The confirmed departure of Alexandre Lacazette at the end of the month means Arsenal are guaranteed to have a new-look attack after the summer transfer window slams shut.
When the transfer window closed last summer, the Frenchman along with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Eddie Nketiah were Mikel Arteta’s center-forward options with Bukayo Saka, Gabriel Martinelli, Nicolas Pepe and Emile Smith Rowe – though he’s listed as a midfielder – providing the depth in the wide areas.
Six months later those options were reduced by one with Aubameyang sealing a move to Barcelona in the January transfer window and Lacazette is set to follow suit by leaving Arsenal when his contract expires in three weeks’ time thus ushering in somewhat of a new era at the club.
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Now, after the club’s biggest outlay in terms of money spent in a single window just 12 months ago, Arteta has already revealed that he expects to be busy this summer as he’s targeting an ideal first-team squad size that contains three goalkeepers and 22 outfield players.
But with Matt Turner expected to replace Bernd Leno and compete with Aaron Ramsdale, there’s an argument that the Gunners do not require further reinforcements in the goalkeeping department. The same can apply in central defense as William Saliba has declared his intention to compete with Benjamin White, Gabriel Magalhaes and Rob Holding next season following a successful loan spell with Marseille.
Whilst there could be a change at full-back amid interest in Bologna’s Aaron Hickey as well as links to Manchester City’s utility man Oleksandr Zinchenko and a potential loan exit for Nuno Tavares, it’s looking likely that the main priority for Arteta this summer will be to bolster his options in midfield and in attack.
And it’s the latter department that could undergo the biggest change. Last season’s overall attacking stats for the north London outfit shows they ranked fourth for Expected Goals (xG) with 69 but only managed to score 61 which was the sixth-best across the entire Premier League.
Therefore, an upgrade on Lacazette is vital and football.london understands that they are targeting Man City striker Gabriel Jesus in a bid to solve their goalscoring problems. Should the Brazil international make the switch then it’s likely he will be competing with Nketiah to lead the line next season as long as the former England U21 star signs a new deal.
However, with reports of a formal bid being lodged for Sassuolo striker Gianluca Scamacca, it could point towards the Gunners targeting another forward signing after Jesus who has shown for Brazil and Man City that he can operate on the flanks in addition to down the middle.
With that said, a lot could depend on what happens with Pepe. The 27-year-old struggled for game time last season and football.londonrecently revealed that the £ 72m-club record signing has instructed his agent to help him secure a move away during the summer transfer window.
Should the Ivorian get his wish then Arsenal’s wide options would be Saka, Martinelli and Smith Rowe. Therefore in a dream scenario, a wide forward would be signed as a replacement for Pepe amid links to Serge Gnabry and Cody Gakpo. But what could be more realistic is Reiss Nelson gets a chance after impressing on loan at Feyenoord last season.
Although if Arteta and technical director Edu decide to target another forward before the summer transfer window closes after Nketiah signs a new deal, Gabriel Jesus joins from Man City and Pepe departs then Arsenal’s exciting new-look attack will be complete.