Despite missing out on Champions League football, you sense the feel-good factor is being restored at Arsenal. The Gunners, whose capitulation in the final few games of last season ruined their return to Europe’s elite competition for the first time post-Arsène Wenger, were busy in the transfer market this summer under Mikel Arteta. The Spaniard has set about righting the wrongs of the last campaign by getting out the cheque book, with Manchester City duo Gabriel Jesus and Oleksandr Zinchenko arriving alongside
It’s paid dividends so far with Arsenal demolishing the likes of Chelsea and Sevilla in preseason before making relatively easy work of Crystal Palace on the opening day of the Premier League season. Selhurst Park is far from a routine place to start your campaign but Arteta’s side managed the game well and took their chances when they came, with Gabriel Martinelli opening the scoring before a Marc Guéhi own goal put the game to bed with five minutes to spare.
The debutants look to have settled in quickly and although there are still a few weeks left of the transfer window, you wonder if any other signings would be worth Arteta’s while. Deals for Brazilian duo Raphinha, who went to Barcelona and Lucas Paquetá, who looks Newcastle United bound, have both fell apart and leaves you questing if they’ll be any better off bringing any new fresh faces to the Emirates.
Pursuing top four is far from straight forward and although the Gunners have made an early statement of intent, it will take some time for them to be genuine favourites in the Premier League betting week in and week out. But who should they recruit if they do plan on spending any more money?
Youri Tielemans has been one name that the Gunners have targeted. The Leicester City midfielder, who enters the last year of his contract at the King Power Stadium, who provide greater technical ability to the holding roles currently occupied by Granit Xhaka and Thomas Partey. The only other understudies are Mohamed Elneny and Albert Sambi Lokonga, with neither capable of matching the creativity or industry Tielemans possesses. The difficult part would be negotiating a fee with Leicester City, with the Foxes notoriously known for driving a hard bargain. And with key players Kasper Schmeichel and Wesley Fofana heading for the exit door in the Midlands, the deal could be put on ice until next year where the Gunners could swoop in and land the Belgian on a free.
The only other notable signing reportedly on Arsenal’s radar is Yéremy Pino. While most of the attention this summer has been on his Villarreal colleague Arnaut Danjuma, Pino played a massive role in the Yellow Submarine’s European adventure, and with the Spaniard’s current boss being former Gunner’s manager Unai Emery, there is clearly a relationship in the making between the two sides. At just 19 years old, he fits Arteta’s model of signing young players and at around £30 million he could be a smart investment giving the longevity and potential he’d offer at the Emirates.