The positions Arsenal should look to strengthen in this summer - ranked

To say Arsenal's first full-season under Mikel Arteta has been a transitional one is an understatement. The Gunners are currently in ninth position in the Premier League having lost 11 games already - that's one more than they lost in the entire 2019/20 campaign when they finished in a disappointing eighth.

A difficult campaign was inevitable, but some have been less understanding when it comes to the size of the task at hand.

During the Christmas period, Arteta finally settled on a system and since then, the team have shown signs of improvement in terms of their performances - although the results haven't always told the full story.

It is clear the squad still requires further strengthening but given Arsenal could be without European football next season and the financial impact of the pandemic, they may have to pick and choose their priorities. At 90min, we took a look at which areas pose the most urgent need ahead of the summer transfer window.

5. Right-back

Bellerin has been linked with a move away | Sebastian Frej/MB Media/Getty Images

Hector Bellerin could be headed for the exit door this summer. It's understood that the player wishes to embark on a new challenge and given he is a sellable asset, a transfer feels as though it could be the best move for all involved.

However, if he is to depart, Arsenal would have to rely on Cedric Soares and Callum Chambers to fill the position. In Chambers' case, there is much debate around whether or not that is his strongest position. The former Southampton man impressed at West Ham in the Gunners' last Premier League outing. However, he still has a lot to prove if he's to establish himself as a direct replacement for Bellerin.

Maitland-Niles is due to return in the summer, another player capable of playing at right-back - in this case, the solution could be found internally.

4. Left-back

Kieran Tierney has impressed this season but he, like many others at the club, has struggled with injuries | Sebastian Frej/MB Media/Getty Images

Kieran Tierney has proven himself more than worthy of being the club's first choice left-back. However, injuries have been an issue for the 23-year-old ever since he joined the Gunners.

Having allowed both Sead Kolasinac and Ainsley Maitland-Niles to leave on loan, Arsenal left themselves desperately short of cover for the former Celtic man and were forced to turn to Cedric Soares, a right-back, to fill in.

For the most part, he did a fantastic job, however, with the futures of both Kolasinac and Maitland-Niles up in the air, Arteta should be looking at somebody to provide natural cover to Tierney in the event he is absent for a period of time.

Finances are likely to be tight at the Emirates Stadium this summer and as a result, the club will need to get creative in the transfer market.

Southampton's Ryan Bertrand, who is out of contract at the end of the season and a Champions League winner, feels like a good backup option on a free transfer.

3. Striker

Alexandre Lacazette has contributed 13 goals in all competitions this season | Pool/Getty Images

The Arsenal boss has some decisions to make when it comes to his striking options. Having tied Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang down to a new contract last year, the Gabonese striker's form hasn't been as impressive as last season.

This time around, it is Alexandre Lacazette who will be entering into the final year of contract at the Emirates Stadium - but does Arteta feel both strikers are worth making a significant investment in at this stage of their careers or will he look towards the longer-term future? Eddie Nketiah and Folarin Balogun have struggled to get a look in and exits for both appear to be on the cards.

Gabriel Martinelli could be converted into a striker and provide Arsenal with an internal solution to a potential exit for Lacazette. Either way, it's an area that needs addressing.

Celtic striker Odsonne Edouard continues to be linked with a move to north London but before anybody comes in, the future of those currently at the club need resolving.

2. Attacking midfield

Martin Odegaard is currently on loan at Arsenal from Real Madrid | Dan Mullan/Getty Images

Martin Odegaard has been a hit at Arsenal so far. However, with every strong performance the Norwegian turns in, it will be for the club to persuade Real Madrid to sell him.

When it comes to recruiting for the attacking midfield position, he should certainly be the priority given he has already proven himself capable of settling in at the club and adapting to the Premier League.

In the event a permanent deal or an extension of the loan cannot be achieved, Arsenal may have to look elsewhere. But only when they've exhausted all the options should the Gunners give up on the 22-year-old who appears to have an incredibly high-ceiling and the ability to go on and become an Arsenal hero.

The club continue to be linked with Norwich City's Emiliano Buendia as an alternative but he's yet to show he's capable of adapting to life at a big club.

1. Central midfield

Despite spending £45m on Thomas Partey last summer, the Gunners still have an issue in midfield | Catherine Ivill/Getty Images

The centre of midfield is the first area the club must address this summer despite splashing out £45m on Thomas Partey at the start of the campaign. The Ghanaian has struggled with injuries this season and he's yet to show his best in an Arsenal shirt as a result. Granit Xhaka has more often than not been partnered alongside him and is, regardless of people's thoughts on him, one of Arteta's first names on the team sheet.

Dani Ceballos looks unlikely to join the club on a permanent deal and Real Madrid have no intention of allowing him to spend a third season on loan in London. Mohamed Elneny, for all his likability, isn't at the standard required and Lucas Torreira has made it clear he prefers to move away from Europe.

Matteo Guendouzi will return from his loan spell in Germany but given his complicated relationship with Arteta, his long-term future at the club is uncertain.

Arsenal have been linked with Brighton's Yves Bissouma and Real Betis' Guido Rodriguez but you feel any significant spending will be reliant upon some of the aforementioned loanees being sold.

Source : 90min