their biggest games of the season without him in the side is no coincidence.
The only thing that could stop him being one of the first names on the team sheet is if his unfortunate record with injuries comes back to bite once again.
It was a slightly disappointing opening season for the Ghanaian who came to Arsenal from Atletico Madrid on deadline day with big hopes.
Injuries robbed him of a chance to ever really show his best, while some questionable tactics from Mikel Arteta in the Europa League semi finals didn’t exactly help him either.
However, there were some positive signs, particularly in the victory at Old Trafford and win over Spurs at the Emirates of what Partey can offer when he is truly at his best.
Despite being just 19-years-of-age Bukayo Saka has just been crowned Arsenal’s player of the season for 2020/21 and was a shining light in what was a dismal campaign.
Bizarrely Gareth Southgate ‘s decision to give him a well deserved call up to the England squad has been met with some criticism but after scoring the winning goal in a pre-tournament friendly against Austria, the Hale Ender is already starting to prove his doubters wrong.
Right wing seems to be where he has been most effective over the past season, and you would expect him to be starting there on the opening day of the season in August.
Emile Smith Rowe
Another Hale End academy graduate who burst onto the scene to establish himself as a first team regular was Emile Smith Rowe.
The 20-year-old’s integration into Mikel Arteta’s side was a driving factor in helping pull them out of their worst start to a Premier League season since 1974.
There are some concerns that Arsenal’s interest in Emi Buendia and Martin Odegaard this summer could see Smith Rowe drop out of the team next campaign, but the England under-21 international has already shown he’s capable of impacting games no matter where he is played on the pitch.
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It was not a good season for Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang by his own admission and many may well be surprised to see him on this list of nailed on starters.
But the Gabon forward is still the Arsenal captain and will start more often than not when he is available.
Next year promises to see him given an extended run as a centre forward rather than as a left winger which could be a solution to his goal scoring drought, and if the Gunners can supply him with more chances then Arteta will be hopeful the 31-year-old can finish them.