Arsenal have been potential challengers for the Premier League for over a decade, but they haven’t managed to lead a serious title challenge for a number of years. The debt incurred from moving stadiums in 2006 has prevented them from spending the amount that their challengers have in the transfer window, but their ability to remain a Champions League club has allowed them to recover quickly and they are now able to afford and attract some of the best players in world football. That has been shown over the last couple of summers and they now have a squad that is up there with the very best of the league.
The signing of Petr Cech is a masterstroke given that it has been a weak area for the Gunners since the departure of Jens Lehmann. Furthermore the former Chelsea goalkeeper has been one of the best performers in his position over the past decade and will bring a championship winning mentality to the squad. He is also a leader, and that is certainly a huge benefit to a squad which has looked unable to perform in a biggest matches. The goalkeeper will add organisation to the back four and this signing should go a long way to making Arsenal’s defence stronger and more able to keep clean sheets when it matters.
Arsenal have a quality attacking line up which is arguably the best in the division, especially when it comes to attacking midfielders, they have a set of players who can rival Chelsea in the final third. Alexis Sanchez, Mesut Ozil, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Olivier Giroud make up an exciting quadruplet with skill, creativity, pace and finishing to call upon. Although the attacking line up does give Arsenal a great chance of challenging for the title, their defence and lack of quality in the defensive midfield position is a concern, especially when it comes to the big matches.
Last season, Arsenal’s season underwent a resurgence since Francis Coquelin returned from loan which highlighted the importance of the defensive midfield role, especially for teams chasing championships. The side went on an extraordinary run and Coquelin was seen as surplus to requirements before last season. It’s unknown whether he has a long term future in the first team given his limitations on the ball, he isn’t the most suited to Arsenal, but he certainly has a place in the squad. Despite his good form, Coquelin isn’t the long term option for Arsenal in this role and rumours linking them to Arturo Vidal are promising as he would provide a more complete player in central midfield. They definitely need to strengthen in midfield in the next couple of months as they need more bite to supplement their technical players.
Although Petr Cech is the only completed transfer to date, more are expected before the season starts and Arsenal are continuing to target some really exciting players. Arturo Vidal who I mentioned above, is one of the most complete midfielders in world football and he is coming off the back of an impressive Copa America where he helped Chile win the competition for the first time alongside Arsenal forward Alexis Sanchez. He will add real quality to the Arsenal midfield and provide some much needed bite.
The next month is integral to the club as they prepare for the new season with a trip to Asia on the horizon. The club have a nice start to the season with only Liverpool offering a real text in the opening month and a quick start is crucial for a title challenge. The squad is there to challenge seriously for the title, doubts remain around the coaching staff and methods, but Arsene Wenger has the experience and a Premier League win could be the perfect way to end a wonderful career.