This season marks Wenger’s 21st year as manager at Arsenal, and it’ll be one of the most challenging seasons as he’ll have to face-off against the likes of Pep Guardiola, Antonio Conte, and of course, Jose Mourinho.
With other clubs making no effort to downplay their spending, Wenger has managed to make only one major signing. Not just that, he also has a lot of issues to address prior to the commencement of the new season.
So, what will Wenger have to do before the season starts to ensure a worthy fight for the title?
1. Get a dependable striker
Arsene Wenger has been plagued by this problem for a very long time.
With every transfer window comes the various rumours of certain strikers being linked to the Gunners, and this season was no different with Gonzalo Higuain, Mauro Icardi and Alvaro Morata all rumoured of moving to Arsenal. No concrete deal has been signed so far, however.
All the top teams and rivals have already added options to their attacking unit and Wenger needs to do something desperately, especially as Olivier Giroud is expected to return late. The pressure would be on even more so, as his contract renewal is to happen next year and his future at the club could be dependent on this season.
2. Find a worthy captain
Mikel Arteta’s retirement spelt trouble for Wenger as the current team isn’t exactly teeming with possible replacement options. Although Per Mertesacker and Petr Cech might seem like the most obvious options, either one would be a temporary change since they’re both in their 30s.
Laurent Koscielny could be a sensible choice, but based on past matches, he doesn’t seem like the strong leader that they need. He needs to be able to make the right decision as William Gallas, Robin Van Persie and Thomas Vermaelen – all past Arsenal captains – ended up leaving the club.
3. Ensure Ozil and Sanchez both have a future at Arsenal
Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez both have two seasons to go as per their contracts. The Gunners are positive that they’ll extend their stay at the club.
On the other hand, Ozil has been vocal about the fact that he wants to see changes and Sanchez appeared unhappy toward the end of last season. With everything else going on, Arsenal certainly wouldn’t want to enter the campaign with having their best two players less than fully committed.
With Wenger’s own future uncertain at the club, will Ozil and Sanchez want to commit without knowing how long Wenger will be there?
4. Deal with the goal-keeping issue
Arsenal are faced with the dangerous luxury of having too many good-quality goalkeepers. Behind undisputed No. 1 Cech, David Ospina and Wojciech Szczesny are both experienced internationals who are more than capable of providing clean sheets even in big games. The problem is that neither of them would be too happy being a sub.
Arsenal have been receiving offers for them and if they leave, then Emiliano Martinez will be No. 2.
5. Build strong back-ups
The Gunners host Liverpool in their opening game and travel to Leicester the following weekend. They could be without five of their top players, with Euro 2016 stars Ozil, Giroud, Koscielny and Aaron Ramsey returning late from holidays while Sanchez is still recovering from an ankle injury sustained at the Copa America.
Thus, Wenger must ensure that the players at his disposal are up to the task. This could be a golden opportunity for the likes of Jack Wilshere, Theo Walcott and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain to really show their manager — and the fans — that they can still be among the team’s top stars.