Arsenal finds itself in the middle of a pivotal summer in 2022. The London club has taken huge steps forward over the past several seasons. After starting a rebuild that saw several long-term players leave and a couple of bad results in the league table, Arsenal competed for a Champions League position last season.
Now, with the club ready to take its’ next step forward under Mikel Arteta, they face an important summer. With a couple of key transfer moves the club could position itself to move ahead of rivals Tottenham in the top four race next season.
Clarifying Bukayo Saka’s Future
One of the most important summer priorities for Arteta is clarifying the future of Bukayo Saka. Saka has emerged as a star for Arsenal over the past year and has performed so well that he is now key to England’s plans for the World Cup.
However, Saka’s contract at Arsenal can only be extended till the end of the 2023-2024 season, and there has been no major news regarding a contract extension. As a result, there has been a growing thought that Saka may leave the club, even as soon as this summer.
Extending Saka will be a top priority for Arteta. Saka, at just 20 years old, scored 11 goals for Arsenal last season to go along with seven assists. A graduate of the Arsenal academy and a two-time club player of the year, Saka is one of the best forwards in the Premier League, regardless of age.
If Arsenal is unable to extend Saka’s contract, the club will need to start looking for a replacement. Losing a key player at this stage of Arteta’s rebuild would be hard to overcome, but the situation would be even worse if the club is unprepared for a situation that is looking increasingly likely.
Strengthening at Key Positions
Arsenal appears to be set to have a summer focusing on securing the final key pieces of their rebuild. Manchester City center-forward Gabriel Jesus has already been discussed as a potential new signing for Arsenal, along with a midfielder.
In the midfield, Wolverhampton Wanderers star Ruben Neves has been discussed as a potential option for Arteta. Unfortunately for Arsenal, the competition to sign the Portuguese midfielder will be fierce.
Manchester United has also reportedly shown interest in the 25-year-old, along with a few clubs in the rest of Europe. Neves would be an excellent signing for Arsenal. He is already proven in the Premier League and would help add depth in the midfield alongside Thomas Partey.
Whether Jesus or Neves join the club, or Arsenal moves on to other options, any signing the club makes will add to a talented squad. As Arsenal reenters European competition in the Europa League, adding depth and talent to the team will be vital this summer.
A Big Opportunity Ahead
It has taken several years for Arsenal to reorganize and rebuild after the end of the Arsene Wenger era. Mikel Arteta has helped the club add important young players in the transfer market, and promoted and developed players from the club’s youth system.
During the upcoming season, Arsenal will have their best chance in recent memory to return to the Champions League. In addition, the club will likely enter the Europa League as one of the favorites in the competition.
With Manchester United entering a rebuild, and Tottenham having finished last season just two points ahead of Arsenal in the table, the opportunity will be there for the team to return to the upper-tier of English soccer. Good decisions this summer could prepare Arsenal to take full advantage of their opportunity.
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