Having spent a record number of days at the top of the Premier League without winning the title, Arsenal are keen to usurp Manchester City in 2023/24.
The Gunners are serious this summer and are looking to complete more deals before they travel to the US on their pre-season tour.
Although no squad overhaul is expected, Arsenal’s starting XI is set to look slightly different next season. Here’s how Mikel Arteta could line up his Gunners side.
GK: Aaron Ramsdale – It was a strange campaign for Ramsdale last time out as he came close to matching Petr Cech and Ederson’s record of 11 away clean sheets in a single Premier League season. He managed ten away but just four at home, which meant David de Gea won the Golden Glove.
RB: Ben White – The club’s second bid for Ajax defender Jurrien Timber should be enough, with the Dutchman expected to be a Gooner shortly after agreeing personal terms. However, the Timbers will initially find it difficult to break into Arteta’s defence, particularly down the right after White’s excellent campaign in a new role.
CB: William Saliba – Much of the discourse surrounding Arsenal’s late-season collapse focused on the injury Saliba suffered in March. The Gunners’ backline, which had shown signs of deterioration before the Frenchman’s absence, suffered greatly. However, Saliba is expected to be fit and firing for the start of pre-season after having had quite an incredible start to life in the Premier League.
CB: Gabriel – Saliba was the name on the tip of everyone’s tongue last season, which meant Gabriel’s star work was often underestimated. There were certainly times when the Brazilian outplayed his younger, tougher and hipper partner, and the former Lille man stood strong when Saliba went down injured. They are expected to enter into their powerful partnership at the start of 2023/24.
LB: Oleksandr Zinchenko – The arrival of Zinchenko proved pivotal in the club’s development under Arteta. The Spaniard introduced the reverse full-back role to his frame, allowing Arsenal to control and dominate games in a way they rarely did before the Ukrainian’s arrival. There are very few players who can fill Zinchenko’s role, and his status as the undisputed starter cannot be questioned by some defensive frailties.
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DM: Declan Rice – Manchester City’s reported interest has complicated matters, but Arsenal remain hopeful of landing their priority target of the West Ham captain, who is believed to favor a move to north London. Rice would be a huge coup for the Gunners and he would be able to play as both a holding and box-to-box midfielder in Arteta’s system. But right now he is more likely to replace Thomas Partey at the bottom of midfield.
CM: Kai Havertz – This is definitely one of the most exciting offers of the summer. Havertz struggled at Chelsea, but Arteta is apparently convinced by the German and a move is close to being completed. Many have speculated where Havertz could line up in north London and while he is capable of leading the line and acting as a false nine, Arteta is ready to use him as Granit Xhaka’s replacement, which should bring out the best by him.
CM: Martin Odegaard – The captain was the beating heart of the Gunners last season and he enjoyed an excellent campaign. Odegaard scored 15 Premier League goals and recorded seven assists. His role may subtly change next season due to the reshuffle of the midfield personnel, but he will once again wreak havoc from the right half, that’s for sure.
RW: Bukayo Saka – Arsenal desperately need superior depth behind Saka because the England international has clocked up a probably unhealthy number of minutes in his young senior career. However, there is a dearth of quality options on the market and it looks like Reiss Nelson could end up as Saka’s replacement if the Gunners complete his contract extension.
ST: Gabriel Jesus – Jesus’ debut campaign was disrupted by a knee injury, but his first impact at the Emirates was transformative. The Brazilian is not the club’s starting striker in the play-offs, but he will be Arteta’s man in 2023/24.
LW: Gabriel Martinelli – The bubbly Brazilian winger came of age last season after switching to the number 11 shirt. While he endured a dip in form while Jesus was on the sidelines, Martinelli’s campaign was otherwise excellent. Leandro Trossard provides stiff competition, but Martinelli will be Arteta’s first choice at the start of 2023/24.
On this edition of A Gooner’s Chroniclepart of the 90min podcast network, Harry Symeou discusses the latest reports on Arsenal’s pursuit of Jurrien Timber and rounds up the weekend’s reports. If you cannot see this embed, please click here to listen to the podcast!