It’s been way too long since Arsenal lifted the Premier League trophy, especially when you consider the amount of money that has been pumped in consistently for transfers over the last 11 years.
The Gunners have come from the superb heights of the Invincibles in 2004 to over ten years of disappointment – they simply haven’t been good enough. £370 million has been spent on new players since the invincible season, with just an FA Cup to show for it.
Since the debt remaining from the Emirates Stadium construction was paid off, Arsenal have secured themselves some world class players, although coming at hefty fees. Mesut Özil and Alexis Sánchez have both been lured to North London from the glitz of La Liga in recent years.
It cost £77.5 million for the duo, and Sánchez has no doubt earned his rather large price tag in his debut season. On the other hand, Özil certainly hasn’t been a flop, far from it. However, you do seem to get that feeling that he hasn’t lived up to the vast expectation that was set on his arrival from Real in 2013.
Unfortunately, that has been the all too similar story for a lot of the incoming signings that Arsène Wenger has brought into the club. Many Arsenal fans are split on the topic of the Frenchman’s future with the club. He will have been at the club for 20 years next year, and for a man who has given that much of his career and life to the cause, it’s so difficult for the club to come up with an indefinite solution.
Wenger has certainly proved in the calendar year of 2015 that he is still up for the job. Losing just twice in the Premier League since New Year’s Day and progressing to the FA Cup Final, they have finally looked like the trophy-winning Arsenal that we were once used to.
There’s no question that the Gunners still need to improve their squad though. They’ve gradually strengthened parts of it, to make their team slightly patchy. In terms of attacking midfielders, they have some quality players at their disposal, who have carried them through 2015. Sánchez, Özil and Santi Cazorla are just three of the players that have kept the likes of Theo Walcott on the bench.
If they can match this calibre of player for the remaining positions, then they might be set for a title challenge once again. They are in need of a centre-back to partner Laurent Koscielny as German Per Mertesacker has been sub standard for too much of the season.
They do have 24-year-old Gabriel Paulista, who Arsène Wenger has said has the potential to be an ‘Arsenal great’. Likewise, they cannot continue to rely on injury prone Kieran Gibbs and Nacho Monreal as his back up option on the left side of defence.
They seem to have found a very worthwhile player in Francis Coquelin in midfield. However, he is regularly accompanied by Aaron Ramsey and Jack Wilshire and their defensive side of midfield could do with some work, based on the variety of injuries that Wilshire and Ramsey have picked up over the last few seasons.
Olivier Giroud is a touchy subject with most Arsenal fans. Despite scoring a healthy amount of goals consistently throughout his career with the Gunners, he is constantly the subject of abuse. Whilst Arsenal could definitely do with a striker, a lot of the criticism aimed at the Frenchmen is totally unwarranted.
If Wenger is to stay next year, it is more than likely that it will be his last year at the club at the not so tender age of 65. What better way to bow out of an incredible two decade stay at North London than with a first Premier League title in well over ten years?
Well, it’s not going to be easy for Arsenal, and it’s clearly a huge summer for them. they need to pick the right players in order to take them to the next level – a left back, a holding midfielder and a striker are all necessary additions to the squad, whilst centre back and goalkeeper are both positions which could be improved.
They have the funds to improve their squad drastically, and the foundations have very much already been laid in the last three or four years. Now, Arsenal need to build further, and try to work on the finer details of their team.
They have the right man for the job, and they have proved in 2015 that they can find the form to challenge at the very top. With the right additions and the right preparation before next season, they have an incredibly high chance of challenging for the title.