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One Player Arsenal Must Sign This Summer

Approaching the Transfer Window: Planning Ahead

Pre-Transfer Window Movements and Team Needs

As we approach the summer break teams will be well into their planning for the upcoming transfer window and despite the fact that there are still five weeks until the final day of the 23/24 Premier League season moves will already be in motion.

Every team has needs they need to address in the transfer market, even treble winning Manchester City who are looking a good bet for a second consecutive treble. So I felt like now would be a good time to start looking at each team and pick one area they should look to sign a player for, and pick that player to save them the hassle.

Let’s get started then, and begin with Arsenal as we take an alphabetical stroll through the Premier League.

The Gunner currently sit second in the league, two points behind Manchester City and facing a much tougher run in than the defending Champions. Their defeat against Aston Villa this past weekend saw a couple of old issues crop up for Mikel Arteta.

The Declan Rice Conundrum: Positioning and Playstyle Issues

First and foremost, his teams struggles when progressing the ball from deep areas when pressed. This has been a common issue when Arteta has employed Declan Rice out of position as his defensive midfielder.

Rice is a fine passer of the ball with time and space to play in, but when pressed he reverts to safety first sideways and backwards passes that invite teams to push them back.

Arsenal look a much more fluid team when Jorginho starts in that role and Rice is freed to play the box to box role he is much more suited to.

Villa, and Bayern before them, also exposed another issue with Rice in that deepest position and that is his habit of being drawn to the ball and not having good awareness of what’s around him.

Teams that target attacking Arsenal in central areas can have success if they attack with pacey runners and move the ball quickly once Rice moves towards the ball.

Strategic Transfer Decisions to Enhance Team Performance

Signing a player with better positional discipline and spatial awareness is vital.

It’s not that Arsenal need to replace Declan Rice. On the contrary, they need to amplify him. They need to put him in position to maximise his attributes, his driving power on the ball and his ability to cover ground and win the ball when out of possession.

They need to find an upgrade on Jorginho. The Italian international will turn 32 in December and has struggled to play consecutive runs of games for the last few years. He’s also out of contract this summer and thus far there seems to have been no movement on an extension.

Ideally the Gunners would extend him and use him in a rotation role for the next couple of seasons, but they have to find a starter to replace him.

The internal option is Thomas Partey, but he is injury prone and can’t be relied on to be available for various reasons. It will be tough for Arsenal to find a buyer for Partey this summer, all things considered, but if they can convince a club to give them any real money for him they should take it and run.

So the Gunners must look outside, and this should be the area in which they commit the majority of their summer budget. Some will point to left back as a problem position, which is fair, but it sits below defensive midfield in the list of position Mikel Arteta and Edu need to address.

The Ideal Transfer Target for Arsenal

There’s an obvious choice who ticks all the boxes for Arsenal. An elite passer of the ball who can also protect the heart of their defense with his high level positioning and reading of the game.

Martin Zubimendi of Real Sociedad.

The 25 year old product of the San Sebastian clubs academy has been one of the stand out players in La Liga in recent years and would bring a new dimension to Arsenal with his ability to control games, pick passes and dictate tempo.

He’s only missed five games in his career through injury and never had anything resembling a serious injury.

Adding the Spaniard to Martin Odegaard and Declan Rice in the Arsenal midfield would give the Gunners a trio capable of matching any team in Europe.

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