There is still plenty of this season to go but Mikel Arteta has admitted that he and Edu have already started thinking ahead to how they will build the Arsenal squad next season.
“We are planning everything for the summer, the same with the board,” he said earlier this month. “We are very clear on how we want to do it.
“We still have quite a lot of things to do, but we will get to the point, hopefully, where it’s just ticking off a few things and the stability is there, because you need that as well to be consistent and be competitive.”
The Gunners are currently “very, very far” off where their manager wants them to be, but despite some poor results there can be no doubt that positive steps forward have been made.
The introduction of young players into the first team has been key and if the season had begun at Christmas Arsenal would currently be battling for the top four.
So there can be no doubting that there are certain players in the Gunners squad that Arteta will be looking to build his team around. Here football.london takes a look at five of them.
*Before we get started it’s worth saying that Martin Odegaard would have made this list, but with his future still somewhat up in the air he was left off.
Starting at the back and there can be few clearer candidates to be a regular in Mikel Arteta’s team going forward than Gabriel.
The Brazilian won three consecutive player of the month awards after signing from Lille in the summer and has impressed for the most part.
With impressive displays against Tottenham and Olympiacos before the international break he seems to have put a shaky festive period behind him and is back to his best again.
Strong in the tackle, capable in the air, composed on the ball and just 23-year-of-age he looks set to dominate the Gunners back four for seasons to come.
It’s rare that a left back is so important to a side’s attacking output as Kieran Tierney is to Arsenal but the Scot has created more chances from open play than any of his teammates this season.
As well as being impressive going forward the former Celtic man has done well in his defensive duties making 1.83 blocks and 3.01 clearances per 90.
His old-school demeanour and approach to the game combined with the passion he shows on the pitch has already made him a hit with the Emirates faithful despite the fact that many of them have still never seen him play.
Despite seemingly being around for ages, at just 23, he is another who is at the right age to be key for the Gunners for a long time.
We may not have seen much of Thomas Partey this season, but the brief glimpses so far have been more than enough to suggest he will be key for Arsenal next season.
When he arrived many expected him to be a pure stopper in the middle of the park, but his ability on the ball and speed with which he uses it have made him easily the Gunners best midfielder already.
Of course keeping fit is a key thing for the Ghanaian who has managed just 12 Premier League starts this season after failing to shake off a thigh problem.
But once he recovers from that there is no doubt he is going to be a key part of making sure Mikel Arteta’s dream Arsenal side can come to fruition.
Emile Smith Rowe
Before Emile Smith Rowe came into the side Arsenal had failed to win a Premier League game for two months and were genuinely staring down the barrel of relegation.
It’s no coincidence that since he became a regular fixture things have become a lot better around the Emirates.
Creative in possession, but also blessed with the gift to keep it simple under almost all circumstances the 20-year-old will be vital as the Gunners look to get back to being a regular Champions League side.
Regular goals are the only thing missing from his game, but if his thunderous effort that cannoned off the bar in the North London Derby is anything to go by, it’s a matter of time before they come too.
Arguably the most important player on this list is Bukayo Saka.
While others around him have faltered and floundered this season the 19-year-old has carried Arsenal through one of the darkest periods in their modern history.
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His versatility has been a huge asset, but recently the England international seems to have found his home on the right wing where five goals and fives assists since Christmas show why he is one of the best young talents in the world.
The fact that he is so young means that there is only more to come from the youngster surely nailed on to the Gunners’ player of the season.