Based on the Arsenal’s results last season, it’s clear that manager Mikel Arteta is creating something exceptional. Top additions combined with sound tactics propelled the team to second place in the Premier League, just a few points behind champions Manchester City.
With the recent arrival of Kai Havertz from Chelsea, the club now has an outstanding team. Arsenal have Champions League this season, so the addition of quality players to the squad is essential. The targets that have been mentioned this season indicates that the club is doing exactly that.
The club has already been busy this transfer window. The club is soon to announce the signing of Jurrien Timber and Declan Rice. Rice will play in the number six role in place of Partey. It’s not that Partey is a bad player, but his injury record means the club may not have him available at crucial parts of the season. Jurrien Timber is likely to become first choice right back. A player who is skilled enough to play the inverted right back role that Zinchenko plays so well on the left.
The one area that Arsenal should also look to strengthen is a right sided forward. A player that can fill in effectively for Saka in the unlikely event that he gets injured or needs a rest. Arsenal have several wingers that can fill in for a game or two, players such as Trossard, Reiss Nelson and kai Havertz, but none of them are right sided players. The following players have proved themselves very capable as right sided forwards, and can provide competition for Saka and back up when needed.
Michael Olise, Olise has proved himself a very capable young attacker since he joined Crystal Palace from Reading. Arteta is believed to be an admirer of the player.
Olise, who can play as a winger or attacking midfielder, will be fantastic additions to the squad. He is a similar age to Saka. Having had success at Crystal Palace is it unlikely that he will be happy playing backup to any player. Olise will believe that he should be a starter for any team in the Premier League, and he won’t be wrong. The fee Crystal would demand may be difficult for Arsenal to play for a player that will not be an automatic choice
Moussa Diaby. The club has been linked to the Bayer Leverkusen player for the past two years. He is another player that Arsenal manager Arteta likes and would probably like to sign as a starter if he didn’t already have Bukayo Saka. There was strong speculation two seasons ago, and last season that the club would make a move for him.
Diaby, like Olise may not fancy been a backup. He is French international and there are several clubs after his signature. Newcastle recently had a £45m fee for the player rejected, so it is likely that it will take over £50m to get player. That’s a hefty fee for a backup.
Raphinha. When Raphinha decided to leave Leeds United last season, Arsenal showed a strong interest in the player and made a bid believed to be over £60m, but the player was determined to join Barcelona. He proved himself a very capable player and was a massive contributor to Leeds survival from relegation from the Premier League in 2021/22 season.
The players time at the Nou Camp has been mixed and there were suggestions that Barcelona are looking to move him on. If Barcelona decide to move him on, it is highly unlikely that they would get anything close to the £65m they paid for him. If Barcelona’s never ending reported financial difficulties continue they may have to sell several player.
Raphinha is a Brazilian international and made several appearance at the last World Cup. He is another player that may not wish to be a backup to Saka.
Xavi Simons. Simons is a young player that is a good right winger. He joined PSV Eindhoven from PSG. He played against Arsenal in the Europa League and impressed. There has been speculation that Arsenal would like the player and the player is likely to accept an offer from Arsenal. The player is said to have changed managers to the same manager that managers Arsenal’s Eddie Nketiah, in the hope that he can make the move to Arsenal. He will cost a lot less than the other players on the list and is likely to be happy with providing competition for Saka and playing as backup.
The only potential issue to any attempts by Arsenal to sign him is that PSG have a buyback clause to re-sign the player. If they activate it then the player will have no choice but move back to PSG.
Wilfried Zaha. This is the wild card. Zaha has been Crystal Palace’s go-to player for several seasons. Arsenal attempted to sign him four years ago before the club decided to sign Nicholas Pepe. He is now out of contract and will be available on a free transfer. The player has received many offers including a lucrative offer from the Saudi Premier League. The player is 30, so any contract he agrees is likely to be his last major contract. He will only consider contracts that will guarantee him as a starter
Who is best suited: Arsenal definitely need competition/backup for Saka, but it has to be a player that can come in and play well when required. There are options internally, but none of them are right sided players. The only internal option is Marquinhos, but the club may feel is not ready yet. Out of all the names above, Xavi Simons is probably the only player that will fit into Arsenal’s plans, if the club decides to look for external option. PSG may have something to say about it, if new coach Luis Enrique decides he wants the player to be part of his squad for the new seson.