Welcome to a new feature from The Football Space. We will evaluate the transfer budgets of last year’s top teams and come to a conclusion on how they could win the league, using only four plausible transfers. Today, we start with Arsenal.
The North-London club looked at times to be the best footballing side in the Premier League last term, but often lacked a lethal edge, power in midfield, and a top-quality goalkeeper. There is a good platform for Arsenal to build upon from last season, with the side’s renowned young potential and finally a few older, more experienced players (namely Podolski, Arteta and Mertesacker) in the mix. I’ll base this round up on the reported £70m ‘war chest’ it’s been announced that Arsenal have available, so will stick to that budget. So who are the four signings that could win Arsenal the league?
Asmir Begovic – Stoke City
Value: £7 million
Transfer Info: Although stating earlier on this summer that he was happy at Stoke, the lure of Champions League football would be difficult for the Bosnia and Herzegovina international to ignore. Although Arsenal have a decent shot-stopper in Szczęsny, the Pole’s form dipped in periods last season, and he made a few costly mistakes at the back. It seems that Arsenal have lost out to Napoli in the race to sign Julio Cesar, which is unfortunate for the Gunners as the Brazil No. 1 is a better keeper. Still, Begovic would be a considerable improvement on the current Arsenal goalkeeping selection.
Ignazio Abate – AC Milan
Position: Right Back
Value: £12 million
Transfer Info: With Sagna’s performances deteriorating fast, and Arsenal showing no sign of renewing his contract by more than one year, it may be time for the Gunners to replace a man who has been one of their best servants over the past six years. Abate has to be one of the quickest full-backs in the game right now. His attacking bursts are rather reminiscent of Ashley Cole, and his defensive work is pretty impressive too. At the age of 26, Abate is at his peak, and could easily be replaced at Milan by their young prodigy in Mattia De Sciglio. I would be surprised if the Italy international would turn down a move to the Premiership.
Cesc Fabregas – Barcelona
Position: Attacking Central Midfielder
Value: £35 million
Transfer Info: If you had asked me even yesterday morning if Fabregas was moving this summer I’d have laughed in your face. Suddenly, there are doubts. Now that Manchester United have bid for the Spaniard, surely Arsenal have to join in. If he’s leaving the Nou Camp, the chances of the Gunners not getting involved are basically nil. We all know of the creative midfielder’s creativity and skill, and it must be said that a midfield three of Fabregas, Cazorla and Wilshere would be arguably the best in the league. We’ll see where this one goes. If things revert to how they were, the Gunners could also re-ignite their interest for Marouane Fellaini, who would offer a more defensive presence and for slightly less. A move for the Belgian would have to be swift however as his minimum release clause expires in less than a month.
Gonzalo Higuain – Real Madrid
Value: £26 million
Transfer Info: We’re all bored to death of this one, so I won’t say too much. Everyone at the Emirates was more excited than they have been in years when this was first suggested. The striker’s ability is clear and he’s been keen to move for over a year. If Arsenal don’t sign this Argentinian then it would take a lot for them to have any hope of pushing for the title. With him alone, they could jump at least one place. He is without doubt the missing piece in Arsenal’s summer so far. If they don’t sign him, or at least a fair replacement (Jovetic, or even Negredo, for example), they will not only be lacking fire-power, but will be a laughing stock in the transfer world.
That’s our round-up of the signings Arsenal need to make to be pushing for titles once more. How far off do you think the side is from winning the trophy they so desperately need? Or should money be spent in different areas?
This article has been written by the Football Space Arsenal expert Ollie Turner